PASSION FRUIT CHIA PUDDING WITH COCONUT FLAKES (Gluten-free & vegan)

We’re having a bit of unseasonably cold weather here in NYC and I know I’m not the only one who’s totally over it.  I’m not quite ready for the humidity of Summer, but I am ready for the bright & lovely produce of the warmer months.  In rebellion, I’m eating tropical fruit chia pudding like it’s 80 degrees out.  So far, it’s working for me..

This chia pudding is the perfect energizing breakfast when the weather outside (or inside your head) is looking a little dull.   I promise it will bring some brightness to your week, sunny or not.

Passion Fruit Chia Pudding with Coconut Flakes (serves 2) gluten-free + dairy-free

  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted
  • 2 passion fruits

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together chia seeds with almond milk, vanilla, maple syrup and sea salt.  Store in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Once you’re ready to serve, whisk together chia pudding again to mix evenly.  Divide pudding between two jars.  Slice passion fruits in half, and scoop out all juice & insides (including seeds!) into the jar (one passion fruit per jar).  Top with shredded coconut and another splash of maple syrup or honey.  Serve immediately!

APRIL 2016 FAVORITES

SPICED SHAKSHUKA WITH WILD RICE

The nights where I get home late, it's especially hard to throw together dinner when my mind is full & fatigued but my stomach is not. I find it fitting that the nights where you need a homemade meal the most is when you're the most incapable of doing so.  I try to make a point in these moments to find the simplest dish (1 pot max, if that) that my brain can just barely wrap it's head around. If I can muster up a few minutes to continue standing on my feet to grate a garlic clove and chop an onion, I can have a homemade meal that my soul and stomach with thank me for.

That's where always having eggs on hand comes in handy. For weeknight meals that only begin to cook at 8pm, I need something swift & hearty that won't take an hour. I love frittatas for this reason, and when you have an extra 5-7 minutes, shakshuka (for when you need a punch of flavor). So, a recipe for one (very pretty) skillet meal that will give you quick homemade meals when you need it most.

SPICED SHAKSHUKA WITH FORBIDDEN RICE (Gluten-free) Serves 4 1 cup forbidden rice, dried 2 teaspoon olive oil 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 jalapeños, minced 1 leek, halved & sliced into half moons 1 shallot, minced 28 oz. fire roasted tomatoes 1 teaspoon ras el hanout 2 teaspoons harissa 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika pinch of cayenne pepper 1/2 lemon, juice 3-4 large eggs 1 small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled Sea salt to taste Freshly ground pepper   Heat your oven to 350 degrees.    In a medium saucepan, add forbidden rice and 1 3/4 cup of filtered water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low and cover for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes, covered.   In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, jalapeños, leek & shallot.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until.  Pour in can of tomatoes and 1/2 cup water along with all spices.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Squeeze the lemon juice and mix together well, then let cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.  Use your wooden spoon to break down big hunks of tomato.   Gently crack eggs into the pan (use a wooden spoon to make room).  Once the eggs just begin to set, add the cast iron skillet to the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until whites are completely set, but yolks are still soft.  Top with cilantro, feta, flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve with a heaping of forbidden rice to sop up the juices.  Eat immediately!

SPICED SHAKSHUKA WITH FORBIDDEN RICE (Gluten-free) Serves 4

  • 1 cup forbidden rice, dried
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 1 leek, halved & sliced into half moons
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 28 oz. fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 2 teaspoons harissa
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • 3-4 large eggs
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  

In a medium saucepan, add forbidden rice and 1 3/4 cup of filtered water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low and cover for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes, covered.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, jalapeños, leek & shallot.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until.  Pour in can of tomatoes and 1/2 cup water along with all spices.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Squeeze the lemon juice and mix together well, then let cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.  Use your wooden spoon to break down big hunks of tomato.

Gently crack eggs into the pan (use a wooden spoon to make room).  Once the eggs just begin to set, add the cast iron skillet to the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until whites are completely set, but yolks are still soft.  Top with cilantro, feta, flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve with a heaping of forbidden rice to sop up the juices.  Eat immediately!

SALTED OATMEAL THUMBPRINT COOKIES WITH CHOCOLATE & TAHINI FILLING

Although tahini is usually paired with my weeknight hippie bowl, I was craving some new options.  After having one too many of these tahini cookies made by a friend, I decided to try my hand at a sweet & savory cookie.  This sesame seed paste is used in mostly savory recipes, including miso tahini dressing and your beloved hummus, but with the addition of chocolate, these flavors just seem to merge perfectly.  It’s my new favorite crowd-pleaser, and one of those recipes I can’t really keep around the house, if you know what I mean.  This sweet / salty / nutty combination just happens to be free of dairy and uses only natural sugars but I promise, you won't notice.  Best of both worlds? I think so.

SALTED OATMEAL THUMBPRINT COOKIES WITH CHOCOLATE & TAHINI FILLING (Gluten-free, dairy-free opt) Makes about 12 cookies

dough:

  • 1 3/4 c gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar (or regular/coconut/turbinado/etc sugar!)
  • 1/3c + 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

filling:

  • 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate, chips or roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, pulse the oats until gritty, but not yet flour.  Mix in a large bowl with almond meal, salt and maple sugar.  Stir in all the wet ingredients and mix with your hands to combine well.  Chill dough for 25 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Use about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie.  Shape into a disk and press your thumb into the center to make an imprint.  Continue until all cookies are finished.  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and firm to the touch.  Press into the centers of the cookies again to reinforce the the dent.   Let cool for 10 minutes.

For filling:  Double-broil the chocolate chips, tahini and sea salt over medium heat, stirring to help the melting process.  Once mixture is smooth, let cool for 10 minutes.  Then, fill each cookie with a teaspoon or two of filling.  Continue until all cookies are filled, then sprinkle sea salt over top and let cool (filling will set).  Eat immediately for an extra-gooey cookie.

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PRESERVED LEMON GRAIN BOWL

Whenever I’m seeking comfort at dinnertime, I usually end up with a hodgepodge of quinoa, vegetables and some tahini sauce with enough accoutrements to make up for the initial simplicity.  It's a meal I have on repeat, changing up the grain or type of lentil depending on what I have on hand.  They’re uncomplicated, nourishing meals that do the trick when you need warmth (literally and figuratively) in a bowl.

When I’m really in the mode to make “weeknight” dinner into something a little more spectacular than a Topanga Canyon macro bowl, enter preserved lemons.  These salty-sweet lemons are the older/wiser cousin of fresh lemons with an almost indescribable aroma.   Although usually found at specialty food stores, it’s just as easy to make them at home (with a little or a lot of patience). You can make them authentically, quick-preserved or even “pickled” like Ottolenghi. I use them most in my self-described "hippie bowls" to add something lively (when you need some extra inspiration in your life). It's a weeknight win-win.

Grain Bowl with Preserved Lemons (gluten-free) Serves 4

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 cup tri-color quinoa
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 3 preserved lemons, rinds only & diced small (save pulp for another use)
  • 4-5 kale leaves, de-stemmed and chopped 
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup chopped)
  • 5-6 sprigs of fresh mint, chopped
  • 8 dried apricots, diced
  • 3 oz. feta, crumbled
  • Black sesame gomasio, to top (optional)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper

Tahini Miso Dressing:

  • 2/3 cup tahini
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • 1/3-1/2 cup water, depending on desired consistency

In a saucepan, add chickpeas and enough water to cover by about 4 inches.  Bring to a boil, then cover and let sit for one hour.  This method is a quick way to eliminate soaking overnight. Once the hour is up, bring to a boil then simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.  Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside to cool.

In another saucepan, add quinoa, 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 14-16 minutes or until fluffy.  Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients together until smooth & desired consistency.

In a large serving bowl, add chickpeas, cooled quinoa, sunflower seeds, diced preserved lemons, kale, herbs, and dried apricot.  Season to taste with sea salt and pepper and mix well to combine.  Top the grain bowl with crumbled feta and gomasio (optional).  Finish each serving with a generous drizzle of tahini miso dressing.  Serve immediately!

SHAVED BROCCOLI STEM SALAD WITH LEMON & PECORINO

Root-to-leaf cooking has long been an obsession of mine. There's nothing I love more than using as many parts of my produce possible & finding the most delicious ways to use them.   I have a lot of "fridge anxiety" where I'm constantly worried about what is about to go bad at every minute.  It's a first world problem, but I'm very in tune with my fridge and what's happening inside it.  (I even have a fridge list I update weekly, I know.) As much as I love it, I’m always in the mood. I can't promise you I always keep my zucchini tops or radish greens to "braise", but there are a few tried and true waste-not ideas I can’t live without.

One of my favorites is by far broccoli stems.  They are such a versatile vegetable that most people throw away entirely.  (Such a shame!)  This salad feels like a victory.  Like an amazing meal out of the random things left in your fridge. Not to mention, a 2-for-1 bargain that you’ll want to tell everyone about. 

This Winter salad is perfect for the colder months when you crave something heartier than a delicate spring green.  It’s so simple, and I promise you’ll start craving broccoli stems.  Life-changing salads is not a phrase I’d use often, but this one truly is.

Radish/Turnip Greens = sauté with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. top with shaved parmesan.

Fennel Fronds = add raw fronds to salads, avocado toast, etc! Also amazing in tuna or potato salad.

Cauliflower hearts = perfect for soups, or seared with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Almond Pulp (from making almond milk) = Granola! 

Celery Leaves = Homemade celery salt

Beet Greens = braised or sautéed with garlic, olive oil or with balsamic reduction

Mushroom Stems = perfect for vegetable stocks or soup!

Broccoli Stem Salad with Lemon & Pecorino (Serves 2-4) Gluten-free, grain-free

  • 4 stalks broccoli
  • 2 oz. pecorino romano, shaved
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper

Dressing:

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4-1/3 extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

To prep the broccoli stems:  shave the knobby, waxed skin from the sides with a peeler.  Then, using a mandolin, shave the broccoli stems thin into a serving bowl.  Continue until all stalks are shaved.  Set aside.

To make dressing:  add garlic clove, lemon, vinegar, salt and pepper to a small bowl.  Mix together well, then add olive oil in a steady stream until emulsified.

Toss the broccoli stems with dressing and mix until well coated.  Shave the pecorino atop & season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve immediately, but this salad will last in the fridge (covered) for about a day or two.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH MARJORAM, PINE NUTS, LEEKS & LEMON

Cauliflower is Broccoli's forgotten cousin.  Only lately have people begin to bat an eye at this cruciferous vegetable.  Besides being delicious, cauliflower has some magical properties that allow it to become grain-free pizza crust and "rice" to name a few.  This recipe, however, uses no gimmicks - just pure cauliflower goodness.  

This is my new favorite Winter recipe that adds a little brightness to an otherwise cold & dreary season.  If you can find some colored cauliflower, all the better ;)

 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH MARJORAM, PINE NUTS, GOLDEN RAISINS & LEMON (SERVES 4) Gluten-free

  • 2.5 lbs. cauliflower, de-stemmed & chopped into 1 in. pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lemon, juice + zest
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 leek, halved & thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Add cauliflower to a large baking sheet with olive oil, marjoram, sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Roast for 25-30 minutes or until browned and tender. Add to serving bowl & set aside.

Add butter to a cast iron or sauté pan over medium low heat.  Add the zest of one lemon.  Sauté until zest is fragrant, then add garlic and leeks.  Stir often over low heat until leeks are softened, about 5-7 minutes.  Add golden raisins until warm, then remove mixture and add to serving bowl.  

Using the same pan, turn the heat up to medium and add pine nuts.  Stir often for about 1-2 minutes or until pine nuts are browned and toasted.  Remove from heat and add to serving bowl.  Toss everything together with the juice of one lemon.  Top with chopped parsley and season to taste.  Serve immediately!