Cooking

what the kale?

I’m on a green kick. Green plants, green juice, and a cruciferous green super veggie. Because why the kale not?

kale salad

The Jessica’s Kale Salad found at your nearby fancy Gelson’s deli counter is ever so slightly tangy, refreshing and crunchy. But it also starts to drain your wallet after a while. The beauty of this salad is its simplicity (which equals fewer ingredients, which equals cheap to make).

kale salad

I despise chopping kale (that stuff is tough!), so I’m a fan of the pre-chopped bag of kale from TJ’s.

kale

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Cooking · Pinspiration

savory herb popcorn

popcorn jar

 Did you eat one too many of those chocolate assortments some kind evil person left in your office kitchen? Have you eaten cookies/cake/pie for breakfast at least once this month? (I can’t be the only one, right?) In an attempt to not contribute to the sugar-induced collective weight gain going around the office, I popped up a batch of savory herb popcorn!

 popcorn

 And put them in cute mason jars with festive ribbon!

ribbons and jars

  And tied adorably punny tags to each one!

tag

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Cooking

nancy silverton’s backyard burger {mmm meat}

{backyard burger}
{backyard burger}

Isn’t she a beaut?

I’d be lying if I said I hand picked fresh, juicy meat and ground it with my beloved mixer. In reality, I found the perfect blend that was already seasoned AND already ground from Huntington Meats at the Farmer’s Market at 3rd and Fairfax. I also got the buttery (read: TASTY) buns from them too.

{backyard burger blend}
{backyard burger blend}

Technically, Nancy’s Backyard Burger has many more components than I had (meat, lettuce, tomato, onion and a smear of mayo) but when it comes to burgers, I like the meat to be the main event.

This blend is ready to grill. All I had to do was form the patties. Don’t forget the little dent in the center so it doesn’t puff up! From a pound of this blend, I got two servings.

Throw the bread on the grill just before the burgers finish cooking to get a nice char on the edges. Smear a bit of mayo on the buns, add green leaf lettuce, sliced red onions and a tomato and you’ve got yourself one of the better burgers you can make at home. Definitely beats forking over upwards of $10 for an Umami burger! (But I still love you, Umami. You’re just a rare fling for me now when I can afford you. In a completely non-hooker way.)

Cooking

white bean bruschetta {appetizers}

{white bean bruschetta}
{white bean bruschetta}

After ordering this every time I visit Pizzeria Mozza, I figured it was high time I make it at home. Dropping $9 for this tiny appetizer wasn’t doing anything for my self-imposed “spending diet.”

Nancy Silverton’s recipe via Well Fed

INGREDIENTS
(for the rosemary olive oil)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

(for the white bean puree)
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

(for the crostini)
1/2 inch thick slices of baguette
1 garlic clove, sliced in half
1 cup arugula
good olive oil
aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
sea salt
fresh thyme leaves to scatter over

METHOD
To make the rosemary olive oil, combine the olive oil and rosemary in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and continue to gently simmer the oil until the rosemary sizzles. Turn off the heat and let the rosemary steep in the oil for 1 hour.

To make the crostini, place the bread slices on a baking sheet, brush with the olive oil and bake until lightly toasted and golden brown. Rub the oiled side with the garlic and set aside. Alternately, you could brush the bread slices and grill them in a grill pan over high heat. The latter is the method I prefer, as the result is crispy on the edges while the middle is still a little soft. I find baking them just makes them crisp all the way through.

To make the white bean puree, combine the beans, 2/3 cup of the rosemary olive oil, garlic and kosher salt and pepper in a mortar and pestle or in a medium bowl and using a potato masher, mash everything together until everything is combined. The texture should still be slightly chunky.

To assemble the crostini, place a few arugula leaves on each crostino and spoon about 1 tablespoon of the white bean puree in a generous, even layer, over the arugula. Using the back of the spoon, make a small crater in the puree and spoon in a little of the rosemary olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with sea salt and scatter with the fresh thyme.

Cooking

one pot thai chicken curry {turn up the heat!}

{thai chicken curry}
{thai chicken curry}

Recipe via bonappetit.com (Although I found this in the actual handheld paper version of the magazine. I can’t be the ONLY one left who still subscribes to print magazines, right??)

Ingredients
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 4-ounce can or jar yellow curry paste
3/4 pound carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 13.5-ounce or 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
Chopped fresh basil and cilantro

Preparation
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots, onion, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add potatoes, chicken, coconut milk, and 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Divide curry among bowls and top with herbs.

——————————

After searching a few different stores, I finally found actual curry paste at Whole Foods. Don’t use pre-made curry sauces! You’re making your own sauce in this recipe.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have yellow paste which the recipe calls for. With my smart phone in hand, I googled “yellow vs. green curry paste” and in short, the spice level of the green curry (which Whole Foods DID have) was higher.

I’m a huge chicken when it comes to heat so I only used 3/4 of the curry paste AND added a dollop half a cup of Greek yogurt in the dish to tone down the spice. What I ended up with was a not-spicy-at-all curry dish, which was fine for me, but did nothing to help build my tolerance.

I think next time I make this (and I WILL be making this again, since I found YELLOW curry at a restaurant supply store!), I won’t chicken out and I’ll use the entire 4 oz. of curry paste and I won’t add yogurt. I’ll just be sure to keep a glass of milk on the side when I eat it.

Cooking

Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi {aloha!}

{oahu}

Since I’m about 2,500 miles away from this stunning paradise, I figured macadamia nuts and mahi mahi are about as close as I’m going to get to the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean and superfine white sandy beaches of Hawaii this October.

{macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi}

Alton Brown doesn’t disappoint with this recipe {via FoodNetwork.com}. Mahi Mahi can run a little pricey pricey; I imagine any similar white fish will do the trick. Next time, I’m trying the more budget-friendly tilapia.

Ingredients
5 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) coarsely ground, roasted macadamia nuts
1/2 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for brushing foil
4 (6 to 8-ounce) mahi mahi fillets
Kosher salt and pepper
2 tablespoons coconut milk

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together the nuts, panko, flour, and butter. Set aside.

Place a piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and brush it liberally with vegetable oil. Place the mahi mahi on the foil and sprinkle each fillet with salt and pepper on both sides. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush each fillet with the coconut milk. Divide the nut mixture among the tops of the 4 fillets, patting the mixture to spread and adhere to the fillets. Return to the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.