Lamb Stir-Fry with Pomegranate and Yogurt

Lamb Stir-Fry with Pomegranate and Yogurt

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma

Yikes! September was my last post. Where did the year go? It's been a crazy fall, but I'm finally feeling like I have a handle on this new schedule involving an 8:10 drop off at PS 75. Despite the earlier mornings, I no longer have to pack two lunch boxes every single day and that has been enormous relief. No more cutting grapes in half at ungodly hours of the morning.

Anyways, I have been cooking a lot with all my newly found "free time," but I somehow haven't been inspired by my grainy, ancient iphone photos. (Hi Santa!) Lately I have found some great recipes though, so before the year ends and I head off to gorge on southern California tacos for a week, I wanted to share at least one. New York Times just published their 20 most popular recipes in 2015. A bunch of my favorites were on there, so now I'm determined to try them all. A few days ago I started with the Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma, and it will now be a staple.

 Literally all you need are a few lemons, spices and boneless chicken thighs. Cheap and easy! Like the recipe says, it's a great base to play with and you can add salad, rice, yogurt, etc. Do not make the mistake of adding vegetables to pan though as it will make the chicken soggy. (Sorry last night's dinner guests who got that variation!)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fried Eggplant with Chickpeas and Mint Chutney

What a summer! I think I spent three nights at home in August between vacation in Michigan, hiking a 14,000 foot peak in Colorado and working my tail off in Kenya. And then September started with Xavier entering Kindergarten and all the craziness that entails. I feel like I'm finally catching my breath, which in Jessie talk means I'm cooking again. It probably helps that my mom is camped out on my living room floor (#NYCliving) helping with the kids during the Jewish holidays.

Last night I wanted to use up the baby eggplant, batches of herbs and 15 lbs of tomatoes from the farmer's market. This recipe nailed that, and the two pickiest eaters in the house -my mom and Xavier -loved it. Miracles!
And check out our farmer's market flowers?! Even I can splurge on $8 for those.


It's a good transition recipe. It's not quite a fresh, summery salad, but it's not a winter stew either. I'm not there yet. I'm still hoping for many more days outside!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Quinoa and Chard Cakes

In the summer, I try to eat dinner in the park at least twice a week. While our fire escape works for bedtime stories, I’m not sure a family of four could comfortably dine out there. Luckily we have the world’s most amazing (overpriced) picnic chairs and the ubiquitous JJ cole picnic blanket that seems like it’s a requirement for entry into Central Park these days.

Anyways, I actually find it hard to pack a picnic that feels substantial, and doesn’t break the bank in the way French cheeses, prosciutto and baguettes do. When I saw this recipe for quinoa and chard cakes, I thought they would transport well, be good at room temperature and tempt my kids to eat vegetables. I was right on two counts.

I ended up using half rice and half quinoa to clear out the fridge, and I skipped the step of toasting and grinding the cumin and just used ground cumin. I served them with a dollop of garlic yogurt. The adults loved them. The kids ate pasta and chocolate covered raisons for dinner. Again.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Peanut Soba Noodle Salad

You know that feeling when you open your kitchen cabinets and they are overflowing, but yet there is nothing to eat? The other day I sat there staring at four different types of paprika, a giant bag of almond flour and dried cranberries and became determined to start "using down" some of my dry goods.
This peanut sauce does just that, and tastes amazing.  It even  used up some of my old black tea!
The soba noodles and peanut sauce are a great base and then you can toss in anything you like. I ended up throwing in a bunch of herbs and radishes that I had on hand, including the recommended cucumber and mint to keep it bright. I added chicken to make the leftovers last longer.
This dish is definitely for peanut lovers. I literally eat peanut butter straight from the jar, and these noodles satisfy that craving while also making me feel slightly less pathetic in front of my coworkers!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Chile Cumin Lamb Meatballs with Yogurt and Cucumber

Lottie + Doof is one of my favorite food blogs. I love his recipes, and  his tone. In his most recent post he wrote, " Can we get on the same page about something? Sometimes I just want to post a recipe, with the implied imperative: you should make this! Sometimes there isn’t much else to say. Cool?," I listened.

Meatballs are often served as a heavy dish, so I was intrigued by the idea of pairing them with cucumbers and yogurt. (Cucumbers are also basically free at the farmer's markets these days.) I loved the combination, and the bright red glow of the chile sauce. My only complaint was that it called for a blender, food processer and a spice grinder. The fact that I even own all those thing given my kitchen size is beyond me. At least they got some use!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Goan Shrimp Curry

I love NYC in the summer. Picnics on the Great Hill, free movies on the river, and drinks at my new favorite bar called Ellington in the Park on 105th looking out over the Hudson. I also sleep better in the summer because I can blast the AC and drown out the sirens and drunk people on my stoop!

The downside - the big downside - is not having outdoor space. It's brutal, especially with young kids as we have to be indoors after bedtime. This is why I was particularly appreciative of Rupal's rooftop dining invite last week. Dinner with her is a treat; I always leave feeling more relaxed and less overwhelmed by NYC. But I also leave with amazing leftovers!

Last week she made a Goan shrimp curry loosely based on this recipe:

I'm going to try and replicate it next week. Do you think I could substitute playground dandelions and alley weeds for the edible flowers?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Grapefruit and Watermelon Agua Fresca

For the past couple weeks, I have been making  watermelon agua fresca. Agua fresca, for those of you not obsessed with all things south of the border, is like juice, but with added water and sugar. This makes it sweeter, but yet lighter and more refreshing at the same time. It screams summer.

The watermelon agua fresca has been delicious, but despite adding a lot of lime (and tequila for those over 4), there was something missing. I then came across this recipe that included grapefruit and I knew this was the winner.
I threw everything in the blender and then just strained out the pulp. Xavier, who "graduated" from Hola NYC this weekend, proclaimed it the best juice ever. This is a lot coming from a kid who would inject Capri Sun if he could.

Mix some up for the Fourth of July!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt

This is a winner. It's one of those recipes that come along a few times a year and stay in rotation forever. The New York Times is calling it "Springtime Sheet-Pan Chicken" and accurately touting it as an easy, one-pot meal.

Don't skip the yogurt sauce. You need it with the harissa. I'm not going to waste more of your time when you could be making this RIGHT NOW!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Vaguely Vietnamese Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

Spring seems like a good time to put away the slow cooker. Who wants beef stew when the daffodils are out?! (And by 'out,' I mean for sale at the local bodega.) But just when I thought I was done with this method of cooking for the season, I stumbled upon this recipe for Vietnamese tacos in the New York Times. Something about the Asian pear, cucumber, and cilantro slaw made it seem brighter and more spring-like so I gave it a try.

It's really good! To cut down on the weekday work, I used the Trader Joe's broccoli slaw shavings and just added the cucumber and Asian pear to the mix. When pulling the pork, I also tossed some of the extra fat.  It all came together very quickly, and if you make enough slaw, it feels like eating tacos and salad. Voila. Dinner is served. The flour tortillas were better with this, but the corn worked too.  Cheap, easy meal that I plan to put into serious rotation.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lamb Stir-Fry with Pomegranate and Yogurt

About a year ago, I started an excel spreadsheet with a tab for what meals we are going to eat and a tab for the corresponding shopping list. It's nerdy, but it keeps me from running out to the store three times a day or from eating the same thing every week. The only complicated thing about it is that it has a column for me and Ryan and another column for the kids. Gasp! I know...we don't eat dinner together and we don't eat the same thing. Take that Parenting Magazine!

Before Xavier was born I thought I would be mixing flax seed into organic goat  yogurt and making elaborate kid-friendly vegetable dishes. Riiiight. My kids eat a diet of white rice, white pasta, white toast and milk. (Although they weirdly like salmon. Gag!) From my hushed conversations with other parents, it's safe to say that outside Park Slope, this is pretty typical. What's funny about it to me is that I don't care. I love food, new recipes, fresh spices, etc. so at first I found it strange that I was so unfazed by this behavior.  Last night, as I was unpacking the lunch dishes full of their uneaten vegetables, I realized why. I care more about not wasting food than I do about what they actually eat. Cheapskate! If they aren't going to eat crunchy spring asparagus and  marinated lamb, then I'm not going to waste it on them. So at 6 pm, the toddler dinner was served and eaten, and at 9 pm, Ryan and I sat down to this incredibly delicious, and surprisingly easy to throw together, dish of lamb, pomegranate, pistachios and yogurt.

I know...I know. It's a vicious cycle. If I don't serve it, they won't learn to learn to like it until they are ancient. But in the meantime, Ryan and I get all the leftovers.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Goodbye Winter Recipe: Beef Wellington

We kicked off spring this weekend in Central Park in style. Our picnicking skills were a bit rusty; there was a lot of chips and hummus and other standard fare (zzzzzz!), but the rose and cold beer was flowing. I spent hours just grinning stupidly, looking up and the sun and thanking the heavens that winter was finally over. Before I get lost in a frenzy of spring recipes, I want to share the most decadent recipe I made all winter - Beef Wellington.

On one particularly miserable March evening, Amie and I decided to have  a Dirty Dancing Dinner Party. This is a sign of true winter blues. It's not enough to just cook dinner, but you feel you need a theme...something to rally around, something to dress for, something to motivate you to log out of Netflix. We chose Dirty Dancing because Amie had a killer leotard to wear, we wanted to practice the "lift" and Patrick Swayze in a white tank top can warm up even the coldest of nights. Ha! I got a watermelon for the centerpiece, stuck a doll in the corner of my living room and cranked up the soundtrack. The food, however, was more complicated. The early 1960s aren't exactly the heyday of culinary innovation. Cream of mushroom soup anyone?

Beef Wellington is the exception. This is a ridiculously rich dish and I doubt I will make it more than once a year. I'm not sure the sauce is necessary, but Amie rocked the flambé. (Siberian brandy has some serious burning power)

So on that note, I say goodbye to winter. I'll take bland hummus in the park over filet mignon in the cold any day!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Leek, Apple, Fennel Sausage and Goat Cheese Crepes

My friend Liz just had her third girl, Ciel, who is four weeks old and gorgeous. I figured this was the perfect time to show up at her house for an Easter feast...because who doesn't want to cook a holiday meal for a bunch of guests on three hours of sleep while juggling an infant?

My loud, jellybean-hyped family literally descended on her kitchen and ate her out of house and home last Saturday. She made absolutely delicious crepes. I have never been excited by crepes because they conjure up images of giant bottles of Nutella or greasy ham and cheese blobs. But Liz whipped up some crepes from a Crepe Cookbook that I'm seriously considering buying despite only being recently converted. The Leek, Apple, Fennel Sausage and Goat Cheese crepes might be the best thing I have eaten all winter. And it's been a long freakin' winter!

I'm not sure I could make the crepes as pretty at Liz did. I think giving her most recent daughters French names has infused her with Parisian culinary powers. I guess I'll just have to invite myself over again. Memorial Day crepes here we come!

Cookies trump crepes

Monday, February 2, 2015

Nigel Slater's Goulash

Like many of you, I always crave beef stew this time of year. And then I inevitably  remember that I don't actually like beef stew. I like the idea of beef stew...a hot, steaming, one-pot meal that you can eat with a giant goblet of red wine or a stout. But in reality, beef stew tends to bore me with its salty cubes of meet, overcooked carrots and celery and bland, brown sauce.

Last weekend I went searching for an alternative. By searching, I mean I curled up on my couch with a cookbook after a freezing sledding adventure. Nigel Slate's Tender is my reliable source for comfort recipes on dreary days so I looked up "stew" in the index and discovered his recipe for Hungarian Goulash.

It's a very simple stew, but the paprika, dried mushrooms and red peppers gave it more 'oomph' then the average stew. I used cumin seeds instead of caraway seeds, and Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. My kids even ate some, even if their bites were 3 parts butter noodles to one part stew.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Delhi Food Walks

Prior to my most recent work trip, my travels across India had involved smelly hostels, long bus rides and copious amounts of cheap street food. Last month I was happy to skip the bus rides and dingy hotel rooms, but I was determined to eat some good street food. As I was traveling alone, I decided that wandering the streets of Old Delhi after hours might not be a good move, regardless of the culinary temptations. Delhi Food Walks (DFW) to the rescue. For a reasonable fee, DFW staff will guide you through the maze of food stalls and vendors hawking their specialties, and take you to the best of the best. Over the course of a 3 hours, we went to 14 places. I was I ate 14 dishes. Applause please.

I ate paranth - including a unique lemon parantha that I had never had - aloo tikki, mutton kebab, mutton korma , chicken biryani and butter chicken. Thinking I didn't tend to like Indian sweets, I failed to save room for dessert. And then we went to four dessert stalls. And I actually liked them! My favorite was moong dal and carrot halwa which is this awesome combination of vegetables, cashews, pistachios, raisins, cardamom,  and of course, 9 kilos of sugar.

By the end of the 'tour' I was stumbling around in a food coma-induced daze and without my guide Pooja, I would have been run over by 3 rickshaws and a cow. Needless to say, I highly recommend this tour!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Crispy Sweet Potato Roast

I suspect I'm not the only one that is glad the holidays are over. I wouldn't define myself as a Scrooge, but I do find the time between Thanksgiving and New Years to be a bit overwhelming. This year was particularly crazy as we flew both kids across the country, and had one too many mornings with a toddler on East Coast time.

Before I move on and start researching what miraculous recipes are going to keep me warm and happy in January, I wanted to share my favorite recipe from the holidays. It's a really good looking sweet potato dish, and it doesn't involve marshmallows or cinnamon.  Yuck!

It's from Smitten Kitchen and it's a savory, crispy roast that you can garnish as you wish. I used crème fraîche and chives.

 The annoying part is slicing all the sweet potatoes but enlist help, and poor yourself a drink. It's heavy in a decadent holiday-way, but doesn't feel as belly-stuffing as mashed potatoes. It still warranted a freezing walk on the beach though!