Pro-Tip of the Day:
Have you been buying those boxes and bags of oranges on sale at the store?
Next time pick up a bag of coconut flakes and sliced almonds, and you can make this quick, yummy (gluten-free) byproduct treat from in-season fruit!
Double-feature bonus posts this week! My offering to you, Dear Reader, for being a faithful audience. Enjoy!
A few years ago, I found myself buying one of those cup-salads from Whole Foods a lot in the summer. I liked it so much I figured I should start making it, so I can (a)get it without cilantro and (b)stop feeling like such a yuppie for buying a salad I could clearly reverse-engineer to make myself. Now when I’m up for more than throwing together some greens with nuts (read: up for more chopping), I’ll use this mix as the base recipe and improvise from there. I was actually pretty surprised when I couldn’t find a blog entry for this. Perhaps because it’s so straightforward, it didn’t feel like a recipe. This week’s weather in Seattle is sneaking up to the mid-80s, which counts as hot, so here’s a good option for those hot late Summer days when you don’t want to add another degree to your house by turning on cooking appliances. Air conditioning is a luxury, yo.
Quinoa, Cucumber and Tomato Salad (+Avocado)
Jumping-off point: Spicy Quinoa, Cucumber and Tomato Salad by Martha Rose Shulman (NYTimes)
Forest Fire Fruit: Morels!
I was lucky enough to score some wild-foraged morels from my friend Tesia, after she came back from a good weekend of collecting them. Apparently, her s.o. even maps out last year’s forest fires to track where good spots to find some morel treasure. It definitely peaked my interest, especially after a stint earlier in the year at a local community garden prepping for summer, when we found a morel poking out through the cardboard laid over a garden patch for winter. No- I didn’t eat it, my fellow volunteers warned me it was ‘a city mushroom,’ with unknown consequences. Even NPR did a segment on it.
From Northern California to Alaska, commercial and amateur mushroom hunters will be scouring hills that were ravaged by fires last summer and fall. Their prey? Morel mushrooms.
“Sometimes we call it ‘chasing the burns,’ ” mushroom enthusiast Kevin Sadlier says, in search of the black morel mushrooms that grow in the springtime after a forest fire.
–After Fires In West, Mushroom Hunters ‘Chase The Burn’
Apologies, much of the ingredients are amounts “to taste,” and I was trying to track too many things so don’t have any exact times on here. The Serious Eats article did not specify times either.
Now, a rare medium on this blog thus far: a video.*
Morels from your friend, the mushroom-gatherer (or from your friend at the farmer’s market)
1/2 onion, minced (alternatives: garlic, shallots, minced)
High heat oil for pan
Butter, about 1 pat
soy sauce, 1 Tbs (or less, to taste)
lemon juice, 1 tsp (to taste)
chicken stock, 1 Tbs (or less, to taste)
optional: chives, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
Optional but very useful supply:
pastry brush (or in my case, an extra toothbrush from my travels, because my pastry brush is silicone and the bristles would have been too big)
You guys, I have a confession: I hate cilantro.* I used to think I hate parsley, but in the last five years its resemblance to the flavor of cilantro has faded. Then, I had the privilege to vacation in Chile last year, and there was this sauce that kept appearing at restaurants with the steak. It tasted of garlic, and was full of green stuff. I liked it so much I had to stop a waiter to find out what it was. His reply was: chimichurri. Obvi, K and I had to grab some pre-mixed (as training wheels) packets on our habitual grocery-store-for-travel-keepsakes** run before we left Santiago. I think it was a Carrefour..
Fast forward months later when I finally got around to mixing it up as K seared some steak on the Big Green Egg, some balsamic vinegar, and olive oil, and a bunch of the dry packet. Eh, it was okay, but it also kind of tasted like dried leaves and dust. Long-time readers may notice this packet also made an appearance in one crispy-bottomed oyster mushroom steak post. The sauce was much improved once eaten on top of something, but I feel like anything you pour atop something else, even if a little strong, should be able to stand on its own too.
Now get back in the time machine, and move forward a little more:
I went out and got some actual red wine vinegar to add to my pantry for this, just to get closer to the intended flavor. I was doing another recipe that called for some parsley, and needed to make use of the rest before it sits in a jar in the back of my fridge getting forgotten. Then, I mixed up a big batch of this into 3 mason jars, to last a whole month in the fridge!
Sorry I’ve been a little M.I.A. with no weekly post for a while. I started a new job assignment and was pretty busy with that, …and a quick vacation in Kauai to get some quality relaxation in before my work & life falls back into hectic-ness. Also just generally always busy trying to seize life by the throat and shake it all around..
Without further ado, here’s a new installment:
Factor 1: Ah, how memories blur with time. A few years ago I got the privilege of exploring a little bit of Turkey, mostly Istanbul. As an ancient history fan, it was super exciting to explore this city with so much East-Meets-West history, with layers and layers of stories all piled on top of itself, not to mention multiple legacies of countless Roman leaders! That, and trying the food was such an adventure. I still dream of the egg and tomato dish I ate on an Airbnb host’s recommendation near Galata Tower in Istanbul. Fast forward to now, when I finally get around to trying my hand at the recipe below: tomato, egg, peppers, sounds delicious, right? Sounds the same!
Factor 2: When I was a kid and my mama went out of town I’d look forward to my Baba making his signature dish, egg and tomato fry. Yum! Apparently, it is a popular combination with me..
Voila: Sunday brunch dish trial, thinking I was making this:
Back when I was killing time with my friend Torey spectating a Spartan Race in Vermont (a state worth visiting, by the way), I mentioned to her I was trying to eat more lean protein and that I’m really into chickpeas as one source. She mentioned a particular recipe, and even more impressively, remembered to email it to me later the next week once we were both back on our respective coasts. It’s a happy coincidence that the kitchn is one of my favored sources for recipes too, yay! I roasted a sweet potato the first time, and grossly underestimated the amount of time for that to finish baking in my toaster oven, so if you do the sweet potato, try starting that a bit early, or cut it up to help it cook. Note: there is no recipe directly in here for sweet potato, only a link.*
Some of you may be wondering why there hasn’t been a post in a while. Maybe one of you is wondering what happened with the spiralizer you loaned me, or what I ate on vacation in South America. Ooops, sorry, I’ve been busy seizing life by the throat and shaking it around. I do plan on recapping both those topics soon, but in honor of low maintenance recipes, herbed butter:
From Food52’s “Five Ways to Flavor Your Butter with Fresh Herbs,” I thought I wouldn’t use it a lot since I don’t eat toast much, but this little jar of deliciousness turned out to be a nice bonus to put on roast chicken, a green onion pancake egg sandwich, in a microwaved sweet potato at work, and anything else with a spreadable surface!
I used a tiny jam jar from a great wedding i went to, which was the perfect low commitment trial amount. I highly recommend trying out different flavor combos like in the article until it hits your taste buds just right.
2 Tbs unsalted butter
10 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt (to taste)
- Set butter out to warm to room temperature.
- Rinse and pat dry the thyme, removing stems.
- Once butter is warm enough to stir awkwardly, mix in thyme, honey and a dash of salt to taste.
- Serve immediately, or store in fridge at eye level for maximum usage.
Gift storage note from Food 52: “To gift or store the butter, dollop the flavored butter down the middle of a sheet of parchment paper. Using a straightedge, form the butter into a cylinder and roll the paper over it so that it keeps its shape. You can store it in the freezer for up to 6 months, slicing off coins of butter as needed.”
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
It’s not a 5 only because i wouldn’t eat it on its own.
Likelihood of Repeat:
prolly going to add this to my repertoire of edible gifts, for those I’m not worried abouy fattening up.
Lesson Learned: Do not underestimate the power of butter. Also: this will be a great way to use the herbs growing in my spring garden while also trimming them to grow bushier.
I was going to save this one, but it’s so sunny today I thought you might like a novel brunch idea: from Macheesmo (one of the most entertaining blog names ever)!
2 medium Yukon potatoes, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
- Shred potato into a bowl of water, swirl.
- Drain and wring out potato. Get them as dry as possible.
- Mix potatoes thoroughly with oil.
- Heat up the waffle iron, then oil the surfaces.
- Pile on the potatoes and cook it up. Flip, then cook some more.
- When potatoes are crisped up to your liking, remove and serve with salt, pepper and paprika.
- Optional: Fry up an egg or two and serve with potato hash!
My hash browns didn’t turn out quite as pretty as Macheesmo’s, so if you want to do this, I recommend you follow the link to get his wording on steps (and beautiful pictures).
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 3 of 5 stars.
Quite a novel method for hash browns..
Likelihood of Repeat: 45%
Not sure this would turn out that much better than just frying them on a pan, but then again, I found the most tedious part to be shredding the potato, which you’d end up doing either way.
Lesson learned: Potato was a little sticky on the waffle iron, so next time I’d use a spray to get oil on rather than a pastry brush.
Stay tuned for notes on some improvements I’ve made on the chard egg cupcakes from before!
…because some things are worth trying again after the first time didn’t quite turn out 10 years ago.
Leftover pumpkin seeds from carving 2 medium-large pumpkins
Arbitrary Amounts of…
Seasoning combinations (amounts to taste):
BBQ: brown sugar, ground cumin, chili powder
Sweet: Sugar, cinnamon
- Clean the seeds.
- Boil for 10 minutes in salt water.
- Drain the seeds in a colander.
- Spread seeds onto a baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, plus seasoning of your choice (see above for what I did).
- Roast seeds at 325F for 15-22 minutes, taste testing a few seeds at 15 minutes.
- Optional step: accidentally touch the burning hot pan and spill 1/6 of the seeds.
This Week’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5
I tried roasting fresh pumpkin seeds once years ago, and it was dry and not tasty. This method with boiling first was delicious!
Likelihood of Repeat: 75%
Totally worth doing in 365 days when I have fresh pumpkin seeds again!
Lesson Learned: Boo!
11/1/14 edit: these are not as crispy and tasty second or third day, unless you toast them up a little again.