Watermelon and Mint Salad

Watermelon Salad ++ the pear and plum

My sister just got back from the Middle East and brought me a bunch of things… herbs and spices, goodies from what sounds like the most magical flea market on Earth, and a simple recipe she learned from a friend. Not sure it has anything to do with Middle Eastern cuisine but it was lovely just the same. The ingredients are vague because theres really no wrong way to do this.

ingredients:

  • Watermelon, cubed
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Small handful of fresh Mint Leaves
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper

directions:

  1. Cut the watermelon into cubes and put in a colander. Salt the watermelon to get rid of some water. Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse well.
  2. Chop the mint and mix it into the watermelon.
  3. Crumble the goat cheese on top of the salad.
  4. Salt and pepper on top and serve.
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Grilled Portobello Burgers

[PIC to come]

And by Burgers, I mean the giant portobello caps. Leave some time to marinate these but as far as the cooking, they are quick.

ingredients:

  • 4 Portobello Mushroom Caps, washed and dried
  • 2 T Fancy Mustard
  • 3 T really good Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 C Olive Oil
  • 1 – 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • Cracked Pepper
  • Rosemary, finely chopped

directions:

  1. Wash the mushroom caps and leave out to dry while you prepare the marinade
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients and whisk together until well combined.
  3. Place the mushrooms in a shallow dish and cover with the marinade. You might have to flip them or baste them at some point in the marinating process.
  4. Marinate as short as 20 minutes (or I’ve gone as long as 4 hours) Both were delicious. But as always, the longer the marinade, the better the flavor.
  5. Grill for best flavor.

Shirin Polow (Iranian Rice Pilaf)

Shirin Polow ++ the pear and plum

I veered from the original recipe in a big way but I love this.  Like, love LOVE this. I’m still working out the kinks with the “golden rice crust on the bottom” thing but even without getting this absolutely correct, this rice was AMAZING. The sweetness of the oranges against the scallions and spices was…. well…. dreamy. And like i said, I veered. I changed major things. And maybe this doesn’t even fit in the Shirin Polow category anymore? I don’t know. But I do know you should now commence cooking the best rice ever.

[ Based on a recipe from here:  http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Shirin-Polow?cmpid=mobify ]

ingredients:

  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 1/4 C thinly Sliced Orange Peel (make sure to scrape as much of the white stuff off as you can. It can be really bitter. Also, chop peel really small or it will overwhelm the dish)
  • Just enough water to dissolve sugar
  • 4 C Long-Grain White Rice [I used Jasmine]
  • 2 T Kosher Salt
  • ½ Cup Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek
  • ½ C Canola Oil
  • 2 T Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 Cup Boiling Water
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo Chiles [Optional or use any spice here]
  • 1 T Dukkah [Optional but not nearly as good if you leave it out]
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom
  • Raw Shredded Carrots
  • Roasted Vegetables [I used Mushrooms, Tomatoes & Red Peppers]
  • ½ Cup Slivered Almonds
  • ½ Cup Chopped Pistachios
  • A handful of Scallions
  • A handful of Cilantro

directions:

  1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in small pan [I used my tiny all clad fry pan] over high heat. Add orange peel and cook until tender, 8–10 minutes. Let cool and set aside.
  2. Cook your rice in salted water according to its directions about 5 minutes shy of being done. Put in colander to drain.
  3. While your rice cooks, shred the carrots and prep any other vegetables you plan on using.
  4. While rice drains, combine milk, fenugreek and oil in the pan you plan to use and turn on to medium heat [I’ve used my cast iron skillet as well as my All Clad Frying pan. The cast iron makes for easier removal of the crust as well as better flavor.]
  5. When rice is drained and milk pan is hot, add the rice to the milk mixture. Don’t stir it. Let it mound in the middle and using the back of a wooden spoon, make 5 holes for steam to escape. Cover and cook for about 10.
  6. While its cooking, get your butter, boiling water, and spices ready.
  7. After the ten minutes are up, pour the butter and boiling water over the rice, add the Scallions, Aleppo chiles, Dukkah, Cardamom  and lightly mix in (dont scrape up bottom yet). Cover and turn heat down to med-low and cook until the crust on the bottom is really brown; about 20 minutes. [You’ll want to check the progress at about 10 minutes, just to make sure its not burning]
  8. When done, scrape up crust from the bottom of the pan and mix into rice. Serve on a platter. Garnish with the orange peels, nuts, scallions, cilantro and the roasted vegetables on the side.

Kale Ceasar salad (with Lemon Yogurt Dressing)

Kale Ceasar, the pear and plum

 

 

January is the month of Kale for me. I don’t know why but I need it so much (smoothie, stirfry, etc)  Heres yet another way to obsessively consume it.

ingredients:

  • 1 clove raw Garlic, smashed in a garlic press
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • around 2 T Lemon Juice (add zest too if you want)
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fish Sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • Crushed Black Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 Cup Yogurt
  • Parmesan to taste
  • 1 Bunch Kale

IMG_9101

directions:

  1. Put lemon juice and smashed garlic into a small bowl let sit for 5 min.
  2. In another small bowl, combine olive oil,  mustard, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add garlic and lemon juice when ready.
  3. Whisk in 1/4 cup yogurt and parmesan to taste. Combine well.
  4. In the mean time, wash kale and cut off stems and ribs. Cut up really small and put in salad bowl.
  5. Dress salad. Add more parmesan on top.

 

Super Quick Quiche

Quick Quiche, the pear and plum

Like, really quick. Like, you wake up and want quiche and it turns out to not be much more work than making pancakes. AND this includes a home made crust. No lie. And theres nary a rolling pin or pastry cloth involved. I know, it just keeps getting better.

~makes one, 9 inch crust~

crust ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Ice Water

filling ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • Swiss Cheese, as much as you like
  • Sauteed Mushrooms, as many as you like
  • Other options: Scallions, Dill, Spinach

directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix crust ingredients together and press dough into the bottom and up the sides of a pie pan.
  3. So the important part about Quiche fillings is that they are cooked down enough so that you aren’t adding a ton of extra vegetable water to your recipe. Pre cook the veggies! After they’re cooked down,  put them in the pie pan. Also add chunks of cheese now.
  4. Mix up your eggs and milk and pour over everything in the crust.
  5. Bake until firm, about 20 minutes.

**note: The crust is yummy but very plain and might be better with rosemary?

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

roasted tomatoes ++the pear and plum

Not only does this taste awesome, you’re also going to make your house smell incredible for hours. We served them as a side dish (but they would be amazing over pasta with roasted garlic and olive oil…. mmmm… I’ll do that next time.) I also sprinkled a tiny bit of hot pepper over them at the end which was really really great.

ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 Tomatoes (medium size)
  • 2 T Olive Oil
  • 1 – 2 Garlic Cloves, sliced thin
  • A couple sprigs of fresh Rosemary, chopped fine (You could also use Basil and/or Thyme)
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • Aleppo Peppers (or your favorite crushed hot peppers)

directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F
  2. Cut each Tomato in half once (horizontally) and take out the seeds.
  3. Pour Olive Oil onto baking sheet or pan and rub the cut side of the tomatoes in the oil.
  4. Flip them over so they’re sitting cut side up and rub the cut Garlic over them. When you’ve rubbed all the tomatoes, put the extra garlic in each tomato where the seeds used to be.
  5. Sprinkle them with Salt, Fresh Cracked Pepper and Herbs. (make sure to push the herbs in so that they dont sit on top and burn.)
  6. Bake for 2 hours or until done.
  7. Sprinkle some Hot Pepper on the top (optional) and serve.

Spiced Hummus

Spiced Hummus ++ the pear and  plum

I totally take it back. Turns out Tahini is awesome…. at least in this hummus that my sweet husband created.

ingredients:

  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/4 Cup Pistachios
  • 1 can (15 oz) Garbanzo Beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Sumac
  • 1 Lemon, Juiced
  • 1 T Chopped Dill
  • 2 T Tahini
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

directions:

  1. Put Garlic in a food processor and blend until chopped.
  2. Add in Pistachios and blend until well chopped.
  3. Add the Beans, Cumin, Sumac, Lemon Juice, Dill & Tahini and process.
  4. As the machine is running, slowly add the Olive Oil.
  5. Process until smooth and then taste and add Salt & Pepper to your liking.
  6. Sprinkle Sumac on top to make it pretty.

Spring Tomato Sprout Sandwich with Pesto

Spring Tomato Sprout Sandwich with Pesto ++ the pear and plum

I get all bright and breezy in the spring. Everything’s turning green all around me and all i want is for my food to taste like the fresh air. That might sound weird… or maybe you get me.

So you obviously don’t need me to tell you how to make a sandwich but I’m gonna do it anyway because this was a damn good sandwich and i want to do it the same way next time. Also, the ultimate goodness of this recipe completely and totally depends on the flavor of your vegetables and the awesomeness of your bread. Don’t skimp.

ingredients:

  • Really good Whole Grain Bread
  • Tomato Slices
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Dill
  • Cream Cheese
  • Pesto (I used my Basil Cashew Pesto that I freeze in cubes to use in these moments)
  • sea salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

directions:

  1. Toast the bread in the toaster oven until golden brown.
  2. Spread cream cheese on one of the halves
  3. Spread pesto on the other half
  4. Add cucumber slices, then tomato slices on one of the halves. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Put the sprouts on the other side.
  6. Smoosh together the sides and feel awesome eating Spring.

Grow your own Mushrooms!

Grow Your Own Mushrooms ++ the pear and plum

I Love Mushrooms.

And growing your own mushrooms in your kitchen is really fun and requires almost no work. We got this kit on Amazon and its worked out really well. Their customer service was fabulous too when our previous kit was being finicky. They tried to help us get it going and when it didn’t, they just sent us their new and improved one as a replacement and its been fabulous. (nearly instant mushrooms. I swear, you can see them growing) AND you can grow your crop on one side and then harvest and grow on the other side.

My two year old eats them raw. Enough said.

read more at  backtotheroots.com!