Mexican Baked Spaghetti Squash

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I made this last week and was honestly SO excited about it! It is one of those dishes that really feels like it should be unhealthy when you are eating it …but then I realized the only thing in it, other than vegetables, is a small amount of greek yogurt. Seriously, can’t go wrong with that!

I also think this would be great for people (or children) who generally don’t like spaghetti squash because the way it is baked makes the texture a bit different. I cannot wait to make it again :)!

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Hearts of Palm Cakes

Hearts of Palm Crab Cakes

When I received Crazy Sexy Kitchen, this recipe was one of the first I wanted to try. It took me a while to get there but here it is.  In her book, she offers them with a remoulade sauce which I made, but for me the cakes are fine just as they are, with a dollop of greek yogurt or a side of something yummy. I served them alongside a good salad such as her Crazy Sexy Salad or  my Sugar Snap and Garden Pea salad. I’ve included the remoulade sauce recipe at the end of the post for those of you who want to try it out. Enjoy!

Hearts of Palm Cakes
 
Prep time
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet of nori, or 2 teaspoons toasted nori flakes
  • Two 14-ounce cans hearts of palm
  • 2-4 Tbsp oil, more as needed
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • ¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Vegenaise or other vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Toast nori sheet by holding it with tongs and fanning it over a low gas flame or electric burner. Be careful not to let it burn. Turn the sheet frequently, so that it toasts evenly.
  2. Grind the nori using a spice grinder or a coffee grinder that can be used for spices. Break the nori into pieces, place it in the grinder, and pulse until powdered. Alternatively, crumble it as finely as you can with your hands or pulverize it with a mortar and pestle.
  3. Drain the hearts of palm and press in a towel to dry them. In a food processor, pulse gently until it looks like the consistency of crabmeat.
  4. Place a small sauté pan on medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the hearts of palm, onion, bell pepper, Vegenaise, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, nori flakes, nutritional yeast flakes, arrowroot or cornstarch, and salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Scoop with an ice cream scoop or a large tablespoon to portion into small cakes. Combine breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Coat the small cakes with breadcrumbs. Form and let sit in the refrigerator until firm (30 – 60 min).
  7. Place a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add some oil and heat for 2 minutes. Working in batches, sauté the cakes until browned on both sides and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  8. Remove the cakes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in a warm oven until you finish all of the cakes.
  9. Place the cakes on a plate and garnish.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with homemade chimichurri or another one of my dips, sauces and spreads!

Photo courtesy of Kris Carr.

Chickpea and Root Vegetable Tagine

Root Vegetable Tagine

I made this dish for Scott and I a few weeks back and we loved it. This week we were bringing dinner to a friend and his wife and I had to come up with something I could cook earlier in the day and then reheat as I was coming straight from the studio and this was the first thing that popped into my mind. This dish can easily be made earlier or even the night before and then just reheated prior to serving as it allows the flavors to really soak in. A few of the comments I got that night included: “This is exactly what they serve in Morocco” & “This might be the best dinner ever”, so I would say it was a success. I got this from the fabulous Kris Carr and her amazing book Crazy, Sexy Kitchen, but modified a bit to fit my tastes.

For new and improved recipes, please visit my new site The Simple Kitchen!

Chickpea and Root Vegetable Tagine
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ⅔ tsp ground cumin
  • ⅔ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes [adjust based on desired spiciness]
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I prefer red or yellow)
  • 2 cups chickpeas, cooked
  • 6 ounces artichoke hearts, rinsed and quartered
  • 1½ cups peas
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp chopped mint
  • Sea salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy-bottom shallow pot or deep skillet [cast iron works best] on medium heat, add oil, onions, and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent and golden, stirring continuously for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the spices, tomato paste, vegetable stock, carrots, sweet potatoes, and turnip. Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the carrots and potatoes are tender. Cooking time may vary based on the thickness of chopped veggies.
  3. When the root veggies are tender, add the bell pepper, chickpeas, artichokes, and raisins. Continue simmering for about 5 to 8 minutes. Liquid should be reduced and thicker at this point.
  4. Add parsley, cilantro, mint and sea salt, folding in all of the herbs. Cover and remove from the heat. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  5. Garnish with lemon zest, red sliced chili and any leftover parsley, cilantro or mint if desired.

Serving Suggestion: Serve over cauliflower mash, quinoa or grain of choice.

Tofu Lime Ceviche

Tofu CevicheThe weather here is SF has just been fabulous lately and there is nothing more refreshing that a crisp cool meal or snack when the weather is nice. I loved this idea of a vegetarian ceviche when I saw this recipe on the Whole Foods website and I have recently started to get avocados and tomatoes in my CSA box, so I thought it was the perfect time to try it out… and this will be a great addition to your cinco de mayo menu (don’t forget to serve with some yummy Guacamole as well). I love the fresh flavor combo’s of the avocado, lime, cilantro, coconut and ginger.

Tofu Lime Ceviche
 
Prep time
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Pat tofu dry with paper towels, then transfer to a bowl and toss gently with Worcestershire sauce. Spread tofu out evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, turning once, for 30 minutes. Set aside to let cool to room temperature.
  2. Put tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeño, salt, onions, avocado, ginger, garlic and coconut milk into a large bowl. Add tofu and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight, before serving. *If marinating for a long time or overnight, you can add avocado in prior to serving in order to avoid browning.

Photo Credit: Whole Foods

Thai Red Curry with Pumpkin

Red Pumpkin Curry

Scott and I hosted a dinner party last week as part of a reunion for some friends that went to Turkey together and also as a birthday celebration for my friend Brittany. We decided that it was the perfect opportunity to test our our recently learned Thai cooking skills :). The real standout of the dinner party was the red curry. We had to modify from what we made in Thailand because we simply couldn’t find all the right ingredients here so this is the version that will likely work for most of you and it was oh so tasty. Serve over rice or with some noodles (or both!) and you are set. Lucky for us, we hosted 7 but made enough food for almost twice that… and the leftovers were just as tasty.

Thai Red Curry with Pumpkin
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut cream – we were told in Thailand that coconut cream is a must in curries… I will test it out with other types of coconut milk and report back.
  • 1-2 tablespoons red curry paste (can find a vegetarian version if you would like)
  • 1 lb pumpkin, cut into 1 in cubes – any yellow flesh squash will work
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ Tbsp salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, even thinly sliced
  • 2 cups or 1 can baby corn, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs basil – thai basil if you can find it
Instructions
  1. Pour half of the coconut cream into a pot, over medium heat. Add the red curry paste and mix well. If your mixture starts to splatter too much, turn down the heat. Stir continuously to prevent the bottom from sticking and burning. When the reddish oil starts to form, stir until fragrant.
  2. Add the pumpkin and stir to coat with curry sauce. Add the rest of the coconut cream and water. Season with salt; start at ½ tablespoon and taste. Each curry paste has a different salt content so you really need to taste it. Simmer until the pumpkin is soft, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add sliced red pepper, corn and basil. Turn off the heat. Stir to submerge the basil in hot curry to keep the leaves bright green. The leaves will stay bright green for 10 minutes or so. Serve while hot.

 

Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed ArtichokesI have shared recipes and/or inspirations from this Classy Broad before but this simple dish is worth yet another shout out. She hosted our monthly Supper Club last week – this is where four of us get together once a month to experiment with our cooking and entertaining skills. We generally have a key ingredient or a theme of sorts and I just loved Alli’s answer when she told us how she came up with her menu. She said she was at the farmers market and everything just looked so good and fresh that instead of having an idea and shopping for the ingredients, she bought what looked good and then looked for recipes around that. Talk about seasonal cooking, I just love it! This was our main course (we always do somewhere between 4-5 courses to really make it classy!) and let’s just say I was shocked when I heard how few ingredients were in this – it definitely tasted like it should have been a bit more naughty than it actually is.  My mouth is watering as I post this….

Stuffed Artichokes
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 large, full-size artichokes
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1½ cups home made bread crumbs – may not need to use them all depending on your preference
  • 1 cup grated pecorino – can use a dairy free cheese as a vegan option
  • ⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Using a serrated knife, cut off artichoke stems to create a flat bottom. Cut top thirds off artichokes, pull off tough outermost leaves, and trim tips of leaves with kitchen shears. Rub cut parts with lemon halves. Open artichoke leaves with your thumbs to make room for stuffing; set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 425°. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, ¾ cup pecorino, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic. Working with one artichoke at a time over bowl, sprinkle one-quarter of bread crumb mixture over the artichoke and work it in between leaves. Transfer stuffed artichoke to a shallow baking dish. Drizzle each artichoke with 1 tbsp. oil. Pour in boiling water to a depth of 1″. Rub 1 tbsp. olive oil on a sheet of aluminum foil, cover artichokes with foil (oiled side down), and secure foil tightly around dish with kitchen twine.
  3. Bake until a knife easily slides into the base of an artichoke, about 45 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle tops with remaining cheese, and switch oven to broil. Broil until tops of artichokes are golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Serving Suggestion: Throw any finely chopped veggies of your choice in the stuffing mixture to add an extra punch!

The recipe and photo are courtesy of Saveur.

Traditional Pad Thai

I apologize for the hiatus, I was doing some research abroad… I traveled all the way to Thailand to seek out some Thai recipes to share with you all :)! We took an incredible cooking class that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand. It is called Siam Rice Thai Cookery and Pot, the founder takes you to the local market, then welcomes you into his home which is also a cooking school. These were some of the best dishes I ate the whole time we were out there. I’ll start with the classic Thai dish, Pad Thai… but don’t worry there will be plenty more to come.

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Visiting the local market

Traditional Pad Thai
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil of your choice (we used palm oil due to the high heat of the cooking – you can use canola, sunflower or peanut oil as well)
  • 3 Tbsp garlic, smashed
  • 1 (12oz) package tofu, diced into ¼ inch cubes
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce (oyster flavored sauce for vegetarian)
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce (fish flavored sauce for vegetarian)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (palm sugar is what is used in traditional Thai cooking)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp black soy sauce (just use additional soy sauce if you cannot find this version)
  • 1 package (12 oz) rice noodles – if they are dried instead of fresh, you may have to soak in cold water for about 30 min
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 bunch chives, chopped
  • Ground peanuts, chili powder and lime (preferably kaffir lime) for garnish
Instructions
  1. Add the cooking oil to wok, keeping high heat. Add garlic and tofu and cook until fragrant.
  2. Crack in eggs and cook until egg is fully cooked.
  3. Add water, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and soy sauces.
  4. Add noodles. Stir until the noodles are soft and then add bean sprouts, green beans and chives. Cook for one more minute and then remove from heat.
  5. Garnish with ground peanuts, chili powder and lime.

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The finished product – and a well deserved Chang beer!

 

Sweet Potato, Green Chile and Curry Soup

Happy 2013!!! This is a modified version of a soup from Andew Weil, as I found his recipe a bit bland and not hearty enough for my tastes. It has so many health benefits and happens to taste delicious. Just a few of the benefits are listed below:

Sweet Potatoes: They are a good source of Vitamin C and D, which play an important role in digestion, maintaining the skin’s youthful elasticity helping us cope with stress and overall health. Sign me up!

Tumeric: It is a natural liver detoxifier and one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available. It also has powerful antioxidant properties that fight cancer-causing free radicals.

Cayenne Pepper: The hotness produced by cayenne is caused by its high concentration of a substance called capsaicin. which has been widely studied for its pain-reducing effects, its cardiovascular benefits, and its ability to fight inflammation.

Sweet Potato, Green Chile and Curry Soup
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 onion
  • 1.5 lbs sweet potato
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 quart veggie broth
  • 1½ lb zucchini, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 2 (4oz) cans diced green chilies
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans
  • 1 (15oz) can light coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Heat broiler and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss potato, onion, corn, carrot, garlic, and oil in a large bowl. Arrange vegetables in a single layer on prepared sheet and broil, tossing once halfway through, until browned, about 12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a dutch oven or medium pot, add oil and leek. Cook until leeks are turning brown. Turn off heat. Add 1 quart veggie broth.
  3. Transfer broiled vegetables and stir in zucchini, spices, salt, beans, chilies and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.
  4. Once everything is cooked through, stir in coconut milk Place and then transfer 2-4 cups (depending on how thick you like your soup) to a blender and pulse a few times. Pour this mixture back into the original soup pot and stir until mixed evenly.
  5. Serve and enjoy 🙂

 

The Best of 2012

I think these best of post’s are such a good reminder of all the goodness we have enjoyed over the year. It’s been a wonderful and healthy 2012 and I look forward to the many delicious bites we will take in 2013! Happy New Year 🙂

January: Spanakopita with Cucumber and Yogurt Sauce

February: Homemade Heart Shaped Granola Bars

March: Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

April: Easter Deviled Eggs

May: Dilled Green Beans

June: Baked Sweet Potato Fries

July: Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

August: Vegan Lettuce Wraps

September: Apple, Walnut, and Endive Salad

October: Mushroom Risotto

November: Tofu, Peanut Butter and Roasted Tomato Panzanella

December: Strawberry Santas

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Years ago I tried spaghetti squash and was not a fan, so I have not touched it since. But the other day at work a few friends and I were talking about cooking (yes we work at a fitness studio and talk all day long about eating – you build up an appetite with all that thigh work, right?!) and they both mentioned delicious spaghetti squash recipes. So I was inspired to give it another shot – thank you Colin and Susannah! I figured I’d ease in since I was a little skeptical and go with pesto because in my opinion, pretty much anything would taste good with pesto on it… I am happy to say that I am now a spaghetti squash convert and you are likely to see more recipes to follow. Welcome to your gluten free “pasta” heaven!

For new and improved recipes, please visit The Simple Kitchen!

Pesto Spaghetti Squash
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 small spaghetti squash (or half of a large spaghetti squash)
  • 1 cup Homemade Basil Pesto, or store bought
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups arugula
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375. Pierce the squash several times with a sharp knife. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile make pesto according to directions found here.
  3. Once spaghetti squash is done remove from oven and let sit until it is cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands.
  4. Mix squash with pesto and arugula. Arrange on plates and top with tomatoes and any other garnish of choice (basil leaves, pine nuts, etc.).

Homemade basil pesto recipe can be found here.