Archive for ‘Entrées’

June 7, 2016

Tahini Spaetzle with Olives, Chickpeas and Cauliflower

Tahini Spaeztle

See how nice that spaetzle looks? I promise it tastes even better. But I know when you start reading the recipe to make it for yourself, you’re going to try to ruin it.

You’ll look at the ingredient list and start thinking about how you can cut a few corners. “What ridiculously named olive does he want me to use?” you’ll ask. “Can I just use a regular lemon?” you’ll wonder. “I can just cook up some dried pasta, right?” you’ll reason.

Do. Not. Give. In.

Castelvetrano olives are available in most grocery stores, in jars if not fresh. Preserved lemons can be found at any middle-eastern specialty shop – or you can easily make your own. And while making your own spaetzle might seem intimidating (many recipes tell you to press the dough through a colander) it really doesn’t have to be. Just use thumb and pointer finger to pinch off small bits of dough. A bit messy, but not challenging.

The extra effort is worth it, I promise you. This dish is a sublime blend of tangy, salty, and creamy that nonetheless defies expectations of being too rich or heavy. The castelvetranos are meaty and buttery, spaetzle is nutty, and the preserved lemons are packed with concentrated zest and just the right tartness.

Do it right. Treat yo self.

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April 10, 2016

Maple-Fennel Pork Chop

Maple-Fennel Pork Chop

A quick editorial note first. I know it’s been quite some time since I posted a new recipe here. I’ve written before about the challenges of keeping up regular posts between work and school, so I won’t get into it again. Since my last post, however, I’ve also gotten engaged (!!!) and adopted a cute but mischievous little pup (!). Needless to say, finding time to write – and even cook – has been difficult.

In the past I’ve always said that I would get back to posting on a more regular schedule. I honestly don’t know if that will ever be the case. Cooking is a hobby and a passion for me, and sharing it with others – whether in person or on this blog – brings me a lot of joy. But when it feels like a chore or I feel guilty for not posting, the magic fades pretty quickly.

So I hope you’ll check back now and again for new recipes – or better yet sign up for updates! – but no promises about getting back to new recipes every week.

Now enough talk – to the recipe!

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September 8, 2015

Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Pasta Salad

If you’ve been reading this blog for much time, you probably know that I’m a big fan of culinary challenges. Unusual ingredients, strange kitchen set ups – you name it. Recently though, I completed a trial like no other.

I spent two weeks as a vegetarian.

Yes, it’s true. Your humble blogger and avowed carnivore went fourteen days without a single bite of meat. It was part of a deal that my girlfriend and I made to “eat healthier,” because meat is “bad for you.” In exchange she agreed to give up sweets for two weeks. I think I got the raw end of the deal.

(For the record, there is ample evidence to suggest that eating less meat contributes to better overall health. There, I admitted it.)

So what did I learn from the experience?

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August 8, 2015

Pancetta, Pea, and Mint Pizza with Pistachio Sauce

Pancetta, Pea, Pistachio Pizza

This pizza is your new best friend.

It will give a ride to the airport at a moment’s notice. It knows when something is wrong before you even say a word. It always has the next round.

I kid, of course – but this is a darn good pie.

The pistachio sauce is a nutty, subtle alternative to the more traditional aggressive red and rich white pizza bases. The salty, smokey pancetta and crisp sugar snap peas are like a see-saw, rocking your tongue gently back and forth between two flavors. Everything is bound together by mozzarella, and cut with just a hint of mint to keep things cool.

The pizza as a whole manages to be both indulgent and refreshing at the same time. As the midsummer heat begins to fade into temperate Autumn evenings, you may find yourself more attached to it than you’d care to admit.

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February 7, 2015

Kimchi BLT

Kimchi BLT

Bloggers note – It has been longer that I like since my last post. The legislature is once again in session, which means my day job is substantially busier than normal. There may be a bit more time between posts, but I promise to keep the recipes coming!

Now, to the dish at hand.

The BLT is a classic, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be made better by importing some flavors from Korean cuisine. In this recipe, it is brightened by tangy, spicy kimchi that perfectly complements the salty bacon and ripe tomato. The addition of a creamy, runny egg not only builds on the complexity of flavor, but also makes the meal a bit more substantive.

Easy to assemble while remaining both delicious and unique, this sandwich is great for a fun lunch or weeknight dinner!

Kimchi BLT (serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon
  • 1 egg
  • 3 thin slices of tomato
  • 2 leaves of bibb lettuce
  • 1/4 cup of kimchi, diced
  • 2 pieces of sourdough bread, lightly toasted

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine the garlic, lemon juice and mayonnaise until evenly incorporated. Let the mixture sit while you cook the remaining ingredients.
  2. Heat a skillet to medium-high and cook the bacon in a skillet until crispy, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the bacon to a paper towel and set aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and crack the egg into the skillet. Let it cook for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy, then flip using a spatula. Sear the egg for 1 minute on the other side before removing it from the skillet, so that they yolk is still slightly runny.
  4. To assemble the sandwich, spread the garlic aioli on each piece of bread, then layer the egg, bacon, tomato, lettuce and kimchi on top.
October 10, 2014

Butternut Squash Pizza

Butternut Squash Pizza 1

Oh hey, Autumn.

This is my favorite time of the year in Seattle. Summer is great and all – with the sun and the beach and the barbecuing – but there is truly nothing that beats a crisp fall day. There is a bite in the air, golden leaves line the sidewalks, and cozying up with a book and a fresh cup of coffee is the perfect Sunday morning activity.

Of course there’s all the wonderful winter beers, but that’s a whole other story.

Nothing could be more seasonal than this Butternut Squash Pizza. The nuttiness of the parmesan and pistachio meets the sweetness of the squash and caramelized onions to form a soul-warming union of comforting flavors. Those lovely notes are reinforced with mellow mozzarella and earthy sage to boot. On top of it all, this dish just looks autumnal with its orange and green colors and sinister caramelized onion curls.

Serve this up next to a fresh-cut jack-o’-lantern after a day of traipsing around a corn field and you will be the epitome of Fall – not to mention the envy of all your friends.

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June 23, 2014

The Great Green Pizza

The Great Green Pizza

If chlorophyll could turn you green, then this pizza would make you into the incredible hulk. A happy, satiated hulk that is very content with his/her dining decision.

The peas and asparagus on this pizza retain just enough of natural crunch to provide a nice textural contrast while developing a faint sweetness under the heat of the oven. The roasted green onions bring a mild but noticeable flavor that winds up somewhere between biting onion and soothing vegetable. Combined with creamy mozzarella and sharp, salty parmesan cheese against a backdrop of aromatic pesto makes this a delicious and multi-dimensional dish.

With a light sauce, veg-heavy toppings and just the right amount of cheese, this pizza is perfect for the warm summer months. Find yourself a park or a patio and enjoy while you soak up the rays!

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June 12, 2014

Pinchitos Morunos

Pinchitos Morunos

Summertime is nearly (already?) upon us, and you know what that means – it’s time for Spanish food!

Spanish food was meant for summer in the Pacific Northwest. It’s born out of a sunny and gorgeous climate, meant to be eaten at a leisurely pace with friends and family, and best accompanied by a tall glass of cool sangria. Good weather, good company, and good wine are all staples in Washington this time of year.

The only thing that could make Spanish more summer-suited would be to introduce some grilling into the equation. That’s exactly what this recipe does? Oh, perfect then.

These Pinchitos Morunos are a hallmark of Andalusian (southern Spain) cuisine. They combine more traditional Spanish ingredients – bright saffron and smoky paprika – with earthy cumin and tangy coriander that are hallmarks of Moorish influences from North Africa. The result is a uniquely flavorful and colorful kebab that is great by itself with some aioli, or serve alongside Patatas Bravas or Paella.

Make these and go enjoy some sunshine!

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May 19, 2014

Fennel Falafel with Simple Salad

Fennel Falafel

My girlfriend Maggie and I recently celebrated two years of dating by heading up to Vancouver, BC for a long weekend getaway. We had a blast stroll through downtown and Granville Island, biking around Stanley Park, and taking in all the beautiful scenery. It’s a really wonderful area, absolutely worth a trip if you haven’t visited already.

We kind of overdid it on the food though.

We had a ton of great food while we were there, from organic farm-to-table at Fable to sublimely good Indian food at Vij’s. But a decadent multi-course meal at Wildebeest – which specializes in some of the most succulent meat you’ll ever taste – left us both a little bit of a food hangover at the end of our trip.

So when I got back, I decide to do a week of vegetarian eating to balance things it. It was in interesting experience – not one I’ll likely repeat again soon – but it did broaden my repitoire of recipes – including this falafel dish.

Traditionally a Middle Eastern food, falafel is now found in many different regional cuisines, leading to many styles and interpretations. The version in this recipe is definitely less traditional and more Greek-inspired with the addition of fresh oregano and fennel. The pair gives these falafel a more refreshing and simple flavor profile than you would find at most restaurants.

Stacked atop a simple salad of tomato, cucumber and vinegar, this dish makes for a perfect light summer meal!

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March 21, 2014

Stuffed Pasilla Pepper

Stuffed Pasilla Pepper

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, all you need to do is look outside your window to know that Spring has sprung. The sun is out, the air is crispy, and the cherry blossoms have blossomed.

There is are plenty of things to love about Spring, but a top contender is the return of deliciously seasonal Mexican cuisine – which is exactly what inspired these full-flavored but light-bodied stuffed bell peppers.

These peppers are perfect because 1) they aren’t terribly complicated 2) you can make several components ahead of time, and 3) it only requires a couple spices, despite being totally delicious. Between the spicy pickled veggies, the creamy guacamole, the salty cotija cheese and the crispy black beans it’s impossible to settle on the best part of this dish. And it’s healthy to boot!

Carnivore or vegetarian, you want this on your plate. Stay tuned for the Avocado Margarita recipe pictured below!

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