I feel like I have to preface this recipe. I am not a vegetarian. I do not follow a paleo or low carb diet. I eat what I feel like eating and cook what I want (you’re not the boss of me!). I am not trying to convert you to a new fad diet. I just happened to make a really amazing stir fry that falls into a bunch of trending diet categories. Continue reading →
This is a surprising little salad that I became addicted to during my last semester. I found it at an Indian restaurant on campus, Indaroma, that also makes the most delicious curries — their butter chicken is another addiction of mine.
I picked this salad up one night because I wanted something filling, (how embarrassing is it when your stomach growls really loud in the middle of class?), but not something that would make me so full I’d need a nap. I’m so glad I tried it. It really is filling and satisfying from the chickpeas, and it’s packed with flavor — tart from the lime, spicy from the chili pepper, and sweet from the mango.
I spent plenty of time eating it, so I think I’ve done a pretty good job recreating it. The mint was my addition; I just thought it would be good. I also think some finely diced cucumber would be nice… maybe next time. It’s a perfect summertime salad, and would go great with pretty much anything grilled, but especially seafood or chicken.
Here’s how I made it:
Chickpea and Mango Salad
2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 of a red fresno or jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and finely diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Serve right away or cover and store in the fridge. It will just get better as it sits.
In honor of meatless Monday, I thought I would finally post my Kale and Walnut Pesto recipe. Obviously vegetarian, this pesto uses one of the trendiest super foods on the planet. While I don’t always hop on the trendy food bandwagon, kale is something I can really get behind. The first and most important reason I love it: It’s delicious. The fact that it’s healthy and inexpensive are lovely bonuses.
It is often compared to spinach, which I don’t really agree with. It is much sturdier than spinach and keeps a nice crunchy texture as opposed to the wilted flimsiness of cooked spinach. My veggie loving son won’t eat cooked spinach; he loves cooked kale. You can buy it in big bags already cleaned and chopped, throw it into soups, stir fries, and dare I say it… smoothies. But my favorite way to prepare it is this pesto — I couldn’t believe how delicious it was. Serve this alongside pretty much any grilled meat (just not on meatless Monday), or toss it with pasta for a totally vegetarian meal. My choice would be farfalle, or bowtie pasta, and if you want to push the healthiness factor even further, use whole wheat pasta! Or, perhaps the simplest and most delicious way to enjoy it: toast a good loaf of Italian bread ’til it’s crusty on the outside but still soft on the inside, tear it into chunks, and dip to your heart’s content.
Super healthy, super delicious, super easy… My kind of super food. Here’s the recipe:
Kale and Walnut Pesto
two bunches of Kale: about 16-20 ounces total
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
juice of one lemon (and zest if you want it extra lemony)
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste (the cheese is salty, so you may not need any salt)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, just as you would for pasta.
Prepare your kale by removing it from the tough stems, tearing into smaller pieces, and rinsing well. (unless, of course, you buy it in a pre-washed and pre-trimmed bag — then you can skip this step.)
Once the water is boiling, add kale and cook for 1 minute. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Once cool, squeeze with your hands to remove any excess water, then spread on a towel or paper towels and really press to get as dry as possible.
In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients and pulse until you have a fairly coarse purée, (if using a blender, you make have to stop and push the ingredients down a few times). If you want it looser, add more oil or a splash of water until you reach the desired consistency.
This will keep in the fridge for a few days and is good on pretty much everything!
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I am not a vegetarian. I love meat. But I also love moderation. I am perfectly happy going meat-free a couple times a week, and I’ve made it a normal part of my family’s routine. Going meat-free isn’t just good for our health, it’s good for our budgets and our planet.
I started seeing “meatless Monday” popping up on various social media sites and I think I read about it in a few magazines, but I had no idea what a big deal it really is; it’s an actual movement. “Meatless Monday began in 2003, launched in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In May, 2009, Ghent, Belgium, became the first non-U.S. city to go meatless. Shortly thereafter, Paul McCartney introduced the U.K. to Meat-Free Mondays.” Check out the website for more info, and make it a part of your weekly routine if you haven’t already.
This soup is a great way to start. I modeled it after my grandma’s recipe, (She actually makes tuna chowder, which I love, and this is really that recipe minus the tuna). She usually makes it with evaporated milk, and you can absolutely substitute the half and half for evaporated milk–it is so old-fashioned; I love it. I just always have half and half for my coffee, so I throw it into recipes.
It sounds funny, but the “secret” ingredient really is the celery. Celery seems so insignificant, but it makes all the difference in chowders. My French ancestors were really on to something with their mirepoix, and I’m happy to carry on the tradition. This is a great base for any kind of chowder. Try tuna, clam, chicken… and of course, feel free to start the recipe by crisping some bacon as long as it’s not meatless Monday.
Finally, I am a big believer in dunking things in soup, so I serve it with something toasty, and usually cheesy… I can’t help myself.
Here’s how I made the soup, and the cheesy dunkers:
Corn and Potato Chowder
2 quarts vegetable broth
2 cups half and half or evaporated milk
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 to 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes (I used 5 medium sized potatoes)–peeled and diced
3 cups corn kernels (I used frozen, but in the summer time you must use fresh corn–so good!)
1 medium yellow onion–chopped
1 carrot–peeled and diced
2 stalks celery–diced
1 garlic clove–peeled and gently crushed
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne (optional)
Chives or parsley to garnish (optional)
In a large pot melt the butter, and add diced onions, carrot, celery, garlic and bay leaf with a big pinch of salt–about a teaspoon, a few grinds of black pepper, and a teensy pinch of cayenne, if using. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
Add flour and stir to combine, cook for about a minute.
Add wine and stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and add potatoes. Cook for about twenty minutes until potatoes are just tender. Add corn and half and half, bring back to a very gentle simmer until heated through. Don’t boil! Taste and adjust seasoning. The salt you add will depend on your stock, so it is very hard for me to give an exact measurement. Just add what tastes good!
Garnish with chives or parsley and enjoy!
*One of the benefits of evaporated milk is that it can withstand boiling, so if you use it you don’t have to be quite as concerned about curdling as if you use half and half.
If you want to serve it with a dipper, here’s how I made my most recent version:
1/2 loaf of italian or french bread
1/2 stick soft butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Smear bread evenly with butter, sprinkle evenly with cheese, place under broiler and watch carefully until the cheese gets brown. Don’t walk away! This happens fast! Slice and serve alongside the soup!