Friday, January 27, 2012

Leek Fritters


Savory or sweet?

Have you ever dined with someone that for the life of them can't make up their mind. You know... the one that stares blankly at the menu trying to decide what she wants as the server has come to the table for the third time to take an order. Yeah, I'm THAT person. So annoying, I know.

Omelette or pancakes?

Poached eggs or French Toast?

I. Just. Can't. Decide.

Even when making breakfast at home I stare into the refrigerator, my eyes darting back and forth between the maple syrup and the eggs. Apple pancakes WOULD be delicious, but then again I think I want a cheesy omelette and homefries. GAAHHHH!!!

Then, the other day while I was munching on some buttered toast (a result of my terrible decision making capabilities) I came across a recipe for leek fritters, aka leek pancakes, aka savory pancakes.


I had to have.

Slow cooked leeks and shallots spiced with corainder, turmeric and chilis are folded into a traditional pancake batter, fried until crispy and served with a herbed sour cream and yogurt dipping sauce.


Served with a simple arugula salad and a nice bloody mary... now that's a brunch worth waking up for!

Leek Fritters (serves 4)
Slightly adapted from Yottam Ottolenghi's Plenty


1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 T. lemon juice
3 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. parsley leaves, chopped
1 1/2 c. cilantro leaves, chopped


3 leeks (1 lb. in total, trimmed weight)
5 shallots, finely chopped
2/3 c. olive oil
1 fresh green chile, seeded and sliced
1/2 c. parsley, finely chopped
3/4 t. ground coriander
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. ground turmeric
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. organic sugar
1 egg white
3/4 c. plus 1 T. unbleached flour
1 T. + 1 T. baking powder
1 egg
2/3 c. rice milk
4 1/2 T. unsalted butter, melted

To make the sauce, blitz all the ingredients together in a food processor until a uniform green. Set aside for later.

Cut the leeks into scant 1" thick slices; rinse and drain dry. Sautee the leeks and shallots in a pan with half the oil on medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until soft. Transfer to a large bowl and add the chile, parsley, spices, sugar and salt.

Whisk the egg white to soft peaks and fold it into the vegetables. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, whole egg, milk and butter to form a batter. Gently mix into the egg white and vegetable mixture.

Put 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Spoon about half the vegetable mixture into the pan to make four large fritters. Fry them for 2-3 minutes each side, or until golden and crisp. Remove to paper towels and keep warm. Continue making the fritters, adding more oil as needed. You should end up with about 8 large fritters. Serve warm with sauce on the side or drizzled over.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ginger Honey Lemon Turmeric Tea

Cough, Cough..
Sniffle, Sniffle...

It's cold season, people.

You know the feeling.  First, the scratchy throat, then the nagging dry cough, and finally the stuffy nose and sinus pressure.

Unfortunately, I'm all too familiar with it.

Despite the fact that I eat a healthy diet, take lots of vitamins, and get plenty of rest I usually get three colds a year. 

It just happens.

I take whatever I can to try to prevent a cold from coming on (echinacea, goldenseal, garlic, lots of water etc..) but sometimes my immune system decides that it's gonna hate on me.

So, I just roll with it, and give my body what it wants. Lots of rest, hot tea, greens and fresh juice.

I woke up this morning in phase three of the cold.. the stuffy nose/sinus pressure phase.

In other words, I can't freaking breathe.

Instead of making breakfast, I decided to make an immune boosting hot beverage that would clear my sinuses.

This is what I came up with:

Ginger tea with honey, lemon, cayenne, and tumeric.

Let's talk about why you should make this beverage, like, NOW.

Ginger is an anti-infamatory, which in turn will help the swelling in your nasal passages, reducing pain and pressure. It also is very warming and will make you perspire to sweat out the nasties.

Lemons. High in vitamin C, no brainer.  Lemons are very alkalizing to the system, help detoxify the liver and stimulate your digestive tract. They also have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Go, lemons!

Honey. Local, Raw honey is where it's at.  It's anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal and boosts immunity.  It works as a natural cough suppressant when mixed with a little apple cider vinegar (no joke, I tried this last night and it woked like a charm) Oh, and it's also dee-licious.

Turmeric.  Not just for making curries and staining everything yellow.  The active ingredient in tumeric is curcumin. It's a powerful anti-inflamatory, natural painkiller, detoxifies the liver, boosts metabolism, is a natural antiseptic and anti-bacterial agent, speeds up healing of wounds, and has been used as a treatment for depression. For reals....get on the turmeric train.

Finally, cayenne. Cayenne, like ginger is also very warming (you already knew that, I know), helping to increase circulation and increase persperation. It's a counter-irritant; it brings blood to the surface and helps flush away toxins. When gargled with honey and water it helps with sore throats and irritating coughs. 

Ginger Honey Lemon Tumeric Tea (makes 3 c.)

3 c. water
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled, sliced 1/4" thick
1 lemon, juiced
2 T. honey
1/4 t. tumeric
1/4 t. cayenne

Place ginger and water in a small saucepan with the lid on. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tumeric and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for five minutes. Strain into a large jar. Add the honey, lemon and cayenne.  Take a sip and kick that cold to the curb!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Miso Edamame Dip

I cleaned out my freezer yesterday. I'm definitely not one of those people that could survive the apocalypse based on the contents of their pantry and frozen goods. First of all, I have very limited storage space in my kitchen and second of all, a cluttered fridge sends me into a panic attack.

To my surprise, I found a bag of edamame lodged in the back of my freezer hidden behind the vodka (I tend to keep the more important things where I can see them) and was in the mood for something quick. I really wanted to eat some baguette and was looking for something delicious to smear all over it instead of dipping it in copious amounts of olive oil. My first instinct was to make edamame hummus, but since I gave up all nuts and seeds due to an allergy, a tahini based dip was out.

I pulled out whatever I could find in my fridge that wouldn't make this dip taste like crap.


Olive oil, salt and pepper.

Lots of yums.

FYI: Fresh herbs and garlic and lemon always make dips taste delicious.

Short version:
Throw everything (except the oil) in a food processor. Process until incorporated then stream in the oil to make it nice and creamy.

....and the extended version:

Miso Edamame Dip

1 c. shelled edamame
3 scallions, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 c. parsley, chopped
1/2 T. chickpea miso (or any other light miso)
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. black pepper
2 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the edamame. Bring to a boil and cook for three minutes. Drain and place in a bowl of ice water for five minutes. Drain well and transfer to a food processor. Add the scallion, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, miso, salt and pepper. Process until well incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed. With the processor running, stream in the olive oil until the mixture is creamy. Adjust seasonings, if needed.

Serve with some crusty baguette, pita chips or crudites. Party food!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Split Pea Soup with Fried Paneer and Curried Brown Butter

It's cold.

I'm fighting the urge to go into severe hibernation mode, where all I do is eat cheese, bread, and soup and drink copious amounts of red wine. Lounging in my sweats, reading books, and cuddling with my dogs sounds so much more appealing than eating salads and exercising when my boogers instantly freeze the minute I step outside.
Then again I also want to be able to fit in my shorts come spring, so I make some compromises.

I eat healthy during the day, you know... fresh juice, yogurt and kale, kale, kale.
I take my dogs for a long walk and do some yoga.
I take all my supplements to keep that immune system revved up....

..and then I put on my sweats, pour a glass of wine and make some soup with cheese and bread.

This soup has a good amount of butter, but in my mind the healthy benefits of split peas totally counteract that. Plus butter is good, so whatevs.

A little pan fried paneer cheese gives the soup a little texture, but is totally optional.  Paneer may be difficult for some of you to find, but if you can get your hands on some, I totally reccomend it.

Serve this soup with some hunks of crusty bread for dipping.

Don't forget the wine.

Split Pea Soup with Fried Paneer and Curried Brown Butter (serves 2 as a main, 4 as a starter)
Adapated from this recipe from Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks.

2 T. unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
6 1/2 c. water

1 1/4 c. yellow split peas

3 T. unsalted butter
1 T. Indian curry powder
1/2 c. coconut milk
sea salt, to taste

2 oz. paneer, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 T. neutral oil (sun
flower, grapeseed, canola etc..)

Combine 2 T. butter, onion, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat until onions are softened. Stir in the split peas and water, cover, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook until split peas are mushy, about 1-1/2 hours. 

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it starts to brown. Stir in the curry powder and sautee until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat 2 T. neutral oil in a sautee pan over medium heat. Add the paneer and cook until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

When the split peas are done cooking, stir in coconut mik and 1 t. salt.
Puree with an immersion blender until it's silky smooth.
Stir in half the brown butter and more salt, to taste.

Serve drizzled with the remaining brown butter and the fried paneer cubes.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Black Bean Chocolate Cookies

That's right.

Black. Bean. Cookies.

Sounds a little odd, and I was skeptical at first, but chocolate and black beans could totally be BFF's.

When pureed with cocoa powder, coconut oil, chia seeds, honey and some organic dark chocolate, black beans are transformed into a rich fudgy treat that is not only sinfully rich but super healthy to boot.

In other words, I felt zero gulit knocking back three of these for breakfast this morning...

Raw cacoa and organic dark chocolate flood your system with antioxidants.
Honey and coconut oil boost your immune system.
Chia seeds are high in omega three fatty acids, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Black beans are are a low fat source of protein and fiber.

Need I say more?

Black Bean Chocolate Cookies (slightly adapted from Sarah Britton at My New Roots)

(Makes 8- 4" cookies)

1 1/2 c. black beans or 1-15 oz can, rinsed and drained
2 T. coconut oil
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/2 t. coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling

1/3 c. honey
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T. chia seeds

1/3 c. dark chocolate, chopped (I used dagoba 73%)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a large sheetpan with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix together the honey, chia seeds and vanilla extract.
Place drained and well rinsed beans in a food processor with the coconut oil, cocoa powder and salt and blend until well combined. Add the honey/chia seed mixture and blend again until creamy, scraping down the sides if needed.
Remove the blade and fold in the chocolate.
Spoon batter onto baking sheet and flatten a bit with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the tops with a small amount of coarse salt.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges are browning.
Cool. Store in the refrigerator.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Saag Paneer

When the craving for saag paneer hits, you just have to roll with it. 
Nothing else quite does it.

Sagg is a spinach or mustard green based dish, and paneer is a delicious fresh cheese that holds it's texture when fried.

It's one of those dishes that is made a little bit different wherever you go. Some places use ghee where others use oil. Heavy cream or yogurt may be used. I've even heard of using cashews to lend creaminess to the dish. The spices vary from region to region, so you never really know what you are going to get other than greens and cheese.

When done right it's delicately spiced and creamy but not floating in a puddle of oil which is common at most Indian/Pakistani restaurants.

My version of sagg paneer is probably not authentic by any means, but it's delicious and alot healthier than what you would typically get dining out. It satisfies the craving without having to eat your daily allowance of fat in one sitting.

Do yourself a favor and make some naan too...

Saag Paneer (serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side) adapted from Manjula.

2- 10 oz. packages frozen spinach, thawed
6 oz. paneer, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1" chunks
2 T. neutral oil (canola, grapeseed, sunflower etc..)
1 1/2 T. ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
pinch of asafoetida (opt)
1 t. cumin seed
1/2 t. coriander
1/2 t. tumeric
1 t. garam masala
1 t. amchur (dried mango powder)
1 1/2 t. salt
4 T. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. heavy cream

Place thawed spinach in a food processor and pulse a couple times until creamy. Set aside.
Place tomatoes and ginger in the food processor and blend until combined. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine the whole wheat flour with 1/4 c. water.
Heat a small amount of oil in a large sautee pan. Add the paneer cubes and fry until lightly golden on all sides. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

Using the same pan that you fried the paneer in, heat 2 T. oil over medium high heat. Add the asafoetida and cumin seeds. When cumin seeds crack, add the onion, a pinch of cayenne, tumeric and coriander. Sautee for 3-4 minutes until onion softens up a bit. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Stir in the tomato/ginger puree, reduce the heat to medium and cook until reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes. Add the spinach, cover and and cook for ten minutes.
Stir in the flour/water mixture, followed by the cream and salt. Cover and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
Fold in the paneer, cover and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Season with garam masala and amchur powder.

Serve immediately with hot naan.

Naan bread (from Manjulas kitchen)

Makes 6 naan
  • 2 cups of All Purpose flour (Plain flour or maida)
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons yogurt (curd or dahi)
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
Also needed:
  • 1 teaspoon of clear butter or ghee to butter the Naan
  • 1/4 cup All Purpose flour for rolling
  1. Dissolve active dry yeast in lukewarm water and let it sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture becomes frothy.
  2. Add sugar, salt and baking soda to the flour and mix well.
  3. Add the oil and yogurt mix, this will become crumbly dough.
  4. Add the water/yeast mixture and make into soft dough.Note: after dough rise will become little softer.
  5. Knead until the dough is smooth. Cover the dough and keep in a warm place for 3-4 hours. The dough should almost be double in volume.
  6.  Heat the oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone for at least thirty minutes so stone is hot. Using a pizza stone will help to give naan close to same kind of heat as clay tandoor.
  7. Next turn the oven to high broil.
  8. Knead the dough for about two to three minutes and divide the dough into six equal parts.
  9. Take each piece of dough, one at a time, and roll into 8-inch oval shape. Dust lightly with dry flour to help with the rolling.
  10. Before putting the Naan in oven, lightly wet your hands and take the rolled Naan, and flipp them between your palms and place onto your baking/pizza stone into the oven.
  11. You can place about 2 Naan on the baking/pizza stone at a time. The Naan will take about 2 to 3 minutes to cook, depending upon your oven. After the Naan is baked(Naan should be golden brown color on top).
  12. Take naan out of the oven and brush lightly with clear butter or ghee.
  13. wait 2 to 3 minutes before baking the next batch of naan. It gives oven the chance to get heated again to max.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Goji Berry Granola

Who doesn't love granola?

The store bought stuff is great in a pinch, but making your own is where it's at.

It's cheaper and healthier, no doubt. Plus, when you make your own, you have total control over the ingredients. Don't like almonds? No bigs, add some pistachios instead. Tired of raisins? How about some mulberries or dried apricots. Throw in some hemp or flax seeds to up your intake of omega 3 fatty acids.  Get crazy with it.

Oats, honey, goji berries and coconut oil.  All the stuff that was never in your breakfast cereal as a kid, but should have been.

Get your granola on and start the morning off right! 
Goji Berry Granola (Makes 5 cups)

3 1/2 c. rolled oats
3/4 c. shredded coconut
2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
3/4 t. ground ginger
scant 1/4 t. sea salt
6 T. coconut oil, melted
2/3 c. honey
1 c. goji berries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet with coconut oil.
Place the oats, shredded coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt in a large bowl.
Add coconut oil and honey and mix until oats are well coated.
Spread the oat mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes and stir granola well. Return to the oven and bake an additional 12 minutes. Stir again and return to the oven for five minutes or until golden brown. (Keep a close eye. The oats can go from toasty to burned in no time!)
Remove from the oven and stir in goji berries. Allow to cool, then transfer to an airtight container.

Monday, January 2, 2012



That's it.

Mujadara has become my go to dish when I'm:

a. Broke.
b. Feeling the need to detoxify.
c. Due for a serious grocery shopping trip.

I've been living off of wine, cheese, and more wine for the past week.

Don't judge.

It's time for some healthy stuff. My body needs it.

If your New Years Eve was anything like mine... you need it too.

Mujadara (serves two as a main, four as a side)

1/2. c. cracked bulgar wheat
3/4 c. french lentils
2 medium onions, sliced into half moons
1/4 c. chopped flat leaf parsley
extra virgin olive oil
1 t. cumin, plus more to taste
sea salt
black pepper

In a small saucepan bring 1 c. water to a boil. Add bulgar, cover, turn off heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. All of the water should be absorbed and your bulgar should be nice and fluffy. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
Meanwhile, cook your lentils. Place the lentils in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until they are soft, but still have a little bite to them. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
While the lentils are cooking heat 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until onions are soft and beginning to brown, about 10-15 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes or so.
Combine the bulgar, lentils and onions in a medium sized bowl. Add 2 T. olive oil, cumin, a generous pinch of salt, black pepper and the parsley. Stir to combine. Add more cumin, salt, pepper and/or olive oil, to taste.

I served it with a simple arugula salad, a little cheese and Ines Rosales olive oil tortas. They taste like crispy crack laced with olive oil. So good.