This pasta dish is the best of the farmer's market right now in one bowl. It's loaded with veggies without feeling virtuous, and packed with bright, creamy flavor thanks to plenty of fresh goat cheese, summery herbs, and sunny lemon zest. It comes together quickly, and without too much attention (basically, chop veggies and add to pan, stirring occasionally) so it's perfect for a weeknight dinner, and it makes a ton, so it's great for a crowd.
I was looking for a way to use up some buttermilk that had been lingering in the fridge, and came up with this sort-of-a-riff on tzatziki sauce (just minus the cucumber), and ever since I haven't been able to stop thinking about it, talking about it, or eating it. And again, this isn't a recipe so much a throw-stuff-in-the-food-processor, adjust-seasonings-to-taste sort of thing, but hopefully this can serve as some inspiration because this sauce is magical.
And while it's sometimes hard enough just to get the "real food" on the table (your proteins, veggies, and what have yous - you know, the stuff with the nutrition and calories you need to survive), such that expending time and energy on making a sauce that just goes on top of the other stuff you have to make - well, I get not wanting to take that extra step. But I'll also say that this is so quick to make, and goes with so many things, and you can keep it in your fridge for a couple of days and use it to zhush up all kinds of meals, taking any boring old meal that's been slapped together up a couple notches into the kind of meal that you are excited to sit down and eat (see also: how to transform a sad desk lunch into a happy desk lunch).
I've become a little obsessed lately with chia pudding, which is suprising after I bought some a few years ago, tasted it, and promptly discarded it, the texture too much like snot.
But I was at our local health food store picking up lunch a few weeks ago and wanted a little snacky something, something sweet-adjacent, and found some coconut chia seed pudding and decided to give it another try, and I'm so glad that I did.
My tasty snack ended up also being super filling, which was great, because I feel like I'm constantly hungry at work. So I started looking up recipes and it turns out that it's super easy to make at home (and a great activity for little helpers to participate in).
After the success of last week's sake-glazed salmon, I wanted to try my hand at another marinade, this time heading south of the border for some inspiration. Just an hour or so of sitting in a marinade, even one that took mere minutes and a handful of ingredients to prepare, makes for a big flavor payoff.
To make the marinade, combine:
*1/2 tsp dried oregano
*1/4 - 1/2 tsp dried chili powder (I used 1/2 tsp and did not find it too spicy)
*One scallion, chopped
*3 garlic cloves, roughly minced
*Juice of 1/2 lime
*1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
*1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper your fish - I used about 1 1/4 lbs of cod - and then let sit in the marinade in the fridge for one hour.
When you're ready to cook, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and then pan fry, 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through.
You can serve as is, or scoop into tortillas (we used corn ones, warmed over the stove for a few seconds on each side), and topped with: red cabbage, cilantro, scallions, avocado and lime juice.
This is one of my new favorites: it is so, so easy to make, it's absolutely delicious, and it's good for you too. Full of omega-3s and low in mercury, salmon is also a sustainable choice if you buy wild-caught from Alaska or Washington State. I usually don't mess around with salmon too much - it's plenty flavorful on its own - but I wanted to step my game up a bit and this marinade, adapted from simplyrecipes.com, comes together in seconds with a big flavor payoff.
*Or, Reasons I Need A Waffle-Maker
Well we didn't get to ring in a new year with world peace, but I did make these buttery, chocolatey morsels that are so, so good. I didn't do much tinkering with Dorie Greenspan's world peace cookie recipe - it's Dorie Greenspan, after all - just made some adjustments based on what I had on hand. And it was a perfect way to break in my new KitchenAid stand mixer!
These are easy (just chop a bunch of veggies and saute); delicious; healthy and filling; and you make a ton for not very much money, so it's perfect for making a big batch and having leftovers for lunch during the week. And these are easily adaptable - don't like mushrooms? Leave them out! Craving red meat? Go ahead and use regular Mexican chorizo - though I have to say, I love the Trader Joe's faux version.
A recent trip to the farmers market yielded this beauty:
How stunning is that color? I couldn't resist.
And I knew exactly what I would do with it: Smitten Kitchen's Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart. I've made it a few times before, including for our first Valentine's Day and then again for New Year's Eve one year when it was blustery and snowy and awful outside.
It's simple enough to make, but with the caramelized onions and three types of cheese and lots of cream, it's an indulgent and special and luxurious treat.
First, you chop up the cauliflower.
The florets should be small bite-sized pieces - they'll be in a tart, so you don't want to get a giant bite. The chop in the picture above is actually a little larger than where you want to end up, but I forgot to take another picture. So use your imagination: picture smaller florets. You get the idea.
After you've adequately chopped the cauliflower, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. I added a touch of dried thyme, too. Then spread out on a tray and roast in a 350 degree oven for about half an hour. Make sure to toss them around once while they are in there to ensure even cooking. The purple cauliflower gets wonderfully nutty and flavorful and earthy and sweet and so, so good.
Meanwhile, get your onions ready. Smitten Kitchen only calls for half an onion; I used a whole one because that's how much I love caramelized onions. You pick your poison.
Slice the onion thinly.
And start caramelizing. Smitten Kitchen has directions for this, which I didn't follow.
I got some heat going under the cast iron pan, and then poured in some olive oil (a healthy splash, I would eyeball and guess that was maybe 2 tablespoons) and a slip of butter (probably about another tablespoon). Once the butter melted, I added the onions, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper.
As it was cooking, I added some raw honey (I like the color it adds and the sweetness it brings; you can also try a little sugar but I like the complexity and subtlety of honey).
Keep cooking down the onions; I eventually added a healthy dose of brandy as well (I am sure other types of booze would work here equally well).
Don't stir too much; the onions won't brown if you don't let them just lay around in the butter and oil for a bit. Onions just want to veg out sometimes (haha). Add more oil/fat/deliciousness if it's looking too dry or not browning (don't use too much though, we're not going for a greasy lake here).
Eventually (say, another thirty minutes or so), you will have beautifully browned, caramelly onions.
While the cauliflower's roasting and the onions are caramelizing, grate your cheese. The recipe calls for 1 cup grated Gruyere (or Swiss, or Comte - basically looking for a nutty, slightly sweet cheese that will melt well) and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan.
Since I couldn't find Parmigiano Reggiano at our Key Foods and I've recently decided I'm too much of a snob for domestic Parmesan (blame these guys), I went with some Pecorino Romano - any kind of hard, salty cheese will work here. And I didn't measure out cups but rather eyeballed as I grated. I figured about two handfuls is equivalent to one cup, and then I used probably closer to a 1/2 cup of the Pecorino (again, measuring in handfuls and estimates rather than, you know, actual measures. J was using the measuring cup and it's not like having too much cheese can be called a problem).
Then you mix in a bowl: the grated cheeses (saving some of the hard salty cheese - here, the Pecorino - for topping), two large eggs, some fresh grated nutmeg (I don't know that I can taste the nutmeg in the end, but the recipe calls for it and it does give the custard filling a nice speckly look, and I had whole nutmeg on hand), a container of mascarpone (I've used creme fraiche before, and Smitten Kitchen also recommends sour cream as an adequate substitute) and half a cup (I think I increased this to 3/4 of a cup, for no reason other than I am a glutton) of heavy cream.
Either make a tart crust (you overachiever, you), or unroll your previously defrosted frozen crust (I used one from Trader Joe's) in your pie pan. Smitten Kitchen calls for parbaking the crust, which I've never done, and I think it's just dandy the way it is.
A slick of dijon mustard goes down next, then the onions, then the cauliflower, then your cheese-cream-egg mixture.
Sprinkle the remaining Pecorino/Parmigiano Reggiano/whatever you are using on top.
Into the oven to bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees - although it took me maybe closer to an hour, but I think my oven runs cold - and then marvel at what you've made.
It will smell delicious in your kitchen. The taste is even better.
Eating, working, mothering and adventuring in Brooklyn and beyond.