Recently my siblings and I were passing online messages about my father. At one point, my older brother Mike said, "Dad's cooking broke down into two categories: it either tasted good, or it was healthy, but generally not both. Or more that his thinking was, if it's healthy, there's no reason to be concerned with it tasting good or not."
This was the 1970s and "health food" was not what is today. Besides my father's tendency towards "more is more" ("Dad, raw oats in the hamburger? Really?"), his Sunday specialty was, no lie, seaweed-soybean waffles. Good God, that was dreadful. [Ed. note: That sounds worse than disco in bell-bottoms.]
Truth told, he was ahead of his time, very disciplined about exercise and nutrition. During WWII, as a teenage Austrian refugee in Shanghai, he took up boxing and sparred with US Marines stationed there. Growing up with my siblings, we never witnessed him missing a workout, no matter the weather or how late he came home from work. He'd jog a couple miles, hit the punching bag, skip rope double-time while running in place, do countless push-ups. Something. Every single day.
We ate 14-grain bread (which tasted like brick and mortar back then), when all I craved was that soft, white Wonder bread that was popular at the time. Now, this is not to say that we didn't have delicious food and sweets at home, just not on Sundays.
Dad passed away on September 23, 1979. Forty years gone. If he could only see us now. See, Dad, we were listening! I'd like to think that he would have loved these veggie burgers.
These days, the BF and I eat healthy, but it has to taste good. [Ed. note: Oh hecks no, inject those soybean-seaweed waffles directly into my veins. :-/ ] And we both love a healthy veggie burger. Am not trying to make this taste like a beef burger, it's not a beef burger, but I will say that I've made hundreds of variations of veggie burgers and the BF and I absolutely adore this one from the talented women at Pollan Family Table.
PS: A year ago I lamented the scourge of jury dury and the terror of a broken refrigerator, survived both, and made Mom's apple cake (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/moms-apple-cake).
Adapted from: Pollan Family Table
Number of servings: 4
Dad's boxing gloves, 2019.
Some San Francisco bay area transplants complain of the "loss of seasons" from whence they came [Ed. note: hey we've got fire, earthquake, mudslide, Cal not getting The Axe...], but won't lie, Septembers are pretty much meteorologically perfect. Warm, but not too warm, and an ideal time to get on with fall food. Hey, it's the Oregon in me.
And this is my gateway meal into fall. The combination of sweet and smoky spices that perfectly complements the salmon, always a hit. We love it with coconut rice, but that's optional.
Now that school has begun, if you're being pulled in a million different directions, you need dinners to be easy. It's not only easy, but I love meals that look fancy enough for company, but yet are super casual, delicious and healthy.
A word about salsas. Mango or tomato salsas are quite common, but don't hesitate to try other fruits and veggies as well. Some of my favorites include: cantaloupe, peach, pineapple, papaya and corn. They all make delicious salsas to accompany meat and fish.
PS: A year ago we launched into autumn with grilled naan, mango chutney pork, chili and yogurt (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/grilled-naan-with-mango-chutney-pork-chili-yogurt).
PPS: Momala's roast chicken was channeled to break last year's Yom Kippur fast, in a decidedly non-traditional style (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mexican-marinated-chicken).
Adapted from: Pinch of Yum
Number of servings: 4-6
Dinner guests who visit the house often have some form of dietary restriction: carb-, gluten-, grain-, or sugar-free, vegetarian, vegan, flextarian, only white-meat chicken-eater, allergies (shellfish, nuts, dairy), etc. You know what I'm talking about. I understand. Am a selective eater myself. [Ed. note: Run away run away run away do not comment I want to live...]
However, this summer has been about streamlining, making things as easy as possible. This dinner is the perfect solution. Have to give props to the BF, who suggested that kebabs would be a good accompaniment. [Ed. note: I can't help myself. I like good food, ok?]
This is especially effective for a dinner-party menu. Serve your favorite hummus for appetizers, follow up with two entrees: Roasted Harissa Spiced Ratatouille and Chicken Kebabs. The ratatouille will satiate the vegan guest and be a nice side dish for the carnivores. FYI, this dish is gluten free, grain free, Paleo and vegan.
Have been on a harissa kick lately, adding it to shrimp skewers, lamb patties, and roasted Japanese eggplant. Harissa is a spicy aromatic North African chili paste made out of hot chili peppers (which are often smoked), roasted red bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and spices like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint. It comes in sauce form or paste, as you can see in photo below. I used a mild harissa sauce for this dish, but next time might opt for the paste, which is spicier and more concentrated.
Adapted from: Gourmande in the Kitchen
Number of servings: 4-6
So this week marked the official return to school and, sniff, a signal that summer is coughing up its last gasp.
Time for dessert!
This sweet-tart, vibrantly colored crumble was a last-minute request for a recent dinner party. Pressed to come up with something quickly, I tried to steer away from more complicated desserts (i.e., no pie crusts to roll out, chill, crimp, blind bake, etc.), or even complicated fruits to steam, peel, or pit (cherries would have made this arduous). The nectarine, plum and raspberry triumvirate immensely simplified the process. No food processor or pastry cutter required. Prior to baking, it literally took ten minutes to prepare. [Ed. note: Damn, woman.]
I decided on a crumble as opposed to a streusel topping [Ed. note: Am so triggered by this I do not know what I should be triggered by], because I felt this particular fruit combo would have been overpowered by a spicy oatmeal and nut topping. Love streusel for apples, pears, blackberries and even blueberries, but this fruit combo needed something simpler, more delicate.
What is the difference between a crumble, crisp and cobbler? A crumble has a shortbread cookie-like topping. A crisp's topping is streusel based, typically made with spiced oatmeal and nuts, and a cobbler has biscuit dough dolloped on top.
Don't get me started on the Betty, pandowdy, or buckles, grunts and slumps!
PS: A year ago we broke out the Spiralizer for some healthy chicken parmesan with veggie noodles (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/healthy-chicken-parmesan-with-veggie-noodles).
PPS: Channeling the late Anthony Bourdain, things got a little NSFW with this sinful mac and cheese (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/anthony-bourdains-macaroni-and-cheese).
Crumble topping inspired by Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 6-8
Give me nothing but eggplants and tomatoes until summer ends! This meal embodies everything I love about summer produce. Minimal prep and cooking, with exploding flavors. The BF loved it with saffron rice as a complimentary side dish.
Today, we honor both our mom's birthdays (his was the 3rd, mine the 4th), and this weekend we celebrate Marlowe's recovery from cancer surgery. Life is good.
Adapted from: Feasting at Home
Number of Servings: 2-3
Gremolata (Zesty Italian Herb Sauce)
Gremolata (Zesty Italian Herb Sauce)
If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know the BF lusts for all things lemon. [Ed. note: LEMONS] Turns out this is genetic, as his Mom was a huge fan of the sour cream lemon pie from Marie Callender's. [Ed. note: Can confirm.] And my Mom loved lemon meringue pie, dare I say almost to the point of being on equal footing with chocolate.
Well this pie isn't just lemony, tart and creamy, it's low carb, as well as sugar, gluten, nut and grain FREE. A perennial favorite, and #GuiltFree.
Broke this out for a client's Fourth-of-July BBQ, along with several other desserts like s'mores bars, ice cream sandwiches, blueberry hand pies, a flag cake and raspberry-nectarine plum cobbler. The pie was swiftly, voraciously decimated down to the last crumb, and most guests were unaware of the ingredients. Tasted like the real deal.
Try it out! Fool your friends! And hope you are all enjoying a wonderful summer.
In other news, a Marlowe update: our beautiful chocolate lab mix is recuperating from a recent surgery to remove a malignant mast cell tumor. So it's a bit like a slumber party in our living room, as we don't want her popping a stitch trying to hop on our rather tall bed. She's doing well and we're counting the days until those stitches are removed, then she can resume chasing squirrels, barking at the UPS guy, jumping on her favorite people, and going on her favorite long walks.
[Ed. note: We thank our family and friends for the kind words and well wishes. Please feel free to click an ad link so we can pay this vet bill! ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ ]
Adapted from: All Day I Dream About Food
Number of servings: 10
Low Carb Almond Flour Crust
Low Carb Almond Flour Crust
All apologies. It's been a while. There's a great excuse, though.
I traveled with my sister Julie to Bangkok, Thailand for two weeks to help my teacher/acting-coach big brother John move back to the States. Arduously busy, yes (this was not your typical move), and somewhat bittersweet for him, as he had lived and worked there for twenty years.
While there, my sister and I lived off the street food along the daily one-mile walk from our hotel to my brother's apartment. Breakfast consisted of a single, perfectly delectable marinated pork-strip skewer. A late lunch or dinner was a shared salad-in-a-bag, or fresh steamed corn, stripped off the cob to eat easily while walking. Such a beautiful country, I will certainly return someday with the BF. [Ed. note: I shall hold you to this.]
Back home, I have been craving any food that reminds me of the Thai street food: fresh, bright, flavorful and healthy. This herby green avocado sauce is super easy to prepare and literally works with anything. To wit, use it as:
Adapted from: Alexandra's Kitchen
Number of servings: ¾ cup
Grilled pork skewers. Breakfast of champions.
Fresh salad in a bag. Lunch...sometimes dinner.
Fresh guava slices on Silom Road (the best Lebanese food I've ever had was from the Silom district).
My Darling restaurant on Khao San Road.
Thai BBQ with my brother John and sisters, Julie, Tai, Pantene and Momay.
Missed these two! Thank you for holding down the fort!
[Ed. note: Our special-guest blogger from last Halloween, returns.]
Marlowe here. I is chocolate "rescue" lab who pawed blog last year about Mini Butterscotch Apples. Dad said to leave a computer web internets link to remind you so I do now here goes make way: www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mini-butterscotch-apples. He also says I says to reminds you to click ad links so we have more money for treats. Also says he hopes I do not eat too many minty-breath treats at one time, like that day I did and trew up so much he called me Shamrock Shake for month. I not know what that mean.
Today I has a sad because Mom go away for while (in dog weeks this will suck) to do human things and leave me with Dad, who cooks like a cat. While Mom gone I hope he do not overdose on cheeseburgers and shame.
Luckily he like all varieties of healthy greens, so for side dishes Mom often make sautéed leafy greens like spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collard and mustard greens, or bok choy. Dad say primary care physician appreciate. What. Ever.
Mom say this original dish can't be more easier to prepare, five whole minutes (35 if you is dog), and can be served as a side or main. Also Dad say use bullet points hey me no know how slow down I bite you:
In closing, please enjoy, and I now go enjoy NBA finals with Dad. Me no fear no deer or dinosaur from Canada. Go Warriors. #DubNation
Number of servings: 2 as a main, 4 as side
I worked on this all night.
Does Mom like spice? From time to time, we like things spicy in our house [Ed. note: HEY NOW], and this healthy, delicious dish is so easy to make it screams "weeknight dinner." The slightly spicy-tart sauce is a perfect foil to the sweet salmon.
And really, if you're concerned about the spice level, don't be. The original recipe below is sumptuous as is, but since the BF and I sometimes like a little more heat [Ed. note: WHAT KIND OF BLOG IS THIS THEY'RE GONNA ADD A DISCLAIMER], we'll add more Sriracha next time.
This is so easy, you could make this for a Mother's Day brunch for 20, which in fact I am doing.
Happy Mother's Day!
PS: A year ago we gave Mom lots of cavities with these offerings:
Adapted from: SELF, April 2013 (Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen); Epicurious (source containing original article)
Number of servings: 4
Something about watching the BF's expression go from "Vegan, really?" to "Yes I would like forty more of these, thank you" does my heart good. [Ed. note: These kind of surprises are the best.]
Actually made these for the first time last August, and wondered why I'd waited so long to try them. Cinco de Mayo provides a perfect excuse to bring them out again, and will hopefully give you a healthy, vegan, gluten-free option should you be hosting family and friends for the holiday, or any day!
PS: A year ago we were watching the Golden State Warriors in the middle of a playoff run (tonight they're headed into Houston for a game against the Rockets) [Ed. note and game recap 5/5: DAMMIT], and we had a bit of fun with some coconut curry shrimp dedicated to one Wardell Stephen Curry II. www.moveablefeast.me/blog/three-point-coconut-curry-shrimp
Adapted from: Jessica Seinfeld (jessicaseinfeld.com/)
Number of servings: 2-4 depending on how hungry you are
Pickled onion and Jalapeños
Pickled Onion & Jalapeños
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the bay area. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.