We're getting deeper and deeper into October (don't know about you, but did this past week feel like a month or what?), which doesn't just bring us closer to my favorite holiday, Halloween, but all the signs are pointing to another very busy Thanksgiving-to-Christmas season. Meaning, with all of the impending insanity, it's always a good idea to have a few "make-ahead meals" on hand to save time on the off nights. Off nights that are better spent curled up with the BF watching a favorite show like Better Call Saul, or the World Series where his team the San Francisc—oh. Sorry. [Ed. note: Twist the knife, why don't you.]
This Moroccan stew is delicous the night it's made, and reheats well for lunches or make-ahead dinners, without losing any of its vibrant cumin, cinnamon and saffron flavors. Colorful and brothy, light and healthy, it's filling without being heavy.
It's also vegetarian, but can easily be made vegan by replacing butter with olive oil and skipping the yogurt (see note).
Changes made to the original Smitten Kitchen recipe: substituted yams for the plain potatoes (I recommend the dark red Garnet yam variety), and left out the preserved lemon.
The BF loves it over couscous, but I love it on its own. My dinner guests love all the toppings. A supremely versatile dish you can whip out while you prepare for the costumed kids soon to run amok. Amok! Amok! Amok!
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 6-8
NOTE: To veganize this, replace the butter with additional olive oil, use vegetable broth and skip the yogurt.
PS: Sweet tooth? Did you miss a year ago when I whipped out the caramel apple cheesecake that destroyed the BF? [Ed. note: And no, she's not kidding.] (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/caramel-apple-cheesecake)
PPS: Amok! Amok! Amok!
"Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti."
- Sophia Loren
The BF and I don't have pasta very often. When we do it's usually a celebration of some kind. [Ed. note: Why oh why can't it be a day ending in "y?"] Last time I made this dish was for my dear honorary niece and her BF, who were moving out of the state for a job opportunity.
Don't know about you, but every time I eat spaghetti I think of Louis Prima singing "Angelina" or "Just a Gigolo," or that scene from Lady and the Tramp wafts across my brain. Not sure what the BF is seeing when he looks across at me eating my bowl of spaghetti [Ed. note: It's not David Lee Roth's version of "Just A Gigolo," I'll tell you what"], but my noggin is loudly vibrating with various songs and images.
This pesto is not your traditional pesto. It's made with smoked almonds and arugula. Smoked almonds, folks. They bring this pesto to a whole other level.
Bonus: make this a vegan option and simply don't add the cheese.
Summer in your mouth.
PS: in case you missed them, one year ago:
Adapted from: Feasting at Home
Number of servings: 4
NOTE: The pesto will taste salty and slightly bitter on its own, but don’t worry. Once it mixes with the bucatini, the pasta will soak up some of the salt and it will all balance out.
Over the years (I started making this about ten years ago), many clients have grown to love this lentil salad. One of them orders it practically every single week. No wonder.
So easy to make, it's an extremely versatile side dish, and by itself as a main course it's straight-up vegan. The BF loves it, but he needs another protein, so I like to add soft-boiled or poached eggs, and/or chicken sausage (pictured above). Easy to pack for on-the-go sojourns, the dish can be served cold, warm, or at room temperature, and it even tastes better the next day.
I cook fresh lentils all the time, but have to say a terrific hack and time saver is to use Trader Joe's steamed lentils, which are found in their fresh produce section. They're delicious and have a firm texture, which is key to this salad.
This one is a perfect summer dish, and unlike most of these blog recipes, isn't an adaptation–it's wholly original. Feel free to make subsitutions, i.e., substitute parsnip for carrot, dill for parsley, and if you don't like fennel, use only celery. Make it your own.
Number of servings: 4
NOTE: If using Trader Joe's steamed lentils, take out of box, make three slits in the plastic. Place on plate and microwave for approx 45 seconds.
Since it's Chinese New Year this Friday, February 16th (Year of the Dog), here's a take on a popular Chinese recipe that can be made in your own kitchen in under 30 minutes.
The BF and I love take-out Chinese, but I don't like the abundance of added thickeners, i.e., flour, cornstarch, etc. So I frequently make our own Chinese food at home where quantites can be better controlled. (Side note: BF also loves sushi and poke bowls that you can easily make at home, and you can see a poke bowl option here www.moveablefeast.me/blog/ahi-poke-bowl-with-kohlrabi-rice.)
My parents instilled my love of Asian food at an early age, as my dad lived in Shanghai for 10 years, so mom lovingly and expertly prepared Japanese and Chinese food for the five of us (two brothers, two sisters) when she could.
Until I turned 10 years old, we went to one of our two favorite restaurants (Pagoda and Forbidden City) in Portland every Saturday night. The owners knew us by name and watched us grow up. They laughed as my mom dipped pacifers in sweet and sour sauce to quiet the infants.
Every Saturday morning, we shopped at the local Japanese Grocery store called Anzen (100 year old store, now closed). I remember the scent and otherwordly yellow glow of the pickled daikon radish, gallon jug of sweet soy sauce, burlap bag of rice. And I remember the rice-paper-wrapped candy that my dad would give us if we behaved while waiting for them in the car.
This terrific recipe was adapted from The Woks of Life. A word about king trumpet mushrooms (smokefree.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/07/14/king10001_2.jpg) from Judy Leung, "King mushrooms seem to be named as such because of their massive stems. These are substantial and very versatile mushrooms–you can pan-fry them, stir-fry them, braise them, steam them, or grill them...it's a great candidate to serve as a meat substitute."
Specifically, I added a few ingredients that I like in Kung Pao Chicken–water chestnuts, zucchini and shitakes. I also substituted cashews over peanuts as that's my personal preference, but feel free to use peanuts if you like.
NOTES: It's important to dice the vegetables according to the directions below. Everything will cook faster and evenly if you do. King trumpet mushrooms should be in the produce section of your local grocer (they're at my Safeway, Whole Foods, and Costco).
Adapted from: The Woks of Life
Number of servings: 4
One year ago the BF and I did an abbreviated version of Whole30 (we allowed for an exception...or two). He lost 8.5 pounds and thought it was pretty easy to stay on the program. [Ed. note: You give me meat an potatoes and I shall find a way to survive.] I didn't fare that well in the weight-loss department, but it was a terrific reboot, and the real saving grace was the coconut milk sauce I developed that was incorporated into everything. With the exception of Indian and Thai dishes, I rarely used coconut milk. This turned out to be a worthwhile challenge, and the result was a savory sauce that is a brilliant dairy-free option.
Here the coconut milk –infused into a garlic turmeric sauce– is a perfect foil to the crunchy cabbage, spicy chives and crispy skinned potatoes. We actually had this as a main course, but it would work as a side dish for steak, chicken, pork, or any protein. (We are unapolegetic carnivoires.)
We will be hopping on the Whole30 again soon, and certainly will be incorporating this into the process.
Inspired by Dolly and Oatmeal
Number of servings: 2-3 entrees or 4-6 side dishes
Coconut-Garlic Turmeric Sauce
I'm writing this post on Halloween morning and it's the first cool day of fall (always pleased when it's sweater weather). Know you're seeing this the day after, and hope you had a fun evening with the trick or treaters.
Roasted yam wedges are common fare in our house, usually lightly slicked with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with salt, Aleppo pepper and coriander powder, and roasted until crispy like fries. Makes for a terrific side dish. Even "Supergirl" Marlowe (see pictures below) loves them.
However, this satisfying entree fits the bill for a meatless meal while having enough flavor, heft and protein to satisfy our carnivore tastes. It's also perfect for the cooler weather we have coming.
Crispy Tandoori Chickpeas
Tahini Lime Sauce
The countdown begins: twenty-seven days until Halloween. The pumpkins have found a rightful place in the house. Pumpkin lights are up and dare I say cinnamon-apple-cider candles are lit and wafting their collective fragrance throughout the house. The boyfriend is asking for caramel apple cheesecake—which is a sure sign that autumn is here (at least inside our house). He does not get as excited as I do for fall to arrive [Ed. Note: Perhaps it's the annual fall reminder of how aged I have become, but I digress], but does enjoy the autumnal foods and cute costumed kids ringing our doorbell on the 31st.
Although this post is not a pumpkin recipe [Ed. Note: Spoiler alert--next week], it's the perfect transitional dish through the end of our regular bay-area Indian summers, when the Oregonian in me is chomping at the bit for crisper "soup, sweater, boot" weather.
In the meantime, enjoy this healthy, flavorful soup.
Adapted from: A Beautiful Plate
Number of servings: 3-4 (makes 4 cups)
Growing up in Portland and Sweet Home, Oregon, we only ate corn in August. Not by choice. It wasn't available in the grocery store or from nearby farms at any other time.
There was a farm about five miles away that offered "U-pick" corn; my siblings and I would fill a laundry basket, weigh it, bring it to my mom, who would then steam it, poke corn holders www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-corn-holders-image85158 (do people still use these?) in the cobs, and serve on the table with a cube of butter and shaker of salt. Corn was the only vegetable that I liked, and since we only could get it during August, it was a real treat that we all looked forward to.
Now, I’m spoiled, and live in an area with farmers markets and grocery stores carrying fresh corn all year round. (That said, I still try to buy it only in late summer because the quality is better. Chalk it up to childhood bias.) I like to make fresh corn in a variety of ways, always off the cob, usually sprinkled with lime and salt.
I streamlined this recipe from Food52, and loved that the corn flavor was so robust, yet the soup itself was very light. It's also vegan, dairy free, gluten free, paleo, Whole30, and comes together in about thirty minutes.
Remember, always try to get the freshest corn possible–the season is almost over!
Adapted from: Food52
Number of servings: 4
L-R: Jacquie, Michael, Janette, and John (missing little sister Julie), celebrating an August birthday.
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.