Happy New Year!
Have you heard of Veganuary? No? It's a 30-day challenge of eating plant-based foods. Won't be doing it straight for a month, but two-three times per week is great. [Ed. note: Through the NFL playoffs? Are you insane, woman?]
This red kidney bean curry (a.k.a. Rajma) is like a vegetarian chili, but with Indian spices. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, this super-easy-to-make (20 minutes, start to finish), freezer-friendly and budget-conscious dish is fantastic served with rice, quinoa or naan bread. Great veggie sides include roasted yams, roasted cauliflower or sauteed greens like spinach, kale, or chard (if you're trying to be low carb).
Full disclosure, I was a little hesitant to offer this to the BF. Not because he doesn't like vegan meals, but because he's not a huge chili fan; he likes, but doesn't love beans. So I can't tell you how surprised I was that he loved this. I mean, really, really, truly inhale-a-bowl-and-ask-for-more loved this. [Ed. note: You tricked me! Curses!] #Winning
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 6
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, ang nefer took da treat...
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
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)
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.
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
As Tom Lehrer sang a year ago, "Spring is here!" [Ed. note: Check the PPS below for the link.] These beauties are in season all year, but I especially love them in the spring time. Have been known to serve them up as a main dish since they take less than 30 minutes to make, but you'll probably want to have them as a side with...anything.
In our house, we drizzle chimichurri sauce on everything from grilled/roasted beef to lamb, chicken, fish, seafood, rice, quinoa, yams, and veggies. Even eggs or avocado toast. Bright, zesty, addicting.
NOTE: I have found tri-color fingerling potatoes and at my local supermarket, but if you can't find them, you can use Dutch baby potatoes or yellow fingerlings.
And finally, a quick side note to nominate the BF for a "BF of the year" award [Ed. note: AND I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE ACADEMY...], as I have been shuffling around with a slipped disc, unable to lift the 60-pound bins I deliver weekly. He has not only helped me dauntlessly for the past two weeks, but with a smile on his face. Could not have fulfilled the orders without him and, hopefully, this roasted potato side with a prime ribeye was an adequate reward for his efforts. MUAH
[Ed. note: Hey nobody tell her I'm happy to tag along. PRIME RIBEYE, people!]
PS: Think these potatoes are colorful? Well check out these pinkalicious deviled eggs as I re-examine family trauma (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/pinkalicious-deviled-eggs).
PPS: Also high on the color charts are these spice roasted carrots with avocado and yogurt, which we bring to you while (proverbially) poisoning pigeons in the park (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/spiced-roasted-carrots-with-avocado-yogurt).
PPPS: We celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a heartfelt Denis Leary ditty and Bailey's Irish Cream Tiramisu (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/baileys-irish-cream-tiramisu).
Adapted from: A Beautiful Plate (potatoes); The Pollan Family Table (chimichurri), Corky, Lori, Dana and Tracy Pollan
Number of servings: 4
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Set out to make a cake made with olive oil to see what it would taste like. One bowl. No eggs. No dairy. Vegan. [Ed. note: Vegan? Chocolate cake? Is this allowed?] Why yes! Yes it is. In fact, because of the olive oil it's so incredibly moist, with a deep dark-chocolate flavor, it made me swoon. [Ed. note: Taking notes.]
This has been called a Wacky cake or Depression Cake (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depression_cake), as during those years milk, sugar, butter and eggs were either expensive or scarce. Now my love of cake-making with oil instead of butter runs deep. I have baked many a cake with grapeseed or canola oils (both flavorless), but this was my first foray into using olive oil. The result is a far more moist dessert that keeps exceptionally well. Deb of Smitten Kitchen says, "On day four in the fridge, ours was as moist as day one, basically a miracle."
Using olive oil, for some strange reason, just never seemed right. I think of olive oil as being savory, but I was wrong. It truly works here.
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of Servings; 8-12
This Russian cabbage borscht is another winter warm-up secret weapon. Not to be confused with borscht made with beets or various meats and winter vegetables; while that is good, this soup is pure Jewish comfort food. Just a handful of simple ingredients, mainly cabbage.
When I was a kid, momala made a cabbage borsht flavored with short ribs or brisket. Once the meat finished cooking, she would shred and add it back into the soup. After pouting, I would pick out all the meat and leave the cabbage. Then I would complain. A lot. (Cabbage: not a favorite.) My childhood best friend loved the soup, so much so that momala would joke that she was the rightful daughter, not me. Today, I would never dream of doing that. Cabbage is actually my favorite part.
However, this version is different from my mom's soup, but an homage all the same. Kept her addition of golden raisins for the sweetness, but I made this version more brothy and added caraway seeds, V8 juice and cayenne for a little kick. Also, everything is finely chopped or minced rather than chunky. Always have to mention, the BF absolutely loves this soup. [Ed. note: Can confirm.]
You can even make this vegan by using vegetable instead of chicken broth.
Healthy, flavorful, delicious, inexpensive and it freezes very well. Makes a delightful lunch or perfect dinner paired with Russian rye or black bread. [Ed. note: HOW ABOUT VODKA OKAY JUST KIDDING]
What's not to love? Momala would be proud!
Number of Servings: 10-12 cups
Did you learn to cook anything new last year? Among many discoveries, I found that roasted radishes are a revelation. A delicious and fantastic complement to carrots, can't believe I have never tried them roasted before. [Ed. note: Calling the proper authorities, this has to be a violation of some kind.]
If you're not a fan of lentils, make the roasted carrots and radishes with tahini sauce. You won't be sorry. It makes a wonderful lunch, side or main course.
NOTE: I'm relying more and more on Trader Joe's pre-steamed lentils, usually located with the fresh produce. It's such a time saver and the lentils are firm, yet tender, which is exactly what you want. If you want to make lentils from scratch, I have included instructions below.
PS: Last year we got a little tipsy on this citrus champagne bundt cake (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/citrus-champagne-bundt-cake) and recovered nicely thanks to this ginger turmeric detox broth (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/ginger-turmeric-detox-broth).
Adapted from: A Beautiful Plate
Number of servings: approximately 4
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.