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...
I probably drive the BF crazy [Ed. note: like no one else, and for some reason I can't help myself], but I start asking him to choose his birthday cake-dessert about a month before his birthday. Usually give a choice of some great found recipe that includes either apples, caramel, butterscotch or lemon. Love hunting for the perfect recipe, with the goal of getting his eyes to bug out.
These apple pie bars are a client favorite, and whenever I make them the BF ends up in the kitchen, plaintively staring and asking if there are "extras." [Ed. note: "Oh those were for the clients?"] Needless to say the dessert has become one of his favorites, so I decided to make it for his birthday in lieu of a traditional cake. This was a very special birthday, by the way. [Ed. note: #LOLOLD]
One of the great things about this dessert is the shortbread dough is used for both the bottom crust and crumble on top. (Meaning there's no pie crust to roll out.) As the brilliant Ina Garten likes to say, "How easy is that?"
To really send it over the top, drizzle the bars with gooey caramel (optional, but recommended). Perfectly okay to eat with your hands, or dish/bowl them up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
In addition to offering an alternative to your everyday pedestrian cookie, these bars have another perk: they travel well. Simply wrap up the baking pan and cut the bars when you get to your destination. As for optimal portion size, Garten advises, "I cut the bars in fairly large 3 x 3-inch squares if I'm serving them on a plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. If I'm serving them on a platter of small petits fours to pick up with your fingers, I'll cut them in smaller bite-size pieces."
PS: Speaking of Thanksgiving, a year ago we were thinking ahead with this whipped cranberry butter (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/whipped-cranberry-butter). Also, Adam Sandler sings!
PPS: Another client-approved holiday-time dessert, your friends and family won't know this yummy mini pumpkin cheesecake is sugar-free and low-carb. That is, unless you tell them. So don't. (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mini-pumpkin-cheesecake-sugar-free-and-low-carb)
Adapted from: Ina Garten, Cooking For Jeffrey
Number of Servings: Makes one 9 x 13-inch pan
[Ed. note: Once again, since it's Halloween, our four-pawed special-guest blogger returns.]
Okay. Hello. Marlowe here. Mom and Dad say it okay to write because I has a did last Halloween (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mini-butterscotch-apples) and then also as well again repeated here (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/sauteed-white-beans-with-kale). Dad better give me raise of more treats or I bite him. [Ed. note: We'll talk.]
Mom say Halloween one of her favorites times of year, which I no understand because weird little people ring doorbell all night and everybody tell me to stop barking. But I guess okay since little people very nice to me and give me lots of pets and scritches. Howevers nobody let me have any of small packages that they put in their bags, maybe I need to talk to union repersentartive.
Since it Halloween, Mom and Dad dress me up. You may remember I was UPS driver last year. This year I something called Little Red Riding Hood, and also a lumberjack. Mom like Riding Hood since good story, Dad like lumberjack because he keeps singing some silly song and I no know what a Monty Python is. Also not want speculate what Dad do in spare time. [Ed. note: More treats, yes! I think we can work something out.]
Mom says to tell you this cake like "little bite of autumn on your plate," which strange since though I a dog even I know you no can put a season on dinnerware. Duh. Oh, she also say this no need frosting and what the fresh hell who are you Mom?
Besides weird little people ringing doorbell, Mom and Dad like to put on even weirder movies like Hocus Pocus, The Blair Witch Project, Shaun Of The Dead, and The Shining. Me no like when that guy puts face through the door.
Mom and Dad say wish you all Happy Halloween, and Dad say please click ads on right-hand side because that give me more minty treats that good for teeth.
Thank you for reading and hope you like bundt cake!
PS: Last year Mom also went crazy with pumpkin motif and this quote-unquote epic pumpkin bread (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/epic-pumpkin-bread).
PPS: We no just stuffing ourselves with pumpkin stuff and candy, also try be healthy with this butternut squash chickpea stew, which Dad should have more of because he taking shape of school bus I always afraid of (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/butternut-squash-chickpea-moroccan-stew).
Me also not know what up with "Amok Amok Amok."
I wish I were a kitteh, just like my dear Papa!
Adapted from: Cozy Cakes Cottage
Number of servings: 10-12
Halloween looms [Ed. note: OoooOoOooOooo], and I love making this soup every October. Recently, the BF and I had a good friend over for dinner, and she specifically requested it. I served biscuits with jalapeno butter, a crispy green salad, and various soup toppings for everyone to add what they like.
If you're familiar with the blog, you know I don't like super thick, heavy soups, so I lightened this up to my liking. The recipe also calls for ham, which I left out. Usually I prepare this vegetarian, but this time included crispy pancetta as a topping. You can leave it out, of course.
The pumpkin is really a nice background flavor. Key word is "background," as both the BF and guest did not realize pumpkin was one of the main ingredients.
Speaking of ingredients, I made a ton of changes to the original recipe:
My favorite stress-free kind of dinner party.
[Ed. note: Chef Jacquie loves her Halloween. How much? ↓↓↓]
A very vintage Steiner Halloween (Portland, 1966).
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 9 cups, approximately 6 servings
Soon. The guest blogger returns.
“It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon.”
-Sarah Addison Allen, First Frost
As much as the BF is a California Boy, the Oregon Girl in me loves autumn and the color orange. [Ed. note: Well too much orange reminds me of bad 1970s-era San Francisco Giants baseball.]
These golden babies are a marriage of crispy, sweet and slightly spicy flavors. Super healthy, and great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late-night snack.
PS: Last year our beloved chocolate rescue lab Marlowe made her blogging debut with these tasty mini-butterscotch apples (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mini-butterscotch-apples).
Adapted from: Eat Delicious, By Dennis The Prescott
Number of servings: 3-4 side servings
Curry Mayo Dip
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.
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)
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!
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.