Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grilled Caesar salad


Hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend! I was in Atlanta for my nephew's first birthday, so I got to experience some real summer heat in addition to getting in some quality baby time. It was a great weekend - one of the highlights was witnessing my nephew's first taste of cake and ice cream, which was quite a sight to see. What did you do over the weekend? I bet there was grilling involved, for those of you lucky enough to have outdoor space for a grill. I don't have a grill, but I did break out the cast iron grill pan last night for this salad. I first had grilled lettuce a couple months ago at a restaurant and really liked it - the lettuce gets a bit of char and wilts slightly, but stays mostly crisp. I also love Caesar salad, so I was excited to try this recipe when I saw it in a recent issue of Cooking Light. The grilling adds a little something extra to the salad, and the garlic toasts are a nice substitution for croutons. Definitely a great recipe for summer! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Samosa galette


Samosas. One of the most popular Indian foods out there, yet one of the few things that I've never seen my mother make from scratch. She is an excellent cook, but I guess she always felt that it was easier to buy samosas than make them at home. I decided recently that I wanted to try at least once to make samosas from scratch, and found a recipe in my favorite Indian cookbook. However, as I was reading through the recipe, I started to realize that filling and shaping 20 individual samosas would be lot of work and that maybe store-bought is the way to go with samosas after all. But instead of giving up entirely, I decided to make one big galette with the traditional samosa filling, instead of shaping all of the individual pastries. It came out awesome - all the goodness of traditional samosas, but much easier to make!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Whole grain pancakes with macerated blackberries and Earl Grey whipped cream


I have a confession to make. There was a time when I didn't really like brunch food. When I'd go out to brunch with friends, I'd be the person ordering a turkey sandwich when everyone else was enjoying pancakes or omelettes. Happily though, I started to appreciate the merits of brunch food when I was in college. And now, nothing makes me happier than Eggs Benedict, or bagels with lox, or of course, pancakes.

I'm super excited to share this recipe with you. I don't have many breakfast/brunch recipes on the blog, but starting with this recipe, I'm going to change that. These pancakes are adapted from Heidi Swanson's wild rice pancakes in Super Natural Cooking - I always use buckwheat flour instead of wild rice flour, and I love how the pancakes taste. They have a more complex flavor than traditional white flour pancakes, and pair really well with the macerated blackberries and Earl Grey whipped cream. The idea of infusing whipped cream with tea was inspired by a recent issue of Bon Appetit, and I decided to use Earl Grey because I really enjoy the flavor of bergamot. When I told Andrew about the Earl Grey idea, he suggested that blackberries would be a good pairing, and he was absolutely right. The three components of this dish blend together beautifully to make an elegant dish that would be a great choice for a Mother's Day brunch.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Thai tempeh cakes


You may remember that in the past I have been lukewarm about tempeh, not really sure if I liked it or not. Well these tempeh cakes have convinced me once and for all that I do indeed enjoy tempeh. For me, it's all about the preparation - I find that tempeh is best crumbled or mashed into a patty and combined with strong flavors. This recipe is the perfect example, the tempeh is mixed with lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and cilantro and the cakes are served with a spicy-sweet dipping sauce...sounds pretty good, huh? I don't think I've ever had an appetizer like this before, and I really enjoyed it. I know that some of my readers have had bad experiences with tempeh - if you want to give it another chance, you should definitely try this!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Green curry wontons


When I was home visiting my parents, one of our family friends gave me a Thai cookbook as part of a graduation gift. I was pretty excited about this, since I love Thai food but don't know much about Thai cooking. As I was flipping through the book, I found myself especially drawn to the appetizer section, and decided to try a couple of the recipes this week. These green curry wontons were the first thing I made. They have a flavorful potato and vegetable filling, kind of like a Thai twist on samosas. I decided to bake them instead of frying, which ended up being a good decision - the wontons ended up perfectly crispy at the edges but weren't greasy at all. These were pretty easy to make, and I could definitely imagine serving something like this next time I have a party. With the success of this recipe, I think it's safe to say that you'll be seeing more Thai recipes on this blog as I experiment with more recipes from my new book!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Baked eggs with greens, yogurt, and spiced butter


Sorry for the lack of posts in the last couple weeks. Things suddenly got very busy, due to my job search as well as a number of social and family commitments, and I was having trouble coming up with good recipe ideas. But after a very, very relaxing few days at my parents' house, I'm ready to get cooking again! There's nothing like being spoiled by my parents to get me re-energized =).

I have been having a lot of fun creating original recipes lately, but it's still always nice to get back into my cookbooks for a while and get new inspiration from there. If you are a regular reader, then you know that I am a big fan of Yotam Ottolenghi, the author of Plenty. Flipping through Plenty always gets my mind buzzing with interesting ideas and flavor combinations, and I seem to come across something new every time I look through the book. This time I was drawn in by a recipe for baked eggs with arugula, yogurt, and chile oil. A variation of the same recipe appeared in the January 2012 issue of Bon Appetit, and I decided to mix and match components from the two Ottolenghi recipes along with a couple twists of my own.


We loved this dish - with some toasted crusty bread, it made a wonderful dinner, and would be equally good for brunch or lunch. It's got spinach and arugula, which makes it perfect for spring, and the creamy yogurt is the perfect complement to the spiced butter that is drizzled over the whole dish.