vegetables

Alone in the Kitchen

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Sometimes I joke about publishing a cookbook of foods I make and love but would never have the balls to serve up to another human without first letting them know what they were getting into. And obtaining said fellow human’s permission, of course. However, the market’s not exactly hurting for anecdotes on solo cooking and dining behavior. Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant covers that territory so well. If you haven’t read this book, I’d highly recommend checking it out. Reading it a few years ago was a nice revelation that I’m not the only mad scientist out there.

savory oatmeal with tahiniThat said, l fully support the notion that savory oatmeal should become a more mainstream thing. Yesterday I enjoyed a bowl of it topped with roasted veggies, caramelized onions, tahini, and goat cheese.

Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it…Aside from being delicious (in my humble opinion), it’s a great way to get in some veggies first thing.

What’s the weirdest thing you eat but would be hesitant to serve to someone else? 

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Stupid-Easy Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

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IMG_4922Good morning. Happy Monday. I’ve got a meatless recipe for you today.

Stuffed peppers were one of the first meals I learned to make as a college grad. They were so easy—and so cheap! For years, they were a weeknight staple, and I have no idea when and how they fell out of rotation. Until this weekend, I can safely say it had been ay least 3 years (if not longer) since I’d made them.

Go figure, it was this recipe from Self magazine that reminded me of how much I love lentil-stuffed peppers. Aside from being delicious, they’re a great source of protein, fiber, and iron—the absorption of which is enhanced by the vitamin C in the pepper. I decided to put a Mediterranean-style spin on it by using a blend of spices instead of salsa. I also topped mine with goat cheese and served it with mixed greens veggies mixed with hummus. Feel free to experiment.

Ingredients:

  • 1 halved bell pepper, cut in half and seeded
  • ½ cup cooked lentils
  • ¼ tsp each: oregano, rosemary, coriander, cinnamon, and cumin
  • 1-2 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 large handful baby spinach
  • ½-1 cup roasted peppers, eggplant, onion, and/or zucchini, chopped
  • 1 tbsp hummus

Directions:

  1. Microwave pepper halves on High for 2 minutes to soften. Set aside.
  2. Mix lentils with spices. Divide between the pepper halves and microwave for another 2 minutes until warm. Sprinkle 1 tbsp goat cheese on top and microwave another 30 seconds or so until the cheese melts.
  3. Place spinach in a microwave-safe bowl and wilt by cooking on High for 30-60 seconds. Add veggies and microwave another minute. Add hummus and mix well. Cook another 30-60 seconds if desired.
  4. Pour veggies onto plate with pepper. Add the last tbsp of goat cheese if desired.

What was one of the first foods you learned to make? 

First Thursday Things for 2014

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How was your first day of 2014? Today has been my day off after working yesterday, so I’ve been catching up on some of the little human things. There’s a big-ass snowstorm on its way, so it’s nice to have a day to do things like clean my closet and make soup. Because I have some red lentils, frozen spinach, and canned tomatoes handy, this recipe from Oh She Glows is sounding pretty good.

For me, a day off also means savory breakfast:
savory oats with brussels sprouts

This oatmeal had ground flax, grated zucchini, baby spinach, and an egg white cooked in, plus plenty of garlic, ginger, turmeric and red pepper flakes. I topped it with some leftover roasted brussels sprouts. Weird but delicious.

A few other things I’m enjoying today:

  • Food 52’s “New Year’s Resolutions Made Easy” —worth a look for the beautiful photos alone!
  • New York Magazine‘s restaurant critic Adam Platt introduces his top picks by sharing some thoughts on the myth of anonymity and the restaurant critic’s role in a  world where everyone is a critic.
  • This piece from Glamour‘s “Jake” columnist  in which Jake meets a woman who’s frozen her eggs. It offered a perspective I hadn’t really considered and made me feel less weird about wanting to put mine on ice. I don’t mean to imply that male validation is the important factor here, but knowing that there are men out there who will think positively of it instead of viewing me as selfish and/or desperate was encouraging. It’s only something I’ve been thinking about more recently, and it’s very expensive, but I’m a gal who likes options and is willing to work hard to make things possible.
  • Adopt-a-Pet. I’m starting to want a dog for real. I don’t know if this will be the year, but the wheels are turning. Anyone moving and need someone to give your goldendoodle a good home?

I also finally got snow boots, something I’ve not had since I lived in Boston. Sometimes it seems like I just got to New York, an anxious 22-year-old kid in need of a a change of scenery. Other times, I feel like I am both halves of an eccentric NYC couple who’s been living here for 30 years. We love reading the Times over coffee on a Sunday morning while listening to WNYC. Either way, I’m happy to be here.

Mostly, I’m just excited that now that the holidays are over, things can finally start moving again!

What are you most looking forward to this year? What do you eat for breakfast on a day off? 

Red-and-Green After-Christmas Detox

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If you are like the majority of Americans who just celebrated Christmas, chances are you’re probably feeling a little, “OMG why did I eat that?” Or “Ugh, SO. Much. Pie.” Or at least feeling extra-motivated to hit the gym and “eat better” come January first. Why wait to feed yourself something healthy?

red and green detoxThis recipe is stupid-easy and super-satisfying. Yes, we are going to use a lot of hyphens for this one. Sorry, no bacon here, but maybe you’re bacon-ed out from all those holiday brunches and side dishes with their salty-crunchy garnishes?

I made this on the 26th and enjoyed the leftovers at work the next day. You can also serve this for two with some wine and crusty bread instead of seltzer from the soda fountain and a side of crackers in a Ziploc…

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale and/or spinach
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 handful grape tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Directions: 

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and shallot. Sauté until fragrant and shallot is translucent.
  2. Add greens and cook until they start to wilt. Add red pepper flakes, if using.
  3. Add mushrooms and grape tomatoes. Cook until they begin to soften.
  4. Add chickpeas. Mix everything well and cook until greens are wilted, mushrooms and tomato are soft, and chickpeas are nice and hot.
  5. Serve garnished with grated cheese.

What foods do you like to make after a string of indulgent holiday meals? 

Warming Savory Oatmeal

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I’ve noticed that when the temperatures drop, I start to wake up craving savory foods with a lot of spice to them—and vegetables. Since I believe that cravings can be our body’s way of telling us what it needs. It makes perfect sense to me that my tastes would change with the seasons. Warming spices like ginger and turmeric also start showing up a lot more.

savory oatmealI’ve certainly posted pictures of savory oatmeal before, but it’s about time I included a recipe! It’s not any different from how you’d prepare sweet oatmeal, really—just the spices and add-ins change a bit. Here’s a recent favorite, which uses grated zucchini and spinach to add a dose of green to your morning meal.

Ingredients:

  • ~1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/4 c liquid egg whites or 1 egg (optional)

Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil. Stir in oats, flax, and spices. Lower heat.
  2. Add zucchini and spinach. Cook ~5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. When water is almost all absorbed, add the egg whites and whisk 2-3 minutes.
  4. Cover pot with a lid for ~5 minutes.
  5. Enjoy hot.

You can eat this as is, but it’s also wonderful with a spoonful of tahini on top for added flavor and satiating fat. I haven’t tried making this ahead of time and reheating later, but that’s on the experiment list for this week!

Do you prefer savory or sweet breakfast? What breakfast are you loving lately? 

PS—You may have noticed I finally alphabetized my Recipes page to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. More exciting changes coming soon!

Beyond Sushi

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One of the many wonderful things about NYC is the food—this is a town that caters to practically any kind of diet you can think of. It’s especially friendly to vegetarians and vegans. The other night, I had the pleasure of dining with a few herbivore friends at Beyond Sushi (which I think I maybe first heard about on Valerie’s blog?).

This place is the creation of Hell’s Kitchen, finalist, Chef Guy Vaknin, who saw a need for delicious, vegan sushi, and began creating gorgeous fruit and vegetable sushi. Each piece comes wrapped in either black forbidden rice or a customized six-grain rice blend. Tofu, veggie purées, and delicious sauces like toasted Cayenne, Carrot Ginger, Shiitake Teriyaki, Mango Chili, or White Miso take the place of high-sodium soy sauce (though you can still find it on the table). There are also delicious noodle soup bowls as well as appetizers and desserts.

There are only three small tables in the East 14th Street location, but we managed to score a spot by the window. Every single thing we ordered was delicious. My friends shared some sushi (and were kind of enough to share—I can totally vouch for the “Crunch N’ Munch” roll) and coconut curry noodles, while I went with a mushroom-tastic soba noodle bowl with white miso sauce. beyond sushi mushroom noodles

F-ing awesome. Did I ever mention that mushrooms are one of my favorite foods ever? If I lived closer, I would probably eat here all the time. I already can’t wait to go back. For those of you who prefer to stick to the west side, there’s also a location called The Green Roll in Chelsea Market. I’m looking for an excuse to visit soon. You should too.

Have you ever had vegetarian sushi? Do you like mushrooms? 

Egg White…Pizza?

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File this one under: Things I Love But Would Never Serve Another Human Being:

egg white pizza(or at least a human being I was trying to, like, “entice”/woo)

I’m not too lazy to flip my omelet—It’s um, egg white pizza. Or maybe I can get away with calling it a frittata? Either way, it’s fantastic—and easy. I have reached a new height of Bachelorette Cuisine and am totally not going back to ugly, old egg white scrambles.

I’ll work on presentation when I have a reason…

What foods do you make when you’re cooking for just yourself?