Monday, July 29, 2013

Spinach and Feta Pie

After developing a solid spanakopita recipe, I assumed I was finished with my search for the perfect spinach 'pie'. Much to my dismay, our little one strongly dislikes the crisp, buttery phyllo crust. As soon as it touches her lips, her face gets a sour look and a very serious 'yuck' escapes her mouth. With all the labor it takes constructing a traditional spanakopita, and the fact that my daughter detests the best part, what is the point? On the upside, she loves the spinach filling. I knew it was time to reevaluate my vehicle for spinach. 

Not only is this much faster and easier to prepare than a spanakopita, it celebrates my daughter's favorite element of it. Since the crust is blind baked and not in the constant peril of any excess moisture that phyllo is, you don't have to drain the spinach before cooking! I'll be honest, that is one of my least favorite preps. You dirty a kitchen towel, and its a pain to clean out the little scraps of spinach from the sink (no garbage disposal or dish washer in our house). I even cheated a  bit and used some leftover pie crust I had in the freezer. After an effortless overnight thaw in the fridge, I was ready to go. 


1 lb organic chopped frozen spinach, slightly thawed
1/2 recipe prepared pie dough, or your favorite store bought pie crust
5 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated on a rasp
1/2 tsp kosher salt
pepper to taste
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
zest of 1 medium organic lemon
~6 oz light or full fat feta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350*. Ensure rack is in center of oven. Roll out thawed pie crust on a clean floured surface. Place into a deep pie dish and dock the crust with a fork. Take a large sheet of parchment paper and lay it over the crust. Fill with pie weights or 1 lb of dried beans (beans can't be used for any thing else after they've been used as pie weights). Bake in oven for about 15 - 20 minutes, till the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside. 

While the pie is blind baking, place a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp canola oil. Add the onion and cook till softened and slightly translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the spinach, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the garlic and stir well. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl beat together 4 large eggs with most of the milk till frothy. Add the lemon zest and mix well. By this time the spinach should have cooled down a bit, and is a good time to crumble in the feta. Spoon in the spinach filling into the prepared crust, then pour over the beaten egg and zest mixture. Gently move around the spinach to allow the egg to get well dispersed into the mixture. Lightly beat the last egg with any leftover milk and generously brush the crust with the egg wash. Top entire pie with grated Parmesan. 

Place in oven and bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or till the spinach and egg filling puffs up slightly and the cheese begins to brown. Remove and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. I like this pie best room temperature, so its great to bring along for picnics or cook outs.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Pecan Cookies

Every morning that my little girl wakes up, she is hungry. No hellos, good mornings or other greeting. 'num num? num num?!' she desperately calls out. To an outsider it may appear that we never feed her, when its actually quite the opposite. A big request lately that has been accompanying the num nums is 'cookie?' The fact that she always has this forlorn tone doesn't help her seem any less pitiful. So yesterday I finally kowtowed to her request, and I definitely got the sense from her that she knew this was inevitable. 

I don't know why oatmeal raisin cookies seem like a 'healthy' cookie option to me. There's the same amount of sugar and butter, yet the subtle bump in nutritional value from the oatmeal and raisins gets me every time. I adore nuts in my oatmeal cookies, so pecans were a must. I wanted to try something else besides cinnamon, and some ground cardamom found its way in there too. Just adding a pinch of it adds this wonderfully subtle floral note to the cookie. 


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cardamom
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups pecans, almonds or walnuts coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325*. Ensure the racks are in the middle 2 slots in the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpat. 

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cardamom in a medium bowl and stir well with a whisk. Set aside.

Mix the butter and sugars on medium high speed in a standing mixer till light and fluffy, about 3 - 6 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time with the mixer on medium, ensuring the first is fully incorporated before adding the second. Scrape the bowl a couple times during these additions. 

Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low till just incorporated. Turn off the mixer and add the nuts, oats and raisins. Mix till just combined.

Measure out the dough into 1/4 cup increments and lightly roll into a ball. Place on lined cookie sheets and flatten slightly with palm. Bake for 22 - 25 minutes, 2 sheets at a time, rotating them on the racks and turning sheets 180* halfway through cooking time. When done, cookies should be lightly golden brown at the edges and set, but still look soft and squidgy in the center. 

Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on the sheets for 10 minutes. Place the cookies on cooling racks to finish cooling. These cookies are good warm, but even better the 2nd day if stored in an air tight glass container. Yields about 20 cookies.

Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tofu Scrambler

I've finally perfected one of my all time favorite ways to eat tofu, and I couldn't be more thrilled. I've been eating the tofu scramblers at Beans and Barley for years, and I've been trying throughout that time to make it at home, to no avail. For a while I even succumbed to the idea that it'll just be one of those dishes that I can only eat out. One of the downsides of this is that depending on what day of the week we went to Beans, (i.e. who's cooking that day) the scrambler might not be that good. It started to become really frustrating when I'd get one that was knocked out of the park, and then a couple weeks later it would be barely edible. So I recommited myself to learning how to make this at home - if you can't get something done right, do it yourself, I always say. 

If I only had known how insanely easy this was to make, and there wasn't any real 'secret' or 'special' ingredients needed... well, lets just say I didn't kick myself too much upon discovery. This dish is all about technique and the little details, and lots of tahini and Bragg's. I like to make a large batch so we have plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day, which you wouldn't want to do if this were made with eggs. Ever try to save scrambled eggs and eat them the next day? Yeah, pretty repulsive. 

Out of all the vegetarian and vegan dishes I have on here, this is the one I really urge you to try. It's simple and (I think) shockingly good. The tofu gives you that protein punch you want in the morning, and the oils from the tahini keep you full for a long time. I usually serve this with potatoes, but I just wanted a larger batch of it with some really good sourdough toast. We tried Trader Joe's Sourdough with Asiago and Black Peppercorns, and it did not disappoint. 


1 1/2 pounds firm tofu (usually 1 1/2 packages)
11 ounces cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
5 scallions, sliced thinly
10 - 15 (depending on size) grape tomatoes halved
~3 Tbsp tahini
~3 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
3 Tbsp canola oil, divided

Heat 1 Tbsp of canola oil in a large (12") non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms with a pinch of salt and cook till all liquid has been released and has evaporated. When you can hear the mushrooms sizzling again, add all but 1 of the sliced scallions and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from pan and set aside. 

Add remaining 2 Tbsp of oil to the pan and dial up the heat to medium high. Halve the 2 bricks of tofu and place one of the halves into a glass container and cover with cool water. Cover and pop it into the fridge for a later use. With the remaining tofu, gently squeeze as much of the moisture out as you can into the sink, without it completely crumbling. Crumble the tofu into large chunks (about 1.5") into the oil. Let sit for a few minutes so a nice crust develops. 

Drizzle over the tahini and Bragg's. Stir the tofu well and let sit for another few minutes. Do this a couple of times till tofu is pretty well browned, but not over cooked (aka dried out). Add the halved tomatoes and cook till their skins are just starting to wrinkle. Add back the mushrooms and cooked scallions. Taste, and add more tahini or Bragg's as you see fit. Serve immediately with some fresh scallions as garnish, lots of potatoes (whatever way you like em) and toast.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Black Pepper Goat Cheese Burgers

Normally I'm not a huge burger fan- I can pretty much take em or leave em. Occasionally I will have a  yen for one though, and these have become the go to burgers in this house. I always have most of the ingredients on hand and just have to pick up some of my favorite pretzel buns (made in good ol' Milwaukee), fresh ground beef and/or portabella caps and we're in business.
You may think its the goat cheese whipped with coarsely cracked black pepper that makes these burgers... its not. Although a crucial element, its not what makes these burgers extraordinary. Its the garlic sesame oil they get a thorough dousing in that makes them so renowned in our house. You can definitely grill the burgers if you like, but I prefer mine thrown into a searingly hot cast iron skillet atop a melting knob of butter. Certainly not an everyday way to prepare them (at least you should try to abstain from frying your burgers in butter frequently), but O! are they dreamy.
serves 4 - 8... 1 beef burger or 2 portabellas per person

4 - 8 of your all time favorite burger buns
2 lbs organic grass fed ground chuck (for 4 burgers)
8 large portabella mushrooms (for 4 burgers)
5 - 6 oz chevre (soft goat cheese)
4 tsp coarsely cracked black pepper
splash of milk (preferably whole)
3 - 4 medium to large garlic cloves, grated on rasp or
   chopped into a paste
~1 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos or tamari
~2 tsp toasted sesame oil
~1 Tbsp canola or grape seed oil
~1 tsp mirin
4 Tbsp unsalted butter (for beef burgers)
1 Tbsp canola or grape seed oil (for mushroom burgers)
4 - 8 Tbsp milk mayonnaise or regular mayo
1- 2 large ripe tomato, sliced

Place the chevre in a medium bowl and add pepper. With a hand held mixer, beat the cheese till smooth. Add a splash or two of milk and beat again for about 30 seconds. Set aside to come to room temp.

Preheat a 8 - 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Mix together the Bragg's, sesame oil, canola oil and mirin. Try the sauce and adjust the mirin & oils to taste. It should be very spicy from the garlic, subtly sweet and quite salty with a pleasant nuttiness from the sesame oil. Double the sauce if making 8 burgers.

Scrape out most of the gills from the mushrooms - this is an important step, since the gills release more moisture and they will cook more quickly without them, as well as not turn your mushrooms completely black. Spread some of the garlic sauce over each side. Add 1 Tbsp canola oil to the hot pan and add the caps (if you're making 8, this will need to be done in 2 batches). Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes on the first side and 3 - 4 on the second. Remove and set aside.

If making burgers as well (or instead), divide the meat into 4 1/2 lb patties. Try not to handle the meat too much, as this will make your burgers tough. Ensure the patties are thinner in the center so they stay flat while cooking. Top with some finely cracked black pepper. Spread the garlic sauce on each side. Add 2 Tbsp of butter to the pan and cook the burgers 2 at a time, (4 minutes on first side, 3 on the second or a bit longer if you like them done well) adding the remaining butter for the 2nd batch. Remove from pan and set aside.

Split your buns and smear the bottoms with about 1 Tbsp of milk mayo or regular mayo. Top with 1 beef burger or 2 portabellas. Add 2 slices of tomato and 1 - 2 heaping Tbsp of whipped black pepper chevre. Serve immediately.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Watergate Trifle

My baby girl just turned 2 last week, and I had spent this past spring trying to decide on what kind of cake to make her this year. Last year's was my mother's 'infamous' carrot cake, which was a big crowd pleaser as well as being really enjoyed by my daughter - at least the parts that made it into her mouth. I wanted a memorable cake with a frosting to match, and  wouldn't be too fussy to decorate. 

One of my favorite cakes of all time is Martha Stewart's Glorious Wedding Cake that she made on Baking with Julia, and I've watched this episode more times than I can count. For my golden birthday (27), I requested my mother to make a small scale version of this cake for me, since at the time I was fully opposed to ever getting married. The cake was amazing, and lasted for days even with sharing, since it is a very dense and rich dessert. Thankfully, I met my husband only a couple months later and got to enjoy this cake (full scale version) all over again when we got married. I thought it would be a great thing to make for my daughter this year.

I began my search online for some inexpensive, high quality almond paste for the cake, and stumbled upon pistachio paste. I felt like a dummy for never realizing this stuff existed. My plans were at a standstill, since I knew I had to make a cake using this new 'discovery'. Then I remembered Watergate Cake. Some of you may be familiar with the recipe that combines a box of white cake mix with 7up and a box of pistachio pudding mix.  I wanted to make something that would be a little more 'high brow' I guess you could say, but in reality just taste a whole lot better. 

And I knew it had to be a trifle - beautiful, yet virtually no decorating (as in not rolling out and food safe color powder dusting dozens of marzipan cherries). I still got to use Martha's recipe for the dense cake, I just swapped the almond paste for pistachio. And good ol' America's Test Kitchen came in handy once again with their recipe for banana pudding that I adapted for the trifle. My good friend Diane who has had lots more experience than I at making many exciting cakes, including the petit fours for my baby shower, graciously accepted my 'invitation' to help me make this dessert. I probably could have done it with out her, but not without it completely bombing in one way or another, and me losing my head. 

This trifle can be made several days before it is needed since the elements keep well in the fridge if tightly wrapped. It should be assembled the night before you plan to serve, in order for the cake to absorb some of the rich pudding and the flavors to meld.


for the cake:       

1 cup packed pistachio paste
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup sifted cake flour

Preheat oven to 325*. Butter and flour a standard size loaf pan. 

Blend butter, paste and sugar in standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment for 1 minute till smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl once (batter will be a tad gritty from the paste). Replace the whisk for the paddle attachment. Add eggs one at a time and blend on medium speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl twice during this time. The batter should be very glossy and satiny. 

Remove bowl from mixer and sprinkle in a little the flour at a time and fold it in with a rubber spatula. Batter should have the consistency of light marshmallow fluff. Pour into pan, smooth top and gently drop it on a counter a couple times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 1 1/2 hours to 1 hour 45 minutes, or till cake tester (long bamboo skewer worked best for me) comes out with only a few crumbs attached. Remove cake and let rest for 20 minutes before removing from pan and cool for 2 hours. Wrap tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator till ready to use.

for the pudding:

8 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
6 Tbsp corn starch
6 cups half and half
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp pistachio extract
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Whisk the yolks, 1/2 cup sugar and corn starch together till they turn a pale yellow. Bring the half and half, salt and 1 cup sugar to a simmer in a large non-anodized pot (such as an enameled cast iron dutch oven) over medium heat, stirring often. Do not let this come to a boil.

Temper the yolks by adding about a 1/2 cup of the warm dairy mixture to them and whisking well. Whisk the tempered yolks into the the half and half, and whisk constantly till the mixture has thickened and there are small bubbles around the edge of the pan. 

Pour this mixture into a large bowl and stir in the butter, pistachio extract and citrus juices. Let cool for a few minutes, then place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Place into the refrigerator until completely cooled, about 3 hours.

for assembly you'll need:

1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp good vanilla extract
3/4 lb shelled pistachios - I used 1/2 salted and 1/2 unsalted, but the choose to combine or not, as well as the ratio, is up to you.

When ready to assemble, a trifle dish is ideal (you can find them almost anywhere and they are inexpensive) yet a large clear glass bowl would work fine as well. Remove any hardened edges from the cake with a good serrated knife, then cut into about 1 1/2 inch cubes. Place the cubes of cake into a tight single layer in the bottom of your dish. Evenly spoon over about 1/3 of your pudding. Sprinkle a layer of the pistachios, ensuring they are evenly dispersed, especially at the edges. Continue this process till all the cake and pudding is in the dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and pop into the fridge for 8 hours, or preferably overnight.

When ready to serve, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until it's softly whipped- a firm, overly whipped cream isn't desired here, since it will clash with the textures of the trifle. Smooth the whipped cream evenly over the top of the trifle, and sprinkle any extra pistachios on top. Serve in large bowls, with big spoons.
 Pistachio Cake recipe barely adapted from Martha Stewart's Glorious Wedding Cake from
Baking With Julia

Pistachio Pudding recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen's Banana Pudding

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Milk Mayonnaise

I've been wanting to try making mayonnaise for a long time now, and with having a toddler in the house and knowing there weren't pasteurized eggs available anywhere in my area, I thought this would be a luxury we couldn't enjoy till she was much older. But oh, I was wrong. I came across this intriguing recipe for milk mayonnaise on David Leite's 'blahg' on his wonderful site Leite's Culinaria. He shares his discovery of this small, yet seemingly miraculous emulsion on his humorous and always charming blog section of this great site.

The first time I made it, I was a little dubious it would turn out. And then all of a sudden it does, and it is knee buckling good. You'll find the original recipe here, but I'm including the one I made since it is slightly adapted, and with it will be a very simple recipe for chicken salad. Which will probably be one of the best you've ever tasted since it's using leftover roasted chicken and this ridiculously good mayo. And it's true what they say... once you make mayo from scratch, you'll never go back. 


for the milk mayonnaise:

1/3 cup very cold whole milk
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
few turns of your pepper mill
2/3 cup canola oil
salt to taste

Break our your immersion blender (or regular blender, although I've never used it for this since Mr. Leite highly recommends the immersion method) and add the milk, vinegar, pepper and garlic to a 2 cup capacity glass measuring container. Place this in the freezer while you measure out the oil. Pull out the milk and begin to blend till frothy, about 30 seconds. Slowly begin adding the oil with the blender on, beginning with drops and slowly increasing to a thread-like stream. Once the mixture begins to emulsify, set the oil to the side and move the blender up and down to get it really going. Continue adding the oil with the blender running till its all combined. Move the blender up and down, and give it a little stir every so often with the blender while its off to help incorporate it. Add a pinch of salt to taste and stir well. Voila- milk mayonnaise. Place in fridge and pull out any leftover chicken...

for the chicken salad:

1 1/2 - 2 chicken breasts, or 1 leg and 1 breast, skin removed and meat pulled off and shredded by hand (do not chop it with a knife into pieces- this is guaranteed to produce a dry tasting chicken even with copious amounts of mayonnaise)
1 tsp celery seed
1/3 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley or 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 - 2/3 cup milk mayonnaise (depending on how moist you like your chicken salad- start with a little at first since you can always add more)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let flavors meld. Serve on your favorite toasted bread with some crisp butter lettuce, or eat it straight from the bowl with a spoon. The mayo should be good for up to a week in the fridge, although I've never had it last that long. It only makes a cup at a time you know.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Dinner Volume I

Since I started cooking for myself, nothing said Sunday dinner to me like a good roasted chicken. There are literally thousands of ways to prepare it, and it can tend to be a fickle main course. I've never had it turn out the same way for me, yet fortunately if it was started with a really good chicken, they've never been bad. A winning preparation in our home is usually roasting the bird in a searingly hot oven atop a wire rack over thinly sliced potatoes. This encourages a crisp skin on the chicken as well as some absurdly good potatoes that have been 'oven fried' in a sense, in the chickens juices and fat, as well as the compound butter that had been spread under the skin. To change things up a bit for these warmer days, I omitted the satisfyingly greasy and crisp potatoes for a lighter version tossed with yellow haricot vert and a lemony vinaigrette. Some bitter mustard and collard greens or rainbow chard accentuate the richness of the chicken. Perfect summer time version of a wintery comfort food classic in my humble opinion.
The vinaigrette I made for the potatoes and beans uses a shallot oil that is very easy to make. I added some thinly sliced garlic and used the fried alliums to top my greens - this shallot oil is a real power player, let me tell you. I saw it on 101 Cookbooks and knew I had to try it immediately. Super versatile and with a long (refrigerated) shelf life, it is definitely worth slicing all those shallots.

To cut down a bit on my stress level, I like to make the shallot oil and greens the day before or morning of this meal. That way all I have to worry about is popping the chicken in the oven, boiling my potatoes and beans and quickly whisking up a vinaigrette. 

for the greens:

1 cup extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
1 cup thinly sliced shallots, ~15 - 20
10 cloves thinly sliced garlic
1.5 - 2 lbs greens of your choice, such as collards, mustard, chard or a combination thereof that have been thoroughly washed and loosely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
~1/2 cup low sodium vegetable stock

In a large saucepan, add the oil and heat over medium low. Add the shallots first and cook for about 4 - 5 minutes, till they start getting a little golden. Add the garlic and continue cooking, stirring frequently, till everything is golden and crisp. Turn off the heat and remove the crispy alliums to a paper towel lined plate. Let the oil cool to about room temp and place all but 2 Tbsp into a container with an air tight lid. Place this in the fridge.

Place pan over medium heat and add the greens, followed with the salt and pepper. Toss well until they begin to uniformally wilt. Add the vinegar and stock. Cover and cook for 25 - 35 minutes (depending on the greens your using - chard is quicker than the heartier greens), stirring occasionally. If the pan gets dry and the greens start sizzling, add a generous splash of stock. Once the greens are done, set to the side and let cool (if serving later) and store in an airtight container in the fridge. If not, serve immediately and top with the fried shallots and garlic.

for the chicken:

1 3 - 4 lb organic free range chicken, locally raised if 
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated 
1 heaping tsp dijon mustard
zest of whole organic lemon

Preheat your oven to 450*. Combine the butter and remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mix well- this can be done up to 3 days in advance; just bring to room temp before using. Set aside.

Spatchcock your chicken by removing the back bone with kitchen shears. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel. With the chicken breast side up, firmly push on the breast bone to break it. Gently slip your fingers under the skin and separate it from the meat, ensuring to release all the membranes attaching the skin to the chicken. Place about 1 Tbsp of the compound butter under each section of the chicken with a spoon. Spread the butter over the meat by moving your fingers over the skin - it is much easier this way and will actually stay under the skin. Spread any remaining butter over the skin and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Tuck the wings under the breast to keep from burning.

Place chicken on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack, or silpat. Ensure there is a rack on the 2nd to top level in your oven, and place your beautifully buttered bird onto the rack. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the weight of your chicken. I've made this a lot, so I can usually tell by the smell and feel of the chicken if its cooked through. If you're a bit wary of this, use a good meat thermometer. I believe 160 is recommended for the breasts and 165 - 175 for the thighs. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

for the potatoes and beans:

3 - 5 medium or small yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch
~1 lb haricot vert or regular green bean, trimmed
juice of the zested lemon
1/4 - 1/3 cup shallot oil (I like my vinaigrettes on 
   the vinegar-y side; a traditional ratio is 1 part
   acid to 3 parts oil)
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Place a large pot full of cold water on the stove and add the potatoes. Crank the heat to high. Once the water is boiling, add a heavy pinch of salt and cook the potatoes for 3 minutes. Add the beans and cook for 3 more minutes. While the veggies are cooking, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, mustard and a good pinch of salt and pepper. 

Drain the water and place cooked veg into a large bowl. You want the potatoes to be tender yet still firm so they don't fall apart once they're tossed. Pour over the vinaigrette and toss well. This is best served warm or room temperature, so its a great thing to make a while the chicken is resting.

This is a great meal for guests, or just your usual crew. If you end up with any leftover chicken, I'll be posting a 'to die for' chicken salad recipe later this week. It has officially become one of my husband's favorite things, and is a great way to make your leftovers almost better than they were the first time around.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Favorite Breakfast

I use quinoa a lot in my day to day cooking, and its great for breakfast or a light lunch. I have the ingredients for this almost at all times, so its always easy to throw together. The only patience required is for the kale chips; although they are very easy to make, they do take some time but its well worth it. They help round out the meal and add a big boost of nutrition. And, its the only way I can get my 2 year old to eat them. Of course, you can make nearly limitless variations on this, as you should. Any green is always nice, but if you have any legumes or beans leftover from a previous meal, they are a great addition too.

serves one

3 bunches or 1 large bag
    of your favorite kale

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 egg
1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp toasted sesame oil,
1 - 3 tsp Bragg's liquid 
   aminos (to taste)
salt and pepper
olive oil spray
sriracha (optional)

Preheat oven to 225*. Separate the well rinsed kale from the stalks (or open the bag) and place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Spray well with olive oil, sprinkle sparingly with salt and pepper. Toss
lightly and place in upper middle spot in oven. Cook for 30 - 45 minutes, tossing well 2 - 3 times. You'll know its ready when the kale has shrunk down a lot and all of it is very crisp. Remove and set aside. 

Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Drizzle in a tsp of sesame oil. Drop in your egg and gently cook to desired doneness. 

Meanwhile, place warmed quinoa in bowl and drizzle in remaining sesame oil and Bragg's. Mix well. Top with cooked egg, remaining butter and oil from pan, kale chips and sriracha. Serve immediately.