Falafel with tzatziki sauce

Adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook and The Mediterranean Dish

Ingredients (falafel):

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 12 cup onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons cumin (can use a bit more if you like)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 dashes cayenne pepper
  • 14 cup fresh parsley, chopped and packed
  • 14 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 13 cup flour
  • oil, for pan frying (we used canola oil)

Ingredients (tzatziki):

  • 3/4 English cucumber, partially peeled (striped) and sliced
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 4 – 5 garlic cloves, peeled, finely grated or minced (you can use less if you prefer)
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Arlotta garlic infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used organic fat free Greek yogurt, but you can use 2% or whole milk Greek yogurt, if you like)
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients except flour in a large mixing bowl. Hulk smash.
  2. Thoroughly mix flour into the falafel batter with a spoon.
  3. Warm pita bread for serving. Sliced vegetables for serving.

Jesse got the idea for this based on the Moosewood recipe — imagine my surprise when I discovered it’s the same Moosewood as the restaurant in Ithaca, NY!

-Jessica

Turkey chili with beans

Adapted from smitten kitchen and a Whole Foods ingredients list

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 2 1/4 pounds ground turkey (I used 1 lb.)
  • 2 cans 15.5 oz dark kidney beans, drained (I used Teasdale Chile verde beans and Goya Frijoles negros)
  • 1 14 ounce (400 g) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup canned vegetable stock or turkey broth
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa or cornmeal (I used corn starch)
  • 1/3 cup chili powder (I used paprika instead — sweeter flavor)
  • oregano, basil
  • cilantro, chopped, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Place a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, stirring well, and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the celery.
  3. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Gradually add the broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Stir in all of the spices (e.g. chili powder, cumin), cocoa (thickener), and tomatoes (and tomato paste).
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the beans, bell pepper, salt, and vinegar (or lime juice), stirring well.
  5. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes more. Adjust flavor with your spices of choice. Top with the chopped cilantro.
  6. Garnish with cheddar, sour cream, and jalapeno, as you like it. Serve hot, with cornbread, if desired.

Turkey is good brain food, and Whole Foods has a Tequila lime turkey chili with beans that we would get, before I tried this recipe. I love the tomato paste that comes in metal tubes, like at Rewe or Kaufland or Edeka, because you wouldn’t have to worry about finishing the tin or storing the unused bit. I added ½ a carrot because I had it on hand and I didn’t think it would detract from the primary flavors. Wish I had some cheddar to grate on top!

Happy Boxing Day,
~Jessica

Tex-Mex chicken burrito (bowl)

Adapted from Mexican Please and My Latina Table

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup pico de gallo or fresh salsa (I chopped a Roma tomato and Vidalia onion to make one quick)
  • 1 14-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6-7 chicken thighs, seasoned, baked, shredded
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • 1 1/3 cups cooked white rice, warmed
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese (I used mozzarella and cheddar)
  • Guacamole, for serving (whenever possible)
  • sour cream

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Onion (white)
  • 2 cloves garlic (large)
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Stock
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 white onion, sliced (substituted from jalapeno — baby can’t handle too spicy)
  • 6-7 chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (I used peanut oil)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup pico de gallo and peppers if you have on hand (we didn’t); cook until the mixture starts to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the beans and 3/4 cup water; bring to a low boil, then stir in the chicken and cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt.
  2. Heat the tortillas as the label directs. Arrange the rice horizontally in the lower half of each tortilla, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border on all sides. Top evenly with the cheese, chicken mixture, sour cream and the remaining pico de gallo.
  3. Fold the bottom edge of each tortilla snugly over the filling, tuck in the sides and roll up tightly. Cut the burritos in half and serve with guacamole.

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  1. Roast the tomatoes, onions, and garlic together on a frying pan until slightly browned. 
  2. Put the tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a blender with the spices, the chicken stock, and the whipping cream and blend until smooth. (No blender, hence the orange sauce with tomato and onion you see in the photo — great topping for leftovers!)

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, dried oregano, paprika, garlic powder, lime juice, olive oil, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, cilantro and sliced onions.
  2. Place chicken thighs in the bowl and toss marinade over thighs. Mix well together. Let the chicken marinade in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or overnight. (We did it promptly.)
  3. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Heat coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken thighs skin side down and cook until skin begins to get crispy and slightly light brown, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Flip thighs over, transfer skillet to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper to taste and garnish with more cilantro and onion slices if desired.

My sister Jennifer likes easy to make meals, as a mother of two. She had some chicken thighs defrosting in the fridge, ready to go, so I tried to go extra authentic Mexican on this Tex-Mex favorite. I used the spice mixture from Isabel Eats to bake the chicken 35 minutes. Next time I’ll make the arroz rojo properly. To make the Goya black beans, I followed the back of the can recipe. So really this was three separate recipes: the baked Mexican chicken, the Guajillo salsa, and the black beans. Not bad for Spring Break full on meal.

~Jessica

Fried salmon with fresh tomato and avocado salsa

Adapted from My Colombian Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound salmon
  • 1 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Drizzle olive oil over the salmon. Coat completely. Combine cumin, salt, and pepper and sprinkle mixture over the fish.
  2. When the pan is hot, place fish, skin side down. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes. Carefully turn the salmon, cover and grill an additional 3-4 minutes, more or less, depending on your taste. When the fish is cooked to your liking, remove from the pan and top with the avocado salsa.
  3. To make the salsa: Combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and avocado. Squeeze the lime juice over the salsa and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Set the salsa aside until serving.

I picked up an avocado at the corner green grocer. Had diced white onions and no fresh lime (not the season), and leftover (Whole Foods organic) cilantro from last time. I bought some local cherry tomatoes of different shapes and colors from Whole Foods, splurge! I forgot and used 1/2 lemon instead of the 1/2 lime still in the fridge (it was very dry though). I steamed a broccoli crown (over cooked a little bit more than the 4 minutes I should have done) for extra vegetable. And served over a bed of 1/2 organic brown, 1/2 Chinese white rice.

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 6

Ingredients
GOYA black bean soup $1.50
Dried rosemary $6.29
1 carrot $0.23
1 zucchini $0.94
4 tomatoes on the vine $1.33
10 oz white button mushrooms $1.79
Total: $12.08

Directions
Chop fine 1 red onion, 3 cloves of garlic. Saute in olive oil in a medium pot. Season with salt, cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes, crushed rosemary. Chop 1/2 carrot, 1/3 zucchini, 1 tomato, 5-6 mushrooms. Saute vegetables over medium heat. Add the can of black bean soup, plus another cup of water rinsing the can. Season with turmeric, thyme, oregano, paprika, and cumin. Raise heat and cook until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer. Here I added 1/4 box of penne rigate and enough water to cover it, cooking it al dente for 5 minutes. Serves 3-4.

I recently acquired some cheese from Trader Joe’s, so feel free to slice / grate some on top for a Tex-Mex feel. It’s rather hard to shop plastic-free at TJ’s I realize now — not great for #plasticfreeJuly then.

~Jessica

Shakshuka

aka Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة‎‎) Adapted from smitten kitchen and Simply Recipes

olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed then sliced
salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, ground cumin, paprika
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
1 medium summer squash or zucchini, cored and thinly sliced
3 Anaheim chiles or jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
4-6 eggs
3/4 cup pesto, homemade or store-bought (optional)
Handful of fresh basil leaves / parsley, for garnish (optional)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
warmed pitas / bread, to serve

Heat oil in saucepan/pot over medium. Add onions, then garlic, and cook until golden and fragrant. Add the chilies. Add the spices. Crush and add the tomatoes with their liquid. Add half a cup of water. Add the zucchini / squash. Simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Crack eggs evenly across the sauce. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Spoon hot sauce over the eggs to poach them. Garnish with pesto (to replace zhoug) if using. Serve with feta cheese and bread of choice.

~Jessica

P.S. Amber was craving African food, after her most excellent trip earlier this year. Voila!

Quesadillas

Adapted from smitten kitchen‘s taco torte recipe

vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 clove garlic, minced
1 fresh jalapeno/habanero/serrano pepper, chopped small (optional)
ground cumin, chili powder to taste
1 can chopped tomatoes, drained, with 1/3 cup juice reserved
2 cans black, red and/or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can corn, drained
rough-chopped spinach leaves
6 flour tortillas (I like the corn ones, cause you can’t find them in Germany)
shredded cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice (only had lemon juice)
Chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or salsa for garnish (optional)
2 radishes, sliced thin (didn’t have)
1 avocado, sliced (not ripe)

Saute onion, garlic, poblano pepper (and I threw in celery) in pan over medium heat until fragrant. Add the spices. Add the tomatoes and drained beans. Season with salt and pepper. Add the corn. I could have added mushrooms, but decided against it after having had mushroom risotto last night.

How to decide between authentic Mexican street foods (antojitos)? There are burritos, gringas, enchiladas, nachos, panuchos, salbutes, tacos, taquitos/flautas, tlayudas — all original Mexican dishes made with tortillas. Flour tortillas are often used for burritos and quesadillas, while corn tortillas are used for the rest. Lesson learned: Fajitas are Tex-Mex!

~Jessica

Slow cooker chili con carne

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My sister just had a new baby, so we’ve been trying to create protein-rich, one pot meals that aren’t too complicated. Photo above includes the leftovers paired with a mushroom spinach cheese omelette and smoked gouda on English muffin.

Adapted from smitten kitchen

lean ground turkey (we had beef in the freezer)
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
chili powder, ground cumin, kosher salt, paprika, oregano, Dried red pepper flakes
1 can crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can cannellini beans, drained
1-2 jalapenos or other fresh hot pepper, minced (we can’t tolerate too spicy though!)
1 bell pepper
vegetable/olive oil
1/2 bottle fresh tomato sauce or tomato puree
3 tablespoons cider vinegar (we forgot, next time!)
1 bottle beer (next time!!)

Heat the oil over moderately low heat and cook the onions until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Raise the heat to medium and add the beef, stirring and breaking up any lumps until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Mix all the rest of the ingredients in your slow cooker. Serve with sour cream and grated cheese.

~Jessica

Bulgur salad with chickpeas, roasted red peppers and cumin

Adapted from smitten kitchen, adapted from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen

500 g fine-grain bulgur
700 mL boiling water
3 splashes of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt
60 mL extra-virgin olive oil
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (400 g)
170 g drained jarred roasted red peppers, diced (I made mine)
170 g quartered cherry tomatoes
1 shallot, finely chopped
fresh parsley leaves, minced
1 medium head Bibb lettuce (I had iceberg)
4 pita breads, warmed and cut into wedges

IMAG5540.jpgAdd boiling water to bulgur. Set aside for 15-20 minutes. Mix lemon juice, honey, cumin, cayenne, salt, and olive oil together. Toss chickpeas, peppers, tomatoes, onion, and parsley with the bulgur to this dressing. Plate this on lettuce leaves inside the pita bread.

~Jessica

Falafel with pita chips and yogurt

Arabic: فلافل Adapted from smitten kitchen

170 g falafel mixture (from the box)
olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
ground cumin
ground coriander
paprika
cayenne
Few gratings fresh lemon zest
coarse sea salt (depending on broth)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (for cooked chickpeas)
A few grinds of black pepper

Serve with:
Fresh pitas
Big handful of parsley (or a mix of parsley, cilantro and mint would be good too)
1/4 cup pine nuts
Tomato-cucumber “relish” salad
Tahini and plain yogurt
Additional paprika for sprinkling

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To make a tomato-cucumber “relish” salad: Chop some tomatoes and a smaller cucumber into very small pieces. Finely chop 1/4 of a small red onion. Mix vegetables and onion in a bowl and dress to taste with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper.

To make lemon-tahini yogurt: Whisk 6 spoonfuls of well-stirred tahini in the bottom of a bowl. Whisk in the juice of a whole lemon, 1 minced garlic clove and 4 tablespoons water until smooth. Whisk in 1 cup plain yogurt, about 1/4 at a time, until smooth. Season with salt.

~Jessica