Baked chicken shawarma and rice

Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats

Ingredients:

Spice Rub

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional — I will omit next time)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 5 chicken thigh fillets, bone in, skin on (~ 2 lbs / 1 kg)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion , finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice, uncooked (I used Jasmine)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp cardamon powder
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder)
  • 400g (14oz) can chickpeas , drained
  • Yoghurt (plain)
  • Cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Mix the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Slather onto the chicken, covering both sides. Marinate for at least 1 hour (up to 24 hours).
  3. During this time, we prepped the rest of the ingredients. Mince the garlic, dice the onion, fancy up the yogurt garnish with lemon + garlic + salt + pepper, etc.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until light golden brown.
  5. Add garlic and onion. Cook for 2 minutes until translucent.
  6. Add rice and stir so the grains are coated in oil and become a bit translucent.
  7. Add remaining ingredients. Place the chicken on top – it should be half submerged with the skin above the surface. Pour in the juices from the plate as well.
  8. Bring to simmer, then place a lid on (or cover with foil) and transfer to oven.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  11. Remove chicken from the rice and mix the rice quickly (to distribute flavor).
  12. Serve, garnished with cilantro and plain yoghurt.

This popped up because I was looking for a one skillet pan, to try my new Dutch oven my sister had recommended! I recommend omitting the cayenne / red pepper flakes unless you really really like spicy. The other spices already added so much variety and aroma.. Jesse really liked this one — so much that he went and made it for his family ASAP. Highly recommend!

~Jessica

Turkey kofte

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Kofte Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 fresh red chili
  • 50 g. pistachios
  • 3 sprigs cilantro
  • 3 sprigs parsley (omitted)
  • 3 sprigs mint
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 large egg
  • 500 g. ground turkey
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Chili sauce ingredients: (I recommend halving this)

  • 4 ripe tomates
  • 2 small onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 jalapeno chilies
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. tomate paste
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Tahini yogurt:

  • 250 g. Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. tahini
  • 1 squeeze of lemon juice

Turkish pilav:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves. garlic
  • 300 g. bulgur wheat
  • 400 ml. hot chicken stock
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 80 g. broken rice vermicelli
  • 100 g. can chickpeas

Directions:

  1. Finely grate the courgette, trim and finely chop the spring onions and green chilli, then chop the pistachios. Pick and finely chop all the fresh herbs.
  2. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan until smelling fantastic. Meanwhile, lightly beat the egg.
  3. Mix all the kofte ingredients together in a large bowl, keeping some pistachios back to garnish, then season well.
  4. With wet hands, form 16 kofte, each the size and shape of a small egg. Leave in the fridge to firm up for at least 30 minutes, then thread onto metal skewers, two kofte on each.
  5. Cook the kofte under a grill or over a flame charcoal grill, on high for 12 minutes, until juicy, golden brown and cooked through, turning regularly.
  1. To make the chilli sauce, halve the tomatoes and onions (there’s no need to peel), and bash the unpeeled garlic cloves.
  2. Place the red chillies, tomatoes, onions and garlic on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and season, then roast for 25 minutes or until soft and slightly blackened.
  3. Allow to cool slightly, then carefully remove and discard the stalks from the chillies, the cores from the tomatoes and the skins from the onions and garlic.
  4. Add to a food processor, along with the sugar, tomato purée and vinegar. Blitz until smooth and add a lug of oil to make it glossy. Pulse again, then season.
  1. For the tahini yoghurt, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season with a pinch each of sea salt and black pepper.
  1. To make the pilav, peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Add a lug of oil to a non-stick pan over a medium-low heat, then sweat the onion and garlic for 10 minutes. Add the bulgur and stir to coat.
  2. Pour in the stock, bring it to the boil, then turn down the heat to very low. Cover with a lid and steam the bulgur for 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, melt the butter and cook the vermicelli until the butter turns golden brown.
  4. After 8 minutes, add it to the bulgur along with the chickpeas – don’t stir at any point, just replace the cloth and lid and let it steam for another 8 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes – you should end up with a beautifully light and fluffy pilav.

OMG this utterly takes two hours. The flavors and textures combined together so amazingly, and we regret nothing once we FINALLY sat down, but if we had known it would take that long, in such a very humid NYC summer… At least you can eat all the leftovers cold, cold, cold. Optimism! The recipe makes way, way too much chile sauce — I would halve that recipe for sure. Everything else was in good proportions.

I used white sugar, and apple cider vinegar instead of the recommended ingredients. I didn’t buy parsley or broken rice vermicelli — although I do like rice vermicelli, but neither of us care for parsley over much. Next time! (Just kidding — or at least not in summer. Ever.) We tried “grilling” the kofte and “oven roasting” the vegetables in a cast iron pan, which took considerably more time than the original recipe called for, and made the kitchen (and my apartment) hot, hot, hot. We even tried making the bulgur pilav in the cast iron, but that was unnecessary, and transferred it back to my ceramic pan later on. The turkey is quite lean, so I would love to try this (or another turkey meatball recipe) with ground pork instead. Fatty pork ftw.

~Jessica

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

Shaved Brussels sprouts and shallot sauté

Adapted from Bon Appétit and Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 1020 g Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed
  • 85 g pancetta (nitrite free)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (truffle aroma)
  • 12 medium shallots, thinly sliced (1 medium-small red onion, minced)
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (or whole)
  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Rinse sprouts. Working in small batches, de-stem Brussels sprouts to speed up removal of outer leaves. Then slice thinly.
  2. Slice the shallots / mince the onion.
  3. I toasted the pine nuts while I cooked the chopped pancetta, beforehand, a few minutes.
  4. Melt butter with olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add shallots; sauté until almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add Brussels sprouts; increase heat to medium-high and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pine nuts and all the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon pine nuts and serve.
Shopping ingredients (roast almonds and raisins for the Swedish Mulled Wine (Glogg) Recipe – NYT Cooking)

I wanted to contribute something to my college friends’ pot roast potluck for NYE this year. A friend from our Ladies League NoMan (Northern Manhattan) meet-up made this for our Friendsgiving potluck this year, so inspiration is all hers. I added pancetta (no nitrates), made in New England. Red onion is the healthiest onion — grocery was out of shallots, sadly! Ah well. Those pignolis — so expensive!

~Jessica

Cardamom walnut cookies

Adapted from epicurious + recommended by a friend

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. For the 2 coatings: Mix 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom in large bowl. Mix 1/2 teaspoon cardamom and powdered sugar in medium bowl. Set mixtures aside.
  2. Combine remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom, butter, vanilla extract, lemon peel and salt in another large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat at medium-high speed until well blended. Add flour and chopped nuts. Beat until smooth dough forms, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Gather dough into ball and wrap in plastic; chill 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Using hands and generous 1 tablespoon dough for each cookie, roll dough into forty-eight 3/4-inch balls; transfer to baking sheets. Bake cookies until golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on sheets.
  4. Add 12 warm cookies to large bowl of granulated sugar and cardamom and toss gently to coat. Repeat with 12 more cookies. Let remaining 24 cookies cool completely on sheet. Sift powdered sugar and cardamom mixture over. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container.)

~Jessica

P.S. You might note these were not dusted in any sugar or extra cardamom — my uncle is pre-diabetic, and I wanted to reduce some sugar content!

Kombucha tea

Best summed up by The Kitchn

Ingredients to brew Kombucha:
4 cups of filtered water, then 8 cups of cool filtered water
6 bags of black tea (6 grams of loose tea)
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of “starter tea” from last kombucha brew (if you have it)
1 active Kombucha SCOBY

Equipment:
Stock pot to sterilize bottles
1 gallon glass jar
organic cotton cloth / bag
six swing-top bottles w/ caps – 16.9oz, Amber Glass
glass measuring cup

Directions:

  1. Boil four cups of water.
  2. Add the cup of sugar and dissolve it in a glass receptacle.
  3. Steep the tea bags in the sugar water for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Measure out the eight cups of cool water into your gallon glass jar (emptied and cleaned and rinsed).
  5. Add the four cups of tea to the gallon jar.
  6. If you have two cups of “starter tea” from the last kombucha brew, add it to the gallon jar.
  7. Once the gallon jar is room temperature-cool, slip your scoby into the gallon jar.
  8. Cover the jar with an organic cotton cloth, secure with twine / rubber bands, and set aside in a warm place out of direct sunlight. Ferment for 7 to 10 days.
  9. After seven days, taste the kombucha daily until the sweet-tart flavor is balanced to your preference.

Ingredients to bottle brewed Kombucha:
orange, ginger, lemon, lime, berries, mint, etc.

Directions for second fermentation/bottling:

  1. Prepare fresh tea (as directed above) for your next batch.
  2. Take out the scoby with cleaned hands (rinsed well). Remove the bottom (momma) scoby layer to give away to a friend or toss or save for back-up. Set aside the top (baby) scoby carefully for your next batch in a glass receptacle.
  3. Set aside two cups of this kombucha homebrew as “starter tea” for your next batch.
  4. Pour the fermented kombucha into your sterilized (5 minutes boiled) bottles.
  5. Add sliced flavorings (see above) to bottles — experiment! Leave 1.5 cm. head space in the bottle before capping.
  6. Prep your next batch: clean the gallon jar after emptied. Combine the 4 cups tea, 8 cups cool water, 1 cup sugar, and 2 cups of “starter tea” in the gallon jar. Slip (newest) scoby carefully into jar.
  7. Store these bottles at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2-4 days, and pop the cap open each day to release excess carbonation.
  8. Refrigerate to stop fermentation. Drink within a month.
  9. Repeat

I picked up a scoby from a kombucha-brewing friend (Amber) and used regular Lipton tea bags and white sugar (my grandma saves them from her senior community center in Queens). Avoid any teas that contain oils, like earl grey or flavored teas. Avoid touching metal, especially aluminum. Peel off the bottom (oldest) layer every few batches. Can’t wait to try a berries and mint combination, as recommended by a friend!

~Jessica

Avocado pasta

IMG_20180403_144205.jpgAdapted from Damn Delicious

Ingredients:
350 g spaghetti
2 ripe avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:
In a large pot of boiling water, season with salt and cook pasta according to package instructions; reserve a little pasta water. We had fusilli, which took 9 minutes to cook al dente.
To make the avocado sauce, combine avocados, basil (didn’t have — next time!), garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor (I minced and mashed by hand with a rice paddle); season with salt and pepper, to taste. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, avocado sauce, cherry tomatoes and corn (vegetables next time).
Serve immediately.

Herbed summer squash pasta bake

IMG_2707Adapted from smitten kitchen

Ingredients:
250 g De Cecco pasta
olive oil
3 summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
Juice of half a lemon
45 g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large or 5 skinny scallions, sliced thin, white and green parts separate
Pinches of red pepper flakes, to taste
25 g (3 tbsp) all-purpose flour
350 mL (1 1/2 cups) broth
thyme, oregano, salt and more pepper to taste
finely grated parmesan cheese
smoked Gouda, cubed small
chopped basil

Directions:
Cook the pasta to al dente in salted water. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high, season with salt and pepper, and fry the zucchini for 10 minutes without burning, browning both sides. Remove, and sprinkle the squash with some lemon juice. Melt butter in the pan on medium heat and fry the scallion whites and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the flour until absorbed by the butter. Slowly add the (milk) broth, incorporating each time you mix it together. Season with lemon, salt, and pepper. Simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and mix in all herbs. Season to taste. Add the gravy sauce to your baking dish. Add the pasta, squash, and cheeses. Stir to combine. Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown. Serve hot, topped with chopped basil.

I subbed broth for the whole milk and smoked Gouda for the mozzarella. It made the sauce a quite nice gravy, surprisingly. I also had two tomatoes and some reserved puree that needed to go somewhere so… Mystery pasta bake. Yum! In hindsight, however, this would have been super delicious without the addition of tomatoes, although Amber really didn’t mind them.

~Jessica

Strawberry chia jam

IMG_2693.JPG

Fresh  out of the pot

Adapted from Nadia Lim

Ingredients:
2 cups strawberries, frozen
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp chia seeds
splash of vanilla extract (optional)
splash of water
splash of lemon juice

Directions:
Mix all ingredients except chia seeds. Cook in a small pot over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Stir until thickened, breaking up the fruit. Sweeten to taste. Add the chia seeds and stir for a minute. Let jam cool slightly, then transfer to heatproof, sterilized jars (I adore Bonne Maman preserves, so I always save up their jars). Cover and let cool completely. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

IMAG1293After looking up all of those interesting ways to use chia seeds, I became fascinated with this simple recipes. Only berries and sugar and chia seeds are essential, but I had the rest in the pantry, so hey, why not? All the little chia seeds look like strawberry seeds in the photo! I thought the vanilla flavouring unnecessary, so I wouldn’t add it next time. And it wasn’t overly sweet, as most jams are — a nice change!

~Jessica

Chole

aka Chana masala. Adapted from Padma Lakshmi, a repeat from an earlier recipe.

2 onions, quartered
1 bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped (I used red)
6 large firm, ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
Salt, to taste
2 (15-ounce) cans chick peas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, or to taste

Chop finely the onions, bell pepper, tomatoes and ginger root. In a pot set over medium heat, warm the (I used coconut) oil until hot. Add the onions and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and peppers and cook for 20 minutes. Add the Garam Masala and chili powder and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes. Add the salt and chick peas and cook, stirring, until heated through. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro. Serve the curry over rice.

~Jessica

P.S. I also threw in some green and yellow squash for extra vegetables, and we threw in a dollop of peanut butter for added creaminess!