Palak paneer (aka saag paneer)

Adapted from Spice Cravings and Kitchen of Debjani

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ghee (ghee / coconut oil blend)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/2 inch ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup onion (1 medium onion, chopped)
  • 1 green chili (optional: Habanero)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (thought I had it, but it was actually milder Madras curry powder)
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder (I used paprika!)
  • 12 oz. baby spinach (2 boxes of organic)
  • 1 cup water
  • 100 ml. fresh cream
  • 10 oz. paneer, 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp. kasuri methi (I couldn’t find)

Directions:

  1. Heat a deep sauce pan on medium high heat.
  2. Add oil and cumin seeds (I used black mustard seeds instead). When the seeds begin to sizzle, add crushed ginger and garlic.  Add sliced onion and green chili, and sauté for a minute. Add the tomato.
  3. Add salt, spices and stir well. Then, add 3/4 cup water, stir, cover the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Open the lid and add 1/2 the baby spinach and stir to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining spinach and wilt for around 2 minutes. Sauté for another minute. Turn off the heat.
  5. Using a hand blender puree the spinach mix.  Add a little water if needed. Add 1/2 the cream.
  6. Turn the heat back on to medium, add paneer cubes and simmer for 1 min, till paneer cubes become soft. Turn off the heat. Stir in butter and the other 1/2 cream, this adds a silky smooth finish to the sauce, and gives it a gorgeous shine.
  7. Serve hot with cumin basmati rice or naan. Enjoy!

No Insta Pot here, I’m afraid. We made na’an to go with it! Baking adventures. It was an adventure finding a Pakistani store on the day before Puerto Rican Independence Day, to find frozen paneer. Also since we had less spinach, we added a couple of parboiled potatoes, so… palak aloo paneer! Coming up next: the na’an recipe.

~Jessica

Eggs with mushrooms and spinach

Adapted from Damn Delicious and Food & Wine

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (I had white button)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry, but I used some rice wine

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of butter until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper flakes. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until softened, 4 minutes.
  2. Add the onion then garlic, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the mushrooms are browned, 3 minutes longer. Add the sherry and spinach, and cook until almost evaporated, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
  3. In a large, nonstick skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. Crack the eggs one at a time into a ramekin and then slip into the skillet. Cook the eggs, sunny-side up, until the whites are firm and the yolks runny, about 5 minutes.
  4. Spoon the mushroom mixture onto the toasts and top with the fried eggs. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

I was craving a change of pace for dinner, and what could be better than breakfast dinner? If you like breads, Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of rustic white bread are another way to go.

~Jessica

Taiwanese fried rice

Adapted from Michelle Ferng and Farm to Table Baby Mama

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups cooked white rice, cooled overnight in fridge
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup Chinese sausage / bacon, cooked and finely chopped (can sub with mushrooms, quartered)
  • 1 large garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, roughly chopped or diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • other vegetables (corn, chopped lettuce, spinach, etc.)
  • 4 stalks scallions (about 10 shoots total), chopped into 1/8″ segments
  • vegetable oil
  • sesame oil
  • soy sauce
  • rice or sherry wine (optional)
  • white pepper (optional)
  • salt

Directions:

  1. Heat up skillet over high heat. Add a drizzle of grape-seed oil or other neutral vegetable oil.
  2. Add garlic and then white and light green scallions to infuse the oil. Slightly sauté until the garlic turns golden.
  3. Once oil is ready, add the cooked rice and use a spoon or rice paddle to break up the rice and mix with the garlic and scallions. Add the salt and pepper. Mix.
  4. Fold in the veggies and dark green scallions.
  5. Pour the eggs over the rice and continue to mix until the egg and mixture is dry. Taste and top with extra slices of veggies.
  6. Serve hot

Fried rice (蛋炒飯, dàn chǎofàn) is an amazing standby, the perfect comfort food. I had spinach, and I garnished with just a bit of kimchi for some zing. With the pandemic shelter-in, I’m developing a fondness for eating preserved vegetables at my own pace (getting too many vegetables usually means some portion of rot before I can finish it on my own).

~Jessica

Green berry smoothie

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Adapted from Diethood

Ingredients:
FOR THE BERRIES-MIXTURE
1-1/2 cups halved strawberries
1 banana
1/2- cup plain yogurt (I used Lifeway pomegranate kefir)
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup crushed ice
FOR THE GREENS-MIXTURE
2 cups torn kale leaves , packed (I used baby spinach)
1 green apple , quartered (optional)
1 banana
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use Stonyfield Organic whole milk)
1/4 cup coconut/soy milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup crushed ice

Directions:
Freeze strawberries and 1 banana for 20 minutes. During that time, blend the kale, 1 banana, yogurt, honey, and ice until smooth and creamy. Divide into four portions and freeze for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, blend frozen strawberries, banana, yogurt, honey, and ice until creamy and smooth. Pour strawberry smoothie over kale and serve immediately.

Summertime means looking for cold, fresh, in-season recipes. This hits all the right spots for breakfast and a sweet treat. Plus, spinach has iron for us anemics!

~Jessica

 

Green monster smoothie

Adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk 
  • 1/2 cup kefir or plain yogurt 
  • 1-2 cup de-stemmed baby spinach 
  • 1 large ripe frozen banana, peeled and chopped into chunks 
  • 3/4 cup blueberries/strawberries 
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds 
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon 
  • 2-4 ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender.
  2. Serve cold. Feel free to use whatever berries or fruit are in season!

I prefer the flavor of almond milk and whole milk kefir. Make sure you chop the banana before freezing, or it will get messy — peeling a browned slimy peel off freezing cold bananas. Perfect for summer!

~Jessica

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

Creamed spinach

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sorry it’s only in the background!

Adapted from Tyler Florence

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags of baby spinach
  • unsalted butter + extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
  • heavy cream
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 50 g freshly grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Wash the spinach several times. Drain the spinach.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant, then add the spinach, turning frequently, until the spinach has wilted down evenly.
  3. Remove the garlic and drain the spinach in a colander. Press out as much liquid as possible.
  4. Heat the skillet again over medium-high heat and add the cream and nutmeg; cook until it reduces a bit, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach and parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach is hot, about 5 more minutes.
  6. Serve immediately.

~Jessica

Yam lentil curry

Curried Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard, Adapted from smitten kitchen from The New York Times.

coconut oil + butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
fresh ginger root, grated
garam masala, curry powder, paprika
1 jalapeño pepper, minced (I had red pepper flakes)
1 L vegetable broth, or as needed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
300 g dried lentils
1 bay leaf
380 mL canned tomatoes
125 g frozen spinach
salt + black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime

Saute onions, garlic, and ginger in fat until fragrant. Add the pepper and spices. Add the broth and bay leaf. I added canned tomatoes here, cause I like a tomato-based curry. Boil lentils and potatoes in this for 20-30 minutes. Stir in greens if you have any, and lime juice. Taste. Add more water if lentils need more time. Season to taste. Garnish with cilantro.

~Jessica

Baked ziti, in a manner of speaking

Adapted from smitten kitchen

Glug of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
2 garlic cloves, minced
125 g turkey strips
500 g can of crushed tomatoes
pinch of dried oregano
Red pepper flakes, to taste
450 g pasta, cooked al dente and drained
220 g mozzarella, coarsely grated
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
100 g frozen spinach
To serve: Dollops of your favorite ricotta and slivers of basil leaves =)

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I used fettuccine instead of ziti, and added a bit of chopped carrot, celery, zucchini, and mushrooms, for nutrition.

Preheat oven to 225 deg C. Cook pasta until al dente (at least 2 minutes less than the suggested cooking time). Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.

Heat large sauté pan over medium heat. Coat with glug of olive oil, and heat oil. Add the protein of your choice and cook with onion, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and salt over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until meat is browned; stir frequently. Add crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste. If it’s become quite thick, stir in reserved pasta water. Add spinach and cook until wilted, ~1 minute.

You can either 1) layer or 2) mix the pasta together, casserole-like, before baking. If 1) coat drained pasta in a little olive oil so they don’t stick. Ladle sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, then layer of pasta, another layer sauce, then mozzarella and ricotta, another layer of pasta, add the remaining sauce, and top with remaining cheeses, including Parmigiano.

If 2) Stir in drained pasta and heat together for one minute. Pour half of pasta mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish, lasagna pan, or other 3-quart baking vessel (or divide among smaller ones, if you’d like to freeze some off). Sprinkle with half of each cheese. Pour remaining pasta and sauce over, and finish with remaining cheese. Bake in heated oven for 30 minutes.

~Jessica

P.S. Feel free to cook in some bell peppers, a la Simply Recipes.

Thanksgiving II

This was perfect for Thanksgiving. Be careful the potatoes have room to dry out (they release some moisture when cooked).

Sweet Potatoes with Walnuts, Goat Cheese and Celery
Adapted from smitten kitchen

2 big sweet potato, scrubbed, unpeeled, sliced in coins
glug of olive oil
handful of toasted walnuts
1 small shallot
2 stalks celery
some flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon dried cranberries or cherries (but I couldn’t get any)
150 g firmish goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard

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A perfect plate

Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Adapted from Alton Brown

100 g chopped frozen spinach
jar of artichoke hearts
150 g cream cheese
100 g sour cream
50 g mayonnaise (not my favorite flavor in the dip)
a lot of grated Parmesan
a pinch of red pepper flakes
salt
2 chopped garlic

~Jessica