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An Awesome Red Pepper Sriracha Pesto

6 Apr

I will start by saying I do not like red peppers and I do not like sriracha. Impossibly, I somehow love this pesto.

You already know none of my pictures came out looking at all appetizing–and since I trust you can all envision what a pesto looks like,  I will leave you instead with a picture of MrKef finding the coin in the vasilopita  this year:IMG_7266

My life with this man is filled with joy and happiness. Yours will be, too, if you make this delicious pesto and slather it on pretty much everything.

Red Pepper Sriracha Pesto

Ingredients

  • 12 oz roasted red peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 c pecan halves
  • 2 oz feta cheese (about 1/4 c)
  • 1 oz (about a handful) arugula or spinach
  • sriarcha, to taste (in my house this was about 5 TBS- you do you)
  • 1.5 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS water

Assembly

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor. Pulse until desired texture, probably about 10-12 seconds.
  2. Slather on everything.

Lemongrass Coconut Cauliflower (or, what I eat for lunch every day)

9 Jul

 

 

Greetings from paradise- I’m about to jitney back to reality, but for now, enjoy the view in Montauk:photo-98

By this time tomorrow I’ll be elbow-deep in newborn babies, so I figured it appropriate to make today’s recipe my tried-and-true work lunch recipe. This is more a method than a recipe, so you can swap out flavors and ingredients as you’d like–though I never stray too far from Thai-ish flavors.

I’ve searched far and wide for pre-made curry pastes that don’t use sugar and found these two that I love. I’ve written before about how easy this red curry paste makes life and was thrilled to find a lemongrass paste with no sugar or gluten. I defer to you as to whether, like me, you can overlook a chemical shit storm for convenience when you need to be at work at 7am.

lemongrass

These are $2 each at Whole Foods!

Lemongrass Coconut Cauliflower

photo-96

Ingredients

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 8 oz frozen spinach
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes (seriously–just get fire roasted)
  • 2 packets lemongrass packets
  • 1 can coconut milk

Assembly

1. Heat olive oil and spices over medium heat. Add chopped cauliflower and spinach and combine well. Cook until spinach is thawed and beginning to dry–about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and lemongrass paste, stir well, and cook for another 5 minutes.

2. Add coconut milk, stir very well, and bring entire mixture to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until cauliflower is your desired texture–I like it to be very soft and to let most of the coconut milk be absorbed, which takes another 12 minutes or so.

3. Enjoy and try not to make your coworkers too jealous 🙂

 

Kale Feta Pesto

3 Jun

I’ma tell you something straight up– Kermit has been LYING to us all these years. It is so friggin easy to be green.

All weekend I was craving green but ended up eating nachos (go figure). So when it came down to grocery shopping last night, I was a green-buying machine. I even ended up buying pre-made spinach fettuccine, which surprised everyone involved because I’m not really into pasta and I’m not really into pre-made food. But after a 12-hour shift and a 5-mile hill-interval run, anything goes.

Once I got home with all the sprouts and leaves and crowns and bunches, I had to figure out what to do with all that iron-heavy produce. I remembered this delicious and so, so easy cilantro pesto and decided to see if I could make it even greener without expending very much effort. Done and done. I really like this earthy-yet-tangy pesto and am looking forward to putting it all over my other cosas verdes this week.

photo-94

On a side note–RP’s gluten-free pasta was pretty yummy. It probably won’t become a regular in my kitchen because a) the first ingredient is rice flour and b) there’s no ACTUAL spinach in the spinach fettuccine (RP– you can do better than spinach powder!), but as a non-pasta-connossieur I found it enjoyable in a pinch.

Kale Feta Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale, washed
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, washed
  • 1/3 c pine nuts
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1/3 c feta cheese
  • juice of 2 limes

Assembly
1. Combine everything in a food processor. Add more leaves or oil to suit your taste and texture preferences.

2. Add as much as you’d like to hot pasta of your choice.

Orange Cilantro ‘Slaw

19 Aug

In between all of my summer fun, I’ve been working marathon three-in-a-rows (nurses, residents, and oil-rig workers: you know what I mean; rest of the world: you’ll never understand). This means that on the eve of my first shift I need to cook enough of something to get me through several lunches and dinners.  Lots of times I just saute up some frozen spinach and call it a meal–but recently I haven’t been able to get enough of slaw.

slaw

But before the reciple, a few thoughts on slaw. First of all– is it common knowledge that coleslaw is a one-word wonder, with no need for space or hyphen? This fascinates me–almost as much as finding out that that they are actually brussels sprouts, not brussel sprouts. Second, I have always thought that this was something someone named Cole made up– no no, it is actually just another one of those words English speakers couldn’t say and comes from the Dutch koolsla. Which brings me to point three- can you say koolsla without sounding like Zoolander? I can’t.

This koolsla (hehe) in particular is the convertible dress of summer salads. I saw this recipe on Tastespotting (seriously people– get on it), removed the fancy ingredients and doubled the quantities (original porportion below), and it provided a great base for just about anything– first I ate it with the dressing as described in the below recipe, then I used the ‘slaw (sans dressing) in place of rice with some tilapia and a sweet potato, then I mixed the veggies in with leftover Indian to much break-room fanfare, and–just when I thought this dish had run its course–I made a fried “rice” with it for an encore performance.  Mmmhhm!

Orange Cilantro ‘Slaw

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/3 c white vinegar
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (worth the $3.99!)
  • 1/2 a large cabbage, shredded
  • 2 c kale, shredded
  • 2 c corn (I threw mine in a pan for a minute to brown it)
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded/chopped/whatevered
  • 6 medium green onions, thinly sliced (I just used scissors)
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 TBS whatever seeds/crunch you like

Assembly
1. Combine orange juice, vinegar, olive oil and sesame oil until homogenous. Set aside.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients and mix.

3. Serve with dressing. Enjoy.

The Whitest Salad I’ve Ever Made

11 Apr

Today’s recipe is brought to you by the color beige.

Usually, I try to eat by color– the more colorful a piece of produce is, the more nutrients it has (think iceberg lettuce v. spinach)– but when I saw this recipe in Plenty, I had to try it. Never one to leave well enough alone, I tweaked a bit to change it from a side dish to a salad. You can see why I don’t often bother to buy cookbooks.

I love this salad because it’s hearty, can be made a night before, and the lemon gives it a very summery flair without the sweetness that is usually indicative of a “summer salad.” The tahini dressing is thick and tangy, the mushrooms season up beautifully, and I’ve yet to find a dish that cashews don’t complement. Now if only beige food photographed better…

photo-4

Marinated Mushroom Spinach Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1 TBS vinegar (I used apple cider)
  • 1 TBS maple syrup
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • dash of black pepper
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 c Greek yogurt (FIBBYDY)
  • 2.5 TBS tahini
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed or mined very finely
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
  • 2 c boiling water
  • 2/3 c cashews, raw
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 TBS dill, chopped (optional)
  • 1 TBS oregano, chopped (optional)

Assembly

1. Marinate the mushrooms by combining the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, dash of pepper, and half the lemon juice. Mix well. Pour over mushrooms, making sure all mushrooms are coated, and set aside for about an hour.

2. To make the dressing, combine yogurt, tahini, garlic, and remaining lemon juice. Stir until a cohesive sauce forms.

3. Put the beans in a strainer. Pour boiling water over them.

4. Toss together the marinated mushrooms, cashews and beans. Add the cumin. Taste and add more cumin if you’re about that life. Toss in raw spinach. Top with a dollop of tahini dressing. Enjoy.

Roasted Eggplant with Buttermilk Yogurt Sauce

18 Mar


Lordy Lou. Hold the damn boat. Holy Moly. Sweet Lord Baby Jesus. Insert other absurd Chef Kefi, RN exclamation here. Ready for a recipe that comes from one of the world’s most revered vegetarian kitchens and requires NO culinary skill whatsoever? Read on, young grasshopper. 

So many amazing pictures of this recipe all over the internet that I just couldn’t choose! My rendition is the bottom right photo.

The background: A few weeks ago, JetSet Kef implied that I would never reach full yiayia status until I pick up a copy of of Plenty, the vegetarian cookbook written by Yotam Ottolenghi, and master several recipes.  I was, of course, indignant–sure, this guy has 4 incredibly-successful London restaurants and grew up growing his own garden in Mediterranean soil…but I am Chef Kefi, RN for chrissakes.  Hmph.

And then I saw the cover photo. Halved eggplant roasted and smothered in some delicious creamy sauce (which, you already know, we love in Keftown), then topped with POMEGRANATE seeds? Uncle Frank…Is this a joke?!  Where the eff has this book been all my life?

I became bewitched, body and soul, by this recipe. Within minutes of the cookbook’s arrival I was at Whole Foods, where I have been scoffing at the out-of-season $6 pomegranates all winter–ONLY TO FIND THEY WERE OUT OF POMEGRANATES IN MY MOMENT OF NEED. Undeterred, I went to three more grocery stores, after which it became evident that the entire food industry conspiring against me and my dream of making this recipe.  I called an audible on the whole thing and switched the pom seeds for a balsamic-pomagranate reduction, and this was still one of my favorite things to come out of my kitchen.  All’s well that ends well, I suppose–but I won’t pass up one of those $6 out-of-season gifts from the Gods again.

This is hide-your-kids-hide-your-wife good. If Oprah invited me on her show right now, I would jump all over that damn couch proclaiming my love for this. I keep trying to wrap up this post but can’t find the right punctuation for my new beloved–so just go find some pomegranates and get to it!

Roasted Eggplant with Yogurt Buttermilk Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants, large and long
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme (the minipack is enough for the whole recipe)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Greek season, za’atar, or other spice sachet you like, to taste
—-

  • 1 pomegrante
OR
  • 1 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • 8 oz pom juice
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced

  • 9 TBS buttermilk
  • 1/2 c Greek Yogurt (FIBBYDY)
  • 1 1/2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • pinch of salt

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise, even cutting through the green stem (which you won’t eat–it’s just there to look nice).  Use a small sharp knife and cut three-four parallel lines across the width of the eggplant, careful not to go through the skin.  Repeat 45 degree angle with 3-4 more cuts, making a diamond-shaped pattern (think of it as 4 tally marks and then parallel diagonal lines like you use to show 5 in when keeping tally). 

2. Put the eggplant skin-side-down (flesh up) on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Distribute the entire 1/3 c olive oil between the 4 pieces by brushing it on until the entire amount has been absorbed (which will not take much time, as eggplant is about the most liquid-greedy vegetable out there). Sprinkle with thyme leaves (I put about 2 tsp of fresh thyme on each) and Greek seasoning or za’tar. Roast for 35-40 minutes, until flesh is soft and a nice-looking brown. A knife should very easily move through the roasted flesh. Remove from oven and let cool.

3. While roasting eggplant, whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Taste and add more season for flavor if you feel so inclined. Keep cold until serving.

4. Prepare your pomegranate seeds or balsamic reduction.  To learn how to separate seeds, watch this video. To make balsamic reduction, combine balsamic vinegar, pom juice, leaves from 5 thyme sprigs, and garlic cloves in a medium pot.  Bring to boil, then simmer for 12-15 minutes, until liquid has reduced by about 1/3. This will make way more than you need–keep the rest in fridge and put it on everything or use as a salad dressing.

5. To serve, put lots and lots and lots of buttermilk over the eggplant. Season with more Greek seasoning or za’tar and generous amounts of seeds or reduction. Spread the love for this recipe far and wide!

Steamed Broccoli and Creamy Avo-Yogurt Sauce

25 May

College is not known for its culinary delights.  Late night pizza, over-greased dining-hall food, and all that beer-flavored water… not exactly the kind of place where a blossoming chef thrives.

Unless, of course, you lived with a Brit, a Brazilian, a Republican, a 16-year-old, a self-described “uh-oh Oreo Cashew” (I’m not even gonna break that down for you), and a rotating cast of semi-feral males from JetSet Kef’s apartment collectively known as “the boys.”  Between the lot of us, someone was always cooking something (well…most of us), and every now and again something good came out of our tiny, sticky-floored kitchen while “Holla Back Girl” blared from the stereo to drown out the smoke alarm that went off if we so much as opened a jar of hot sauce. 

Back then, I would bring back two things from the grocery store: broccoli and ingredients for dessert.  I ate some kind of steamed broccoli stir fry pretty much every day for four years (every day, that is, when I wasn’t busy eating pizza or the aforementioned desserts).  On the other side of the kitchen, my friend Christine (here after- Queijo Kef) would be making one of two things: vodka-infused gummy bears (terrible idea- do not try at home!) or some kind of creamy sauce.  Let me tell you: you’d be hard pressed to find that girl eating something that wasn’t topped with or accompanied by some kind of sour cream/yogurt/cream cheese/gratin sauce. Girl loves her some damn CREAM.

Queijo Kef, posing pre-party.

So, on the eve of my 5-year reunion (which I am very much not attending–if you were my friend in college and want to see me, you probably already know how to get in touch with me), I bring you the beautiful lovechild of Chef Kefi and Queijo Kef’s favorite things: steamed broccoli with a creamy, tangy avo-yogurt sauce.

Ingredients 

–2 heads of broccoli, chopped
–1 avocado, sliced and shelled
–half of a Fage Greek yogurt 
–juice of half a lime

Assembly
1. Steam broccoli. I do this by throwing about 1/8 c of water into the skillet with broccoli and cooking covered for about 4-5 minutes. You do you.
2. While the broccoli is steaming, Mix together lime juice and avocado, then yogurt. Stir vigorously and mash up the avo as much as possible.
3. Combine broccoli and sauce. Enjoy!

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