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Buckwheat And Candy Cane Beet Salad

How to re-create this recipe:

Ingredients:

(Serves 4)

  • 1 Cup of water
  • 1/2 a cup of Buckwheat/groats
  • 5 Candy Cane Beets
  • 3 Tbsp Cranberries
  • 1/2 a cup of toasted Hazelnuts (toast for 8 minutes in a 300 degree oven)
  • Some chopped parsley for garnish

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 a cup of Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Tbsp’s Lemon Juice
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely minced)
  • 1 Tbsp Stone Ground Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tsp Poppy seeds
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Putting it together:

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small stockpot, add some salt, the Buckwheat and simmer for 20 minutes until all water is absorbed. Afterwards, cool to room temperature.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees, clean your beets well, cut off the beet stems from both sides and then wrap each beet with a small amount of foil paper. Roast the beets for about 40 minutes until they are fully cooked through. The time may vary depending on how big your beets are. After they have cooled a bit, using a small hand towel, remove the skins off them and then cut them into thin slices .
  3. While the beets are roasting, you can make your salad dressing. In a small bowl add your mustard, honey, lemon juice , garlic cloves, and poppy seeds. Whisk in the vegetable oil well and add some salt and black pepper.
  4. When everything is done being cooked add all your Buckwheat to a medium bowl, half the sliced beets , half the Hazelnuts and half the cranberries. Add only half the salad dressing and toss all ingredients together very gently so your beets don’t tear. Add a little more lemon juice ,salt and black pepper to taste.
  5. Place on a nice platter, garnish with the rest of the beets, hazelnuts and cranberries and add your chopped Parsley for garnish. Enjoy!

Nourishment for your body: Buckwheat/ Groats are seeds that are high in protein and fiber. It is also Gluten free. It is known to improve heart health, may prevent diabetes, and is packed with vitamins and minerals. Beets are packed with nutrition! Beets are high in Iron and folate (helps to keep the cells in the body healthy). Beets contain betaines which helps protect  the cells in the body from environmental stress and inflammation. It helps the body process toxins. Betaine also helps to improve stamina by increasing oxygen to the blood which can help with athletic performance.

Tips when cooking: I reserve the other half of this dressing in an air tight container for future use. This dressing is pretty versatile and you can enjoy it on many other salads. This salad was definitely an ode to my Ukrainian roots. Russian people call Buckwheat Kasha and a popular way to have it is as a breakfast food (think porridge). Some people will toast the Buckwheat in a skillet pan (to make them extra fluffy) and then cook it in milk. Buckwheat has strong, nutty notes and is definitely a comfort food to eat in the wintertime. It is very symbolic in Russian culture of reaching a milestone in one’s life, as it is typically the first solid food that is given to toddlers. Other popular ways of having it is tossing it with a beef stew or adding it to a combination of sauteed onions and bowtie pasta.

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Curry Laksa With Tofu And Noodles

How to re-create this recipe:

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

(For the Laksa Paste)

  • 1/4th cup of Palm Oil
  • 3 dried Thai Red Chiles (re-hydrated in warm water and then stems and seeds removed)
  • 4 tsp’s of Fish sauce
  • 1 – 2 inch piece of ginger (peeled and finely grated)
  • 3 garlic cloves (peeled and rough chopped)
  • 6 small shallots (chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp’s of Lemongrass stir-in paste puree
  • 2 Tsp’s curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 Tsp ground cumin

(for the soup base)

  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 – 14 oz cans of coconut milk
  • 2 tsp’s of brown sugar
  • 2 Persian cucumbers
  • 1 cup of Bean sprouts
  • 200 grams of extra firm tofu (cubed)
  • 20 grams of brown rice Mai Fun noodles (vermicelli)

Yummy toppings:

  • 4 hard boiled eggs (halved)
  • 1/4th cup of mint leaves.
  • Toasted Corn nuts
  • Sambal Oelek

Putting it together:

  1. Make the paste first by soaking the chilies in warm water for about 30 minutes until softened. While that is soaking you can prep the rest of your Laksa paste ingredients, boil your eggs for 10 minutes and soak your noodles for 8 minutes in hot water (afterwards, drain and set aside).
  2. Using a blender, puree all the Laksa paste ingredients (making sure to put in the fish sauce and lemongrass puree first) until you reach a smooth consistency.
  3. Heat your oil in a medium saucepot or dutch oven and add the Laksa. Cook the Laksa on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes until the paste slightly darkens and becomes fragrant. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 30 minutes, whisking occasionally. Add the coconut milk and sugar and continue to cook for another 8 minutes or so. Add the tofu and noodles and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. When the soup is finished, ladle it into your serving bowls, add your cucumbers and bean sprouts and garnish with eggs, mint, toasted corn nuts and Sambal Oelek. Enjoy!

Nourishment for your body: Tofu is a good source of protein, as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It is also a good plant source for iron and calcium. Tofu is a good alternative to have in this soup then meat because the coconut milk already contains saturated fat and adding meat to the soup instead of tofu would add more saturated fat that is unnecessary.

Tips when cooking: Curry Laksa is a soup that originated in Malaysia. This soup is very rich, spicy and deeply fragrant. If you love curry, chances are you will love this soup! I felt fortunate to have gone to college in NYC and my college friends and I would frequently eat at a restaurant called Penang. It was Malaysian and had the most amazing interior design that always made us feel transported to Asia. There was a very large wall in the main dining area with cascading water and lots of jungle greenery all around. It was sort of misty inside with dimmed lighting and our food was always served in clay pots. Making this soup reminded me of Penang. Unfortunately, since those years, the restaurant has closed in it’s SOHO location. This soup would definitely give you a taste of what would have been served there.

It is a good idea to wear gloves while handling the Red Chili peppers. If you don’t have gloves, avoid touching your mouth or eyes and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water when your done. To peel your ginger, I recommend using the back of a spoon. It is easier then a vegetable peeler to help you peel around and inside some of the crevices.

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Summertime Crab Soup

Summertime Crab soup

How to re-create this recipe:

Ingredients:

(Yields 8 Servings)

  • 1 Lb of Jonah Crab Claws (or crab meat of your choice)
  • 1 – 10 oz bag of frozen sweet green peas
  • 2 Fennel Bulbs (reserve some fennel fronds for garnish)
  • 1 Parsnip
  • 1 Quart of Fish broth or Fish stock
  • 4 Shallots (or 1 small yellow onion)
  • 4 Garlic cloves 
  • 2 Tbsp’s of Vegetable Oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Putting it together:

  1. Prep your vegetables first; peel your parsnip and chop it into medium chunks. Small dice your shallots and garlic cloves. Discard the outermost fibrous layer of your fennel bulbs and cut them into small chunks.
  2. In a medium sauce pot, on medium heat add your Vegetable oil and saute the shallots and garlic cloves for a few minutes until shallots are translucent.
  3. Add your parsnip and fennel, a little salt and black pepper,  and saute on medium heat until they have softened (about 10 minutes). Fill another small pot with water and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add your Fish broth and continue to cook for 30 minutes until the parsnips and fennel are completely cooked through and very soft. Add your peas and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. While the soup continues to cook, drop your crab claws into the small pot and re-heat them for 6 minutes. Afterwards, take out all the crabmeat and reserve it to add to the cooked soup (reserve some crabmeat for garnish)
  6. When soup is done, puree it using a immersion blender until the consistency is smooth and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  7. Garnish your soup bowls with some fennel fronds and crabmeat and enjoy!

Nourishment for your body: Peas have a good amount of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, Iron, Folate, Thiamin (B-1 responsible for converting Carbohydrates to energy), and Manganese  (A mineral that plays a role in bone formation, reduces blood clotting and inflammation and helps to metabolize necessary amino acids in the body). Fennel contains fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and phytonutrient content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. As fiber helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, it decreases the risk of heart disease.

Tips when cooking: Nothing says summer like Crabs! A bag of frozen Jonah Crab Claws (or stone crab claws) is always nice to have in your freezer. The claws are very meaty with a flaky texture and tastes sweet. It is relatively easy to get the meat out of them if you have some mallets handy. You can always buy canned crab meat and save yourself time if you don’t feel like taking the meat out of the shells yourself. This soup is wonderful served lukewarm. Drizzling some spicy (chili) oil would be another good garnish.  If your a big Crab lover I highly recommend the book “Crab… 50 recipes with the fresh taste of the sea” by Cynthia Nims  (See book cover below). If you are buying fish broth or stock instead of making your own, make sure to avoid seasoning your soup until after you have cooked and pureed it. Most stocks and broths come highly seasoned and you run the risk of over salting your soup.

 

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Yellow Squash And Root Vegetable Gratin

Yellow squash and root veg gratin whole dishYellow squash and root vegetable GratinGratin Fixings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to re-create this recipe:

Ingredients:

(Serves 4-6)

  • 1 Lb of Yellow Squash sliced into 1/4th Inch rounds
  • 8 Ounces of sliced Baby Creamer Potatoes
  • 1 Ounce of thinly sliced Garlic Scapes
  • 1.5 Ounces of thinly sliced Scallions
  • 4 Ounces of pre-sliced Pepper Jack Cheese with Jalapeno and Habanero Peppers
  • 8 Ounces of pre-sliced Mozzarella Cheese
  • Black Truffle Salt as needed (regular table salt will do)
  • Black pepper as needed
  • Olive Oil as needed
  • Bread crumbs for topping (optional)

Putting it together:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and have a medium sized baking dish handy.
  2. After rinsing your veggies, slice the yellow squash and potatoes.
  3. Slice your garlic scapes and scallions.
  4. Layer your yellow squash across your baking dish, followed by your potatoes. Sprinkle some garlic scapes and scallions over the potatoes. Sprinkle a generous amount of black truffle salt and black pepper.
  5. Add a layer of Pepper Jack cheese and repeat layering with your yellow squash and potatoes, followed by your mozzarella cheese, making sure to sprinkle salt and pepper over every other layer.
  6. When you reached the final top layer, sprinkle some bread crumbs over the top, drizzle with some Olive Oil and bake uncovered for about 40 minutes (until the cheese is melted and you can pierce the potatoes without any resistance).

Nourishment for your body:  Creamer potatoes are a good source of Vitamin C, fiber (if skin is left on) and are high in potassium. Yellow squash is loaded with vitamins! Vitamins A, B and C. It also contains fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron and folate.

Tips when cooking: You can use Zucchini in place of the yellow squash or in addition to it. I just happened to have Pepper Jack and Mozzarella cheese in my fridge but other great melting cheeses to consider would be Cheddar, Gruyere, Parmesan, or Fontina.

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Monkfish Oreganata With Beurre Rouge Sauce

How to re-create this recipe:

Ingredients:

(Serves 2)

  • 2 center cut portions of  Monkfish tail  (about 1.175 Lbs)
  • 3/4th of a cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp of herbs de provence
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • Olive Oil as needed
  • salt as needed
  • 3 sprigs of Thyme
  • 3 Italian parsley stems
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 30 grams of button mushrooms, thinly sliced (2 mushrooms)
  • 50 grams of shallot, thinly sliced (2 shallots)
  • 25 grams of carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 2 inch long piece of carrot)
  • 150 grams of cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 400 grams of red wine
  • 125 grams of port wine

Putting it together:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line a small sheet tray with parchment paper.
  2. Prep your Oreganata mixture for the fish. Place 3/4th of a cup of breadcrumbs in a bowl. To that bowl add your herbs de provence, garlic powder, some salt and enough olive oil until you reach a wet sand like consistency. Set aside.
  3. Make sure your fish looks uniform in shape and size and remove any excess silver skin with a sharp knife. When oven reaches 350 degrees, place your fish on your sheet tray and cover the entire top of your fish with the oreganata mixture, giving each fish an even amount of coating. Bake for 25 minutes.
  4. While fish is baking you can make you sauce. Make an herb sachet by placing your parsley stems, thyme, peppercorns, parsley stems and bay leaf inside of a cheesecloth. Wrap the cheesecloth around your herbs and using some kitchen twine, wrap each end of the sachet and tie a slipknot in the center.
  5. Combine the sachet, wines, shallots, carrots and mushrooms in a medium saucepot and simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes , until the mixture has reduced by half.
  6. Strain the reduction through a sieve into a small saucepot (pressing the vegetables against the sieve to release as much of the reduction as possible). Discard your vegetables and sachet. If your fish is finished cooking, take it out of the oven and cover with foil to keep warm.
  7. To complete the sauce, simmer the reduction for another 10 minutes or so until large bubbles form and the consistency appears more syrupy and begins to coat the sides of the saucepot.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium-low and begin adding the butter one piece at a time and whisk continuously to maintain an emulsion. It is important that the sauce does not get too hot so if you need to take it off the heat a few times that’s ok. Once the sauce is the desired level of richness, season with salt to taste.

Nourishment for your body: Monkfish is a great source of protein and incredibly low in fat. It also contains vitamins B-6 and B-12. However, it should be eaten sparingly because it contains more mercury then other types of fish.

Tips when cooking: It is important not to add too much oreganata mixture to your fish. Otherwise, the flavor will overpower the sauce. The monkfish has a firm texture and a delicate and subtle sweet flavor so it pairs really beautifully with this sauce, which comes out tasting a little sweet. I used Cabernet Sauvignon but you can use any of the following; Merlot, Tempranillo , Cotes Du Rhone, Malbec. While making the sauce, all the alcohol gets burned off so there is no need to worry about alcohol consumption if you or your children cannot have any. While making the sauce,  it is very important to add the butter at the right time. If you add it too early before the reduction has a chance to become syrupy, then you run the risk of your sauce being too runny. Once you add the butter, you cannot reduce the sauce or else you can ‘break it’. This sauce can also pair really nicely with a steak.