Archive for the 'sweet potato fries' Category

17
Jul
10

beet and rhubarb salad, blackened salmon.

Shame, meet my face. I was someone who prided myself on proper blog maintenance, and I’d rarely go more than a month without a tail-between-the-legs posting about being neglectful. (ie “It’ll never happen again, baby. I stray because I care”). And yet, here I am, two months deep in blogless shame. I never thought I’d join the ranks of the half assed masses.

In my defense, I’ve been making time with San Francisco and Israel during my self-proclaimed “Year of the Vacay,” so I haven’t had much in the way of content these past two months. If I made time to squeeze out a blog between trips, it would have been something like, “I picked up dumplings for dinner and then forced myself to do twenty minutes of cardio.” Laaame.

I was in Israel for 10 days (birthright, obvs), during which time I had about 10 falafel sandwiches and an obscene amount of hummus. We’re talking morning, noon, and night. I lapped it up like a collie. I still haven’t had my fill, because that’s how much hummus and I vibe. Check out the last meal they served us:

Israeli hummus. love.

Amazeballs. The food was like a dream my palette once had. Luckily, my trip was extra outdoorsy, so my sweaty side was able to shine. We hiked multiple times, went cave crawling, rafted down the Jordan River, and went camel riding, all of which beat the hell out of the elliptical and free weights. I returned with a newly discovered desire to marry a mountain man and start, like, kayaking or something. I haven’t quite worked out the details.

I ended up eating out for almost 3 weeks straight, so I was in need of some home cooking upon my return. My mom always hated beets (arbitrarily, because I recently asked her about it and she admitted to never giving them much of a chance), so my sister and I shared the aversion for our entire childhood.

Beets are like last year’s brussel sprouts (aka newly trendy), so I figured it was time to give them a chance. I found a recipe for a beet and rhubarb salad on my beloved Epicurious app. Seriously, that thing is my favorite grocery shopping accessory. I’m not sure what I did before its inception, but I’m pretty sure it was something like walking around aimlessly and drooling.

Ingredients:

orange, beet and rhubarb salad

8 2- to 2 1/2-inch-diameter red or yellow beets, 4 of each color if available
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Coarse kosher salt
3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 pound trimmed rhubarb stalks, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 large oranges
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon honey
3 cups watercress sprigs
1 1/4 cups coarsely crumbled feta cheese (about one 7-ounce package)

You start by roasting the beets in aluminum foil in a 400 degree oven  for an hour. Bring water, sugar, and a pinch of salt to boil in a saucepan, and then add the chopped rhubarb. Cook for 1-2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon.

Then, you finely grate 1/2 teaspoon of orange peel into a small bowl. Cut off peel and white pith from all oranges, and then segment the oranges into a big bowl. Squeeze membranes to release juice into bowl, and then put 2 tablespoons orange juice to bowl with orange peel. Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, honey, and 3 tablespoons olive oil into the bowl with orange peel and orange juice mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Lay out your bed of watercress, and arrange chopped beets and orange segments on top. Add lots of feta and dressing:

The beets were damn good and earthy tasting. They’re almost potato-like, so I’m starting to get why Eastern Europeans lurve them so. My only gripe was the rhubarb, which I’d never cooked with before. I’m not sure if Whole Foods gave me a bad batch or something, but it was waaayy bitter. Not my fave.

I was feeling like some of my faves a few nights ago, so I decided to make blackened salmon, sweet potato fries and mashed cauliflower. Om nom nom.

salmon, pre-blackened

For the sweet potato fries, I mixed together 1 tsp each of fennel seeds, thyme and cumin along with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. I peeled the sweet potato, chopped into fries, and tossed in the seasoning mixture with some salt and pepper. I baked in a 450 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, turning once about midway through. Sweet potatoes, check. Onto the blackened salmon.

To start, I put together a mix of paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, Adobo seasoning, and dried basil. Then, I rubbed the salmon until it looked like this:

It was a variation on this recipe. I then drizzled with melted butter, and seared in a skillet for about 3-5 minutes each side. Black and beautiful.

So, I bought purple cauliflower because I thought it would be fun. Once mashed, the end result was a little cartoonish and strange. I’m actually physically uncomfortable admitting this. It started normal enough, when I chopped the cauliflower into florets and tossed in a pot of boiling salted water for about 10 minutes. I removed with a slotted spoon, and mashed with some salt and about a pat of butter.

Then things got a little weird…the cauliflower looked like it could be creamier, and I had no milk in the house. The closest milk-like thing in the apartment was my roomie’s vanilla soy milk, and I wasn’t about to go that route. Without fully considering the consequences, I added a ladle of salted water to the mash. So, they turned out slightly watery and weird. Not my finest moment, but they still tasted fine.¬† Anyways, see below for the final results:

blackened salmon, mashed cauliflower and sweet potato fries

06
Aug
09

Austin eats.

I just took my first big girl vacay, and I think I fell a little bit in love. I visited my lady Lauren in Austin, TX, where she and fiance Dave have lived for the past year. That city is crammed full of Mexican food and fitness lovahs, and I’m a little into both myself. And by “a little into,” I mean that I’d like to die by means of salsa and avocados after a nice outdoor jog. I haven’t worked out the specifics for that amazing/slightly morbid fantasy, but what a way to go.

Lauren let me tag along while she did her grocery shopping at the organic red light district-esque Central Market. You know, if the red light district offered free samples and was about food, rather than prostitution. Just look at the fish counter:

fishes.

fishes.

How sexy is THAT? She didn’t come outright and say that she was challenging my loyalty to Trader Joe’s, but I could see it in her eyes.

One of the things I love most about TJ’s is the customer service, but the employees at Central Market are above and beyond. They pretty much stop just short of going home with you and preparing the food while you watch Days. Maybe if coaxed? I think they could be talked into it.

Lauren and I were all, “Hmm maybe we’ll make crab cakes. How does one prepare those?” And the employee was like, “Hold please, I’ll go print a recipe for you.” And then he DID. And it was an Ellie Krieger recipe! It’s like he sensed we’re Food Network addicts, and we both totally took care to cover our track marks.

We were in Central Market to buy breakfast burritos ingredients, which is one of Lauren’s specialties. We went back and she prepared, while I sat stove-side and observed. She started with a couple of russet potatoes and one yellow onion, which she chopped and threw in a pan with a little canola oil. She added about a clove of chopped garlic, some cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Those sauteed for about 10-15 minutes, and she covered the pan for most of the time to expedite the softening:

breakfast burrito master

breakfast burrito master

She then scrambled about five eggs in a separate skillet, which she prepares by heating the skillet on high and adding the eggs immediately. She scrambles for about a minute, and then turns off the burner to let it cook a minute or so more. Although Sunny says cook eggs low and slow, I totally approve of this method. Who doesn’t love fast and easy? No one. No one doesn’t love it.

Lauren heated the tortillas in yet another skillet, which is kind of great because it snubs the microwave. I get such a thrill out of that. When everything cooked up all delicious-like, she threw them all in the warmed tortillas and dressed with salsa verde and hot sauce.

They were so spicy and flavorful, and I’m taking her recipe without shame. Meanwhile, see below for the final product:

Lauren's breakfast tacos.

Lauren's breakfast tacos.

I spent four days with Austin, and by the end of my trip we realized we forgot to make the crab cakes that the fish counter man was so committed to!

We were too busy having the most amazing Indian food in life, excellent mushroom pizza at The Alamo, and great $10 brunch that kept me full for like 12 hours. Oh yeah, and cinnamon and nutella crunch gelato. I had that also.

Come Tuesday, I tried to leave Austin, but the city like wouldn’t have it. My flight was supposed to leave at 1 p.m., but it delayed, delayed, delayed and was eventually canceled by 6 p.m. Not one airline wanted to fly anywhere near NY at that point, so I called Lauren and filled her in on the situation. The quickest flight out was this morning, so I crashed for one more night with my favorite Texans.

We made our collaborative crab cake dinner, meaning Lauren made the cakes (the important part) and I cut sweet potatoes into fry-like shapes. She made the cakes by mixing lump crab, a diced red pepper, and chives with some worchester sauce, hot sauce and dijon mustard. She then mixed in one egg, rolled them in bread crumbs, and pan seared them in a little oil for about five minutes. I cut the sweet potatoes, brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper and baked them at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

I’m an unapologetic grill fiend, so I was all ready to grill the corn on Lauren’s indoor grill. Rather, she wet the corn still wrapped in its husks, and microwaved it for about 8 minutes. They steam when nuked that way, and they came out perfectly done. Also, the husks just shed right off that way, which is pretty convenient for the husk-challenged.

The meal was delicious and totally reaffirmed Jetblue’s decision to ground me for one more night. See below:

clockwise from right: sweet potato fries, crab cake, corn on the cob and green onion garnish.

clockwise from right: sweet potato fries, crab cake, corn on the cob and green onion garnish.




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