1 pound potatoes (your choice), cut into ½-inch cubes
1 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas (do not drain)
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 (16–ounce) bag frozen spinach (loose leaf, not a block)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup plain Greek yogurt, sour cream or crème fraiche
Add the olive oil, onions, carrots, celery, salt and pepper to a 5.5 quart Dutch oven or small pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the garlic, lemon zest and harissa. Stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
Add the potatoes, chickpeas (with their liquid) and stock. Cover and increase the heat to high to bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, approximately 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the frozen spinach until fully incorporated and thawed. Stir in vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper and additional vinegar.
Serve in bowls topped with a dollop of yogurt and, if you’re game, stir in additional harissa.
¼ teaspoon grated fresh ginger, grated on a Microplane
3 tablespoons (unseasoned) rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Add 4 tablespoons gochujang, the Worcestershire, soy sauce and sesame oil to a small pot. Whisk to combine. Transfer ¼ cup of this mixture to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of gochujang, the ginger, rice wine vinegar and sugar to the small pot. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
¼ pound frozen bacon, roughly chopped (it must be frozen!)
1 small yellow onion, peeled and cut into 8 pieces
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 large whole eggs, whisked
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (white or black)
2 cups panko breadcrumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2¼ pounds ground beef, 80% lean
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 325ºF.
2. In a food processor, pulse the frozen bacon until it’s finely chopped. Transfer chopped bacon to a small bowl and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
3. In the same food processor (no need to clean) pulse together the onion and garlic until very finely chopped. Transfer to the large mixing bowl with the gochujang mixture.
4. Add the mustard, egg, pepper and sesame seeds to the large bowl. Mix together thoroughly.
5. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the mixture. Sprinkle the ground beef (breaking it up as you go) over the mixture. Finally, sprinkle the bacon over. Fold together (get in there with your hands) until combined. Avoid squeezing the meat.
6. Press the meat into a 9” x 5” loaf pan, pressing the top to make it level. Using a pairing knife, run the blade along the inside edges of the pan to loosen the meat from the sides of the pan. Turn the raw meatloaf out (flip it) onto a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. If your oven has a gas (flame) broiler, use aluminum foil instead of parchment paper. (Remove the loaf pan.)
7. Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Rotate the sheet tray and continue cooking for an additional 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 150ºF.
8. While the meatloaf is cooking, place the small pot of glaze over medium-low heat. Reduce the glaze, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until it is thick like a barbecue sauce.
9. Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Turn oven to broil. Glaze the top and sides of the meatloaf using a brush, with half of the glaze. Place sheet tray back in the oven on the middle rack and broil for 1 minute. Keep your eyes on it and set a timer – the high heat may cause the parchment paper to brown (which is why you should use aluminum foil if your heating element is gas/a flame). Remove the sheet tray and glaze again with the remaining liquid. Broil again for 1 minute.
10. Remove and let the meatloaf rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Pairing suggestion: serve meatloaf with a vegetable, such as green beans, as well as rice and kimchi. Go crazy and top your slice with a fried egg!
½ cup stone-ground whole-grain cornmeal (not coarse)
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoon spice mix
3 scallions (green onions), very thinly sliced (½ cup)
2 cups fresh corn or thawed frozen corn
In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk, eggs and adobo sauce.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper and spice mix. Add the liquids from the small bowl into the large bowl. Fold together until just combined. Fold in the scallions and corn with a rubber spatula.
Place a large nonstick pan over medium heat for 1½ minutes. Add a small amount of butter to pan, just enough to lightly coat. Scoop batter into ¼ cup measure cup. Add the batter to the pan using a spoon to get it out of the measuring cup. Gently press the pancake batter with the back of the spoon to flatten it and form a 3-inch pancake. (Cook 3 to 4 pancakes at a time.) Cook for 2 minutes on each side. Pro tip: start your timer after the last pancake is added to the pan. Repeat until all pancakes are cooked.
Transfer pancakes to a cookie rack until all are made and you are ready to serve.
Pancake Topping Options:
Fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped
Cotija Cheese, crumbled
Green onions, thinly sliced
To serve, place 3 pancakes on a plate. Top with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of the spice mix and all of your favorite toppings.
For those of you who like spice – this recipe is for you! The play of the heat from the red pepper flakes and numbing effect of Sichuan peppercorns (commonly used in Sichuan cuisine) makes this dish have an addictive quality. That, plus it’s easy to whip up AND when you have a glut of summer cucumbers on hand, it’s nice to try something new!
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
1 pound small cucumbers, Persian or Japanese, ends trimmed and halved lengthwise, seeds scooped out
1 tablespoon natural (unseasoned) rice wine vinegar
¾ teaspoon dark brown sugar
¾ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons roughly chopped dry roasted peanuts
1 scallion, ends trimmed, sliced thinly (white and light green part), optional
Place cucumbers flesh side down on a cutting board. Gently smash with the side of a large knife. Tear into bite sized pieces.
Place vinegar, sugar, oil and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Add cucumbers, peanuts and scallion (if using) and stir to combine.
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper (chili flakes)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Turn heat to medium low. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic turns light brown, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Pour spicy oil over cucumbers. Fold to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt and serve.
Your new favorite Autumn/Winter pasta dish is here! Serves 4 to 6, but you may want to just serve a couple people and have plenty for leftovers…
Pasta with Spicy Sausage, Ricotta, Golden Raisins, and Pine Nuts
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
2 bunches cavolo nero (also known as black, dinosaur, Lacinato, or Tuscan kale)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small (2 cups)
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (2 tablespoons)
2 (6-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs, bruised with your fingers
½ teaspoon ground fennel seed
½ pound fresh spicy Italian sausage (pork or turkey), removed from casing, approximately 2 to 3 links
½ cup golden raisins
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained, preferably fire-roasted, if possible
1¼ cup vegetable or chicken stock
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 ounces gemelli or penne pasta
2 cups ricotta salata, drained and crumbled, or grated Pecorino Romano, not pre-grated
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving
⅓ cup toasted pine nuts, for serving
Strip the tender leaves from the tough stems of the kale; discard the stems. Rinse the leaves, then chop finely.
Combine 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the onions in a small pot over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the garlic, rosemary, and ground fennel, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
Add the sausage to the pot. Cook for approximately 7 to 8 minutes until the sausage has browned, breaking up the sausage into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks.
Add the chopped kale, golden raisins, undrained diced tomatoes, and stock to the sausage mixture and stir to combine.
Turn the heat to high to bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low to continue simmering and cover with a lid. Continue simmering until the kale is soft, and less than a third of the liquid remains, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the rosemary sprigs, stir in the lemon juice and vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”).
Drain the pasta without rinsing, then immediately return it to the pot. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pasta and stir to coat.
Add the pasta to the warm sausage-kale mixture, gently stir together and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve in shallow pasta bowls, topped with the ricotta salata or Pecorino Romano. If using ricotta salata, shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano over each serving with a vegetable peeler. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and the toasted pine nuts.
As I write this blog post (another in the series of “Drought Friendly Recipes“), a light rain is falling in Los Angeles – music to everyone’s ears.
Some good news on the drought front – Starbucks has said that it is phasing out its use of California water for its Ethos brand bottled water. Ethos brand water gives a percentage of it’s sales to ” help support water, sanitation and hygiene education programs in water-stressed countries” so it makes sense that pulling water from drought stricken California makes no sense at all.
Meanwhile, Nestle is still sucking up California water at the rate of some 240 million gallons a year. Aquafina and Dasani are also using California water for their bottled water, among others.
In an effort to conserve California water, let’s fill our own water bottles before we head out of the house and avoid buying bottled water as much as we can since it’s most likely coming from California.
And now for something sweet, refreshing and delicious – perfect for your upcoming summer potluck and barbecue parties.
Spicy Mango Ginger Popsicle
Yields: 6 popsicles
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh ginger juice
1/16 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1½ cups sweetened mango puree or pulp
Combine lime juice, sugar, ginger juice and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add mango puree and stir to combine. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.
This herbed spicy egg salad sandwich is so good that I am making it for lunch today! For those who may not be familiar with harissa, it’s a hot chili pepper paste. You can find it at Whole Foods, speciality stores and online. In fact, I recently bought some online at Amazon as I didn’t have time to make a Whole Foods run. It’s one of those condiments where a little bit goes a long way. It’s spicy, but what I love about it is that it also has a nice peppery, earthy flavor and can be added to sauces, dips, mayonnaise… it’s quite versatile like that. But first, why not give it a try in this egg salad recipe…?!
Harissa Egg Salad Sandwich with Fresh Herbs
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
1 small shallot, peeled and diced small, 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 large cornichon, diced small, 2 tablespoons
¾ teaspoon harissa
Zest from ½ lemon
¼ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon finely chopped mint
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro
3 whole hard boiled eggs, chopped roughly
3 hard boiled eggs –whites only, chopped roughly, yolks reserved for another use
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper
Place the shallot, lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl and let sit while you prep the other ingredients.
In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, garlic, cornichon, harissa, lemon zest, cumin, mint, parsley and cilantro. Add the chopped eggs. Mix together. Add the small bowl with shallot, lemon juice and vinegar. Mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional lemon juice if needed.
Serve as tea sandwiches or on toasted buns with lettuce and tomato.