Category Archives: full meals

Recipe: Pesto & Zucchini Galette

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Galettes have been on my mind for a while — they keep popping up on the cooking blogs I read, filled at this time of year with stone fruit or late summer vegetables. I finally decided to try my hand at one when in the same week Melissa Clark posted a couple galette recipes with a great-looking rye-flecked crust, and The Kitchn came out with a summer vegetable galette. Both recipes looked great, so I adapted my crust from Clark, and my filling was inspired by The Kitchn.

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A galette comes together easily, in large part because you don’t have to shape the dough into a pie dish or anything — you can just go free-form and pile on your fillings of choice. F and I had made some pesto that we’d frozen, so I thawed it and spread it liberally over the crust; it worked as a lovely base for the tomatoes and zucchini. And this crust is very nice. Despite the excess oil/butter that appeared on the baking sheet at the end, the bottom of the crust didn’t get soggy and had a lovely bit of flaky crunch. I highly recommend this summery galette and am looking forward to trying my hand at a sweet version!

Pesto & Zucchini Galette (dough adapted from Melissa Clark at NYT Cooking; recipe inspired by The Kitchn; makes 2-4 servings, depending on how hungry you are!)

Ingredients

  • Crust:
    • 80g (~2/3 cup) plain/AP flour
    • 90g (~2/3 cup) rye or whole wheat flour
    • 5g (1 tsp) sugar
    • 3g (1/2 tsp) salt
    • 1 egg
    • Heave cream or milk, as needed
    • 113g unsalted butter, cut into big chunks
    • juice + zest of 1 lemon
  • Filling:
    • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Basil Pesto
    • 1-2 tomatoes, sliced thinly
    • 1-2 zucchini, sliced thinly
    • for garnish: grated parmesan cheese

Procedure

  • Make crust: In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar and salt. In a measuring cup, whisk the egg and then whisk in enough cream or milk to make 1/3 cup; set aside. Add the butter to the flour mixture and work in with a pastry cutter or your hands, until the butter chunks are chickpea-sized. Drizzle up to 1/4 cup of the egg mixture (reserve the rest for later) into the flour-butter and stir until the mixture just comes together (it will still be crumbly — that’s okay). Stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  • Lightly flour a flat surface and turn the dough out onto it. Knead the dough a few times, until it comes together into one piece. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
  • While the dough is chilling, slice your tomatoes and zucchini.
  • After the dough has chilledassemble the galette: Preheat the oven to 200C (400F — don’t use the fan/convection setting!) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough out to a 12-inch (30cm) round and slip it onto the baking sheet. Spread 1/2 – 3/4 cup pesto on the dough, leaving a 1.5-2-inch (3-4cm) border around the edges. Arrange the tomatoes on top of the pesto, then top with the zucchini slices. Fold the pastry edges towards the center, overlapping as necessary (see photo above). Brush the exposed pastry edges with the rest of the egg-cream mixture.
  • Bake the galette for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden-brown. When you take it out of the oven, soak up any excess liquid with a paper towel or two. Cool the galette for at least 10 minutes, then garnish with grated parmesan.

Enjoy!

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Recipe: Stuffed Grilled Flatbreads with Basil Oil

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You know those recipes you see and immediately go, “I have to make this”? This, from Melissa Clark over at NYT Cooking, was one of them. I don’t know exactly what got me so excited, but who doesn’t love cheesy-doughy goodness? A free long weekend coming up meant I had time to make the dough on Saturday morning, let it rise, and prepare the flatbreads for dinner. Great cycling fuel, too, as F anticipated a long ride — and I a slightly shorter one — for Sunday morning.

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I was unsure how to do the folding and re-rolling (probably should’ve watched Melissa Clark’s video first — oops), so my flatbreads ended up very doughy on one side and very cheesy on the other. That also could’ve come from using cubed rather than grated mozzarella. That said, I didn’t care because the dough is delicious. Dollop on some extra basil oil, sprinkle it with some salt, and you’ll be good to go. Feel free to stuff the flatbreads with whatever you want — I’d like to try olives next time — or don’t stuff them at all and just enjoy them with that delicious basil oil. The dough would also be amazing as pizza dough — after all, these are basically calzones.

Stuffed Grilled Flatbreads with Basil Oil (adapted from Melissa Clark at NYT Cooking; makes 8 flatbreads, serving 6-8 people)

Ingredients

  • Flatbreads + Filling:
    • 1 tsp honey
    • 7g active dry yeast
    • 375g whole wheat flour
    • 13g sea salt
    • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 250-375g plain/all-purpose flour (+ more for counter dusting)
    • 200-300g mozzarella cheese, grated or cubed
  • Basil Oil:
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 50g fresh basil leaves
    • 1 garlic clove OR 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Procedure

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together honey and 2 cups of warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir until it dissolves.
  • Gradually stir in the whole wheat flour, taking about 1 minute to stir everything together. Let the mixture rest uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the salt, yogurt, and olive oil, along with 250g (~2 cups) of the plain flour. Add more flour as needed, until the dough is too stiff to easily stir.
  • Flour a flat surface and turn the dough out onto it. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until it’s smooth, elastic, and only a little bit sticky.
  • Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl loosely with a dish towel and let the dough rise at room temperature until it doubles (~2-3 hours). If you want to make the flatbreads the next day, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.
  • Make the basil oil by pureeing the fresh basil, olive oil, and garlic in a blender or food processor.
  • After the dough has risen, turn it onto a floured surface and divide it into eight equal pieces. If the dough has warmed up too much, chill it for 30 minutes.
  • On your floured surface, roll a piece of dough into a circle about 6in (15cm) across, or about 1/4in (1/2cm) thick. Brush it with some basil oil, then evenly distribute some mozzarella over the dough round. Fold edges of dough to the middle of the circle, pinching them together  to seal in the filling. Re-roll the dough into a circle. Repeat with the rest of the dough pieces.
  • Before cooking, brush each side of the dough rounds with some olive oil. Place the dough rounds either on a grill or in a skillet over medium heat, and cook for about 3 minutes per side (flip when the dough/bread starts to puff and bubble). Alternately, place the rounds on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven at 450F (230C) for 10-15 minutes.
  • Before serving, brush each flatbread with some basil oil and sprinkle some salt over the top.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Basil Pesto

green=good

green=good

Every summer since I can remember, my dad has made an amazing basil pesto with basil from the garden. He used to make it with pine nuts — the classic combination — but those are so expensive now that he has started using a mixture of pecans, walnuts, and almonds. We always eat it on whole wheat spaghetti — the secret to extra creaminess is a dollop of buttermilk or yogurt — with frozen peas on the side.

peas are a must

peas are a must

F and I had been wanting to make pesto for a while, and when Simply Recipes published a pesto recipe — which coincided with Cookie and Kate posting this dish — I knew it was time. My dad has always used the classic Silver Palate recipe, but as I forgot to write it down during my most recent visit, I went for the Simply Recipes version. Making pesto is so simple and satisfying: combine basil, nuts, cheese, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Toss with pasta or spread on pizza or a sandwich.

Do you have a favorite pesto recipe? How do you like to eat it?

Basil Pesto (adapted from Simply Recipes; makes 3 cups of pesto)

Ingredients

  • 4 packed cups basil leaves
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 – 1.5 cups grated parmesan and/or romano cheese
  • 1 cup nuts (I used 1/2 cup walnuts + 1/2 cup almonds)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • to taste: salt & pepper

Procedure

  • Place the basil and garlic in a food processor and pulse until blended (you can use an immersion blender if you don’t have a food processor). Add the cheese and nuts and continue pulsing until the mixture is uniform.
  • Slowly add the olive oil while running the food processor continuously. Keep blending until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Stir in salt and pepper.
  • Note: If you’re adding pesto to pasta, reserve/mix in 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid per 1 cup of pesto.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Kholodnyk (Cold Beet & Buttermilk Soup)

vibrant

vibrant

While I was visiting my parents in Rochester, T invited us over for Sunday brunch on the cozy back patio (S was away hiking). As usual, T provided a delicious spread: blueberry cake, salmon quiche (have to get that recipe!), and this incredible kholodnyk. It’s a traditional Russian/Ukrainian/Polish cold buttermilk and beet soup — it made a delicious first brunch course on a warm morning. I immediately asked T for the recipe, which she said came from epicurious and was really easy. She was right — this takes 10-15 minutes to whisk together and makes a vibrant, healthy summer soup. It works well as a brunch accompaniment, as we enjoyed it, or as an appetizer before dinner. It received full marks from F when I made it back in London. I went heavy on the beets and forgot radishes — it still tasted great. Feel free to take this recipe as a base and modify ingredients and amounts for a chunkier or thinner soup.

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Do you have a favorite cold summer soup? Share it in a comment below!

Kholodnyk (Cold Beet & Buttermilk Soup) (adapted from epicurious; serves 3-4)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-3 cups (~250g) grated pickled beets
  • 1/4 cup beet liquid (if not using pickled beets, use 1/8 cup water + 1/8 cup white wine vinegar)
  • 1.5 – 2 cups English cucumber, grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped radishes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Procedure

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, & salt.
  • Stir in the grated beets, beet liquid, cucumber, radishes, & dill.
  • Cover and chill for at least 15 minutes, then serve cold as an appetizer or light main course.

Enjoy!

Afternoon Tea at Tea & Tattle

Emma was in London this week and, knowing she is a tea-and-scone lover like me, I made a reservation for us to have afternoon tea at Tea & Tattle in Bloomsbury, right across from the British Museum (which a friend of mine has brilliantly re-named the “Spoils of Empire Museum”).

The experience at Tea & Tattle was delightful. The bright basement tearoom is cozy yet uncluttered, with funky paintings on the walls. We got a great deal on “Traditional Tea for Two”, which allowed each of us to choose one sandwich, one tea, a jam flavor for the scones, and one cake. They even threw in a refreshing, unsweetened lemonade for free. We both had the “smoked salmon, creme fraiche with cucumber and lemon” sandwich — you can choose from four kinds of bread and yes, they will appear crustless and cut into triangles. Cute.

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Next came the scones, halved and spread with clotted cream and jam. We each got a different jam so we could share: the raspberry and vanilla jam was lovely, and the damson (plum) jam had pleasing spiced notes. On the cake front, I had a moist and nutty carrot cake and Emma had a pretty Victoria sponge — top marks for both.

scone with raspberry & vanilla jam

scone with raspberry & vanilla jam

Funnily enough, we both thought that the tea itself was the most disappointing part of the experience: my Earl Grey was too weak and Emma’s English Breakfast was too strong. But the service and pace more than made up for it. We told them all our choices at the beginning, and then they brought each “course” as we finished the one before. We did not feel rushed and lingered chatting long after we’d finished our cake, never feeling like they wanted to get rid of us. The amount of food was also perfect — I didn’t leave feeling overstuffed or still hungry.

Victoria sponge & carrot cake

Victoria sponge & carrot cake

Overall, I’d definitely recommend popping into Tea & Tattle, whether it’s for a full afternoon tea or just for tea and a scone. It’s a great place to escape the bustle of London and catch up with a friend who you haven’t seen in a while. Complete the afternoon by strolling through the Spoils of Empire British Museum afterwards.

Recipe: Socca with Zucchini, Tomatoes & Shaved Parmesan

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I’ve been wanting to make socca for a while but had no chickpea flour (aka gram flour) in the house until I made these spinach and potato patties a few weeks ago. Left with an open Wednesday evening and plenty of gram four, I had no more excuses and turned to Cookie and Kate for guidance on how to make it.

socca-as-pizza

socca-as-pizza

Socca is a sort of crepe/pancake/flatbread hybrid, baked and/or broiled in a skillet in the oven. It is really easy to make and, after you’ve let the batter sit for an hour, cooks quickly. Though socca is traditionally enjoyed plain or sprinkled with a few herbs, I topped my first attempt with zucchini, tomatoes, and shaved parmesan to make a light and healthy pizza-like dish — great for a quick weeknight dinner. But it was so good that I made it again the next night, this time leaving it plain enjoying some sautéed veggies on the side. Feel free to try your own topping variations (let me know what you come up with!) or just enjoy the socca plain — you won’t be disappointed.

Socca with Zucchini, Tomatoes & Shaved Parmesan (adapted from Cookie and Kate; makes 2 generous servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120g) chickpea/gram flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 zucchini, julienned
  • 1-2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • to taste: parmesan or other hard cheese, shaved

Procedure

  • One hour before you want to bake the socca, whisk together the gram flour, water, 2 tbsp olive oil, garlic, and sea salt. Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour.
  • To make topped (‘pizza-style’) socca:
    • Turn your oven’s broiler on and move the oven rack up to 8 inches underneath. Put a large skillet in the oven to preheat.
    • When the oven/skillet have finished heating, take the skillet out (use oven mitts!) and swirl 2 tbsp of olive oil in it. Pour in the socca batter and pop it in the oven for 5-8 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
    • Remove the skillet from the oven. Move the rack back to the middle of the oven, switch back to normal heating, and turn the temperature down to 215C.
    • Pour the last 1 tbsp olive oil over the socca and arrange the tomatoes, zucchini, and parmesan on top. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  • To make plain socca:
    • Put a large skillet in a rack in the middle of the oven and turn the oven on to heat to 225C (top-bottom heat, not convection).
    • When the oven/skillet have finished heating, take the skillet out (use oven mitts!) and swirl 2 tbsp of olive oil in it.
    • Bake the socca for 10-11 minutes, then switch over to the broiler, move your oven rack up, and broil the socca for 2-3 minutes or until it begins blistering.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Pasta Salad with Tomatoes & Arugula

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A travel-related post on our lovely week in southeastern Spain is coming soon. While that’s in the works, here’s a summery pasta salad that I made for a simple late dinner on a warm Spanish night. We enjoyed this with some grilled zucchini and eggplant — and chorizo for F — on the side. It’s great slightly warm or cold for lunch the next day (with the leftover grilled veggies chopped up and mixed in). This pasta salad is a great base for experimentation — you can add or subtract ingredients as you like. Let me know what your favorite combination is!

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Arugula (serves 5-7 generously)

Ingredients

  • 1 package (~750g) bow tie pasta (or other pasta of choice)
  • to taste: olive oil, salt, pepper
  • 200g parmesan/romano/grana padano cheese, finely grated
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes, chopped OR 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 300g arugula, washed

Procedure

  • Cook the pasta as directed. While the pasta is cooking, chop the tomatoes and place them in a large bowl.
  • When the pasta is finished, drain it and add it to the bowl with tomatoes. Add the cheese, a few glugs of olive oil, salt and pepper, then toss until everything is well-combined.
  • Add the arugula and toss again.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Rosemary, Garlic & Lemon-Crusted Chicken with White Wine Mushrooms

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As you probably know by now, F and I love buying and roasting a whole chicken ourselves. It’s cheaper than buying chicken pieces and creates lots of leftovers — we also often make stock from the carcass. Our favorite time to do this is for Sunday dinner, since we’re usually home on Sunday afternoons and thus have time to keep an eye on the chicken in the oven.

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This bird is rubbed with fresh rosemary, garlic, and lemon zest before being roasted to a perfect golden-brown. (You don’t have to use a whole chicken; feel free to rub the rosemary mix on a couple of chicken breasts or thighs — you’ll have dinner on the table a lot faster.) Mushrooms are sautéed with fresh thyme and reduced in white wine — a perfect accompaniment to the chicken. Just add rice or your preferred carbohydrate. The chicken and mushroom recipes are both below; I’ll let you figure out the rice for yourself!

Rosemary, Garlic & Lemon-Crusted Chicken (inspired by Martha Rose Shulman)

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (ours was 2.6kg)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 2 lemons

Procedure

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry, then place it in a large baking dish.
  • Put the rosemary, lemon zest, peppercorns, and garlic cloves in a food processor and blend until everything is chopped small and almost paste-like.
  • Rub olive oil and then the spice mix all over the chicken. Juice both the lemons over the chicken and stick the lemon halves inside the bird.
  • Roast the chicken for about 2.5 hours in the oven, basting periodically and covering if necessary.

White Wine Mushrooms (adapted from Martha Rose Shulman; serves 2-4)

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2kg (1lb) button/field mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 1/2 – 1 cup dry white wine
  • to taste: salt & pepper

Procedure

  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the mushrooms to the skillet and let them sear for 30-60 seconds, then stir.
  • As the mushrooms start to soften, add the thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine evaporates and the mushrooms are tender.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Crepes with Smoked Salmon, Sour Cream & Dill

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Springtime makes me crave easy, light, delicious dinners. I whipped up these partially whole wheat crepes with smoked salmon and dill on a Monday evening, and they were the perfect thing with some leftover potato salad and a green salad. All I did was use this crepe recipe, replacing the buckwheat flour with whole wheat flour. Fill a fresh crepe with a strip or two of smoked salmon, a dollop of sour cream, some capers, and a sprinkle of fresh minced dillVoila! Dinner. (Or lunch. Or even brunch!)

Recipe: Saag Paneer

Many of my go-to Indian dishes are originally inspired by / adapted from frugal feeding‘s recipes. This one is no different, and it’s a definite winner that will go into the regular dinner repertoire. Saag paneer is basically stewed spinach (or any type of dark greens) with paneer, a fresh South Asian cheese. Spiced with cumin, ginger, and garlic, and finished with plain yogurt, saag paneer makes a delicious and healthy weeknight dinner, especially with some fresh homemade naan on the side. F gave my saag paneer a “really good” rating — that’s high praise.

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For my saag paneer, I used frozen rather than fresh spinach. Perhaps fresh enhances the flavor, but I thought it worked just fine with frozen — and it’s cheaper. My paneer stuck to the pan when I tried to brown it, so that’s a work in progress.

Saag Paneer (adapted from frugal feeding; makes 4-6 generous servings)

Ingredients

  • 450g paneer, cubed
  • neutral oil
  • 750g frozen (or fresh) spinach
  • 1-inch knob of ginger, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp cumin, ground
  • 4 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt

Procedure

  • Heat some oil in a large pan and cook the cubed paneer until it’s golden brown on all sides. Remove the paneer from the pan and set aside; leave the oil in the pan.
  • If using frozen spinach, thaw/cook it on the stove in some water. If using fresh spinach, blanch it in boiling water, then blend it in a food processor until smooth.
  • While you’re cooking the spinach, sauté the ginger, garlic, and cumin in the pan with saved oil over medium-high heat until golden-brown and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and let cook until they’re broken down, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the spinach and salt, then let the saag simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the paneer and continue cooking until everything is heated through.
  • Stir in the yogurt just before serving, and enjoy with some naan and extra yogurt.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Caramelized Garlic & Goat Cheese Tart

Oh man. This tart is SO GOOD. It’s like an explosion in your mouth. Slightly sweet, caramelized garlic meets earthy rosemary and thyme meets smooth, tangy goat cheese. If any of that sounds good to you, make this tart now. It’s so delicious that we made it last three days because we didn’t want it to disappear too quickly (it tastes great cold).

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This caramelized garlic and goat cheese tart comes from our German version of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook (it’s called Genussvoll vegetarisch in German). We enjoyed it alongside these poached spring vegetables, also from Plenty. It’d also be great cut into small wedges and served as an appetizer or as part of a brunch or dinner buffet.

Caramelized Garlic & Goat Cheese Tart (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty/Genussvoll vegetarisch; makes 6-8 generous servings)

Ingredients

  • 375g puff pastry (store-bought is the easiest)
  • 3 heads of garlic, cloves peeled & kept whole
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • to taste: salt & pepper
  • 230-250g goat cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g single cream
  • 100g crème fraîche

Procedure

  • Cut a large circle out of the puff pastry and press it into your tart pan (or springform cake pan, like we used), making sure to build up the sides at least 1-2 inches. Cover the crust with baking paper and weight it with dried beans, then refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Blind-bake the weighted crust for 15 minutes. Take it out of the oven, remove the baking paper and beans, then put the crust back in the oven for 5-10 more minutes or until it is golden. Set the crust aside and leave the oven on.
  • While the crust is chilling and baking, caramelize the garlic: in a small pot, blanch the garlic cloves in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain the garlic cloves well and dry out the pot. Put the garlic back in the pot and add the olive oil; place on the stove on high heat, cooking until the garlic is lightly browned. Add the balsamic vinegar and 220mL of water, bring to a boil, and let cook for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, rosemary, thyme, and 2 pinches of salt, then let the mixture simmer over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and the garlic cloves are in a thick syrup (20-30 minutes). Set aside.
  • Prepare the tart: drop blobs of goat cheese onto the crust, then add the garlic and its syrup. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, crème fraîche, 1/2 tsp salt, and some pepper. Pour the creamy mixture over the cheese and garlic.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 160C and bake the tart for 35-40 minutes, until the filling is set and the top is golden-brown. Let cool, then serve warm or cold.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Mozzarella Enchiladas

These enchiladas are a definite “make again.” I had been thinking about how to use a seldom-found can of black beans and thought they’d pair well with sweet potatoes in something Mexican-inspired. But I didn’t feel like making tacos; I was in the mood for a warm, cheesy-chewy something. Enchiladas!

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The sweet potato, black bean, and mozzarella enchiladas are my own creation; the sauce is inspired by edible perspective. The result was just what I had been hoping for: sweet potato contrasts beautifully with the tangy sauce and a bite of cool guacamole. Beans and cheese contribute protein and bind it all together. The enchiladas are also easy and quick to put together — we had dinner on the table in less than an hour.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Mozzarella Enchiladas (makes 8 enchiladas, enough for 3-4 people; sauce adapted from edible perspective)

Ingredients

  • Sweet Potato-Black Bean filling:
    • 1 onion, peeled & sliced thinly
    • 1 tsp cumin, ground
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • to taste: salt & pepper
    • 1 large sweet potato, diced very small
    • 1 can black beans
  • Enchilada sauce:
    • 600g tomato sauce/passata
    • 1/3 cup tomato paste
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 onion, chopped roughly
    • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tbsp ground sweet pepper/paprika
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 300g grated mozzarella cheese
  • Guacamole, for serving

Procedure

  • Make sweet potato-black bean filling: Sauté sliced onion in some neutral oil over medium heat until it begins to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the spices and diced sweet potato; stir to combine. Cover the pan and let the sweet potato cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the black beans and turn the heat to low.
  • While the sweet potatoes are cooking, make the sauce: combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and puree with an immersion blender, then bring to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C and grab your largest baking dish.
  • Assemble enchiladas: Scoop ~1/2 cup of sweet potato-black bean filling into a tortilla, sprinkle with mozzarella, then roll tightly and put into the baking dish. Repeat until you’ve used all the tortillas and/or filling — they should be nestled tightly together in the dish. Pour as much sauce as you want over the rolled tortillas (we ended up with extra sauce) and sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella over the top.
  • Bake enchiladas for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is nicely browned. (While the enchiladas are baking, make guacamole.) Serve hot with a big scoop of guac and/or sour cream.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Chicken & Dumplings

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Oh man is this good comfort food. On a Friday night after a long week with a cold, this was just what I was hoping for: warm, wholesome stew topped with fluffy-chewy dumplings. F gave the chicken and dumplings a “this is really good” rating and has already requested that I make the dish again, just a few weeks later.

Chicken and dumplings is (are?) actually pretty healthy for comfort food. Veggies, chicken, and stock make up the stew part, and dumplings are just delicious — I don’t really care what’s in them. I was inspired to try my hand at this dish when I remembered that one of my housemates from senior year of college would sometimes make chicken and dumplings. It didn’t seem that difficult (it’s not) and doesn’t require any out-of-the-ordinary ingredients — you probably have almost all of them in your house already.

Chicken & Dumplings (adapted from Simply Recipes; serves 4-6)

Ingredients

  • Chicken & Vegetables:
    • 3 chicken thighs OR boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 3 tsp butter or olive oil, or a combination of both
    • to taste: salt & pepper
    • 4-6 cups chicken stock
    • 1/4 celery root, chopped finely OR 2-3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2″ pieces
    • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
    • 2 onions, roughly chopped
    • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1-2 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
    • 1.25 cups frozen peas, thawed
    • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • Dumplings:
    • 2 cups all-purpose or cake flour (I used AP, but Simply Recipes says cake flour makes fluffier dumplings)
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
    • 3/4 – 1 cup milk
    • optional: 1/4 cup minced fresh chives

Procedure

  • In a medium pot, heat the chicken stock to a gentle simmer.
  • In a large pot, heat the butter/olive oil over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle it with some salt, then brown the chicken pieces in the pot on both sides (start them skin-down, if using thighs). Remove the chicken from the pot and turn the heat off.
  • Get rid of the chicken skins and pop the chicken into the simmering stock. Cook for ~20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. When it is ready, take the chicken out of the stock and set aside until cool enough to shred into pieces.
  • Moving back to the large pot, turn the heat on to medium-high. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and thyme. Sauté the vegetables until they’re soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock by ladleful to the flour-vegetable mixture, stirring well after each addition. The broth should eventually come together nicely. Add the chicken meat, peas, and parsley to the pot. Turn up the heat and let simmer while you make the dumplings.
  • While the stew simmers, make dumplings: whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the chopped herbs, if using. Pour in the melted butter and milk, then mix with a wooden spoon until everything just comes together (don’t over-mix).
  • Drop large spoonfuls of dumpling dough into the stew (they’ll float on top). Cover the pot and simmer until the dumplings are cooked through, ~15 minutes (do not uncover the pot during this time!).

Enjoy!