Tuesday, April 30, 2013

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Since we had a bit of leftover chicken breast, we decided to make another favorite. While we've made this pizza before, this time we cooked the chicken in the barbeque sauce before placing it on the pizza. Next time, we'll shred the chicken once it's cooked before placing it on the pizza so the bbq sauce has a chance to coat the chicken thoroughly.


BBQ Chicken Pizza
2-3 servings

1 pizza dough
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast meat, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup barbeque sauce
1/4 cup marinara sauce
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp pizza seasoning or italian seasoning
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2-3 stalks of green onions, finely sliced

Preheat oven to 425*.

Prepare your favorite pizza dough.

In a deep enough skillet, heat barbeque sauce and chicken, until chicken is fully cooked.

Begin to add the toppings atop the pizza dough. Start with the marinara sauce, then arrange the red onions, add the chicken, add the seasonings, and top it off with cheese.

Bake for 12-17 minutes, until crust is a nice golden brown color and all the cheese is sufficiently melted. Once pizza is removed from oven, let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Once plated, garnish the pizza slices with the scallions.

Leftovers taste great the next day, heat up the slices for 5-10 minutes in the oven or toaster oven!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

No-Clay Pot Chicken

My wonderful husband has been taking charge in the kitchen the last few days, and we've been having some new and delicious meals, as a result. I've also started to expand my palette, and have been eating a bit of chicken here & there. Mostly at home, because whenever hubby makes chicken, it smells too good not to give it a try!

Here was a quick, mostly one-pot dish that's perfect for a weeknight, and it was put together 100% by H. I didn't even help chop anything!



The recipe is courtesy theKitchn and we'll let you venture there for the full details. We will note that we did not use sausage, so the main difference in our recipe is the lack of sausage and that we cooked the mushrooms in a bit of oil, rather than in the sausage fat, as indicated in the recipe. We also used homemade vegetable broth, rather than chicken broth. And, we didn't have a pan that went from stove to oven, so after cooking everything on the stove, H transferred everything to an oven safe dish. 

This dish was so incredibly flavorful! We halved the recipe, and had enough leftovers for H to enjoy in the following days. 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

Back to soup. Wanting to change up our normal grocery list, we picked up some broccoli. Intended for some sort of stir-fy, or some Chinese-style dish, we instead opted to use the whole bag for soup.

We also opted to indulge a little, and combine a little half & half into this soup. After all, it's mostly broccoli, a little something extra isn't exactly going to make this an unhealthy dinner, right?

The color was a bit of a shocking green, but the taste was spot-on. I think next time we'll use either a white cheddar or a sharper yellow cheddar, as the cheese flavor could have been a little stronger.


Broccoli Cheddar Soup
recipe adapted from Blendtec
2 servings

2 cups broccoli florets, steamed
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup half & half
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 oz cheddar cheese, shredded or roughly chopped

Add ingredients to Blendtec in the order listed above, and then select "Soup."

Garnish with a little shredded cheese and a few drops of sriracha, and serve.

Additional Notes:
The half & half did create quite a thick soup, but we didn't mind. If you want your consistency to be more liquid, substitute water for the half & half.

Also, to prevent you from having to microwave your soup once it's made, be sure the broccoli is still warm/hot from being steamed, and warm the broth prior to adding it to the Blendtec. These steps will ensure you have hot soup right from the Blendtec!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tortilla Española

A few years ago, a couple girlfriends and I ventured to Spain. It was a few weeks of laughs, sunshine, World Cup celebrations, A LOT of walking, coupled with A LOT of eating. Being vegetarian, I found my food options a little limited, but what I did eat, I really enjoyed. In particular, I fell in love with the Spanish omelette, Tortilla Española. Especially when paired with pan tomate (tomato goodness spread onto bread) & glass(es) of cava.

I found the beauty of Spanish food to be in its simplicity. It's dishes are comprised of only a few ingredients, but always the right ingredients paired together. This dish is no exception.

My recipe and method may not be true to the origins of this dish, it's my interpretation of a dish discovered while traveling. The flavors always bring me back to those sunny Barcelona days and cava bar nights.


Tortilla Española
2-3 Servings

For the Omelette:
4 eggs
1 small potato, boiled and sliced*
1/4 onion, chopped finely
1/2 green chili, optional
salt & pepper to taste
For the Tomato Sauce topping:
1 tomato
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt

1 avocado, sliced for garnish

Start with the omelette preparation. In small bowl or measuring cup, beat eggs with green chili, salt, and pepper. Heat oil in pan. Make sure pan and oil are hot before placing any further ingredients into it. Add onions to pan and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Arrange potatoes in pan in single layer. Then, pour egg mixture on top. Let cook until omelette starts to form. Once sturdy enough, flip the omelette. I've found one fool-proof method to not breaking the omelette is to hold a plate against the pan, flip, and slide the omelette back in to the pan. Though, even if the omelette breaks a little, don't sweat it. Let omelette finish cooking.

While the first side of the omelette is cooking (prior to the flip), you can prepare the tomato sauce topping. To do so, grate a tomato. Place a bowl under the grater to catch all of the juice. Discard tomato flesh once finished. Add olive oil and garlic sauce to tomato juice, and mix well.

To assembled the dish, cut omelette in half and transfer each half to a plate. Pour tomato-oil mix in equal parts on both halves. Top with sliced avocado, and enjoy!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sai Bhaji (Spinach + Chickpeas)

Ok I must admit, I am starting to enjoy this cooking and picture taking and slowing starting to get to enjoy blogging as well :)

There is a certain joy that fills you when you try to recreate your mom's recipe of your favorite dish and it comes out to be perfect! So needless to describe, this is my favorite childhood food that my mom cooked during finals week to make sure that studying didn't feel as stressful or painful after this meal.

Hope you all can try this recipe out and enjoy it the same way as I have done for the last 25 years.

Sai Bhaji (Spinach + Chickpeas)
recipe courtesy my mom :)
3-4 servings


10oz of spinach, chopped finely 
1/2 cup of channa daal (chickpeas)
1 onion
1/2 green chili (change as needed)
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1/2 tsp of coriander powder
salt to taste


Fry onion in 2 tbsp oil. Once onions start to become soft, add garlic and green chilies and saute until the onions are translucent  Add spinach and saute for 5-7 minutes until spinach starts to blend with rest of the paste nicely. Add the channa daal and mix well. 

Now spice it with turmeric, coriander powder and salt. Mix well. Add 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 8-10 minutes until the daal is soft (can generally take between 2-4 whistles depending on the pressure cooker)

When done, take it off the stove and use a potato masher to soften the daal so that it makes the gravy thick.

Serve with plain white rice or tandoori (plain or garlic) naan (we generally get our naan from Trader Joe's)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Daal + Chawal (Lentils + Rice)

Daal chawal (translation: Lentils & Rice) is ultimate comfort food. It's the type of dish you make when you're craving mom's food. When it comes to daal chawal, we keep simplicity in mind. Simple flavors & simple textures.

It hits the spot. Every time.

Moong daal probably one of the easier lentils to find in the marketplace; while we always buy daal from our local Indian store, I believe places like Whole Foods stock it as well.

Moong Daal
2-3 servings

1 cup moong daal (yellow/golden colored moong)
2 cups water
1 green chili, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt, to taste
1/2 tsp oil
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander powder, for garnish
1/4 tsp red chili powder, for garnish

Soak moong daal in water for as least 2 hours. Drain the water.

In a sauce pan, heat daal and 2 cups water until water begins to boil. Then, add the green chili and turmeric. Let cook until almost dry, then stir. Add salt. Stir, then put daal in serving bowl.

In a separate pan, heat oil, and once hot, add cumin seeds. Let sputter for a few seconds. Be careful not to burn. Pour this over the daal.

Finish by garnishing the daal with coriander and red chili powder.

Serve with rice.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nutella + Banana Ice Cream

Probably for most of my childhood (ok, even adulthood), if someone asked me my favorite food, I'd most likely have responded [very enthusiastically] with "Ice Cream!"

It should be of no surprise to anyone that we put an ice cream maker on our wedding registry. It should also be no surprise how excited I was when I learned the gift was fulfilled. It's maybe a little dangerous that I own an ice cream maker now, BUT, I can have ice cream ANYTIME I want. Not only that, I can have ANY flavor I want.

Life is good.

We inaugurated this beautiful machine with, what else, Nutella. I threw a banana in there, too. That makes it healthy, right?

The ice cream consistency was not AS creamy as say, Mitchell's, but it was pretty freakin' delicious, all the same. I made a milkshake out of it, too; it was fabulous.

Nutella & Banana Ice Cream
recipe slightly adapted from Crumb Blog
1 pint ice cream

3/4 cup Nutella (or, your favorite chocolate hazelnut spread)
1 ripe banana
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 cups half and half

Mix all ingredients in food processor or a blender until everything is well incorporated. Pour mixture into a bowl, cover with saran wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Then, prepare the ice cream according to your machine's direction. I left mine in the machine for about 20 minutes. The ice cream will be pretty soft. To firm it up, transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container, and freeze for a couple hours before enjoying (I know, this part is tough). Once frozen, scoop & enjoy!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday Winddown: Sunflower Caffe

Let's try something new here. A monthly feature sharing some of our favorite spots.

As much as H and I enjoy cooking and experimenting in our own kitchen, once in a while, our fondness of foods leads us on culinary adventures. Whenever we're travelling, either locally or internationally, my what-to-do research isn't complete without restaurant and food research. Here's us sharing some of our findings with you.

First up, one of our favorites in Sonoma, CA: Sunflower Caffe Espresso & Wine Bar. It's our happy place.

In addition to our love of food, we've also become wine lovers. Being so close to beautiful California wine-country certainly has its advantages. What started as a New Years tradition, soon became a quarterly retreat. We have since joined a wine club at Eric Ross Winery (a charming winery that produces some really great wine), and opted to pick up our quarterly shipments - as if we needed the additional excuse for a Sonoma getaway.

On one of our first trips to Sonoma, we ended up at Sunflower Caffe for a bite to eat. It was crowded, and although it was freezing outside, we ended up sitting in the (heated) porch area. We ordered cappuccinos and bread pudding. Our order was right on the money. Their bread pudding is out of this world. Warm, gooey, perfectly baked. It's topped with warm chocolate sauce and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It. is. amazing. The cappuccinos were also delicious, complete with cute foam art.

In subsequent trips, we've tried numerous other menu items. Our standard order is now a grilled cheese (on focaccia with pepper jack cheese), bread pudding, and two cappucinos. On one recent visit, we were in the mood for brunch, rather than lunch, and opted for a pecan waffle (in addition to our standard order), and it didn't disappoint. It was the fluffiest waffle I've ever had.

Really, everything we've had on the menu is delicious. So, whatever you order, you probably can't go wrong.  Protip: get there early enough to get a slice of bread pudding before it's sold out (yes, it happens, and when it happens, you will be sad). They close a bit early, so it's an ideal spot for brunch or lunch.

Let us know if you make it there. Would love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tortilla Soup

It's been a rainy few days here in San Francisco. Rainy days mean soup cravings. Here's another gem of a Blendtec recipe. It's foolproof. And super delicious.

We added a little avocado and Sriracha love to complete the dish.


Tortilla Soup
recipe slightly adapted from Blendtec cookbook
~4 cups of soup.
Enough for a hearty meal for 2. More servings if serving with another dish.

2 tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup bell pepper, cut in big slices
1 avocado, divided in half
1/4 small onion
2 tbsp pepper jack cheese
couple sprigs fresh cilantro
1 tsp taco seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 cup warm water
1/2 cup tortilla chips

Add ingredients in order listed to blendtec, except 1/2 the avocado and the tortilla chips. Press "Soups" and let the bledntec run its course. Once done, add the tortilla chips to the jar and "Pulse" 3-4 times until the chips are incorporated and the soup has reached the desired consistency.

Serve soup in bowls. Add remainder 1/2 avocado (diced) for a nice texture and garnish. We also added a few drops of Sriracha, for an added spice.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Braised Chicken Tacos

Here we go, my first post to our blog. Found this recipe a while ago on Pinterest and decided to give it a shot. At first I was skeptical about this recipe because the chillies used were authentic latin chillies which I had to google where to buy from. Once we found them, the suspense continued because I have never puree'd chillies before.
But this recipe just turned out to be simply delicious, S was out for drinks with her friends so I had the whole kitchen to myself (good and bad)... the good? have beers while cooking, the bad? I have to chop the onions myself ;)
Well anyway, two and a half hours later and three beers down - there I was, nervous and hungry as S walked into the door tipsy and starving. Oh I almost forgot, since S is a vegetarian (or so she claims to be on the outside), I did decide to throw win some tofu into the tomato and pepper puree  and cooked it ready for her in ase she decided this was one of the vegetarian days for her.

Braised Chicken Tacos
recipe from No Recipes
10 tacos


1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 1/2 small onions, sliced thinly
6 cloves of garlic, minced
3 dried ancho chiles
3 dried guajillo chiles
2 medium sized tomatoes, cut in fours
2 bay leaves
juice of 1 lime
corn tortillas
Chicken rub mix: mix salt, peper, taco seasoning or pizza seasoning (or similar ingredients)
1 ripe avocado


Generously rub the chicken with chicken rub on both sides. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil to a large heavy bottomed pot and heat until the oil is very hot. Brown the chicken in batches, until they turn a golden brown on one side before flipping. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate.

Turn down the heat to medium low, add the onions and garlic to the pot, and cover with a lid for 10 minutes. When you remove the lid, the onions should be wilted and cooking in their own juices. Use a wooden paddle to scrape up all the browned bits (a.k.a. chicken flavor) from the pan, then turn up the heat to medium high to burn off the liquid. When most of the liquid has evaporated, turn the heat back down and stir and continue to caramelize the onions until they are brown and glossy (another 20-30 minutes).

Meanwhile, tear up the chiles into small flat pieces and place them in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast in a 350 degree oven until they are fragrant, but be careful not to burn them as they will become bitter. Transfer the roasted peppers to a bowl and cover them with very hot water. Once the peppers are soft, transfer them to a food processor or blender (make sure to not add the seeds from the roasted chillies -- otherwise the puree will be bitter) adding in about 1/2 cup of the water they were soaking in along with the big chunks of tomato. Puree the peppers and tomatoes until they form a smooth sauce.

When the onions are done caramelizing add the pepper puree, along with the chicken, bay leaf and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting, partially cover with a lid and cook until the chicken falls apart when prodded with a fork (about 1 hour).
When the chicken is done, use 2 forks to shred the meat. Serve with sliced avocados, fresh cilantro, lime wedges and tortillas.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pecan Pie

Let's talk about pie. That delectable flaky crust. A filling of sugar and buttery goodness. And a dollop of ice cream to top it off.

Here's a favorite of hubby's. A treat for him for being extra supportive in our first few months as newlyweds.  

Clearly my pie-crust creating and rolling still needs a little work, but this pie filling is delicious enough to distract from a perfect crust. Add a scoop of toasted almond ice cream on top, and you have the ultimate indulgence.



Pecan Pie
pie crust recipe & directions courtesy Smitten Kitchen
filling recipe adapted from Allrecipes
1 9-inch pie. I'll leave it up to you to determine how many that will actually serve ;)

For the crust:
Rather than re-post, please follow the recipe & directions on the link posted above. Smitten Kitchen never fails me.

For the filling:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Prepare your crust first. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.

Preheat oven to 400*F. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until foamy and then stir in melted butter. Add the sugars and flour, and mix until combined. Then, mix in the milk, vanilla, and pecans.

Once pie shell is assembled, pour in the pecan mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Bake at 400*F for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350*F and continue to bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is a nice golden brown and filling is set.

Let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Asparagus + Tomato Tart

Even after making the delicious green soup, we had about half of our asparagus bounty remaining. After turning to Pinterest for some recipe pin-spiration, I noticed a trend of beautiful asparagus tarts. Most of the recipes I found involved puff pastry, but we had a box of phyllo that was feeling a little neglected in the freezer. So, after a lot of browsing, reading, gawking, (and becoming really hungry, as always seems to happen when I'm on Pinterest...) I went in the kitchen to make my own asparagus tart creation.

Working with phyllo dough is a labor of love. My patience in the kitchen was definitely tested. But, the as the end result shows, a few tears here and there are no cause for frustration. Channeling Paula Deen, I also realized a bit of melted butter fixes any torn-phyllo woes. And really, apart from the phyllo prep, this tart comes along so easy and it's so, so tasty. All the fuss is worth it. The result is a bit like a light, crunchy, sauce-less pizza. Cut into little squares, it's a great appetizer. Cut into bigger squares, it's a perfect dinner. And with toppings like tomato & asparagus, it screams SPRING.

Asparagus + Tomato Tart
3-4 servings as main course, more as an appetizer

9 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted according to package directions
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 oz asparagus
2 tomatoes, finely sliced
3/4 cup grated cheese, I used a mix of gruyere & white cheddar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp italian or pizza seasoning

Preheat oven to 350* and lightly butter a baking sheet (I used a pastry brush). Gently place one sheet of phyllo dough on the baking sheet. Brush melted butter on phyllo sheet, and lay another on top. Repeat with three phyllo sheets. After brushing melted better on the third sheet, sprinkle with some cheese. Repeat this process until all 9 sheets of phyllo are layered. Once the tart base is made, roll all sides of the tart a couple times, to contain all the ingredients you're about to place on the tart. To build the tart, start by evenly spreading garlic and onion. Then, layer tomato on top. Sprinkle with all seasonings. Line asparagus on top of tomatoes, and lastly sprinkle the remaining cheese over it all.

Bake for about 30 minutes in the oven, or until phyllo is a golden brown color, and all the cheese has melted. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Asparagus Soup

Spring is here! Here in SF, here's how we decided to celebrate the arrival of spring: with a hot cup of soup. We used asparagus, though. That makes it spring-like, right?

H introduced me to the idea of asparagus soup. And, while I'm a big fan of my green veggies, green veggie soup seemed like a wild (and weird) concept. I went with it anyway. Life is an adventure. Plus, we used the Blendtec, so no matter the end result, at least I knew the process of making it would be exciting.

The soup was a-mazing. Beyond all expectations. We gulped down every sip and licked our bowls clean.
Put any reservations aside, and make this. It's as delicious as it is healthy!


Asparagus Soup
2 servings (as a stand-alone dish); it will serve plenty more if using as an appetizer or side dish

6 oz asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 avocado
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
Sriracha, to taste
1 tbsp gruyere cheese, for garnish

Heat oil in medium-sized skillet, and add onion and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent. Add asparagus to pan, and cook for additional 1-2 minutes. Pour vegetable broth into pan, and cover with lid. Cook until asparagus is tender (you can test the tender-ness by piercing the asparagus with a fork; when it pierces easily, it's done). Salt & pepper the mix. Once cooked, pour into Blendtec (or food processor, or use an immersion blender). Add avocado and hot sauce, if using, to Blendtec also. Press "Soup" button on Blendtec, and let the magic happen. If using a food processor or immersion blender, you'll want to continue to use them until you have a puree-like texture. Pour into bowls, and garnish with more hot sauce, if desired, and sprinkle with gruyere cheese.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Baked French Toast

Enjoying a lazy Saturday morning? Haven't had breakfast yet? Go make this. Even if it's the most productive thing you do all day, you will not regret yet.  "Baked French Toast" basically means you get to eat bread pudding for breakfast.

Every bite is heart-warmingly delicious. It's all the goodness of french toast without gloopy fingers and sticky pans.

Chocolate & Banana Baked French Toast
2-4 servings

4 slices bread (we used sourdough), torn into pieces
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar (white or brown, your preference. I used a little of both)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 bananas, sliced
1 tsp powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375*. Butter your pan of choice (I used a 9in pie pan). Arrange bread in single layer along pan. Place banana slices over the bread pieces, again in a single layer, if possible. In a medium sized bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt until well combined. Pour mixture over the bread & banana, coating every piece. Push bread slices down into mixture with fork or spatula, to soak up as much liquid as possible. Place into oven and bake for 30min, or until a fork poked in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for a minute or two, then dust with powdered sugar. Slice and serve.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Honey + Beer Sauce, two ways

Usually we cook veggie at home, but every now and then, H finds a delicious sounding meaty recipe that must be made. Rather than make two separate dinners, I usually try and figure out how to make his newly found recipe veggie friendly.

So, sometimes we end up with two versions of the same dinner, one for and made by the carnivore (him) and one for and made by the herbivore (me).

We took a divide and conquer approach to this dinner.

This was tasty and that something-different we yearn to incorporate into our weekly dinner routine. I decided to make it a little extra gluttonous and serve it with mashed potatoes. Because, really, what doesn't taste better with mashed potatoes?

Honey-Beer Sauce, two ways: with Tofu & with Chicken
recipe adapted from So, How's It Taste?
4 servings

(note: we divided the amounts below in half, and cooked each half in a separate pan, to better and easier incorporate the chicken in one and tofu in the other. If you're going to make only chicken or only tofu double the amount of chosen protein listed below)

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup beer (we used Newcastle, but any beer you fancy will taste great)
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
parsley, for garnish (optional)
6 oz extra-firm tofu, if using
2 6oz. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, if using

First, prepare your protein. If using tofu, remove as much moisture from tofu, and cut into cubes. Salt and pepper your cubes. If using chicken, salt and pepper your chicken breasts, coating both sides evenly.

Heat oil in pan(s). We worked side by side, one pan for tofu, one pan for chicken. Add your protein to the pan and cook until done. For the tofu, you'll need to turn the tofu occassionally to brown all sides evenly. For the chicken, you'll cook each side about 6 minutes, or until it's done. Remove proteins from pan once done. To keep our proteins warm, we put them in an oven-safe bowl and placed them in the oven at the lowest temperature the oven can be.

Return the now empty pan to heat, and add the onions. Cook until translucent. In a bowl, or small measuring cup, whisk together beer, soy sauce, mustard, and honey until combined. Add the mixture to the pan, bring to a boil and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the edges and bottom of the pan to loosen any stuck bits. Cook until the mixture has reduced to about half of what it was originally. Return your chosen protein to the pan, and keep turning until it's well coated with sauce.

Serve with mashed potatoes (the gluttonous side), or a salad (the healthier side)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pav Bhaji

After nearly a week of (rare) sunshine and happy days, we're back to what SF knows best: clouds and fog. Weather like this begs for comfort food.

We're both big fans of Pav Bhaji here (loosely translated to Bread + Vegetables). This was an out-of-the norm day of the week for this type of dinner. We usually turn to this dish when we have a mish-mash of vegetables left over from the week. It's the perfect dish to use up leftovers, you can incorporate pretty much any vegetable and starch into it! It's also the kind of dish that tastes even better the next day, so make sure you make a little extra. It's hearty, healthy, and so, so satisfying. Hence, comfort food.

Every Indian home probably has their own version of Pav Bhaji. So, let this recipe serve as a guideline. Work with it and make it your own. We rarely repeat the exact ingredients and method when making pav bhaji, it always depends on what's in the fridge!


Pav Bhaji
recipe adapted from our mothers :)
4-6 servings

1 onion, divided: 3/4 of it chopped finely, 1/4 of it sliced for garnish
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/2 inch piece ginger, chopped finely or grated
1 potato, boiled & peeled, and cut into pieces*
1/2 cup frozen veggies, thawed in microwave*
2 tsp pav bhaji masala (can easily find this at an Indian store, or online)
1 tbsp butter
3 oz tomato paste (or 1/2 cup tomato sauce)
salt, to taste
Pav / bread (fluffy dinner rolls are the perfect substitute for actual pav)

Heat oil in pan. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and ginger, and fry until lightly browned. Stir in the thawed veggies and boiled potato. Stir until incorporated. Add pav bhaji masala. Stir. Add butter, and stir until melted and incorporated. Add tomato sauce and salt. Continue to stir, and if the bhaji appears too thick, add water as needed. Continue to heat and stir until desired consistency is reached.

To prepare the pav (bread): in a separate pan, melt butter on and place bread on top. Once it's lightly browned & toasted, and flip once to toast both sides.

Serve with sliced onion, lime wedges, and chopped green chilies.

*Protip: We've found we prefer to boil fresh vegetables and thaw frozen vegetables prior to cooking. This both saves time and eliminates the need to use a pressure cooker to bring the Bhaji together.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Stuffed Baby Bells

Let's continue with the theme of making meals with whats-in-the-fridge ingredients.

We haven't made it to the grocery store this week, but our knack for being resourceful has proved to be a strength in the kitchen.

This might be more of a side-dish than an actual dinner, but it was main-course worthy for us!


Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers
2 servings as main course, 6-8 servings as an appetizer

8-10 mini bell peppers, sliced in half, and de-seeded & de-membraned.
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red chili flakes
1 tsp taco seasoning
1/3 cup enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 375* F. On a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil over sliced bell peppers until each is decently oiled. Arrange bell peppers, open side up, on a baking sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are slightly browned and they are tender. Remove peppers, but do not turn off the oven.

While the bell peppers are baking, whisk together cream cheese, chopped mushrooms, chopped onions, and all seasonings in a medium sized bowl. For convenience, spoon this mixture into a ziplock bag, and cut a hole in one corner. This will serve as your piping bag to more easily fill the cavities of the bell peppers.

Once the peppers are removed from the oven and slightly cooled, pipe cream cheese mixture into each one until all the mix is used. Pour enchilada sauce over all the bell peppers, coating the peppers evenly.

Place stuffed peppers back in oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until tops are slightly browned and cheese is bubbly. Let cool a few minutes before serving.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Kale + Pistachio Pesto

It's been a whirlwind of a week. Which, in terms of preparing dinners, has meant an everyday mission of: use whatever is in the fridge to make a creative, delicious, healthy meal. Luckily for us (and for you!) we had quite a few successes.

We're 100% aboard the kale band-wagon. It's so versatile, and when prepared properly, so delicious. Here's attempt number one to entice you, fellow reader, to also try the goodness that is kale.

This recipe sort of came together on a whim, and we decided it was worthy-sounding enough to inaugurate our Blendtec (a generous wedding gift)! It made the blending and chopping process a BREEZE. Pesto was made in a matter of seconds, people, seconds. I'm a big fan, already. If you don't have a Blendtec, a blender or food processor will serve the purpose just fine.

Kale & Pistachio Pesto
recipe adapted from here, in the Blendtec cookbook
4-6 servings

1/3 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 cups kale, roughly chopped
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and roasted
1/3 cup cheese (I used feta since we didn't have Parmesan on hand)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, optional (if you like it spicy!)

In the order listed, add olive oil, garlic, and kale to blendtec. Pulse 6-8 times, until kale appears further chopped. Add remaining ingredients in the order listed above, and pulse again for 6-8 times until all ingredients are combined and you're left with a bit of a puree-like mixture. If it appears too dry, add a bit more oil and pulse 2-3 times more. To store, cover and keep refrigerated. It will last for up to 3-4 days.

Serving Suggestion:
On Day 1: Pesto over spaghetti, with the addition of grilled tomato & mushroom.
On Day 2: Pesto over bread: spread 1 tbsp of pesto onto bread, then toast.
On Day 3: Pesto scrambled eggs. Cook the eggs, and then mix in the pesto. Winner of best combination!