Monday, July 22, 2019

Harissa Chickpea Stew with Yogurt Sauce

The full recipe this dish is based on has a few more components to prep, but I kept things a little simpler by pairing the flavorful chickpea stew with simple cooked grains, raw veggies, and a quick yogurt sauce -- if you want to save even more time, you could just use plain yogurt without stirring in any extras.  This makes this dish a lot easier to prepare on a weeknight without dirtying too many dishes.  The chickpea stew is hearty and delicious, and the raw veggies and yogurt lighten it up.  Yum!

Harissa Chickpea Stew with Yogurt Sauce (adapted from The Kitchn)
Serves at least 4

For the stew:
Olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp harissa paste
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained (about 1-1/2 cans)
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes

To serve: 
Whole grains tossed with a little olive oil (I used half-and-half Trader Joe's quick-cooking barley and farro, but quinoa, bulger, brown rice, etc. would all be great)
Yogurt sauce (plain Greek yogurt + lemon juice + chives or other fresh herbs + S and P)
Fresh vegetables (I used thinly sliced fennel and sliced avocado; fresh herbs would also be good)

1. Heat a good glug of olive oil in a large skillet.  When it's hot, add the onion and saute until softened and lightly browned, 15-20 minutes or so.
2. Add a little more oil if the skillet needs it, and then add the garlic, cumin, harissa paste, paprika, and cinnamon.  Season with about 3/4 tsp salt and several grinds of pepper.  Cook for 1-2 minutes until the spices are a bit toasty.
3. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes, along with a bit of water if the stew seems to need it.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer 15-20 minutes, adding water if needed to get your desired consistency.  Taste and adjust seasoning.
4. To serve, start with a layer of grains, top with the chickpea stew, and then finish with yogurt sauce and fresh vegetables.

    Saturday, July 20, 2019

    Deviled Egg Salad

    Egg salad with all the flavors of deviled eggs!  Genius idea and super creamy and delicious. The dressing would also be fantastic on a potato salad.  The egg salad is fantastic on toasted Hawaiian rolls.

    Deviled Egg Salad (adapted from Food52)
    Serves 4

    6 large eggs
    1/4 cup + 2 T mayonnaise
    1 T white vinegar
    1/2 T Dijon mustard
    1/2 tsp sugar
    1/4 tsp kosher salt
    Several grinds of black pepper
    Generous pinch dried basil
    Generous pinch dried marjoram
    1/3 cup small-diced fennel
    2 T minced chives
    Hawaiian rolls, to serve
    Smoked paprika, to serve

    1. Hard boil the eggs -- I do 5 minutes at high pressure in the Instant Pot + 5 minutes natural release, but you can do this on the stovetop as well.
    2. Cut each egg in half.  Chop the whites and place in a bowl.  Put the yolks in a small blender or food processor.  Add the mayo, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, basil, and marjoram.  Puree (adding a tiny bit of water if needed) for a minute or so, until very smooth.
    3. Add the yolk dressing to the chopped egg whites.  Add the fennel and chives, and gently fold everything together.  If not serving immediately, place in a container and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic against the egg salad so a skin does not form.  Store in the fridge up to 1-2 days.
    4. To serve, cut the rolls in half and toast or broil the cut halves until lightly browned.  Top with egg salad and sprinkle with a little smoked paprika.

    Wednesday, July 17, 2019

    Pesto alla Trapanese

    This super-simple pasta dish tastes like summer.  The sauce can be made in the time it takes to boil water and cook the pasta, and it's a great use for any herbs in your garden.  I used a mix of mint, basil, and lemon thyme, but you can go crazy with whatever other leafy herbs you have.  The pesto base is supplemented with a pound of tomatoes, making the sauce taste even more fresh and summer-y.  This pasta is great hot or cold.

    Pesto alla Trapanese (adapted from Back Pocket Pasta)
    Serves 4

    1 pound pasta
    1/4 cup toasted blanched almonds
    1 pound cherry tomatoes
    1 large garlic clove
    2 cups mixed leafy herbs
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

    1. Cook the pasta until al dente and drain.
    2. Meanwhile, combine the almonds, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, salt, and chile flakes in a food processor.  Pulse until roughly chopped.
    3. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, while pulsing.  Continue to pulse until the sauce forms a smooth paste.
    4. Transfer the pesto to a serving bowl and fold in the cheese.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Add the pasta and toss to combine.

    Sunday, July 14, 2019

    Pan-Fried Fish Tacos

    Deep-fried fish tacos are way too much work for a weeknight (or, if I'm being honest, basically ever with life with a toddler).  But sauteed or baked fish just isn't quite as exciting.  These tacos are a good compromise -- the fish is pan-fried so it doesn't quite achieve deep-fried crispiness, but it's still got some good crunch without having to deal with a big pot of oil.  Crunchy radishes and Romaine lettuce make for great toppings alongside creamy avocado and easy Sriracha mayo.

    Pan-Fried Fish Tacos (adapted from The Kitchn)

    1/3 cup flour
    1/4 cup + 1 T panko breadcrumbs
    1 tsp chili powder or Arizona Dreaming seasoning
    1 tsp kosher salt
    Several grinds of black pepper
    1 to 1-1/2 pounds white fish, such as cod, halibut, snapper, flounder, or tilapia
    Olive oil

    To serve: Warm corn tortillas, thinly sliced radishes, shredded Romaine lettuce, avocado, Sriracha mayo
    For the Sriracha Mayo: Stir together a few spoonfuls of mayo with Sriracha and lime juice to taste.

    1. Whisk together the flour, panko, chili powder, salt, and pepper on a shallow plate or dish.
    2. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then toss to coat evenly in the breadcrumb mixture.
    3. Heat a good pour of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet -- enough to generously coat the bottom.  When hot, add the fish and immediately use a flat spatula to press down on it so it adheres to the pan.  When the bottom is deeply golden brown, flip and cook the second side until deeply golden brown.  Transfer to a plate and repeat with any remaining fish.
    4. Break the fish up into large chunks, then fill warm tortillas with the fish and toppings of choice.