Sunday, October 23, 2016

Quinoa & Veggie Patties with Harissa

These Quinoa Patties have been a looooong time coming. I bookmarked them way back and they've been on my list for what feels like forever.

 I think one of the reasons they appeal to me so much is because it's one of those basic recipes, like pizza or risotto, which can be taken in many directions, depending on your inspiration.

For example, this time around I was inspired by a jar of Harissa I bought at Trader Joe's. I knew I wanted to use the Harissa as a dipping sauce, so I started there and decided to add in bell peppers, broccoli, feta cheese, and pine nuts.  This version was spicy and full of flavor!

In the future I'm inspired to try many other versions. More than anything, I think a breakfast version with a fried egg and sliced avocado on top would trump just about any other version.  Although, of course, I think an Italian version with pesto, loads of garlic, and Italian cheeses would also be delicious. After that, I can seeing mixing in some lentils or beans, maybe trying my hand at a kale version, and perhaps even a Thanksgiving-inspired version with dried cranberries and nuts/seeds. See, lots of possibilities!! Numerous forms of inspiration.

Also worth noting, I cooked my quinoa according to this recipe, which I prefer because the quinoa is toasted before cooking, which results in a nuttier and more robust flavor.  I cooked the quinoa in chicken broth, but you could use veggie broth if you wanted to go vegetarian, and seasoned the quinoa with salt, pepper, chives, and parsley.

These Quinoa Patties are inspiring. Open up your mind and create your own version using some of your favorite flavors!

Quinoa &Veggie Patties with Harissa
Adapted from
by Heidi Swanson
Makes 12 patties

 2-1/2 cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature
4 large eggs, beaten
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup fresh chives
1 yellow or white onion, chopped
1/3 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup steamed broccoli, chopped*
1/4 cup sauteed chopped peppers, chopped*
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup bread crumbs, plus more if needed
water, if needed
1 tablespoon or more olive oil, for frying
Harissa, feta cheese, pine nuts, etc. for garnish

Notes: My changes/additions are noted with an asterisk*

Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese, garlic, broccoli, and peppers. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a mixture you can easily form into twelve 1-inch thick patties. I err on the very moist side because it makes for a not-overly-dry patty, but you an add more bread crumbs, a bit at a time, to firm up the mixture, if need be. Conversely, a bit more beaten egg or water can be used to moisten the mixture.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, add 6 patties, if they'll fit with some room between each, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until the patties are browned. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the second sides for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties.  Alternatively, the quinoa mixture keeps nicely in the refrigerator for a few days; you can cook patties to order, if you prefer.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ellie's Banana Bread with Chocolate Drizzle

This is the 5th recipe for banana bread I've shared on my blog. Over the years I've made banana bread with many additions: pecans, bourbon, peanut butter, and my all-time favorite - loads of brown sugar. Now I'm back at it again giving banana bread a healthy-ish twist by reducing the sugar, using part whole wheat flour, and replacing some of the oil with yogurt. And you know what? You would never know this is a healthier version!

This is a deliciously moist banana bread with a very nice crumb.  The best part, of course, is the chocolate drizzle. Of course, when I was putting the recipe together I was thinking 1/2 oz of chocolate? How is that going to be enough to drizzle atop the whole loaf? Well, I should have known better than to question one of Ellie Krieger's recipes because of course it turned out to be the perfect amount. Like always, Ellie has succeeded in turning another classic into a healthier and crave-worthy delight! 

If you're a fan of banana bread I would definitely give this recipe a try! The chocolate drizzle really gives this recipe a dessert feel. I found this to be very satisfying and indulgent.

Banana Bread with Chocolate Drizzle
Adapted from The Washington Post
Serves 10, makes one 9-inch loaf

1/3 cup walnut pieces (optional)
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or regular whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large, very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 1 & 1/2 cups total)
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons milk, plus more if needed
1/2 ounce dark chocolate, 60% - finely chopped

Notes: I opted not to use the walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. 

If you'll be adding the walnuts, spread them on a baking sheet and toast in the preheated oven until fragrant and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

Whisk together the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.

Whisk together the oil, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl, then whisk in the mashed bananas until well incorporated. Add to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in the toasted walnuts, if using.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface. Bake at 350 degrees until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool in the pan, then transfer the loaf to a plate.

While the banana bread is cooling, combine the confectioner's sugar and the 2 teaspoons of milk in a small saucepan over low heat; stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Add the chocolate and cook, stirring, until melted and well incorporated, about 1 minutes. If the mixture seems too thick, add another teaspoon or two of milk. Remove from the heat.

Drizzle or spoon the chocolate mixture over the top of the banana bread. Allow the chocolate to cool and set before slicing and serving.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Heidi Swanson's Popcorn {with Mustard, Thyme, Chives & Browned Butter}

When Heidi Swanson won the vote as our next IHCC chef I had visions of quinoa patties running through my head. Without a doubt, the very first recipe I was going to share would be her Quinoa Patties, with a southwest twist. I had visions of those golden brown patties artfully arranged on a plate with some salsa and slices of ripe avocado. I bought all the ingredients.

Hours later, I was sitting on the back porch with the dog, enjoying the cool breeze, and realized it was the most glorious fall day. No way was I going to spend that gorgeous day inside making quinoa patties. Quick glance through Heidi's Super Natural Every Day and I nearly squealed with delight when I found this perfectly easy, and quick, recipe for Popcorn with Mustard, Thyme, Chives & Browned Butter.

Score! Mustard is one of my favorite ingredients so my interest was piqued. Bonus, I was also able to clean out my pantry a bit by using the last of my popcorn kernels and the last of my fresh herbs. I love it when a plan comes together like that!

So, here it is. A delicious popcorn recipe to share with your loved ones. Perfect to eat on the sofa while you're binge watching episodes of your favorite show. Browned butter is always a welcome addition with it's warm nutty flavor. The two tablespoons of Dijon mustard was just the right amount, leaving behind a subtle flavor of Dijon. To me, the star was the addition of the chives. I found myself searching for the bits that were heavy on the chives. Those bites were quite simply my favorite! A definite make again recipe!

Popcorn with Mustard, Thyme, Chives & Browned Butter
by Heidi Swanson
Serves 4 to 6

4 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup popcorn kernels
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
sea salt, to taste
1 bunch fresh chives, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Heat the butter in a deep, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add a few popcorn kernels to the pan and cover. Once they pop, add the remaining kernels and shake the pot until they cover the bottom of the pan evenly. Place the lid on the pan, leaving just a sliver of a crack, and shake intermittently while the popcorn pops, until there is a 5-second pause between pops. Remove the popcorn from heat and transfer all the popped corn to a large bowl, leaving any unpopped kernels behind.

In the meantime, melt the butter over medium heat and let it sizzle away until it has browned a bit and is fragrant. Whisk in the mustard and salt.

Pour one-third of the mustard butter over the popcorn and toss well, about 1 minute. Taste, and decide if you'd like more of the mustard butter, and add more if desired. (Note: I used all the mustard butter). Sprinkle with the chives and thyme and toss one last time. Serve in a large bowl for all to share.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Lozza's Corn and Bacon Muffins + {My Top Ten Curtis Stone Recipes}!

This is  I Heart Cooking Club's seventh year and Curtis Stone is our 14th chef. During this time we've cooked with some pretty amazing chefs such as Jacques Pepin, Rick Bayless, and Yotam Ottolenghi and, I have to say, Curtis is right there at the top of the list! He is hands down one of my favorites. His recipes are very approachable and family-oriented. I never once felt like the ingredient list was too long or the recipe too daunting. I found the recipes very well-written and, on top of that, every single recipe I tried was a smashing success. 

I have all of Curtis' cookbooks but found I favored his Relaxed Cooking the most. I love that he has an entire book dedicated to simple and quick food that always delivers.  This recipe for Lozza's Corn and Bacon Muffins is a perfect example. These muffins are very low effort, but they are also crazy addictive! Lovely little fluffy clouds of cheesy goodness with sweet pops of corn and yummy little streaks of bacon. These are absolutely heavenly fresh out of the oven with a smear of butter. I'm gonna go ahead and say that no one could stop at just one! I think these muffins would be perfect to serve for the upcoming holidays. I know they will be making a repeat performance at my table!

Listed below are my top ten favorite Curtis Stone dishes in no particular order. Thanks to Curtis for a wonderful 6 months. I know I will be revisiting his cookbooks in the future!

Lozza's Corn and Bacon Muffins
Adapted from Relaxed Cooking
by Curtis Stone
Makes 12

12 ounces hardwood-smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
1 ear yellow corn, husked (about 1 cup)
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1-1/4cups whole milk
3 large eggs
2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives
salted butter, for serving

Notes: Somewhere I read that this recipe called for self-rising flour so I used that and had wonderful results. I would say it's safe to use either all-purpose or self-rising.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cook the bacon in a large heavy saute pan over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until it is browned and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels. Brush 12 standard-size muffin cups generously with some of the bacon drippings from the pan, and set aside 1/2 cup remaining bacon drippings to cool slightly. Discard any remaining bacon fat.

Use a sharp knife to slice the corn kernels off the cob. You should have about 1 cup.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl to blend. Whisk the milk, eggs, and reserved bacon drippings in another large bowl to blend; then stir in the bacon, 1-1/2 cups of the cheese, the corn kernels, and the chives. Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it equally and mounding it generously. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the muffins are golden and a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let the muffins cool slightly in the cups.  Then run a small sharp knife around the muffins to loosen them from the cups, remove them, and serve them warm with salted butter.


(click on the link to be directed to original post)

Grilled Corn On The Cob with Parsley and Garlic Brown Butter


Lozza's Corn and Bacon Muffins
(recipe found on this post)
Thanks for a fabulous 6 months Curtis !!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Beef Kofte with Herby Couscous Salad

Subscription boxes are all the rage now and goodness knows they have them for just about anything your heart desires (food, makeup, planners, pets, fitness, etc.)  One of my favorite subscription boxes is Hello Fresh, a weekly food subscription box that comes with all the ingredients for three recipes.

I've been a member of Hello Fresh for about a year. Each week they post six recipes and you can choose up to three recipes for delivery.  I must admit that when I'm working I really love this service.  I never feel like running to the grocery store after work and the Hello Fresh boxes give me a break, but also give me something fun to look forward to when I come home.

I was super excited when I heard that Hello Fresh partnered with an IHCC chef, Jamie Oliver. Now I can order a Jamie Oliver recipe each week and have it delivered right to my doorstep. This week was a particularly busy week with lots of running around and I did not have time to think about what I was making for my blog, much less go to the grocery. It was so nice when the ingredients and recipe came in the mail for Jamie's Beef Kofte with Herby Couscous Salad.

Everything you need comes packaged in a cute little meal kit, the ingredients are fresh and delicious, and everyone usually raves about the food. This Beef Kofte with Herby Couscous Salad was packing some major heat with a very fiery red chile, but the creamy tzatziki sauce helped to cool things down a bit. We loved mixing little bits of spicy meat with the lettuce and couscous and dipping it in the sauce. It was a fun meal that everyone loved!

Have you tried a food subscription box? If so, how was your experience?

Beef Kofte with Herby Couscous Salad
Recipe by Jamie Oliver 
courtesy of Hello Fresh
Serves 2

10 ounces ground beef
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 cup couscous
1/2 red onion
1/2 a cucumber
1 romaine heart lettuce
1 lemon
1 fresh red chile
1 bunch of fresh mint
4 ounces ripe grape tomatoes
1/2 cup plain yogurt

Fill a small pot with water, place over a high heat and bring to a boil

Meanwhile, pick the thyme leaves into a bowl, then add the beef, garam masala and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well to combine, then with wet hands divide into 4 portions. One at a time, squeeze each portion in your fist so it forms a ridged oval shape.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat, then add the kofte and fry for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned on all sides, turning occasionally, then set the pan aside off the heat.

Meanwhile, place the couscous into a bowl, pour over 1 cup of the boiling water, cover with a plate and set aside.

Peel and coarsely grated the onion into a bowl. Halve the cucumber length ways, scoop out the seeds with a small spoon and discard then coarsely grate into the bowl.  Season well with salt and leave for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim and cut the lettuce into wedges, then arrange on a nice, wide platter.

Squeeze out the excess salty liquid from the cucumber and onion, then add half the lemon juice and a pinch of pepper.

Halves and seed the chili on a large cutting board, then pick over the leaves from 3 sprigs of mint. Finely chop it all together, mixing as you go. Fluff up the couscous with a fork, stir through 1 teaspoon of olive oil, the chili and mint mixture, then season with salt and pepper. Roughly chop the tomatoes, then stir half through the couscous.

Pick and finely chop the remaining mint leaves, then place into a bowl with the yogurt. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and mix well.
Spoon the couscous onto the salad and lay the warm koftes on top.  Scatter the rest of the tomatoes in and around the plate, then drizzle over the minty yogurt. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Jacques Pepin's Onion Soup Lyonnaise-Style {French Onion Soup}


Awhile back I bought some soup bowls specifically made for serving French Onion Soup. I had intended to make the soup straight away, but every time I thought about it I envisioned standing in front of the chopping board with tears streaming down my cheeks. Now I love onions, especially when topped with crusty bread and lots of cheese, but I do not love continuously crying over mounds of onions. Never mind that it ruins my makeup.

Fast forward to today when I was planning on spending a lazy Sunday at home in my pajamas, no makeup necessary.  I decided it was time to blow out my Farmer's Market candle and get this house smelling like proper French Onion Soup.

Now if you love French Onion Soup then hear me when I say this recipe is total and complete perfection. In fact, it's easily one of my favorite recipes I've made since blogging almost 8 years ago! Why? Well, the French Onion Soup we've all come to know and love is so delicious because it is topped with that crusty bread and melted cheese. That crusty bread and melted cheese is easily the pièce de résistance.  Now, how do we improve on that? By adding more cheese and bread, of course! How about crusty bread and cheese on the bottom of the bowl and on top? Yum! What's more, Pepin makes this soup even more easy to eat by running the soup through a food mill to chop the onion into bits so that it fits on the spoon better. This means no juggling big rings of onion on your spoon while you spill broth everywhere. Score! Now we have a French Onion Soup worth crying over!

Onion Soup Lyonnaise-Style
Adapted from Essential Pepin
Serves 6-8

15-20 slices baguette, 1/4 inch thick
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
8 cups homemade chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sweet port
Optional: sprinkling of Herbes de Provence, to taste

Note: This recipe can be halved quite easily. Also worth noting that I skipped adding the egg yolk and the port, although I'm quite sure it would be delicious.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Arrange the bread slices on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until browned. Remove from the oven and set aside (Leave the oven on).

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions and saute for 15 minutes, or until dark brown.

Add the stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Push the soup through a food mill, if desired.

Arrange one third of the toasted bread in the bottom of an ovenproof soup tureen or large casserole. Sprinkle with some of the cheese, then add the remaining bread and more cheese, saving enough to sprinkle over the top of the soup. Fill the tureen with the hot soup, sprinkle the reserved cheese on top, and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a golden rust forms on top. 

Combine the yolks with the port in a deep soup plate and whip with a fork. With a ladle, make a hole in the top of the gratinee, pour in the port mixture, and fold into the soup with the ladle. Stir everything together, bring the soup to the table, and serve.

Every Sunday @ Kahakai Kitchen
Theme: Monthly Featured Chef: Jacques Pepin

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Potato and Zucchini Enchiladas with Fiery Habanero Salsa

Some dishes are all about the finishing touches. Peanut butter topping, chunks of peanut butter cups, and whip cream sure do jazz up a plain bowl of vanilla ice cream. A ladle of homemade marinara and a grating of Parmesan cheese transform a bowl of pasta into something comforting and delicious. Enchiladas are a feast for the eyes with a spoonful of salsa and a good sprinkling of cheese, scallions, cilantro and avocado. It's always those finishing touches that make our eyes light up in anticipation. Those few extra minutes spent fussing over your dish, usually at the last minute, are often the most pleasing to the eye and palate.

These Potato and Zucchini Enchiladas with Fiery Habanero Salsa are just that! They draw your eye in with all their finishing touches. Fiery Habanero Salsa? Yes, it is hot, but the potato and zucchini filling is mild and goes a long way in toning down the heat. Plus, don't forget the added cheese will also help to tone the heat down as well.

I really can't say enough good things about this dish. The salsa is perfection. It's perfect balance of flavors, especially if you love all things spicy! I can see myself making batches of this salsa just to have on hand. The potato and zucchini filling is somewhat creamy and oh so delicious. I had a hard time keeping my spoon out of the bowl. Overall this is a truly wonderful dish. One that I will most definitely make again.

Potato and Zucchini Enchiladas with Habanero Salsa
Adapted from Good Food, Good Life
by Curtis Stone
Serves 4

3 ripe tomatoes (1-1/4 pounds total), cored
3 fresh Anaheim chiles (8 ounces total)
1/2 to1 habanero chile, seeded
7 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste 
10 fresh cilantro sprigs
3 garlic cloves, 1 whole (but peeled), 2 finely chopped
2 russet potatoes (about 1 pound total), cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 zucchini,cut into 1/2-inch dice (1-1/2 cups)
1/2 white onion, finely diced (1 cup)
8 corn tortillas
1 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese
1 large or 2 small scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/3 sour cream
1 avocado diced

To make the salsa and filling, preheat the broiler.

Line a baking sheet with foil and put the tomatoes and chiles on it. Rub 1 tablespoon of the oil over the tomatoes and chiles and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil, turning as needed, until the tomatoes and chiles are tender and their skins have charred, about 10 minutes for the habanero, 15 minutes for the chiles, and 20 minutes for the tomatoes. When the chiles are done, transfer them to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside until cool enough to handle. When the habanero and tomatoes are done, transfer to a plate and let cool slightly, Peel, seed, and coarsely chop the chiles; set aside.

Meanwhile, remove the leaves from the cilantro and place the stems in a blender. Coarsely chop the leaves and reserve in a medium bowl. Add the whole garlic clove, the broiled tomatoes, habanero, and any accumulated juices to the blender and blend until smooth. Season the salsa to taste with salt. Set aside.

Heat a large heavy nonstock skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, then add the potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they are beginning to soften. add the zucchini, onion, and the chopped garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the chopped chiles and 1/4 cup of the salsa and season to taste with salt. Set aside to cool.

To assemble the enchiladas, preheat the oven to 450F. Line a small baking sheet with paper towels.

In a small skillet, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 tortilla to the pan and cook for about 20 seconds per side, or until just pliable. Using tongs, transfer the tortilla to the paper towel lined baking sheet to absorb any excess oil. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, layering them between paper towels.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the potato mixture over the bottom third of one tortilla, then roll up, and place seam side down in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.

Bake the enchiladas, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, or just until heated through. Reheat the remaining salsa.

Drizzle about 2/3 cup of the remaining salsa over the enchiladas, then sprinkle the cheese, scallions and reserved cilantro leaves over the top. Serve with sour cream and avocado and pass remaining salsa at the table to spoon onto plates when serving.

Theme: Finishing Touches!