Corn Tortillas

It’s true. Corn tortillas are one of the easiest things to just pick up in the grocery store. They are cheap, you can find them pretty much anywhere, and they all taste pretty good when filled with your favorite taco fillings. But here’s the thing. Tortillas hot off the pan, made in your own kitchen are SO GOOD. And you don’t need anything special to make them except maybe a margarita to sip on and some good music to dance to.

Certain recipes just lend themselves well to including the kids and this is one of them. The actual cooking of the tortillas takes just a few minutes total. The bulk of this simple recipe is stirring the masa, salt and water, rolling little balls of dough, then pressing and rolling the tortillas with a rolling pin. These are all tasks that keep little minds engaged and little hands busy. So sure, it might be just easier to pick up a pack of tortillas at the store, but why not turn regular Taco Tuesday into a party? This is an easy way to do just that.

Ingredients
2 c. masa harina (finely ground yellow cornmeal)
generous pinch of salt
1.5-2 c. hot water

Method

  1. In a bowl combine masa harina and salt.
  2. Slowly stir in the water until the dough is firm and springy when touched (not dry or sticky).
  3. Cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat griddle or cast iron skillet to medium high heat.
  5. Divide dough into 2” balls.
  6. One at a time, press dough between two pieces of waxed or parchment paper and roll into 6” circles.
  7. Place flattened dough on a hot griddle and cook until the top of tortilla starts to look cooked, about a minute.
  8. Flip and cook the other side for another minute.
  9. Makes 24 tortillas.
  10. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for later use.
  11. When you’re ready to eat them just warm them in the oven or on the grill.

Component in Action
-fill with your favorite taco ingredients
-make breakfast tacos!
-cut cooked tortillas into wedges, brush with oil and bake in the oven until crispy to make your own chips

Masa Corn Cakes

Masa Corn Cakes are perfect for breakfast, but also a great addition to any meal time. They’re lighter and crunchier compared to a regular pancake which makes them taste even better paired with maple syrup, jam or dunking into a warm bowl of soup. Yes, that’s right! They are just as good paired with savory foods like stewed meats, beans, avocado. They are naturally gluten free by being their awesome selves so this is a perfect excuse to call all your gluten free folks and invite them over for a breakfast party. 

I would recommend pouring yourself a cup of coffee and serving these Masa Corn Cakes as soon as they come off the griddle. This is the one time in my house where it feels like a line forms in the kitchen, and for good reason.

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
2 c. whole milk
4 T. unsalted butter (plus more for cooking)
pinch of granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 c. white or yellow cornmeal (finely ground)

maple syrup (for serving)

Method

  1. Preheat griddle or heavy bottomed pan (like cast iron) over medium heat.
  2. Bring butter, milk, sugar and salt to a simmer in a small saucepan. Turn off heat.
  3. Put cornmeal in a large bowl.
  4. Slowly pour hot milk mixture into the cornmeal, stirring with a wooden spoon continuously until batter is combined.
  5. Flick a drop of water on the surface of your pre-heated griddle. You’ll know it’s ready when the water skips along the surface.
  6. Melt a bit of butter in the pan and pour a bit of batter at a time for each pancake. Let sit for around five minutes until golden brown on the bottom, then flip until both sides are golden (you can make these whatever size you want)
  7. Repeat with butter in pan and batter until all cakes are cooked.

Component In Action
-enjoy for breakfast
-serve on the side with spicy soups and stews

Avocado Feta Dip

This avocado feta dip is good with so many things: raw veggies, pita, tortillas, chips, on tacos, sandwiches, in lettuce cups, grilled chicken, fish, etc. You can dip, spread, dunk, smear. Speaking of smearing, I almost forgot bagels! It would be so good on a bagel with turkey breast and sprouts. Wow. It’s almost midnight and I’m making myself hungry. Happy lunching folks!

Ingredients
1 avocado
2 scallions, sliced
½ c. feta, crumbled
1 lemon, juiced
¼ c. fresh mint leaves
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

romaine cups, veggies and/or fresh bread (for dipping)

Method

  1. combine all ingredients in a food processor. blend until as chunky or smooth as you like.
  2. if you don’t have a food processor no worries! Just use a fork to smash the avocado and feta, fold in sliced mint and scallions and fold in the rest of the ingredients with a rubber spatula. It might not look as smooth but I can guarantee it will taste just as good!

Component in Action
-use as a dip for raw veggies (aka crudites)
-spread on toasted pita
-use as a filling in tacos
-move over mayo. spread on sandwiches
-spread on romaine cups. crunch crunch yum.
-pair as a “sauce” with grilled veggies, chicken or fish

Citrus & Arugula Salad

I made this citrus & arugula salad for dinner last night. This winter in particular I have become just slightly obsessed with red grapefruit and wholeheartedly consider it my favorite food right now.  I have always like all the foods, so don’t really know how or why this came about, but every time I taste red grapefruit lately I hear myself saying aloud “this is the best thing I have ever tasted”.  Maybe I’m vitamin C deficient and my body is taking over my taste buds?? Either way, I’m so happy to share this easy and wildly delicious recipe with you for Citrus & Arugula Salad.

I just made one big platter of this and we ate this for our entire dinner. I added prosciutto de parma and with the bright citrus, creamy goat cheese, hint of balsamic, peppery arugula, well I can’t wait for you to experience it for yourself.

Ingredients
2 blood oranges (or navel)
1 ruby red grapefruit
2 T. aged balsamic vinegar
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
5 c.arugula
¼ c. goat cheese
4-6 slices of prosciutto de parma (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Peel the citrus with a knife. using a sharp knife, cut both ends off the fruit. sitting a flat side down on a cutting board, cut away the rind following the curve of the fruit. Save the pieces of rind.
  2. Then slice the fruit into rounds, picking off seeds if you see any. arrange slices of orange and grapefruit on large salad platter.
  3. Squeeze the pieces of saved rind to let any remaining juice fall in to a large salad bowl.
  4. Add balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add onions and arugula to bowl. gently toss with your hands.
  6. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if needed.
  7. Crumble goat cheese on top and/or arrange prosciutto along the side if using.

Component in Action
-enjoy as a side salad or complete dinner.
-add grilled chicken, fish or shrimp.
-try with other cheeses too like parmesan or blue cheese.
-add other vegetables to the salad like raw shavings or grilled asparagus, sweet corn in the summer or avocado.

Everyday Granola

In our house it is always nice to have a jar of granola on the shelf ready to go, for breakfast, for snacking, for topping something like yogurt to make it that much better. My favorite kind of granola is super crunchy and in clusters. I’ve totally been guilty of standing over a bulk bin of granola at the grocery for way too long, trying to get all the big clusters in my bag and none of the “granola dust” with the big awkward scoop. This recipe for Everyday Granola is even better because not only is it super crunchy but it also bakes into one big sheet, so YOU get to decide just how big your granola pieces are. The little crumbles that fall during the breaking process are amazing too, to top on just about a million things.

Everyone has their favorite granola combos. Here are three of my favorites; almonds, coconut and pecans. You can swap out any of these for a cup of your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruits, even cocoa nibs. Follow your morning cravings. Eat this on its own, over yogurt, or with your favorite milk.

Ingredients
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
½ c. maple syrup
⅓ c. honey
1 T. vanilla extract
1 t. ground cinnamon
generous pinch of salt
5 c. rolled oats
1 c. almonds, sliced
1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
1 c. pecans, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325 f.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the oil, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Fold in the oats, almonds, coconut and pecans.
  5. Pour the oat mixture onto the baking sheet and press mixture firmly with a flat bottomed cup.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes then rotate pan.
  7. Bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for one hour.
  9. Lift the granola off the parchment paper with your hands (it will be one big piece) and break into pieces.
  10. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.

Component in Action
-make your own by adding your favorite nuts or seeds
-gently fold in your favorite dried fruits after you cook, cool and break apart the granola into pieces.
-leave in bigger pieces for “granola bars”
-serve over plain greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey for a breakfast treat.
-serve over ice cream.
-put granola in a quart mason jar with a bow and give as a gift to a friend.

brown butter vinaigrette

Tis the season for salads that are as hearty as they are green. This brown butter vinaigrette is not just perfect for raw greens, it’s also a luscious dressing for many varieties of cooked vegetables as well. You can add fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, chives or parsley. You can play around with other acidity like fresh citrus juice, balsamic or sherry vinegar. This vinaigrette is nutty and bright, making it a perfect pairing for roasted root vegetables, chicken and even fish. The possibilities are endless. The question is, what will you make?

ingredients
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 T. maple syrup
2 T. dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

method

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring butter to a simmer. The butter will get foamy and then the foam will subside and the butter solids will begin to brown. Once the butter has turned a golden brown, turn off heat. Pour into medium bowl.
  2. Whisk in apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon and salt and pepper.
  3. Refrigerate in a glass jar until ready to use. Put jar in hot water to re-warm before serving.

component in action
-pour warm over vegetables
-drizzle over green salads
-use as a sauce for chicken, pork or fish
-add herbs like rosemary, sage, chives, parsley, mint
-play around with other acids like orange juice, lemon juice, sherry or balsamic vinegars

Cauliflower & Crispy Kale Tacos

Move over regular old tacos. The crunchy kale is my favorite part. Or wait, maybe the sweet and spicy burst of golden raisin in between bites of smoky roasted cauliflower. Is it Taco Tuesday yet?!?!

Ingredients
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1 head of kale, washed and dried well
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Smoked paprika
Ground turmeric
Salt and pepper
2 limes
1 T. maple syrup
2 T. chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
¼ c. golden raisins

1 pack corn tortillas
2 scallions, sliced (garnish)
queso fresco or cotija (garnish)
Greek yogurt (garnish)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 f.
  2. On a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread out cauliflower into a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with turmeric, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Put in oven and cook until tender and golden brown, around 20 minutes.
  3. On another foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread out kale and drizzle with evoo, salt and pepper. Bake until crispy, being careful not to burn, around 20 minutes.
  4. While cauli and kale are cooking, make the sauce: In a large bowl stir together chipotle in adobo sauce, maple syrup, lime juice and golden raisins.
  5. Ten minutes before serving, wrap tortillas in foil and put in oven.
  6. When cauliflower and kale come out of the oven, put them in the large bowl and gently stir to combine with the dressing.
  7. To assemble: Put a spoonful of cauliflower mix in the center of each tortilla, top with scallions, queso fresco and greek yogurt. Enjoy!

Component in Action
-make tacos
-nachos
-filling for burritos
-bowls with rice, couscous or quinoa
-enchiladas smothered with red or green chili sauce

Chocolate Mousse (no sugar added)

This is not a typical chocolate mousse recipe. This is a super easy, kid friendly (no extra sugar added), egg-free version that will not disappoint! It also has a great texture so you don’t have to worry about waiting around for a few hours for it to set like with a classic chocolate mousse.

This is also a great excuse to get the kids helping out in the kitchen<3.

Ingredients
½ c. water
1 t. vanilla extract, paste, or half a vanilla bean scraped
3 dates, pitted
Pinch of salt
2 T. cocoa powder
½ c. 70% dark chocolate, cut into pieces if needed
2 c. heavy cream

Method

  1. In a blender or food processor, blend water, vanilla and dates until it’s as smooth as possible.
  2. Make a double boiler. Fill a medium saucepan with 1-2” of water. Bring the water to a simmer. Find a stainless steel or glass bowl that sits snugly on top of the top without touching the water.
  3. Add your date mixture to the bowl along with the chocolate and cocoa powder. Stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is all the way melted. Turn off heat and carefully remove bowl with a dry towel (being careful not to get burned by the bowl or steam). Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. You can do this by hand with a large whisk or with a mixer.
  5. With a rubber spatula, fold melted chocolate mixture into whipped cream. Spoon into ramekins or jars and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Component in Action
-Use as a dip for fruit
-Layer with fruit and freeze. Slice for a light and airy dessert.
-Spoon into jars and top with shaved chocolate, fruit or nuts.

Kids in the kitchen! Five holiday recipes just for them

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been on hold for almost twenty minutes with a certain shipping company who will remain nameless. At the exact moment the agent came on the line, my two year old stood up and started the show that only occurs when I talk on the phone. He started shaking the maraca, jumping up and down singing Jingle Bells at the top of his lungs. I didn’t even know he had heard the song, let alone memorized it.

A couple days later, he informed me it was Christmas day. It was still November, and it occurred to me that if he was already anticipating the holidays at two years old, then he was certainly old enough to get in on a bit of holiday cooking action. So in the hustle and bustle, pull the kids into the kitchen. Give them an apron, a hand wash, and one more reason to love the holidays. Depending on the age of the kids in your life, some might need more help than others, so I’ll leave that up to you.

Continue Reading…

Turmeric and Ginger Quinoa

Sometimes the best recipes are so simple, it’s almost easy to overlook them as not being important enough for a whole blog post. But mastering these simple building blocks are how you learn to really cook.  I recently made a pot of this quinoa to mix in with a crunchy Vietnamese inspired salad of purple cabbage, kale, carrots, cilantro and mint (hence the photo). We ate this every day for lunch and never got tired of it.

I love to make quinoa risotto-style. This means starting with olive oil, then adding aromatics (the ginger and garlic), the adding the grain (quinoa) and toasting it for a few minutes. Then deglazing with liquid. I’m not gonna lie, making risotto might be a little more fun because there is parmesan cheese, wine and whipped cream involved. But hey, that’s for another post. The point is, even before you dress it up with your favorite accompaniments, there is A LOT of room to make a pot of quinoa amazing on its own.

You could add onion, jalapeno and lime for a taco filling or to pair with avocado and salsa.
You could add shallot, garlic, white wine and fresh thyme to pair with roasted veggies or chicken.
You could add raisins, nuts, cinnamon and a nut milk to make a hearty breakfast.

Ingredients
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1” piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 t. ground turmeric (or 1 T. fresh, peeled and chopped)
1 c. dried quinoa
2 c. water or veggie stock

Method

  1. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Add ginger and garlic and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add turmeric and cook another minute more.
  4. Add quinoa and stir for a minute.
  5. Add water, bring to a simmer and cover cooking on low for around 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and quinoa is cooked.
  6. Fluff into a bowl with a fork and let cool.

Component in Action
-Use as a taco/wrap filling
-Spoon into a bowl of soup or stew
-Enjoy as a hearty breakfast
-Add cold to salads
-Add hot over greens that just need a bit of wilting, like kale or spinach. drizzle a bit of vinaigrette over, sprinkle with toasted nuts…a perfect side.