Thursday, May 10, 2012

I am taking full advantage of the small break I have before summer classes begin. Practicum continues, but having those two days without classes has been heavenly. It's been full of guilty pleasures like sleeping in, long walks, an overdue manicure, and, of course, cooking.

Today started with a plan to make homemade worcestershire sauce. I had more tamarind paste than I needed, which led logically to tamarind jam. Somehow, spiced peanuts were tossed into the mix and two quinoa recipes also migrated out of my kitchen.

The worcestershire is mellowing and the jam is cooling. Recipes to follow shortly.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Avocado Asparagus Tartine

A couple of weeks ago I made this amazing avocado asparagus tartine from 101cookbooks. I adore this website and have found every recipe I've tried to be delicious. This tartine was no exception. I had never before considered combining asparagus and avocado. I made just two little tartines (halved the recipe) for Jason and I to enjoy one evening as an amuse bouche while we cooked dinner one evening and look forward to serving this again. Bookclub perhaps?

4 toasted slices of whole grain bread or french baguette
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound thin asparagus stalks, trimmed to be the length of the bread
1 garlic clove thinly sliced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon carraway seeds
1 avocado pitted and smashed with a splash of lemon juice
a couple of handfuls of arugula tossed in olive oil
toasted pepitas

  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat
  • Add asparagus and a pinch of salt and cook for about 30 second
  • Add the garlic and carraway seeds and cook for another 30 seconds or so and remove from the heat
  • Spread each slice of bread generously with the mashed avocado
  • Top with a bit of arugula, several asparagus spears and a few pepitas
* I made mine without the arugula and it was still delicious!

Potatoes, Peas and Green Beans in Coconut Red Curry Sauce

Jason created this dish to accompany my stir fried vegetables with lemongrass. I love the amazing variety of flavor profiles there are in thai cooking. We managed to use up the rest of the coconut milk from Sunday's peanut sauce for the spring rolls, and we have leftovers for several more meals. Both of these dishes were incredibly simple but lovely and complex in flavor.

2 yukon gold potates, peeled and cut into large cubes
1/2 - 3/4 pound green beans
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 very large onion, sliced
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 Tablespoons red curry paste

  • Cover the potatoes with water and boil until fork tender. Drain.
  • In a large pan, saute the onion in a little oil until softened
  • Add the curry paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes
  • Add the beans
  • Add the coconut milk and peas and simmer on low about 5 minutes
  • Add the potatoes and heat through

Stir Fried Vegetables with Lemongrass

Inspired by our Thai cooking yesterday, and the lemongrass and coconut milk I now had on hand, I decided to try this recipe from The  Food & Wine Annual Cookbook: An Entire Year of Recipes 2010.

I was thrown off initially by the coconut milk - soy sauce combination but it was an amazingly savory combination. A nice, healthy vegetarian meal, perfect when paired with Jason's potatoes, peas and green beans in red curry and coconut milk.


2 stalks of lemongrass, tender inner white bulb only
3 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 very large shallot thinly sliced
3/4 of a head of cauliflower cut into small florets (about 1 pound)
12 asparagus spears, cut on the diagonal into 1 inch slices
1 red bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
2 medium carrots, shredded
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup sliced basil

Jasmine rice for serving

  • Heat oil in a large skillet
  • Add the shallots and lemongrass and saute over high heat until the shallots start to brown, about 2 minutes 
  • Add the cauliflower, asparagus, bell pepper and carrot along with 1/2 cup of water and cook over medium-high until the vegetables are crisp tender, about 3 minutes
  • Stir in the coconut milk, soy sauce, and 1/4 cup water and bring to a simmer until cauliflower is perfectly cooked
  • Remove from the heat and add black pepper
  • Stir in the basil
  • Serve over rice


My grocery co-op, the wonderful Dill Pickle Food Co-op in Logan Square puts out a quarterly newsletter. I'm so happy that I've become a regular recipe contributor!

Check out the Spring 2012 issue for my potato, arugula, and herb frittata and israeli couscous with ramps, asparagus, and mushrooms recipes!

Green Beans in Black Bean Sauce

Inspired by the wrinkle beans at Urban Belly.

1 pound green beans
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
Olive oil
Black bean sauce (approx 2 ounces, enough to coat the beans)

  • Clean the beans
  • Saute the garlic and ginger in olive oil over medium heat
  • Add the beans and cook until tender crisp
  • Add black bean sauce, cooking for 3-4 minutes and tossing to coat the beans

Thai Beef Salad

This recipe is from My Grill by Australian Pete Evans. We brought this dish, along with my favorite spring rolls, and green beans in black bean sauce, to our good friends' house for a belated birthday celebration. The meal was a hit, the only downside, no leftovers!

Thai Beef Salad

Salt & pepper
1 pound filet
1 box asian brown rice noodles
3 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 handful basil
1 handful mint
1 handful cilantro
2 Tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts

2 Tablespoons minced ginger
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro sprigs
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 large red serrano pepper (or substitute with 2 small green thai peppers)
1 teaspoon honey
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass (inside white part only)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Season the filet with salt and pepper
  • Place filet on grill and cook approx. 4-5 minutes each side
  • Let stand before slicing
  • Cook the noodles according to directions, drain and rinse with cold water
  • For the dressing: combine all ingredients in a jar and mix
  • Toss the noodles with the dressing and add the torn herbs
  • Slice the beef thinly on the diagonal and place on top of the noodles
  • Top with the peanuts and serve