Homemade Peanut Sauce

This is a peanut sauce recipe that I modified, after following the recipe that came in this Hello Fresh kit.  (It goes over a great lime-marinated beef and broccoli stir fry).  I thought their version came out a little too thin and heavy on the soy sauce flavor, so here how I’ll make it if and when I make it again in the future:

(This will give you enough sauce to go over 2-3 servings of a stir-fry dish).

Start with 2 bulbs of scallions:

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Separate the white tips from the green stems– the greens can be used later as a garnish.

To start, lightly pan fry the scallion whites in oil, along with one chopped glove of garlic, until slightly browned.

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Then stir in:

5-6 tbsp of creamy peanut butter

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp soy sauce

Then, while gently stirring over low-medium heat,  add approximately 1/2 cup water (or until sauce reaches desired consistency.

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When I followed their recipe, it came out a little too watery for my liking.  But still tasted good!

End product:

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All in all, not a bad recipe, though one I would definitely tweak in the future.

Other peanut sauce ideas:

This one from Epicurious calls for lime juice and red pepper flakes.

I’m slightly skeptical– but curious– about this simple-looking one using crunchy peanut butter and hot sauce.

Last, this authentic recipe from She Simmers Thai Cooking that calls for coconut milk and curry paste.  (I think I’m the most excited to try out this one).

Happy cooking!

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Zucchini, Onion & Chickpea Side Salad with Arugula (Hello Fresh)

I thought this was a creative little side salad idea from Hello Fresh.  It actually came out super tasty.

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I can’t give you the whole recipe here, but just so you get the idea:

You start out by sauteeing the chopped onion and zucchini in olive oil, because they take the longest to cook:

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Then you stir in garlic, vegetable stock, and paprika:

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Before ultimately adding the chickpeas and chopped arugula:

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I was really impressed by this dish; the flavors really came together.

It was served a side dish to the Spanish-style cod, which was very easy to make– you pop it in the oven at 500 degrees for about 8 minutes.

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My only real criticism of Hello Fresh, after having tried it a few times, is that the meals just don’t end up being very filling.  After eating a serving of this, I was hungry again within about two hours.

However, I just wanted to remember this dish because the favors came together really well, and it has the potential to really complement a larger dish.  If I was going to make it gain, I think I would try to mix in some couscous or something, along with some extra olive oil, to bulk it up.

So, that is my somewhat mixed review, but rest assured– this salad itself was incredibly tasty!

Cheese Tortellini with Melted Goat Cheese & Sauteed Broccoli Rabe

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In my last post, I described a pretty easy way to cook broccoli rabe (blanching it in cold water, and then sauteing it in olive oil).

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You can then use that broccoli rabe to make this dish.

It’s super simple:

You just boil the tortellini (I used an 8 oz package of fresh Bertoli tortellini, in the three cheese flavor):

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Then you drain the pasta in a colandar.

Next, slice a log of goat cheese into thin medallions and then spread them out evenly, stirring gently so that they begin to melt.

Then add the broccoli rabe, and voila!  You’re done.  Easy side dish.

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Baked Chickpeas (with Rice & Parsley)

So.

I’ve decided to treat this food blog as sort of a scrapbook– not only to share recipes, but also to save tips & tricks that resonate with me.

In this post, I wanted to “scrapbook” the idea of baking chickpeas in the oven, with olive oil, salt and pepper, before incorporating them into a larger dish.

(This little tidbit was part of a larger Blue Apron recipe called “Spicy Chicken & Carrots, with Harissa, Dates, and Chickpeas“).

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You coat the chickpeas with olive oil and roast at 425 for approximately 25 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste afterwards.  They were honestly pretty good just like this, right out of the oven.

However, the actual recipe calls for you to mix the chickpeas with rice and chopped parsley to make a little rice salad.

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The rice and chickpeas are then served as a side to the main dish– spicy chicken and carrots.

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Overall this dish was really good– I’ll have to review it in another post!

Note: Another baked chickpea dish which I really want to try is this Baby Kale Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

Oven-Roasted Beets

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I once had a terrible experience with pickled beets at age 8, and refused to eat them in any form for the next 20 years.

My friend Julia recently made me try them again, however.  Thanks to her, I realized that when beets are not pickled, they can actually be delicious.

Since then I’ve started really enjoying these earthy vegetables in salads and side dishes when I go out to eat.

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Got this awesome side dish at a restaurant: beets coated with tahini sauce and kale.  Really good.

My next move is going to be to prepare beets myself, at home.  They’re calling to me now, every time I pass by them in the grocery aisle.

Here’s a tutorial from The Kitchn on the general science of roasting beets (they point out that you can also cook the greens, as well).

The Barefoot Contessa suggests coating them with olive oil, fresh thyme, salt & pepper, raspberry vinegar, and the juice of one orange.  (Not sure if I’ll bother with all of those ingredients my first time around, but even half of them will probably come out good).

You can also roast them with just olive oil alone, which would probably work better if you were planning to incorporate them into a larger recipe.  (Check out this recipe from Bobby Flay which includes goat cheese, pine nuts, and lemon-tarragon vinaigrette).

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Um, anyone who hasn’t been averse to beets for two decades is probably already aware of this, but for my own general notes: there are yellow beets as well.

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Hope you enjoyed this post!

Pan-Seared Gnocchi with Goat Cheese Medallions (Gobble)

This lovely dish l was the second meal I cooked through Gobble.  It featured fresh gnocchi pasta, pan-seared, along with a garnish of pesto, peas, radishes, and asparagus, all topped off with melting rounds of goat cheese.

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Veggie prep

Although the pasta came fresh, it needed to be boiled for a few minutes:

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before it was seared in olive oil.

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Next, the gnocchi were set aside to cool, while the tougher vegetables had some time to cook in the pan (radishes/asparagus):

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before the peas and pesto were added:

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And then, at the end, creamy, cool goat cheese medallions were added on top:

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All in all, it was a great and easy to prepare meal.  My only wish that the serving of goat cheese had been a little bit more generous.  Other than that, it tasted great and I learned a few useful techniques I can return to to make similar dishes in the future.  Thank you, Gobble!

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Lemon Linguine with Swiss Chard & Caramelized Onion (Blue Apron)

Ok, I’m seriously starting to love Blue Apron.

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Tonight’s recipe: Linguine with Lemon Yogurt Sauce, Caramelized Onions, and Swiss Chard.

Even though I probably wouldn’t make this exact recipe again, I love how I learn new concepts and techniques each time I cook.

In particular, I think Blue Apron does a great job of introducing a wide range of vegetables in their recipes, with very straightforward and accessible instructions.  Thanks to this recipe, I can now officially say I’ve cooked swiss chard– something I’ve been meaning to try for a while.

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Of course, I can’t give you the full recipe for this dish here, but basically you saute the swiss chard and onions together in olive oil, before adding in the pasta and other ingredients.

First, you separate the stems from the leaves, and chop both:

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Then you start cooking the stems first, because they are coarser, along with the onions.  Both of these ingredients need more cooking time.

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Then, when both are almost completely cooked, you add the leaves:

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The pasta was so fresh and amazing:

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The sauce is thickened with Greek yogurt, which I thought was very inventive.

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For some reason, I didn’t love the finished recipe as much as I thought I would.  It just didn’t end up being as filling as I expected.  It seemed a bit more like a side dish than a full meal, which is often how I feel about Blue Apron’s vegetarian dishes.

However, I still had a lot of fun making it, and feel like I learned a lot!

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All the ingredients, ready to go.