Veggie Stir Fry

This veggie stir-fry is super simple, yet very flavorful. No need to grab your fancy condiments. You can make this with minimal ingredients and feel great afterward! 

Give it a whirl- meatless Mondays don't only have to be on Monday.  

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Ingredients:

3    Tbsp. unsalted butter [I use earth balance]

1     leek, chopped

1     (8oz)pkg. cauliflower florets

1     (8oz)pkg. mixed mushrooms

1/4  cup chopped cilantro

1      tbsp. salt

1      tsp. pepper

3     tbsp. lemon juice

Ricotta cheese, optional

 

Preparation:

1. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.

2. Melt butter and add cauliflower. Saute until cauliflower has softened and turned to a golden hue, about 5 minutes. Working in batches, add leeks and mushroom until softened stirring occasionally about 3minutes.

3. Add cilantro, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly and serve with a dollop of ricotta cheese.  

 

White Pizza

It's only a few weeks into 2017 and this is probably the most anti-New Year's Resolution post, but sometimes you just crave what you crave. If you have not yet experienced the beauty of the New York White Pizza, do yourself the favor and give it a try. I added some tomatoes to get some veggies in ;)

 

Ingredients:

1         pizza dough

4         garlic cloves, roasted and minced

1         cup shredded mozzarella cheese

5        Tbsp. ricotta cheese

1/4     cup fresh basil, julienned

1       small vine-ripe tomato, sliced

2      tsp. Italian seasoning

1/4   tsp. salt

1/8   tsp. pepper

red pepper flakes (optional)

parmesan cheese (optional)

 

Preparation:

1. Preheat over to 550 degrees or your highest oven temperature. Place on the bottom rack of oven pizza stone, pizza pan or any other pan you may be using.

2. Meanwhile, dust pizza dough with a little bit of flour so it does not stick. Using fingers or a rolling pin stretch dough into a 10-12 inch round onto cutting board.

3. Sprinkle the garlic onto pizza dough. Then dollop the ricotta and spread the mozarella leaving a 1-inch border for the crust. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

4. Drizzle with EVOO. Open oven and carefully slide the pizza onto the pizza pan. Cook for about 10 minutes. Open halfway through to add tomatoes and basil. Cheese should be melted, ricotta has spread, and crust is lightly charred and golden on bottom (carefully lift an edge to check).

** Tip: Rotate pizza in the oven every few minutes to get an even char on the crust.

5. Remove pizza from oven and transfer to cutting board to cool for 3 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and grated parmesan to your liking. 

 

 

Mushrooms + Cheese= Risotto Love

I have a love for all different types of food, but anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a deep obsession for mushrooms and cheese. If I can find a way to add them to a recipe, they are likely to be included. This obsession is what sparked my deep love for risotto. Although risotto is an Italian classic known for its velvety texture, there are so many great variations. Although this recipe requires more consentration than the average pasta dish, it is totally worth it!

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups arborio rice
  • 1 qt mushroom or vegetable stock
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 medium shallot or ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter (½ stick)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Preparation:

  1. Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp of the butter in a saute pan and saute the sliced mushrooms until they're soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot or onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until it is slightly translucent.
  4. Add the rice to the pot and stir it briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with the oil and melted butter. Saute for another minute or so, until there is a slightly nutty aroma. Don't let the rice burn or brown.
  5. Add the wine and cook while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed.
  6. Add a ladle of hot stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice is almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process. Note: It's important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.
  7. Continue adding ladles of hot stock and stirring the rice while the liquid is absorbed. As it cooks, you'll see that the rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release its natural starches.
  8. Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20-30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. When you're down to your last few ladles of stock, add the cooked mushrooms. If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn't done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it's absorbed.

  9. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, the parmesan cheese and the parsley, and season with Kosher salt.
  10. Risotto turns gelatinous if held for too long, so serve right away. Enjoy!

Bass and Spicy Relish Sandwich

 

Since I can remember, I have always had an "unhealthy" love for pasta  -- something my parents prayed I would eventually grow out of.  A little over a year out of college, and I find myself gleefully employed as a cook in (wait for it...) an Italian restaurant! It’s been super exciting, challenging and rewarding but unfortunately, I haven’t had a moment to sit down and tell you about any of the amazing food I’ve been eating. We have a lot of catching up to do! 

Work aside, I finally have a moment to sit down and write, even if that means sitting on a bus on my way to Baltimore for my family's annual crab feast!  I found this awesome recipe the other week in my monthly subscription to bon appetite, for a bass and spicy relish dinner recipe. It sounded amazing, but I made just a few changes. I love seafood, but in the midst of summer who wants a hot piece of fish? I turned this recipe into a nice and easy sandwich, great to eat outside in the summertime as you sip on a cool watermelon margarita! I don’t know about you guys, but summer seems to have just flown by. So here’s to relishing the last few weeks of summer and enjoying some more sun, fun and great food with close friends & family!

Ingredients:

4 tbsp olive oil

4 5-6ounce skin on black bass fillets

Salt

Pepper

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

1 serrano chile, thinly sliced

2 cups of cilantro leaves

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1 loaf of sandwich bread

1 c. arugula

2 tomatoes sliced

 

Preparation:

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium until very hot but not smoking. Brush both sides of bread lightly with olive oil and cook on skillet until toasted (lightly browned) about 1 -2 minutes on each side. Season bass with salt and pepper and cook, skin side down, gently pressing occasionally with a spatula to guarantee contact with the skillet, until skin is brown and crisp and flesh is nearly opaque about 6-8 minutes. Turn and cook until flesh is opaque throughout about 1 minute longer.

Meanwhile, toss scallions, chile, cilantro, lime juice, and remaining 2 Tbsp oil in a medium bowl; season with salt. Blend in food processor until it’s spreadable but not liquid in consistency. Alternatively, you can keep ingredients mixed as a relish but I personally rather a spread. Take bread and place relish spread on one side. Top with arugula, tomatoes, and bass. Feel free to experiment and add other toppings to the sandwich- I opted for a Sriracha mayo on the other piece of bread for an extra kick! Voila- you officially have a new, light and refreshing meal to switch up your summer sandwich routine,

Classic Baltimore Crab Cakes

There is something about eating a great crab cake that reminds me of home. Aside from the obviously wonderful experience of biting into a fried and crunchy cake, I love crab cakes because my dad was born in Baltimore, and anyone who knows Maryland knows that's where you find the best crab in the world.

When in comes to crab cakes, I am definitely picky. I am all about going back to the basics. Friends always laugh at me when I'm ordering crab cakes at a restaurant, because I always want to know if they use fillers.  It's important to me to know if the fillers are just breadcrumbs or are there vegetables also mixed in.  After several trial and error episodes, I realized the only way that I'll truly be satisfied,  is by traveling to Baltimore or by making it myself . The first does not happen as often as it should, so I'll settle for making them myself. 

I learned how to make crab cakes at a young age. I remember my mom and I in my grandmother's  kitchen watching her every move as she taught us the right way to make crab cakes.  In my opinion, my grandmother's are the best I've ever had. It's such an easy recipe that once you try it, you'll be making it all the time!

Ingredients:

1 can of lump crab meat (16 oz)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp Mayo or a Vegan Mayo (Hampton Creek's Just Mayo) 

1 tsp Yellow Mustard

2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

20 saltine crackers

2 eggs

1/4 cup Canola Oil

Reynolds Wrap/Aluminum foil

Recipe:

Mix the crabmeat, mayo, mustard, Old Bay, Worcestershire sauce and eggs in a mixing bowl. Tear a medium to a large sheet of aluminum foil place about eight saltines in the middle of the aluminum foil. Fold the foil over the saltines and press using hands until they have crumbled into small crumbs but haven't turned dust like yet. Pour into mixing bowl and repeat with the rest of the crackers. Mix the crab mixture and the crackers together. If the mixture isn't thick enough to be rolled into balls, crush more crackers to add to the mix. Set out a plate and roll crab mixture into balls a little bit smaller than the size of your palm. (I like to refrigerator the mixture before rolling them for 15min, but that's just my personal preference).

 Take out a pan for the stovetop and cover the bottom of the pan with about an inch of oil. Once the oil is hot, carefully drop the rolled balls into the pan- about four at a time depending on your pan size. (Be careful the oil may pop!)

Once the bottom side starts to brown, carefully flip to cover the other sides. Once they brown on each side, place on a plate and repeat with the rest of the crabmeat. Serve on a saltine with some yellow mustard for dipping (optional). 

Welcome to your new life changing crab cake- Dig In!