Another year is nearly over, and my head is spinning. As nuts as 2017 has been, I’m very thankful to have written another book and look forward to its release in 2018! I’ve written a few other things too lately (please see below):
Happy and merry to all!
This summer has really been a whirlwind. But with the manuscript for cookbook #2 turned in, I’ll have more time for article-writing, zine-making, and blog-writing (I hope). Here’s a few things I’ve written around the internet lately.
I’m also featured in Sirsee: Volume 1, a lovely little publication featuring recipes, poetry, prose, and artwork, all centered around the theme of “ripe.”
While continuing my lifelong struggle to prep easy lunches ahead of time, I returned to a recipe I’ve been making version of for close to 10 years now. I’ve since lost the original, but it combined couscous, tomato, edamame, chickpeas, and feta. In the past I’ve mixed it up by using other, healthier grains, adding other veggies, and leaving out the cheese. The iteration I made today is pretty similar to the original (from what I can remember) and is full of protein. It will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge, and tastes equally great hot, cold or room temperature.
Chickpea and Edamame Quinoa Salad
1 1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes, no or low salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas
1 cup frozen edamame, defrosted and shelled
salt and pepper
1/2 cup feta or queso fresco cheese, crumbled
- Combine the quinoa and the water in a medium pot and cook according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the edamame and cook for a few more minutes, stirring.
- Add the cooked quinoa to the skillet and stir. Season to taste. Add the crumbled cheese and stir. Serve hot or chill and serve cold. Keeps for up to 5 days in the fridge.
I don’t know what the weather has been like where you are, dear reader, but it’s been give-me-a-break-UGH hot in LA. With a solid week skirting or topping 100 degrees, it’s been pretty miserable. That means I’ve been completely against turning on the oven or even using the stove for too long, so dinner options have been… salad, mostly. I was looking for new ideas when I saw Smitten Kitchen’s Corn Chowder Salad. It was hearty, used some seasonal produce, and didn’t require too much cook time. It was also great served at room temperature, so it won’t cause you to overheat. I made a couple of changes—smoked Gouda instead of bacon, served over a bed of arugula and turned into a main dish—but the concept is completely the same. Delish!
P.S. If you want to go veg like I did but want an especially bacon-y substitute, fry your gouda like bacon. So. Good.
Corn Chowder Salad
adapted from Smitten Kitchen, adapted from The Beekman Boys
Serves 4+ as a main dish
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch dice
6 or 7 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded smoked Gouda
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 small bag of arugula
- Add a good glug of oil to a large skillet and preheat over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and cook until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for a few minutes longer, until almost tender.
- Add the bell pepper and stir. Cook about 5 minutes until both are tender.
- Add the corn and garlic and cook, stirring, for just a few minutes.
- Turn off the heat and toss with the vinegar, lime, and another glug of oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve over a bed of arugula, dressed or plain, and top with Gouda (I added radishes to mine). Goes great with crusty bread and butter.
As much as I love food and to eat eat eat, one of my least favorite tasks is lunch prep. Sometimes I’m working from home and can whip up my meals when I’m hungry, but it inevitably takes too long and leaves less time for my lunch break. Leftovers like soup, rice dishes, and curries heat up quickly and easily, and when possible I fall back on these heat-and-eat dishes. But I often don’t have leftovers to lean on and I need something fresh instead. This brings us to meal prep: no-cook meals that are easy to make the night before and simply mix up and eat at lunchtime. The obvious choice is salad, but there are way more variations than you may think, and options that can be filling and flavorful.
Here are some combos to get to started. Simply use this as a jumping off point—you can mix and match based on your preferences and what you have available. If you’re still looking for ideas, I wrote a roundup a year ago about this very topic. These are in layering order, from the bottom to the top.
Asian Rice Salad
ginger, lime, and soy dressing + cooked brown rice + shredded cabbage and carrot mix + sugar snap peas + grilled tofu or chicken + sesame seeds
Quinoa Protein Salad
honey mustard vinaigrette + cooked quinoa + radishes + crumbled goat cheese + arugula + golden raisins + toasted almonds
balsamic vinaigrette + olives + grape tomatoes + cucumber + green pepper +spinach + feta cheese + freshly ground black pepper
Healthy Chopped Salad
roasted garlic and lemon dressing + cucumber + tomato + carrot + radish + butter lettuce + chicken (optional) + cheddar cheese + crumbled hard-boiled eggs
Sweet Potato and Kale Salad
grapefruit vinaigrette + kale leaves + avocado tossed with lemon juice + cubed roasted sweet potato + parmesan cheese + crunchy croutons (stored separately)
lime and cilantro vinaigrette + tomato + bell pepper + corn + black beans + chopped romaine + cojita or shredded cheddar cheese + avocado (added before eating)
I’ve been obsessing over a salad lately, and it all started when I needed lunch now-now-now and cobbled together a few items I had handy. It’s a flavorful bowl of goodness that’s really nutritious but satisfying, comes together quickly, and allows for customization. Do it!
Kale and Quinoa Salad
makes 1 salad
1 cup packed baby kale or torn kale leaves
1/4 of a lemon or lime, juiced
salt and pepper
1/2 to 2/3 cup quinoa, cooked (hot or cold)
1 large radish, chopped
1/4 of a pomelo, pith removed and cut into small wedges (1/2 a small grapefruit also works)
1 ounce of crumbled feta cheese (or goat cheese)
1 handful golden raisins (or other dried fruit)
1 handful toasted almonds (or other nut)
Dress the kale with the lemon juice, a glug of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Add the quinoa to a bowl. Top with the kale followed by the radish, pomelo, feta, raisins, and almonds. Eat it!
Living in Los Angeles, I go to Trader Joe’s a lot. Not that I’m complaining. I have many friends and family who would give an arm and leg to have a TJ’s in reasonable driving distance, so I try not to take it for granted.
For those of you who are lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s, here’s a salad I make often that’s entirely made up of items from this coveted little grocer. If you’re not so lucky, you can create a reasonable facsimile with items from your local store. The star is their relatively new Cruciferous Crunch, which is a mix of shredded brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and red cabbage. It’s deliciously crunchy and makes for a healthy base.
Cruciferous Crunch Collection
Sweet and Spicy Pecans
Whole Organic Sweetened Dried Cranberries
Crumbled Feta Cheese
salt & pepper
Mix up the dressing. I typically use a ratio of 3:1 oil to lemon juice. Add a squirt of grainy mustard, a dollop of honey and salt and pepper, and your dressing is ready. If you want to make extra to save for later, this honey mustard vinaigrette recipe works well.
Put your greens in a bowl and top with dressing. Use your hands to toss together and massage the greens a bit so that the dressing is fully saturated. Top with feta cheese, cranberries and nuts.
Swap out the nuts, cranberries and feta for toasted almonds, chopped dates and shaved Parmesan.
Swap the nuts and cranberries out for crumbled bacon and a soft-cooked egg for a take on the frisée salad.