It Is All About The Citrus!

Citrus comes in many shades with flavors ranging from tart to sweet.  A bit like candy but not.  Part of my winter survival will be finding tasty ways to get my daily dose of vitamin C.  Here is a lovely winter citrus salad paired with toasted hazelnuts and fennel from Smitten Kitchen (no surprise).  My orange cutting skills could use some improvement but other than that, this dish is pure sunshine.  Don’t be afraid to mix up the citrus.  I used two blood oranges, a sumo orange, and a grapefruit.  Fennel and blood orange salad recipe and images from Smitten Kitchen.  So good, so clean, so refreshing!   

1/4 cup hazelnuts or walnuts
1 medium-large fennel bulb, leaves and stems trimmed off
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
2 large blood oranges
1 small shallot, peeled and cut into paper-thin slices
10 mint leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lime zest

Place nuts in dry skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, to toast. Let cool. If using hazelnuts, roll them around in a dishcloth (or, if cool enough, in your hands), discarding any loose skins. Coarsely chop nuts; set aside.

Slice about 1/2 inch from bottom of fennel and discard. Slice fennel very thinly on a mandolin, benriner or with a knife, starting with flat bottom side. Toss in serving bowl with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Trim all peel and pith from oranges. Holding peeled fruit over bowl containing fennel, use sharp knife to cut sections from membrane and let them drop into bowl. Squeeze remaining membrane over bowl to sprinkle salad with remaining juice, and discard membrane.Add shallots, mint leaves, olive oil and reserved nuts and toss gently. Sprinkle with lime zest.

Do ahead: While the mint leaves will look and taste best on the first day, I really enjoyed the leftovers from this salad for lunch the next day.

Comfort In A Bowl

Smitten Kitchen

Veggie delight strikes again! Holding strong to cooking flavorful vegetarian meals.  A three-bean chili from Smitten Kitchen is an uncomplicated mid-week winter comfort dish.  SK offers lovely notes to make this dish easy and quick to prepare.  I went with the canned beans to shorten the time and opted for the stove top method for cooking.  Have fun with the toppings and break out the hot the sauce.   Thank you Smitten Kitchen for another winner!          

Yield: About 9 cups chili; 8 smaller servings or 4 to 6 large ones

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 to 2 peppers of your choice (see Notes, below), finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt or 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse salt
1 12-ounce bottle beer
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted if you can find them
1 1/2 cups mixed dried beans (see Note)
3 1/2 to 4 cups water

To serve: Lime wedges, sour cream, diced white onion, cilantro, corn or flour tortillas or tortilla chips or rice

Heat oil in the bottom of a medium-sized heavy pot or Dutch oven (if finishing it on the stove), in the pot of your pressure-cooker (if using one) or in a large skillet (if finishing in a slow-cooker). Once warm, add onion and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add any fresh peppers and cook for 3 more minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt and cook for 2 minutes, until browned and deeply fragrant. Add beer and scrape up any bits stuck to the pot. Boil until reduced by half, or, if you’re nervous about alcohol content, until it has all but disappeared.

If finishing on the stove: Add tomatoes, dried beans, any dried or rehydrated-and-pureed chiles and the smaller amount of water. Bring mixture to a full boil and boil for one minute, then reduce heat to a very low, gentle simmer, place a lid on your pot, and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the last 1/2 cup water if mixture seems to be getting dry, though I didn’t need it in most of my tested batches. If a slightly more sloshy chili wouldn’t bother you, you can add it from the get-go.

If finishing in a slow-cooker: Scrape onion, spice and beer mixture into a slow-cooker and add tomatoes, dried beans, any dried or rehydrated-and-pureed chiles and the smaller amount of water. Cook on HIGH for 6 to 7 hours, until beans are tender. You can add the last 1/2 cup water if needed, but probably will not find it necessary.

If finishing in a pressure-cooker: Follow the directions from your pressure cooker manufacturer. I failed to get this fully tested in my new one (boo) but estimate that it will take 20 to 22 minutes on high.

Serve as-is or with fixings of your choice.

Notes:

  • Peppers: The most important decision you make about your chili is, unsurprisingly, in the chiles themselves. If you’re cooking for people who don’t like spicy food, I recommend just using 1 bell pepper or 1 fresh poblano, which is very mild. 2 fresh jalapenos will give you slightly more heat. 2 small dried chiles, depending on which you use, will give you a bit more of a kick, as will 1 to 2 chipotle en adobo peppers from a can. If you need help choosing a dried chile, Serious Eats has a great guide to the properties of each here. To best incorporate the flavor of dried chiles into your chili, cover them with a bit of boiling water until they’re soft, then puree them. If this sounds like too much work, you can cook them with the dried beans for decent heat flavor infusion.
  • Chile powder: If you’d like the clear flavor of your dried chiles to come through, you can skip the chile powder in part or entirely.
  • Tomatoes: This makes a fairly tomato-y chili. If that’s not your thing, halve the suggested tomatoes, using only a 15-ounce can instead.
  • Beer: Use whatever type you’d like here. I used Dos Equis; I think a Negra Modelo would also impart a nice, deep flavor.
  • Beans: I use a mix of three beans here, usually 1/3 dried kidney beans, 1/3 black beans and 1/3 pinto beans, but I had a bag small pink Rosa de Castillo beans from Rancho Gordo around so I used them instead. I find that these three beans, surprisingly, take about the same time to cook, but if you’re nervous one will take longer than the others, you can soak it in water while preparing your other ingredients. Even 30 minutes should even up the cooking times.
  • To pre-soak your beans: This recipe doesn’t call for or require pre-soaking but pre-soaked beans will cook faster. How much faster depends on how long they are soaked for, but you can estimate that beans soaked for 6 hours or overnight will approximately halve suggested cooking times, regardless of cooking method. If pre-soaking beans, do so in the 3 1/2 to 4 cups of water listed in the recipe, and use the remaining soaking liquid as the water in the recipe.
  • Using canned beans instead: 1 1/2 cups dried beans will yield approximately 3 to 3 3/4 cups of cooked ones. To use canned or already-cooked beans instead, you’ll want to use 2 to 3 15-ounce cans of cooked beans and then — this is important — skip the water. Simmer all of the ingredients except the drained and rinsed beans for 20 minutes, then add the beans and simmer it 10 minutes more. If the mixture looks dry, add 1/4 cup water and simmer for another few minutes

I Cooked It: Goop’s Cauliflower Rice

Goop’s Tasty Little Number From Dr. Will Cole’s cooked book, Ketotarian

isostilo is focused on healthy eating and a retail detox this week ( don’t worry, I am always hunting for stylish finds to pass along).  I will be sharing more recipes that capture my taste buds and hopefully yours too.  If you are clean eating and detoxing this month, you will be delighted with this recipe.  I am not a detoxer but respect those that have that level of commitment.  I really try to eat and cook healthy dishes 80% of the time.  I would have no problem being a vegetarian (with the occasional burger) but not so much my family.  Salads get tiresome and unsatisfying in the winter but warm rice bowls on the hand are a wonderful replacement.  

Coconut Veggie Stir-Fry with Cauliflower Rice is a happy, warm, loving bowl that is good for your mind and body.  It is a grain free, diary free, healthy, tasty, flavorful, fast cooking dish that is totally satisfying in a comfort food kind of way.  I found this delicious plant-based recipe on the Goop website.  I am a little late on the cauliflower rice trend really only because I thought it would be a pain in the butt to prepare.  Embarrassed to say it is a two second pulse in the food processor!  The prep is minimal on this dish and the sauce is easy peasy.  The sauce makes this dish a winner!  Flavor to me is everything!  A healthy dish makes me excited!  Prep and cook time under 20 minutes makes this mid week friendly!      

You will actually feel full with this dish if it is your main meal.  I can  recommend sliced tenderloin as a perfect paring if you are not restricting your diet.  I have meat lovers in my house so too many vegetarian meals in a week receives a bit of a protest hence the tenderloin.  It’s all good when you balance it out!  

Recipe below is from Goop‘s website. 

SERVES 2

3 cups fresh cauliflower florets

2 cups fresh broccoli florets

5 small pattypan squash, trimmed and quartered

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

⅓ cup thinly slivered red onion

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

¾ cup full-fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon liquid aminos

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

½ teaspoon coarse salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons refined coconut oil

¼ cup unsweetened large coconut flakes, toasted

2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro

1. Place the cauliflower in the container of a food processor. Cover and pulse until the cauliflower is finely chopped (about the size of rice). Set aside.

2. In a large wok, stir-fry the broccoli and squash in the sesame oil over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Reduce the heat to medium if the vegetables brown too quickly. Add the onion and stir-fry for 2 minutes more. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl; cover to keep warm.

3. To the same wok, add the ginger and garlic. Cook and stir over medium-low heat for 30 seconds. Carefully add the coconut milk, liquid aminos, vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly thickened.

4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat, the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the cauliflower rice, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and the remaining ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower is just tender and starting to brown.

5. Return the vegetables to the wok. Cook and stir for 1 minute to heat through. Spoon the cauliflower rice evenly onto two serving plates. Top with the broccoli mixture and sauce. Sprinkle with the coconut and cilantro.

Happy cooking and add some spice to this one!  

Serving Up A Smitten Kitchen Dish

Made it!  Loved it!  You should too! 

I am a visual person, so no surprise this yummy looking bowl caught my attention with its golden soft egg and colorful thinly sliced veggies.  Smitten Kitchen’s Crispy Rice and Egg Bowl with a ginger-scallion dressing is a delightful mid-week winner.  It’s a belly warming dish full of flavor, made with simple ingredients, and is quick and easy. 

FYI I doubled the short grain brown rice, sautéed garlic with the fried rice, and topped off the bowls with sliced avocado for an extra creamy finish.  Extra hot sauce is standard in our house!  Maybe roasted sweet potatoes next time around or whatever else may be in the crisper.  See the recipe below or read about it for more helpful tips on SK.  (image from SK)

 

Crispy Rice and Egg Bowl with Ginger-Scallion Vinaigrette

  • SERVINGS: 4
  •  TIME: 10 MINUTES 
  • SOURCE: SMITTEN KITCHEN
  • 1 1/4 cups minced scallions, both green and white parts (from a 4-ounce bundle)
  • 2 tablespoons minced or finely grated fresh ginger
  • Neutral oil (such as grapeseed, safflower, or sunflower)
  • 1/4 cup sherry or rice wine vinegar
  • Fine sea salt
  • About 1 heaped cup julienned or coarsely grated carrots (from about 8 ounces fresh)
  • 8 ounces small (Persian-style, about 2) cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups cooked, cooled rice (my favorite here is short-grain brown or white)
  • 4 eggs
  • Soy sauce or tamari (to serve)
  • Toasted sesame oil (to serve)
  • Sriracha, gochujang or another hot sauce of your choice (to serve)

Make the vinaigrette: Mix scallions, ginger, 1/4 cup oil and sherry or rice wine vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt (I use about 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt). Set aside.

Crisp your rice: Heat a large frying pan over medium high. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil; you’ll want to coat the bottom with a thin layer of oil all over. Nonstick pan (as I used) are more forgiving here, so you can use the lower amount. Heat the oil until it’s hot, another minute, then scatter half the rice over the surface; it’s okay if small clusters remain. Season lightly with salt and do not touch it. In 3 to 5 minutes, the underside will become golden brown and crisp. Use a spatula to flip it in sections then fry on the other side until it is also crisp. Divide between two bowls and repeat with remaining rice, dividing it between two remaining bowls.

Crisp your egg: If there isn’t enough oil left in the pan (you want a thin layer), add another splash and heat this on high heat. Add eggs one at a time and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until brown, lacy, and crisp underneath, and the whites are opaque, bubbly and dramatic and the edges are brown. You can spoon some oil from the pan over the egg whites to help them cook faster. Place one egg on each bowl of rice.

Assemble bowls: Arrange some cucumbers and carrots to each bowl. Spoon 2 tablespoons vinaigrette onto each bowls. Drizzle each egg with a half-teaspoon of tamari and toasted sesame oil, letting it roll onto the other ingredients, plus hot sauce to taste. Eat immediately. Repeat frequently.

Do ahead: The dressing will keep for 5 to 6 days in the fridge; the chopped vegetables will keep for 3 to 4.

Mid Week Dinner With Scallion Turkey Meatballs

Scallion Meatballs With Soy-Ginger Sauce

Smitten Kitchen always makes my evenings a little easier in the kitchen.  It is my go to sight for tasty easy peasy recipes.  I should mention quick recipes are the ones I seek out for mid-week options (who doesn’t?).  I have been making SK’s scallion meatballs with soy-ginger glaze for the past few years.  They are one of my low prep dinner favorites that are healthy, tasty, and a crowd pleaser.  Even picky eaters can’t resist these yummy little nuggets.  They are meant to be appetizers but I serve them over a bowl of brown rice with a side of roasted broccoli or baked sweet potato.  I should also mention I don’t get too caught up with a perfect shape when I am forming them.  Sometimes they are more like small patties.  The turkey mixture is pretty soft.  Wear food grade gloves then wet your hands with water (so the turkey doesn’t stick to the gloves) to make the meatballs before placing them in the skillet.  (sometimes brown each side and then let them finish off cooking in the oven on a low temp around 300.)

isostilo in the kitchen
Meatballs and sauce can be made ahead to save time! You could do the same with rice and veggie.

Smitten Kitchen Scallion Meatballs With Soy-Ginger, you won’t be disappointed.  Dinner is served and you can thank me later.

(top image from SK, bottom image with the imperfect meatballs are from isostilo:)

Midweek Cooking With The Instant Pot

Instant Pot

Let’s talk Instant Pot.  Every week I come across recipes dedicated to the Instant Pot.  So many recipes for this one pot wonder.  I would categorize most of them as comfort food  making the fall and winter months a bit more belly warming.  It just comes down to what your taste buds fancy on any given day.  Full disclosure: I was not down with the Instant Pot but I also don’t care for microwaves or kitchen equipment with manuals unless they really deliver.  But my husband took this matter into his own hands and it has transformed the way he cooks.  It is his gadget and he is the one cooking up a storm with one tasty meal after another.  Every dish has been flavorful, moist, and perfectly executed with the exception of one Shrimp Biryani dish.  Grocery shopping and prepping the ingredients seems to be the only time-consuming part.  So yes the Instant Pot is worth the small investment and space on the counter especially when something gives a person enthusiasm to cook and experiment.

You can buy the Instant Pot online from Amazon and have it tomorrow.  Also check out Williams Sonoma for some good information on this new gadget.  Love NYT Cooking for some really good recipes.  You will need subscribe but you won’t be disappointed!

Pesto Perfect

Pan Seared Salmon With Spinach Basil Sauce

Came home from the farmers market with a bounty of fresh basil and salmon.  I did a quick surf on the web and found this lovely recipe from Whole and Heavenly Oven for pan seared salmon with spinach basil pesto sauce.  Pesto is one of those easy peasy dishes to whip up quickly.  The vibrant green sauce has just a few ingredients and boy is it good.  It is so summer!  I did a hybrid of Whole and Heavenly Oven’s  recipe with my favorite pesto recipe from Silver Palate (sorry but it is so damn good!).  I wanted to insure that I would have extra sauce to enjoy throughout the week.

At the end I did 1 cup basil, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts, 3 garlic cloves, lemon instead of lime, 1 cup of olive oil, 1 cup fresh parmesan, and salt and pepper.  Pesto is one of dishes that you can play with by adding a little more or a little less of any of the ingredients and you will be enjoying it by the spoonfuls!  Happy cooking!

image from Whole and Heavenly Oven