Fava Salad

Happy new year dear readers!

How was 2019 for you?

It wasn’t my favorite year. There were a lot of great things that happened, but there were also a lot of disappointing things. Those times weren’t too devastating, thankfully.

The major highlight of my 2019 life is that I did back to back plays all year for my friend’s theater company. This resulted in 2019 being a creative year for me, full of friendship and platonic love. I even acquired three new wifeys.

What is a wifey you may ask? It’s basically a term of endearment for a BFF who is female.

The not so great stuff is my usual feelings of malaise of not acquiring at least one of my two major dreams.  Romance and world domination…together at the same time. Where is the Brain to my Pinky folks? Where is he?

Sigh…

In the world of cooking, one thing we can celebrate is that I finally found Fava Beans and was able to make this Fava Bean Salad from The Scent of Orange Blossoms.

What you’ll need

  • 8 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) shelled and peeled fava beans with 3-4 tender pods reserved
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 10 cilantro sprigs, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • cilantro leaves for garnish

The first step in the actual cookbook is to string the reserved bean pods. and cut them into 1/2 inch pieces.

I was unable to find fresh fava beans. I had to buy and use dried fava beans which do not include the actual pod.

So, if you had to do the same, just follow the directions on your handy dandy dried fava bean container.

Let’s move on to some sautéing. Get your skillet and on medium heat, cook the oil, paprika, cumin, and garlic. This mixture will begin to foam in about two minutes. When it does add the beans, pods if you’ve got em, and the water.

Cook this mixture by stirring for about 8 to 10 minutes and then add lemon juice, cilantro, and salt. Continue the cooking process for another minute or two.

This is our final cooking step and we are now ready to serve this dish with some garnished cilantro like below.

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As you can see I didn’t get too crazy with the garnish.

The final review I have for this simple dish is hard to conjure up, because I made it months ago. I remember I did bring it to a friend’s pot luck and people were eating it with enjoyment.

What I can recall is that it had a curry like flavor, most likely due to all that cumin in there. I guess you could say it was a dry version of chana masala with cumin in it.

I prefer chana masala myself, but this isn’t bad and I’d make it and eat it again for sure.

Turkey Meatloaf

My latest recipe comes from Taste of Home Cooking for Two or as I like to call it, The Cookbook for When You’re Single AF.

Cause let’s face it, this cookbook says it’s for couples, but low key it’s for single people who like to cook but don’t want to eat the same thing every day for a week when they do.

So anyway, you like meatloaf, but maybe you eat it a little too much and maybe for whatever reason you don’t want to eat beef. What do you do?

You make a turkey meatloaf and slather some marinara sauce doused in brown sugar and vinegar is what you do.

At least that’s what Dorothy from California recommends and I say, “Hey why not Dorothy? I’ll go to Oz with you and try some turkey meatloaf. I’m single af and have no one to answer to but my cat. Let’s go!”

What you’ll need besides ruby red slippers

  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon beaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed butter flavored crackers
  • 1 tablespoon of minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 pound of lean ground turkey

The first step is easy enough. You just combine the sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and mustard in a bowl.

Side note, is it really necessary to call the mustard prepared mustard in the ingredients list? I wasn’t aware mustard was ever not prepared. If anyone has answers, feel free to comment.

Anyway, get another bowl out and in that bowl combine the egg, onion, crackers, parsley, salt, 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce mixture, and a dash of pepper. Once mixed, then add the turkey meat. Crumble up the meat and mix until everything is even. Then form a 4 by 3 loaf and place that loaf in a square baking pan.

Make sure that pan has been hosed down with cooking spray first though.

Once you’ve placed your meat in the pan, go ahead and pour the rest of your tomato mixture on top and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

Once baking time is up, let it cool for 10 and then you should be good to go!

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The final result was interesting. I don’t mean that in a negative way either. I’m just not a huge meatloaf fan so it’s not something I have a great desire to eat let alone experiment with.

That being said, I still thought this was an easy breezy recipe that turned out well and would definitely recommend meatloaf lovers to try it out.

Sorry, I should say a meatloaf lover, since you’re probably single af like me. It’s ok, I’m sure we will find someone to share our loaf with someday.

Tomato Salad French Style

There’s not a whole lot to this tomato salad from At Home with the French Classics. As I often say, sometimes simplicity is best with cooking so don’t snub your nose at this one.

All you need to make this is juicy plump tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, and chives.

The first step is to slice your tomatoes. If you are serving more than one person, you’ll want to slice a whole tomato per person.

For the vinaigrette, use equal amounts of lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs. I eye balled mine, but if I had to make a measurement guess, I’d say one tablespoon of lemon juice, oil, and chives should do the trick.

Whisk that mixture up and then drizzle it on your tomatoes and you are good to go!

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Ignore my poor slicing skills, this tomato was on it’s way to not being so fresh so it got a little mushy in the slicing process. It still tasted juicy and scrumptious and that’s what really matters.

What are my other opinions? Well, I’ve drizzled olive oil and basil on my tomatoes before, but I’ve never added lemon juice and chives to the mix.

I think my Italian heritage prefers basil, but the lemon juice is a nice touch and the chives aren’t bad either. It’s just my Italian blood’s preference of basil really.

What I like about the lemon juice add is that it gives the tomatoes a slight citrus taste that balances out the acidity which is odd cause lemons are acidic. I guess it’s like when you multiply two negatives and get a positive number or something.

Side note, that always baffled me as a kid. What kind of mysticism is this that two negatives make a positive? That’s not what we are taught growing up!

Anyway, I recommend you try this out on a hot summer day when you just need a healthy refreshing snack or as a side dish to a light summer meal.

Enjoy!

 

 

White Beans can Crostini

My next recipe comes from Light and Healthy and is a continuation on the crostini recipe I wrote about months ago.

This recipe challenges you to not be a basic with your tiny garlic bread and instead asks you to be extra vanilla with white beans and arugula.

I’m not so sure that joke worked. Maybe I need to get my money back from that comedy class I took.

What you’ll need

  • 1 large baguette, cut on the bias into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, one un-cut and two minced
  • Olive oil spray
  • 2 15 ounce cans of cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 shallot minced (3 tablespoons worth)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 ounce of arugula, chopped (1/2 cups worth)

The first step is to mix the beans, oil, lemon juice, and 2 garlic cloves in a food processor until the mixture is smooth. It’ll look a lot like hummus by the time you’re through.

Next, combine this mixture in a bowl along with the cayenne and shallot. Feel free to also season with salt and pepper as well.

Once this is combined, cover the bowl and allow it to rest under room temperature for about an hour.

When you’ve got 10-15 minutes left waiting for that mixture to settle go ahead and prepare your crostini by following the crostini recipe I mentioned earlier.

When that basic recipe is complete, your bean mixture should be well settled. Take a tablespoon of the bean mixture and spread it on each slice. Then sprinkle arugula on top and you are finito!

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This is a little larger than crostini, but the taste will be the same

As you can see in the photo, I purchased bread that was little bigger than what is called for. You’ll actually want to select a baguette that’s about half the width of what I ended up with.

If you want to be a goody two shoes and follow the rules that is. Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter. I can assure you it’ll still taste great.

So how is the taste?

Pretty damn good. As I mentioned earlier, the bean spread reminded me of hummus and that follows through in regards to taste as well, but my favorite part of this recipe is the arugula.

I love arugula. It’s springy and tastes so fresh and green with it’s slightly nutty flavors. Combine that with a bean spread and you just feel…I don’t know…one with nature I guess.

Like you’re just meeting mother nature and your nonna for a light picnic. That’s the best way I can describe it.

So go ahead, plan your fantasy picnic and be one with the universe.

 

 

 

Smoke on the Sausage Salad

I was surprised when I opened up The French Farmhouse Cookbook for my next recipe to find that putting sausage on your salad is a thing.

I’m an omnivore who enjoys the fine cuisine of sausage, but never have I ever had a sausage salad.

Then I thought about it more. Why is that such a surprise? I mean why not put sausage on your salad? We put steak, chicken, and even seafood on top of beds of lettuce and call it salad. Yet, this was a shocker to me.

What was not a shocker, spoiler alert, is that it’s quite good.

What you’ll need.

  • 2 smoked sausages, such as kielbasa
  • 2 cups of white wine, such as Sancerre Blanc
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 7 ounces of escarole or curly endive leaves (8 cups loosely packed), rinsed patted dry, and torn into bite-size pieces

Our first step is to cook the sausage in that fine white wine you bought and are hopefully drinking as you cook because why not? Crazier things have been done.

The cookbook says to add water until the sausages are covered with liquid. It also says you can use all of the wine. I took this as for yourself, but it might have been about the sausage.

Oops…

Anyway, bring the sausages to a boil, then reduce the heat to allow it to simmer partially covered for 20-30 minutes.

As the sausage is simmering, go ahead and make the salad dressing which consists of whisking the vinaigrette, salt, pepper, shallot, and olive oil together. Next, add this dressing to the escarole and toss.

When time is up for the sausages, remove them from the pan and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. It is also suggested that you create a rosette pattern with the sausage bits.

I have to say that I appreciate this authors dedication to beauty and creativity.

Serve your sausage piece of art alongside bread and that wine that you may or may not have drunk while cooking.

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My final result turned out to be another simplistic dish that satisfied the pleasure centers of my tastebuds. The combination of juicy plump sausages soaked in white wine and bitter vinegar soaked escarole left me wondering why I never tried it before.

So, yes I do recommend sausage on a salad and look forward to others making this discovery as well. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Portlandia Chicken Wings

Theme cookbooks from movies and/or shows are generally considered a novelty item, but I would encourage anyone who receive such gifts to actually take the time to cook from them. It’s entertaining and you’d be surprised how good most of the recipes are.

That has been the case for me when it comes to the Portlandia cookbook and I’ve had rewarding experiences with other themed cookbooks as well.  In the case of Portlandia, I have to say this is my favorite so far. So pay attention and try this one out!

What you’ll need.

For the wings

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper (feel free to add more if you’re a spice freak like me)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder (I used McCormick Asian powder myself if you can’t find Chinese 5-spice)
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 large chicken wings (about 3 pounds) split into wingettes and drumettes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • sliced scallions, for garnish
  • fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

For the duck sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of apricot preserves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of minced and peeled fresh ginger

Our first step is to pre-heat the oven to 425, so go ahead and do that. You just turn the knob on your oven to the number that says 425.

While the oven is pre-heating, in a large bowel combine cumin, red pepper flakes, powder, salt, and flour. Not much else to say here, just mix it around until everything looks even.

Next prepare a space where you can coat the chicken with the oil without causing a mess. Be sure to rub the oil evenly so that when we mix it with our spice mix it does the same. When the oil looks even, add the chicken to the spice mix and toss until every piece is coated evenly.

We are now ready to place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do so and brush lightly with more oil before placing in the center of the oven.

Once in the oven, allow to cook for about 50 minutes with one or two breaks to turn the meat over for even cooking.

Even is word of the day for this recipe as it is for most. Cooking is kinda socialist like that what can I say?

While the chicken is roasting, go ahead and make your duck sauce. To do so, combine all duck sauce ingredients in a food processor with a 1/4 cup of water. Blend until it’s smooth and then heat it up in a saucepan over low heat.

The goal is to reduce the sauce to about a 1/2 cup size. Once we reach that goal, you can remove from the heat and display the sauce however you wish.  I displayed by placing in a small white bowl as you can see below.

If your wings happen to be done by now, remove them from the oven, garnish with scallions and cilantro and serve with your duck sauce for dipping on the side.

If you enjoy that, of course. No pressure from me to actually eat them that way, but I like both garnished items myself and the dipping sauce is easy to make, delicious, and can be stored up to a month in your fridge.

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Look at this colorful, appetizing display of chicken wings! Trust me, it’s as good as it looks. I cannot recommend you try this recipe more.

You read the earlier passages, you can suss out how easy this is to make. It’s been Rachel tested and approved with the easy meal stamp.

If you do, I highly recommend you go all the way and make that duck sauce too. It’s so easy. This whole thing is easy. Don’t be lazy! You’ve got this.

If you don’t, though, I won’t judge. I follow the philosophy of the dude and the dude abides.

Frita de Tita

Frita de Tita is a tomato and bell pepper salad from The Scent of Orange Blossoms. If you’re wondering where the term Tita comes from well that just means auntie and I’m pretty sure frita means salad but I couldn’t get a fact check on that one.

I love that the authors of this book include family recipes. Who doesn’t love a revered dish from a relative? Personally I have many loved dishes from my aunties and uncles, but my all time favorite dish comes from an uncle who makes a chicken and noodle dish from scratch.

I loved those noodles so much that during Thanksgiving, as a child, when it was time for round 2 I’d come back with a giant plate of just noodles. I was fine with one round of everything else you see. My family thought this was funny and teases me about it to this day.  That side of the family never forgets…

What you’ll need

  • 4 bell peppers, roasted and seeded (Feel free to use a variety of bell peppers)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika

The first step is to roast your peppers. Do so by pre-heating your oven to broil and lining a baking pan with foil. Place each pepper in the pan and boil for 10-12 minutes. turn them over about half way to make sure they blister evenly.

Once the boiling process is over, place the peppers in a bowl and wrap with plastic wrap. Let this cool for 15-20 minutes and then peel the skin and remove the core and seeds.

Once this is done you can cut the pepper into 1/2 inch strips. There will be a lot of juice as you cut so store them in a colander to drain until further notice.

This next step can be done while the peppers cool and/or broil and that step is peeling and seeding your tomatoes.

The first step in this process is to cut each tomato lightly with an x on the base. Then place the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds. Once time is up, drain the water and allow the tomatoes to cool. Once they have cooled done enough to touch, peel off the skin and cut the tomatoes in half. Once halved, you can gently squeeze out the seeds and dice them up.

Once those tomatoes are ready we can combine them in our skillet along with olive oil, garlic, sugar, and tomato paste. Cook this mixture until the liquid from the tomatoes evaporates. This should take 12-15 minutes.

By now the peppers should be ready to also be added. If not wait, waiting until they are is advised. Add them along with salt and paprika. Then cover this mixture and stir occasionally for 10-15 minutes. We want this mixture to thicken and once that goal has been attained remove the lid and cook until most of the liquid evaporates.

This should also take around 10 minutes.

Once everything looks good remove from the heat and allow the salad to cool to room temperature for serving!

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As you can see this pepper salad is quite the colorful beauty and the looks match up to the taste.

It is intended to be eaten as a side dish but the cookbook mentions it can be enjoyed with poached eggs as a light meal. I opted for light dinner with that in mind and it was quite good. I’d describe it as a bell pepper version of Huevos Rancheros without beans and tortillas.

Speaking of Latin American food fare, this would make an excellent fajita topping.

I’m getting ideas here folks. I’ve seen Indian and Mexican fusion as well as Korean and Mexican, but what about Jewish Moroccan and Mexican? Seems legit right?

Whether you decide to fusion it up or not, I recommend you try out this dish. Aunties everywhere will be pleased that you did.