Salmon, Shiitake, & Asparagus Rice Bowl [USA]

Rice bowls are a favorite in our kitchen since they are infinitely customizable and fun to put together depending on the available ingredients. Today we have a bowl of brown rice topped with seared salmon, shiitake, and asparagus – all done with one skillet! Minus the brown rice, that we have our Instant Pot to thank for.

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Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Sandwich [USA]

There are tons and tons of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich recipes out there in the blogosphere, but there’s always room for one more right? After reviewing a handful of recipes, we picked and chose aspects of each that we liked to create our own version. Instead of using sugar, we substituted in a red bell pepper for sweetness and a bonus color boost. Also, while some recipes called for blanching and peeling the skin off the tomatoes, we’ve opted to keep the skin on for extra fiber. Any leftovers can be cooled and then portioned in zip-lock bags to be frozen for up to 3 months. If you’d like a richer tomato soup, just whisk in some cream prior to serving.

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Pesto alla Genovese [Italy]

The word “pesto” on its own can be a reference to any type of sauce that is an aromatic mixture made of herbs, garlic, cheese, nuts, salt, and olive oil. However, Pesto alla Genovese, is the pesto that most commonly comes to mind when we hear the word. It is a Genoese-style pesto that is traditionally made with fresh basil and a mixture of Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano. The recipe below is one of many that can be found online. When making the pesto, taste along the way and adjust the sauce to your liking.

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Avocado Roses & Scrambled Eggs Sourdough Toast [USA]

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Our neighborhood supermarket was having a 2 for $1.00 sale on avocados, so there was no way we can resist purchasing a small box for ourselves! Luckily we still had some sourdough bread leftover from an earlier grocery haul… and what do we do when we have avocados AND bread in the kitchen? We make avocado toast. With some time on our hands, we shaped the avocado slices into roses (you know, for the ‘gram), but don’t feel any pressure to do so when making your version of this recipe at home.

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Fermented Tea Leaf Garnish 4 Ways [Myanmar]

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Homework?? Yayyy! Nerd alert – I was honestly excited when Chef gave us all a bag of fermented tea leaves to take home and make something yummy out of for a tasting this upcoming Wednesday. Looking into the origin of the ingredient, fermented tea leaves are a commonly used ingredient called lahpet in Myanmar. Tasting it on its own, the leaf is quite bitter. In Myanmar, lahpet is traditionally used to make lahpet thoke, a tea leaf cabbage salad, or ahlu lahpet, a snack dish where the lahpet is served in the center of a tray surrounded by crunchier elements to be mixed with and eaten all together.

After brainstorming several ideas, the one that stuck was turning the fermented tea leaf into a crispy garnish that can go over a bowl of congee, silken tofu, or the like! Continue reading to discover the four ways I’ve flavored the garnish. My favorite so far is the Parmesan Tea Leaf Garnish! I’ll be needing to make a second batch of that one to take to the restaurant since the first is already almost all gone…

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Eggs & Asparagus Nest [USA]

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Asparagus and eggs, there’s no surprise why this combo has been served time and time again! Hint: it’s quick AND delicious. Today’s take was finished with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a pinch of fleur de sel, but another great option is to top it with a generous grating of fresh Parmesan or if you have time to make the sauce, a spoonful of hollandaise. No plates needed here – we recommend serving it right in the skillet.

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Xi’an Beef & Chives Potstickers [China]

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Potstickers are dumplings that have been pan-fried on one side for the crispy bottoms and then steamed to ensure the filling and tops of the wrapper are cooked through. The origin story is that an imperial court chef in the Song dynasty accidentally left a batch of dumplings on the stove for a bit too long and burnt the bottoms of the batch. Without time to prepare a new batch, he brazenly served them bottom-side up, bringing attention to the burnt bottoms and claiming that the burning was intentional. Luckily, the crispy bottoms brought a difference in texture to the traditional dumpling and pleased the members of the court so much that potstickers were born.

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Cremini Mushroom & Camembert Cheese Crostini [Italy]

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“Crostini” translates into “little crusts” in Italian and the variations are endless. They can be simply brushed with extra-virgin olive oil before being seasoned with salt and pepper, or topped with any combination of meats, vegetables, cheeses and herbs! For today, we have a baguette slice that has been brushed with butter and toasted until the exterior is just crisp before being topped with a slice of gooey Camembert cheese followed by cremini mushrooms that’s been cooked with shallots, garlic and parsley. A hit of lemon juice during cooking and even right before serving adds a burst of brightness that takes each bite to the next level.

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Omelette Au Jambon Et Au Fromage [France]

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“Baveuse” – a French word used to describe perfectly cooked rolled omelettes where the exterior is smooth and uncolored and the interior is loose and slightly runny. To achieve this, make sure the pan you’re using is properly seasoned or opt for a nonstick pan. Then play with the heat. You want a nice, gentle heat so that the pan is thoroughly heated, but not too hot that the butter browns and colors the eggs when added.

Once you’ve mastered the technique, you can customize your omelette any way you like. We know it’s hard, but restraint in the amount of filling you add is key! We’ve been guilty of “unrollable” masses that ended up being diner omelettes (still delicious though!) as opposed to the more elegant rolled omelettes.

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Seared Salmon over Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Beets [USA]

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Anyone else think “chunking” is a weird word? Current thoughts at the moment as we try to decide what word best describes breaking apart a fillet with a spoon… What verb would you use? The chunking of the cooked salmon fillet is optional, but we think that it makes for a nice presentation.

Anyway, moving on. For dinner tonight we have a simple recipe of pan-seared salmon over shredded brussel sprouts with a side of beets. Cook the beets first. The preparation of the beets we kept simple, quickly peeling and getting them into a pot of boiling, salted water at the beginning as they can take a while to cook through. The rest of the dish comes together quickly, and all of the knife-work can be done while the beets are cooking away.

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Huevos A La Rabona [Peru]

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Huevos a la Rabona is a simple breakfast dish made by the rabonas, the women who accompanied the Peruvian soldiers during war and military campaigns around the 19th century. Responsible for feeding the men, the rabonas created this satisfying dish that is quick to put together in the mornings and makes use of readily available ingredients from the region.

The bread, eggs, and onions are pantry staples in most kitchens, however the rocoto chile that is commonly grown along the west coast of Central and South America may prove a little more difficult to find. If you can’t find it at your farmer’s market or local grocery, you can substitute the rocoto chile with fresno or habanero.

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Budae Jjigae [Korea]

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Also known as “Army Base Stew,” budae jjigae is a mixing pot of ingredients from both the Korean and American pantry. This savory stew was invented in the 1950’s shortly after the Korean war and during a time of food scarcity. The surplus of processed meats (such as Spam) from the U.S. military bases were added to pots containing traditional Korean vegetables and seasonings to create a fortifying meal.

The dish has evolved in the past half-century, but the spirit of budae jjigae is very much alive with cooks from the home to the professional kitchen adding ingredients to the stew based on items that are readily available in their pantries. We love making this dish because it is low effort – just some basic knife work and a few minutes of stewing time before a delicious meal is ready!

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Gratin Dauphinois [France]

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From the historic French region of Dauphiné hails this decadent dish where layers upon layers of thinly sliced potatoes are embraced lovingly by milk, cream, and cheese before being baked to perfection. The creamy interior will have the faintest hint of garlic and nutmeg while the golden crust is all about the savory Gruyère cheese.

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When shopping for potatoes for this dish, go for a starchy potato such as the Idaho, Golden Wonder, or any type of Russet potato. Usually waxy potatoes are better suited for gratins, however, for this dish we need the extra starch to help thicken the sauce.

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Jollof Rice [Nigeria]

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Jollof rice is a popular dish consumed throughout West Africa and is a celebratory dish that can often be found at weddings and parties. The preparations for this fluffy, red-hued rice vary from region to region with a rivalry between two countries in particular, Ghana and Nigeria, over who makes the best variation. What all of them share in common though is the use of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and rice. Beyond that, there can be the additions of meat, seafood, and vegetables of a large variety!

The origin of jollof rice is likely from Senegal and derives its name from the Wolof – the largest ethnic group in Senegal. However, other than the coloring of the rice, the version of the dish found in Senegal, theiboudienne, is quite different from the jollof rice popular outside of the country. The recipe that follows is based off of a few different Nigerian recipes where we’ve included the ingredients that have been featured in all of them, but omitted the more niche ones such as red palm oil that is used in such a small quantity and in only a few of the them.

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Tacos Campechanos Con Pico De Gallo [Mexico]

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The most traditional tacos campechanos are filled with cecinas (salted and dried steaks), longanizas (spicy sausages), and chicharrónes (fried pork rinds). But in Mexico, the word “campechano” is used to refer to two or more things that have been mixed together and the many taquerías around the city have created their own versions of tacos campechanos. On our list of tacos campechanos to try are surf’n’turf combos involving shrimp and versions that contain chorizo. For today though, we have a steak and sausage duo.

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Ijeh [Palestine or Syria]

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The exact origins of ijeh is hard to pinpoint with some cookbook authors claiming the dish to be an egg fritter from Palestine while others are sourcing it as a dish similar to latkes and originally from Syria. If any of you can clarify or have additional insight into this dish, please share with us in the comments below as we would love to know more!

The recipe that caught our eye can be found posted here by Refinery29, but the original comes from the book Palestine on a Plate by Joudie Kalla. Her take on ijeh is in the form of “Fluffy Egg Fritters with Tomato Salsa” and it is an absolutely fresh and comforting way to start the morning. We’ve adapted the recipe slightly based on how we approached the dish and to accommodate the ingredients in our pantry (because we did not have both fresh AND dried mint) and modified the amounts used based off of the size of our produce (our tomatoes and onions were quite large because God bless America). As with any recipe, feel free to tinker with it by adding or taking away ingredients according to your taste preferences.

We’ve followed the suggested hierarchy of fresh herb amounts by using a large handful of parsley, a small bunch of chives and even less mint leaves, but really, include as much or as little of each as you like. To get through the prep work quickly, have a large mixing bowl out for the ijeh ingredients and a smaller mixing bowl out for the salsa ingredients so that you can do the knife work for both at the same time since they share several ingredients.

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