Saturday, December 31, 2016

Winter Watercress Salad with Mandarins and Pomegranate

Happy 2017, fellow foodies! Let's raise our virtual glasses to bringing people together around food and friendship in the new year.

Meanwhile, here's an easy yet delectable way to fancy up a wintry dinner plate that tastes as crisp and clean as fresh fallen snow. And some fresh fallen snow, for good measure.

1 bunch watercress
2 mandarin oranges, peeled and diced
1 pomegranate, seeded
Olive oil
Meyer lemon
Freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together a couple glugs of olive oil, the zest and juice of half the Meyer lemon, a pinch of salt, and some black pepper to form a vinaigrette.

Cut the root part off the watercress if needed so that you're left with the leaves and stems. Rinse well and dry gently.

Lightly coat the watercress with vinaigrette (I do this by gently dunking half the watercress in the vinaigrette and then lifting it back out, and gently distributing the dressing through the whole bunch with my fingertips so that the watercress is still all laying in the same direction.)

Arrange the watercress onto plates, and top with oranges and plenty of pomegranate seeds.

Serves 2-4.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Mulligatawny Soup

This hearty stew is the perfect complement to a wintry day. Don't let the length of the ingredients list fool you...this recipe is one of those dice-a-few-things, simmer-for-awhile affairs that's simple to throw together and easy to size up for company or leftovers.

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, pressed
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 orange sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 ½ tbsp grated fresh ginger
½ can diced tomatoes (Muir Glen fire roasted if possible)
3/4 cups red lentils, picked through carefully for stones and rinsed
3 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp good-quality curry powder
½ tsp ground cumin + an extra dash
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp sweet paprika
¼ tsp ground cinnamon + an extra dash
¼ tsp dried thyme + an extra pinch
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tbsp coconut milk, plus extra for drizzling
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Melt butter with the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté about three minutes. Add the garlic, carrot, and sweet potato, and continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, for about seven minutes more until the onion is browned here and there.

Stir in the apples, ginger, tomatoes, and all the spices and continue to cook for a couple minutes more. Add the lentils and broth, stir once, and cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Check that the veggies are tender, stir in the peanut butter, and turn off the heat.

Use an immersion blender to purée about half the soup (or decant half into a blender and pour it back again) to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the coconut milk. It's fine if it sits for a bit at this point; reheat if necessary before serving.

Serve warm, drizzled with a spoonful of coconut milk and garnished with chopped cilantro.

Serves 4.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Apple Pancakes with Ginger and Lemon

Sometimes, the world needs more pancakes.

Here's my go-to recipe these days...the secret to amazing fluffiness seems to be butter + pumpkin puree (rather than oil) and beating the egg whites separately. Plus you can customize them to the season. Pumpkin and chocolate-chip, anyone?

Ingredients for Apple-Ginger Pancakes
2 eggs, divided
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp canned pumpkin purée
1 cup Bob's Red Mill 10 grain pancake mix
1 apple, diced
1 carrot, grated
2 pinches Meyer lemon zest
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

Summer Strawberry
2 eggs, divided
1.5 tbsp melted butter
1.5 tbsp smashed strawberry
1 cup Bob's Red Mill 10 grain pancake mix
1 cup diced strawberries
2 pinches Meyer lemon zest
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip
2 eggs, divided
4 tbsp canned pumpkin purée
1 tbsp melted butter
1 cup Bob's Red Mill 10 grain pancake mix
Dash or two of cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
2 tbsp chocolate chips
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the egg yolks, pumpkin (or mashed strawberry), and melted butter in a large bowl. Add pancake mix, mashing with a fork to distribute the wet ingredients equally. Slowly add 3/4 cups water, mashing as necessary to get out the lumps. Stir in the rest of the ingredients that follow on the list.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites till stiff, then gently fold them into the pancake batter.

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. When hot, add a little pat of butter and move it around with a spatula to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Add batter by the 1/4 cup. After a minute or two, the edges of the pancakes will start to look dry; that's usually a good sign that they are golden brown on the bottom and ready to flip. Cook until both sides are golden, then remove from the heat and place in a folded-over piece of aluminum foil to stay warm (you can also stick them in the oven, if you're doubling the recipe and cooking will take awhile).

Serve warm, with maple syrup for drizzling.

Serves 2-3.