Anyone who has ever tried kimchi knows how addictive and delicious it is. I’m always finding new ways to incorporate it into recipes. Kimchi is a great addition to soups since the juice and flavor enhances the broth and turns it a pretty red color. This recipe is really easy to put together and doesn’t take long to prepare. For a few extra veggies I threw in mushrooms and bean sprouts, though i’m sure there are loads of other veggies you could add that would work great. I made the soup on the spicy side with added gochujang paste along with a healthy amount of sriracha as garnish.
To accompany the batch of Moroccan Chicken Skewers and flat bread I wanted to make a few sauces that would go along with the main courses as well as complement each other. The three I settled on was a refreshing Mint and Cilantro sauce, spicy Harissa, and a cooling Yogurt Lemon sauce. They complemented the chicken and flat bread and were perfectly balanced with each other. These different sauces allowed me to play “choose your own adventure” of sorts which made eating fun. Not only did the types of food and sauces matter in the experience, but the order played a key role in it too (not exactly a new idea in the historical record of food but a fun thing to experience at home by accident).
Since each sauce had a different “purpose” it stands to reason that each sauce affected the other ingredients differently as well. The easiest comparison to make would be dipping the chicken in the yogurt sauce vs. the harissa sauce. The yogurt enhanced the lemony flavor of the chicken and helped cool off its spiciness. The Harissa sauce is made of chilies and instead invigorated the chicken’s spicy seasoning. This seems obvious now, but I really wasn’t expecting how different the “experiences” would be. I came to notice that I enjoyed pairing the chicken more with the yogurt and mint sauces, and the flat bread with the harissa. Later I realized I probably did this to help balance things out a little bit in terms of spiciness. Although I also spooned generous portions of mint sauce and yogurt sauce on the bread as well so who knows really. This was one of those meals that I had a lot of fun making and eating. I loved all three sauces and I still can’t decide on a favorite!
I was looking for a tasty snack–something to munch on during the day that had a good amount of filling protein but also packed with flavor. I came across a recipe for baked chickpeas and was intrigued because I always liked them in stews and soups but had never tried them on their own. The chickpeas are lightly tossed with olive oil, rolled in a spice blend, and baked until they become dry and crispy. They remind me a little of popcorn but so much healthier and tastier! The spice blend can be adjusted to your own tastes, whether you want it saltier, sweeter, or spicier. I preferred the spicy and salty, but I plan to experiment more and see what I like best.
If I were to have any season all year I would have it be Fall. Unfortunately, it is now January (my least favorite month) and there’s no way to bring fall back outside. However, I can make food that reminds me of my favorite season and what could recall that season better than butternut squash? Butternut squash is a tasty snack when it is sliced very thin and roasted until just browned and crispy. The slices of squash are quickly boiled, patted dry and tossed with olive oil and sage in a bowl. Then they are baked in the oven for about 20 minutes, so this is a great recipe to prepare if you’re short on time for dinner.
This recipe is a perfect and easy pizza for cold winter nights! The roasted vegetables are a mix of red potatoes, butternut squash, onions and carrots baked in the oven until tender. The mozzarella and ricotta go very well with the veggies. The vegetables are seasoned simply with fresh rosemary and garlic. I like to pre-bake the pizza dough crust before adding any of the other ingredients just to ensure that the crust is cooked through and not too soggy. I really liked how all the veggies worked so well together so I will definitely be having this again sometime!
I had never tried making a chili with squash so I was excited to see how this recipe would turn out. But first, let me back up and say that this chili has an interesting back story. Last year, my mom threw some squash seeds in a compost bin. The seeds did not break down as they should have but rather grew to be enormous squash plants over the summer (the vines were 20 ft. long and growing all over the lawn). Letting the vines run wild paid off because they produced gorgeous sweet dumpling squash and I was sent 6 of them in the mail (I’m sure there’s more where that came from). I was so excited to get started since I had never tried sweet dumpling before.
I read up on the squash and it turns out that most recipes just season and roast the squash whole because of their smaller size. They are milder than other squash and taste a bit like sweet corn. I thought preparing it in a chili with beans and corn would work nicely. I started with traditional chili spices like Chipotle in adobo and cumin as well as spices that would compliment the squash like allspice and cinnamon. The chili was so tasty and I was really happy with how it turned out.
Curries usually take a bit of time and effort to cook so I wanted to try one that didn’t take too long to make. This curry was easy to throw together and the cook time was pretty fast. I used a basic blend of turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, fenugreek, cloves, bay leaves, and coriander for the curry seasoning. The half teaspoon of turmeric was all it took to turn this dish into a bright yellow curry! The flavors were as vibrant as the color and the tofu, chickpeas and green peas worked great together. The milk and cream gave it a richness that heightened the curry flavors. The creaminess reminded me a lot of Thai coconut curries, just without the coconut flavor. The recipe worked nicely with a side of rice which I spooned into the bowl generously!
When I came across the recipe for corn esquites salad I took one look at it and knew I had to give it a try. This salad is basically Mexican elote which is roasted corn on the cob seasoned with cayenne, butter, mayonnaise, and cotija cheese. The corn in this recipe is cut off the cob and pan roasted until the kernels char and caramelize. Then the corn is mixed with the elote ingredients, garlic, lime, jalapeno, and cilantro. I decided to kick it up a notch and add sliced tomatoes and avocado to the salad. It was so tasty! The combination of ingredients was sweet and spicy from the corn and jalapenos yet creamy and tangy from the lime juice and cotija cheese. It ended up being the perfect topping for tacos!
Tabouleh is a Mediterranean salad made with fresh herbs, tomatoes, lemon juice and Bulgur wheat. It’s a traditional side dish in Lebanese cooking and it makes a perfect partner for hummus and pita. Lebanese recipes don’t use a lot of the bulgur wheat, so I didn’t really make it in the most traditional way as I wanted a more hearty side dish. If you want to make it more traditional, just use half of the bulgur wheat and think of it more as a garnish than as a main part of the salad. I loved the flavor of the fresh herbs, tomatoes, garlic and lemon juice all mixed together. It tasted great with the hummus, so I will definitely make these again sometime!
Hummus is one of those foods that is easy to pick up at a grocery store and not really give it a second thought. That’s what I did for a long time until I decided to explore Lebanese food a little more. Years ago, my family would get take-out from a local Lebanese deli and since then I have loved that food. Since I had been craving Lebanese food I decided to make my own version of the deli’s menu.
Hummus is so simple; I couldn’t believe I had never made it before! All you need is a blender or food processor, 2 cans of chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon juice. Tahini is just a paste of ground sesame seeds and can be found at asian stores or whole foods. Now that I have made hummus it would be tough to go back to store-bought!