Kimchi Cauliflower Rice With Sautéed Gochujang Eggplant

I threw this together last night, and it ended up being one of my favorite meals I’ve made in a while! Chili paste can be intimidating if you’ve never cooked with it before, but it’s super good when tossed with roasted or sautéed veggies, etc. It can be strong and a bit spicy (which I love) but you can just start small and add more as you go. I love to eat it with rice to help balance out the stronger flavors a little. For this recipe I used cauliflower “rice” which is my new favorite staple item to have in my fridge. I topped it with a couple of my other favorite things, like radishes, seaweed, and a soft boiled egg. Happiness in a bowl!

Ingredients: (serves 1)
Half small eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
About 12 sugar snap peas, cut in half
1/2 tablespoon gochujang paste (or more/less to taste)
2 cups cauliflower “rice”
1/2 shallot, chopped
1/3 cup kimchi, chopped
1 egg
1-2 radishes, thinly sliced
Dried seaweed, torn into small pieces
Gochugaru chili flakes, for topping
Salt and pepper, to taste

Start by sautéing the eggplant and sugar snap peas over medium heat with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook until the eggplant is softened. I ended up adding a dash of water to the pan and put the lid on, to help steam it a little more. Once softened, add the gochujang paste and toss until evenly coated.

For the cauliflower “rice,” you can either buy this already made (Whole Foods has fresh and frozen options) or you can make it yourself by simply pulsing regular cauliflower florets in your food processor until it resembles a rice texture. Start by sautéing the shallot and kimchi together over medium heat with a tiny bit of olive oil, cooking about 1-2 minutes until softened. Add the cauliflower rice and some fresh pepper (I skipped the salt seeing the kimchi is a little salty) and cook about 5-7 more minutes until the cauliflower is cooked through.

Lastly, cook your egg! To make a soft boiled egg (whites cooked with the yolk a little) boil a pot of water, gently add the egg, and let it cook for 7 minutes. Remove and run under cold water. Gently crack the egg and peel the shell.

To assemble your amazing dinner, place the cauliflower rice in a bowl, then arrange the eggplant, sliced radishes, and seaweed on top. Add the egg and slice it down the center. Top with a sprinkle of the chili flakes. ENJOY!p1140162



Simple Summer Veggie Bowl

In the summer I crave fresh meals a lot – crisp veggies, fresh herbs, all the good stuff. In the winter on the other hand, I crave anything hot and filled with carbs and melted cheese. I figure it must all balance out between seasons, right?! Anyway, here is one of go-to summer dinners. Packed with vegetables, soft boiled eggs, crispy polenta, and yummy cucumber yogurt to tie it all together.

1 Persian cucumber, chopped
1 cup Greek yogurt
String beans, blanched
1 cup cauliflower, cut into smaller pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Cherry tomatoes
1/2 ripe avocado
1 egg
Pre-cooked polenta, sliced
Olive oil
Fresh Lemon
Black pepper
Maldon (flake) salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss the cauliflower in turmeric and olive oil. Also add the tomatoes. Roast for about 20 minutes or until tomatoes softened and burst, and cauliflower is roasted well.

In the meantime blanch the string beans in salted boiling water for 2 minute, then placing in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. I used the same water to boil my egg – bring back to a boil and gently add your egg, let cook for 5 minutes (6 min max) then also place in the ice water.

Next, add a little olive oil to a pan and cook the polenta slices until crisp, about 3 minutes each side. Also sauté the kale with some olive oil for at about 5 minutes. Lastly, mix together the cucumber and Greek yogurt.

To assemble, just place everything in a bowl… and as my grandmother always says – “chow baby!”

One Pot Chicken & Vegetables

One pot meals are the best, they’re easy and there’s hardly any clean up after. Perfect for the weeknight when your exhausted but still want something delicious! I bought a bunch of chicken thighs this week from Whole Foods, they’re super flavorful and very inexpensive, so I tend to get a few at a time and just freeze the ones I don’t use. When freezing meat, it’s best to wrap them well in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag. This way they don’t get freezer burn. Defrost in the fridge and you’re good to go! I usually cook them in a skillet, but this time I decided to plop them right in the vegetable “stew” I made so that they’d soak up all the flavor. I had some nice bread on hand which I dipped in the bowl. Not a drop was left!

5 chicken thighs
1 small yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
3 carrots
3 parsnips
1 fennel bulb
1 cup chopped kale, stems removed
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add some olive oil to a skillet and brown the chicken on both sides. Plate and set aside. In a heavy bottomed pot, sauté the onion and garlic in the remaining oil for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots, parsnips, kale, and fennel, and cook for about 5 minutes. Next add the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper. Bring everything to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Lastly, remove the skin from the chicken before serving, as it gets a bit soft cooking in the liquid for a long period of time. Serve with some nice bread on the side!

Root Vegetable Stew Over Polenta

My fridge looked like I was hoarding root vegetables this week, so I decided to chop them all up and see what I could come up with. I ended up sautéing them all together, adding crushed tomatoes, and letting it cook down until it formed a type of stew, which I then poured over some polenta. It was the easiest meal and absolutely delicious – who would have thought! The next night I ate the stew over spaghetti and loved that just as much. I was even contemplating blending it down with my hand blender to make a tomato sauce, but then I ate it all and never got that far.

1/2 onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
5-6 fingerling potatoes (or 2 medium regular potatoes) chopped
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and chopped
1/2 small white cabbage, chopped
1 28oz can stewed tomatoes
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large heavy bottomed pot, start by sautéing the garlic and onion in a little olive oil for a minute or two. Add the rest of the chopped vegetables, along with the water, pepper flakes, turmeric, parsley, salt and pepper, then cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Next add the stewed tomatoes and mix well, continue to cook for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender. Serve over polenta, pasta, or whatever your heart desires!

Chicken Pot Pie With Black Pepper Crust

There’s nothing better than a pot pie in the winter! It’s the perfect comfort food during these cold days. Also a great way to use up any root vegetables you have. I cooked this dish with my two friends, which helped expedite all the chopping. We decided to jazz up the dish by adding a good amount of black pepper to the crust, and tossing in some of our favorite spices to the filling. There’s no better way to enjoy a meal then with the ones you love!

Olive oil
3 medium chicken breasts, chopped
2 large garlic cloves,
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 large parsnips, diced
3-4 medium carrots, diced
5-6 fingerling potatoes (or two regular potatoes) diced
Small handful fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)
3 cups chicken stock (or broth)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed pink pepper corns
1/4 cup Half & Half, or cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

Black Pepper Dough:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 crushed black pepper
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cubed
1/4 cup chilled ice water

Start by making the dough. In a large bowl mix the flour, salt, and fresh crushed pepper. Cut in the cold butter with a pasty cutter, or by using your hands (roll the butter and flour between your fingers until pea sized.) Add the old water one teaspoon at a time until incorporated. Pour out onto a floured surface and form into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Saute the chicken and set aside until you’re ready to add it to the vegetables. Make sure not to overcook it as it will continue to cook in the oven. Add some olive oil to a large pot and toss in the onion and garlic, cooking for 1-2 minutes. Add the carrot, parsnips, celery, and potato. Cook for about 10 minutes or until everything has softened a bit.  Add the red pepper flakes, tumeric, cumin, cayenne, parsley, and crushed pink pepper corns. Cook for another 5 minutes, then add the flour and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Next add the chicken stock, half & half, chicken, and frozen peas. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Take off the heat and let cool for at least 10 minutes. It will continue to thicken at this point.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough large enough to cover the bottom of the baking dish, with enough hung over the sides to cover the top of the pie. Place the dough in the baking dish and poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork. Pour in the filling, then fold the dough over the top. Slice a small hole in the top, then cook in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving!

Summer Panzanella Salad

I’m on a health kick right now- I’ve been going to the gym 3 days a week and trying to eat healthier! I feel so much better. It is really true, when you work out and take time for yourself, you feel much more energetic and positive. Not only is it good for your body, but good for your state of mind as well. I find that the small daily frustrations aren’t bothering me as much as they normally do!

With working out comes a more than usual hungry belly though, so this week when I got home I made myself a big salad including pretty much every item I got in my CSA this week, which was nice. I added some toasted pita bread to the salad to help with the carb cravings I knew I would have if only eating a big bowl of veggies. Overall a great fresh meal! I had some leftover veggies and dressing, which I ended up wrapping up in rice paper as spring rolls for lunch the next day. A surprisingly good snack!

Ingredients: Serves 2-3

2 small green onions, thinly sliced (use the white part for the pickling and the greens for later)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bread, torn into crouton sizes ( I used onion pita bread)
Two eggs
2 cups kale, chopped well (optional- a lot panzanella recipes do not include lettuce)
1 pound fresh green beans, halved
2 garlic scapes, chopped
1 cucumber, skinned and sliced (I used lemon zucchini- they are round/yellow but taste like a reg cucumber)
1 medium tomato, sliced
Carrots, peeled into ribbons
2 radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs fresh mint, chopped
Pinch of salt

Start by pickling the onions. Place the chopped white onion in a bowl with the red whine vinegar, sugar, and salt. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. To make the mint dressing, place the mint, olive oil, lemon juice, and white wine vinegar in a bowl and mix. Set aside.

Next, get a pot of water boiling and blanch the peas for a minute or before placing in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. In the same pot of water, cook the eggs for 6-7 minutes.

Add some olive oil to a pan and add the garlic scapes, onion greens, and pita bread. Tossing until the greens are cooked and the bread is toasted.

To plate- in a large bowl add some kale to the center, then the rest of the ingredients (carrot, cucumber, radish, green beans, the onion/scape/bread mixture, pickled onions, and sliced egg) then dress it with the mint dressing and enjoy!

Vegetable Pot Pie

It’s starting to get a little warmer outside, so I have been trying to get in all my winter favorites before Spring is in full bloom! Like pot pie- I have never made it before, but I absolutely love it. Creamy vegetables, flaky golden crust…how can you go wrong! I decided to make this one without chicken, reason being that I couldn’t find any chicken that I trusted at my grocery store. If I’m going to eat meat, I have to feel good about where it comes from. My pot pie came out great and totally warmed my little heart up. And yes, the entire thing was gone in about two days. I do what I want!!!

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small leeks, trimmed and sliced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 medium carrots
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
10 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup mushroom broth
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 cup fresh chives, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 egg yolk (mixed with 2 tablespoons water)
7 ounces store bought puff pastry or pie dough (I used pie dough)
Salt and Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Chop all of your vegetables, potatoes, and fresh herbs so they are ready to go. Also have your dough thawing now if you haven’t started this already.




Next, melt the butter over medium heat in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the leeks, celery, onions, and carrots. Toss together and cook for a minute or two until the onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms and potatoes and cook about 5 minutes to allow the mushrooms to release some liquid. Sprinkle in the flour and mix throughout. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the mushroom broth followed by the milk. Bring to a simmer until the liquid has thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the frozen peas, parsley, and white vinegar. Mix well and salt and pepper to taste. I ended up adding a sprinkle of paprika as well.

Pour the vegetable mixture into an 8 x 8 baking dish. Top with the dough and trim any excess hanging over the edges. I ended up making little leaves with my leftover dough pieces! Next, tuck the edges into the sides of the dish and brush the top of the dough with the egg wash. Cut a few slits so the top can vent and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before digging in. Bon appétit!