All posts in recipes

  • zucchini and corn fritters with garlic yogurt sauce

    zucchini and corn fritters with garlic yogurt sauce

    We brought two suitcases with us to Portland to tide us over until the rest of our stuff arrived. They contained a hodgepodge of things beyond the usual essentials, a couple blankets and pillows since we slept on the floor the first few nights, toothpaste, cat-related stuff… bags of dried garlic chives, dill, rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil, dried peppers, and finally… 10 bulbs of garlic.

    The week before we left Michigan, we stayed with my dad. For me, that pretty much meant raiding his garden the whole week. I wanted to take as much of his garden as I could to Oregon with me, so I used his dehydrator to dry a year’s worth of peppers (jalapeno, habanero, serrano, and banana peppers) and various dried herbs that have mostly already been consumed. The night before we left, dad dug up all the garlic in his garden and told me to take all 10 bulbs with me. I LOVE garlic, but 10 bulbs? Really? I’ll never use all of it, I thought! Turns out, yes, I really do love garlic and can consume 10 bulbs in a month. The last two cloves from dad’s garden went into the sauce for these fritters.

    Zucchini has been a constant in my kitchen(s) this summer. Like a dutiful Midwesterner, I whipped up at least a dozen loaves of zucchini bread back in Michigan, but I’ve also been making zucchini soup, zucchini noodles, roasted zucchini, adding zucchini to salads, and zucchini fritters. Lately, all I want to use zucchini for is fritters. Most of the time, I only put the smallest amount of effort into breakfast and fritters are basically savory pancakes. Fried on each side until golden brown, packed with feta and herbs, and topped with tangy garlic yogurt, it’s pure heaven for me.

    Notes: Sour cream would be a good substitute if you don’t have any yogurt on hand. Feel free to make this without corn, but be sure to add another zucchini.

    Zucchini and Corn Fritters with Garlic Yogurt Sauce

    For the fritters:
    3 medium sized zucchinis, grated
    1 cup corn
    1 cup flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    2 eggs
    1/4 cup crumbled feta
    1/4 cup fresh herbs (parsley, dill, whatever you like), chopped
    oil for frying (I used peanut oil)

    For the sauce:

    1/2 cup plain and full fat yogurt
    2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
    salt & pepper, to taste

    Shred zucchini with a grater or give it a few whirls in your food processor. Transfer zucchini to a colander placed in the sink, sprinkle with salt, and let it drain for 10-30 minutes, occasionally squeezing out excess water.

    Prepare the sauce by mixing together yogurt, chopped garlic, and salt. Set aside.

    In the meantime, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Shuck the corn from the cob or measure out 1 cup of frozen corn. Mix together flour and baking soda in a bowl. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until smooth, add the feta, dill, and parsley, salt, pepper, and corn.

    Return to the colander and squeeze out water from the zucchini one more time, then transfer to the bowl with the egg mixture and mix thoroughly. In small batches, fold in the flour and baking soda mixture until just mixed.

    In a large non-stick skillet, add a generous amount of oil over medium heat. When hot, scoop 1/4 cup of mixture and place in the skillet. Cook as many fritters in one batch as you can, but left a couple inches between each one. Flip when golden on one side, this should take 3-4 minutes. Cook on the other side, for another 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer fritters to a large paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until the mixture is gone.

    Serve hot and enjoy with the yogurt sauce.

    Makes about 8 fritters

  • barley with carrots and tahini sauce

    barley with carrots and tahini sauce

    The temperature has been oscillating between unbearable and tolerable, so when it’s tolerable I sneak moments in the kitchen to make meals and start kitchen projects (pickling, fermenting, jam making). On days when it’s especially hot, my thoughts are consumed by things I want to cook/eat. When that happens, I’ll either wait a day or two or just cook late at night. This is one of those late night dishes and with all late night dishes, they need to make for good leftovers.

    We recently joined a CSA, so every week we pick up a box at some weird location that magically contains vegetables. Besides all the celery* they’ve been sneaking in, it’s been great. One of our recent shares included carrots, jalapenos, and a big bunch of beautiful parsley, so I whipped up a barley dish that incorporated all three ingredients. As with many dishes I make, it has a Middle Eastern sort of flair, so don’t skip the tahini sauce! It really brings the dish together. Delicious on its own, this also makes a great side. We gobbled it all up with balela and dolmas.

    * – Do you have any suggestions to help make celery… uh… not suck?

    Barley with Carrots and Tahini Sauce

    For the main dish:
    1 1/2 cups dried quick cook barley or pearl couscous
    1 quart vegetable stock (or water)
    2 carrots, chopped into small pieces
    1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped into small pieces
    1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    1/4 teaspoon paprika
    1 tablespoon pine nuts
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    salt & pepper, to taste
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    a handful of parsley

    Tahini sauce:
    1/3 cup tahini
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    2 tablespoons water
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/4 teaspoon cumin
    salt & pepper, to taste

    In a large pot over medium low heat, add barley (or pearl couscous) and vegetable stock. Stir often to make sure the barley doesn’t stick to the pan. Quick cook barley should only take 10-15 minutes, but check the package’s directions to double check the cooking time. A couple minutes before the barley is ready, add the jalapenos and carrots. Stir often.

    For the tahini sauce, mix all the ingredients and set aside.

    A couple minutes before the barley is ready, toss in the carrots and jalapeno pepper and mix. Once the barley is ready, stir in the coriander, paprika, pine nuts, lemon juice. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in olive oil, parsley, ladle into bowls, drizzle with tahini sauce, and serve.

    Serves 4

  • huckleberry buckle

    huckleberry buckle

    When we moved to Oregon, I was hoping we’d be able to catch more of berry season black raspberries, marionberries, boysenberries, huckleberries, and other mystery berries I’ve never had before, but we missed it. Well, for the most part. I did manage to snag a bag of huckleberries at my first trip to the PSU Farmers Market. After sneaking a few, I deemed them too precious to eat and decided to do something special with them. AllRecipes to the rescue! I found a recipe for a huckleberry buckle, a moist cake with a crunchy streusel topping that’s bursting with huckleberry sweetness and tartness. I decided to have a go at it, despite the 90+ degree weather. I hated life the whole time the oven was on, but once I had that first bite with vanilla ice cream, all was well again.

    So, what the heck is a buckle? According to the HuffPo article, a buckle is a cake where fruit is layered above the batter, which causes the cake to rise around the fruit, the fruit to sink to the bottom, and the whole thing just ends up buckling inwards. Mayyyybe this isn’t a buckle, it’s probably a crisp. But huckleberry buckle (or hucklebuckle, as I’ve been calling it) is a lot of more fun to say than huckleberry crisp, so huckleberry buckle it is.

    Note: the recipe calls for a 8″ x 8″ pan. My 8″ x 8″ pan was a casualty of the Second (yes, second!) Pyrex Explosion of 2014, so I used a 10.5″ pie pan and the cake was ready after about 22 minutes of baking. Huckleberries are similar to blueberries, so if you don’t have huckleberries in your area, feel free to substitute blueberries for this recipe.

    huckleberry buckle

    Huckleberry Buckle
    (adapted from AllRecipes)

    For the cake:
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/4 butter, softened
    1 egg
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 cups all purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 cup milk
    2 cups huckleberries or blueberries

    For the streusel:
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/3 cup all purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 cup butter, softened

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease your baking pan.

    In a bowl, cream together sugar, butter, vanilla, and egg. In a larger bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix in milk, the sugar/egg/butter mixture and combine thoroughly. Stir in the huckleberries (or blueberries). Pour mixture into the baking pan.

    Make the streusel by combining sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter in a bowl. Sprinkle the mixture over the cake batter and bake for 25-30 minutes.

    Check with a toothpick to see if the cake is ready. Once ready, let it cool for a bit before serving. Serve with ice cream.

    Serves 10-12

  • roasted cauliflower with lentils and tahini sauce

    Roasted cauliflower with lentils and tahini sauce >> avocadobravado.net

    Roasted cauliflower is an old standby from my early days of learning how to cook. I was in college at the time and had a job at a book store. The store would receive advanced copies of books the staff could keep. FOR FREE. As a student working part-time for minimum wage, free books were a dream come true. One of the books I snagged at the end of a shift was Olives & Oranges by Sara Jenkins. The book store has gone the way of the dodo and the my copy of Olives & Oranges was donated long ago, but I still have fond memories of procrastinating homework to pore over recipes, making lists of how I should stock my humble pantry, and dog-earing just about every other page or so for recipes to try on my own or to make for Cory when we moved in together.

    The main dish I took away from the book was cauliflower with tahini sauce. I don’t remember the exact recipe from the book, so I’m sure mine deviates a bit. The cauliflower is roasted which brings out its natural sugars, then drizzled with a creamy lemon and garlic tahini sauce. It’s perfect as is, but also great served over lentils like I did here, or with bulghur or couscous, or stuffed in a pita or wrap.

    Oh! I have a backlog of recipes to post here! That hasn’t happened in uh… 3 1/2 years. After a particularly miserable winter, I want to devour every vegetable in sight. That’s a good thing, right?

    Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce and Lentils
    (adapted from Olives & Oranges by Sara Jenkins)

    Cauliflower:
    1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
    enough olive oil to coat the cauliflower
    salt and pepper, to taste
    1/3 cup parsley, chopped

    Tahini sauce:
    2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
    2/3 cup tahini
    2-4 tablespoons water (depending on
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon cumin
    1/4 teaspoon coriander
    salt and pepper, to taste

    Lentils:
    2 cups lentils
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    salt & pepper, to taste

    Garnishing (optional):
    Chopped parsley
    Lemon wedges

    Pre-heat oven to 400 F.

    Wash cauliflower and cut into florets. Pat dry with a towel and place the cauliflower in a large foil-lined roasting pan. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil over the cauliflower and use your hands to make sure the cauliflower is thoroughly coated in oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the cauliflower and place the roasting pan in the oven. Set your timer for 20 minutes.

    Fill up a large pot with water. When boiling, add lentils and cook according to package directions. Once done, drain, transfer back to the large pot, and set aside.

    After the 20 minutes are up, remove the cauliflower from the oven and turn the pieces over. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes.

    Now, prepare the sauce. Chop up garlic cloves, toss in a large bowl, add tahini, water, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and mix thoroughly. Give the sauce a taste test and adjust salt, spices, and lemon, if necessary. Add more water for a thicker sauce. Add about 2 tablespoons of both the tahini sauce and olive oil to your pot full of lentils and mix. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

    Check on the cauliflower and if most pieces are a dark golden color, they’re ready. If not, check on them again in another 5 minutes. When ready, remove from oven, toss in the chopped parsley. Serve the cauliflower over a bed of lentils. Top the cauliflower with tahini sauce and drizzle a little olive oil over the dish just before serving. Garnish with lemon wedges and more parsley.

    Serves 4-6 as a main or side

  • karkady / egyptian hibiscus tea / كركديه

    karkady egyptian hibiscus tea karkade

    The first time I had karkady was in Cairo in 2006. Ramadan was in full swing and the October heat was relentless. My roommate and I were in a taxi on our way to al-Husayn Mosque, which we would visit a few times a week. She would go to the mosque to pray, then we’d hit up nearby Khan al-Khalili to shop for giant gaudy earrings and eat tameyya sandwiches. On the last stretch of the trip, the call to prayer rippled through the city. It was iftar — time to break the day’s fast. Drivers had a new sense of urgency, most pedestrians vanished from the street to fill their bellies, and our cab driver broke his fast with a cigarette.

    As our taxi inched forward in bumper to bumper traffic, I noticed a man going from car to car and handing people bags with some sort of deep red liquid. When he got to our taxi, he handed me a bag and said something I didn’t understand. I had just enough time to thank him, but not enough to ask him what it was before he went on his merry way. I asked the cab driver if he knew what the drink was and he said, “karkady”. Well, OK! I didn’t know what that was but when a jovial toothless man hands you mystery drink in a plastic bag, what do you do? My roommate wasn’t interested, so I drank it in the most graceful way one can drink from a plastic bag (which is not at all).

    As a fan of all things sour, it was love at first sip. Sweet but not overly so, with a tart flavor reminiscent of cranberry juice. After doing some investigating later on (aka googling), I learned karkady was made from made an infusion of hibiscus flowers. Serve it cold in the hot months and hot when fighting off those winter shivers. It wasn’t for another few years after leaving Egypt that I would revisit karkady, but now you’ll find a pitcher (or bottle) of it in my fridge about once a month.

    To make karkady, you need dried red hibiscus flowers, which can be found at Middle Eastern and Latin American groceries (look for Flor de Jamaica), tea shops, and the bustling spice markets of Cairo. If none are available in your neck of the woods, there’s always Amazon, the Wal*Mart of the internet.

    Unrelated, but here are some things I’ve been cooking lately:

    Pulled Pork – I made about 5 pounds of pulled pork for Father’s Day. It had been so long since I cooked several pounds of pork that and I overcooked it a little bit, sadly. Dad came down for a visit and we feasted on pulled pork sandwiches and potato salad. I sent dad home with a big container of meat, then Cory and I used the remaining pork for sandwiches and tacos.

    Black Bean, Cilantro and Apricot Salad – When we ran out of pulled pork, we still had several corn tortillas. I made a mango and black bean salad based off an apricot and black bean salad from the taste space. The recipe has been a regular in our kitchen for about 3 years now.

    Quick Pickled Onions – from the Kitchn. I’ve quick pickled (and consumed) 4 jars of carrots in the last month and now I’m onto onions for salads and sandwiches.

    Falafels – The last of my chickpeas are currently soaking as I type this. Falafels served over a bed of lettuce will be tomorrow’s dinner. Maybe I’ll buy more chickpeas before we move, but first I have to go through a pound of pinto beans, cranberry beans, and great northern beans. Anyone have any ideas what to do with those?

    Tahini – ok, I haven’t made this yet. But I’m making it tomorrow! Again, from The Kitchn. I’ve never made tahini from scratch before, but I have a lot of sesame seeds I’ve been meaning to use up. I’m knee deep in Operation: Clear Out the Pantry.

    Zucchini – zucchini everything. Chopped up raw and in salads, zucchini noodles, zucchini soups, and mastering mom’s zucchini bread.

    Corn – with everything. Mostly corn on the cob, sometimes soup, and I made a corn, basil, and pesto pizza on Friday.

    Popsicles – currently, mango lassi popsicles. But I’m really craving Vietnamese iced coffee and I think they’d make for some delicious popsicles.

    Now, on with the show.

    Karkady / Egyptian Hibiscus Drink

    3/4 cup hibiscus petals
    8 cups water
    sugar, to taste (I recommend starting with 1/4 cup and taste testing from there)

    Optional:
    dried orange peel
    grated ginger
    a few squeezes of lime or lemon
    a cinnamon stick

    In a large pot, add hibiscus petals and water (add orange peel, ginger, and/or cinnamon stick, if using) and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir in sugar and give the drink a taste test and add more sugar, if necessary. You can skip this part, but I usually cover the pot and let it steep for another 1-3 hours. If adding lime or lemon, squeeze a bit of juice in and stir. Strain the mixture into a pitcher, discard the petals, and refrigerate the drink for several hours.

    Serves 8-10