Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

by Laura

We can all agree that the main reason brussels sprouts have surged in popularity is that we figured out that if you fry them or add bacon they taste way better. Steamed brussels sprouts are the worst. And I never would have thought I'd like them raw but this salad has become one of my favorites that is in my regular rotation. As with most salads, improvisation is encouraged based on what you have in the fridge and personal preference. Adapted from Food52.

1 bag shaved brussels sprouts (if you are an over achiever and want to shred them yourself, it is about 3 cups)

1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion

1/3 cup almonds, sliced and toasted

1 avocado

1/3 cup grated pecorino

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 tsp honey

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the red onion in cold water for about 15 minutes or however long it takes you to assemble everything else. Juice your lemon (you may need 2 depending on size and juiciness) into a jar or bowl. Add honey and mustard in same bowl. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Combine brussels sprouts, almonds (any nut will do!), avocado, red onion and the pecorino. Shake up or whisk the dressing one more time before drizzling over the salad and serve immediately.

Celery Soup

by Laura

My roommate (now he could also be called my fiance - woohoo!) is generally very easy to please when it comes to food and complimentary of my cooking. However, there are a just a couple of foods he really doesn't like that I enjoy, so every once in a while I try to sneak it into my cooking and convince him he actually does like whatever it is. If my dad hates cheese but can love lasagna, I thought surely I could get John to like celery if combined with the right ingredients. Well, I was wrong. Because this celery soup was so good and not even all that healthy, and still...not for John. 

I thought it was delicious but second guessed myself without a second opinion. So, I took leftovers to work and got confirmation that it is, in fact, very tasty to anyone who doesn't hate celery. Also, easy to throw together and could be made much healthier by reducing both cream and butter quantities (which I already did from the original recipe).

Just one photo - sorry. Working on it!

Just one photo - sorry. Working on it!

Celery Soup

adapted from Bon Appetit

1 head of celery, chopped

1 potato (I used russet), peeled and chopped

1/2 of a large onion, chopped

1/2 stick butter

1 tbsp olive oil

3 cups low sodium broth (chicken or vegetable)

1/4 cup fresh dill plus extra for garnish

1/3 cup heavy cream

Olive Oil and flaky sea salt for serving

Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add celery, potato and onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook stirring until the onion softens, about 10 minutes. Add the broth and simmer until the potato is tender, another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the dill and puree with an emersion blender (or transfer to a blender and puree).  Stir in cream and serve right away with drizzled olive oil and flaky sea salt. Garnish with fresh dill or celery leaves.

Cous Cous Salad with Peanut Dressing

by Laura

Even though I didn't have a good excuse like an amazing New Zealand vacation, I too have been overindulging lately, so wanted to make a big batch of something relatively healthy that I could take to work for lunch. This is a very filling salad, packed with veggies and whole grains and it also is very tasty if I do say so myself. And the variations are endless! Looking for something gluten free? Sub quinoa for cous cous! Feeding a vegan? Swap out agave for the honey in the dressing. Want more protein? Go crazy and add chicken. And unlike most salads, this one can sit in its dressing for days and doesn't get soggy!

Cous Cous Salad with Peanut Dressing

adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Ingredients:

For the Salad

3 cups cole slaw mix (purple and green cabbage, shredded carrots)

1 red bell pepper, seeds and core removed, sliced

1 cup whole wheat cous cous (quinoa or rice would work well, too)

2 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced (or 1/4 cup chopped red onion)

3/4 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts, chopped

For the dressing:

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

2 tsp. finely chopped or grated fresh ginger

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp olive oil

Sriracha or other hot sauce to taste

water to thin as necessary

Before chopping up all of the veggies, cook cous cous to package instructions and allow to cool. Meanwhile, combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Place peanut butter and honey in microwave safe bowl and heat for about 20 seconds. Add the remainder of the dressing ingredients and whisk until combined. Add water or other ingredients until dressing is at the desired flavor and consistency. Add half of the dressing to the cous cous then combine cous cous and salad and top with the rest of the dressing.


Carrot Orange Soup

By Katherine

Yesterday, I woke up with the tickle of an early-stage sore throat, and all I wanted to eat was warm, comforting things.  I became fixated on one of my ultimate comfort foods:  carrot orange soup.  The recipe comes from the Silver Palate cookbook, which was a staple in our household growing up, and I still grab it for tried-and-true recipes (Chicken Marbella, anyone?).  Anyhow, our mom made this carrot orange soup for us on a regular basis, and when Elissa, Laura, and I were all living in Washington, DC in the early 2000s, carrot orange soup was often on the menu for our weekly sister dinners.  It is dead simple to make, with ingredients that are readily available all year long.  Add some buttered toast and a green salad, and you have a lovely supper. 

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Carrot Orange Soup

Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook via Cary Hart

Serves 4-6

4 tablespoons butter

2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)

12 large carrots (or 2 cups baby carrots), chopped

4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

1 cup orange juice

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Melt the butter in a soup pot.  Add the onions, cover and cook over low heat until soft, about 25 minutes.  Add the carrots and broth; bring to a boil, then simmer until the carrots are tender, 25 to 45 minutes (the smaller you chop the carrots, the sooner it will be ready).  Puree using an immersion blender, or transfer in batches to a food processor or blender.  Add the orange juice and simmer until heated through. 

Veggie friends: this can be made vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken. You could even make it vegan by using olive oil instead of butter, but I think there is something magical about the base of onions slow-cooked in butter. 

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Googling Dinner - Corn, Tomato, Feta Salad

by Laura

On a fairly regular basis, I Google the ingredients I happen to have in my kitchen and see what comes up. Not surprisingly, the results have been mixed. But tonight it worked great. I like to imagine that one day, someone like me will Google corn, tomato, feta and lemon and this post will pop up and that person will enjoy a delicious, sort of healthy summertime dinner. This recipe from Chow.com was my inspiration and the ratios could be adjusted depending on what you have on hand or your preferences.

Serve with toast and call it dinner

Serve with toast and call it dinner

Ingredients:

2 ears fresh corn (frozen corn thawed would work in a pinch)

4 small tomatoes on the vine  

2 cups arugula or green of choice

1/4 of a red onion finely chopped

1/3 cup crumbled feta (my favorite is Pastures of Eden Israeli feta from Trader Joe's) 

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook corn for 4 minutes and remove. While corn cools chop other ingredients and place in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut corn off of cob and add to other ingredients. (The recipe called for an ice bath for the corn but that seemed like way too much trouble.) Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil over all ingredients and toss.

 

Spanish Rice

By Katherine

Whatever you call it, I love that zesty orange-colored rice that often accompanies Mexican or Latin dishes, but I have rarely tried to make it at home.  I decided to change that this week, when I was looking for an accompaniment for this chicken  recipe.  After some searching online, I decided to use this recipe from Epicurious as a jumping-off point, with modifications. The final result was good enough that I think it will make it into our regular dinner rotation, and with brown rice and zucchini added in, I can even call it healthy. 

Latin baked chicken and Spanish rice

Latin baked chicken and Spanish rice

Spanish Rice

Adapted from Epicurious.com 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup long-grain brown rice

2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium dutch oven or saucepan (my 3.5-quart Le Creuset worked great, but you could use a smaller dish) on the stovetop, heat the oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook this mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes, or until softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the rice looks a little toasty. Add the broth and the tomatoes and bring to a boil.

Bake the rice, covered, in the middle of the oven about 45 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the zucchini and let stand, covered, about 5 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro. 

 

Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Cranberries and Goat Cheese

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 Dino Kale from Farm Fresh

Dino Kale from Farm Fresh

By Laura

I get a box of fruits and vegetables delivered to my apartment twice a month through Farm Fresh to You. It is a great service and I love that it forces me to try cooking with new vegetables I might never buy at the grocery store. Plus, it is local and seasonal and blah blah blah.

I got a large bunch of kale last week, which I turned into a salad for an Oscar-viewing party. There are countless variations that would also be delicious, but the key (as Elissa taught me) when it comes to raw kale is to massage the leaves with a little bit of olive oil before adding the other elements.

Kale Salad

(adapted from Bon Appétit)

Ingredients

1 large bunch of kale (I used Tuscan/Dino kale but any type would work)

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

4 ounces goat cheese (crumbled)

Strip kale leaves from thick stems and place in large bowl. Massage leaves with one tablespoon olive oil for about 3 minutes (the leaves will reduce in size considerably). Sprinkle with sea salt. Set aside.

In small bowl combine remaining olive oil, vinegars, honey and salt and pepper to taste. Toss dressing onto kale and add pine nuts, cranberries and goat cheese.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to two days. (kale holds up much better than lettuce when dressed!)

Almost final product (just add goat cheese)

Almost final product (just add goat cheese)