The Best Roasted Brussels Sprouts

One of my favorite restaurants is Zaytinya.  They have delicious small plates so you can try a bunch of different things and the best pita bread on earth.  But I really love them because they taught me that I love brussels sprouts.  I have never been a big fan of cooked cabbage smell, but these brussels sprouts are out of this world!

I decided I wanted to try to replicate these on my own at home. I’ve tried them a couple of different ways, and, by far, the best concoction is that of Slate writer L.V. Anderson. Anderson writes a column called “You’re Doing it Wrong” where she tells readers how to prepare foods in the most delicious way. I don’t always agree with her advice (a ginger snap crust does not necessarily save a pumpkin pie, and I’m personally not a huge fan of the feta/watermelon combination), but she does have this one spot on. You can read her column here.

However, the real secret to delectable sprouts is char. I don’t mean burning them to a crisp, but certainly getting some delicious brown on there so the edges begin to wilt and become crunchy. This is an essential part to fully cooking a brussels sprout. Those little things are tightly wrapped balls of water-holding buds that need some coaxing to get to the melt-in-your mouth with an edge of crunch consistency that makes this dish shine. (In other words, it takes a while to roast them.) Additionally, these little guys are super healthy!

From L.V. Anderson at Slate

Soy-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Oil for greasing the pan
1¼ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons peanut oil (I’ve used canola and olive just fine)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Black pepper

Heat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 13- by 18-inch baking sheet. Toss the Brussels sprouts with oil, soy sauce, mustard, and a little black pepper. Transfer to the greased baking sheet in an even layer and roast until the sprouts are partially tender, about 15 minutes. Stir and raise the oven temperature to 400°F. Continue to roast, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the sprouts are browned and fully tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

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Brunch Series – Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes

These are so delicious and easy, I’d be crazy NOT to post them. I have quite the affinity for fall food. Squash, and dark greens, apples and blood oranges. If I had to choose one season to always eat in, Nay, live in, I would choose fall.  That is why my husband I and I chose to get married in the fall – because we love it so much. I feel a special kind of happiness when a chill hits the air and the trees start to turn, and these pancakes are the perfect companion for a brisk autumn Sunday.

Even though you have to process your oats to make these pancakes, it is a small effort that makes it totally worth it. These pancakes are surprisingly fluffy and delicious. My husband, especially loved their sweet, creamy pumpkin flavor, coupled with the airy texture. With just a little bit of butter and a light drizzle of maple syrup, they are all the things I love about fall bundled into a delicious little concoction.  I highly recommend.

Adapted from Running to the Kitchen

1 1/3 cups of quick oats

2 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup of almond milk (although, I’m sure cow’s milk would work as well)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp mace (optional)

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

pinch of salt

Heat a large griddle or pan.  In a food processor, grind oats into a fine meal, nearly flour consistency.  Add all ingredients into a large bowl and whisk to combine.  Grease griddle and pour mixture into small circles.  Cook until edges begin to bubble, then flip.  Cook the other side completely.  Enjoy warm.

Homemade Samosas

I love Indian food. I am not Indian, but it truly is my comfort food. If I’ve had a bad day, I crave tikka and naan. I’m not sure what it is, but it makes me incredibly happy.  I usually shy away from making it at home because, let’s face it, I’m not very good at it. Indian food just isn’t the same at home.

That being said, I did make these delicious samosas at home and I’m pretty impressed with myself. Samosas are probably the most popular of Indian snacks, because who doesn’t like spiced potato and vegetable in a flaky crust? No one, that’s who.  Now I know my samosas look like empanadas. That is because I used pre-made empanada dough to cheat. We’ve been through this, I am not good at making dough. Besides, I didn’t want to slave all day over these.  I need my delicious samosas now!

This is a Delectable Endeavors original! Meaning I didn’t adapt it from anything! Pretty awesome, I know. Essentially, I tried to used what I already had to make something as close to traditional as possible.  These aren’t the real thing, but the certainly do the trick in a comfort food emergency.

 

Empanada wrappers (I used Goya discos)

1 cup of cubed russet potato

1 1/2 cup of cauliflower florets

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 jalapeno, finely diced

2 tsp of minced garlic

2 Tbl butter

1 Tbl canola or vegetable oil

1 tsp cumin seed

1/2 tsp fennel seed

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

Salt to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add cauliflower and potato and boil until tender, then drain. Roughly break up into smaller pieces.  You can do this with a potato masher or, if you don’t have one, use a pastry cutter like I do!

Heat oil and butter together in a pan on medium heat. Add fennel seed and cumin seed. Add garlic, salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander and heat until fragrant (only a minute).  Add onion and jalapeno. Cook until onion is translucent.

Add potato and cauliflower mixture and mix. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

I filled the empanada wrappers just like empanadas.  As you can see, I simply wetted the edges, folded it over and used the tines of a fork to seal it. Voila!

Moroccan Crockpot Chicken

I have been wanting to make Moroccan food at home for a while. What makes Moroccan food delicious is the “warm” spices and slow cooking. Often Moroccan food is cooked in a tagine, which allows for slow cooking that holds in a lot of moisture. Now, I don’t have a tagine. When I was thinking of making this recipe, I thought about how I could cook the  dish without a tagine, and my trusty crockpot came to mind. (Not only that, but it makes it a lot easier for me.)

The prunes in this may seem a little strange, but they break down in the slow cooker and make a wonderful sauce. Plus, they help keep the chicken nice and juicy. This is actually surprisingly good.  I was a little suspicious of how the flavors would meld, but they do so beautifully in this dish.  I can see this soon becoming a quick and yummy favorite at our house.  Additionally, it is quite healthy and my husband says it tastes like fall. 🙂

Moroccan Crockpot Chicken adapted from The Perfect Pantry

1 medium onion, minced

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp olive oil

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat

9 oz pitted dried prunes

1 Tbsp honey, or more to taste

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp chicken broth

1 cup sliced almonds

Mint (optional)

In a bowl, mix the onion, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, garlic and oil. Add the chicken and coat. Let marinate for 20 minutes.

Place chicken, marinade, and prunes, honey and broth in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5 hours. Let cook until the last hour, then stir and add almonds.

When cooked all the way through, finish with mint.

Quick and Healthy – Kale and Arugula Pasta with Egg

I first heard about this combination on a cooking show.  I thought it soundedinteresting.  Turns out, sautéed kale on pasta with egg is very popular.  And I can see why.  It is healthy, incredibly delicious and simple – the perfect kind of meal for a busy work week.  It is also a great way to get your leafy greens. 🙂

This recipe is perfect for my quick and healthy series because it literally look 10 minutes!  Plus, if you aren’t a fan of kale, you could easily substitute spinach, or mustard greens.  You can also add some red pepper flakes if you like a kick.  The gently poached egg makes a sauce for the pasta all its own.  Break open the yolk and watch all the runny deliciousness coat your noodles.  

I made this recipe for my husband and I and it fed both of us with leftovers.  It would likely serve 3 people easily.

2 cups of rinsed, dried and chopped kale, loosely packed

2 cups of rinsed and dried arugula, loosely packed

1 1/2 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

2 teaspoons of chopped garlic

salt and pepper to taste

6-8 oz of whole wheat pasta

1 egg per dish

Old Taylor Street cheese sprinkle (I got mine at The Spice House, but you can just as easily use some grated parmesan)

Prepare pasta as directed on box.  Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant (approximately 1 minute).  Add kale and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until it begins to wilt, tossing a few times during cooking.  Add arugula and cook until it begins to wilt.  Toss again.

Add drained and cooked pasta to pan with greens and turn off heat.  Prepare poached egg by placing it in boiling water for 3 minutes.  Smitten Kitchen has great tips on how to make the perfect poached egg.

Assemble meal by placing greens and pasta mixture in bowl.  Sprinkle some cheese mixture on the pasta.  Place perfectly poached egg on top and break open.  Eat and experience the magic.

Quick and Healthy Series – Chipotle Turkey Tacos with Avocado Creme

I’m starting a new series based on how I’ve been cooking lately.  Fast. Easy. Healthy.  Between finishing up a post-doc, doing side projects, studying for licensing exam, well . . .  you get the idea.  While I still love cooking, I don’t have nearly as much time to cook anymore, so I’ve needed to find some ways to fit cooking into my schedule.  Of course, my tastes haven’t changed just because my cooking habits have, so these dishes also be delicious and seem like I spent hours cooking when I really only spent 20-30 minutes.

This is a great kick off to the series because it is a wonderful combination of delicious and complex flavors.  You would think that this would take someone hours of simmering, but takes very little time and effort.  The creme can be made ahead of time as well, cutting down your prep time even more!

I would like to preface this recipe with a note.  These are not real tacos.  Real tacos are a magical thing everyone should experience.  My favorites were from a food cart outside my old work place in the city.  If you have never had tacos from a food cart, don’t be afraid, they could change your life.

1 lb of ground turkey

3 chipotle peppers, in sauce, chopped

1 small (15 oz) can of chopped tomatoes

All Recipe taco seasoning mix

corn tortillas

Avocado creme (taken from Two Peas & Their Pod)

1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt (I use Chobani)
2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 small Serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Make Avocado creme by adding cilantro, Serrano pepper, and garlic to food processor.  Pulse a few times until combined and pepper is thoroughly chopped.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth. Refrigerate.

To make tacos

Season raw turkey with All Recipe taco seasoning mix.  No need to let sit.  Add seasoned turkey to a pan heated over medium heat.  Once meat begins to brown, add chipotle peppers and canned tomatoes.  Let simmer until cooked through.  You can add a little slurry of cornstarch and water if you want to thicken the mixture up a bit.

Serve over warm tortillas and top with avocado creme!

Roasted Corn Salad

I was born and raised in Iowa, so I know a thing or two about corn.  Every summer, we would wait with baited breath for the sweet corn to be ready.  My dad would bring back paper bags full of it and we would sit on our stoop, cleaning the husks away just before plopping them into pot of boiling water for the freshest, sweetest corn you’d ever have.  So, even as an adult, I crave these moments, and the corn.  Now that we are officially sweet corn season, I thought giving everyone something else to do with that corn would be nice.  Not that you need to.

This is an incredibly easy recipe.  It basically goes like this

Step 1 – Roast or boil some ears of corn.  Try not to immediately eat it all.

Step 2- Let corn cool completely and cut it off the ear.

Step 3 – Toss corn with feta and cilantro.  Enjoy!

It is so delicious and is a wonderful, light summer side dish.