Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini

A special roasted cauliflower inspired by Sara Forte’s new cookbook. It’s wildly delicious – loaded with herbs, dates, nuts, roasted red onions and tossed with a tahini dressing.

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I’ve roasted cauliflower a thousand different ways, but this version, from Around Our Table by Sara Forte, quickly became a weeknight staple after the first time I tried it. A big head of cauliflower is cut into florets that are tossed with a spiced oil and roasted in a hot oven. Red onions and bits of dates are introduced along the way and the whole situation is tossed with lots of herbs, arugula, pine nuts, sesame seeds, and a creamy tahini dressing. It’s wildly delicious.roasted cauliflower on a platter with tahini glaze, mint, herbs, dates and more

Many of you know Sara from her o.g. food blog Sprouted Kitchen. Or maybe you’re a member of the SK Cooking Club? She’s beloved for good reason, creating wholesome, doable, family-friendly recipes while keeping it real. I told her I’d be gifting the book to all the busy parents in my life, and meant it. Here’s a look at her new book, a few of the beautiful spreads, etc.

Around Our table cookbook
Her husband Hugh did all the photography for the book. You’ll recognize his style from their beautiful site. I’ve always loved how fresh, natural, and unfussed their food always looks. Their projects always have family photos paced throughout. I remember (years ago) Sara told me, over lunch one day, that she always wanted her home to be the landing pad for her kids and their friends. That always stuck with me, a wonderful, genuine aspiration. 
Title page of Sprouted Kitchen Around Our table cookbook
table of Contents pages from Around Our table cookbook by Sara Forte Sprouted Kitchen
You can see a couple examples of the gorgeous photo spreads below. And the table of contents above.
Beautiful photo spread example from Sprouted Kitchen Around Our Table cookbookBeautiful photo spread example from Sprouted Kitchen Around Our Table cookbook

Roasted Cauliflower: Part of An Impromptu Dinner Menu

This roasted cauliflower anchored a fantastic (and simple to throw together) dinner spread when Wayne’s parents visited a couple weeks back. I made the roasted cauliflower (recipe below) the day prior and then threw together a few other easy wins for dinner the next night. Aside from the cauliflower, no component took more than five minutes of active time to make, and there wasn’t a bit left for leftovers in the end!

  • A Big Pile of Roasted Potatoes: I cut little potatoes in half, tossed them in a bit of olive oil and roasted them in a hot oven until tender. Whisked a bit of spicy bomba chile paste into some olive oil, and drizzled that over the potatoes on a big plate. Finished with lots of toasted sesame seeds and slivered basil.
  • Mustard Lentils: I covered (dried) French lentils with about 3/4-inch of water and simmered until the lentils were very tender. Then, the cooked lentils were tossed with a generous dollop (2+ tablespoons) of strong French mustard and a couple glugs of Camino red wine vinegar, and a splash of good olive oil. Seasoned with salt and pepper. Topped with canned, roasted cherry tomatoes (in oil), and slivered basil.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: I split each egg in half, sprinkled with spices( I used za’atar, but use any fave savory spice blend). Salt to taste. Drizzle with olive oil.
  • Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini: Recipe below. Serve at room temperature.

roasted cauliflower on a platter with tahini glaze, mint, herbs, dates and more

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Kale Chips

There are just a couple details to get right for the perfect kale chips. This is how I make crispy pom-poms of kale everyone loves to snack on.

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This is my love letter to kale chips, a constant in my kitchen throughout the year. We bake them 3 or 4 times a week, even if we’re out in the trailer with a tiny oven. Even when it’s too hot for a reasonable person to turn on the oven. This is because kale chips are simple to make, and also because they’re *SO* good. Everyone loves snacking on them – even raw kale haters. They’re also an easy way to add a fantastic nutritional boost to all sorts of soups, salads, pizzas, and stir-fries by throwing a handful on (or in) whatever you’re eating. I’ve tweaked my technique little by little over the years to get the best results, outlined below! First thing to know – there are some details to get right.

Crispy baked kale chips in a bowl

How To Make Great Kale Chips

To make the best kale chips, a specific type of kale (curly!) is massaged with a delicious slurry of olive oil, nutritional yeast, and a bit of salt. Don’t skimp on the nutritional yeast, you’ll want to load up to get the perfect crispy crust on your chips. Bake until crisp and enjoy. The recipe is fantastically straight-forward, but the details matter. Here are the key pointers.

  • The type of kale matters. Purchase curly kale, premier kale, or curly purple kale. These types of kale have much more volume than kale varietals with flat leaves (for example, lacinato kale). The increased volume will result in crisped pom-poms of kale – exactly the best kind of kale chips.
    bunch of curly kale on a marble kitchen counter
  • Use dry kale. Make sure your kale is as dry as possible before starting. This will promote crisping and minimize steaming as the chips bake. You only want olive oil, nutritional yeast and a bit of salt to coat the leaves (below), no water drops.
    ingredients for kale chips in a mixing bowl
  • Avoid over-baking. Kale chips go from crisp to brown and sad in a flash.They’re like pine nuts in that regard. The pro-tip here is: set a timer.

How Do You Keep Kale Chips Crispy?

Allow them to cool completely. Store in and airtight container or jar.

Variations

You can make variations on kale chips by adding dry seasonings and spice blends. I like to add most seasonings after they bake. This way your spices don’t burn. I use this approach for curry powder and za’atar – two favorites. You can also look on this page of spice blends for other homemade blends I like to make and keep on hand.

baked kale chips on a baking sheet after baking

What Can you Crumble Kale Chips Over?

I like to crush kale chips over a wide range of soups, pizzas, tacos, and the like. The joke around here is, if it’s savory, I’ll crumble kale chips on it. Here are a few links to ideas and inspiration.

More Recipes with Kale




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Scrambled Eggs with Cream Cheese

A scrambled egg recipe taught to me by Lynn Russell from Satsuma Press. Herb-flecked cream cheese is the last-second finish that make these eggs simple but special.

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Lynn Russell taught me to make her favorite scrambled eggs when she came to stay with us in San Francisco. They’re beautifully luxe, herb-flecked scrambled eggs with cream cheese. Perfect for weekend brunch. Lynn is a fantastic cook, but I didn’t connect with her though cooking. It was through her letterpress work. I loved her clean, understated designs, and found her writing about her work and son inspiring.

Scrambled eggs made with cream cheese on a plate with sourdough toast

Scrambled Eggs with Cream Cheese: The Inspiration

We did a bunch of stuff while she was in SF. Her visit happened to coincide with the Alameda Flea market. We crossed the bridge not long after sunrise to beat the crowds. Conversation on the drive over covered a range of things, and one of the things we covered was cooking — specifically eggs.  For example, poached eggs are good, but jiggly whites are just gross. Lynn mentioned she does a scramble where she adds dollops of a special, super-herby cream cheese to finish the eggs. This was an idea that hadn’t occurred to me. They sounded incredible. The sort of thing I think of as simple-special – a simple technique with a special twist. Lynn was a good sport, and let me photograph her while she showed me how to make them.

Smashing herbs into cream cheese with a fork

The Special Ingredient: Cream Cheese with Herbs

The thing that makes these scrambled eggs special is cream cheese made with lots of herbs, scallions, chives and the like. You mash them into a brick of cream cheese and then use this component for a wonderful flavor packed finish to your eggs.  You’ll likely have quite a bit left over, and that is fantastic. Here’s a list of ways to use it.

Pouring eggs into a buttered skillet to make scrambled eggs

Variations on Scrambled Eggs with Cream Cheese

There are some great ways to take this general idea and add your own twist. Here are a few suggestions from the comments.

  • Boursin Shortcut: A number of people love this. “…I take a short cut and add 1T. Boursin Garlic and Herb cheese, or their Shallot and Chive flavor. One of the few special cheeses I keep around for such sauces and purposes.”
  • Debra: I’ve got house guests coming next week, and I’m going to do this garnished with your roasted cherry tomatoes (I’m totally addicted to those!) and a little bed of baby spinach.
  • Under Swirl It!: Maia says: “My mom used to do this! Except it was herbed Philadelphia cream cheese and she would smear it on the plate before putting the hot eggs on top, instead of mixing it in. It would get so gooey and melty.”
  • Coriander: M @ V. Gourmet noted: “My best friend’s mom, who is Indian, used to make a similar dish with chives, green onions and freshly-ground toasted coriander seeds — it was sublime.”

Scrambled eggs made with cream cheese on a plate with sourdough toast

I hope you love these special scrambled eggs as much as we have over the years. It goes to show, one of the best ways to find great recipes is to chat about it with friends!

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Broccoli Apple Salad

A dreamy broccoli apple salad made from all-star ingredients. Bright broccoli florets, crisp apples, crunchy fried shallots, candied nuts and slivered red onions are tossed in a honey-kissed, creamy, almond dressing.

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All things crunchy and colorful are combined in this broccoli apple salad. And it’s a beauty! Bright broccoli florets, crisp apples, crunchy shallots, candied nuts and slivered red onions are tossed in a barely sweet, creamy almond dressing.

broccoli apple salad drizzled with dressing on a blue plate

This is a hearty and substantial salad with lots of play between the sweet of the apple, the savory shallots, and the crunch of the candied walnuts and crisp, flash-boiled broccoli. It’s the sort of thing that is welcome on just about any table – holiday, picnic, Tuesday night, or desk at work. I if you’re on the look out for feel-good lunch ideas, I also love this broccoli salad as a bento component.

ingredients for broccoli salad including walnuts, chives, apples and red onions arranged on a counter

Make Ahead Plan

With a bit of planning, this recipe comes together quickly. You can make most of components ahead of time, but, pro-tip, don’t dress the salad until you are ready to serve it. This preserves the various crunches. Make the almond butter dressing up to a few days in advance. Same goes for the crispy shallots. If you are going to do the version with candied walnuts, those will hold in an air-tight container for weeks. Beyond that you’re simply boiling broccoli and slicing apples.

all the ingredients for broccoli apple salad in a metal bowl readdy to be tossed

Broccoli Salad Variations

  • Make it a Main Dish: Add caramelized tofu, pan-glazed tempeh, or spicy tempeh crumble (on top) to turn this into a main course.

  • Ginger Carrot Broccoli Salad: Swap out the creamy almond butter dressing in the recipe below, and use this ginger carrot dressing instead.

  • Broccoli Apple Salad with Spicy Ranch Dressing: Swap out the creamy almond butter in the recipe below and use this spicy ranch dressing in this wedge salad recipe instead.

  • Broccoli Apple Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing: In this version, swap out the almond butter and swap in peanut butter.

broccoli apple salad drizzled with dressing on a blue plate with a large serving spoon

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Salad Booster

Nutrient-dense and delicious, use this salad booster as a healthful seasoning for greens, vegetables, and so much more!

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I often carry a small vial of this spiced kale and nori medley in my purse, refilling it every few days. I got the idea years back when I saw the words salad booster on a jar in the spice section of one of the natural foods stores I frequent. The seasoning was a blend of a few types of seaweed, sprouted seeds, and the like. Nutrient-dense and delicious, you’d use it as a healthful seasoning for salad, vegetables, stir-fries – whatever you like. The idea stuck with me and I started making my own, usually using a toasted nori and kale base. From there, adding nuts and/or seeds, and whatever spices I was craving at the time.
kale, seaweed, sunflowers and spices - ingredients to make salad booster

Go Big!

The key here is to embrace this seasoning enthusiastically. You don’t want to skimp. A pinch isn’t really the spirit. Instead, really go for it. Use a couple teaspoons on a rice bowl, same goes for a good-sized salad or stir-fry. Shower your favorite soups with it!

kale, seaweed, sunflowers and spices - ingredients to make salad booster

Make some, gift some! Keep in mind this is a nice little treat to hand off to friend. You can find little glass containers online, and make cute labels for them. And feel free to tweak the ratios of ingredients as you go. I’ll include my base recipe down below, but really, think of it as a jumping off point.
kale, seaweed, sunflowers and spices - ingredients to make salad booster

More Spice Blends

If you like these sorts of seasonings and spice blends, heads up. I mined my notebooks from the past few years to create a collection of favorite spice blends, seasonings, sprinkles and the like. The blends are bold, flavor-packed, and meant to be delicious and fun. They’re the ones I use regularly, the ones in my notebooks with lots of stars and hearts next to them. The collection (Spice / Herb / Flower / Zest) is specifically for the members of my site. *Note: if you’re already a member (thank you!) the PDF will be in the downloads section of your account. For example, take a look at this…

Ingredients to make Toasted Coconut Pepper spice blend including coconut and black pepper, sesame seeds, and red chile flakes

This is another example of a recipe in Spice / Herb / Flower / Zest, one of my favorites – Toasted Coconut Pepper. With black peppercorns, sesame seeds, toasted coconut flakes, lime, dried garlic or onions, and grated cheese to finish, this seasoning blend is good on everything. You can’t go wrong keeping a little container front and center in your kitchen. Work this combo generously into butter for a fantastic compound butter perfect on roasted sweet potatoes. Or, sprinkle it across your favorite grain bowls.

In the meantime, give the salad booster a try, the recipe is posted down below. Enjoy!

More Homemade Spice Blends

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Sheet Pan Frittata

You don’t need much to make a good sheet pan frittata. This one starts with a dusting of lemon zest across a sheet pan, and uses a simple egg, cream, salt and pepper base.

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When you grate a lot of lemon zest onto a pan before baking a sheet pan frittata, it makes it extra special. I like to add a good amount to the eggs as well. The zest perfumes everything as the frittata cooks and wraps the whole thing in a lemony haze. Not that you need much to make a sheet pan frittata good. I mean, they’re a legitimate kitchen hero. One of those mealtime workhorses able to step up into a range of roles.

sheetpan frittata in a parchment lined baking sheet

For example. let’s say you bake one on a Sunday. You can enjoy a slice in your breakfast burrito on Monday. Pack a slab in your lunchbox on Tuesday, and then make an epic sheet pan frittata sandwich with it on Wednesday. If you’ve never baked a sheet pan frittata, let’s talk it though. There are a few things to get right.

How To Make a Sheet Pan Frittata

If you have a rimmed baking sheet, preferably the quarter pan size (13 x 9 x 1 inches), some parchment paper and a carton of eggs, you’re in business. To make a sheet pan frittata, line the pan with parchment paper, whisk a bunch of eggs together with a bit of cream, and add in whatever seasonal ingredients you like. If you love cheese and eggs, add some crumbled feta or goat cheese as well. Or grate some gruyere on top once the egg mixture is in the pan.
eggs, cream, and other ingredients in a white bowl
Just combine any well-chopped ingredients (above). Whisk until uniform (below).
eggs, cream, and other ingredients whisked together in a white bowl
Then transfer to your prepared sheet pan. Like the one pictured below.
sheetpan frittata mixture in a rimmed and parchment lined baking sheet ready to go in oven

Sheet pan frittatas are all about knowing the basic technique and then adding whatever other ingredients you’re excited about. Bake until set and enjoy. But let’s talk through how to make them great.
sheetpan frittata in a parchment lined baking sheet

A Few Important Tips

  • Line the pan: Lining your rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper allows easy removal of your sheet pan frittata once it is cooked. It’s important to get the parchment paper to seal with the pan though, so the egg doesn’t run under. The way you do this is to evenly (and thoroughly) rub the baking sheet with a bit of oil, and then press the paper into the pan. Use your hands to smooth out any bubbles across the pan and up the sides.
  • Pre-cook add-in ingredients: Similar to quiche, water is the enemy here. You want to avoid adding watery ingredients to your frittata. Go for pre-cooked or pre-roasted ingredients instead. So, for example, instead of adding sliced cherry tomatoes to your frittata, add roasted tomatoes. The flavor is more concentrated, and most of the water has been cooked out ahead of time.
  • Make ahead: If you are making a sheet pan frittata as part of your meal prep, allow the frittata to cool after baking. Slice and stack in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 4-5 days. To reheat, warm gently in a skillet. Or, serve at room temperature as a component in a sandwich or salad bowl.

ingredients for sheetpan frittata on plate including chopped green onions, kale, and chives

The Best Add-Ins

Above you can see the add-ins and toppings I used for this frittata, but there are endless options to consider. Here are a few favorites.

  • Herbs: Load up on the chopped herbs. It’s hard to go wrong. Chives, cilantro, dill, parsley, basil – really go for it.
  • Lemon zest: This one is incorporated into the recipe below. You can also experiment with orange zest and even different types of lime.
  • Potatoes: Hard to go wrong with potatoes here. You can roast sliced potatoes in a bit of olive oil, let them cool, and add to the frittata before baking. Room temperature hash browns torn and scattered across the frittata mixture is also good move.

a square piece of sheetpan frittata on a plate with a fork

A Few Seasonal Variations

A frittata like this is the perfect vehicle for whatever is in season, or whatever you have around the kitchen.

  • Late summer: roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted corn, caramelized onions, serrano chile
  • Fall: black olives, roasted winter squash, crumbled feta, dill
  • Spring: crumbled Boursin cheese, sautéed artichoke hearts, lemon zest, roasted asparagus, roasted new potato slices

Let me know your favorite combinations in the comments, I’m always looking for inspiration!

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Homemade Labneh Recipe

How to make labneh, lots of ideas for how to enjoy it, different strainers you can use to make it, and a labneh recipe.

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I’ve been straining yogurt, aka making labneh, quite a lot lately. Labneh is an Arabic yogurt cheese often made by draining yogurt. But I started making it more often after receiving a package from Jaipur, India. The package was cloth-covered and hand-stitched at the seams. My address was in massive black penmanship. It was the most intriguing package I’ve received via post in recent memory, sent by my friend Melissa. (Some of you might remember) I met her after sitting down for lunch at the Anokhi Cafe. Melissa runs the cafe, and we hit it off from there.
labneh in a white bowl on a marble countertop

Special Equipment: A Good Strainer

I remember Melissa telling me about her favorite strainer. She described it as an unattractive plastic piece of crap, but one that does a fantastic job on the yogurt front. She sent me one (pictured below)! And she was right, this strainer has a very fine, double lining, which allows the liquid whey to flow from the yogurt leaving a thick silky white yogurt cream behind – perfect for spreading, rolling, and blending. It is a Krishna brand “Marvel/Super Delux” and hard to find online for some reason.

If you don’t have a friend who will mail you one like the strainer pictured below, no worries! Multiple people in the comments love this Cuisipro Yogurt Cheese Maker. For example, in the comments, Patrice is a pro and has some great insight related to this strainer, “I’ve been making labneh for about 25 years and I absolutely LOVE it! I have two of them because I often have more than one batch straining. Oh, and I never use Greek Yogurt for my labneh… the texture just seems not right. My favorite at the moment is the Brown Cow yogurt which I get at Whole Foods. I love all of the suggestions for using labneh. I use it just about anywhere that cream or sour cream is called for, but of course, just as a dip (lots of herbs and sea salt) is as good as it gets!”

Lee said, “made my first labneh this week using the cusipro-donvier strainer that I purchased from Amazon. It was no muss, no fuss and the container fits easily in the refrigerator and cleans up very easily. We had kalamata olive bread slathered with it with chopped arugula and some Za’atar I made. It was marvelous !!!”

And many people simply use a traditional handkerchief or fine cotton cloth, a clean pillowcase, or a couple layers of cheese cloth. Nitza mentions, “ I just use a colander lined with a paper coffee filter and a bowl underneath to catch the liquid. I’ve also used my “Pour over” ceramic coffee filter (with #2 or #4 filter paper) and the mug catching the drippings. I leave it in the fridge at night, have it in the morning or later.” All in all a bit more messy, but they’ll all do the job!

yogurt being strained into a bowl to make labneh

What To Do With The Whey?

Before we brainstorm ideas related to labneh, let’s talk about whey. The liquid that drains off the yogurt in the labneh process is whey. And it is a wonderful, nutritious by-product and ingredient. Don’t throw it out. You can do all sorts of things with it. You can keep whey in the refrigerator for a week or so. And beyond that, it freezes well.

Some ideas:

  • I like to use leftover whey from the ricotta making process as well. It can be used as a base for soup, like a broth. Just season and spice it to your liking. I especially like to make it spicy and then float stuffed pastas or dumplings in it and top with lots of chopped herbs.
  • In the comments, Linda mentions, “I use the whey from making goat cheese for the liquid in bread and quick bread recipes.”
  • Norma suggests to us, “use it in cornbread and pancakes, soups and smoothies.”
  • Love this suggestion from Arti, “We mix yoghurt back into the whey ( to the desired thickness) and add salt, some finely chopped cilantro and green chillies to get a lovely spicy buttermilk. However it’s tasty even without the chillies if you don’t like the spice.”
  • Kate suggests a drive down the fermentation lane, “make lacto-fermented kimchi, salsa, mustard, and many other things. Just search for “lacto-fermented recipes” and lots of options will pop up.”

labneh smeared into a piece of sourdough and topped with an egg and other ingredients

Ways To Enjoy Labneh

Ok, let’s do this! There are a million ways to enjoy labneh. Some traditional, others not so much. I’m going to share all the things I made with my last round of labneh. Then I’ll jump into some of your amazing ideas. And beyond that, I’ll highlight a few ideas from favorite cookbooks and authors.

  • The above open-faced sandwich was on of the first things I made – a fast A+ lunch. Thin toasted bread, a layer of labneh, pan-fried hedgehog mushrooms, poached egg, shredded radicchio and tarragon, sea salt.
  • Smashed a few threads of saffron with brown sugar in a mortar and pestle added a bit of labneh, and used it to fill pitted dates.
  • Spread across a shallow bowl, drizzled generously with olive oil, fragrant Mexican oregano crumbled across the top, served with toasted pita wedges.
  • Shaped into small balls, rolled in za’atar, drizzled with lots of olive oil.
  • Served a dollop alongside an asparagus frittata with loads of fresh herbs and a drizzle of lemon olive oil.
  • Slice of rye toast, bit of salted butter, layer of labneh, layer of jam.
  • I’ve made it with less salt and used it as a beautiful frosting. It kind of ends up being in the realm of a cream cheese frosting. Sweeten the labneh with honey, sugar, sifted powdered sugar, etc – whatever your preference.

Labneh Ideas: From the Comments

There is so much great inspiration and knowledge in the comment section down below. I’m pulling a few to highlight here, but dive in for more ideas. And keep adding as well! Please give a shout in the comments if you make labneh or strained yogurt and do interesting things with it!

  • Nina mentioned, “One of our favorite ways is spreading on rye bread (plain or toasted), topping with thinly sliced cucumbers or radishes. It is simple and wonderful. Great after a trip to the gym, especially in summer time.”
  • If you have access to goat milk yogurt, Ioanna enthusiastically weighs in, “goat Labneh is heavenly! If you can find goat yogurt or make your own, you need to strain it a lot longer and you’ll have the traditional goat Labneh (here we strain it in a special cheesecloth bag hung over the sink). It is then either shaped in small balls dipped in olive oil or in logs. It is very tangy, and usually saltier, blended with a generous amount of olive oil before degustation.” Sheep milk is fair game as well.
  • Megan C notes that she likes it as an alternative to ricotta in lasagna.
  • Another person in the comments mentioned this, “by adding onions, yellow chilli powder, corriander leaves, saffron threads, roasted chick pea flour, sugar, salt, cardamom powder & garam masala to it. Shape them into thick roundels & shallow fry on non-stick pan till golden brown on both sides.”

Labneh Inspiration from My Cookbook

  • In the comments Gemma mentioned, “there’s an amazing recipe for spiced labneh in the Moro cookbook. It uses fenugreek seeds, green chile, garlic and nigella seeds. It’s incredible, I recommend you seek it out! I usually make it that way but sometimes shape some into balls and roll them in something (cumin seeds/rosemary and garlic) and keep them covered in olive oil in a jar in the fridge.
  • Colu Henry caught my attention in Easy Fancy Food with her Lemon Curd Labneh Popsicles. She calls them, “a tart, lemony answer to a Creamsicle.”
  • In the NOPI cookbook Yotam weighs in with a smoked labneh! If you have a stovetop smoker (or a smoker donabe), this is one to try. The smoked labneh is served with baby carrots and mung beans along with crisp pita. Flavors like mint, caraway and thyme also represent.
  • If it’s peak summer and you’re reading this, take the recipe on page 73 of Suzanne Goin’s The A.O.C. Cookbook for a spin. It’s heirloom tomatoes with marinated labneh, purslane, and green harissa.
  • There’s a labneh cheesecake in Sami Tamimi’s Falastin. It features roasted apricots, cardamom, orange blossom water, and orange zest.
  • Diana Henry wrote a book years ago, Crazy Water Pickled Lemons: Enchanting Dishes from the Middle East, Mediterranean, and North Africa. I’ve been making a labneh-centric recipe (Bulgar and Spinach Pilaf with Labneh and Chili Roast Tomatoes) from it for the better part of twenty years. She has you bring all the components of this Turkish dish together over bulgar, but I’ve  enjoyed it over couscous, stuffed pastas, and orzo.
  • And, Carla Lalli Music includes a beautiful fruit compote with labneh, maple syrup, and olive oil in Where Cooking Begins.

Please let me know any other labneh faves in the comments below! Let’s keep this going.

labneh smeared into a piece of sourdough and topped with an egg and other ingredients

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Baked Quinoa Patties

Great served hot or room-temperature, these quinoa patties are packed with herbs, kale and creamy feta cheese. Adult and kid-friendly, and perfect for lunches on the go.

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Quinoa patties are portable, packed with protein, and adaptable. Even people who are on the fence about quinoa tend to love them, especially the ones you see here. This version is sesame-crusted and boosted with lots of herbs and kale. That said, you can play around with a wide range of accent ingredients and cooking techniques. I initially featured a skillet-cooked version in my book, Super Natural Cooking (2007), but you can bake them as well with great results, and that’s what you see here.
Baked Quinoa Patties

How to Make Quinoa Patties

Quinoa patties come together quickly, particularly if you have a few cups of leftover quinoa on hand. I always cook extra quinoa, knowing it will come together into a quick lunch if I plan ahead a bit. To make quinoa patties you simply combine cooked quinoa, eggs, herbs, breadcrumbs and seasoning in a bowl. The patties are shaped by hand and then baked or pan-fried. They can be enjoyed hot or room-temperature, and, either way, I love them with a bit of hot sauce.
Quinoa patties on a baking sheet prior to baking
You can see the patties prior to baking above. And then after baking below. I like to sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top for added crunch. Really push them into shape using your hands so that they will hold their shape.
Quinoa patties on a baking sheet after baking

Quinoa Patties: On the Go

I initially highlighted these quinoa patties (below) when a number of you asked about packing meals for flights. I was heading to London – so, a long flight from San Francisco. My strategy for flight meals is an ever-evolving system which (currently) involves a collapsible container, two thick rubber bands, and a plastic fork/spoon thing. All food goes in one container, and I avoid anything liquid to get through security. A good splash of sauce seems to be fine though. For my flight to London, I packed these potstickers. What you didn’t see was the way I buried them under a layer of these baked quinoa patties. Not pretty, but great to have on hand. I use a folded piece of parchment paper to divide the dumplings from the patties.
Quinoa patties packed for lunch in a small box
When I stay closer to home, I tend to go the bento or tiffin route – have a look at this page if you’re interested in more on-the-go, feel-good lunch ideas.
Quinoa patties in a bowl served with a side salad

Variations:

As long as your base ingredients (quinoa, eggs, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs) hold together into a patty, you can play around with different accents and ingredients. Here are a few ideas I’ve had success with over the years.

  • Za’atar Quinoa Patties: Follow the recipe as follows, adding 1 tablespoon of za’atar to quinoa mixture. This is a favorite, especially along with a sesame crust.
  • Lemon Madras Quinoa Patties: Skip some of the herbs and stir in 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder and the slivered zest of one large lemon.
  • Gluten-free Quinoa Patties: Niki commented, “I substitute ground almonds or walnuts for the bread crumbs – works perfectly.”
  • Brussels Sprout Quinoa Patties: VL noted,”I just want to say I made these for a trip this weekend, but used brussels sprouts instead of the kale. They were great!” I can also imagine finely chopped cabbage working brilliantly as well, along similar lines.

There are a bunch of other great substitution ideas down in the comments as well.
Travel photos in London

A Few Tips!

One thing I’ve learned over the years of making these is that the quinoa mixture is easier to shape if you allow it to sit overnight, refrigerated. It just holds together better.

Linda Marie commented, “I found that wet hands made shaping the patties easier. Did them in the skillet. Turned out great. Will try baking next time.”
Quinoa patties in a bowl served with a side salad

Related Recipes

Here’s a post about how to cook quinoa along with a bunch of related quinoa recipes. And here’s where you can get more inspiration for feel-good lunch ideas. These quinoa patties are great tucked into a bento situation along with edamame, a bit of coleslaw, and bit of spiced avocado.

 

 

 

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Spiced Coconut Spinach

The perfect simple, spinach side dish – toast a few spices, add a pile of shredded spinach to the skillet, and finish things off with a burst of lemon juice and some shredded coconut.

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This is a quick post for an easy, fast and spinach-packed side dish. It’s the type of thing I get excited about – simple, but bold on flavor. Even better, all the ingredients come together in one pan. I stumbled on this recipe for Coconut-laced Spiced Spinach as I was flipping through Anjum Anand’s book new book, in early 2011. Not much more than ten minutes later, we were sitting down to the table with it as part of our meal. I’ve cooked variations of in endlessly in the years since.
Coconut Spiced Spinach Recipe

Spiced Coconut Spinach: The Technique

The key here is having all your ingredients cleaned, prepped and ready to go. You toast a few spices, add a pile of shredded spinach to the skillet, and finish things off with a burst of lemon juice and golden-toasted coconut.
Coconut Spiced Spinach Recipe

A Few Ideas

I think I’m so excited about this in part because it is so versatile. While it makes a great side – I also like it in, on and under lots of things. Case in point, alongside one of these special quesadillas. It’s also great on an open-faced veggie burger, in tacos, in a wrap, over brown rice or farro, etc. I also like to make a meal of it with some grilled tofu, paneer, or fried egg. Let me know if you end up making it, and what you do with it! 
Coconut Spiced Spinach Recipe

The Spice Profile & Variations

The cumin is really nice here, I’ve dialed it up over the years. My advice? Don’t skimp. The same goes for the red pepper profile. I’ve added more over time, but it’s one of those things where you really just want to add it to your liking. I talk through some other ideas in this list of variations as well.

  • Add-ins: I often add other extra quick-cooking vegetables to the skillet along with my spinach. Segments of thin asparagus work well, as does small broccoli or cauliflower florets.
  • Herb It Up: If I have any fresh herbs on hand – chopped cilantro, basil, chives, and/or dill – adding them after the spinach has cooked is a nice way to experiment with the flavor profile.
  • Swap your chiles: Use a chopped serrano chile in place of the red chile flakes for a greener spiciness.
  • Burst of Ginger: Mince a small knob of peeled ginger along with the garlic-shallot paste if you love ginger.

Coconut Spiced Spinach Recipe

Cooking Spinach

The main thing to remember – resist the urge to overcook the spinach. You want to cook it just long enough for it to collapse, cook through, and brighten up. And keep in mind it continues to cook after you pull it from the heat.

Hope you like this as much as I do. And thank you Anjum for the inspiration – I’m really enjoying the Ayurvedic angle of this book.

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Cottage Cheese Muffins

Golden, puffy cottage cheese muffins are high in protein, filling, and endlessly adaptable. If you love a savory baked situation, these are for you.

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I’m always on the lookout for cookbooks by Rose Elliot. They aren’t always easy to find, particularly if you are like me, living in the United States. For those of you who haven’t heard of her, Rose is an accomplished UK-based cookbook author who focuses on vegetarian recipes – three million copies of her books are in print (and probably many more now!). I loved the idea behind her golden, puffy, sun-dried tomato muffins which I came across in Vegetarian Supercook (2006). Not only does the cottage cheese and ground almond base make them a smart way to start the day, but you can adapt the accent flavorings based on whatever you fancy. 
Cottage Cheese Muffins in a Muffin Tin

Rose highlights the combination of tomatoes, cheese, and basil in her version of cottage cheese muffins. The ingredients come together to make your kitchen smell like a cozy pizzeria. In the years since I first highlighted this recipe I’ve baked a good number of variations beyond the original. You can see an herb-flecked version here. It’s loaded with fresh thyme, fresh oregano and lots of chives. I’ll include some other variation ideas down below.

Backing up a bit, one of the great things about Rose’s recipes (generally speaking) is that many of them strike a nice nutritional balance. They tend to combine proteins, complex carbohydrates, vegetables and good fats together in interesting (and delicious) ways. This is something that is actually harder to do than it sounds and I always appreciate her approach. You see that in a recipe like this one.Cottage Cheese Muffins on a Marble Counter

Cottage Cheese Muffins: The Ingredients

The ingredients called for here are fairly straight forward – eggs, cottage cheese, a bit of flour, some almond meal, etc. Plus whatever accent flavors you want to work in. I do have a couple preference I’ll share though.

  • Cottage Cheese: I tend to grab the low-fat option here. And, the larger the curd the better here. The large curds leave nice pockets of oozy cottage cheese throughout the crumb and I love it. The smaller curd cottage cheese works great as well, you’ll just be missing out on some of those magic spots.
  • Almond meal: You want to use a fine almond meal here. You can buy it, or grind your own in a blender. If purchasing, the skin-on almond meal option is fine, it’s just a bit darker and more rustic. I used the lighter almond meal for the muffins pictured here.

Muffin Batter in Tin Before Baking

Other Things To Know

I encourage you to give these muffins a try (they’re *really* good), but keep a few things in mind. The texture here isn’t attempting to emulate a traditional flour-based muffins. These are much moister, less bready, and more quiche-like.  Maybe a better way to think of them is like a souffle’s heartier, denser, more portable cousin. 
Muffins Cooling on a Counter After Baking
The muffins can be made gluten-free, use a GF flour or GF flour blend. If you make the muffins mini-sized they are perfect party fare, whether you go Rose’s sun-dried tomato route, the herb-fleck route (pictured) or I’m sure you can dream up countless other ways to flavor the cottage cheese and almond flour-based batter.
Side View of Muffin

Cottage Cheese Muffins: Variations

A few variations, and people have been mentioning other ideas in the comments.

  • chopped olives, lemon zest and chopped herbs
  • roasted, chopped mushrooms and fresh thyme
  • chopped chipotles and adobo sauce
  • roasted garlic, pesto and toasted pine nuts
  • sautéed chopped potatoes and rosemary
  • No nuts version: Amanda noted in the comments, “ I used half cup flax meal and half cup ground pumpkin seeds. They turned out great.”

Muffins Cooling after Baking

Let me know what you think of these, I really enjoyed them hot, as well as room temperature as a quick snack.
Here’s where you can browse more baking recipes.

 

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