July 7, 2014

'Everything But The Kitchen Sink' Salad + A Video!

Our weekly CSA delivery has really changed our meal preparation habits. Typically, I'm a huge planner. I'll sit down with a pen and paper on Sunday mornings and write out the week's meals and accompanying grocery list. This helps to keep us trying new things as well as to avoid the inevitable last-minute delivery tendency that accompanies standing in front of an open fridge at 6 pm trying to decide what to make that night. But with the CSA, the produce is so fresh and delicious, it requires (and even thrives with) minimal preparation.


This salad is a good example - even though it is technically based off of a recipe, you could sub in basically any fresh produce and noodle/grain that you have on hand. Just shred up the veggies, toss with Molly Wizenberg's delicious Vietnamese dressing, and throw in some grilled meat or fish. So, so good - it highlights the freshness of the ingredients without the need for fancy or extensive preparation.

In other totally unrelated news - we made a video of Charlotte's first year! It's over 4 months late since she turned one last winter, but I still think it (and she!) is so, so wonderful. All those changes in one year?!? Unbelievable. Check it out.

'Everything But The Kitchen Sink' Salad

Note: As I mentioned above, this is more of a use-what-you-have recipe that is wonderfully versatile and has potential for countless combinations. I would say, however, that you should stick to the recipe for the dressing as much as you can, as the proportion of dressing to everything else is perfect as is.

Print This Recipe

8 ounces rice noodles, such as vermicelli
8 ounces shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups/handfuls fresh lettuce, kale, cabbage, or a combo of all three, thinly sliced or shredded
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1 small cucumber, seeded and chopped
3 radishes, shredded or cut into matchsticks
1 small handful fresh basil, chopped
1 small handful fresh cilantro, chopped


3 Tbsp fish sauce
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 small Serrano pepper, seeded and minced

Add rice noodles to a large pot of boiling water. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until tender. Drain in a colander, rinsing with cold water. Set aside to continue draining while you prepare rest of salad.

Meanwhile, heat grill pan or griddle. Brush shrimp with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on pan and grill until shrimp are pink and opaque, about 2-3 minutes per side

Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Taste, and add more water if it needs to be diluted.

Toss the veggies, noodles, and dressing together until combined. Divide into serving bowls and top with shrimp. Enjoy!

May 29, 2014

Hooray for CSA: Buttery Radish and Egg Tostadas

Our CSA delivery started this week and not a moment too soon! My recipe repertoire has gotten woefully depleted. We've been doing a lot of take-out, a lot of slow-cooker meals, and a lot of, well, crappy food. But alas, the springtime crops are in. Greens! Rhubarb! More greens! Phew.

This week, in addition to the rhubarb and plentiful greens, we got a handful of delicious little breakfast radishes (No, I do not know why they are called breakfast radishes. Do you? Mom? Aunt Lyndi?). We sauteed them with some butter and paired them with delicious eggs also from the farm. Mmmm. I wish we had more.

You could sub in or supplement a wide variety of veggies or herbs, depending on what you have on hand. But don't skip the radishes - they're the star of the show, after all.

Buttery Radish and Egg Tostadas
Very loosely adapted from Naturally Ella

Print Recipe

4 corn tortillas (the fresher the better)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sea salt, divided
10-15 breakfast radishes, scrubbed and quartered (about 3 cups total)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbsp butter, divided
4 eggs
large handful greens of your choice (we used Green Oak leaf lettuce), shredded
Hot sauce, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Arrange the 4 tortillas on a baking sheet so that they aren't touching. Brush all sides with the olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of the sea salt. Place in oven and bake, flipping halfway through, until crispy - about 10 minutes total.

While tortillas are baking, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add in the radishes, stir to coat them in the butter, and then cover, allowing them to steam for 4-5 minutes.

Lastly, make your eggs. I fried ours in the remaining 1 Tbsp butter and seasoned with the remaining sea salt. Poached or over-easy would be delicious as well.

To serve, place crispy tortillas on a plate, top with the radish/onion mixture, followed by the eggs, followed by the shredded greens. Drizzle with hot sauce, if using.

Bonus tip: This is a hundred times easier to eat with your hands rather than trying to use a fork and knife.

May 19, 2014

Split Pea and Butternut Stew

Ahhh spring is finally here. The temperature is heating up, the flowers are blooming, and all you want to eat is....stew. No? Ha. So maybe save this for a rainy day.

This is based off the traditional Ethiopian dish called Kik Alicha, which is like the Ethiopian version of dal. It's quite mild in flavor and is often used to balance out spicier dishes served communal-style on top of injera. I added in diced butternut squash because, well, I can't stop eating squash (see here, here, here, here, and here), and I wanted to make it more of a main course type dish. It's really simple, really healthy, really cheap, and really darn good. Tastes great as lunch the next day, too.

Split Pea and Butternut Squash Stew

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup dried split peas, rinsed and picked over
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups)
3 cups vegetable broth

In a large pot, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and sautee until it begins to brown slightly. Add in garlic, turmeric, fenugreek and salt, stirring to combine. Allow spices to toast in pan until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in split peas, squash and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for about 45 minutes, or until squash and split peas are cooked through. Leave stew as is and serve chunky, or you could also puree it at this point if you prefer a more uniform texture. Taste for seasoning.  Enjoy!

May 15, 2014

Gluten-Free Asian Turkey Meatballs with Pickled Slaw

Jeremy was diagnosed with Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) almost a year ago. It came totally out of the blue and was quite a shocker. At first, the idea of planning meals without gluten seemed completely overwhelming and borderline insurmountable. But we quickly found out that, in terms of home cooking, it's really not so tough. The tricky part seems to be mainly when we are out and about or need to get something on the go. And sometimes you "just want a beer and a slice", as Jeremy would say, at which point nothing seems to suffice except for the real deal.

But there really are so many foods that are naturally gluten free. I find that trying to make foods that traditionally have gluten (like pizza, breads, pasta, etc) is way tougher, and often more disappointing, than just sticking to what you know.

Some foods easily convert to being gluten-free. Like meatballs! They typically contain breadcrumbs, which, together with an egg or other liquid, act as a binding agent.  I've discovered that quinoa works as a wonderful replacement. You don't miss the gluten at all.

In the spirit of a banh-mi flavor combo, this recipe pairs yummy Asian flavor-inspired meatballs with a crunchy and satisfying slaw made with cabbage, carrots, and generous helping of chopped cilantro. And no pesky gluten!

^^ Look at what a little lady Charlotte is turning into! It's been so fun to watch her become a little person with all sorts of likes and dislikes and such a big personality. And some pretty snazzy dance moves, to boot! ^^

Gluten-Free Asian Turkey Meatballs with Pickled Slaw

Print Recipe

For the slaw:

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp mirin
1 Tbsp salt
1 medium savoy cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
4-5 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Sesame oil for drizzling, optional

Combine sugar, vinegar, mirin, and salt in a non-reactive bowl and whisk until dissolved. Add in cabbage and carrots and stir until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Remove from fridge, drain, stir in cilantro, and set aside while you make your meatballs.
* You will likely have leftover slaw. Just store in fridge and add to anything or eat on its own!

For the meatballs:
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 lb ground turkey
3/4 cup quinoa, cooked
3 scallions (light green parts only), chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4 tsp fish sauce
4 tsp sriracha
4 tsp sugar/agave nectar
2 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed, and minced
2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well mixed (I find using my hands to mix it up is easiest).

Using dampened hands, form into meatballs (I was able to make 12).

Arrange meatballs on a greased rimmed baking sheet. Bake in oven until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

To serve: Arrange big scoop of slaw on plate, drizze with sesame oil, and top with meatballs. Enjoy!

March 31, 2014

Creamed Kale with Caramelized Shallots and Spiced Pepitas


Well, thank goodness for Mark Bittman, who let us know via this op-ed last week that butter and cream are basically good for us. Basically. And phew, just in time. Because this creamy kale has its fair share of butter and milk, and is dee-lectable.

Although really, the shining stars of this dish are the spiced pepitas. The spicy/sweet combo makes you go back for more with reckless abandon. In fact, in the spirit of full disclosure, I'm pretty sure my bowl ended up with a one-to-one ratio of kale to pepitas. Not counting, of course, the fistfuls I devoured as soon as they came out of the oven. 

I recommend making a double-batch of these babies, storing them in an air-tight container, and then keeping them with you for any and all times that hunger strikes. Or, go bold and throw them in with your morning yogurt or late-night vanilla ice cream.

Creamed Kale with Caramelized Shallots and Spiced Pepitas

Print this Recipe

For the pepitas:

2 cups shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 egg white, whisked until frothy
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together sugar with all the spices until well combined.

In a large bowl, stir together pepitas with the egg white until evenly covered. Sprinkle sugar/spice mix over pepitas, stirring until well combined.

Spread pepitas evenly on parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring or shaking pan every few minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on parchment, and then break apart with hands. Use immediately or store in an air-tight container.

For the kale:
Adapted from Bobby Flay

2 large bunches of kale, center stalks removed, leaves chopped
5 Tbsp butter, divided
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (we used GF flour and it worked fine)
2 cups whole milk, warmed
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
5 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Additional salt + pepper as needed

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add in kale leaves and cook until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain in colander, return to original pot, and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in onion and saute until translucent. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk, trying your best to whisk away any lumps created by the flour. Turn heat to low and continue to cook until thickened, about 5-10 minutes more. Keep warm while you prepare shallots.

While milk sauce is thickening, begin the shallots. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt remaining 3 Tbsp butter. Add in sugar and stir until dissolved. Add in shallots and saute until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until shallots turn a deep caramel color, being careful not to burn.

Pour milk sauce into pot with kale and place over low heat. Simmer, stirring often, until well combined a warmed through, 3-4 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

To serve - spoon creamed kale into bowls. Top with a scoop of the caramelized shallots. Sprinkle with spiced pepitas. Enjoy!

February 28, 2014

Vegan African Peanut Soup + A Birthday

This soup is nothing short of magical. You throw a ton of veggies into a pot, add some spices, a whole container of tofu, some peanut butter...and bam, an oddly addictive and delicious soup comes out. And it's vegan to boot. Moreover, it's the most creative use of tofu I've ever come across in a recipe. One bowl is all you need to fill you to the (metaphorical) brim - not to mention the kick of spice adds some much-needed heat to these never-ending polar vortex days.
But okay, okay. As cool as magical tofu soup is, I just have to change the subject to say that Charlotte turned one YEAR old this month! Holy cannoli. 

Can you believe it? We sure can't. A year ago we were (in no particular order): not sleeping, subsisting on only pop-tarts and fruit salad, totally flummoxed as to how to care for a real live human being, talking about all-things-boobs/breastfeeding about 495020 times per day, crying at just about everything (okay, that was just me), and 100% obsessed with our new arrival.

Although I don't think I'll ever get used to not sleeping in on Sunday mornings, and some days I really, really just want to enjoy a cup of coffee without various fisher price jingles playing in the background - I will say that this new parent thing is definitely pretty awesome most days.

And of course magical tofu soup. That's awesome, too.

African Peanut Soup
Adapted from This Can't be Tofu! via epicurious.com

Print this recipe

2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 onions, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1-inch knob ginger, peeled and minced
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes WITH juices
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 package extra soft tofu, cut into large chunks
1 bunch scallions, chopped
2 cups cooked rice

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in onions, peppers, ginger, and sweet potatoes. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown. Add in garlic, cayenne, salt and pepper, and continue to cook, while stirring often, 2 minutes more.

Add in tomatoes with their juices, and stir to combine. Next pour in veggie stock, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and continue to simmer for 20 minutes.

Add in peanut butter, stirring until dissolved. Add in tofu and stir to combine.

Blend soup in pot using immersion blender. Or, allow soup to cool slightly, and puree in blender in batches.

To serve, spoon soup into individual bowls. Top with a big scoop of rice and sprinkle with chopped scallion. Enjoy!

January 26, 2014

Lighter Eggplant Parmesan

Well, let's see. It's about the fourth week of January, which means most of the new-year-new-you detox diets are coming to a crashing halt. Alas, I have the perfect recipe for you. This eggplant parm provides the warmth and depth of classic comfort food, but without the calorie bomb from gobs of cheese and oil.

The eggplant slices forego the egg coating and get baked instead of fried. And there's just one saintly layer of cheese on top that gets broiled at the last minute, ensuring that you still get that requisite gooey, cheesey goodness.

Last, but certainly not least - it's worth mentioning that this dish comes together quite quickly and requires little in the way of prep or labor. Between playoff football games, my new fitness obsession, and an on-the-go crawler, there's not much spare time these days in the Union Street Eats kitchen.

Lighter Eggplant Parmesan

Print This Recipe

2 lbs eggplant, cut crosswise in 1/2" thick slices
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tsp salt, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
4 oz. mozarella cheese, thinly sliced or shredded
1/4 cup paremesan cheese, grated
1 cup bread crumbs, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange the eggplant slices on two rimmed baking sheets, making sure to not overlap. Brush each slice with the olive oil, (using about 2 Tbsp total), then sprinkle with about 1 tsp salt. Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes each side. Remove from oven and set aside.

Reduce oven temp to 400 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp oil. Add in onion, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook 30 seconds more, being careful to not let it burn. Then add in canned tomatoes (with juices), red pepper flakes, oregano, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Bring sauce to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and using the back of a wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes against side of pan. Set aside.

In a 9x13 inch baking pan, spread 1 to 2 cups prepared tomato sauce across bottom. Arrange a layer of eggplant slices on top of sauce. Then top with a generous handful of chopped basil. Continue alternating layers - tomato sauce then eggplant then basil - until ingredients are used up. Spread mozarella cheese evenly on top. Then cover cheese with the bread crumbs, if using. Finally, top with grated parmesan cheese.

Bake in oven until breadcrumbs are golden and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Remove and turn oven to broil. Stick in broiler for 1-2 minutes to make the cheese all gooey and delicious. Remove and let sit 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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