Thursday, September 20, 2018

Middle Eastern Wedge Salad with Crispy Cauliflower Rice

Wedge salad with herb tahini dressing, roasted chickpeas and crispy cauliflower rice.

I, personally, celebrated when the old time wedge salad became popular again. They're the steakhouse classic of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and blue cheese dressing. What's not to love? And I'm all for them never going out of style again. But there's also no reason we can't make variations of it.

Wedge salad with herb tahini dressing, roasted chickpeas and crispy cauliflower rice.

Because I love Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors, I took this wedge salad on an international journey. I made an herb tahini dressing and added some crunchy cumin roasted chickpeas. If you haven't tried those yet, I'll tell you right now they're totally addictive.

Wedge salad with herb tahini dressing, roasted chickpeas and crispy cauliflower rice.

Cauliflower rice might not seem like a natural addition to a salad but trust me on this. I wanted to add a warm spice to it that would compliment the cumin but still bring a different flavor note. And here's where I turned to my well stocked Ziyad pantry of ingredients and their kefta spice blend. Kefta is the term for a meat kebab and the typical spices include garlic, salt, allspice, coriander, paprika and a few others. It's great on beef but I saw no reason not to put it on vegetables as well.

When you first smell the kefta spice, you might think it's too strong for delicate cauliflower rice. But, again, trust me on this. Heat mellows and sweetens the spice and makes the cauliflower as addictive as the crispy chickpeas. Put it all together and you'll have this version of wedge salad on repeat. Enjoy!
Yield: 4 Servings
Wedge salad with herb tahini dressing, roasted chickpeas and crispy cauliflower rice.

Middle Eastern Wedge Salad with Crispy Cauliflower Rice

prep time: 15 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 35 mins
Recipe for a wedge salad with herb tahini dressing, roasted chickpeas and crispy cauliflower rice.

ingredients:

1 Head iceberg lettuce
1 Cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Crispy chickpeas (recipe follows)
Crispy cauliflower rice (recipe follows)

Crispy Chickpeas:
1 Can (approximately 15 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Teaspoon Ziyad ground cumin
Salt to taste

Crispy Cauliflower Rice:
1 Small head cauliflower
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste

Herb Tahini Dressing:
1/2 Cup Ziyad tahini
1/2 Cup water
1 Clove garlic
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
Large handful parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

instructions:

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the chickpeas with the olive oil and cumin. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

Cut the cauliflower into florets and add to a food processor. Pulse a few times, working in batches, until it resembles grains of rice. Add to a large skillet or cast iron pan and discard any overly large pieces.

Add the olive oil and kefta spice and saute for a few minutes, stirring often, until the cauliflower begins to soften slightly. Season with salt and remove from the heat.

Use a paper towel to clean out the food processor bowl but no need to wash it. Add the garlic, tahini, water, lemon juice and parsley. Puree until smooth and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the salad, remove the outer leaves from the head of lettuce and cut into quarters. Place each quarter on a plate and sprinkle on the cauliflower rice and the roasted chickpeas. Add the cherry tomatoes and dress with the herb tahini.
Created using The Recipes Generator

This recipe is sponsored by Ziyad. Thank you for supporting the products I love and use in my kitchen.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Warm Apple Fritters

Sweet apple fritters, fried and served hot with powdered sugar.

Yay! It finally cooled down enough for me to turn off my air conditioner. I mean, seriously, this was the hottest summer ever in New York and I was over it a long time ago. Bring on autumn with its apples and pumpkins and open window breezes.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Cheesy Meatball Sliders

Beef and pork meatball sandwiches with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese.

Summer may not be officially over but summer schedules definitely are. It's back to school, back to work, back to real life. And that also means back to meal planning for quick and easy dinner ideas.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Za'atar Crusted Steak with Spicy Shatta Chimichurri

Grilled steak, crusted with za'atar and served with a spicy herb and garlic sauce.

I'm always experimenting with steak sauces that enhance but don't overpower the meat. As much as I love barbecue sauce, once I put it on, it's pretty much all I can taste. And it's a shame to buy good quality beef and spend time cooking it well only to not get the flavor.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Frozen Coconut Blue Hawaiian

Frozen rum cocktail flavored with pineapple juice, blue curacao and coconut ice cream.

Late August is usually when I feel some cooler breezes in the air, autumn catalogs begin to arrive in the mail and, much as I hate to rush the seasons, I start to think about baking with pumpkin. The key word here is usually because this year, it's still hot as hell, my air conditioner is working overtime and all I can think about is cold drinks. And ice cream. I think about ice cream.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Sparkling Peach and Thyme Rose' Cocktail

Sparkling gin and rose wine cocktail with peach and thyme.

This was my summer of discovering all my favorite rose' wines. I have nothing against reds and whites but rose' has my heart. Extra points if the weather is hot and the rose' is bubbly.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Peach Shortcakes with Honey Basil Syrup

Individual peach shortcakes with sweet buttermilk biscuits and peaches in a honey basil syrup.

And...it's finally peach season. Oh, sure, there have been peaches in the market for the last couple of months but they were just hard orbs with no fresh peach aroma. And I know from sad experience that they will never ripen. But now that it's August, the peaches are tender and fragrant, juicy and delicious.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Savory Zucchini Pie with Fontina Cheese and Walnut Crust

Savory zucchini tart with fontina cheese in a buttery walnut crust.

Based on what I'm seeing at the farmer's market these days, zucchini is taking over the planet. OK, maybe not but I'm eating so much of the stuff that I'm about to turn green. Fortunately, I love it.

Monday, July 23, 2018

No Bake Chocolate Cookie Cheesecake

No-bake cheesecake with chocolate covered cookie layers.

It's no secret that cheesecake is my favorite dessert and it's what I always want as my birthday cake. And yes, I do usually make my own birthday cake because...well...I make really good cheesecake. If I absolutely, positively had to pick a favorite, it would be a tie between the classic New York steakhouse style with a cookie crust and strawberries on top and my mother's no-bake version.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Labneh Ice Cream with Cherry Swirl

Ice cream made with milk, cream and yogurt cheese, swirled with a cherry compote.

There's not really much to complain about when it comes to ice cream. But sometimes, the sweet on sweet can be too much for me, especially when it's hot and I'm looking for something cooling. My preference is for a little tart to go with with my sweet. Not sour, like a lemon sorbet, but just a little bit tart.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Loaded Chickpea Slaw

Coleslaw with crispy chickpeas, broccoli and tomatoes in a mustard tahini dressing.

Let's talk about lunch prep. I feel like the Sunday meal prepping people do tends to be more for weeknight dinners but lunch has always been a big prep situation for me. I love those Whole Foods type salad bars but it's expensive and not always convenient. So I make my own salad bar at home.

Monday, July 2, 2018

French Inspired Cheese Board with Edible Flowers

Cheese board with an array of French hard and soft cheeses, baguettes and edible flowers.

No matter what the season, when I'm entertaining there's nothing more crowd pleasing than a great cheese board. But, in summer, I especially love opening a crisp bottle of rose' and serving cheese on a Sunday afternoon with friends.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Grilled Chicken Skewers with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Chicken and vegetables, grilled on skewers, served with a smoky roasted red pepper sauce.

Summer is all about the grill, isn't it? There's just something about cooking and eating outside and the taste of grilled food. You can use a grill pan in your kitchen, too, and I've done that plenty of times. But now this city girl has an outdoor grill as well!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Star Spangled Watermelon Gin Slush

Recipe for a frozen gin cocktail with fresh watermelon and elderflower liqueur.

We need to talk about this cocktail because it is so good. I mean, this recipe makes two drinks and I may or may not have had them both. It was just so hard to stop. And the 4th of July theme? Oh, yes, this drink will be on repeat for the holiday.

Monday, June 11, 2018

French Market Salad with Fried Goat Cheese

Salad with baby arugula, roasted beets, French green beans, edible flowers and fried goat cheese.

When I'm walking through my local farmer's market on Saturday mornings, I always develop an overwhelming urge to make a big salad. And since I can't resist buying all the things, a salad is a great way to use them.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Cauliflower Shawarma

Cauliflower roasted in shawarma spices and served with pita and tahini sauce.

My first experience with shawarma was on vacation on the beach in Tel Aviv, Israel. Food vendors were selling falafel and shawarma sandwiches along with cold beverages on that hot August day. I ordered falafel because it's my favorite street food and my sister-in-law, who was my beach buddy that afternoon, ordered shawarma. I'd never had it before but the aroma was intoxicating and I asked for a taste. Hooked!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Creamy Lime in the Coconut Ice Cream

Creamy coconut ice cream flavored with lime.

I have a life long love/hate relationship with coconut. Love the flavor, hate the texture. So, little pieces of shredded coconut inside foods or covering the outside of a cake? Nope, not for me. The result of this has been that I spent a lot of time avoiding coconut flavored foods and pretty much kept my coconut consumption to pina coladas.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Memorial Day Recipe Ideas


Are you ready for the unofficial start of summer with Memorial Day weekend? Yes, the day itself is significant but, let's face it, it's also a time when friends and family gather to spend time together and start enjoying the summery weather. And that means food. So here are some of my favorite ideas this year for sides, mains, desserts and, of course, cocktails. Have a safe and happy holiday!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Chocolate Covered Almond Butter Cookies

Almond butter cookies coated with chocolate and sprinkled with slivered almonds and sea salt.

My peanut butter obsession means that's usually the jar I reach for when there's cookie baking to be done. And since it's been raining non stop for so long that I've actually lost track, there has definitely been cookie baking. But I decided it was time to show the almond butter some love as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ghee Roasted White and Sweet Potato Salad

White and sweet potato salad roasted with ghee.

For some reason, 2018 is running by super fast for me. Half the things I was supposed to get to in the first quarter of the year are still untouched. And then suddenly I look up and it's two weeks to the start of long summer weekends, beach openings and grilling season. Not that those things are anything to complain about.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Honeydew Melon Mojitos

Rum cocktail flavored with mint and honeydew melon.

I've always enjoyed a cool, refreshing mojito in hot weather. It's icy and minty and not too strong. Despite the 2 ounces of rum, it's topped off with club soda which makes a great slow sipper. Can't you just picture a tray of them on the porch in summer?

Friday, May 11, 2018

Bagel Breakfast Bar with Labneh and Za'atar Cream Cheese

Yogurt cream cheese flavored with za'atar and tips on setting up a bagel brunch.

When Sunday brunch is at my house, I like to to serve a bagel feast. I mean, who doesn't like bagels?Not only is it popular but it's easy to put together and involves more shopping than actual cooking.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Ramp and Gruyere Cheese Tart

Savory tart with Gruyere cheese and spring ramps.

Do you suffer from ramp insanity? These wild onions appear for a short time in the spring and our local farmer's markets actually tweet out alerts. That's how ramp crazy we are. They smell and taste like a cross between garlic and onions with an extra touch of something green and wild and wonderful. Clearly I'm a a sufferer.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Cobb Salad Nachos

Tortilla chips topped with cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, diced tomatoes, avocado and grilled chicken.

This recipe got started recently as I was staring at the menu of one of my favorite local dives and trying to decide between nachos and Cobb salad. Normally this is an easy decision for me since Cobb salad is one of my favorites. But I had Cinco de Mayo nachos on the brain.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Falafel and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Breakfast sandwich with a falafel patty, tahini, diced cucumbers and topped with a fried egg.

I have a serious affection for a good, loaded breakfast sandwich. What's not to love about all the delicious breakfast things stacked between two pieces of delicious bread? But what exactly constitutes breakfast things is open to interpretation and variation.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Milk Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies

Thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies flavored with tahini.

When you love peanut butter as much as I do, you have a favorite peanut butter cookie recipe. And, in my case, my ultimate favorite is from my friend Jennie, who writes the blog, One Sweet Mess. So, when I was working on my recipe for tahini cookies, my other favorite thing (I have a lot of favorite things), I started out with her base.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Honey Tahini Overnight Oats

Overnight oats flavored with honey, tahini (sesame paste), banana and almonds.

Let's just say that it's a good thing I don't live with anybody who expects a hot breakfast because they would be very disappointed. Most days, I'm happy I've found time to pour milk into my cereal instead of just grabbing handfuls of it dry as I rush around. Needless to say, hot oatmeal is not a thing that happens around here without significant pre-planning. Overnight oats, though, are in regular rotation because all I have to do in the morning is grab them out of the fridge.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tamari Roasted Vegetable Platter

Roasted vegetables glazed with a tamari, honey and mustard sauce.

One of my favorite ways to serve side dish vegetables to company is just to grill or roast a big platter of them and put them in the middle of the table for people to help themselves. I also think it's a fun appetizer with cocktails instead of the more expected cheese and dips.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Pear Dutch Babies with Honey Labneh Cream

Dutch baby pancakes with caramelized pears and labneh yogurt cream.

Let's talk about how much there is to love about Dutch baby pancakes. The puff, the flavorings and, my personal favorite, the fact that they cook in the oven and I don't have to stand over a griddle flipping batches of pancakes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Spinach and Feta Turnovers (Bourekas)

Savory puff pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese.

Puff pastry and frozen spinach are a couple of items that can usually be found in the back of my freezer somewhere. They're both useful to have around for all kinds of recipe options but, sadly, my freezer is underutilized. I keep nuts and vodka in there but tend to forget to look to it for food ideas. That needs to change.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Crunchy Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls

Peanut butter balls filled with pretzels and peanuts, topped with melted chocolate.

Oh, has it been a minute since I expressed my undying love of peanut butter? Rest assured my obsession has not waned. And while I fully admit that my preferred method of eating peanut butter is with a spoon, right out of the jar, sometimes I feel compelled to actually make stuff with it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Quick Pickled Vegetables

Quick pickled cucumbers, red onions and carrots.

At any given time, I've either had no pickles in my fridge or I've had an overly large array of them in various shapes and styles. Why? Because I never know which one I will like. Too sweet, too sour, too soft, too crunchy. And so they accumulate until I get frustrated and get rid of all of them leaving me with no pickles when I feel like having a pickle.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Cheesy Meatball Casserole

Casserole of meatballs, pasta, marinara sauce and cheese.

Another week and another make-ahead dinner prepped, portioned and stored in the fridge for use during the week. I'm so weirdly proud of myself when I actually do these.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Roasted Parmesan Sugar Snap Peas

Crispy, oven roasted sugar snap peas with olive oil, cheese and seasoning.

I was on a hunt the other day for some fresh spring peas (I'm pretending it's not still freezing outside) but none of my local grocery stores had them. What I did find was fresh sugar snap peas. Those wouldn't work for the recipe I had in mind but I figured I'd come up with something so I grabbed them.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Tex-Mex Potato and Beef Burritos

Tortillas filled with spiced ground beef, potatoes, beans and cheese.

One of my goals is to get better about weekly meal prep and make-ahead freezer meals. I've always found that the prep work on a Sunday is totally worth the ease and convenience of having ready made meals and prepped vegetables during the hectic week. Now I just have to get better about doing it on a regular basis.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Peanut Butter and Jelly Air Fried Doughnuts

Air fried jelly doughnuts topped with peanut butter glaze

See these hot, fluffy doughnuts, oozing with jelly and dripping with peanut butter glaze? Fresh from the fryer! Oh, wait, I meant the air fryer. Yup. These beauties are an air fryer masterpiece.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Chicken Sausage with Creamy Polenta and Onion Gravy

Chicken sausages served over creamy polenta with an onion pan gravy.

Let's talk about quick and easy weeknight dinners because it's a subject that comes up often around here. It's actually most likely to come up at about 6:00 pm when I look up from my computer screen and realize that I haven't planned anything for dinner.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Currant Scones

Scones baked with fresh red currants

It snows, it warms up, it snows, it warms up. All month long. Rinse and repeat. I know it's just winter's last hurrah before exiting for the year but I'm a little over it. Yesterday was another inclement weather day so I did the only logical thing - I baked.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Banana Cream Pie

Banana cream pie made with shortcrust pastry and banana pastry cream

For those people who know me well, the only surprising part about me baking a banana cream pie is that it's the first time I've ever done it. And surprising because it is literally my favorite dessert of all time.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

French Onion Patty Melts

Grilled beef and Gruyere sandwich melts with caramelized onions

One of my cooking mottos would have to be French onion all the things! Why? Because the combination of beef, Gruyere cheese and caramelized onions is awesome. Sure, it's great in soup but it's just as great minus the soup. Patty melts are already awesome so giving them the French onion twist just makes them even more so.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Cheddar Soda Bread

Soda bread flavored with sharp cheddar cheese

Every year I bake some kind of soda bread around St. Patrick's Day and every year I ask myself why I don't bake it more often. It's easy to make and so completely delicious. And it lends itself to lots of variations.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Cornmeal Onion Fritters

Battered and fried onion fritters

I usually enjoy adapting recipes to be a little healthier and that often means employing my oven or air fryer instead of the deep fryer. But, sometimes there's just no really good substitute for the original, like a crispy onion fritter. And, let's face it, sometimes we need a good, crispy onion fritter.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Angel Hair with Fava Beans and Gremolata Pangrattato

Pasta with fava beans and lemony garlic breadcrumbs

Despite days of rain and gloom, the temperature is actually warming up quite a bit here. I think the groundhog said 6 more weeks of winter but that's just a rodent with a bad attitude. I'm predicting an early spring. And even if the sun is not quite cooperating now, I'm willing it to with spring-like foods.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Air Fried Doughnut Puffs

Air-Fried-Doughnut-Puffs-1

I've been having fun testing recipes in my air fryer so it was only a matter of time before I tried something sweet. Doughnuts are such great deep fried treats so I obviously had to see how they would do without the oil.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Cheesy Meatloaf Sliders with Pickled Red Onion

Cheesy-Meatloaf-Sliders-with-Pickled-Red-Onion-1

Meatloaf is one of those recipes that I love as much the next day, as a leftover, as I do freshly made for dinner. It's one of my favorite comfort foods when served fresh with mashed potatoes and gravy (diners do this dish SO well) but it's equally amazing as a sandwich the next day.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Buttered Bourbon Pop-Tail

Buttered-Bourbon-Pop-Tail-1

Do you and your friends love seeing all the Oscar nominated movies before the awards are handed out? It's definitely movie watching time around here and the planning of a festive group Oscar watching party. It's so much more fun to watch with other people.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Individual Red Lentil Pot Pies

Individual-Red-Lentil-Pot-Pies-1

There are just some culinary terms that make me extra happy and pot pie is one of them. The image of creamy filling encased in pastry is enough to make me hungry. It's also an incredibly versatile dish since both the crust and the filling can be varied so much.