Batter Licker

June 29, 2011

whole wheat pearl couscous salad with pistachio-broccoli pesto

When I first discovered Bob Red Mill’s new line of whole wheat pearl couscous at the BlogHer Food Conference in Atlanta, I was instantly hooked by the nutty flavor. I even smuggled a few sample bags back to San Francisco, and couldn’t wait to play around with the wholesome, round bites of pasta. Except that I actually did wait quite a bit – two entire months – before finding the perfect opportunity to use these precious samples.

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The opportunity came in the form of an orzo salad recipe I came across while flipping through Heidi Swanson’s superb cookbook, Super Natural Every Day). I decided to substitute the whole wheat pearl couscous for the orzo to add some wholesomeness while keeping the bite of a small, salad-friendly pasta.

But the combination of a broccoli pesto with broccoli florets, avocado and crunchy nuts were what initially drew me to the recipe. I’ve been known to easily polish off several cups of broccoli – raw, steamed, sauteed, or roasted. Yet I had never tried a broccoli pesto. Clearly, the time was nigh.
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June 14, 2011

grilled chaat masala-spiced corn (corn à la Amit)

I’m no corn fanatic. I virtually abandoned the sweet, summer vegetable when it insisted on wrapping itself around the wires that slowly and painfully pulled my teeth in line during the far-too-many years I spent wearing braces throughout junior high and high school. At a time when appearance and avoiding classmates’ ridicule seemed all-important, the potato reigned as my slathered-in-butter-and-salt starchy vegetable of choice.

Even after the braces came off, it took awhile to readjust to certain foods, corn included, because several years wearing teeth cages had made me a tad OCD about keeping my teeth food remnant-free. Quite a few years later, my friend Amit introduced me to some grilled corn whose flavor finally justified the inevitable tooth-picking.

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Rather than slathering sweet, starchily rich corn in butter and off-setting the sweetness with salt, Amit grilled the corn until it was completely black. (more…)

May 25, 2011

green garlic walnut pesto

After stalking green garlic at the market for a couple weeks, I finally approached it with the understanding that, this time, I was taking it home. It didn’t matter that we weren’t familiar with each other, or that I had forgotten to research what others before me had done with this green onion look-alike. I simply knew that I had to experience the younger, milder version of garlic while springtime was still offering it.

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Lest I sound like a garlic pervert, I’ll take this opportunity to explain: (more…)

May 5, 2011

mexican tortilla lasagna with chorizo, kale and beans

Whenever I have extra tortillas sitting around after a night of mango-salsified and pink chipotle-sauced fish tacos, I typically insist on using them as is (pretending not to notice that they’re stale and ripping when I fold them for a taco or burrito), or during slightly more logical moments, I chop them into wedges, toss with olive oil, salt and cumin, and bake them into chips. This time, I pretended they were lasagna noodles.

Some might define insanity as repeating the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. But I bet a few of you are reading this and thinking that indulging my admitted illusion that tortillas can work as noodles is just another type of crazy. And you would probably be right.

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But I love an excuse to make Mexican food, and the miniature stack of leftover tortillas provided me with exactly that. (more…)

May 4, 2011

quick, one-pot tomato-chile sauce

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With just tomatoes, onion, garlic, peppers, a couple pantry-staple spices, one pot, and 25 minutes of hands-off simmering, this spicy, satisfying and unapologetically healthy tomato-chile sauce comes together and is ready to satisfy any number of your weeknight Mexican food desires.

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Toss it with some pasta, corn, and black beans, topped with a dollop of sour cream (or Greek yogurt) to enjoy a break from and simple variation of the standard weeknight spaghetti with marinara. Or enjoy it as you would any other tomato and chile-based sauce (enchiladas? wet burrito? mixed into scrambled eggs or potatoes? hot salsa and/or bean dip? chilaquiles?). But my personal favorite is using it as the sauce for a Mexican Tortilla Lasagna. (more…)

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