wintery spring rolls & miso salmon

Sometimes the main course is an afterthought. It’s true. It’s probably not how one is ideally “supposed” to plan a menu, but given that I’m not running a restaurant, I think it’s ok.

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Wintery spring rolls

I’d been drooling over the idea of these wintery spring rolls for weeks, from the moment they were posted on my favorite food blog. I followed the recipe pretty closely but have a few notes: 1. I don’t (yet) own a mortal and pestle. I actually looked into getting one yesterday, and was deterred by the fact that Williams-Sonoma only had a $99 one! I ended up using an attachment on my hand blender to sort of pulse the ingredients into a paste. It was either that or saran wrap and a hammer, and I opted for least messy. 2. It is nearly impossible to assemble spring rolls in a mini-kitchen. The only other time I’ve made them (Vegan week 2011), I was actually in my boyfriend’s enormous (by NY standards) kitchen, and last night I didn’t quite realize the extent of what I was getting myself into until I found myself soaking spring roll wrappers in a bowl in the sink, grabbing lettuce off the stovetop, and reaching for my tofu stash on top of the fridge. 3. The recipe says you don’t need a dipping sauce, which is true if you are good at slathering the brown sugar-garlic mixture on the tofu. I chose to make a peanut-soy-rice vinegar-mirin mix anyway, with a touch of red pepper flakes, and it was a great compliment. A little added extra challenge if you’re going to take them for lunch the next day and try to eat them in a classroom however…

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Wintery spring rolls & salmon with miso glaze

Oh yes, and the broiled salmon with miso glaze, the afterthought… I can take exactly zero credit for this expertly cooked picture-perfect fish, as Chris made the whole thing AND battled my tiny broiler and fended off the dog with a garbage can barricade at the same time. Recipe can be found here. This will definitely be a favorite recipe in the future, and might even be what I design the appetizer or side dish around next time, instead of the opposite…


chickpea burgers with yogurt tahini sauce

So there isn’t much of a story behind this recipe, besides the fact that I have a whole lot of tahini in my fridge right now and a desire to use it, and I have a new love for this blog – Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. The recipes are not fat free by the way; they’re just made without extra added fats such as butter & oils.

I made chickpea burgers with yogurt tahini sauce from this recipe last night, although the sauce I made wasn’t vegan, as I chose to use Fage greek yogurt instead of nondairy yogurt. I’ve tried a few nondairy yogurts and haven’t been a huge fan so far. We ate them with lettuce & tomato on multigrain Kaiser rolls with a side of baked sweet potato “fries” with cayenne pepper.

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Chickpea burgers with yogurt tahini sauce


cauliflower crust pizza

I came across this recipe last October, and I just now got around to actually making it. And boy I’m glad I did, because it’s not only super simple to make but also very tasty – and gluten-free! (It is a total accident by the way, that I’ve been posting so many gluten-free recipes lately).

Cauliflower crust pizza

So yes, the crust of the pizza is made out of cauliflower. I’m sure some of you are wrinkling your noses in disgust, but while it doesn’t taste exactly like pizza crust, I would dare anyone to be able to taste the cauliflower. In addition to the nutritional benefit of avoiding a heap of starchy white flour dough underneath your pizza toppings, you also get the benefit of all that cauliflower has to offer – folate (for cell division and growth & blood cell production), Vitamin C (antioxidant, antihistamine, immune booster, and scurvy-preventer), and fiber (do you really not know what that’s for?). Cauliflower is even believed to have anti-cancer properties.

My pizza was topped with organic tomato sauce, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, red bell peppers, red pepper flakes, and a sprinkling of part-skim mozzarella (there’s plenty of cheese in the crust so it doesn’t need much more). Your topping choices are of course endless, so play away! (Word of advice: the cauliflower lends itself to a less stiff and structured crust than regular pizza crust, so this is best eaten with a fork. Not very American, sorry, but it’s better than having tomato sauce all over your lap).


snap crackle cod

I originally invented this extremely simple but satisfying recipe in October for my gluten-intolerant friend Erin, who suggested that I make breadcrumbs for baked fish out of rice-based products rather than bread-based products. In October we made it with snapper and the “breadcrumbs” were a mix of crumbled rice crackers, rice krispies, and spices.

Due to an unexpected plethora of rice krispies in my kitchen (I made white chocolate rice krispy peanut “snowflakes” for New Year’s Eve dessert), I decided to make the fish dish again, and decided that “Rice Krispies Fish” wasn’t a very appealing name. “Snap Crackle Cod” was soon born.

I took wild cod filets and coated each side with olive oil. Next, I filled a ziploc bag with rice krispies and crunched them up a little for some texture variety. I added a little of whatever spices I could find lying around – basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, salt, fresh pepper, and cayenne, and then poured the mixture over the filets and sprayed a light coating of olive oil over the top. Bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish, and voila! Snap crackle cod. (Served here with my mom’s recipe for whiskey-braised leeks and a squeeze of lemon).

Snap Crackle Cod


summery salsa in fall

It’s a rare event these days, three quarters of the way through the semester, when I have time to cook a meal, let alone photograph it or write about it. Do I have time tonight? No. But after 5 1/2 hours of work, 2 1/2 hours of food service & management, 3 hours of biostatistics, and 3 cumulative hours of subway riding, you couldn’t pay me to do anything “productive” right now!

Habañero salsa, rough chop and blended

I’d rather think about vegetables. Recently we were lucky enough to inherit, once again, our friends’ share of CSA farm veggies for the week. A slew of beautiful root vegetables – turnips, sweet potatoes, multicolored carrots, onions and leeks, with rosemary and garlic – made of a delicious roasted/slightly charred pile of fall heartiness one night, and the habañeros and cilantro turned into salsa… two ways. I found some recipes for habañero salsa and ended up combining a few. I took five or six tomatillos, husked and chopped them, and added one habañero (they’re strong!), a bunch of cilantro, two cloves of garlic, a white onion, fresh squeezed lime and orange juice, orange zest, and salt to taste. We ate the chunky roughly chopped version on top of grilled fish with avocado, and then blended the leftover salsa to a smoother consistency which is good with blue corn chips and will probably be great with some version of huevos rancheros for brunch one day. I’ve actually been putting it on top of almost everything. Who says salsa is for summer?