Braised Eggs with Lamb, Tahini & Mixed Nuts

I love runny eggs, and goodness, do I love my ground lamb. Add some nuts and harissa into it, and it becomes a knock-out combination. I stumbled upon this recipe in a lovely book called ‘Jerusalem‘ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. This recipe is on the cover of the book, and to be honest, I saw the picture, my mouth started watering, and I bought the book :).

I made a few modifications – preserved lemon is not easy to come by, and I couldn’t imagine this dish without some fresh lemon juice cooked into the meat, as well as pine-nuts! Lamb and pine nuts are such a beautiful combination because they add a subtle crunch to the lamb without overpowering the meat.

This is a gorgeous, one-pot meal with the spice of the harissa, mixed with the crunchy nuts, oozing egg, and delicious sumac and citrus shining through the dish. This makes a perfect meal when paired with a bold glass of red wine (like a cabernet sauvignon) and some great company. Enjoy!!

PS – If you want to pair it with another dish, make a fresh and light cous cous to go with it! 馃檪

Love,
Priyanka

Lamb and Egg Pan Shot PK

Lamb and Egg w Wine Glass PK

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
12 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground lamb
2 teaspoons sumac, plus a little extra for garnish
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup of crushed, toasted, unsalted pistachios
1/4 cup of toasted, unsalted pine nuts (or pignolias)
2 teaspoons harissa
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup organic chicken stock
4 large, organic eggs
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Garnish: sumac, cilantro, parsley

Yogurt Sauce
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1.5 tablespoons tahini paste
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water

Directions

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a cast-iron pan that you have a tight-fitting lid for (pan 1). Meanwhile, place a second cast-iron pan over high heat for a different use (pan 2).

Step 1: In pan 1 (over medium-high heat with olive oil), saute茅 the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon for 5-6 minutes until lightly browned. Now, turn the heat up to high and add the ground lamb, browning for an additional 5-6 minutes, stirring with your wooden spoon occasionally. Add the lemon juice, sumac, cumin, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, black pepper, and stir until well-incorporated. Remove the pan from heat and mix in the nuts, harissa. Set aside.

Step 2: While the onion and garlic are cooking, add the cherry tomatoes to pan 2 which has been pre-heated (note: it is too hot if it is smoking!). Char them for 4-6 minutes, turning them ocassionally, until slightly blackened and blistered on the outside. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and set aside.

Step 3: Prepare the yogurt sauce by adding all the sauce ingredients to a bowl, mixing with a fork until well-incorporated. It should be the consistency of thick yogurt – feel free to add a few teaspoons of water until you’ve reached the consistency you desire.

Steps 1, 2 and 3 can be pre-prepared up to one-hour in advance. When ready to serve, add the chicken stock to the pan with the meat, spices, and nuts and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to low. Make 4 wells in the mix and break an egg into each well so that it doesn’t spread and is contained in the well you have created. Cover the pan with the tight-fitting lid and cook over low heat for approximately 3-4 minutes.

Please the charred tomatoes on top of the meat mixture, avoiding the eggs (so you don’t rupture the egg yolks), and cover again, steaming for an additional 5 minutes. (You want the egg whites to be cooked, but the yellow part should be runny).

Remove from heat, dollop with the yogurt sauce as liberally as you want, sprinkle with sumac, and garnish with either freshly chopped cilantro or parsley. Serve hot and serve the extra yogurt sauce alongside since this dish can dry out and needs that moisture.

Enjoy! 馃檪

Lamb and Egg Single Serving PK

‘High Tea’ Cucumber-Chutney Sandwiches

I grew up eating these delicious, light, fluffy sandwiches. My fondest memories of my summer days when I was in school include going for a rigorous swim, after which my mom would whip up these sandwiches for a light snack. These are often served in homes in India, and my guess is that this was India’s version of the British ‘tea sandwiches’. In India, they slather on butter instead of cream cheese, but I prefer the lightness (and lower calories) of using a light whipped cream cheese.

If you are making these for a party and want a sleek presentation, cut off the ends of the bread slices before cutting them into thirds for bite-sized sandwiches. When making these at home, I prefer not wasting the ends of the bread, and quite frankly, I love the rustic look! 馃檪

Enjoy this airy (and deliciously vegetarian) recipe from my childhood days. Share them with your kids, family, and friends and pair it with a delicious cup of cardamom tea to feel like royalty and have high tea! 馃槈

Love,
Priyanka

Cucumber and Chutney Sandwiches PK
Yields: 1 beautiful sandwich
Ingredients
2 slices of white or buttermilk bread (or any other bread you enjoy)
1 tablespoon of light, whipped cream cheese
2-3 tablespoons of cilantro-mint chutney
1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced into disks
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Fun idea: Stuff these sandwiches with some crispy chips like doritos for an added crunch!

Directions
Spread the cream cheese on one slice of bread. Now lightly salt and pepper this piece of bread. Now spread the chutney over the cream cheese (this minimizes the bread getting soggy from the chutney). Now arrange the slices of cucumber on top of either side (you can add less or more cucumber according to taste).

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Spicy & Crispy Indian Fish

A dear family friend of ours is an AMAZING cook and she recently made her specialty fish dish for my mom when she was recently unwell. This is my attempt to recreate it from what I remember, but this is an adaptation since I have added coriander powder and tested my own variation on how much of each ingredient goes into the paste. My favorite part of this dish is the crispy exterior and succulent interior combined with the spicy, garlic paste that the fish is coated with.

Pair this with rice, bread, tortilla, or eat it by itself withs one veggies for an absolutely gorgeous weeknight (or weekend!) meal. 馃檪

Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

IMG_20130722_232310
Ingredients

6 white fish filets of your choice (tilapia works really well as it is flat and crisps beautifully!), but you can use other fish
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1.5 teaspoon red chili powder (you can reduce or increase this based on your spice preference or to make it more kid-friendly)
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon of ginger paste (or finely minced ginger)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
the juice of one lemon (or 1 tablespoon of lemon juice)
Optional garnish ideas: fresh cucumber, red onion, avocado

Directions

In a blender, pure茅 all of the marinade ingredients until well-incorporated. Using gloves (to avoid smelling like fish as well as saving yourself from the hot chili powder), spread the marinade paste all over both sides of the fish filets. If you have a few minutes to spare, let them sit in the marinade for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat up your skillet over medium-high heat.

Once the skillet is hot, turn down the heat a notch and add the filets.

Cook for approximately 4-5 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish you are using), undisturbed so you get a nice crispy crust. Flip the fish and cook the filets until cooked to your liking.

[Note: when I am using tilapia, I cook the first side for about 4 minutes, and the other side for approximately 3 minutes for a total of 7 minutes.] Plate the fish, sprinkle it with Kosher salt, drizzle fresh lemon juice on it, and enjoy fresh & hot! 馃檪

Grilled Corn with Cotija Cheese, Cayenne & Lemon

Hi my loves! This summer, you MUST get outside and grill some beautiful corn! This preparation of eating whole corn on the cob is a mix of my experience eating road-side roasted corn in India with my love for Mexican flavors (i.e. the salty Cotija cheese!). This is an easy appetizer to complement your grilled vegetables and meat at your next outdoor soiree. Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

IMG_20130714_184857

Ingredients
4 corn on the cob, husks removed but stem attached for easy handling on the grill
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese (available at most mexican supermarkets)
1 lemon, cut in half

Directions
Grill the corn on the cob directly on the grill until done to your liking. Meanwhile, prepare your cayenne-lemon paste. In a small bowl, juice the lemon halves and add the cayenne pepper. Using one of the lemon halves as a ‘spoon’, mix these two ingredients into a paste and reserve this lemon half to apply the paste to the corn! Just leave it in the bowl.

Once your corn is grilled, apply the cayenne-lemon paste to the corn using the lemon half. Finish the preparation by sprinkling the beautiful cotija cheese on top and enjoy hot! 馃檪

Quick Padr贸n Peppers

Padr贸n peppers (also known as Spanish pimientos de Padr贸n), are my favorite kind of green peppers because they are crispy, mild-tasting, and occasionally give you a spicy surprise! These beautiful peppers come from the ‘capsicum’ family (better known as bell pepper in the US), and this preparation is my favorite way to eat them (and they are my husband’s favorite healthy snack!). Rumor has it that the peppers grown towards August/September tend to contain more capsaicin (spiciness) than the ones of June/July.

All I know is that when spring and summer comes around, I go hunting at local farmer’s markets for these gorgeous peppers. If any of you have kids, let it be known that I fed these to my 8-year-old nephew who was visiting from India, and he LOVED them. His mom claims that he usually doesn’t eat vegetables, so moms out there, maybe this is your answer to getting your kids to eat some greens.

Enjoy! 馃檪

Love,
Priyanka

Padr贸n Peppers PK

Ingredients
2 cups of raw padron peppers, washed and dried
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive-oil
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
fresh lemon juice

Directions
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and add padr贸n peppers. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and lemon juice and cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring every other minute. You want to let the peppers blister a little, so don’t worry if some sides are blackened (that’s when they are most delicious!).

Take them off the heat, sprinkle with more salt, if desired, and enjoy hot! Note: Don’t eat the stems, but use them to hold the hot peppers while you eat 馃檪 Enjoy! 馃檪

Beet Salad with Yogurt

The experts say beets are a superfood, and greek yogurt is supposed to be good for you too – so what better than a creative salad that is creamy, tangy, robust in flavor, yet easy on your waistline? This is a Middle-Eastern recipe that I have had at an Iraqi restaurant. I fell in love with this dish so much, that I had to recreate it and I LOVE this salad! For me, this is a great one-bowl meal that works as a great lunch at your desk. However, This is also a great side-dish to kebabs, hummus, or anything else that has a middle-eastern touch 馃槈

The hardest part of the recipe is getting the beets cooked, so a quick cheat on this is to go to a store like Trader Joe’s and buy their packaged, pre-cooked red beet (can be found in their refrigerated section near their cut vegetables). Or, you can take the longer route if you have the time!

Enjoy this recipe, my loves. And enjoy the health benefits, while treating your stomach to deliciousness!

Love,
Priyanka

Red Beet Salad with Mint PK
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients

1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
3 red beets, washed and leaves removed (or you can use pre-cooked beets that are available at many grocery stores)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (e.g. Fage or Chobani works great!)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
the juice of one lemon (or one tablespoon of lemon juice)
Fresh-ground pepper, to taste
Optional garnishes: sumac, lemon wedges, cucumber slices, pitted olives

Directions

Bring a large pot to a boil over high heat. Add a teaspoon of Kosher salt once it is boiling. Add the whole beets and boil on medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, until fork tender (not mushy!). Tender, yet firm is the perfect consistency for these cooked beets.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice and water; set aside.

When the beets are cooked, drain them and, while still hot, slip off their skins (if you are afraid of staining your hands, wear disposable gloves during this step!).

Place peeled beets in the ice water bath for 10 minutes. Drain and dry the beets. Chop the peeled and cooked beets into small, bite-sized cubes.

Add the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and a pinch Kosher salt and pepper.

Mix gently with your glove-covered hands (or two spoons) until the mixture turns a fuchsia color. For a creamier salad, add more yogurt. Transfer to a serving bowl. Top with sumac, serve with a lemon wedge and garnish with cucumber slices and pitted olives for an extra bite, if desired. Enjoy! 馃檪

Can be kept in the refrigerator for one day.

Smoked Salmon Crostinis

I make these crostinis a lot, but I made them recently and they flew off the table so quickly, that I realized that I just had to blog these for you. I get that warm and fuzzy feeling when a NO-COOK recipe is enjoyed so thoroughly (and I hardly had to do anything!). This recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to whip up as a beautiful appetizer for an impromptu meal or even a fancy shin-dig you had planned eons earlier. The salty bite of the capers is ever-so-important, so don’t forget those! And of course, one cannot over-stress the importance of fresh dill alongside gorgeous salmon slices. This is not season-specific so enjoy this recipe in summer, spring, or even winter!! PS…did I mention this is a NO-COOK RECIPE? 馃槈

Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

PS – I apologize in advance for being so general about the amount of the ingredients, however how much cream cheese and salmon you put on the baguette really depends on your personal preference (and the width and size of your baguette, which I simply cannot guess). Feel free to be as stingy or generous as you want with these ingredients 馃槈


smoked salmon crostini PK

Ingredients
1 fresh baguette (I prefer using garlic baguette to get that extra flavor, but you can use any baguette you enjoy)
2 teaspoons melted butter in a small cup
wild smoked salmon, amount to your taste (wild smoked salmon is amazing and much better than regular–splurge! the difference is noticeable)
cream cheese, amount to your taste
fresh dill, one sprig per baguette slice
capers, drained (you can buy these in a jar)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, slice your baguette diagonally into approximately 1/4 inch thick disks. Place the slices on a cookie sheet or a flat baking pan. Brush them with the melted butter, sprinkle them with a dash of Kosher salt and into the oven they go for approximately 4-5 minutes. Flip the pieces of baguette at this point and check for doneness. [Note: You don’t want both sides to be super crispy! Lightly toasted is what we are going for here].

Remove the baguette slices off of the pan and let them cool for a few minutes. Spread cream cheese onto them, top with wild smoked salmon, and garnish with sprigs of fresh dill and capers. Serve immediately and enjoy! 馃檪