Saturday, August 16, 2014

Coconut-lime noodle salad

This is a really light & cooling quick weeknight dinner salad for these last hot summer evenings.  The coconut-lime dressing is super mild.  It's not all crazy coconut-y, and my non-coconut-loving son gobbled this dish up.

I used glass noodles in this recipe which go by many names...bean thread noodles, cellophane noodles, mung bean noodles.  They are really easy to work with and are gluten-free for those of you avoiding gluten or eating a paleo diet. Omit the chicken and add some tofu for a great veggie dish!

Serves 6

1 1/2 c. coconut milk
1/2 c. fresh squeezed lime juice
2 t. fish sauce
1 T. brown sugar
salt & pepper

5 oz. glass noodles (aka mung bean noodles)
1 red bell pepper - thinly sliced
4 c. Napa (aka Chinese) cabbage - thinly sliced
1/4 c. roughly chopped mint leaves
1/4 roughly chopped cilantro
1 rotisserie chicken - shredded & cooled (about 4 cups)

toasted sesame seeds
garlic-chili sauce (optional)

To make dressing, combine coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar in a small bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

Cook noodles according to directions on package.  Drain and rinse well in cold water.  Allow noodles to drain for a few minutes so they are not too wet.

In a large bowl, combine noodles, bell pepper, cabbage, mint, cilantro and chicken. Toss with dressing.  Garnish generously with toasted sesame seeds and spoonful of garlic chili sauce, if desired.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Grilled salmon tacos with peach & cucumber salsa

My love affair with the taco continues here on Lieslicious...

These puppies are perfect for summer grilling...all the fillings are in prime season, salmon included.  Yes, fish does have a "season" and it's full-on salmon time right 'bout now.  

The fish pairs perfectly with a sweet-crunchy-creamy peach & cucumber salsa packed with all sortsa summer produce.  It's such a healthy & delicious quick of my absolute favorites!

Serves 4

1 pound wild salmon with skin, about 1 inch thick, cut into 2 equal pieces
2 T. olive oil
1/4 c. chopped fresh oregano
1 t. chili powder
kosher salt & fresh ground pepper

1/4 c. plain Greek yogurt
1/4 c. mayonnaise

1 peach - diced
1 medium tomato - diced
2 T. chopped cilantro
2 green onions - greens & white chopped
1/4 c. Persian cucumber - diced

1/2 t. red or green jalapeno - minced
1 T. lime juice
a couple pinches kosher salt
1/2 avocado - diced

corn tortillas
Cholula (or your favorite hot sauce)
lime wedges

Preheat grill on medium-high for at least 10 minutes.  Drizzle salmon pieces on both sides with olive oil.  Sprinkle flesh side with chopped oregano, chili powder, and salt & pepper.

In a small bowl, mix Greek yogurt and mayonnaise together and stir well to combine.

In another medium bowl, combine the peach, tomato, cilantro, green onion, cucumber, lime juice and salt.  Stir to mix flavors.  Gently fold in diced avocado.

Oil grill grates and place salmon, skin side down, on grill.  Close lid and cook for 4 minutes.  Flip, close lid and cook 4 more minutes.  Remove from grill, cover with foil and let rest 5-10 minutes.  When ready to serve, remove skin and coarsely break up fish for the taco filling.  Sprinkle with a little more salt.

An easy way to warm up a stack of tortillas is to wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave for 20-30 seconds.  Remove them, carefully unwrap them (steam may be hot!) shuffle the stack a bit, re-wrap & heat for 15 more seconds.  They will keep warm for awhile wrapped in aluminum foil.

To assemble, fill corn tortillas with a little fish, a bit of white sauce and a generous spoonful of salsa.  A little squeeze of lime and a couple dashes of Cholula (or whatevs you like) and you are good to go!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

watermelon & heirloom tomato gazpacho

Ok, it's officially official: we have undeniably entered into the dog days of summer here in LA.  And it is hot.  

This cool, refreshing summer gazpacho is your antidote to the heat.  It combines all the best foods of summer into a cold, crunchy, slightly sweet, slightly spicy little mixture.  It is incredibly light & super's all fresh fruits & veggies

I made a batch and have been having a bowl here & there, cold outta the fridge, for a snack & lunch over the last couple has been the perfect thing to eat when it just seems too hot & too much effort to make anything else. Feel free to adjust the spice level - you can omit or bump up the heat factor to your liking (I, of course, added Sriracha to mine at the end...I'm addicted).

serves 6

5 c. seedless watermelon: 4 c. roughly chopped + 1 c. diced seedless watermelon
3 heirloom tomatoes: 2 roughly chopped + 1 diced heirloom tomato
2 green onions - whites & greens finely chopped
zest & juice of 2 limes
3 T. chopped cilantro
2 diced Persian cucumbers
1 c. diced jicama
2 t. minced jalapeño
1 T. Cholula
1 T. olive oil
2 t. kosher salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 c. sheep’s milk Feta cheese (optional)

Combine 4 c. roughly chopped watermelon and 2 roughly chopped heirloom tomatoes in a blender.  Blend on high until smooth.  Pour into a large glass bowl.

Add the remaining 1 c. diced watermelon, diced heirloom tomato, green onions, lime juice & zest, cilantro, cucumber, jicama, jalapeño, Cholula, olive oil, and salt & pepper.  Stir well to combine.

Cover & place in refrigerator.  Allow flavors combine at least 2 hours, up to overnight.

To serve, garnish with a sprinkle of crumbled Feta, if desired.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Butter lettuce salad with chicken, pickled currants, feta and croutons

Who doesn't love a big salad for dinner in the summer?  Big salads are one of may favorite thangs - you feel good about eating them and there are endless combinations of deliciousness.

This one is a keeper of a recipe - it's completely dinner-time satisfying with the grilled chicken and homemade croutons (I mean...homemade croutons make everything pretty amazing) and has a nice, tangy zing with the pickled currants & feta.  And I highly recommend the homemade dressing.  It takes literally minutes to make and takes your salads to a whole, new level (this one goes on ANY salad you give it).

Stay cool out there, people!!

Serves 4

pickled currants:
1/2 c. water
1 T. sugar
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/2 c. dried currants

1 medium shallot - minced
2 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
pinch of kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
1/4 c. olive oil

homemade croutons:
1/2 pound firm bread - ripped into 1-1 1/2 in pieces (about 6 cups)
3 T. olive oil
fleur de sel

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 T. olive oil
2 t. dried herbs de Provence
kosher salt & fresh ground pepper

1 head butter lettuce - torn into bite size pieces
2 handfuls arugula
1/2 c. crumbled sheep’s milk feta
1/2 c. basil leaves, roughly torn

Combine water, sugar, white wine vinegar & dried currants in a small pan.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and allow currants to cool to room temperature in their liquid.  Drain liquid before serving.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Toss bread with olive oil and place in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Sprinkle lightly with flour de sel.  Bake about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until crisp & browned.  Remove and let cool.

Combine shallot, Dijon, white wine vinegar and salt & pepper in a small bowl.  Wisk to combine. Add olive oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly, until combined.

Preheat grill for 10 minutes on medium-high heat.  Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally to create two thinner pieces (these cook quicker and more evenly and won’t dry out).  Coat the 4 chicken pieces with olive oil.  Season with salt & pepper and herbs de Provence.  

Grill chicken until just cooked through and an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees - about 3 minutes per side (they cook really fast when they are this thin!).  Remove from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.  Dice chicken.

In a large bowl, combine butter lettuce, arugula, pickled currants, croutons, feta, basil and diced chicken.  Toss with dressing and serve.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Raw veggie wraps with tahini-yogurt sauce

These crunchy & creamy little wraps are incredibly healthy but are so tasty and delicious, you'll never miss the bad stuff. The raw veggies are a rainbow of colors & nutrients, and the sauce...well, the sauce is something special.  You could use it on anything - as a salad dressing, on any sandwich, as a dip, on gotsta try it.

I used whole grain tortillas to wrap up all the goodness, but another option is to use whole collard green leaves.  I learned this from my raw foodist friends at RAWvolution - a raw food restaurant & home food delivery service.  I styled a couple really awesome books for them - check them out... RAWvolution: Gourmet Living Cuisine and The RAWvolution Continues.

If you want to go raw with the sauce as well, just omit the yogurt - it's delicious either way.  Whatever you choose with this recipe, you will feel really great about yourself when you eat :)

serves 4

tahini-yogurt sauce:

1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. tahini
1/4 c. plain greek yogurt
1/4 c. water
1/2 t. salt
fresh ground pepper
1/4 c. each: cilantro, basil, mint leaves

raw veggies:

2 carrots - peeled and grated on large holes of a grater
1 beet - peeled and grated on the large holes of a grater
2 Persian cucumbers - diced
1 avocado - quartered and sliced
1/2 c. alfalfa or clover sprouts
3 T. sunflowers seeds

4, 8” whole grain tortillas, or whole collard leaves (for wrapping)

In a blender or mini food processor, combine all ingredients for the tahini-yogurt sauce.  Blend until smooth.

To make wraps, divide veggies between 4 tortillas or collard leaves.  Top with 2 tablespoons of tahini-yogurt sauce) and wrap like a burrito.  Serve with additional sauce on the side for dipping.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Southeast Asian swordfish skewers

The summer grilling extravaganza doesn’t necessarily have to equal a ton of burgers and hot is a wonderful thing to throw over the outdoor flames.  However, it can be tricky to perfect, which is why I love to use a hearty, steak-y variety like swordfish (mahi mahi or wahoo work well, too).  It’s much more forgiving than some of the more delicate types and is actually kind of hard to mess up - just resist the temptation to overcook it!  Fish will always continue to cook a couple minutes after you pull it off the grill, so it may feel like you are being premature, but trust me...knowing this will give you nicely cooked, moist fish every time.

I looove this southeast Asian marinade (it would be great on chicken or pork, too).  It’s super flavorful and it blends up in minutes.  This meal is healthy, lean protein, low fat  AND and a beautiful presentation…the perfect meal for your summer evening!

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds swordfish - skin removed and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes

1 T. lemongrass - tender inner stalks, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic - roughly chopped
1 T. ginger - roughly chopped
1/4 c. olive oil
1 t. soy sauce
1 t. fish sauce
2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 t. sambal oelek (raw Asian chili paste)
1/2 c. cilantro - roughly chopped

kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
2 limes - halved
Aleppo pepper (optional)

In a mini food processor or blender, combine the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, olive oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, sambal oelek, and cilantro.  Blend until smooth.

Place swordfish in a medium glass bowl.  Pour marinade over fish, cover, and place in refrigerator for at least one hour, up to 3 hours.

When ready to cook, preheat your grill on high for at least 10 minutes.  Thread fish onto skewers leaving a little space between pieces of fish.  Season liberally with kosher salt & pepper. (note: if using bamboo skewers, soak them in water at least a half hour before using)

Turn grill heat to medium high and oil grill grates.  Place fish on grill and cook, with lid closed, a total of 6 minutes, rotating every couple of minutes to cook evenly.  While cooking fish, place lime halves, cut side down, on grill and cook 3-4 minutes, without moving, until grill marks appear.

Remove fish and limes from grill. To serve, squeeze limes over fish & sprinkle with Aleppo pepper, if desired.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Cookies & sweet cream ice cream

Nothing says summer like ice cream.  And homemade ice cream...well, nothing compares.  Even my beloved Haagen-Dazs pales next to this stuff. It's got waaaaay more love in it.

I had the pleasure of being the food stylist on an amazing ice cream book that has recently been released and is available everywhere this summer.  It's by the very cool-chick duo of  Natasha Case & Freya Estreller - the founders and owners of Coolhaus Ice Cream.  It's a great story...two smart & sassy ladies bring a food truck to Coachella with "architecture-inspired" ice cream sandwiches...and a business is born.  Cut to a few years later...the biz is booming, they have their products in major grocery stores & have shops and trucks in LA, NYC & Austin.  So of course they needed to write a book!

Order on Amazon! - Click HERE
This is one of the recipes from their book - cookies & sweet cream...such a classic flavor (& my son, Brando's favorite).  Check out the recipe and the book - Coolhaus Ice Cream Book.  There are some super funky ideas - Brown butter & candied bacon, Nutella toasted a bunch of fun architecture facts.  And of course it has some amazing pictures :)

Note:  We all highly recommend the Cuisinart home ice cream maker - it's a great price point, is easy to use and works like a charm!

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

2 c. whole milk
2 c. heavy cream
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
8 large egg yolks
8 Oreo cookies - smashed or chopped to desired size

In a medium bowl, whisk yolks and remaining sugar until smooth, heavy & pale yellow - about 30 seconds.

In a 4-quart saucepan, combine milk, cream and half of the sugar.  Set over medium high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil - about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Pour half of cream mixture into the eggs in a slow, steady stream while whisking constantly, until blended.  

Return pan to stove top over medium-low heat.  Now pour the egg yolk-cream mixture from bowl back into the the pan is a slow, steady stream, again, whisking constantly.  Stir with a wooden spoon until an instant read thermometer reads 165 - 180 degrees and coats the back of the wooden spoon.  Mixture should be steaming but not boiling.  Don't heat above 180 degrees or your eggs will scramble!

Pour custard into a clean, airtight container and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.  You can also cool the container until well-chilled in an ice bath if you wish to put it in the ice cream maker the same day.

Process custard base in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.  Transfer into a bowl and fold in smashed cookies.

Scrape into an airtight storage container.  Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

Click HERE or on the screen below to see a funny little promotional video we did called "Better with Instructions" for the book that I styled & "acted" in as well...kinda funny!