I survived the hardest semester of my life. Seriously, this time last week I was an angry sad person hating the decision I'd made two years ago to do this whole grad school thing. Things are a bit better now. I found my way back into the kitchen and even made it to yoga tonight. Also, I've become increasingly aware of a feeling of airiness around my shoulders!
It wasn't until around this time last year that I first made a panzanella. I remember thinking whoever thought it was a good idea to take massive amounts of cubed bread, toss it into salad, and call it dinner was freaking genius. This panzanella is filled with spring vegetables and herbs. It's bright and green and somehow both hearty and light. I'm pretty obsessed.
Adapted from: Food52
For the Vegetables:
1 head cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch asparagus
juice of half a lemon
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 bunch sugar snap peas, ~ 12oz, trimmed
1/2 cup of peas
2-3 green onions, thinly diced
For the Croutons:
1 multigrain baguette
2 garlic cloves
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
For the Pesto:
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 medium avocado
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the cauliflower into bite size florets and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes (I used 1/2 teaspoon for medium spiciness, but feel free to use less). Lay the cauliflower onto a bake sheet lined with parchment paper.
Meanwhile, trim and discard the tough ends of the asparagus then cut into 1 inch pieces and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt + pepper. Place the asparagus on a second sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Roast the cauliflower for 45-50 minutes until lightly browned on the edges. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, toss the cauliflower, then add the sheet pan of asparagus to the oven. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, toss the snap peas with the asparagus and along with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and pinch of salt.
While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the croutons. First, cut the baguette into one inch cubes. In a large saucepan over medium heat toss the croutons, olive oil, garlic, and a generous sprinkle of salt. Cook until the croutons are lightly browned on the edges, tossing regularly, about 10 minutes.
Lastly, prepare the pesto by combining the basil, mint, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, avocado and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Puree the mixture until smooth while drizzling in the olive oil. Adjust to taste.
In a very large bowl (seriously, like the largest bowl you have), combine the roasted vegetables, croutons, peas, green onions, and the pesto (I start with about half of the pesto then add more accordingly) and toss. Let sit for 5 minutes or so then serve!
Notes: Refrigerate any leftovers, then an hour or so before eating let it come to room temperature. It will not be good microwaved, but tastes surprisingly great eaten at room temperature on Day 2.
You know those foods that only taste good when made either in someone else's house or in a restaurant but when made by you taste infinitely more boring, and almost inedible? Enter, the creamiest restaurant style scramble eggs. For me, scrambled eggs epitomize this food group. At home they are spongy, over-cooked, and flat but in restaurants they are velvety, creamy, and flavorful. The gap between the two left me uninterested in making scrambled eggs at home for years. Then, about a year ago I read an article from Food52. They claimed the secret to restaurant style eggs was actually through a "low and slow" method of cooking over excruciatingly low heat. I experimented with great success but the eggs took upwards of 25 minutes to make. Not cool for hungry Sunday mornings...
It wasn't until I stumbled upon an Gordon Ramsay youtube video (with 11 million reviews!) a couple months ago, that my creamy egg experimentation reached a new height. So here we are, the secrets to the creamiest, ever, restaurant style eggs (and all the things we've been doing wrong all these years!)
- Ditch the fry pan. Cook your eggs in a saucepan. Weird, right? That's what I thought until I tried it. Then I went to the famous Egg Slut in downtown la and sure enough they scramble their eggs in a saucepan.
- Low heat. If your eggs stick to the pan, your burner is too hot. (When we move next month I'm getting an electric stove. It's going to be a sob story.)
- On and off heat, whisking constantly. As Ramsay says, think of making scrambled eggs like making risotto. Stir constantly and don't take your eyes off them. Also, remove the saucepan from the burner every 1-2 minutes. The eggs will continue to cook from the heat of the pan, and will stay creamy.
- Season last. Apparently adding salt right away, like I've done my entire life, breaks down the flavor of the eggs. Add it at the very end.
- Add fat. Which I'm sure isn't news to you. For extra creamiest add an extra yolk, a knob of butter, a splash of cream; in our case we added goat cheese.
I've been making these open face egg sandwiches almost weekly since discovering the secret to the perfect scramble. They're ready in under 15 minutes, tastes fresh and restaurant-made, and keep me full for hours. If you can swing it buy cage-free, organic eggs, or better yet pasteur-raised eggs from a local farm available at most farmer's markets. Farmer's Market eggs, though a splurge, will yield the brightest yolks and richest flavor, and the chickens they come from will live happier lives. It's a win win.
Creamiest Restaurant-Style Scrambled Egg Tartine with Sriracha Aioli, Goat Cheese, and Avocado
Makes 1 tartine
For the sriracha aioli:
3 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon sriracha
pinch of salt
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 large organic eggs
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, plus more for topping
1-2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
1 large slice sourdough bread
avocado for topping
Make aioli. In a small prep bowl combine all of the ingredients, stir, and refrigerate. This aioli can be made in advance and stores well in the fridge for about a week. For larger portions feel free to double or triple the recipe.
Crack the eggs into a small saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk the eggs to scramble, then continue to gently whisk. After about 1-2 minutes, remove the saucepan from the burner (keeping the burner on) and continue to whisk for about 30 seconds off-heat. The heat from the pan will continue to cook the eggs. Return the saucepan to the burner, and repeat, whisking constantly, and removing the saucepan from heat every 1-2 minutes until the eggs begin to curdle and thicken.
If the eggs begin to stick to the pan, turn your heat down. Keep the eggs creamy, be mindful not to overcook (see photos). The eggs should come completely together in about 5-6 minutes. When the eggs are about 85% done, stir in the chives, goat cheese, a generous pinch of salt, and fresh ground pepper. Toast the bread. Remove the saucepan from the heat right before the eggs are done. If you wait until they're done, they will overcook.
Top the toast with sriracha aioli (you probably won't use it all), eggs, avocado slices and extra chives. Enjoy!
This is more of a technique than a recipe. Take 4 minutes of your time and watch Gordon Ramsay's video, which shows the technique perfectly.
I'm been a little MIA the last week, feeling both swamped and thankful for the opportunity to teach what felt like was a million classes and privates. For a long time I thought making a living as a yoga teacher wasn't physically possible unless you were one of the lucky few, so for it to become a reality for me over the past couple months I find I almost have to pinch myself. I am so so lucky.
On top of that I've been applying to grad schools like a mad woman. I think to admit you really want something is the most vulnerable thing in the world. I've been playing around with practicing the art of surrender. It's not going well.
And it's January! We've been celebrating by purging the apartment of crap. The first weekend of January we cleaned out and organized our bookshelves, kitchen, and side tables, then yesterday we tackled the worst of it - the closet, under the bed, the dresser, and desk. We've filled trash bag after trash bag of donations. I swear we own less today than we did a year or even two years ago. To get rid feels so good. So freeing. Frankly nothing excites me like organization. And don't even get me started on kitchen organization. Having a well organized kitchen makes me more efficient, creative, and I'm not going to lie, really happy. One of my new year's resolutions is to utilize my cookbooks more. I have so many and just don't read them enough. So in attempt to let them take center stage, we're building a giant wooden bookshelf above the kitchen table. My husband is a rockstar and we're hoping to have it up by tomorrow.
With it being January, I'm sure a lot of you are aiming to eat a little lighter. And if you're like me and have eaten way to much homemade nutella and sugar in the last couple of weeks, today's post is for you. I came home exhausted from a full day of teaching last week, starving for something hearty, healthy, fresh, and FAST. The last thing I wanted was to sit over the stove for an hour. I swear I even thought "too bad you can't pop a frozen salad in the microwave". So I took to my Pinterest board and made a quick and easy "Green Goddess" dressing. I already had all the ingredients in the fridge, it came together in minutes, and craved something light and zesty to go along with it - so I tossed in a bag of romaine, toasted some pepitas and topped it off with crumbled feta. I made a huge batch for both Nate and I, and then ate the entire bowl by myself. Oops. Not only that, I ended up eating this salad for the next four days straight with the extra dressing. If that's not proof it's good I don't know what is.
I jazzed up the dressing a little by adding avocado, and it's just divine. So creamy, zesty, and fresh. Oh and it's totally healthy with protein and tang from greek yogurt and creaminess from perfectly ripe avocado. Above all else it comes together in about 10 minutes and you probably already have all of the ingredients in your fridge. Enjoy!
Simple Romaine Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing, Toasted Pepitas, & Crumbled Feta
Adapted from A Couple Cooks
For the dressing (makes 1 pint):
2 green onions, diced
1/2 Jalapeño, seeded & diced
1 medium ripe avocado
1/2 cup greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon honey
3-4 tablespoons lime juice (I used 4)
For the salad:
9 oz chopped romaine
1/2 cup toasted pepitas*
2.5 oz (scant 1/2 cup) crumbled feta
Add green onions, and jalapeño to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until finely minced. Add in avocado, greek yogurt, cilantro, olive oil, salt, honey, and lime and blend until completely smooth. Adjust to taste, adding more lime, honey, and salt if needed.
Combine romaine, pepitas, and feta in a large bowl. Top with dressing (note: you will have a lot left over), and toss well.
Even if you buy pre-toasted pepitas, I like to pop them in the toaster for about 3 minutes until warm and fragrant before adding them to the salad.