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My husband is a HUGE pickle fan and has been on a roll with pickling lately. He started just last month and we’ve already eaten our way through jar after jar of deliciousness. But he really topped himself this week with these amazing sesame ginger pickles. They are super fresh and crunchy and packed with flavor! We served them as an appetizer to our favorite Paleo Chicken Pad Thai. We almost ate an entire jar each (and some the next night too!). This is a super simple recipe, great for beginning picklers.

sesame ginger pickles 01

Sesame Ginger Pickles
via The Joy of Pickling

1 lb Asian or pickling cucumbers (about 3/4 inches in diameter)
1 teaspoon pickling salt
1 scallion, cut into 1 inch lengths then slivered
1-inch piece fresh ginger slivered
1 to 2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and slivered
3 tbs rice vinegar
5 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil

Halve the cucmbers lengthwise and then cut them into 1-inch long pieces. In a bowl, toss the cut cucumbers with the salt. Let them stand at room temperature one hour. Drain the cucumbers and return them to the bowl. Mix them with the scallion, ginger and jalapeños. In another bowl, stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, and oil, and pour the mixture over the cucumbers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (he transferred them to mason jars here). Let the pickles stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, or in the fridge for 24 hours, turning the cucumbers occasionally. The pickles will keep in the fridge for about a week (day 3 today, and they’re still delicious and crunchy!)

sesame ginger pickles 03

(ps) this is how much my husband loves pickles…. meet Mr. Pickle:

mr pickle

This was a lovely brunch this weekend! Packed with veggies and super hearty, SO MUCH better than my usual boring scramble. A little messy the first go around, but once I figured out to set the top before flipping, it turned out magnificient.

spanish tortilla

Spanish Tortilla with Roasted Red Peppers and Asparagus
adapted from whole foods

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 3/4 pound red or yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup asparagus, chopped into 1/2 in pieces
1 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers, drained well
8 eggs, lightly beaten

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook about 2 minutes. Add potatoes, salt and pepper, stir well, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are just about tender, about 15 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook 3-5 minutes more, until it’s just al dente. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool about 10 minutes. Stir peppers and eggs into potato mixture, once it’s cooled. Wipe the skillet clean.
Heat another 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil over medium heat. Transfer potato mixture to the skillet and cook, running a spatula around the edges and gently shaking occasionally to prevent sticking, until eggs are set and bottom is golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Place a lid or large plate over the top for the last 4-5 minutes of cooking to set the top. Carefully invert onto a large plate. Heat remaining oil in the skillet and slide tortilla back in, cooked side up. Cook about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer tortilla back to the plate and let cool at least 10 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.

 

Still on a soup kick! My darling husband made this one for me. It was wonderful to come home on such a cold night to a warm house and a warm meal. This spicy, creamy, hearty stew really hits the spot. Great job babe!

sausage potato spinach soup

Sausage Potato & Spinach Soup
via damn delicious

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 pound red potatoes, diced
3 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup heavy cream

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat. Stir in garlic, onion, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in chicken broth and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in spinach until it begins to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in heavy cream until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

You know, I really like meatballs, but I never thought I’d truly be wowed by them until tonight. And I mean WOW. I’m actually speechless. This is not a flavor combination that I would have thought to put together, but it totally knocked my socks off. And I snuck in a little extra goodness with the addition of a little spinach in the mix; it added just the right amount of green to the meat & grains. SO excited for these leftovers, and to expand my spice horizon a bit more! I’m thinking I might double the sauce next time, because personally I love a ridiculous amount of sauce and want to smother the rice as well as the meatballs, but maybe that’s just me! And a dollop of plain yogurt at the end could be great too… hmmm….

Garam Masala Spiced Meatballs with Buttery Marinara_1

Garam Masala Spiced Meatballs with Buttery Marinara
via bev cooks

for the meatballs:
2 slices grainy bread
1/4 cup milk
1 pound ground turkey
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbs. minced parsley
1 Tbs. minced shallot (or about 1/2 small shallot)
1 Tbs. garam masala
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 egg
1/4 tsp kosher salt

for the marinara:
28oz can crushed (San Marzano, if they’re available) tomatoes
3 cloves sliced garlic
1 white onion, cut in half
4 Tbs. butter
1 tsp dried oregano

1 cup white rice (jasmine or basmati)
a couple of handfuls of baby spinach
additional minced parsley for garnish

Pulse the bread in a food processor until it becomes crumbly. Place the crumbs in a small bowl and pour the milk over it. Combine with your hands until the bread is moist. In a large bowl, place the turkey, garlic, shallot, parsley, garam masala, turmeric, egg, and parmesan cheese. Add the bread mix and salt. Combine with your hands. Form 1-inch balls and place them on a tray or plate until you’re ready to cook (mine sat for about an hour).
Add the onion halves, crushed tomatoes, garlic, butter and oregano to a large pot. Let simmer on low for about 45 minutes. In the meantime, cook the rice as directed.
Also in the meantime, heat a little oil in a large skillet over medium high. Add the meatballs and sear on both sides until you get some good browning. Once browned, transfer the meatballs to the sauce to finish cooking, about 20 minutes. Fish out the onion halves if you need to make room. Give a pinch of salt to the sauce at the very end. Spoon the rice into bowls and top with a handful of spinach. Dish the meatballs and a nice spoonful or two of sauce over the top. Finish with a sprinkle of parsley and serve hot!

Garam Masala Spiced Meatballs with Buttery Marinara_2

I’d been craving brussels sprouts, but I needed a break from bacon. Crazy right? I know. But I really needed to try something new when it came to these little balls of green deliciousness. Mustard and sauteed onions for just the right amount of tang? Yes, please! The original recipe called for tossing in a handful of pecans at the end too, if that’s your thing.

brussels sprouts with warm mustard dressing

Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Warm Mustard Dressing
via pbs

1 lb brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium red onion
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Remove the tough outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts and then trim and cut the the sprouts in half (top to bottom so that the core holds the leaves together). Add the Brussels sprouts to a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat evenly. Add the salt and pepper and toss to combine. Grill the brussels sprouts cut-side down on a medium hot grill until the sprout is lightly charred and cooked through about 4-7 minutes. If you are using a broiler, broil them cut side up.
While the sprouts are grilling, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a saute pan and fry the onions until tender. Add the mustard and honey and continue frying until the honey starts to caramelize. Add the vinegar, stir to combine, and then pour the hot dressing over the grilled Brussels sprouts. Serve warm.

I fell in love again… with this risotto. It’s been a while since I’ve made a risotto; not the right season, too much stirring, but this one was just right. Creamy and bright and hearty all at the same time. Exactly what we needed as winter hit Seattle. I’ll be bringing this one around for a dinner party soon. It’s sure to be a family favorite.

sausage spinach tomato risotto

Sausage Tomato & Spinach Risotto
via martha stewart

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, in juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bunch flat-leaf spinach (10 to 14 ounces), stems removed, chopped (about 7 cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
2 tablespoons butter

In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes (with their juice) and 3 cups water. Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add sausage and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until sausage is opaque and onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add about 2 cups hot tomato mixture to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue adding tomato mixture, 1 cup at a time, waiting for one cup to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender, about 25 minutes total (you may not have to use all the liquid).
Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach, Parmesan, and butter; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately (risotto will thicken as it cools), and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Something new! I feel like we’ve been stuck in a rut lately, but maybe it’s just because I’ve gotten out of the habit of cooking every night and have been eating way too much junk. This was a great dish to get us back on track. Super healthy and super delicious – plus it’s easy to make vegan and gluten free with a little earth balance swapped out for the butter and gluten free options for the noodles and tamari. What’s tamari you say? It’s like soy sauce, only better! Made without wheat, a little less salty, but still big on flavor. And this dish showcases it perfectly, along with a few of my favorite things: mushrooms and bok choy.

shiitake bok choy soba noodle bowl

Shiitake Bok Choy Soba Noodle Bowl
via a house in the hills

4 cups, washed and thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
3 small/medium bok choy,
2 bunches of buckwheat soba (about 16 oz)
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons tamari
1/8 cup mirin
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 medium cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
sesame seeds to garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook noodles per package instructions, drain and rinse with warm water.
While water is coming to a boil, prepare mushrooms, sauce and bok choy. In a large non stick sauté pan heat earth balance butter with 4 tablespoons tamari and add mushrooms. Give a quick stir to coat and then cook on high heat for 6 minutes (do your best to not stir the after the initial mix). Give them another stir and cook an additional two minutes. The should be brown, slightly crispy and a little caramelized. Set aside until noodles are prepared.
For the sauce, combine mirin, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of tamari. For the bok choy, trim off ends, wash thoroughly and dry. In a large wok combine noodles, sauce, bok choy and mushrooms. Cook over medium high heat until bok choy is wilted. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately!