Well Dined

2Feb/170

Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

I get a lot of emails with recipes from blog subscriptions, magazines, etc...  Some I delete, knowing they aren't my style.  Most I archive to make later.  Very few inspire me to make them ASAP; this recipe was one of those few.  Shakshuka is a dish of Egyptian, Tunisian, Algerian, and Moroccan origin that consists of eggs poached in spiced tomato sauce.

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

This recipe, from Bessou restaurant in NYC (via Tasting Table), puts a Japanese spin on the dish.  It was that fusion element that caught my eye.  The tomato sauce is spiced with Japanese curry powder and cumin.  Roasted kabocha squash is added, along with poached eggs.  The original is topped with miso marinated tofu - I went for miso flavored labneh, instead.  Lastly, it is sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, and served with toasted Japanese milk bread.

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

The tomato sauce is so fragrant and spicy (the original recipe uses harissa, too, but the curry powder was enough heat for me).  It is counterbalanced by the sweet squash, tart pomegranate seeds, cool labneh, and creamy egg yolk.  The squash and the pomegranate add varying texture, too, along with the crispy toast.  And the miso adds this funky umami note that adds to the complexity.  Dipping that perfectly crispy toast into the runny yolk and velvety tomato sauce is just so insanely satisfying.

5Oct/160

Rainbow Cauliflower Bowl

Well Dined | Rainbow Cauliflower Bowl

Oh my gosh, this cauliflower bowl is so gorgeous, and filling, and satisfying, and yummy, and healthy, and low carb, and all the things.  It has a lot of different components, but they come together to make such a lovely whole.  Another successful vegetarian lunch with Melissa from Smells Like Brownies.

Well Dined | Rainbow Cauliflower Bowl

Start by making your cauliflower "rice" (actually, start by pickling some chard stems, which was done by Melissa before I arrived).  Place raw cauliflower into a food processor and pulse until chopped to the size of rice (a few larger pieces are fine) - 1/2 a large head will make 3-4 cups.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes, just to soften.

Well Dined | Rainbow Cauliflower Bowl

Next, heat some coconut oil in a pan and add turmeric, cumin, a pinch of cayenne, and some fresh pressed garlic.  Cook for a bit to activate the spices, then add the cauliflower and stir to combine and heat through.  But don't leave it on for too long - you want the cauliflower to have texture!  Make sure to season with salt and pepper.

26Jan/160

Jasper’s Chili

Well Dined | Chili

You may have heard about Snowzilla, the crazy blizzard that dropped 30 inches of snow in as many hours on the east coast this weekend.  People were were panicking about it all week and preparing for the end of the world.  (Not that they were wrong, our street still hasn't been plowed, 3 days after the end of the storm.)  I knew that we would want some comforting food options, so I made a big batch of chili and decided to revisit and revamp my old recipe for you.

Well Dined | Chili

Hubby likes both ground meat and tiny bits of steak, and not too many beans or extra frills.  So this chili is his extra special version made just for him. Plus I made it in the slow cooker so that it would be easy - that part's for me.

11Jun/150

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Mayo and Coleslaw

Well Dined | Fish Tacos with Chipotle Mayo and Coleslaw

You know what is very summery?  Tacos.  Especially fish tacos.  Melissa and I were looking for something light and fresh, with a lot of flavor and texture.  So we cobbled together a bunch of different ideas and came up with these gorgeous tacos!

Well Dined | Fish Tacos with Chipotle Mayo and Coleslaw

We started out by marinating mahi-mahi with tequila, lime juice, garlic, red onion, and cumin.  Yum, yum, yum!  We chose mahi-mahi because it is a mild white fish that will take on a marinade and stand up to searing.

Well Dined | Fish Tacos with Chipotle Mayo and Coleslaw

We wanted a good sear on the outside, so we sauteed it at high heat for a short time, let it rest, and then flaked it into big pieces with forks.

Well Dined | Fish Tacos with Chipotle Mayo and Coleslaw

We also wanted to make our own condiments, and came up with a lime and crema (Mexican sour cream with tons of flavor) coleslaw and a chipotle mayo, along with avocado, pickled onions, cotija cheese, and cilantro (or parsley for me).

9Dec/130

Spiced Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Well Dined | Spiced Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Is there anything better than a big pot of comforting beef stew in the Winter?  Maybe if you add a lot of veggies, Middle Eastern spices, and some apricots for sweetness.  Yum, yum, yum.  At least I thought so - my husband wasn't really sold on the whole sweet things in a stew concept, and he doesn't like all those vegetables getting in the way of his meat.  But whatever, I thought it was awesome.  If you are not limiting carbs, you could serve this over some couscous and let it soak up all the juices.

Well Dined | Spiced Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Start by cooking some red onion and browning some beef chuck that has been seasoned with cumin, ginger, and cinnamon.  I feel like red onions only work well in specific places, and this is one of them.  Cooking them enough that they start to caramelize and release some sweetness is the way to go, here.  Remove the meat to a plate temporarily and deglaze the pot with some red wine to scrape up all those browned spices and good bits that are stuck to the bottom.

Well Dined | Spiced Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Add in some sweet potato, apricots, and a can of whole tomatoes in their juices; then add enough water to cover and let simmer for a few hours.  Your house is going to smell AWESOME.  For reals.

Well Dined | Spiced Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

After it is done simmering and the meat and potatoes are all soft and luscious - throw in some chickpeas and spinach.  Oh my gosh.  There is so much going on here!  The apricots absorb the liquid and plump up, and the sweetness from them and the sweet potatoes contrasts the warm spices.  I love all the different colors and textures, too.  Let's get cooking, peeps!

25Oct/130

Healthy Moroccan Lamb

Well Dined | Healthy Moroccan Lamb

Super comforting spiced lamb on top of creamy mashed potatoes - how could that be healthy?  Well for starters, there are no potatoes - that is a cauliflower and white bean puree.  This looks like comfort food, and it totally is, but it is all veggies and protein with no carbs!

Well Dined | Healthy Moroccan Lamb

Start by caramelizing some carrots to release that sweetness.  Then brown up some lamb.  I used lamb chops and discovered that there is very little meat on them - next time I am definitely using cubed meat.

Well Dined | Healthy Moroccan Lamb

When the lamb is browned, add in garlic, spices, chard, and chickpeas (more protein!).  I wondered why the original recipe didn't call for tomatoes - they make so much sense here.  So I went ahead and added them.  The original recipe also just used paprika, which I thought was a little boring.  I used paprika, cinnamon, cumin, and coriander.

Well Dined | Healthy Moroccan Lamb

Another change from the original was that it called for polenta to serve with the lamb.  Polenta is cooked corn meal, and I am trying to avoid grains.  So I used a cauliflower puree instead and it was creamy and delicious - a good counterpoint for the tangy spiced lamb.

17Jul/130

Mexican Style Quinoa Salad

Well Dined | Mexican Style Quinoa Salad

This vegetarian/vegan meal that I made with Melissa of Smells Like Brownies is perfect for summer.  It is light and fresh (but still filling), takes advantage of summer produce, and is packed with protein.

Well Dined | Mexican Style Quinoa Salad

All you have to do is combine the ingredients - corn, tomato, avocado, bell pepper, scallions, jalapeno, black beans, cooked quinoa.

Well Dined | Mexican Style Quinoa Salad

Then toss with a dressing of lime, olive oil, honey, and cumin.

Well Dined | Mexican Style Quinoa Salad

Top with some fresh cilantro (or parsley if you, like me, are not a fan) and your perfect summer lunch awaits!  You can serve it warm, cold, or room temp - doesn't matter.  The ingredient list is also totally flexible, go with whatever ratio of quinoa to veg you like, take out the stuff you don't like, add in something you do, make it yours.

9May/130

Moroccan Meat Pies and Afghan Pumpkin

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This post got lost and forgotten somewhere, so it's not very seasonal and I apologize.  But you can look forward to making it next Fall.

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And you should look forward to it.  Sweet, caramelized pumpkin with spices, creamy yogurt, and tangy tomato sauce?  Yes, please.  This is one of my favorite Afghan dishes, called kadu bouranee.

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And these delicious Moroccan inspired meat pies made with phyllo, ground beef, and spices are the perfect main to complement the pumpkin.  You could also make the Afghan meat dumplings called mantu, of course, but they require a little bit more work.

13Feb/130

Spiced Carrot Soup with Crispy Chickpeas and Tahini

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 I don't know about you, but I am not a huge fan of raw carrots.  Warm spiced carrot soup with tahini on a cold day, though?  Yeah, I'm a big fan of that.

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 This is another dish brought to you by my vegetarian lunches with Melissa at Smells Like Brownies.  She pulled together a couple of recipes to come up with this one.

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Carrots, onion, garlic, coriander, and cumin all go into the pot with vegetable stock.

14Jan/1311

The Hunger Games Stew – Food ‘n Flix

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Holy Mockingjay, Batman - I am so excited about this post!  Food 'n Flix and Cook the Books have teamed up to do a double post for The Hunger Games, with Heather from girlichef hosting!  Announcement post is here.

The Hunger Games is the first book of a trilogy about a dystopian alternate timeline where war has reduced America to 12 Districts ruled by a Capital.  As punishment for a rebellion, all 12 Districts must offer up 1 boy and 1 girl between the ages of 12 and 18 as a tribute to compete in the Hunger Games each year.  These children must then fight to the death in a televised spectacle with only 1 survivor.  To make things even worse, all of the Districts are purposefully kept in a state of starvation except for the District of the winner - which is given ample food for a year until the next Hunger Games (hence the name).  Food, therefore, is extremely important and a focus throughout the series.

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The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is an extremely tough teen who would do anything to protect her family and especially her little sister, Primrose.  When Prim is selected as Tribute (a death sentence for the timid 12 year-old), Katniss volunteers to take her place.  Before being entered into the death-match proper, the Tributes are primped and pampered and paraded around the Capital.  It is here that Katniss experiences luxury and an overabundance of food for the first time in her life.

Her favorite dish is a Lamb Stew with Dried Plums - it is mentioned frequently and even sent to her as a present when she is fighting for her life.  I decided that the stew would be the perfect dish to make for this post, served on some wild rice that seemed fitting for the setting.  I also served it with goat cheese rolled in herbs (inspired by the cheese that Primrose makes from her prized pet) and rustic seed bread (inspired by Peeta - Katniss's love interest and fellow Tribute, whose family owns a bakery).