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.

20Oct/163

ICC – Curry Carrot Soup with Coconut Cream

Well Dined | Curry Carrot Soup with Coconut Cream

This month for the Improv Cooking Challenge, our ingredients were Carrots & Curry.  I knew immediately that I wanted to make a soup, so I looked back through my archives and found three soup recipes that I'd previously made.  I used these three recipes to help me come up with a new one: Spiced Carrot Soup with Chickpeas and Tahini, Spiced Carrot Soup with Crispy Prosciutto, and Thai Pumpkin Soup.

Well Dined | Curry Carrot Soup with Coconut Cream

I started by cooking madras curry and grated ginger in olive oil (though it occurs to me now that I could have used coconut oil), then adding carrots, onion, and garlic.  I seasoned with salt and cooked for 15 minutes, until the vegetables started to brown.  Then I added chicken broth and coconut milk and simmered covered for 20 minutes.  You can use vegetable broth to make this vegetarian/vegan.

5Sep/161

Shrimp and Strawberry Summer Rolls

Well Dined | Shrimp and Strawberry Summer Rolls

Shrimp and Strawberry?  Do you think I sound crazy right now?  Trust, young padawans, and learn the ways of combining sweet and savory.  Rice noodles, pickled veg (and mango!), basil, mint, scallions, shrimp, and strawberries are combined in a rice wrapper for the ultimate summer freshness.  Served with a delicious peanut sauce for dipping - get in my face!

Well Dined | Shrimp and Strawberry Summer Rolls

I had seen a blog photo ages ago that I loved on this site, but I was scared to try it because I had never made summer rolls before and it seemed finicky.  Then I was over at a friend's house for dinner and that is what we made!  It was a bit tricky, but not as scary as I had imagined.  She was a pro, so I asked her to help me make my shrimp and strawberry rolls.  Then I looked at the recipe for the photo I loved, and wasn't a big fan of the ingredients.  I wanted noodles instead of cabbage, and mango instead of bell pepper.  So I switched some things around.

Well Dined | Shrimp and Strawberry Summer Rolls

Then we got to work!  She was skeptical of my flavor combo, but ended up loving it.  You can see the progression here from back to front where I put the ingredients on in the wrong order so the pretty parts didn't show, then exploded one, then finally got some decent rolls.  The good news is - it doesn't matter if you don't get the best looking rolls, they still taste amazing!

14Mar/163

SRC – Bulgogi from Searching for Spice

Well Dined | Bulgogi Rice Bowl

Today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day!  I was assigned Searching for Spice, written by Corina - a mother of  two (I love the nicknames she gives her kids: Little Miss Spice and Master Spice).  She loves international cuisine, making food from India, Mexico, North Africa, Thailand, and China.  She prefers to stick to recipes that aren't terribly time consuming - like this Italian Chicken and Lemon dish, this Lamb Meatball dish, and this Chicken Pie.  But sometimes, she will go for a more complicated recipe, too - like this Chicken Biryani and this Cassoulet with Confit Duck.

I ended up choosing this Korean Bulgogi recipe, because I just recently discovered Korean BBQ, and it is awesome!  Bulgogi is definitely my favorite thing to order, so I loved that Corina had a recipe I could try.  She served it with rice and lettuce to make wraps, I decided (inspired by my Spam dish) to make it a rice bowl, topped with a fried egg.  It turned out great!

25Feb/160

Try The World – Japan; Zaru Soba

Well Dined | Try The World Japan

It's time for another Try The World review (see my first here)!  In my Japan box, I had: Otafuku Foods okonomiyaki kit; Aoi Tea blueberry match tea; House Foods ginger paste; Takaokaya seaweed snack; Akagi soba noodles; Kasugai gummy candies; and Morinaga milk caramels.  I thought that those butter coconut cookies came in the box, but I actually must have picked them up at the Asian grocery store.  So, ignore those (but really don't, cuz they are super awesome and yummy).

The caramels are are firm and not super sweet, I like them a lot.  I haven't tried the tea, gummies, or okonomiyaki kit yet; but I used the rest to make Zaru Soba.

Well Dined | Zaru Soba

Zaru Soba is a cold soba dish usually made in the summer (whatever, don't judge me).  The noodles are cooked, then rinsed, chilled, and drained.  Normally, you would serve them on a woven bamboo mat that lets the extra water drain out; but I don't have those!  So I dried them on paper towels.

Well Dined | Zaru Soba

The noodles are topped with seaweed and sesame seeds just before serving, and dipped in a sauce made of dashi, soy, mirin, sake, sugar, and ginger paste.  Wasabi and scallions are served on the side and mixed into the sauce to taste.

14Apr/140

Miso Butter Four Ways

IMG_1316

This innocent looking container holds a magic ingredient that will take your food to the next level.  What is it?  Miso butter.  Two ingredients - miso and butter - combine to make a perfect substance.  So simple, but so good.  You could just slap this on some toast and call it a day.  But if you want to get a little more creative, I have a bunch of ideas for you.

IMG_1317

First up - scallops seared in miso butter.  That's it, it's that easy.  I served these with my other miso obsession - miso creamed kale.

IMG_1446

Next - broiled salmon topped with miso butter, served with miso butter glazed baby carrots and coconut-miso barley.

IMG_1462

Moving away from seafood for a bit, I made this coconut chicken recipe and replaced the regular butter with miso butter.  It made it so much better than the original, which I was already a fan of.  I also used cherry preserves in the sauce because that's what I had, but apricot or peach would work better.  I made a side salad with romaine, sliced radishes, blanched green beans, and a carrot-ginger dressing to go with it.

IMG_1466

Lastly, we have a stir-fry made with miso butter.  Fast, easy, and delicious.  The salmon was broiled with a store-bought red miso and yuzu glaze.  I'd say it wasn't any better than the salmon topped with the miso butter.

Best of all?  All these meals are healthy and low-carb.  Most of them are grain-free!  What would you do with your miso butter?

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!

16Aug/130

Homemade Creme Fraiche and Peaches

Well Dined | Homemade Creme Fraiche and Peaches

Everybody knows that peaches and cream go well together, so it makes sense to think that peaches would also pair perfectly with creme fraiche.  I recently discovered that you can make creme friache at home with just heavy cream and buttermilk - which is way cheaper than buying it!  I used the thick, creamy, and tart product in not one, not two, not three, but FOUR peach recipes.  So let's dig in!

Well Dined | Peach and Creme Friache Pie

First up is a pie that I have blogged about before, but am bringing up again because it is just so freaking good.  Peaches, creme fraiche, and streusel - layered into tender, flaky pie crust.  Definitely one of my favorite pies ever.

Well Dined | Peach Ginger Muffins

Next up we have muffins made moist with the help of creme fraiche, packed with chunks of juicy peach, and with a little kick from both fresh and candied ginger.  My husband LOVED these - we went through all 24 muffins in 2 weeks!

Well Dined | Peach Sherbet

What is better in the summer than a lovely bowl of ice cream?  This peach sherbet gets it's tart creaminess from (you guessed it!) homemade creme fraiche.

Well Dined | Peach Sherbet

It's pretty easy to make, too, as far as ice cream goes.  You do have to cook the peaches first, and then chill them.  But after that it is just blend and freeze!

Well Dined | White Peach and Lemon Thyme Galette

Last, but not least, is a white peach and lemon thyme galette served with sweetened creme fraiche.  I, foolishly, did not notice that my peaches weren't ripe before I peeled them and had to get a bit creative, poaching them in honey, lemon thyme, and white wine in order to soften them before baking.

There are many recipes to choose from here, all of them delicious.  Enjoy those peaches while they last!

17May/130

Juicing

IMG_0896

About a month ago I got really excited about juicing after watching a documentary called "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead."  The man in the film goes on a 2 month long juice fast, which I was definitely not prepared to do.  I wasn't even prepared to do the more standard 7-10 day juice fast.  But I did like the idea of using juices to consume large quantities of raw vegetables in a more palatable manner.  So I bought a ton of veggies and went to work.

IMG_0898

I started with a recipe from the doc's website and added a little to it, using carrots, bell pepper, apple, ginger, golden beet, fennel, and mango.

IMG_0899

Gorgeous color!  I used too much ginger, though, it had quite a kick.

9May/130

Moroccan Meat Pies and Afghan Pumpkin

SAM_2851

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.

SAM_2848

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.

SAM_2852

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.