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.

11Apr/142

Spiced Cauliflower “Couscous”

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You guys, I am in love... with a recipe.  A recipe for cauliflower that is pretending to be cous cous and filled with herbs, spices, buttery cashews, and plump golden raisins.  It's so good it's stupid.  And easy, did I mention easy?  And low-carb and healthy and gluten-free and vegan and all the things.

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I am desperately trying to move away from grains and starches, but it is so hard when my brain had been programmed to think that dinner is meat, starch, vegetable (in that order in terms of importance).  So anything like this that I can find that satisfies my need to have a starch, without really being one, is awesome.  Oh yeah, and my husband LOVED it.

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I served it as a side to some store-bought kebabs because of the distinctly Middle Eastern flavors.  But I'm wondering if I can use the same technique and change up the flavorings (a la this post) to do some different things.  Speaking of flavorings, this recipe uses a spice blend called za'atar that is super yummy.  You should be able to find some in the spice section of your store, but if not here are two recipes to make your own.

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!

12Aug/130

Tabbouleh

Well Dined | Tabbouleh

It's time for another vegetarian lunch with Smells Like Brownies!  I've never really liked tabbouleh.  Maybe because it's usually cold, or there's too much parsley, or there's raw red onion, or it just isn't that filling - I don't know why.  As it turns out, Melissa doesn't like it either!  So when she suggested we try to conquer it, I was skeptical.  But making something yourself means that you get to adjust it until it is the way you like it.

Well Dined | Tabbouleh

Upping the bulgur, balancing the parsley with mint, and using scallions instead of onion certainly helped this dish out.  But what really sent it into yummy land was serving it warm, stuffed inside pitas, with a generous amount of feta.  We managed to turn something we both disliked into something we both loved!  It may not be traditional, but it sure is delicious.

Well Dined | Cucumber Feta Pitas

I bought extra pita pockets and feta to go with my leftover tabbouleh, but ended up with too much!  Melissa had given me some of her CSA cucumbers (since she was drowning in them), so I threw together a quick cucumber salad with feta, mint from my garden, olive oil, and champagne vinegar.

Well Dined | Cucumber Feta Pitas

Because everything is more fun in a pita pocket!  (Except for peanut butter and jelly - I just found out the hard way that that doesn't work.)

Tabbouleh Pitas with Feta
adapted from Mad Hungry
serves 6

1 cup dry bulgur wheat
2 cups water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, diced (about 1½ cups)
1 bunch scallions, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 cups minced fresh curly parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt, or to taste
6 pita pocket rounds
8 oz feta, crumbled

Rinse the bulgur.  Cook in the water over medium heat for 12–15 minutes, or until soft and chewy.  Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic.  Drain of any excess water and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, parsley, and mint.  Toss together.
Whisk together the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl.  Stir the dressing into the salad to fully combine.
Serve stuffed inside pitas, layered with feta to taste.

Cucumber Pitas
serves 1

1 cucumber, chopped
4 oz feta, crumbled
1 tbsp chopped mint
salt and pepper to taste
splash of olive oil
splash of champagne or rice wine vinegar
pitas

Mix ingredients together, serve with pitas.

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.

20Dec/120

International Burgers

Just because it's cold outside, doesn't mean you can't still make burgers.  And they don't have to be the standard plain burgers, either.  Here are two recipes that put a bit of a twist on the classic burger.

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First up - a Middle Eastern inspired spiced lamb burger with a creamy yogurt sauce.

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To make the patties, combine bread crumbs, lamb, turkey, onion, an egg, parsley, garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper.  Use a grill pan, griddle, or electric grill to cook the burgers.

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Make a sauce with yogurt, scallions, parsley, mint, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, sugar, and pepper.

Place the burgers inside pitas and stuff with fresh tomatoes and the yogurt sauce.

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For a Southwestern twist, we have Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers with Avocado Mayonnaise.

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To form the burgers, simply combine ground turkey, jarred salsa verde, breadcrumbs, and an egg.  Combine avocado, mayonnaise, and garlic to make a sauce.  Cook the burgers on a griddle (turkey falls apart too much to grill) and top with Pepperjack cheese and the sauce.  If they are in season - green tomatoes are also an excellent topper.