I don’t know about you, but lunch is always the hardest meal for me to figure out each day. I know I’m on a slightly different schedule than most of you and am craving slightly different food, but I’ll venture a guess that we all want a few of the same things out of our high-noon (or 10 a.m., 2 p.m., whatever time) feeding.
This is the most delicious dish I have ever made. From the freshness of the lemon rosemary, to the earthiness of the lentils, to the tang of the horseradish maple vinaigrette, my tastebuds were in heaven. I enjoyed the whole process of bringing this meal to fruition — grocery shopping, chopping and roasting, and eventually eating — and I’m so lucky for it. Why? Because like most of you reading this post, I always know where my next meal is coming from. Did you know that 50 million people in the United States — including one in four children — don’t? It is devastating, but also fixable.
Let me tell you about my friend Mindy: not only is she one of the funniest people I know, and now mom to one of the cutest babies I know (see little Jordy, below) but she is also a Master Chef. We had big plans for when B and I were coming to visit her in Baltimore last weekend. I invited two of our other close friends from college over; we were going to whip up this big meal — spring rolls I made a few weeks ago with Noah’s sweet chili drizzle, and her husband Matt’s all-time favorite dish: bibimbap. I found this recipe online and we talked groceries, chopping, plating strategies for days.
With huge risk comes huge reward. That’s what they say, right? Such was my first venture into the world of homemade spring rolls. As I told Grub Street last month, I never leave Whole Foods without picking up their delicious pre-made version from the sushi counter — so I was determined to create a similar version as an appetizer for my dinner party guests this past Saturday night. I was petrified, having never done this before and wondering how difficult it would be to handle the gelatinous papers. But guess what? The spring rolls were much easier to assemble than I expected, and B (and all of our friends) loved em! I know he doesn’t look thrilled in the photo, but trust me, he liked em.
Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?! Since I had a bunch of leftover veggies from a cooking shoot I had in our apartment on Sunday — more on that to come next month! — I decided to whip up an egg scramble for B and myself.
No exact recipe here: just chop up any odds and ends you have in the fridge (I had 2 red peppers, 1 bunch of scallions, 1/2 an onion, + 2 jalapeno peppers) — saute them with a touch of olive oil and garlic — then add in as many eggs as you like. I used four for the two of us. Then cook, stirring often, until it’s as brown as you like. B prefers his eggs dry, so I burn them a little for him. (I know, I spoil him.) Once the egg scramble is plated on a bed of arugula, I pour a healthy dose of my favorite Trader Joe’s salsa verde in the pan to heat up. (Everyone’s been asking me about that stuff since I mentioned it to Grub Street – get it, it’s the best.) Let that simmer for 3-5 seconds, then drizzle over the whole plate, including the avocado on the side.
Serve with a bit of hot sauce (I like Cholula or Trader Joe’s jalapeno hot sauce for this dish) and some tortilla chips — and enjoy!
Carrots are totally underrated. Those pre-chopped baby ones you see in the supermarket give the whole family a bad rap. These carrots — full length, stem-on, roasted deliciousness — are glorious. They may not be what you expect to see when you walk into a dinner party in the middle of February, but pluck one from the jar, glide it through the tangy, but zingy dip — and you’re transported to a summer paradise.
Stand ‘em up and serve ‘em in a mason jar as I did, with the dip on the side, and score extra points for cutest appetizer presentation.
That’s what Phil, one of my dinner guests, told me after scarfing down these delicious veggie balls. B echoed that, telling me that they satisfied what he thought was his need for a meaty Italian meal. But enough of their testimonials, here’s what I loved about these guys. They’re versatile enough to make with pasta, in a sandwich, or over a salad, but they’re hearty enough to be a meal all their own. And they’re healthy! It’s lentils, veggies, herbs, walnuts and eggs.
So where did I find the recipe?
Since B is at work writing his second Page One story in two days (I know, he’s somethin) I’m testing out a new veggie recipe here in the lovenest. My mom cut this out of the Philadelphia Inquirer for me while I was home last week and I’ve been wanting to adapt it a bit — more veggies, more flavor — so tonight’s the night. If B were here, I would’ve cooked a piece of fish alongside this — any kind, really — so my man gets his protein. But it’s just me! No one else to worry about! So you know what that means, right? While he’s hunkered down writing a follow up to this Al Gore/Al Jazeera story [feign your intrigue here] it’s time for me to live on the edge. And what says wild, crazy, sexy more than a girl home alone, in her sweaty Lululemon, oven-braising some veggies? Exactly. Best part about this recipe is that you really can’t screw it up — it’s so simple — and so healthy, too.
I love spicy food — like, mouth-watering, tongue-tingling, ohmygod-I-need-water-NOW spicy. Though we all know water doesn’t help when your taste buds are on fire. But I digress. I am always on the search for spice and I had never made a curry before, but always wanted to try. So I did some googling, some label-reading, some experimenting and this — THIS — is what I came up with. I’m still training B to like things as hot as me, but if whomever you’re cooking for can handle it, try some habaneros or thai chili peppers. We’re working up to those in the lovenest. As B is famous for saying, “standby.”
Even though she cooks meat 99% of the time (and I don’t cook or eat meat), one of my most favorite food bloggers is Chrissy Teigen. You may know her as the supermodel fiance of John Legend, but I know her as one of the most entertaining people I follow on Twitter. She’s gorgeous, she’s hilarious and homegirl can cook like a rockstar. Imagine my excitement when she finally – FINALLY – posted a fish recipe. It looked so delushious (as she says) that I had to try it. But while she made one large portion, I decided to make 8 individual portions for my best friends from overnight camp who were coming over with their husbands for dinner.
I served it alongside cauliflower mash, but you can try any kind of rice/grain/veggie. We already had greens for our first course — the brussels sprout salad — so decided to mix it up and serve a little mashed potato lookalike.