make it: korean chicken tacos

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Delicious recipe alert! The korean chicken tacos from gp’s It’s All Good are really very, very good. I wanted to make something for a romantic dinner-at-home that was relatively healthy and where I could do most of the prep ahead, since I knew I’d be out during the day. So the day before, I made the salsa, the korean barbecue sauce, roasted the chicken, and made the quick cucumber kimchi. I recommend making the slaw the day of – by the time everything else is out and the table is set, the flavors of the slaw will have had a chance to combine. I think it turned out fab. The slaw is great as a salad on it’s own, or with some of the chicken mixed in and topped with a fried egg(!)  – also known as my breakfast a couple days later.

I didn’t grill whole chicken breasts/thighs per the recipe – I roasted them off the day before and shredded the meat, and the next day warmed it through with the korean barbecue sauce just before assembling everything. That just worked a little better for my do-it-ahead plan. I also added a little lime juice to the korean salsa, but everything else what pretty spot on as-is. I really detest typing out recipes that already exist… some other bloggers have written it all out which is very nice. I’ll just say, try to find the gochujang, or red pepper paste, that the korean barbecue sauce recipe calls for. Don’t substitute sriracha, it’s really not the same thing. And Boston or Bibb lettuce leaves work really well as a wrapper, if you want to skip the corn tortillas.

I have quite a bit of the salsa left, and may try roasting some fish in it, Provençal-style. It’s basically tomatoes and onion… with the addition of some olives, lemon and parsley, and a nice fish like halibut or cod, it might turn out rather nice.

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winter citrus salad

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one of the few things i really love about this time of year is that citrus gets really good. when the high in NYC promises to be something crazy like 18 degrees, peeling a clementine or segmenting a cara cara orange over my salad honestly makes me feel like i’m somewhere beautiful and warm. it tricks my brain.

last winter, i kept ordering the citrus salad at one of my favorite restaurants over and over. it disappeared from the menu once spring hit, and i’ve been pining for it ever since. this is the version i make at home… it has a few additions, but it’s ever so lovely and quite easy, too.

you’ll need:

1 each cara cara orange, blood orange, navel orange, ugli fruit, and pink grapefruit

1/2 of a small fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a mandoline

3 tablespoons greek yogurt

2 tablespoons pickled cranberries, halved (see note)

1 tablespoon honey

small handful arugula

sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper

good olive oil

garnish with:

hulled hemp seeds

reserved fennel fronds

to assemble:

mix greek yogurt with honey. set aside.

with a small, sharp knife, cut away all citrus peel, including the white pithy part. i like a combination of segmented citrus and sliced citrus for this salad, and would suggest segmenting the grapefruit and ugli fruit and slicing up the rest. put all prepared citrus into a bowl with the sliced fennel, arugula, and pickled cranberries. toss with your hands to combine.

transfer to a plate. spoon the honeyed greek yogurt onto the side. add sea salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with nice olive oil. give a generous sprinkle of the hemp seeds and tear some fennel fronds over the top, and you’re done. this salad creates its own vinaigrette as the juice from the citrus mixes with the olive oil, salt and pepper. it is so, so good, and pretty cleanse/detox friendly, if you’re into that this time of year.

a note about the pickled cranberries: skip them if you want. but i love the tangy-sharp crunch they add. here’s a quick recipe:

place 4 oz. of fresh or frozen cranberries into a container with a tight-fitting lid. bring 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons each of salt and sugar, and 1 teaspoon each of black peppercorns and juniper berries to a boil. pour over cranberries and let sit for 2 hours or overnight. use the leftovers in any sort of quinoa or rice bowl, in a green salad, with leftover chicken, etc.

 

photo credit: laura kinsey

 

 

 

 

make it/ illustrated: lemon ricotta stuffed squash blossoms

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stuffed squash blossoms… ever try them? they seem really complicated but there’s not much to it. and they’re all over the farmer’s market at the moment. illustrator erin mcgill shows us how with another fab illustrated recipe…squash blossoms

 

sandwiches

RTL_pretzelsandRTL_grilledcheeseRTH_chickensalad_0607i worked on these images with my friend Alex, who moved to SF last week. i’m excited for him but will miss collaborating… it was always such a good time. these are from at least a year ago, but it’s fun to go back and critique. what would i keep/ edit/ fix/ redo, that kind of thing.

also, these are giving me some serious ideas for lunch this week.

make it: mint basil pesto & kumquat spaghetti… with peas!

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another pesto, you say?

well, yes. they’re super summery (just ask the june cover of BA mag), and i love pasta with pesto and fresh english peas. all the stars aligned for this dish, which i made earlier this month.

how did all the stars align for this? well, i got to practice with the kitchenaid pasta making attachment at work, and it was so fun i ran out to get my own. soon after, i had roasted kumquats over burrata at roman’s in fort greene that blew me away, and realized i wanted to eat kumquats with everything. and now i had all this fresh pasta in the freezer, just waiting for me to do something with it, so here it is: a little recipe for fresh spaghetti with mint basil pesto, roasted kumquats, and peas!

first work on the kumquats and peas. (figure on about 1/4 cup of each per serving). preheat the oven to 375F, and while that’s happening, shell some peas. then slice the kumquats in half, remove any big seeds, and put on a foil-lined baking tray. douse them with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and red chili flake. roast for about 12-15 minutes. set aside.

mint-basil pesto:

1 cup each mint leaves and basil leaves

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

3/4 cup grated parmesan

2 scallions

zest of 1 lemon + juice from half

1/4 cup + 2T olive oil

1t sea salt + 1/2t pepper

pulse till saucy in a vitamix or food processor and set aside. the yield is enough for several servings of pasta, but you can also add some into a viniagrette, or mix some in with ricotta cheese and slather it on a bageutte… endless uses, really. also, i know garlic is included in virtually every pesto recipe, and without it, it’s not really pesto. but. i think it’s too strong for this dish. plus it makes my tummy hurt. if you want to add a clove, go for it.

while the spaghetti is cooking, put the peas in the steamer basket over the boiling water for a couple minutes and then straight into an ice bath. (a little cheat so you don’t have to wash two pots!) drain the cooked pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. toss with several spoonfuls of the pesto and as many peas and kumquats as you want per serving. you can add some pasta water if it needs loosening up. i do this part all off the heat, as cooking the pesto turns the lovely green color kind of brown and not as appetizing looking. add a little extra grated parmesan cheese, some fresh chopped mint, and eat. it is light, zingy, and delicious.

i used the fresh egg pasta recipe from the cookbook The Glorious Pasta of Italy, by Domenica Marchetti. it was divine, but obviously boxed or store-bought fresh would be as well.

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(photos by laura kinsey for bklynprairie.com)

make it/ illustrated: ramp pesto

bkp_rampshere’s a special treat that i’m really excited to share! i’m teaming up with my friend and amazing artist erin mcgill to bring you an illustrated version of the occasional “make it” post. first up is a tasty ramp petso… eat it on this, eat it on that, eat it on everything – while you can, of course. these babies are almost at the end of their springtime run.

i love erin’s artwork – from animals to food to streetscapes, she manages to capture something truly delightful. i hope you will look forward to seeing her work here as much as i am! recipe for ramp pesto below…

bkp_ramppesto (recipe and images provided by erin mcgill. see more of her work here, or follwer her on twitter: @wallcojr)

make it: chia chocolate pudding

bkp_5_6_13_chiachocpudding1i’m not normally much of a chocolate person but i do have a taste for it once in a while. i’ve been trying to cut back on sweets, too, but i don’t think this really counts as anything to feel bad about. unlike the pudding that comes in a little disposable cup and has absolutely zero nutritional value, this version actually brings something to the party – lots of protein, natural sweeteners, and, it’s dairy free. i like it better than the real thing.

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chia seed chocolate “pudding”

add 1/2 cup filtered water to 2T chia seeds. let it sit and thicken for about 10 minutes, transfer to the vitamix, and add:

1 cup raw unsalted cashews, 5 or 6 dates, (remove the pits!), 1T unsweetened cocoa powder, 1T maple syrup or agave nectar, 1t vanilla. start with 1/2 cup of coconut milk (or almond milk) and pulse, adding more milk to achieve desired consistency. i usually add about 1 cup of the milk total. also, if you like a stronger chocolate flavor, you can add another tablespoon of the cocoa powder.

it’s good to eat right away, but i think it’s even better once it sits in the fridge for a few hours. it seems like the chia seeds keep thickening even once they’re ground up, and the texture is just great.

bkp_5_6_13_chiachocpudding(photos by laura kinsey for bklynprairie.com)

 

eat it: sesame noodles

sesamenoodlessesame noodles…. ever since realizing that i can totally make these at home, they’ve become a bit of a problem. a little bit healthy and a little bit not, i want them at almost every meal. this dish has everything – great texture, great flavor….they’re irresistible to me.

now, for you by-the-book types, i know my version is kind of japanese and maybe kind of thai, and kind of not really authentic at all. but this is how i do it, and it’s good!

for the sauce:

2T tahini

2T creamy peanut butter

1T each of mirin, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and siracha. either regular sesame or toasted sesame oil is fine, and you can add some hot chili oil as well, if you have it!

1t grated ginger

juice from 1/2 a lime

for garnish:

handful of rough-chopped cilantro, thinly sliced scallions, and sesame seeds.

for the noodles:

the options are many. in the picture above, i used regular old pasta noodles (actually my last choice – just what i happened to have on hand) but you can use ramen, udon, rice noodles, or buckwheat soba noodles. my new favorite noodle is the black bean “spaghetti” from the brand Explore Asian. they have two ingredients (black beans & water!) and about 25 grams of protein per serving and almost half your daily requirement of fiber. they’re a perfect backdrop for the sauce.

the sauce! oh yes. easist thing ever – mix everything in a bowl, and toss with the cooked/rinsed/drained noodles. scatter the sesame seeds, scallions, and cilantro over the top. if the sauce seems a little thick, add a tablespoon or so of the pasta cooking water or regular hot water to thin it out.

(photo by laura kinsey)

 

eat it: beans & greens

bkp_beansngreens_3-26-13this has become one of my favorite go-to healthy lunches. it’s simple, cheap and quick. yes, it involves the tiniest bit of cooking and you will have a sautée pan to wash, but it’s worth it. i swear it is…

what you’ll need:

half a bunch of kale (i like the tuscan kale, or cavolo nero, for recipes like this) washed & ready to use

7 oz. white cannellini beans (about half a can)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 c white wine

2 T diced canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, OR 2 T tomato paste*

juice from half a lemon

1 scallion, thinly sliced (optional)

olive oil for the pan

make it:

take your kale leaves and cut in half. i remove the stem from the lower half because they get kind of tough at that end, but skip it if you don’t mind a little extra chew. rinse and drain beans so they’re ready to go. set both aside.

put a glug of olive oil in the sautée pan, add minced garlic clove and crushed red pepper. turn on the flame. when garlic starts to sizzle, add kale leaves. before the garlic starts to smell weird and burn, add the lemon juice, white wine, and tomato paste. using tongs, turn kale leaves over and around in the pan for about 2-3 minutes. add beans, and pop the cover on for another minute or two so beans can heat through. if the pan starts to make that hissing dry sound, add a splash more lemon juice or wine.

transfer to a bowl. dress with another little glug of olive oil, sea salt, and fresh cracked black pepper. sprinkle with sliced scallions and EAT.

* i use about 2 tablespoons of a fresh tomato sauce made from canned San Marzano tomatoes that i try to make and just keep on hand. tomato paste works well too, as would some chopped fresh tomato or 2 tablespoons of canned diced tomatoes, just straight out of the can. if you buy tomato paste – buy it in the tube! you can use a little at a time and it’s won’t go bad like it will if you try to save the remainer of the can. i love the kind from Amore. (i’m dying to try their anchovy paste in something, too!)

recipe and photo by laura kinsey for bklynprairie

bakin’ it: fruit tarts

baking success on saturday! the williamsburg greenmarket had amazing cherries, piles of rhubarb, and lots of beautiful jewel-like red currants. i stocked up, got a few extra fruits from the market, and went home to get started on my project: fruit tarts.

fruit tarts are a lovely yet mildly labor-intensive activity. you’ve got three components to prepare: pastry cream, dough (i made pâte sucreé), and fruit to wash, de-stem, pit, and slice. but none of this really requires a technique that’s difficult to master, so it’s nice to put on some music, make a capuccino, and get started by washing that fruit. (the slicing & de-stemming part gets saved till the end.) the pâte sucreé mixes up easily in the kitchen aid and then hangs out in the fridge for a few minutes, before getting rolled out, draped into a variety of mini tart pans, and baked. the pastry cream comes together easily and quickly too – the only slightly tedious part is to push it through a sieve, but i don’t recommend skipping this step. once the tart shells and pastry cream have cooled down, the assembly can begin…

this is the part that lets you fancy yourself an artiste… and tests your skills in geometry and structural stability. in the end it doesn’t matter; even if your arrangement of fruit is hideous, the tart will still taste like heaven. but i like this part… arranging the fruit in spirals, pyramids, and fans is very satisfying to me.

i made a double batch of pâte sucreé using the joy of baking recipe here

the pastry cream recipe is from smitten kitchen’s recipe for strawberry tart. (double batch.)

for the fruit, obviously whatever you like and can get your hands on is a good choice. some of the tarts ended up with a strawberry-rhubarb filling (which somehow i didn’t take a snap of. hmmm.) for the filling, i pretended like i was making this pie, but just threw all the ingredients into a glass baking dish covered with foil and into the oven it went for close to one hour.

i don’t think it’s worth the space to re-type these recipes here. if you’re keen to make fruit tarts, the links above will take you there. they really are a great use for all this fabulous summer fruit.

enjoy!

(photos by laurakinsey)