home cooking

Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

I make a bomb kale pesto, whenever my friends come over that's what they ask for. Every client of mine is always asking me to add my pesto to the menu somehow. After coming up with some fun Hors D'oeuvres using the kale pesto I decided to take it simple - so I made this for dinner and it was too good I couldn't resist posting it! I hope this becomes your go to grilled cheese. The best part about the pesto is that you can make it - freeze it - use it whenever!!

Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 pint

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups arugula

  • 1 cup basil, with stems

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, or pumpkin seeds (if allergic)

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper, freshly cracked

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.    In a food processor, add arugula, basil, nutritional yeast, nut, and garlic clove. Pulse until well combined. 

2.   Add lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Pulse while drizzling the extra virgin olive oil. Pulse for one additional minute until all combined. 

3.   Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Za'atar Crusted Chicken

Za’atar Crusted Chicken

People are always asking me different ways to use my favorite seasoning of all time — za’atar. I have to say the quickest and the most efficient way of adding a ton of flavor to protein is making this za’atar marinade. Unlike other marinades that might require some time, this one just needs a good rub on your choice of protein, and it’s good to go!

I added extra sesame seeds for its texture, and you can use this marinade on anything you would like from tofu to shrimp. It is a perfect, simple dinner that will be your go-to recipe.

Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup za’atar

  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 1 lemon zested and juiced

  • 3 tbsp EVOO

  • 2-3 lbs of chicken thighs, boneless, skinless

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix all the ingredients besides chicken thighs until well incorporated

  2. Add chicken thighs and marinate for 15-20 minutes

  3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

  4. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and spread the chicken on there. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until tender but still juicy.

  5. Garnish with scallions and fresh mint.

Simple Spring Salad

 
 

Simple Spring Salad

Happy April! Is that spring that I smell? My favorite produce season is back from bundles of asparagus to crunchy snap peas. I put together this simple, fresh raw salad that is so easy to assemble, but breathtaking to look at.

Shaving asparagus is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this seasonal vegetable. Make sure to pick thick asparagus in order to make those asparagus ribbons. Just like you would peel carrots or potatoes, shave the thick asparagus from the asparagus top to bottom. Twist those asparagus ribbons for a gorgeous presentation as well. Feel free to add whatever spring vegetables that look fresh. Using fresh, spring vegetables is the key for this salad.

Serve it with a side of Za’atar crusted chicken and cucumber lemonade to have your first spring backyard dinner! Happy Spring!

Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head of Boston lettuce, washed

  • 1/2 cup snap peas, chopped

  • 3 asparagus stems

  • 1 bunch scallions

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

  • 3 tbsp goat cheese dressing

  • 1 tsp freshly cracked pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Keeping lettuce leaves whole; pull off from the stem and place on a plate.

  2. Start layering the salad by sprinkling the snap peas and scallions.

  3. Shave the asparagus stem with a peeler and decorate the lettuce with the asparagus ribbons.

  4. Top with walnuts and serve with a side of dressing

Goat Cheese Black Pepper Dressing

 
 

Goat Cheese Black Pepper Dressing

Do you guys love goat cheese? I’ve always loved it in every form — appetizers, dipping sauce, and even marinade. Since I like goat cheese so much, I sometimes sprinkle it in my salad, but when I do it, the crumbled cheese doesn’t get distributed evenly. I want to taste goat cheese in my every bite, you know?

So, I decided to turn it into a dressing to keep its tangy, creamy flavors while making it easier to toss around my salad. By doing so, every bite has a bit of that tangy, goat cheese flavors without being clumpy. This creamy dressing will be an instant flavor boost, making any boring salad into something incredible!

Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1/2 quart

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 - 8oz goat cheese

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 1 tbsp black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.

Turkish Coffee Tiramisu

Turkish Coffee Tiramisu

A perfect springtime pick me up - my take on a timeless classic, I bring you a Turkish Coffee Tiramisu. Simple, easy and decadent this sexy no bake dessert can be whipped up in no time! Topped with hazelnut chocolate biscotti or powdered cocoa you can’t go wrong with the layering. Check out the how-to video below!

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CREAM

  • 8 eggs, separated

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 lb mascarpone

  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 6oz hazelnut biscotti, crushed and divided into 3oz

FOR THE ASSEMBLY

  • 44-48 lady fingers

  • 1 1/2 cup Turkish coffee, cooled in a medium bowl

  • 1 tbsp of cocoa powder for dusting

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a standard mixer, whip the egg yolks with sugar until it triples the volume for 4-5 minutes.

  2. Add mascarpone and whip it for an additional minute until it’s fully combined. Put the mascarpone mixture into a big bowl.

  3. Wipe down the standard mixer bowl. Add your egg whites and whip until it reaches soft peaks for around 3-4 minutes.

  4. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into your mascarpone mixture.

  5. Pour the heavy cream into the standard mixer bowl and whip it until it reaches soft peak to resemble whipped cream for around 3-4 minutes.

  6. Gently fold the whipped cream with a half of crushed biscotti into the mascarpone mixture again until everything is fully incorporated.

  7. In a casserole dish, dust the bottom of the dish with cocoa powder.

  8. Working one at a time, quickly dip each ladyfinger into the Turkish coffee. Repeat until you have one full layer of coffee-soaked lady fingers.

  9. Spread half the mascarpone mixture onto the ladyfingers in one even layer. Repeat one more for another layer of coffee-soaked lady fingers and another layer of mascarpone mixture.

  10. Sprinkle the remaining crushed biscotti on finish and cover the cream layer.

  11. Cover with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (if you can wait 24 hours, all the better) before serving.

Tabbouleh

 
 

Tabbouleh

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup fine white bulgur

  • 3 bunches of parsley

  • 3 scallions

  • 3 tomatoes, finely chopped

  • ½ english cucumber

  • 3 lemons, juiced

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, place bulgur and cover with room temperature water. Let it sit for 20 minutes, it should double in size.

  2. Meanwhile, wash and finely chop parsley and place in a large mixing bowl.

  3. Wash and peel cucumber, slice in half. Using a spoon, de-seed the cucumber. Slice the cucumber length-wise into thin strips and chop it into small dice. Add to the parsley.

  4. Small dice tomatoes and add to the mixing bowl.

  5. Thinly slice scallion and add to the bowl.

  6. Drain and squeeze bulgur – make sure it is completely dry.

  7. Add to the mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Mix until fully incorporated.

  8. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses.

Basic Falafel Varenyky

lebanese-varenyky-2.jpg

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

For the Dough

  • 1 egg lightly beaten

  • 2/3 cup (5 oz) water

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 2 tsp of turmeric

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Basic Falafel Filling

  • 3 cups soaked raw chickpeas

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1 cup parsley

  • 1 cup cilantro

  • 3 scallions

  • 1 tsp lemon juiced

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 3 tbsp flour

  • 2 tbsp falafel seasoning (cumin, coriander, cinnamon, white pepper)

  • Salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Make the dough

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the egg, water, turmeric, and salt until fully combined. Gradually add about 2 ⅔ cups of the flour and stir to combine into a shaggy dough.

  2. Using your hands, gather the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough with the heels of your palms until it is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticks to your hands, sprinkling on more flour as needed, about 5 minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl, loosely cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rest for 30 to 60 minutes.

Make the Falafel

  1. In a food processor, add chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, scallion, parsley, and cilantro. Pulse until well combined. 

  2. Add lemon juice, baking powder, flour, and seasoning. Pulse for one additional minute until all combined.  

Make the Varenyky

  1. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll the dough into a thin log about 10 inches long and 1 inch thick with your hands. On a floured surface, cut the log into approximately 12 1-inch pieces. They look similar to gnocchi.

  2. Using a flour-dusted rolling pin, roll each piece into an approximately 3-inch circle; if the dough is sticking to the surface of the rolling pin, dust with more flour.

  3. Working with 1 circle of dough at a time, place 2 tsp of the falafel fillings into the center. Gather the dough into a half-moon shape around the filling and pinch the top closed, then pinch both edges closed. Place the shaped varenik on a well-floured board or tray and continue filling the rest of the dough.

Cook the Varenyky

  1. Add 2 cups of vegetable oil (or canola oil) in a medium-sized skillet and heat up oil until it reaches around 350F.

  2. Add one varenyky at a time to shallow fry. Cook until the edges are golden brown for 2-3 minutes each side.

  3. Serve immediately along with dipping sauces of your choice, or cilantro-lime tahini dressing.

Curry Green Peas Falafel Varenyky

lebanese-varenyky-2.jpg

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

For the Dough

  • 1 egg lightly beaten

  • 7 oz water

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 2 tsp of za’atar

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Curry & Green Peas Falafel Filling

  • 3 cups soaked chickpeas

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled

  • ½ cup parsley, chopped

  • 3 scallions

  • 1 tsp lemon juiced

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 3 tbsp flour

  • 2 tbsp curry powder

  • 1 cup green peas

  • Salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Make the dough

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the egg, water, and salt until fully combined. Mix flour and za’atar and gradually add about 2 ⅔ cups of the flour mixture and stir to combine into a shaggy dough.

  2. Using your hands, gather the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough with the heels of your palms until it is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticks to your hands, sprinkling on more flour as needed, about 5 minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl, loosely cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rest for 30 to 60 minutes.

Make the Falafel

  1. In a food processor, add chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, scallion, and parsley. Pulse until well combined. 

  2. Add lemon juice, baking powder, flour, and curry powder. Pulse for one additional minute until all combined. Fold the green peas in the falafel filling.

Make the Varenyky

  1. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll the dough into a thin log about 10 inches long and 1 inch thick with your hands. On a floured surface, cut the log into approximately 12 1-inch pieces. They look similar to gnocchi.

  2. Using a flour-dusted rolling pin, roll each piece into an approximately 3-inch circle; if the dough is sticking to the surface of the rolling pin, dust with more flour.

  3. Working with 1 circle of dough at a time, place 2 tsp of the falafel fillings into the center. Gather the dough into a half-moon shape around the filling and pinch the top closed, then pinch both edges closed. Place the shaped varenik on a well-floured board or tray and continue filling the rest of the dough.

Cook the Varenyky

  1. Add 2 cups of vegetable oil (or canola oil) in a medium-sized skillet and heat up oil until it reaches around 350F.

  2. Add one varenyky at a time to shallow fry. Cook until the edges are golden brown for 2-3 minutes each side.

  3. Serve immediately along with dipping sauces of your choice, or cilantro-lime tahini dressing.