kookoo {vegetarian herb omelette or frittata}

kookoo

we’ve been enjoying kookoo (i know, bit of a funny name) or the persian version of  a frittata-omelette-quiche in my family ever since I can remember. when i say we, i have to admit that for years I only observed it being made (there are all kinds of variations of kookoo) and eaten by others. starting off in life as a bit of a picky eater, i eventually learned to appreciate a good kookoo (among other things) as i discovered what (real  food) eating was all about. i can still see my grandma’s skillful hands meticulously chopping the herbs, then ever so care carefully pouring the green “batter” in to the pan. herb (green) kookoo is best in the spring when all the fresh herbs it calls for are in  abundance. as i prepare my shopping list for our upcoming (persian) new year’s celebration (no rouz -spring equinox), it becomes clear that herb kookoo contains a  perfectly healthy and good for you combination of ingredients-a rarity for such deliciousness! it is a great vegetarian option, and can be served warm as a side (such as during no rouz where it is served alongside the traditional herbed rice & fish dish, sabzi polo mahi), or as an appetizer (at room temperature) served with yogurt and flat bread. i left this beautiful one whole, and served it sliced like a pie with a yogurt-cucumber-dill sauce.  it was a big hit.

 

kookoo recipe: 

finely clean and chop (herbs should be chopped finely so that they can mix well with the other ingredients) one large organic bunch (1 cup chopped) each of: 

– cilantro, flat leaf parsley, and spinach (about 1 to 1 and 1/2 cup each chopped)

– 2 bunches sliced green onions or chives.

     combine the herbs in a bowl with:

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3-4 organic eggs
  • 2-3 tbs flour  
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • a touch of cinnamon-about 1 tsp (if you like it)
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tbs barberries (optional)

1. heat 2-3 tbs vegetable oil in a deep skillet, then carefully pour in the egg mixture and pat it down tightly with a spatula and allow  it cook on one side on med/low heat for about 20-25 minutes (with the lid on).
2. carefully flip the kookoo with the help of a round platter (this can be tricky, but is doable-trust me), and cook the other side for another 20-25. flip the kookoo (it should be crisp on the outside) out on to a platter, and let it sit a few minutes prior to serving. you can also cut the kookoo  in to small sized squares and serve as an appetizer with a side of yogurt. 

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a refreshing and hearty salad: savoy cabbage, organic chicken with satsumas & sesame-ginger dressing {aka chinese chicken salad}!

how to make a good quality delicious chinese chicken salad at home in less than 30 minutes:

minette's chinese chicken saladthe night before super bowl sunday my daughter decided to have her friends over to watch the game. she asked me if i could make some fun stuff to eat for the gathering, and before i could open my mouth in response (my mind was already going a million miles a minute with great ideas) she reminded me this was a group of teenagers, and they’d want at least some foods you’d typically expect to eat while watching the big game. okayyyyy. such as, I asked? “can

photo 5

you make chicken wings”? she says- – hmnnnnn. not really? she decides she needs to make some calls for feedback, and i decide that no matter what, we’ll need to have a {semi-healthy} salad on the menu. i’ve been craving a good home made “chinese chicken salad” for a while, so it’s first on the list without hesitation. the rest of the  choices eventually comes together like this: chips and home made salsa, amazingly delicious home made ribs courtesy kristen’s dad (wow wow wow), chicken wings (thanks to the frozen section at whole foods) with organic cut celery and ranch dressing, ken’s delicious home made onion dip (must ask for the recipe) with chips, (did i mention my huge bowl of crunchy yumminess of a chicken salad?), a selection of cheeses with sliced baguettes,

superbowl party

getting ready…

chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, mini brownies, homemade cookies, macaroons….i’m almost embarrassed to go on….we were feeding a group of hungry teenagers-what can i say? i had so little time to put it all together that i took a few shortcuts with my salad-it was so easy to prepare and a big hit!

baked sesame ginger chicken breasts

baked sesame ginger chicken breasts

  • 1 small savoy (or nappa) cabbage, very finely sliced
  • 1 romaine or iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
  • a bunch of organic green onions, thinly sliced
  • a good sized bunch of fresh organic cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 whole organic roasted chicken, meat (mostly the white meat) removed and finely sliced-or, use this recipe to make the sesame ginger chicken breasts at home, then slice them up
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 3-4 mandarin oranges (satsumas), peeled and sliced, then separated
  • fried wontons (you can buy these or fry them at home rather easily)
  • toasted sesame seedsphoto 1

for the sesame-ginger dressing:

  • 3 tbs vegetable oil (i used avocado)
  • 2-3 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1-2 tbs seasoned rice vinegar (adjust amount if necessary)
  • 1 tsp lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1-2 tbs soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • a good chunk of grated ginger (use microplane)
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper (for spicy)
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • if you like it on the sweeter side, add 2-3 tsp raw honey

whisk all the ingredients together, taste and adjust quantities, then add to salad and toss just before serving. crunch.

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easing into spring: minty fresh taboule and a green bean salad with blood oranges

green bean salad with blood oranges and feta cheesei’ve been so obsessed with quinoa lately that i’ve neglected to make taboule the traditional way, with bulgur rather than substituting my favorite grain-seed (q-u-i-n-o-a}. at our house we really enjoy a good spicy quinoa-taboule (almost on a weekly basis), but there is something soothing and familiar and frankly more “substantial” about the original version-so, in planning the menu for a small gathering of friends last night i decided on a bowl of super fresh lemony taboule loaded with mint leaves (the way my lovely lebanese friend taught me way too many years ago in france) to go with my all time favorite chicken dish, adda’a morrocan chicken (which turned out better than ever i think- possibly because

minty fresh taboule

of the last minute addition of a cup of fresh orange juice). one of the best things about taboule is that the leftovers taste almost better the next day-which brings me to the most important factor in making a good one-the ingredients: they must be fresh and abundant (more fresh parsley, mint, and lemons than you think you need).

taboule ingredients

if you plan to make some, and you really should, because nothing makes you feel as spring(y) fresh as this dish-be ready to become pretty good friends with your favorite sharp knife….you’ll have to do some chopping, but it WILL be worth it. speaking of chopping, my green bean, feta, and walnut salad requires very little of it. it is so often my go to {delicious and easy} salad/side dish/almost-a-meal when i entertain-here i added the last blood oranges of the season for a citrusy punch and their beautiful color. it made the perfect side for the medium rare tri-tip roast i served with it. okay, now i’m hungry, and my mouth is literally watering. i’m hitting the fridge for a nice bowl of that leftover taboule~wish you could join me:-)

ingredients for 4-6 servings of bulgur (or substitute quinoa) taboule:

  • a bowl of mint fresh taboule2 large bunches of organic flat leaf parsley (about 1.5-2 cups) washed, allowed to dry, and finely chopped
  • 1 large bunch organic fresh mint leaves (1/2-1 cup), washed, allowed to dry and thinly sliced/chopped
  • 6-7 organic scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 ripe roma (or 3 medium ripe) tomatoes, finely cubed
  • 3/4 cup (i prefer less bulgur-adjust amount to your taste) cooked bulgur or quinoa (boil in lightly salted water for just a few minutes then drain excess water and allow it to cool)
  • 2 lemons, freshly juiced (adjust amount to taste-but keep in mind the bulgur soaks up the lemon juice and olive oil quite a bit)
  • 3-4 tbs good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly cracked pepper to taste-red pepper flakes, optional for spicy

place all the ingredients other than olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl (leave ingredients in separate piles until ready to toss). if making ahead, cover and set aside until 30 minutes prior to serving, then dress (with lemon juice to taste, evoo, and salt & pepper) toss well. taste and adjust seasoning. enjoy every bite. {see below for green bean salad recipe}

for green bean salad with blood oranges:

blood oranges in salad

  • 2-3 cups organic green beans, cleaned and quickly boiled in lightly salted water until just tender-do not overcook them. drain in a collander and quickly place in an ice bath or rinse with cold water. drain well.
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup crumbled french feta cheese
  • 1-2 blood oranges (or you can use pomegranate seeds), peeled and sectioned into small pieces.
  • 1/4 cup of my shallot vinaigrette

combine ingredients in a bowl, drizzle with dressing, toss just before serving. simple as that.

the dinner table with the famous blood oranges front and center

the dinner table with the famous blood oranges front and center

 

my chicken dish with olives and lemons just getting started (adda's morrocan chicken)

my chicken dish with olives and lemons just getting started (adda’s morrocan chicken)

 

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how to whip up a simply green {curry} sauce that saves the day {or meal}

how to make an easy green curry sauce

it’s so hard to believe the holidays are over, and as much as i enjoy the {oh so wonderful} break from routine, it often takes quite a toll on our diets and waistlines (but oh how good it was while it lasted). it took me a few reluctant days in the new year (happyhappy new year!) to realize (or accept) it was time to make changes to the way were eating. time to get back to eating more real, unprocessed, lighter, let’s just call it “g r e e n” foods. yes, that meant back to green smoothies, other smoothies, kale in (almost) everything, lettuce wraps, quinoaquinoaquinoa, salads, salads, and more salads, hello, arugula! hard boiled eggs, and endless amounts of tuna salad! but a family has to eat a nice warm meal once in a while (especially the ones who behaved over the holidays). that’s why this light and green (seriously delicious) curry sauce/paste came about to accompany the simple chicken tenders and vegetables planned for dinner. some of us enjoyed the resulting warm, satisfying, comfort-giving curry with a side of jasmine rice while others (me) had a few spoonfuls of fluffy steamed quinoa instead (not bad at all after a day of just greens). this versatile sauce can be used with any meat, fish, or vegetables to create a “curry” that will always satisfy beyond imagination. add a few kefir lime leaves to the pot while simmering to take it to another level. the smell that surrounds you while it cooks? as delicious as every bite. noosh-e-jan!

{easy, light, delicious green curry sauce for about 4-6 servings}:

blend together until smooth:

easy green curry recipe

  • 1 large bunch (1-1.5 cups) organic cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper or other hot pepper of choice (use according to taste for spiciness)
  • 1 lime, freshly squeezed
  • a chunk of fresh ginger, peeled (about 2-3 tbs)
  • 3-4
    cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small shallot, peeled
  • 3-4 stalks of lemongrass (remove the outer rough parts)
  • 1/2-1 cup coconut milk
  • 2-3 tsp raw honey or brown cane sugar
  • 2-3 tbs fish sauce or soy sauce (or a pinch of sea salt)

sauté the meat/vegetables of choice on high for about 7-10 minutes in 1 tbs virgin unfiltered coconut oil, then add the green sauce and 5-8 kefir lime leaves. bring to a soft boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30-40 minutes. for best results sauté (fry) the sauce separately in 1-2 tsp coconut oil for about 5 minutes on high heat while stirring before adding to meats/vegetables. sprinkle with fresh cilantro prior to serving with jasmine rice or steamed quinoa.

easy green chicken curry

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