Food

A Late Summer Egg and Potato Salad

August 3, 2017

   Egg and Potato Salad Recipe

Egg and Potato Salad Recipe 2

The title of this post could be “It’s just too dang hot” or “Eating without Cooking: A Summer Campaign”

It’s HOT now. That’s 85-90 temperature range where we were hovering last month? Psh. For amateurs. Our heat index is hovering near 110 every day. It’s above 90 by 10:30 a.m. IT’S HOT, FOLKS.

Did I mention that our AC completely died at 10:00 a.m. a few weeks ago, on one of the hottest days yet, as Mark lay trapped on the couch with a broken ankle waiting for surgery and I stared at two toddlers, innocently waiting for me to serve their every need and entertain their every whim.

Now I know EXACTLY how the pioneers felt. All we needed was a bear scratching at the window to complete the picture.

Egg and Potato Salad Recipe 3

My point is, I feel like turning on the oven, at this point, is simply tempting fate. It’s just too hot. I don’t want to add extra heat, or touch anything hot, or eat anything hot (grill excepted). Also, did I mention that Mark has a broken ankle? He’s recovering from surgery nicely, but he’s supposed to keep all weight off of his foot which means that dinner time finds me – solo. Very solo. Not the eating part, just the cooking and cleaning part, which can be tricky.

SO. Bring on all of the Pinterest boards and Instagram feeds with pretty food that looks like it doesn’t require cooking and makes me feel cool and is easy to clean up. Bonus points for leftovers.

The Kinfolk cookbook and the July editions of Bon Appetit and Real Simple have been great resources for low-fuss, low-indoor-heat recipes over the past couple of weeks.

Also? BRING ON ALL OF THE SALADS. We are basically subsisting on protein-packed salads at this point. This one was a total winner. Healthy? Check. Easy? Check. Possible to re-create for leftovers without too much hassle? Check. Instagrammable? Check Check. Miles and Violet even ate bits of it (although hard-boiled eggs are not their favorites, but adding pesto has helped encourage them over this hump in the past. As has making something completely different, like a hot dog. #lazymomdontcare)

Here’s the only salad you may ever need again during these dog-day months. Dinner will be extra simple if this is eaten outside. 

  Egg and Potato Salad Recipe 1

Egg and Potato Salad Recipe 4

Ingredients

3 hard-boiled eggs

2 cups leafy greens (kale, at least by itself, is going to be too hefty. Mix in some spinach, arugula, butter lettuce – you get the picture).

1/2 lb little pretty potatoes (steakhouse will work)

Generous handful of cilantro

2 tbl chopped dill (ish)

3 stalks of chives

This dressing

Pepper

Coarsely ground sea salt

Assembly

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes (depending on their size – mine were steakhouse and 20 worked well). Let the potatoes cool. (This is a good time to peel your hard-boiled eggs). Wash all of the produce and pat dry. Distribute the leafy greens between two plates. Slice the potatoes thinly in half, quarters, rounds, thirds – whatever makes sense visually for the size and shape of your potatoes and distribute over the greens. The point is to spread out the “potato-y-ness” and expose the texture inside.

Slice the peeled hard-boiled eggs and arrange over the potatoes.. Toss chives, cilantro, and dill generously over the plate. Add a small sprinkle of coarse sea salt (one or two quick twists of the grinder should do the trick) and a bit of pepper. 

The salads can chill like this for a bit if you’re not ready to eat. When you’re ready to eat, add the dressing – don’t be stingy. Enjoy!

 

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Food

Easy Weeknight Lentil Stew.

March 4, 2017

 Easy Weeknight Lentil stew

Soup and weeknight cooking are two things that get an unfair rap. This is entirely unnecessary when something as wonderful as The Kinfolk Table’s Four Corners Lentil Stew exists. This is a recipe that boasts three particularly positive qualities:

  • 12 minutes of hands-on time.
  • 40 minutes from cupboard to dish. 
  • Scrumptious.
  • Healthy.
  • Did I mention that it takes 40 minutes?

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tbls. olive oil
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • A few cubes of chicken bouillion or chicken broth
  • About 1/2 a cup, or a splash, of whatever white wine is open
  • A lemon
  • 15 oz of crushed tomatoes (or, in my case this week, some whole tomatoes that need to be used up and a little bit of paste)
  • 1 tbl. cumin
  • 1 tbl. garlic
  • 1 tbl. ginger
  • Cilantro (or not, again, as in my case this week*)
  • Flatbread

Mince the onion. Toss it into a pot with the olive oil on medium heat and allow the onions to cook until transparent. Slice the lemon into medium-thin disks. At this point, if you’re using these cubes, unwrap four and heat in two cups of water (about 3 minutes in the microwave) until the cubes are mostly dissolved. If you’re using chicken broth, skip this step and drink some wine while you wait for the onions to cook.

After the onions have cooked for a few minutes and are transparent, toss in the cumin, garlic, and ginger. Wait about 3 minutes or until the spices start to become really fragrant. Then add the crushed tomatoes (or about two cups worthof whatever tomatoes you have lying around.) If you use whole tomatoes instead of canned, be sure and add a few tablespoons of tomato paste or sauce as well. Add the broth, about 1/2 cup of wine, and additional water, totaling 4 cups of liquid. The ratio of broth-wine-water does not need to be exact. Toss in about 4 of the lemon disks.

lentil stew 2

Cover the pot. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a medium simmer. Chop about 1/2 cup of cilantro. After about 30 minutes, or once the liquid is mostly absorbed, turn off the heat. It can sit for about 45 minutes before being served or you can serve it immediately. Serve with a generous toppig of cilantro and some warm flatbread.

This soup freezes well, can be doubled easily, and makes a great lunch the next day. The portions above make about 3 generous meal-size servings and could probably serve 5 adults if not served as the main course.

*In these photos, there’s a dollop of pesto on the soup rather than cilantro because it was all I had on hand. It was fine, but cilantro would have been better. 

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Food

Grain Bowl: The Summer Grilling Version.

June 29, 2015

Summer Grain Bowl Title

   Summer Grain Bowl 1

Summer Grain Bowl 2

One of my favorite rituals, and one that I want to make sure I teach Miles to treasure, is that of eating together.

What better way to spend time with your toddler or small child, to instill healthy habits, and to introduce them to new delicious “real” food than to eat alongside them?

Now that we are starting to introduce Miles to more adult food, one of my favorite things to do with him during the day is to make something that we both like, sit down on the floor with him, and share.

Miles is a little obsessed with avocados and with pesto, so this is a pretty easy game to play. I make toast with avocado, sea salt, and lime juice or slice up some bread to dip in pesto and voila! Miles gets to experience new foods that he loves, I get to eat, and we spend quality time together.

This alternative to me frantically trying to find something to eat while he’s entertaining himself for 30 seconds has made our late mornings/early afternoon routines much richer and far less frantic and it gives me an excuse to introduce Miles to foods that I otherwise forget about.

A few mornings ago, I pulled out the leftovers from our grain bowl/grilled vegetable dinner the night before. (I’m a little obsessed with the grain bowl concept featured several times in my favorite magazine, Bon Appetit. If the idea of cooking bores you, try a subscription. I promise you won’t be disappointed and your life will change forever. Or something.)

I sat down by Miles and started to eat lunch with him while we played. He was SO excited to taste the savory quinoa and grilled butternut squash and I was thrilled to find yet another delicious nutritious adult dish that he would eat.

Whether you’re looking for a healthful summer dish for yourself or trying to find creative ways to introduce your baby to new, wonderful foods, this twist on the grain bowl will definitely be a summer favorite!

Summer Grain Bowl 3

Ingredients: 

1 cup quinoa

1 butternut squash

1 yellow squash

1 onion

A generous assortment of other fresh vegetables. We used 1/2 purple cabbage, a couple of bell peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower.

1/4 cup butter

2 garlic cloves

2 bouillon cubes

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp. lemon juice

Pepper

Olive oil

Chop the vegetables into large pieces, at least 1 x 2 inches. Toss everything in a few tablespoons of olive oil and a few dashes of pepper. Place in a foil baking pan and set aside.

Summer Grain Bowl | The Orange Slate

Prepare the quinoa as follows:

Saute the quinoa in 1/2 a cube of butter and 2 garlic cloves. Dissolve two bouillon cubes in 1 1/2 cups of water and add. Add 1/2 cup of wine. Add fresh herbs, 1 tsp. of pepper, and 1 tsp. lemon juice. Cover and cook on medium heat until the liquid is dissolved.

Grill the vegetables in the foil pan until the squash is soft and the vegetables are well-seared. Combine with the quinoa on a plate. I like to drizzle some creamy balsamic dressing over the whole dish.

*This post contains some affiliate links. Thanks for supporting The Orange Slate!

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Table

Bon Appetit’s Dream Grain Bowl: My Take

February 25, 2015

Bon Appetit's Dream Grain Bowl

Bon Appetit's Grain Bowl 1

As part of my word of the year, CREATE, I am intentionally working to create memories with my family this year. I have so many memories of wonderful food from my childhood and I want to make sure and give that same gift to Miles. This winter, I am making a concerted effort to try new recipes and to expand our table and tastes a bit.

My mom gave me a subscription to Bon Appetit Magazine and the afternoon when I check the mailbox and see the magazine peeking out of our mailbox at me is one of the most exciting of each month.

When I saw this recipe, I immediately knew I had to try it. It was the perfect combination of open-ended options (pick a grain! pick a green!) and precise directions (“do not toss”) on which I thrive. Also, it didn’t hurt that it was both incredibly delicious and satisfying and the most healthful meal we’d eaten that week. I have no idea if it’s Whole30 or pale or whatever, but it seems like quinoa + sweet potatoes + kale can’t help but be pretty good for you, right?

Here’s how I modified the recipe:

The recipe walked me through picking a base, greens, “crunch”, “upgrades”, a roast, and the dressing. I used my mixed quinoa (from Sam’s! Don’t judge!) for the base and kale for the greens. I sautéed almonds in some butter until they just barely started to turn a toasty brown – the crunch. I tossed sweet potatoes in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, pepper, and hefty sea salt and then roasted them at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes (until they were well-done).

I just tossed some parmesan on the salad in place of the Halloumi cheese.

The recipe called for this dressing, but I didn’t have either turmeric or tahini on hand. (What is turmeric??) No worries. This is why Google was invented. I used peanut butter instead of tahini and just skipped the turmeric (lame, I know – patient precision is not my strongest virtue).

Folks, it took a few minutes more in terms of hands-on time than our average weeknight dinner. But it was so worth it. This grain bowl permanently changed my salad game.

Try it! And let me know what you modify (or maybe you actually follow directions?).

*This post contains some affiliate links. Thanks for supporting The Orange Slate!

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Possibly “The Best Soup I Have Ever Made” or Sweet Potato Soup with Cardamom

November 9, 2013

11-9-13 title

When my family came to visit back in August for Kyle’s wedding, I took everyone on a field trip to Union Market. My mom – being someone who knows about fancy spices like saffron and cardamom – bought me some at one of Union Market’s cute spice stands.

I was scared to use them for months (precious spices? What is that? Can I break it? Will I wreck them?) ad kept them in my gadget drawer for 2 months, content to sniff them occasionally, or about three times a day. But let’s be real. The packages of goodness were meant to be used in a recipe.

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And finally, I found the perfect recipe for the cardamom. During my weekly trek to the grocery mecca that is Costco, I bought a huge bag of sweet potatoes. I love potato soup but I was convinced that sweet potato soup would be even better than my usual jaunts down Soup Lane. If sweet potatoes are healthier and tastier than regular potatoes, then it stands to reason that the soup will be equally better. Right?

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I was pretty ecstatic with the result. The soup has a cinnamony, spicy flavor that is so unique and perfect for cozy late fall/early winter dinners. It also only took about an hour of simmering, which makes this a perfect meal for cozy lazy weekend nights.

Mark even declared that this soup was the best I had ever made. Bonus: now you have an excuse to go and buy cardamom. I still don’t know what to do with the saffron but I’ll keep you posted! Any suggestions?

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Sweet Potato Soup with Cardamom

4 large sweet potatoes

2 cups milk

6 cups chicken broth

1 cup white wine

2 tbl. olive oil

4 stalks chopped celery

1 chopped onion

3 garlic cloves or 2 tbl. granulated garlic

1/2 tsp. cardamom

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

Saute the chopped onions, garlic cloves, and celery in the olive oil until the onions are transparent. Add  chicken broth, wine wine, and milk. bring the mixture to a low simmer. Meanwhile, chop the potatoes into 1-inch chunks (leave the skin on). Just when the mixture begins to simmer, add the potatoes, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer for an hour before serving.

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Fall Days, Colds, and Navy Beans

October 30, 2013

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Today started out as one of those scratchy-throated dark wet mornings when you just want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head.

It was wet and rainy and cold in the city and the only thing visible through the morning rain was the glow of the red brake-lights of all of the other grumpy drivers.

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It was one of those mornings when all of my students did well – everyone worked hard and played their sonatinas and minuets and Happy Clowns and scales beautifully and focused during their lessons. I was so proud of them all. . . but I still just wanted to curl up somewhere and go to sleep until this head cold decides to go visit another house.

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It was one of those days where I knew exactly what I needed to do when I got home, because this same thing happened last weekend when Mark came home from work grumpy and sick and scratchy-throated. Sometimes, folks, you just need to make a pot of beans.

The rainclouds blew away and now the sun has come out to make a beautiful light-filled afternoon. The world is happy because we get to hold on to warmth for a few more minutes.

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And now the day is truly complete because – in addition to students remembering their B flats and F sharps – now I have my yoga pants and am drinking warm coffee; now a pot of beans is simmering happily on the stove and Mark and I can smell it from the dining room/bike room where we are studying and writing.

Maybe your day is just a little awry, a little chilly, a little headachy or grumpy? Make this pot of beans. I promise it will be better.

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Fall-ish Navy Beans

1 lb of navy beans

4 cups of water

2 cups of chicken broth

1 cup of wine

1/2 bacon, bacon bits,or ham

3 stalks of celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 cups of kale, chopped

2 tbls. butter

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. basil

Chopped walnuts

Grated Parmesan cheese

Saute the onions until transparent; add the kale and continue to saute until the kale wilts. Meanwhile, rinse the beans. Add beans, water, broth, wine, and bacon or ham to sauteed onions and kale. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add chopped celery, pepper, oregano, and basil. Simmer for another 45 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle grated parmesan cheese and chopped walnuts on top.

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Use Kale Instead: 10 Recipes to Try

October 8, 2013

10 kale recipes to try

IMG_4587

I’ve mentioned before that Mark and I are sorta-kinda-maybe Costco fanatics. The only downside to Costco is that you have to buy everything in Very. Large. Quantities. This is a super efficient way to grocery shop and a huge help to the grocery budget, but it also forces one to buy less variety. For instance,  I don’t buy 4 kinds of greens every week. I buy the giant bag of baby kale and then spend the week putting kale in every single dish.

This has forced me to experiment a bit with recipes that I frequently use. Now I use kale in almost every dish I make instead of whatever-the-standard-green is. There is really no downside to this. Kale is pretty good for you, they say and the baby kale that Costco sells is a lot easier to manage than those gigantic green leaves they sell at Giant.

So here’s a quick list of recipes that don’t normally call for kale:

1. Omelets. 

Simply chop one cup of kale very finely then saute the kale for a few minutes and let the leaves wilt. Then toss the kale into the eggs whenever you add the tomatoes and the other good stuff.

2. Tacos.

Chop the kale into very fine small pieces. The taste of fresh kale gives the tacos a nice punch.

3. Artichoke Dip.

Yes. Yes you can. One more reason to eat Spinach-I-Mean-Kale-Artichoke-Dip (as if you needed one). Now it’s HEALTHIER.

4. Any Salad.

This recipe is from Sprouted Kitchen but there are literally hundreds of ways to make a delicious kale salad.

5. Pasta Salad.

Chop the kale into fine pieces and add to the other delicious crunch.

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6. A Wrap Sandwich.

7. Kale Chips – by Kath Eats Real Food.

8. A Smoothie.

9. A pot of Corn Chowder.

Simply replace the spinach with kale and carry on.

10. Pizza – from TheKitchn.com.

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As an added bonus, check out:

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Everyday Balsamic and Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

September 16, 2013

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Mark and I eat a lot of salads. Chicken salads, pasta salads, kale salads, salads with nuts . . . the list goes on and on. Yes, I try to eat a lot of vegetables just because it’s good for you but I also am continually amazed at the multitude of lovely dishes that can be created from fresh vegetables! Salads can really be as diverse as the world’s array of produce.

We get a crop share each week and so I frequently have some new unusual vegetable to try out. Although I like to try making new dressings and vinaigrettes also, I (probably too often) fall back onto my trusty Balsamic-and-Dijon-Mustard vinaigrette. It adds the perfect touch of tangy freshness to any salad. I even use it on pasta salads. It also takes about 3.5 minutes to make, which is a nice perk when you are trying to prepare a healthy fresh meal on a busy weekday.

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Balsamaic and Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbl. balsamic vinegar

l tbl. Dijon Mustard

1/4 tsp of sugar

Combine ingredients in a working glass or small measuring cup and whisk briskly. Refrigerate until use. Add to a green salad immediately before serving. Add to a pasta salad 30 minutes before serving and allow ingredients to marinate. This recipe provides a light dressing for a salad for 4 people. If more is needed, simply double it. This vinaigrette can be prepared several days ahead of time. Simply re-whisk before use.

 

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Food

My Grandfather’s Pinto Beans

September 9, 2013

Grandfather's Pinto Bean Title

Grandfather's Pinto Beans 1

 

My grandfather was a man who believed in food. A product of the Great Depression, he firmly believed in living simply, in saving things, in reusing. But he never scrimped on food.

My grandparents’ family home was just a short drive or a long walk away from the local market and I remember my grandfather going to the grocery store every day, just for fun, just to see if there was something new that day. He was man who didn’t believe in food budgets or calorie counting. He thought there should be good food, always, and lots of it.

A native of Texas transplanted to California early in his law career, he brought the tastes of Texas to the beach with him. There are a few foods firmly associated in my senses with my memories of Grandpa –  among them, silver-dollar potatoes, bacon and pinto beans.

 

Grandfather's Pinto Beans 2

 

I remember waking up in the morning to the smell of the salty San Diego air, the shrieks of siblings and cousins and the smell of bacon, fried in a cast-iron pan long before hipsters thought cast-iron was cool.

On sunny California afternoons, Grandpa would deep-fry his dollar-potatoes. He would slice them thinly so they fried to a crunchy perfection and then salt them generously. My siblings, cousins, and I would demolish them as we sat outside on the concrete covered in chalk and bikes.

 

Grandfather's Pinto Beans 3

 

To this day, I can’t pick up a pack of pinto beans without thinking of my grandfather, his kindness, his generous spirit, and his warm kitchen. For years, I thought pinto beans involved some kind of complicated culinary magic that I might someday be fortunate enough to graduate to.

Apparently my grandfather knew another lesson that I would later learn – cooking doesn’t need to be complicated to be wonderful. His savory, wonderful beans that I have so much reverence for were perhaps the simplest recipe around – one of the original just-add-water recipes.

Beans are so easy, so straightforward, so hard to mess up. You can make them sweet or spicy; you can add vegetables and meat; you can just make a very simple pot with some pepper and salt. Leave them alone on the stove for a few hours and a delightful meal awaits you.

Fall is in the air and the heat in D.C. is (finally) beginning to relent, so try a pot of these this weekend.

 

 Grandfather's Pinto Beans 4

Pinto Beans

1 lb. pinto beans

8 cups water (Beans should be thoroughly covered by an inch or two of water.

2 cups chopped ham

1 bell pepper

1 onion

2 tbl. garlic

2 tbl pepper

1 tbl chili powder

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/2 white wine

Fresh basil leaves

Fresh cilantro

Wash the beans thoroughly. Cover them with water. Add the ham pieces. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat and allow the beans to simmer for an hour and a half or two hours. Chop the bell pepper and onion into quarter-size pieces. Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic, pepper, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, wine, basil, and cilantro. Allow the beans to simmer gently for another two to three hours. Add water if beans become too thick or begin to stick to the pan. Serve with a sprig of cilantro. 

Serve the beans straight from a pot like this one and save on the fussy dishes- this recipe is perfect for camping, outdoor family-style meals, or cozy chilly fall evenings.

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Life | Table | Uncategorized

A Tale of Smelly Plants and Delicious Wraps

July 24, 2013

Once upon a time, an unemployed English major discovered flat bread. And her life (and the life of the happy-go-lucky engineer she was married to) changed forever. Because you can do anything with flat bread. A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

You can put veggies on it. Meat. Rice. Beans. Salsa. Hummus. Mayo. It’s an endless blank slate of colorful possibilities. I have no idea why I’m discovering flat bread at 25. But, readers, don’t be like me. Don’t live without flat bread for one more second.

Let me start at the beginning. The stinky plant was blooming at the Botantical Gardens. In D.C., this is a big deal. Apparently. The Washington Post even ran an article on it. This plant only blooms every couple of years and only is in bloom for 34 hours. Then it dies.

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To top this off, it was advertised as smelling like a dead corpse. (It smelled more like decomposing leaves, but I speak from ignorance, since I’m not around a lot of corpses.)

Obviously, Mark and I had to go see this phenomenon. And I believe every early evening expedition in the summer must be paired with a picnic.

So we went to see the smelly flower and then ate this lucious meal while lounging at the tables on the patio of the Botanical Garden.

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Although the smelly plant is gone for another couple of years, you too can enjoy the picnic part of our expedition.

Here’s how your day should go if you want to end it with a glorious picnic:

1. Buy some flat bread. Costco sells it in big packages of Roll-Up Bread. It’s probably called something else at your local grocery store. It looks like this:

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2. Arrange two pieces of flat-bread on two pieces of foil that are only slightly larger.

3. Make this rice.

4. Spread a thin layer of hummus over the bread, leaving about a 1/2 inch on each side.

5. Chop up some baby kale or spinach. Spread a thin layer of that on the hummus. (Keep every layer thin. Trust me.)

6. Spread a thing layer of the rice over the greens.

7. Chop up some colorful bell peppers. Spread them thinly over the rice. (You’re getting the idea.)

8. Carefully roll the wrap, starting with the end close to you. Push gently on the bread as it can tear easily. (Remember that time I told you to make each layer thin? If you didn’t follow my directions, this whole rolling process will be messy and your wrap won’t be as pretty.)

9. Wrap the pieces in the squares of foil, sealing the ends.

10. Grab some wine (or sparkling water if, like us, you live in a heavily populated area with open-container laws).

11. Have a picnic.

The End.

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