alexandra fleischman

Flavor Play: Quinoa & Cayenne Chocolate Bark Recipe

By Alexandra Fleischman | August 9, 2013

quinoa chocolate bark

I’ve done a lot of things with leftover quinoa, but never this. Lunch, absolutely. Breakfast, sure. But dessert? Yes. Really? Yes.

Quinoa, with its nutty, light flavor, adds a beautiful texture to melted chocolate, it turns out. Is it still healthy? Perhaps not, but its protein makes an unhealthy snack more filling, so I’ll take it.

It’s not necessary, but I made the quinoa into a brittle first, using butter, honey, and cayenne for a kick. I like my chocolate sweet, though, and this bark would be equally good with just the chocolate and the plain, cooked quinoa. I’ve also opted to fold in almonds and a bit of coconut to mine but you can leave that out.

Pickled Nectarine and Wild Rice Bibimbaap Recipe

By Alexandra Fleischman | August 8, 2013

bibimbap, nectarine, wild rice, scallions, cucumber, pickled nectarine, vegetarian

bibimbap, nectarine, wild rice, scallions, cucumber, pickled nectarine, vegetarian

I’ve been thinking about pickled fruits since I saw a Bon Appétit recipe for salad with pickled nectarines.

Bibimbaap is a Korean dish of sautéed vegetables served over steamed white rice with a red chili sauce to mix in, often with a fried egg or bulgogi. To be honest, this recipe is hardly that, but I love the presentation of a bibimbaap.

Why Wild Rice? It’s not incredibly easy to find, but it’s worth it. First of all, it has flavor, unlike its steamed white counterpart. It’s aromatic and earthy, somewhat like tea. But it’s a lot healthier, too. It packs more protein than quinoa, and comes in at fewer calories. Now, wild rice is actually a grain, so I wouldn’t substitute wild rice for white rice in every recipe. But in this salad, it works.

You get the nutty yet tender texture of the wild rice, with the brightness of lime juice, cilantro, and the pickled nectarine. Both go surprisingly well with the heat of the chili, and the cucumber and spinach provide a nice, green relief from the strong flavors.

bibimbap, nectarine, wild rice, scallions, cucumber, pickled nectarine, vegetarian

bibimbap, nectarine, wild rice, scallions, cucumber, pickled nectarine, vegetarian

bibimbap, nectarine, wild rice, scallions, cucumber, pickled nectarine, vegetarian

No-Cook Recipe: Preserved Lemon Cocktail

By Alexandra Fleischman | August 6, 2013

preserved lemons, no cook

Cooking is relaxing for me, as it is for so many, and jam-making has always done the trick. The patience required to make strawberry jam is like a breathing exercise in yoga–you calm down, focus, and soon enough you’re left feeling less stressed-out and a lot less tense. But recently, when I wanted to chill out over a bubbling pan of fruit and sugar, I couldn’t bring myself to do it to myself. Or to my roommate. After all, jam needs heat, and my kitchen rests at a way-above-comfortable hot.

The solution: Preserved Lemons. A staple in Moroccan flavor profiles, lemons get packed in salt, and develop a rich, interesting (and versatile) flavor. You’ll find them in tagines, but you can also add a bit of the lemon rind to pesto for a deeper flavor, or chop it up in a pasta dish or grain salad.

But to keep on relaxing, try adding a bit of the brine to a cocktail for a surprising addition of salt.

Corn and Poblano Socca Pizza Recipe

By Alexandra Fleischman | August 5, 2013

socca pizza, corn, cilantro, poblano pepper, gluten free, vegetarian, chickpea flour, garbanzo bean flour

socca pizza, corn, cilantro, poblano pepper, gluten free, vegetarian, chickpea flour, garbanzo bean flour

For a healthy, gluten-free alternative to bread, chickpea flour hasn’t received the attention it deserves. Today, I used it to make a fast and healthy pizza with a base of socca.

Socca is an unleavened bread traditionally made in the South of France, although you can find it by the name of farinata in Genoa. It’s essentially a crepe, with a very thin batter cooked quickly and in a pan. In a thinner layer than I made for the pizza, socca can be wrapped around a filling or served crispy like chips.

It has become increasingly easier to find chickpea flour at a standard grocery store. Look also for garbanzo bean flour, besan, gram flour, and ceci bean flour alternatively. As far as toppings, anything that you would put on a pizza will work.

This recipe makes one pizza, which makes a large meal for one, or an appetizer for three or four.

Adapted from Bon Appétit and Sprouted Kitchen

 

socca pizza, corn, cilantro, poblano pepper, gluten free, vegetarian, chickpea flour, garbanzo bean flour

Swirl the pan to evenly coat with the batter

socca pizza, corn, cilantro, poblano pepper, gluten free, vegetarian, chickpea flour, garbanzo bean flour

socca pizza, corn, cilantro, poblano pepper, gluten free, vegetarian, chickpea flour, garbanzo bean flour

socca pizza, corn, cilantro, poblano pepper, gluten free, vegetarian, chickpea flour, garbanzo bean flour

No leftovers.

No-Cook Recipe: Peach-Ginger Lassi

By Alexandra Fleischman | July 31, 2013

Photo: The Purple Food

In the summer, my blender gets a lot of use; after all, you get to combine flavors without much work on your end– all in soups, smoothies, sauces, and drinks. When that gets boring, turning to another cuisine can help (especially for smoothies– I don’t believe in the mix-in-all-the-fruit-around philosophy).

For guidance, then, take a look at the lassi. This cold, yogurt-based soft drink packs a load of probiotics into a a smoothie-milkshake hybrid. If you’re not a fan of yogurt, consider trying your hand at horchata, which uses rice, almonds, or sesame seeds for its creamy base.

For more no-cook summer recipes, click here.

No-Cook Recipe: Sauvignon Blanc-Apricot Popsicles

By Alexandra Fleischman | July 25, 2013

Photo: alfleischman

Last week, I shared one of my favorite summertime ways to enjoy a drink: frozen. This week, we’re at it again, except this time I’m starting out with wine. Like a glass of sangria, clerico, or even a spritzer, this is wine in a different (read: more fun, less classy) form. And it’s still really, really good.

The ingredient measurements are left open. Depending on the size of your popsicle mold, you’ll need more or less than I used. (Mine makes three 2-0z. pops in one go, which is pretty small.) But if you end up with leftovers, don’t worry. Unless you end up imbibing what’s left in the cup, make a granita. Pour the leftover onto a plate or sheet pan, freeze, and then scrape off with a fork. Then, serve like a shaved ice and enjoy with a spoon.

This doesn’t yield a sugary popsicle. If you think you’ll want it on the sweeter side, add more sugar or more juice. You don’t need the best wine, either, because you’ll be adding both sugar and juice. (I didn’t even need a bottle opener for what I bought.)

If kids will be enjoying with you, don’t miss these tips for making non-alcoholic popsicles, too.

For more Summer Friendly, No-Cook recipes, click here

Red Grape and Rosemary Mostarda

By Alexandra Fleischman | July 9, 2013

Mostarda-web-625x422

A mostarda combines the flavors of mustard with those of candied fruit– and somehow, it works. Like playing with flavors, the grapes retain their bright, sweet flavor, and the mustard seeds and vinegar add a strong kick.

Enjoy this tart, spicy, and sweet condiment with bread and cheese, on top of grilled meat, or panini-pressed into a sandwich. This recipe makes two small jars, and it keeps for about a week.

Adapted from Epicurious

Massaged Kale Salad Recipe

By Alexandra Fleischman | June 27, 2013

massaged kale, kale, tahini, lemon, kale salad, pomegranate seeds, no cook, recipe, kale recipe

massaged kale, kale, tahini, lemon, kale salad, pomegranate seeds, no cook, recipe, kale recipe

A side of sautéed greens is an easy, elegant classic. But when I made them last week, I regretted it. Unfortunately, even one burner on the stove quickly heats up my small apartment more than one measly window unit can handle.

I turn to a vegetable that wilts beautifully without heat—the one and only, superfood kale. Massaged kale isn’t cooked, per se, but the dressing is worked into the leaves, taking on both the flavor and a softer texture.

How long the kale is massaged controls the softness—most massaged kale salads call for five minutes or less of massaging. Personally, I like my kale a lot softer, massaged for fifteen or more. Tahini adds an undeniable rich, nutty flavor and creamy texture that elevates this side to a memorable (not to mention addictive) dish. The antioxidant-packed pomegranate seeds brighten up the flavor profile, as do the mint and lemon juice.

For more sides of greens, see these recipes:

Healthy Spring Sautee of Overwintered Spinach, Leeks and Carrots

Braised Collard Greens with Masala Caramelized Onions

Quinoa & Greens

Grilled Treviso with Watercress and Creamy Blue Cheese

 

Rhubarb and Avocado Ceviche Recipe

By Alexandra Fleischman | June 26, 2013

ceviche

Rarely do I attempt to serve any type of raw meat or fish. Order it in a restaurant, and at least the chef is responsible for making sure no one gets sick. None of that pressure on me, thank you.

But I love ceviche for how refreshing and light it is, and when it occurred to me that, of course, no cooking is involved, I got past my skittishness, and tried it.

This recipe uses rhubarb juice, which is surprisingly lighter and sweeter than one would expect from raw rhubarb. Nevertheless, it’s acidic enough to use as the marinade. Jalapeños add a little heat, and the scallions add the necessary crunch.

For more ceviche recipes, try:

Sea Scallop Ceviche

Ceviche Nikkei

Crayfish and Crab Ceviche

No-Bake Brownies Recipe

By Alexandra Fleischman | June 19, 2013

Brownies_0021 copy

Brownies_0021 copyThere’s something so special about baking for someone, whether it’s a birthday girl, an under-the-weather colleague, or a boyfriend with a new promotion. Unless, that is, your oven is off limits. No oven, no stove, no brownies.

However, this week, I tried my hand at non-baked brownies. Raw desserts are fascinating to me–the creative substitutions for categorically baked dishes remind me to keep an open mind in the kitchen. This recipe surprised me as well. For a brownie made of melted chocolate, graham crackers, nuts, cocoa powder, and sweetened condensed milk (no eggs, no vanilla extract, no flour?), they do taste like the real thing. The texture is not cake like, but still nice. They’re fudgier than normal brownies, and they should be served cold.

Adapted from Faith Durand’s No-Bake Triple-Chocolate Brownies on Food52.com

no bake brownies

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