Roasted Asparagus with Bacon

Roasted Asparagus with Bacon

Courtesy of "meal prep Sunday", I give you... the easiest most delicious Asparagus recipe known to man kind!! 

Growing up I was a freak when it came to veggies - broccoli was my crack. Carrots were my second in command, and all others third... except for asparagus. The only vegetable I was never excited about my mom making was asparagus. I mean, I'd eat it of course, it was green and a vegetable. (I never said I was a "normal" child). Now, if my mom prepared asparagus like this - I think carrots would be given a run for their money (Broccoli can't be touched ... It's on top that pedestal with a trophy in one hand and medal around it's tree-trunk neck).

I wasn't even sure if I should post this as a recipe since it is so straight forward, however, after living with several people that needed instructions on boiling water and making pasta, I thought "Hey, why not! I'm sure there are people that this would interest!" SO - hopefully my awkward internal dialog was correct. Please let me know. 

Back to business - try this on for size and let me know how you find it.

Serves: 2-3 people (or 1 if you are me)
Prep time: 3 minutes
Total time: 25-35 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb asparagus spears
  • 3 pieces bacon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch pepper

*parchment paper
*baking tray

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Rinse the asparagus and cut the very ends off, the thick bottoms, not the tree-like tops.
3. Lay them out on a parchment lined backing tray. Make sure they do not overlap one another.
4. Sprinkle the salt and pepper and then place the bacon strips on top.
5. Pop them into the oven for 20-30 minutes (depending on the thickness of the asparagi(?) and your preference for doneness. 

Roasted Head of Cauliflower with Za'atar and Tahini Dressing

Roasted Cauliflower Tahini

So I went to Israel this Summer and had my first taste of za'atar and omg, I literally stopped in my tracks. I was standing out a counter in Tzfat and just starting asking everyone I was with- What is this?! What is in this dish?! It was probably my most talked about conversation throughout the entire trip. Naturally, I bought za'atar at the market in Jerusalem and have been tossing that spice into most of what I make- eggs, veggies, chicken- SO GOOD. But sadly, I'm running low on the stash I bought in Israel. However, I shall be making this recipe until all of the za'atar has been eaten!

This is so so super delicious and so so SO easy to make. Seriously. Like weekday dinner easy to make!!

But first - a lesson on za'atar:

There are several different varieties of za'atar that tend to vary with region, however, they are all based around the ingredient wild thyme with sesame seeds. Different regions incorporate different added seasonings like coriander and sumac, oregano and fennel. You can tell just by looking at the four different regional variations that they vary greatly. When I was in Israel I had no idea there was any variation- I was just told "Za'atar", the green vaguely marijuana looking herb with sesame seeds. 

I read much of the cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi before I knew much about Za'atar beyond that it was delicious and I couldn't get enough of it. In their cookbook, they dedicated two pages in describing the spice that I found fascinating.

"Za'atar is part and parcel of the Palestinian heritage... Za'atar has now also become central to modern Israeli cuisine... Regrettably, za'atar has joined the long list of thorny subjects poisoning the fraught relationship between Arabs and Jews, when the Israeli authorities declared the herb an endangered species and banned picking it in the wild. Though a compelling argument was made about preserving the dwindling population of wild za'atar, the decree was taken without any form of dialogue with Arabs, who see it as a deliberate violation of their way of life" (Jerusalem 34-35). 

The importance of za'atar, the history, the tradition, is rooted in the Palestinian culture. The argument and heat is not over the spice but over their culture in reaction to the spice as integrated in Israeli culture.

This topic is QUITE fascinating. Let me know if you would like me to dive deeper into this conversation - I spent a semester talking about Palestinian foods and Israeli foods and their relationship and importance. Not a beautiful story, but a fascinating one.

 Israeli, Lebanese, Jordanian, and Syrian/Aleppo Za'atar as sold at Kalustyan's, the amazing spice market in NYC. 

Israeli, Lebanese, Jordanian, and Syrian/Aleppo Za'atar as sold at Kalustyan's, the amazing spice market in NYC. 

And now for the recipe... drum roll please...

Cauliflower-
1 head of cauliflower
1.5 teaspoon of za'atar
1.5 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped (~1 teaspoon)

Tahini Dressing*-
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 small clove garlic (~1/2 teaspoon)
pinch salt

 UHOH. I did not realize how awful these pictures were when I took them. *cover monkey eyes emoji*

UHOH. I did not realize how awful these pictures were when I took them.
*cover monkey eyes emoji*

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line a parchment lined baking tray.
2. Cut the stem and leaves off of the cauliflower head.
3. In a small bowl mix the za'atar, olive oil, salt, and garlic and liberally coat the entire head of cauliflower.
4. Pop the sucker into the oven for 30 minutes.
5. In a small bowl, mix all of the dressing ingredients
6. Serve cauliflower warm with the dressing drizzled on top or on the side to dip in.

*3/2/1 ratio of tahini/water/lemon juice is a great place to start. 

Roasted Sliced Cauliflower Tahini Dressing Za'atar

Fig & Onion Jam

Fig and Onion Jam

All right y’all. Here we go! I came up with this recipe on a whim. I was looking through my new cookbook obsession, Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi try to figure out what to make for dinner. Since the cooler weather is upon us (I’m so excited!) I just had to make this Butternut Squash & Tahini Spread. It was delicious. However, the recipe calls for date syrup to pour on top of the squash and I did not have any dates. I did however just buy fresh figs that day, which are also sweet. So I made a fig and onion jam off the cuff and it worked really well!

This condiment is super straightforward and easy, and pretty hard to mess up ;)

 This is the jam in a butternut squash & tahini spread nest. 

This is the jam in a butternut squash & tahini spread nest. 

Makes: about ½ cup
Hands on time: 10-15 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Fig & Onion Jam

4 pieces of bacon, diced
1 tablespoon of bacon fat (or ghee)
1 cup of chopped/sliced figs (about 5 small figs)
3 small sliced yellow onions (about 2.5 cups)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette
pinch of pink himalayan salt
pinch of cracked black pepper

1. In a pan on medium heat, add the bacon pieces.
2. After they have begun to release the fat, add the onions.
3. Cook the onions for about 15-20 minutes, mixing every few minutes.
4. Once the onions are browned, add the figs and cook for 6 minutes mixing every few minutes.
5. Mix the balsamic in.
6. Remove from heat and let cool a bit.
7. Blend with a stick blender (that’s easiest since it’s not a large quantity of ingredients) and add the salt and pepper.
8. Eat with everything, on (gluten free) toast, with a (goat cheese) omelette, with butternut squash, with salmon, with chicken… o0o0o you could pound chicken into thin cutlets and then stuff it with the jam and wrap it up and bake it. OMG! Maybe even then wrap the chicken in bacon. Eeeek!


music note

Music on the menu for
Fig & Onion Jam: 

A little throwback with Bon Iver. Maybe it makes you depressed, maybe it makes you crave comfort food. I choose the latter.

Breaded Zucchini Sticks

CSA’s are the best. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, a small farm or a portion of a farm that is supported by members. You purchase a ‘share’, which enables you to pick up a variety of in season fruits and vegetables every single week. These fruits and vegetables are usually treated far nicer than the ones you find in your grocery store, and you can tell because the foods are always GORGEOUS. The zucchini that I’ve been receiving from my (super awesome) CSA have been out of this world. The flavor and textures have been spot on, not to mention stunning to look at. This is what I threw together with one of my zucchinis :) 

Check out www.justfood.org for more information on CSA’s and CSA’s near you! I highly recommend it. Seeing where your foods comes from and knowing who is growing it is a freaking awesome and cool experience. It gives a larger dimension to your food and your cooking.

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CSA share
CSA share

Breaded Zucchini Sticks

  Sorry for the god awful picture :/   I didn't expect to write a post about them, but they were SO good. My boyfriend and I couldn't stop eating them until they were all gone *whoops*. Aka we couldn't stop eating them long enough to take a decent picture... and also I was running out to a baseball game- GO SOX! ;)  

Sorry for the god awful picture :/ I didn't expect to write a post about them, but they were SO good. My boyfriend and I couldn't stop eating them until they were all gone *whoops*. Aka we couldn't stop eating them long enough to take a decent picture... and also I was running out to a baseball game- GO SOX! ;)  

Serving: 3 people, makes about 1 baking tray
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 24-30 minutes

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1-2 large egg(s)
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup cashew meal
  • ¼ teaspoon (himalayan) salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 tablespoon mix seasoning (I used a mixed seasoning that I bought at the market in Israel when I was there a couple weeks back, it has some paprika, tumeric (which is why they are slightly yellowy)… not sure what else- sorry! This would be great with cayenne and chili or dried oregano, dried basil, and lemon!)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Cut zucchini into small sticks
2. Whisk 1 egg in a bowl (reserve the second egg, only use if the first egg runs out before all of your zucchini's are breaded)
3. In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the bottom with 2 teaspoons of olive oil- just enough to thinly coat the bottom so the breaded zucchini doesn’t stick and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
5. Bread sticks one at a time, coat with egg then coat with the 'flour' mixture.
6. Once coated place them on the parchment lined baking sheet. Be sure not to crowd them so they can brown on all sides.
7. Place the filled tray into the oven and turn the timer on 12 minutes.
8. At 12 minutes check to see that the tops are browning slightly. Once the bottoms are dark brown but not burnt, flip the zucchini over and bake for another 12-15 minutes. 


MANGIA!

beats

Music on the menu for
Zucchini Bread Sticks:
 

Recap: Cooking Demo

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Something pretty awesome happened last week. This rad friend of mine who is a super awesome radio DJ in New York City (check it) runs summer camps in the city. I ran into her a couple weeks ago in the subway (fate) and she asked me to speak and do a Paleo-centric cooking demo for a high school cooking summer program she was running.

I did, it went well. The end.

---

Just kidding. That’s not the whole story. So she asked me to do this demo and seminar for 40 high school kids. I couldn’t incorporate nuts, they didn’t have a fully functioning kitchen, and hardly any cooking tools. I really wanted so badly to have the kids make their own flavors of Healthy Chewy Bars, but alas both nuts and lugging my large food processor were out. I thought about making my Swoon Worthy  Bacon Caramel Chocolates, but they didn’t have a freezer.. sooo that was also out. After loads and loads of thinking, I decided to have the kids make my Bacon Wrapped Butternut Squash Spears with Sage recipe. It is a simple and the preperation and time allows for plenty of  discussion and questions (and apparently small grease fires, nbd). I also wanted to show how simple making mayonnaise is and how versatile it can be with different flavors. It’s da simple switches in your diet doe. ;) But really, little swaps go a long way! Oh! And I pre-made a version of my Bacon Caramel Chocolates to pass around, because bacon+caramel+chocolate. Nuff said.

Anyway, I talked to the kiddies about Paleo, what Paleo is, Paleo misconceptions, and basic points of Paleo (good fats/bad fats, bad sugars/OK sugars, gluten and grain, and dairy). A handful of kids had actually heard of Paleo and two had even tried it. I was so very impressed! One even said it made him have more energy and feel better *high five*!

We chatted a bunch, I asked questions, they asked questions, and we cooked. The points that I hope were taken from the demo actually aren’t necessarily Paleo specific.

-What foods make YOU feel good? Eat those!
-What foods don’t make you feel good? Avoid those! Eliminate grains and dairy for a few weeks and then slowly incorporate them. You might have felt good before, but maybe you’ll feel even better after!
-If you’re cooking anyway, you may as well cook food that makes your mind and body happy!
-Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t let eating a certain ‘diet’ define you or your social life. If you do decide to eat Paleo, you don’t need to feel guilty for occasionally splurging and eating something ‘non-Paleo’ as a treat. But treat it as a treat and exception ;)


As this awesome Paleo superstar says, paleYOU!

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