Posts Tagged ‘unrecipe of the week’

Unrecipe of the Week: Beet Hummus

March 13, 2017

 

 

Rainbow carrots, beets and radishes, ready to roast. I bet those carrots would have made a delicious hummus too!

Once again, I am in the throes of Whole 30, a healthy elimination diet that is geared towards breaking up with the foods that may be inflammatory to you for a whole 30 days, in effort to better your health, and change your relationship with food. Similar to the Paleo diet, it encourages you to eat fresh, whole foods and eliminate grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, alcohol and anything processed. That pretty much leaves you with fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood and eggs, with a few nuts ( not peanuts!) thrown in for good measure. Unlike the Paleo diet, any form of sweetner, or foods that are compliant, but resembling other foods, are out of the question. Read: alternative grain pancakes, breads or pastas etc.

Most of the time, it’s not so bad, but as the days wear on, it can get a bit dull. Couple that with not being a meat eater and it gets really dull. I thumb through recipe books to find interesting vegetable dishes, and dismiss many of them for having a non-compliant ingredient. Beans, grains, a little crumbled cheese or a drizzle of honey disqualifies the dish from Whole30 compliance. I’m not dying for a pizza, or a cookie; just a new texture, or flavor profile to break up the monotony of it all.

Today, I made a roasted beet hummus accompanied by a pile of raw vegetables to dip in it. The creamy consistancy, the beautiful magenta color and the jolt of tahini hit all of my senses in new way. It’s a great snack, and pairs well with a simple piece of broiled salmon, or a bowl of cold shrimp. Tahini, made of sesame seeds, is also a source of plant based protein. Although hummus is traditionally made from garbanzo beans ( chick peas), it is much like making pesto, where the main ingredient is easily changeable with interesting results.

Beet hummus with carrots and celery

Beet Hummus:

Scrub and trim 3 or 4 beets and toss them with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Roast for about 1 hour at 375 degrees until they are easily pierced with a fork.

Once they are cool enough to handle, rub them gently to remove the skin. Place the beets in the bowl of the food processor with a clove or two of garlic, about 1/4 cup of tahini, and the juice of a lemon. Blend until smooth. Taste to correct flavors.
Beets vary in size, so you may need to add more tahini, lemon, salt or garlic depending on your taste.

Serve drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds as a garnish if desired.

Enjoy!

Check out our post on Cauliflower Hummus for another variation.

Photos by Glasshouse Images and indigo jones.

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Unrecipe of the Week: Arugula, Radicchio + Pear Salad

February 2, 2017

We’re always dreaming up new salads to help our catering clients get their greens. This week, we were inspired by a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis for an arugula, radicchio and pear salad. That’s all we needed to know, to set us off on our own journey towards salad greatness.

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We started with the greens, and built it from there. Adding sliced pears (soaked in lemon juice to keep them from browning), ricotta salata cheese, and a sprinkling of toasted walnuts for a finishing touch, we dressed it in a honey, dijon dressing that was just the right balance of sweet and tart.  This is light enough to be a starter, and interesting enough to be the centerpiece of a meal, with a little sliced chicken or some white beans to up the protein quotient.

Arugula, Radicchio and Pear Salad:

Wash baby arugula and radicchio, cored and sliced thin and place it in a bowl. Slice ricotta salata and pears into thick matchsticks. Toss with Honey Dijon Vinaigette, and sprinkle with toasted walnuts.

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Honey Dijon Vinaigrette:

Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 heaping teaspoon of dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Be sure to taste, and add more vinegar if it seems too sweet.

BONUS: Don’t limit yourself to salad! I used this vinaigrette on a simply broiled piece of salmon and it was delicious! It was just thick enough to coat the fish, and give it a tasty glaze. Yum!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Eggplant With Yogurt + Pomegranate Seeds

October 19, 2016

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Last week, I was looking for a few great side dishes that were hearty enough, and interesting enough for a vegetarian to eat in lieu of the racks of lamb that I was serving to the carnivores. After searching through famed chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s book “Plenty,” I stumbled upon his recipe for roasted eggplant with a buttermilk yogurt sauce, topped with za’atar and pomegranate seeds. It fit all of my criteria and then some. It was special enough to stand on it’s own. It had seasonal elements, was healthy, and full of flavor. The cool buttermilk yogurt sauce was smooth and creamy against the texture of the roasted eggplant, and the pomegranate added a touch of sweet crunch. The fact that it came together quickly was a bonus. It’s no wonder that Mr. Ottolenghi chose this for the cover recipe of his book!

roasted eggplant

roasted eggplant

Roasted Eggplant With Buttermilk Sauce adapted from “Plenty”:

Split 4 small eggplants vertically. Brush with olive oil until the pieces are fully saturated. The oil eggplant will absorb the oil, so be liberal with it. Sprinkle the halves with thyme leaves and salt and pepper. Roast in a 350-400 degree oven for about 30 minutes until the flesh is soft and they are nicely browned. Allow them to cool slightly.

For the sauce, whisk together 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt with about 8 or 9 tablespoons of buttermilk and 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir in 1 clove of garlic, minced as finely as possible, or pressed in a garlic press, and a pinch of salt.

To serve, spoon the sauce over the eggplant halves, sprinkle them with za’atar* and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy!

*Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix. It is available at specialty markets, and it is also easy to make at home.

Za’atar:

Combine about 1 tablespoon each of oregano, ground cumin, salt, pepper, and sesame seeds. Many people also use sumac, but I didn’t have any and I didn’t miss it!

Photo: top: Epicurious | bottom: indigo jones

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Unrecipe of the Week: Savory Tomato and Avocado Butters

August 24, 2016

Avocado toast has taken over the planet, in every iteration from simply smashed to decorative avocado roses. We just stumbled across this recipe for avocado butter from Alton Brown, and knew we had to try it. Oh the possibilities!  Smear it on toast, rub it corn on the cob or spread it on a piece of fish. We could go on and on with ideas for this one.

And then we saw a recipe on the Kitchn for tomato butter and started dreaming of it tossed with fresh pasta, topped on a piece of chicken or spread on bread. Whatever your fancy, these savory compound butters are a must try.

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Avocado Butter:(adapted from Alton Brown)
Combine 2 avocados, peeled and pitted with 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, a garlic clove, a healthy squirt or 2 of lemon juice, a small handful of cilantro leaves, 2 teaspoons of toasted cumin seeds and salt and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor. Process until well combined.

Spoon the mixture onto plastic wrap and form into a log. Refrigerate for several hours until formed. Slice and use as desired.

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Tomato Butter:( adapted from the Kitchn)

Place tomatoes under the broiler and cook until they are blistered and start releasing their juice. Cool to room temperature. (use 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, or about 2 cups of regular tomatoes)

Combine the tomatoes with 2 sticks of unsalted butter, salt, a tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves and black pepper in the food processor. Pulse until the tomatoes are finely chopped and the mixture is well combined.  You can roll this into a log as above, or put it in a crock in the refrigerator to store.

Enjoy!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Poptails

August 8, 2016

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This has been one of the hottest summers on the record books. Cold rosé is being turned into “frozé” and cocktails are being frozen into pops to help beat the heat. Last weekend, I hosted a few ladies for brunch, and we kicked off the day with a refreshing “poptail,” to get our party started. Later, as the guys came by to join us, they were starting to get a bit melted. No worries there; we simply plopped them in a glass and poured some champagne over them for a drink that was part kir royale, and part smoothie. Either way, it was a hit!
While this recipe is super simple and tasty, you could take almost any summer cocktail and freeze them in ice pop molds with good results. Besides, isn’t everything better on a stick?

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Strawberry Grapefruit Poptails

Place 1 pound of strawberries, washed and hulled into the blender. Add about 1 cup of grapefruit juice (fresh is best, but unsweetened natural juice is fine too!) and puree until thick and smooth. Add about 5-6 oz. of vodka and blend.

Pour the mixture into ice pop molds and freeze until the are just starting to solidify. Place the sticks in the molds and freeze until firm.

To remove from the mold, run the bottoms under warm water to make them easier to pull out and enjoy!

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Unrecipe Of The Week: Shrimp + Watermelon

July 25, 2016

Watermelon Shrimp

Last weekend, we went to a Mediteranean restaurant in the Village, and shared a few small plates and a bottle of rosé. The standout dish of the evening was grilled shrimp and watermelon. The combination was refreshing on a hot summer’s night, and completely delicious. The shrimp were grilled with fresh lemon and herbs, and drizzled with a little feta cheese. Each one was served atop a perfectly cut cube of watermelon, making the dish as visually exciting as it was flavorful.

We couldn’t wait to try to whip up our own version at home. We thought this was good enough to be put on a pedestal, so we perched our shrimp atop a column of watermelon. If you want to speed up the process and serve it as a main course, go ahead and cube the watermelon in a bowl, drizzle it with aged balsamic vinegar, and crumble some feta on it. Serve the shrimp on the side.

Watermelon Shrimp

Grilled Shrimp + Watermelon:
For the shrimp: Peel and devein the shrimp. Rinse and pat dry.

Mix together the juice of one lemon, a large “glug” of olive oil,  a clove or two of  finely minced garlic, some dried oregano and fresh thyme leaves. Add the shrimp, and let them marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour. The shrimp will start to “cook” a bit from the acid in the lemon. Don’t over marinate, or they will become mushy.

Remove the shrimp and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Grill (we used a grill pan on the stove top) for a couple of minutes on each side until the shrimp are pink and opaque. Do not overcook!

Assembling the dish: Drizzle a bit of aged balsamic vinegar* onto a serving plate. Line up the watermelon cubes on the plate and perch a shrimp on top of each one. Squeeze a little more lemon on them if desired. Crumble a bit of feta cheese over the top, and enjoy!

* aged balsamic vinegar is usually sold in a smaller bottle than the regular type, and has been aged for a much longer period of time. The result is a sweeter vinegar, and an almost syrup-like consistency.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: One Pan Chicken Dinner

June 13, 2016

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Dinner doesn’t get more basic than roasted chicken with potatoes and a green vegetable. Today’s unrecipe lets you make the entire meal all in one pan. It doesn’t get much simpler than that! The chicken is roasted to perfection, yielding crisp skin and tender, juicy meat. The potatoes take on extra flavor from the chicken drippings, with a crusty outside and a fluffy interior. The asparagus gets tossed in during the last 15 minutes of cooking time, to keep it al dente. Add some lemon and a little garlic and dijon mustard and you have the making of a mouth watering feast.

Your dinner partners will thank you for the delicous meal. You’ll thank us for only having to wash one pan. It’s a winner of a chicken dinner for all involved!

Pan Roasted Chicken With Fingerling Potatoes and Asparagus:

Layer the potatoes in the bottom of the roasting pan, and toss with olive oil and a little salt. If they are larger potatoes, cut them into chunks. We used tiny little fingerlings, and left them whole.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, garlic, dijon mustard and a little olive oil. Massage the mixture onto both sides of the chicken and place it on top of the potatoes. Tuck a few lemon slices in amongst the chicken pieces, and roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until the potatoes start to brown and the chicken skin is nice and crispy. Toss in the , trimmed and cut into 3″ pieces, and continue to cook until the asparagus starts to soften, but is still crisp, and the chicken and potatoes are fully cooked, about 15 minutes more.  Remove from the oven and enjoy!

In the spirit of a true Unrecipe, you can use any type of potato, and most any green vegetable. Try Idaho, red russet or even sweet potatoes, cut up. Toss in green beans, broccoli or zucchini spears instead of asparagus. Add a some olives, or artichoke hearts. Why not stretch your creativity a bit. It’s only on pan.

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Unrecipe of the Week: Asparagus Frites

May 9, 2016

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With spring comes showers, flowers and of course, asparagus. We usually roast ours, often with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. This unrecipe takes our asparagus game up a notch, by coating it with a blend of breadcrumbs and parmesan and baking it until it is crispy and crunchy. The best news is that because they are baked and not fried, they still maintain their healthy status!

oven fried asparagus

Asparagus Frites:

Wash the asparagus and trim off the tough ends of the stalk.

Cover a baking pan with parchment, and spray or brush it with olive oil.

Prepare 3 dishes for breading: 1 with flour, 1 with an egg whisked with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and another with breadcrumbs ( you can use regular, whole wheat or panko, a Japanese bread crumb, or a mixture of both) blended with an equal amount of grated parmesan cheese, and a little salt and black pepper to taste.

Roll each asparagus spear first in the flour, then the egg mixture and finally in the breadcrumb / parmesan mixture. Place the breaded asparagus on the prepared pan and spray with olive oil.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, turning after 8-10 minutes to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven when they are golden brown and cripsy. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste, and enjoy!

For a more decadent experience, dip them in lemony hollandaise sauce!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Fish Tacos With Avocado Mango Salsa

April 27, 2016

Taco Tuesday got an upgrade at our house last night, with these…

Fresh roasted cod, and a bright mango, avocado salsa were a welcome change from the usual ground beef and guac version.

A quick trip to Whole Foods with nothing in mind provided inspiration for this creation. The cod was on special at the fish counter, and the first display in the adjacent produce area featured avocados and mangos, sitting right next to each other. It didn’t take much more than that to get my thoughts racing. A little cilantro? Perhaps some ginger? Definitely lime juice!

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As Unrecipes go, this is easily adapted to suit your taste. We don’t know which part of this one is the best; that it is healthy, tasty or that it came together in about 15 minutes! Give it a try and tell us what you think…

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Fish Tacos With Avocado Mango Salsa

For the fish:

Season any meaty white fish with salt, pepper, ground cumin and a drizzle of olive oil. Squeeze some lime juice over it and broil it until the flesh is opaque and the fish is flakey. We used cod, but tilapia, halibut or mahi mahi would work equally well.

Studio shot of avocado

Studio shot of avocado

For the salsa: 

Peel and cut 1 mango and 1 avocado and put it in a bowl. Add a little finely minced fresh ginger, and a handful of chopped cilantro. Squeeze the juice of a lime over it and mix. We added some black pepper and some cayenne pepper, but if you prefer, you can dice a little fresh jalapeño instead. If you don’t have a raw onion hater in the house (that would be me!), add some finely  diced red onion to the mix.

To serve, place the fish and the salsa on a warm whole grain tortilla. We added a little toasted pinenut cous cous, roll it up, and enjoy!

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Zucchini Soup

April 11, 2016

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The calendar may say it is spring, but around here, its pretty darn cold out there! With some states having snow, winter is clearly not over yet. Its a perfect day to whip up some soup. This one doesn’t take long, and has a creamy, velvety textures without using a drop of cream!It is so quick, you can make it on a weekday, and enjoy it for lunch in the days to come.

Zucchini is a favorite of mine, magically manefesting itself into zoodles, chips, breads, salads, and this delcious soup. It was on sale at my local vegetable market this week for $1.50 for 2 pounds,(super cheap by New York standards) so I happen to have a few in the house, and very little else. Sounds like zucchini soup time to me!

Zucchini Soup:
Dice a small onion and a clove or two of garlic and saute in olive oil or butter until translucent. Add a few diced zucchini to the pot and saute another minute or two.
Add enough chicken or vegetable broth to the pot to cover the vegetables by at least an inch, and simmer with the lid on for about 15- 2o minutes or so, until the zucchini is soft.

Puree the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

You can adapt this by adding a little fresh thyme to the pot while the zucchini is cooking, and a few tablespoons of parmesan cheese to the pureed soup, to give it a little extra zip.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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