Shrimp and mixed vegetables with coconut-basil sauce recipe

shrimp and vegetable stir fry with coconut-basil sauce | pamela salzman

I was talking to some friends the other day about our college-aged daughters, some of whom already live in off-campus housing and are no longer on meal plans.  That is, they have divorced themselves from dining hall food and have embraced the world of kitchenettes and home cooking.  I remember my first semester off meal plan.  I had visions of cooking up all sorts of wondrous things like lasagne or chicken Marbella or homemade bread and flourless chocolate cakes, my specialities in 1989.  But alas, I actually had to study night and day so that one day I might be employable.  No time to fuss in the kitchen since there was no way I would be making a career in the food industry.  Good gracious, no.  The irony.

shrimp and vegetable stir fry with coconut-basil sauce | pamela salzman

Alas, when I do think back to that era, anytime I did cook up something, it had to be fast, reasonably nutritious and budget-friendly.  I made A LOT of stir-fries.  I made so many stir-fries, I owned a wok.  I was 20.  So as I was talking to these other mamas about our girls and my possibly do a little cooking class for them this summer, I thought I would definitely start with a stir-fry.

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How to Make Healthy and Delicious Summer Rolls *VIDEO*

I love summer rolls — crunchy, fresh, and flavorful all wrapped in a delicate rice paper wrapper.  Summer rolls are one of those things I never thought I could make at home.  The wrappers, the rolling, the sauce!  Not only are they way easier than I imagined, but they can be quite the nutritious dish to boot.  Filled with loads of raw veggies and herbs, a summer roll is like a salad all wrapped up in a neat little package.  In the video above, I go a pretty traditional route with avocado, cabbage, carrots and herbs, but also I use less traditional roasted sweet potato sticks and shredded Brussels sprouts.  Rice paper is so neutral.  Who says you couldn’t put a cobb salad in there or poached chicken, corn, cabbage and barbecue sauce?  I say the sky’s the limit and can we talk about perfect these would be for school lunches?!  Per-fect!

If you want to make these in advance, cover them with a damp paper towel and refrigerate for ideally up to one day, but I’ve even kept them 2 or 3 days.

healthy and delicious summer rolls | pamela salzman

5.0 from 3 reviews
Healthy and Delicious Summer Rolls
Author: 
Serves: 8 rolls
 
Ingredients
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter, preferably organic (or cashew or almond butter)
  • 1 Tablespoon unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ Tablespoon raw honey (choose a mild flavor)
  • ½ Tablespoon water
  • ½ Tablespoon shoyu or gluten-free tamari
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • For the summer rolls:
  • 8 (8-inch) rice paper rounds, plus additional in case some tear
  • 1 large sweet potato, (peeled if desired) and cut into ¼” matchsticks
  • unrefined coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 medium brussels sprouts, thinly sliced or shredded
  • ¼ head of small red cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded, grated, or julienned
  • 1 large avocado, cut into thin slices
  • handful each of fresh mint leaves, basil leaves and cilantro leaves
  • Other possibilities: cooked shrimp, chicken, tempeh or tofu, cooked rice noodles
Instructions
  1. To make the sauce: whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl or a glass jar and set aside. *
  2. To make the summer rolls: Drizzle the sweet potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 18-20 minutes until tender.
  3. Fill a shallow baking dish or a skillet with warm water. Soak 1 rice paper round (make sure there are no holes) in warm water until pliable, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the water and transfer to a plate or cutting board.
  4. Spread 2 teaspoons of peanut sauce on the rice paper (or omit and use as a dip once rolls are assembled) and top with 2-3 large mint leaves, 1-2 large basil leaves, a pinch of cilantro leaves, a
  5. pinch each of the Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and carrot, a few sticks of sweet potato, and a couple of avocado slices, taking care not to overstuff. Roll up rice paper tightly around filling, folding in sides and continue rolling.
  6. Transfer summer roll to a plate and cover with dampened paper towels.
  7. Make the remaining rolls in the same manner. Serve rolls halved on the diagonal.
  8. Store in the fridge covered with a damp paper towel 2-3 days.
Notes
* Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature and re-emulsify before using.

You are going to have so much fun making these summer rolls!

By the way, I have a YouTube channel!  I would love it if you subscribed over here.  Thank you!

Roasted carrots with garlic yogurt recipe

© RB Photography
© RB Photography

I’m squeezing in another recipe before Mother’s Day in case you need a surefire hit for your lunch or brunch this weekend.  I taught this roasted carrot recipe in my March classes and I didn’t get one bite the entire month because there were never any left!  I made a huge quantity every time and it was never enough.  Everyone flipped for these.  So I know if you make them, they will be an instant hit.  Plus, this is the easiest recipe so I know you will have success!

multi-colored carrots

The inspiration for this recipe came from a guide we met while we were in Turkey last summer.  We had the loveliest guide, a very intellectual professor who was quite serious about the ruins he was showing us.  And then he asked me what kind of work I did and when I responded I was a cooking instructor with a food blog, he stopped in his tracks.  “I would love to be a food blogger,” he responded.  I thought that was so cute and endearing.  So of course, the history lessons went out the window because all our guide wanted to talk about was food, Turkish food especially.  This was fine with me because I am fascinated with cuisines from all over the world.  I always learn so much when I travel and our trip to Turkey was no exception.

making the garlic yogurt

Long story short, our guide convinced me there was an easy and delicious Turkish recipe I had to share with my American students.  He told me to quickly sauté grated carrots and top them with a thick garlic yogurt.  “That’s it!  And it’s so good,”  he proudly exclaimed.

spread the garlic yogurt on platter

I tried it shortly after we returned home and it was indeed an easy recipe and it was indeed delicious.  I loved the contrast of the sweetness of the carrots and the tartness of the yogurt.  But it was rather unattractive, especially after mixing the grated carrots with the yogurt.  I’m sure you can imagine.  So the recipe I am posting today is, I hate to say it, a more attractive twist on my Turkish tour guide’s recipe.  But it is just as delicious and just as simple.  I have served this for many a dinner.  It is delicious alongside roasted chicken or lamb, as well as salmon.  But I think this would be delicious on a brunch menu with a quiche or frittata and a green salad.

roasted carrots with garlic yogurt | pamela salzman

Carrots are incredibly delicious roasted, if you haven’t tried them this way.  Even standard orange carrots develop an incredible sweetness when roasted.  I love to use unrefined coconut oil when roasting because it just enhances the natural sweetness of the carrots and it has a higher smoke point than unsaturated fats, but you can use olive oil, too.  I very often see purple carrots at my farmers market and Carnival heirloom carrots at Trader Joe’s.  Those are especially beautiful to use for this recipe!  If the carrots are thin, I don’t even bother to cut them.  The larger ones I slice in half.

roasted carrots with garlic yogurt | pamela salzman

© RB Photography
© RB Photography

The one question I was asked more than any other was about the raw garlic in the yogurt and if there was a substitution.  There really isn’t that much of it and I personally don’t think the garlic flavor was really that pronounced, but for those people who really don’t like it, I would say to omit it or blend roasted garlic into the yogurt.  Roasted garlic is much more mellow and sweet than raw.  Check this link for how to roast garlic.  I also think there are other roasted vegetables that would be delicious with the yogurt, like eggplant or cauliflower, even curried cauliflower.  Here’s hoping someone makes this for you this Mother’s Day!

roasted carrots with garlic yogurt | pamela salzman

© RB Photography
© RB Photography

5.0 from 1 reviews
Roasted Carrots with Garlic Yogurt
Author: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 bunches farmer’s market carrots, tops trimmed or 1 ½ pounds regular carrots, cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted or unrefined olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • za’tar (optional)
  • Garlic Yogurt: (if you love yogurt, double the recipe)
  • ¾ cup whole, unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 1 medium-large clove garlic, grated
  • ⅜ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Place the carrots on the prepared baking sheet and toss to coat with coconut oil.  Arrange carrots in one layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast carrots for 20-25 minutes, until tender but still with a bite.
  4. Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce.  Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  5. When carrots are done roasting, sprinkle them with za’tar.
  6. Spread the garlic yogurt in the center of a platter and arrange the carrots on top.

The perfect spring salad recipe

the perfect spring salad | pamela salzman

I just had to squeeze in this last recipe before Easter (and Passover) in the hopes that some of you are still looking for inspiration!  I taught this salad all last month in my classes and it was THE salad I seemed to make all the time last year when I had people over for dinner in the spring.  Spring is the operative word here since there is no mistaking in what season this salad lives.   I mean just look at it!  It is everything spring should be  — bursting with lightness, color and a breath of fresh air!  And full of veggies that come into being in the spring.  Plus it’s beautiful and it will go perfectly with whatever you’re making.  Leg of lamb, perfect.  Baked ham?  Perfect.  Roast chicken or fish.  Perfect.

cut watermelon radishes crosswise

The key with this salad is the balance of textures and colors.  You want to keep everything somewhat delicate which is why I love Bibb or Butter lettuces.  I found this beautiful red-leaf butter lettuce at my farmers market and used it for every class.  But then you need to do your best to slice all the hard and crunchy stuff as thinly as you can, again to keep things light.  I used my food processor to thinly slice the cabbage, carrots and radishes.  If you have a 2mm or 1 mm slicing disc for your Cuisinart, I would use that.  My new Breville has an adjustable slicing disc, so I turned it to just under 1 mm.  I especially like bitter vegetables like radishes to be on the thin side.  If you don’t have a food processor and your mandolin scares you (I don’t blame you), then just get out your sharpest knife and do your best.  You can even do matchsticks for the radishes and grated carrots.

try to find heirloom carrots

 

Trader Joe's Organic Microgreens

See if you can find beautiful heirloom carrots in purple or yellow and watermelon radishes like the ones here which are so dramatic!  I was able to find such carrots at my farmers market as well as Trader Joe’s.  My Whole Foods has had these radishes for the last three weeks.  Stunning!  They will make you look so good.  Your family and friends will be so impressed with whatever dish is graced with sliced watermelon radishes!  Truth be told however, my favorite component of this salad is the fresh chives.  Light, grassy with a very mild onion flavor, chives are like the most delicate green onions.  I just love them in this salad and others, too.  You know how much I enjoy shallots in my salad dressings, but I don’t add them here because the shallots offer enough of that flavor.  Even if you don’t make this recipe, consider adding chopped fresh chives to your next salad.  I know you won’t be disappointed!

the perfect spring salad | pamela salzman

You can do so much with this salad including adding feta, mint leaves, walnuts, avocado, oranges or kumquats.  There’s plenty of dressing for you to add in any of these.  Speaking of dressing, since there’s nothing in this one that can spoil, feel free to make this well in advance.  I’m sure it would do just fine in the fridge for 2 weeks.  It will firm up though because of the olive oil, so remember to pull it out of the fridge at least 20 minutes before you wish to serve it.

the perfect spring salad | pamela salzman

I hope you have a beautiful holiday, shared with the ones you love!  xoxo

the perfect spring salad | pamela salzman

the perfect spring salad | pamela salzman

the perfect spring salad | pamela salzman

The Perfect Spring Salad
Author: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 1 large or 2 small heads butter lettuce, washed, spun dry and leaves torn into bite size pieces (about 16 cups)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 4 radishes, sliced as thin as possible
  • 2 carrots, preferably purple, scrubbed clean and julienned or sliced super thin
  • ½ 1.75 ounce box micro greens
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, chopped
  • For the dressing: (this will provide slightly more than you need, but will allow for a few add-ins)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, preferably raw
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 6-8 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil (depending on strength of vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • Other additions/substitutions: a few kumquats sliced crosswise, chopped sugar snap peas, thinly sliced fennel, avocado, feta cheese, edible flowers, walnuts, mint leaves, flaky sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place the butter lettuce in a large bowl and layer the remaining ingredients on top.
  2. Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl or screw top jar and whisk or shake to combine.
  3. Drizzle just enough dressing to coat lightly and toss together.  Finish with a sprinkle of flaky sea, if desired.

Caldo Tlalpeño Soup Recipe (with quinoa!)

Caldo Tlalpeno Soup |Pamela Salzman

I think I was 19 years old when I tried avocado for the first time.  No joke.  In my defense, I was living on Long Island and we ate according to the seasons, and fairly locally, in the old days.  I don’t remember ever even seeing an avocado in our supermarkets, let alone my mom buying one and knowing what to do with it.  Even when I went to college in Philadelphia, I don’t recall any Mexican restaurants on campus or avocado at the dining hall salad bars.

saute the aromatics

But I do remember visiting my college boyfriend in LA over Christmas break sophomore year.  There was a new fast-food-style Mexican restaurant that had just opened up in his neighborhood called Baja Fresh.  I was open-minded even though I had never had Mexican food before.  I didn’t eat meat then, so I ordered a rice and black bean burrito with salsa and guacamole on the side.  (I seriously can’t remember where I put the new lip gloss I bought on Saturday, but I always remember food.)  LIFE CHANGING MOMENT.  It was like the time my son tried a Slurpee at 7-Eleven when he was 4 years old and said to my husband, “Why I not have this before?”  Exciting, but at the same time, a little depressing to think of all that you have missed out on.

add tomatoes, oregano and chipotles

Since then, truly since then, I have become obsessed with Mexican food.  Not gross, greasy, cheesy, heavy Mexican food.  I am more drawn to fresh flavors, salsas, rice, beans, cilantro, and one of my favorite foods EVER, avocado.  Maybe I didn’t move to LA after college graduation to be in the same city as my boyfriend.  Maybe I did it for the Mexican food.  I was young and crazy.  Who knows.  Crazy enough that I’m still here 20+ years later and I’ve never said no to a taco.

simmer until carrots are tender

Long story short, I am always looking for new and different Mexican recipes to try on my family.  There are only so many fish tacos and chicken fajitas that they’ll put up with. When I saw a recipe for Caldo Tlalpeño soup, I knew right away that this would be a keeper.  There are so many variations on this soup, which I think of as a slightly spicy, smoky Mexican chicken soup.  Chipotles, which are dried, smoked jalapeño peppers, are always the star of the show.   Without them, this would just be a chicken and vegetable soup.  Although the ingredients in Caldo Tlalpeño vary from region to region and restaurant to restaurant, you cannot make this soup without the chiles.  I have also seen versions with diced zucchini, green beans, chayote, or rice.  Epazote is a traditional herb used in this soup, but it’s not easy for everyone to find, so I often use orgeano in its place.  Not an exact, perfect sub, but good enough.

Caldo Tlalpeno Soup

One of my favorite things about Mexican food is adding all those great toppings and condiments.  So many of my favorite dishes are incomplete without salsa or guacamole or cilantro or radishes or all of the above.  The topping bar is also my secret weapon with Mr. Picky.  He’ll eat almost anything if he is allowed to top it with corn tortilla chips or diced avocado. Caldo Tlalpeño is great on its own, but I make this a full meal with a little cooked quinoa (not at all traditional, but amazing here), a pinch of sheep’s milk feta (also nontraditional, but delish,) and a squeeze of lime and some fresh cilantro.  So light, fresh, healthful and delicious.

Caldo Tlalpeno Soup with a twist | Pamela Salzman

Cinco de Mayo is coming next Monday, why not make this fabulous soup with a side of quesadillas or my Mexican chopped salad?  For some other great ideas for the perfect fiesta, try these recipes:

Tortilla Soup

Chicken and Avocado Soup with Lime

Mexican Chopped Salad

Turkey or Beef Tacos

Avocado, Mago, Jicama Salad

Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas Verdes

Fajitas

Perfect Guacamole and Baked Tortilla Chips

caldo tlalpeno soup | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Caldo Tlalpeño Soup
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced into half-moons
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce jar diced tomatoes (I like Jovial tomatoes in glass jars.)
  • 4-6 whole dried chipotle chiles (use fewer for less heat*), or 2 canned chipotles in adobo (I much prefer the dried chiles.)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas or 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
  • Sea salt (1-3 teaspoons according to whether or not your stock is salted)
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 4 cups baby leafy greens
  • Optional accompaniments: lime, fresh cilantro, crumbled cojita or feta cheese, cooked quinoa or rice, shredded and cooked chicken, diced avocado
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and garlic and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, chiles, and oregano and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chickpeas, sea salt and stock. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Cook covered until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in the greens and turn off the heat. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Serve with suggested accompaniments if desired.
Notes
*4 chiles makes this soup about a 2-3 on a heat scale of 1-10.   Eating them whole however, is quite spicy.  You can dice them up or puree them with a little broth when the soup is finished and  serve them with the other condiments/toppings for an extra kick.

 

Banana-Carrot Almond Flour Muffins Recipe

banana carrot almond flour muffins | pamela salzman

You know what makes me laugh about Passover?  When I was growing up (in a very Italian-Catholic home,) my mother was always quite excited when Passover was imminent because matzoh would hit the shelves in the supermarket.  And my grandmother was even more excited.  I remember Grandma visiting once during Passover and gifting us 3 boxes of Streit’s matzoh that she received with a coupon at Shop Rite.  We didn’t need any matzoh, of course, because my mom had already used a similar coupon at Pathmark and stocked up.  But we were happy to have it, because once Passover was over, matzoh would be nowhere to be found.

blanched almond flour and dry ingredients

ripe bananas

What’s the point of this story?  We actually bought matzoh because we liked it!  Who likes matzoh?  We did and we ate it with a schmear of Breakstone’s whipped butter, cream cheese or sometimes peanut butter.  Now, many years later, I am married to a nice Jewish guy and we observe Passover.  We don’t eat any grains or legumes or anything that can leaven for those 8 days.  And I buy matzoh because it’s traditional and we use it like we would bread, spreading it with almond butter and jelly or using it to sandwich roasted veggies and goat cheese (that’s for me) or turkey and avocado.  I make a veggie “lasagne” with matzoh and a very delicious matzoh brie too (you should check out my recipe for Tex-Mex matzoh brie.)

mashed bananas and wet ingredients

all wet ingredients together

But let me tell you, I don’t love it.  None of us in this house does.  But pickings were always slim during Passover, unless one resorted to boxes of cake mix made out of sugar, preservatives and matzoh meal.  Fast forward to 2014 when blanched almond flour has become as common as quinoa (which is ok to eat during Passover believe it or not.)  So I have been able to enjoy delicious, “normal” baked goods which just happen to be grain-free.   Just by using almond flour.  Game changer!

add in shredded carrots and dates

A few years ago I posted a recipe for some delicious almond flour muffins with banana, chocolate and chia seeds.  I will for sure make a batch or two of those next week, but I will also be making these amazing banana-carrot-coconut muffins.  I found this recipe in Andrew Weil’s True Food cookbook and made a few adjustments to make them even more healthful.  These muffins are a great cross between carrot cake and banana bread and have a nice, subtle sweetness.  I actually make one batch as a 2-layer cake for the seders and spread my vegan frosting in between.  I’ll make another batch and freeze them for breakfasts and lunchboxes, since I think these can serve as a meal-in-a-muffin.

Fill the muffin cups to the top

baked muffins

Ironically, my mother still buys matzoh, although the options are far more interesting than they used to be including spelt, onion and even gluten-free.  For me, I’ll enjoy Passover much more with these muffins!

muffins! | pamela salzman

banana carrot almond flour muffins | pamela salzman

banana-carrot almond flour muffins | pamela salzman

5.0 from 4 reviews
Banana-Carrot Almond Flour Muffins
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal) I use Honeyville.
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 very ripe bananas*, mashed
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unrefined coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 cup dates, pitted and chopped (or raisins or dried cherries)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and coconut. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, bananas, melted coconut oil, honey, vanilla and vinegar together, making sure that the oil is well incorporated into the other ingredients.
  3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones. Fold in the dates, carrots, and walnuts. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. You will fill the cups to the top since these muffins don’t rise very much.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown or a skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. (Since there is no actual flour, the muffins will not rise significantly.) Cool in the pan or on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out the muffins onto the rack and let cool to warm or room temperature.
Notes
*Or substitute ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce + an extra 2 Tablespoons raw honey
This recipe calls for blanched almond flour, which is much finer and lighter than almond meal. Bob's Red Mill "almond flour/meal" is not fine enough. You can use almond meal in this recipe, but the results will be heavier and coarser.

 

Pasta with Shredded Grass-Fed Brisket Recipe (slow cooker version, too!)

pasta with shredded grass-fed beef brisket | pamela salzman

Just because I don’t eat meat, doesn’t mean my family doesn’t love it and ask for it.  So I will make it on occasion, but my rule is that it has to be grass-fed.  Read my other brisket post about why.  I make beef more in the winter than in the summer because it has a very warming thermal nature, and becomes even more warming when cooked with onions, which means it can actually raise the thermostat in your body and heat you up a little.  Perfect these chilly nights, and I know so many of you have been suffering through the worst winter ever!  It’s almost over! (I hope!)

pat meat dry, season and sear

chop veggies

I’ve been making a version of this recipe for about 15 years, and my grandmother made something similar which everyone loved.  Of course grandmothers never write recipes down because they don’t measure anything (a pinch of this, a sprinkle of that.)  Thank goodness for google which helped me come up with a great roadmap for one of my family’s favorites.  In fact, my older daughter has requested this dish many times for her birthday in past years!

dry red wine and organic diced tomatoes in a glass jar

brisket and sauce before and after

This is different from the brisket I learned how to make for Jewish holidays.  That brisket is braised in an oniony sauce as well, but it’s sliced whereas this one is shredded and the sauce is more tomato-veggie, much more Italian.  We used to eat this over wide pasta, like pappardelle or fettuccine or egg noodles.  But spaghetti and even orecchiette are great.  Since I don’t make as much pasta as I used to, we have been enjoying this more over cauliflower mashed potatoes or polenta.  For those of you who are hooked on spaghetti squash, I think this would be great on it!

cut and shred

Brisket is one of those very tough cuts of meat that can only be made meltingly tender by cooking it low and slow for a long period of time with lots of moisture.  Don’t try and grill, sear or stir-fry brisket.  You’ll end up with the toughest, chewiest meat ever.  Yuck!  You can also use chuck roast in this recipe since that cut also needs a long, low and slow preparation.  Since it takes three hours minimum to cook, you’ll need to get this going early in the day or do it in a slow cooker, or make it the day before and reheat it.  All methods will result in a super soft, very flavorful brisket and sauce.  Although I personally think the flavor is a little better the next day.  And, this will freeze beautifully!  I think this sounds like a good weekend project for those of us who will be stuck inside from monsoon rains (not complaining, just saying) or the bitter cold.  Hoping this can help you find a way to stay cozy this weekend!

pasta with shredded grass-fed beef brisket | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pasta with Shredded Grass-Fed Brisket
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ½-3 pound piece of brisket, preferably grass-fed
  • sea salt or kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium stalks of celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups rich chicken stock or beef broth (use whichever you have that’s homemade)
  • 1 14- to 15-ounce can diced tomatoes or 18-ounce glass jar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound pasta, cooked and drained
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pat brisket dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large oven-proof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sear the meat on both sides until nicely browned, about 12 minutes total.
  2. Transfer meat to a platter. Add 2 Tablespoons oil to the pot and then add the chopped vegetables and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté over medium heat until tender and golden.
  3. Stir in the wine, stock, tomatoes and bay leaves and deglaze the bottom of the pan by scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and place brisket back in the pot. Cover and transfer pot to the oven. Braise the meat for 3-4 hours or until tender enough to shred with a fork.
  4. Remove from the oven and transfer meat to a cutting board. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Remove excess fat from the meat, cut into 2-inch chunks, and shred with two forks.
  5. If you would like a smoother sauce, pureé the vegetable mixture either directly in the pot with an immersion blender or in a food processor or blender. Otherwise you can leave it chunky. This can be done a day before and reheated in the same Dutch oven over medium heat on the stove.
  6. Add the shredded meat back into the sauce and stir together. Serve over cooked pasta or polenta, millet-cauliflower mash, mashed potatoes or cauliflower-mashed potatoes.
Notes
Use less liquid if you want less of a sauce.

SLOW COOKER VERSION
-Sear meat on both sides in a skillet or Dutch oven.  Transfer to slow cooker.
-Saute vegetables until tender.  Season with salt.
-Deglaze pan with ⅔ cup wine, 1 ½ cups stock and same amount of tomatoes as stove-top recipe, making sure to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  Transfer contents plus bay leaves to slow cooker.
-Cover and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours.  Proceed with remaining steps 4-6 above.

 

Moroccan chicken with dates recipe (slow cooker version, too!)

Moroccan chicken with dates | Pamela Salzman

You all know I live in Southern California and perhaps you know we are having a very mild, but super dry winter.  We actually have a serious drought happening here.  And you might also know that 99% of my entire family lives in the New York/New Jersey area.  And they’re having a veerrryy different kind of winter.

prep the chicken

So most of our phone calls the last few weeks have been kind of like this:

Me: “Hi!  It’s me.  What’s new?”

Sister/Mother/Father: “It’s snowing.  AGAIN.  The kids are off from school.  AGAIN.  It’s absolutely freezing out there.  Seriously, this is the worst winter EVER!”

Me:  “Bummer.  But I asked, ‘what’s neeeewwww?'”

Same old, same old.  I miss the talks we used to have about currents events, movies, what we’re making for dinner, what we ate for lunch.  Interesting, riveting stuff.  Instead, it’s all blizzard all the time!  Thankfully, winter doesn’t last forever and they’ll all be able to get back to business before we know it.  Easy for me to say, I’m sure.

onion, carrots, coconut oil and spices

 

prepped

But if I were in the middle of a polar vortex, I would quickly buy a one-way ticket to L.A. I would make super-warming foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We may not be able to control the weather, but we can control the thermal nature of what we eat.  And I say, heat me up!  High on my list would be this Moroccan chicken with dates which I taught in my classes last February.  I know it seems like there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but half of them are spices, all of which are warming to the body, and anti-inflammatory, too.  These spices, including ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin and a pinch of cayenne are also quite flavorful and make this otherwise simple chicken dish, something very special.  There’s also a little bit of sweetness from the cinnamon and from halved dates which rank as one of my favorite foods on the planet.  A little earthy, a little sweet, a touch spicy and a little tart — it’s one of my favorite chicken recipes!

slice open the dates to remove the pit

In these images, and for dinner last night, I served this with an apricot couscous (I’ll post the recipe next week.)  This will have a very tasty, but brothy sauce which just begs for something to sop it up.  Couscous, which is pretty dry, is the perfect side dish.  But you don’t need to make it with any seasonings or herbs.  Even plain would be just the right side for this dish.  Otherwise, if you’re gluten-free, steamed rice, quinoa or millet would be amazing here.  I also served it for dinner with simply sautéed Swiss chard, but check out this recipe for raw grated carrot and beet salad.  That would be fabulous, too.

bring to a simmer before added browne

add chicken to mixture

I have made this recipe in the slow cooker, as well.  Please read the directions for how to adjust this recipe for the slow cooker.  Both versions are amazing and will help warm up your core.  At least until the next snowfall or tomorrow, or both, as the case might be!

Moroccan chicken with dates | Pamela Salzman

5.0 from 9 reviews
Moroccan Chicken with Dates
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts such as breasts (I like them split), thighs or drumsticks, seasoned with 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt when you get home from the market or brined for an hour (1/4 cup kosher salt + 2 cups water) EXCEPT if you use kosher chicken. See this post for how and why to brine chicken.
  • 1 Tablespoon unrefined coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric (feel free to add more if you like it)
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 12 dates, pitted and halved
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, if you like it
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and add to the pot in one layer. Do not overcrowd. Cook until browned on the underside, then turn over and browned on the other side, about 15 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet or platter and repeat with remaining chicken if there’s some still left to do.
  2. Add onions and carrots to the pot and sauté until tender and translucent, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add cinnamon sticks, salt and remaining spices. Sauté about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  4. Add stock, 3 Tablespoons lemon juice and dates. Deglaze the pan by scraping the brown bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, add chicken pieces back to pot skin-side up and cover. Lower heat and simmer until chicken is completely cooked through, about 40-45 minutes. An instant-red thermometer should read 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.
  5. Add lemon juice to pot and stir to combine. If sauce needs thickening, transfer chicken to a platter and simmer sauce until it is reduced. Sprinkle everything with cilantro and serve.
Notes
SLOW COOKER VERSION:

Use bone-in, skinLESS pieces of chicken
Use a skillet to brown chicken, and sauté vegetables and spices.  Add only ¾ cup of stock to the pan and the same amount of lemon juice as in the original recipe to deglaze the pan.  Do not add the dates until 20 minutes before serving.
Transfer the browned chicken, and the vegetable, spice, stock and lemon juice mixture to the slow cooker and cook covered on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours.
20 minutes before serving, stir dates into the slow cooker.  Add remaining lemon juice and garnish with cilantro, if desired.