ORIENTAL-STYLE SESAME SLAW

I love cole slaw, but prefer a dressing without mayonnaise. Something fresh, light, and bright. This version couples orange juice with sesame oil. I add just a little squirt of lemon juice at the very end because I crave that extra acidity. Some might try to convince me that incorporating the lemon juice in the dressing would do the same job, but I beg to differ. In fact, when I ate the leftovers, I did a little lemon juice encore, and loved it even more.

ORIENTAL-STYLE SESAME SLAW
(adapted from several sources)

for the dressing:
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce

for the salad:
3 cups shredded napa cabbage
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
fresh cilantro leaves, amount to taste
black sesame seeds to serve
fresh lemon juice to serve

Start by making the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup or flask with a lid, and whisk or shake to emulsify. Reserve.

In a large serving bowl, add all ingredients for the salad except the black sesame seeds, combine tossing gently, then pour the dressing on top. Toss again and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds, add lemon juice, adjust seasoning if needed, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: f you like cole slaw but mayonnaise is not your thing, this will for sure please you. It gets even better next day, as all components are so sturdy. I made it twice already, the second time I added fresh orange zest together with the black sesame seeds before serving and that was a nice extra touch of flavor. Avocado goes quite well with it, keep that in mind. Not much else is needed to make this a complete meal. We enjoyed ours with a rotisserie chicken, so that was a super easy dinner to put together. The recipe can be easily adapted to a Whole30 system, if you don’t use soy sauce, and replace it with coconut aminos.

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CAULIFLOWER WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND OLIVES

This is cauliflower that deserves a spot at your table when you have special guests for dinner. Amazing that we can now write such a phrase after a couple of years of social isolation. I go as far as saying that even cauliflower haters will be pleasantly surprised. The sun-dried tomatoes add richness and the olives and balsamic vinegar that acidity that lightens things up. Absolutely delicious. And, by the way, it is vegan-friendly.

CAULIFLOWER WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND OLIVES
(inspired by Crossroads)

1 head cauliflower, florets only, chopped in pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil (for oven roasting) or olive oil spray for air-frying
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
slivered almonds, slightly toasted, to taste

If roasting the cauliflower in an oven, drizzle the florets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in 425F oven for about 30 minutes. If using the air-fryer, spray the florets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and air-fry for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden. Reserve. The cauliflower can be roasted hours in advance or even the day before.

Put a large saute pan over medium-heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the celery and shallots, season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes, add the olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers and cook for a few minutes longer, stirring often. Add the reserved cauliflower, the balsamic vinegar, adjust seasoning. Right before serving, add lemon zest and juice, and top with the toasted slivered almonds.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I don’t know which ingredient elevates this recipe, it is a tight match between the sun-dried tomatoes and the green olives. At any rate, it was an outstanding side dish. I highly recommend it. We enjoyed it with grilled chicken breasts, super simple. Just a marinade with olive oil, Garam masala and salt.

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THAI-MEATBALLS OVER WILTED BOK-CHOY

These turkey meatballs lean towards Thai cuisine, but I took a few departures and incorporated a Brazilian moqueca touch. If you want to make the meal heartier, serve some rice or noodles as side dishes. Soba would work great.

THAI-MEATBALLS WITH WILTED BOK-CHOY
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the meatballs (makes about 16)
2 pounds ground turkey (I use 85% fat)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 egg

for the sauce:
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 cup pureed tomatoes (canned is fine)
1 cup coconut milk (low-fat is ok)
2 tsp fish sauce
salt and pepper to taste
juice of one lime

for the bok-choy:
6 to 8 baby bok-choy, sliced in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
drizzle of soy sauce
drizzle of lime juice

Heat oven to 420F.
Make the meatballs combining all ingredients in a large bowl. Form 16 meatballs and place them on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Spray the foil lightly with olive oil, then spray lightly the surface of the meatballs also. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through baking time. Remove from the oven and reserve. This can be made hours or a day in advance.

Make the sauce. Heat the oil and sautéed the shallot for a few minutes until soft and fragrant. Add the red curry paste and cook for a minute or two, stirring. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, fish sauce, season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes, add the reserved meatballs and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add the lime juice right before serving.

Make the bok-choy. Heat the oil on a large skillet. Add the bok-choy, cut side down, cook for a couple of minutes without moving them, to get a nice browning on the surface. Flip the pieces over, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle soy sauce, lime juice, cover the pan and simmer for a few minutes until tender. Serve right away, with the meatballs and sauce.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Traditionally, this type of recipe calls for coconut milk as the main component of the sauce. I find that a bit too heavy, also very high on the saturated fat content. So I tone it down with pureed tomatoes. You can just use a full can of coconut milk, if you prefer.

The meatballs have a nice texture, and incorporate the flavor of the sauce well. As to the red curry paste, I have a favorite brand now, after seeing it recommended by cookbook authors and food bloggers: Mae Ploy. It is much better than any brand I’ve used in the past. You can find it online if not available in stores where you live (click here). Leftovers (meatballs only, bok-choy was gone) were delicious on day #2 and day #3. And yes, they were mine, all mine…

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CAULIFLOWER-CHICKPEA PICCATA

I saw this recipe not too long ago at The New York Times and knew I was going to love it… I wasn’t sure how the husband would feel about it, but decided to take my chances. Glad to report he thought it was “totally blog-worthy.”

CAULIFLOWER-CHICKPEA PICCATA
(slightly adapted from The New York Times)

1 cauliflower, cut into large 2-inch florets
grapeseed oil, about 2 tablespoons
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
3/4 cup vegetable stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons capers, drained
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Parsley, chopped

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the cauliflower florets onto a sheet pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil. Season with kosher salt and black pepper, and roast for 25 minutes, add the chickpeas and roast for 5 minutes more. Reserve.

Heat a medium skillet to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the shallot, and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour the stock into the pan and simmer until reduced by half, about 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, then stir in the butter, capers, parsley, lemon zest and juice. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and a few turns of black pepper.

To serve, place the cauliflower and chickpeas on a serving plate. Top with the lemon caper sauce. Serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The preparation of this recipe goes a bit against logic. Why roast the cauliflower until it’s all crispy and brown, and then soak it with sauce? Seems counterproductive. BUT it works. Roasting concentrates the flavors and make the veggies stand better to the luscious lemony sauce. We loved it! For vegetarians, a little couscous on the side would make it a pretty nice meal. We enjoyed it with grilled pork tenderloin and a bit of tahdig rice, made in my favorite, quick way. A great mid-week dinner…

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INCREDIBLY SIMPLE CARROTS

I kept waiting and waiting to get more recipes and make a more involved article in my “Incredibly Simple” category, but truth is I would MARRY these carrots if I was single and searching for a perfect match. It makes no sense to delay this post. You will not find a simpler recipe. And definitely not one that will surprise you as much for the outcome versus simplicity ratio. Do not be ashamed to buy this ingredient at the grocery store: Sweet Soy Sauce for Rice, by Kikkoman. It is all you need. Well, carrots would be nice to have also…

JAPANESE-STYLE ROASTED CARROTS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

Carrots, cut in sticks, enough to cover a quarter baking sheet
1 to 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce for rice (Kikkoman)
zest of 1/2 lemon + lemon juice to taste

Heat oven to 420F. Coat cut carrots with olive oil, season very lightly with salt and pepper.

Roast for about 25 minutes, until edges start to get golden brown. Remove from the oven, drizzle the soy sauce and lemon zest all over, and roast for 5 minutes more, or until the sauce starts to caramelize. Serve with a little drizzle of lemon juice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I don’t know if I will ever bother making a different version of carrots, at least not until I get bored with this beauty. If you want to feel virtuous and work harder, make the sweet soy sauce yourself from scratch. There are many recipes around (like this one), but at least once go the easy route and try this version. We all need a simple side dish in the repertoire for those times in which life seems a tad overwhelming.

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