Cooking Club: Week 31

Hey my loves! I’m putting it here so hopefully I am accountable, but I am going to try an instagram live of one of these recipes. If you have a preference, let me know. I have no idea how to work it and swear a lot when I am nervous but maybe we try it anyway.

Another q I have received that is worth noting here. Sea salt and Kosher salt are not equally measured. This is not a huge deal if you are someone who seasons to taste, but if you are a measurer, you will notice a difference. Most real chefs use Kosher salt, but I use sea salt because it’s usually less expensive and what they sell in bulk at Costco and I use it often. I should probably switch, but ‘til then, know that Kosher is a larger grain than sea salt, so it does not disperse as much, so you would need to use a bit more Kosher salt than the sea salt measurement I call for. Flake salt is an even different thing, but something you’d use for finishing, not for everyday cooking. By volume, sea salt is saltier than Kosher, due to the size of the flakes. Does that make sense? So for example, if I call for 1/2 tsp. sea salt on the vegetables, add a small pinch more if you’re using Kosher salt.

Don’t forget to share your photos with us! We’re catching up but will have a basic food photography guide for our members in the next couple weeks.

Have a great week!

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New Features:

- We updated the FAQ page with a couple quick videos to walkthrough a few common questions we're recieving from folks about the archives and the grocery list.

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groceries

I am assuming you have sea salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and a higher heat oil, such as avocado oil or coconut oil. Check your stock on these before you head to the market, and check off any other items you may already have. As you continue to use these recipes, you will see repetition of my favorite ingredients. For example, while real maple and pine nuts are pricey pantry staples, they won’t sit in the pantry, you’ll use them in upcoming weeks. Use bulk bins at your local health food store to buy in smaller quantities if you prefer.

Your List i

emerald city pizza chicken shawarma bowls loaded greek fries broiled bana splits

produce

pantry

meat + dairy + fridge


recipe 01: emerald city pizza

serves 4

The base is part pesto, part chimichurri. It doesn’t really fit in a culinary box, but it’s bright and feels like early summer. If you’re pressed for time use a pre-made pizza dough or use a store-bought pesto or Zhoug sauce from Trader Joes if you like things spicy. Early season asparagus is usually pretty skinny, but if yours seem thick, slice them in half lengthwise first. 

My kids will eat veggies on pizza if they are chopped small and have some melty cheese on top of said vegetables. We wrote goat cheese in below, but mozzarella is great too. 

If you have the time for an extra step, you can salt the zucchini and press out some of its moisture, if you’re pressed for time, it will still turn out okay if you skip this step: 

 

In a small bowl fitted with a colander covered in a paper towel, place in the zucchini slices and sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt. Toss to coat, cover with the rest of the paper towel, and set aside while you prepare the other ingredients. We are trying to get some of the water out of the zucchini so it does not make the crust soggy.

 

The sauce will make more than you need, and we’ll repurpose that in the Shawarma bowls.

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The green herb sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance. All veggies can be prepped ahead, and the pizza dough (if making your own) can be made the night before.

Use it Twice: The green herb sauce works twice as a drizzle on the Shawarma, or, you can spread it on sammies, serve it with salmon, or spread or over crispy toasts for a springy bruschetta.

Kid Friendly: Chop the vegetables into smaller pieces. Looks pretty when they’re big and springy looking, but my kids do better with a small chop.

Carnivore Addition: Prosciutto would be great here, or cooked, crumbled sausage works too.

Gluten Free: For grain-free options, I think that Capello’s has a great version. Their “Naked” crust crisps up well, just follow the package instructions. We also like the Caulipower brand. Simple Mills also has a boxed pizza crust.

Extra Credit: Make your own pizza crust! Try to make it the night before to allow rising and resting time. If you have the wherewithal to do this on a weeknight, I salute you.


Ingredients
 

For the herb sauce

2 cups fresh basil, chopped 
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. minced shallot
1-2 cloves of garlic
Zest & juice of one lemon
½ cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. kosher salt
Pinch of red chili flakes

for the pizza

Pizza dough (fresh dough, made or store-bought, or a prepared crust)
Flour or cornmeal
Olive oil

1 small zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, sliced in half
2 oz. asparagus (10 stalks), cut into 2” pieces on the bias
5 oz. goat cheese, crumbled or mozzarella
2 oz. parmesan cheese, grated
Cracked black pepper or chili flakes

Arugula (optional)
Olive oil

Instructions

Using a mandolin, slice the zucchini into thin rounds. Set aside or drain (see headnote).

To make the green sauce, pour olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest, juice, basil, parsley, shallot, garlic, chili flake, and salt into a high speed blender or food processor. Pulse in 10 second increments, scraping down the bowl intermittently. Continue to pulse until you have reached your desired consistency. For a thick, smooth sauce, blend for about 1 minute on low-medium. It should be a bright green color and thick.

Preheat the oven to 450. Place your baking sheet in the oven to get it hot. 

Prepare your toppings, chopping the asparagus and artichoke hearts. Drain off any excess water from the zucchini. Make sure all of your toppings are ready to go once you begin to roll out the dough. 

On a cutting board, sprinkle on flour, begin shaping your dough. Use your hands to push and stretch the pizza dough super thin. Use a rolling pin if needed. The dough will rise as it cooks, so the thinner the better. Don’t overwork the dough, or the gluten will make the crust dense and chewy. Alternatively put your pre-made crust on the baking sheet. 

Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and drizzle a bit of olive oil on the pan. Transfer your dough from the cutting board to the hot pan.

Bake the crust for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the toppings.

Moving quickly, spread about ½ cup of the green sauce onto the dough, leaving about a 1/2” border. Layer on the zucchini, artichoke hearts, and asparagus. Sprinkle on goat cheese or mozzarella, and drizzle the top with olive oil. 

Return to the oven, and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes. Depending on how crispy you like your crust, you could always hit it with the broiler for about 2 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and top with a sprinkle of parmesan, arugula or fresh herbs and a pinch of red pepper. Cut into slices, and serve immediately. Serve with a side salad if desired. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    628
  • fat i
    46 g
  • carbs i
    41 g
  • protein
    7 g

recipe 02: chicken shawarma bowls

serves 4

Heads Up:

Allow for at least 1 hour for the chicken to marinate, preferably overnight.

The beauty of this recipe is it can please almost any diner at your table. I like it served over a pile of arugula dressed with an herby vinaigrette, a swoosh of hummus, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkle of crunchy pine nuts. Littles could enjoy the components wrapped up in warmed naan or pita. 

This week, we tried to have components from each recipe that could be re-used. This is the key to my weekly dinners coming together: mix and match sauces and proteins that can be repurposed in a myriad of ways. Here, you can use some of the leftover herby sauce from the pizza to drizzle over the greens. The extra chicken this will yield can top your Greek fries the next night.

If you can’t find split chicken breasts, you can swap them out for boneless thighs. Just reduce the temp to 400 and roast for around 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken. Look for smaller breasts, the giant ones get a bit unwieldy. If you go boneless skinless, thighs stay juicer after a roast in the oven, and while we were taught to think of thighs as “less healthy” than a breast, the increased fat is negligible. 

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The marinade can be made up to 3 days in advance. The chicken can be marinated overnight, or start it in the morning if you are a micro-prep person.

Use it Twice: The extra shredded chicken is great on the feta fries. All ingredients can be served in a salad the next day or in a wrap for a meal on the go. A quesadilla could also be good for littles.

Kid Friendly: I called for naan in the ingredient list so you could make a gyro-type deal for kids, or serve with brown rice. You could leave out the chile flake if your kids are sensitive to heat, but otherwise the flavors are more “smoky-warm” than spicy.

Vegetarian Swap: Use the same marinade for extra trim tofu or even two cans of chickpeas. Roast either of these options before or after the vegetables, as the moisture from the vegetables will keep the beans or tofu from crisping at all.



 Ingredients

For the marinade

1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. red chili flake
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
Zest of one lemon
¼ cup lemon juice (one large lemon)

for the bowl

2 lb. split chicken breast, bone-in skin on (or “family pack” of breasts and drumsticks)
1 small head cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1” squares
1 orange bell pepper, chopped into 1” squares
½ red onion, sliced thin

5 oz. / 4 cups arugula
2 tbsp. green herb sauce (from the pizza)
½ cup toasted pine nuts
Handful of chopped parsley or cilantro

for serving

Hummus
Naan or pita


Instructions

Pour all marinade ingredients in a small jar, and shake vigorously. Save the juiced lemon halves for later. Set aside 2 Tbsp. of the marinade for the veggies.

Pour the remaining marinade in a large bowl or gallon sized baggie. Pull the skin away from the breast meat, so the marinade can get into the flesh. Massage the marinade into the meat, and return to the fridge for at least one hour, or overnight if you can.

Preheat the oven to 425. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Remove the chicken from the fridge, and allow it to come to room temperature. Place the marinated breasts skin side up onto one of the baking sheets, making sure you transfer all of the marinade from the bowl/bag. Pull back the skin on the chicken, and massage some of the marinade onto the flesh to make sure it is seasoned well. Add the previously juiced lemons to the baking sheet.

Place the chicken in the bottom 1/3 of the oven. Roast for 15 minutes.

While the chicken is roasting, mix together cauliflower florets, peppers, onions, and 2 Tbsp. of the reserved marinade in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Spread evenly on the other lined baking sheet. After the chicken has roasted for its first 15 minutes, add the veggies to the oven.

Roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown on the edges. Remove the chicken from the oven, and using an instant read thermometer, test the chicken at the thickest part of the breast and make sure it is 165. Depending on the size of the breast and the bone, they will take anywhere from 40-50 minutes to roast - the bone adds to cooking time, adjust accordingly. 

While the chicken is cooling a bit, quickly toss the arugula and about 1-2 Tbsp. of the green sauce together. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Alternatively, a drizzle of olive oil, vinegar, and a squeeze of lemon would also work here.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones, and discard. On the same baking sheet, shred the chicken with two forks. Mix the shredded chicken with the juices and crispy bits leftover from roasting on the sheet pan. Squeeze the charred lemons over the top. This keeps it juicy, and gets extra flavor into the meat.

To serve, swipe a large dollop of hummus onto a plate, top with a bit of arugula, the roasted veggies, chicken, pine nuts, and more green sauce if desired. You can also serve in naan or pitas. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    440
  • fat i
    31 g
  • carbs i
    11 g
  • protein
    30 g

recipe 03: loaded greek feta fries

serves 4

Part salt and vinegar chip, part Greek salad, these are a full meal that can be eaten family style right off of the baking sheet. They are lovely as a vegetarian main, and would be great with crispy chickpeas. Add leftover shredded chicken from the Shawarma (recipe below), you can make these more of a complete meal.

Tomatoes are not their best quite yet, so to intensify their sweetness, you can halve and roast them as shown in the photo (375’, drizzle of oil and salt, for 20 minutes. Cool completely.)

If you are an unapologetic ketchup addict, take the extra step and make a batch of the roasted pepper ketchup. It takes less than five minutes, and is a dippable condiment both adults and littles will love. You could skip the sauces all together, or make the tzatziki from the gyros from week 27 if you want something creamier. 

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The ketchup can be made up to a week in advance. The Greek salsa can be made the night before, and the chicken can be re-purposed from the Chicken Shawarma. Potatoes can be parboiled in advanced and stored in the fridge until you are ready to roast.

Use it Twice: The ketchup can be used up on chicken tenders, or any protein. The Greek salsa will make more than you will need, so turn it into a chopped salad the next day with arugula, cucumbers, vinaigrette, and your protein of choice.

Kid Friendly: Easy on the tomatoes and herbs for my little people but roasted potatoes are an easy sell here.

Carnivore Addition: Add leftover shredded chicken (recipe below), or ground turkey cooked up with 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. salt, a pinch of chili and ½ tsp. of garlic powder.

Low Carb: You could serve the salsa and feta over roasted cauliflower florets or cauli-steaks. The salsa is also great on top of fish or grilled steak.

Dairy Free: You can skip the feta, the olives and capers should give you the salty-briney flavor.

Extra Credit: Whip up some tzatziki from week 27.


 Ingredients

For the potatoes

1 ½ lb. russet potatoes (2 medium), scrubbed, and cut lengthwise into 1/2” wide sticks
1 cup white vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. garlic powder

For the red pepper ketchup

1 cup ketchup
½ cup jarred roasted red peppers
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. smoked paprika

For the greek salsa

1 pt. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half*
½ red onion, minced
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
½ cup fresh dill, chopped
Zest of one small lemon
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sumac (optional)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. capers, drained

Assembly:

6 oz. feta, crumbled
Handful of dill or parsley, chopped
2 cups shredded chicken or crispy chickpeas

instructions

In a blender or food processor, pour in ketchup, jarred peppers, smoked paprika, and red wine vinegar. Puree in 30 second increments, scraping down the sides between intervals. Continue until the mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Set aside in the fridge. 

Preheat the oven to 425. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large pot, pour in sliced potatoes, white vinegar, salt, and enough water to cover the potatoes. Turn the stove to medium high heat and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, cook for 5 minutes, or until the fries are just barely tender.

Drain the fries very well, and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to ensure all of the water is off of the fries before they hit the oven.

Spread the fries evenly on two rimmed baking sheets. On each sheet, drizzle the fries evenly with olive oil, oregano, salt, and garlic powder. Toss gently to coat, and spread the fries out to ensure there is ample space between them.

Place into the oven and roast for 15 minute before flipping the fries with a spatula. Rotate the sheets in the oven, and roast for another 15 minutes, or until brown and crispy. 

While the fries are roasting, make your Greek salsa. In a medium bowl, toss together tomatoes, olives, capers, onions, lemon zest, red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, fresh dill and sumac (if using). Set aside.

Remove the fries from the oven, and turn the broiler on. Top the fries with crumbled feta, the Greek salsa, and chicken (if using). Return to the oven and broil for 2-4 minutes, or until the feta is bubbling and the chicken is warmed through.

Remove from the oven, top with chopped fresh herbs, and serve with smoky pepper ketchup. Eat immediately. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    356
  • fat i
    13 g
  • carbs i
    56 g
  • protein
    6 g

recipe 04: broiled banana splits w/ coconut caramel sauce

Serves 4

The sauce makes up the bulk of the work load here and even that is mostly hands off. I wrote in bourbon at the end because it balances the sweet a bit, but is not imperative. We wrote a dairy-free version of caramel below and while more coconut than the classic with butter and cream, it is SO good. It will likely make more than you need, and makes a delicious dip for sliced apples or pretzels. You can also halve the recipe successfully, but give it the same 20 minutes of cooking time. 

You can top how you please, and if you have little ones, they can get creative with their own toppings. I think these would be great plated over a generous swoosh of thick, Greek yogurt or labneh to balance out the sweetness of the sauce and bananas. But, a few scoops of vanilla bean or buttered pecan ice cream also work wonderfully.

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The sauce can be made up to two weeks in advance. If it separates a bit in the fridge, simply warm it up in a saucepan or microwave and whisk before using.

Use it Twice: The sauce can would be great as a layer on a tart or drizzled over grilled stone fruit, or as a dip, as mentioned in the headnote.

Dairy Free: There are some great DF ice creams on the market - one of my favorites is So Delicious.


Ingredients

for the coconut caramel sauce

1 14 oz. can full fat coconut milk
2/3 cup light brown or coconut sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. sea salt
1-2 Tbsp. bourbon (or whatever whiskey you stock)

For the bananas

4 bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 Tbsp. butter, ghee or coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp. light brown or coconut sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Topping ideas

Vanilla or butter pecan ice cream/gelato or full fat Greek yogurt or labneh
Graham crackers or Nilla wafers, crumbled
Whipped cream


Instructions

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, whisk together coconut milk, sugar, and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer, and cook it for 20 minutes, stirring intermittently. Reduce until the sauce has thickened a bit. It will continue to do so as it cools. Remove from the heat, and add vanilla, salt and bourbon, if using. Set aside to cool and it will thicken as it comes to room temp.

Preheat the broiler to low. Slice your bananas in half lengthwise. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. Brush with melted coconut oil/butter, and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon. Place on the top rack in the oven, about 4” from the broiler. Broil for 5 minutes until the tops have caramelized. This timing is highly dependent on your oven. So watch closely!

Remove from the oven, and transfer to a plate or bowl. Top two banana halves with ice cream, a generous drizzle of caramel, dark chocolate chunks, pecans, or any other desired toppings. Serve immediately. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    466
  • fat i
    25 g
  • carbs i
    63 g
  • protein
    3 g