Cooking Club: Week One

Welcome!

Welcome, friends! I have done my best to write these recipes as comprehensively as possible - to make them work for different types of eaters, with different types of time restraints. I know it feels efficient to just jump into a recipe, but I would suggest making a habit of reading the Tips of the Week that accompany each recipe, as that is where the added value is in making these dinners more flexible. We would encourage you to give this program some time, as we work out the kinks. We really look forward to your feedback and suggestions. What works and what doesn't? Are there features you like or features you would like to see? Don't be shy! 

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quick start tips:

- Your Cooking Club account can be managed using the "My Profile" link in the left-hand sidebar navigation.
- Anytime you see one of these tooltip icons ( i ) floating around here, take a look for tips on how to use a new feature.
- Be sure to follow the new Cooking Club Instagram account and join the Cooking Club Members Facebook Group. We will be sharing a few stories and videos while cooking from this week's plan. Please tag us if you post any photos and use the hashtag #skcookingclub so we can see each others meals!


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

Produce

Dry

Meat & Dairy


recipe 01: spaghetti with roasted tomatoes and pesto

serves 4

You may think barely wilted green do not belong in your pasta, but it is such a crisp change of texture from the noodles. Not quite a pasta salad, but enough greens to add interest and well, more vitamins.

If you are looking to add protein, make or purchase some turkey meatballs to serve along side. May I suggest the ones from Bowl + Spoon, or the lentil version in Sprouted Kitchen should you own the book and have the time.

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The tomatoes can be roasted up to 3 days in advance and kept covered in the fridge. The pesto can be made a few days in advance, as well.

Use It Twice: The pesto makes a great sandwich spread, with scrambled eggs, thinned with lemon juice to use as a salad dressing.

Kid Friendly: Age pending, shells are easier to eat and resemble familiar mac 'n cheese.

Gluten Free: We (or I should say "I") like zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash depending on season, or a wheat-free noodle. The brands Tolerant (lentil base), Banza (chickpea base), the tofu shirtaki noodles, or the quinoa and brown rice one from Trader Joes are all a good bet. The noodle does not have to be spaghetti!

Dairy Free: Skip the parmesan, replace with more pine nuts.

 

Recipe Ingredients
 

For the Tomatoes

1 pint baby tomatoes
1 Tbsp. avocado or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
sea salt and pepper
 

For the Pesto

2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 tsp. sea salt and ground pepper
2 packed cups basil leaves
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4-1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

 

For the noodles

3/4 lb. spaghetti (regular, whole grain, quinoa, whatever)
2 giant handfuls baby kale
toasted pine nuts, for garnish

 

Recipe Instructions
 

Preheat the oven to 350’. Halve the baby tomatoes, toss them in the oil, oregano and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes until dried on the edges. Remove to cool.

Make your pesto, if you are not doing this in advance, start bringing a large pot of generously salted water up to a boil in the meantime. In a food processor or blender, pulse the garlic, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Add the basil, lemon juice, and pulse again. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil, and then one or two pulses to incorporate the parmesan. You don’t want a puree, leave it a bit chunky. Taste.

Cook the spaghetti according to instructions, usually about 9 minutes. Drain most of the way, reserving some of the pasta water (this will help distribute the pesto). Into the pot with the noodles, add a few generous dollops of the pesto, two handfuls of baby kale and the tomatoes. Toss everything to coat, adding warm pasta water to thin the pesto, if needed. The warm pasta will slightly wilt the kale, keep tossing.

Distribute the pasta into bowls. Garnish with grated parmesan and pine nuts.

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    664
  • fat
    38 g
  • carbs
    70 g
  • protein
    14 g

recipe 02: grilled wild salmon tacos

serves 4

We usually use salmon or halibut in the summer months when these wild fish are in season. You check the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch for updates on sustainable seafood choices - they give specifics on the when and where of every type of seafood. Frozen is fine - simply thaw it before proceeding with the recipe.

If you do not stock these spices, your favorite taco seasoning will do. Just be sure to adjust the salt accordingly as many of those are generously salted to start.

An indoor grill pan can be used in place of the real deal, just be sure it is pre-heated and well greased as fish has a tendency to stick. I’m trying to keep these recipes really simple, but if you have an extra 10 minutes to make pickled onions, there are quick directions for those in the Extra Credit tip below.

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: make the avocado sauce and spice paste 1-2 days in advance. Same goes for the pickled onions (extra credit below), which will last in the refrigerator for a month.

Use It Twice: prepare extra salmon, double the sauce, and use it for entree salads or another meal. Dress sturdy greens (kale, romaine or a mix) in the creamy sauce thinned with more citrus. Top with leftover salmon, diced cucumber, sliced peaches, baby tomatoes, and toasted nuts. The sauce is great for any sort of grilled skewers, bowls, etc.

Kid Friendly: depending on age, we find burritos to be easier for our kids to eat than tacos. The salmon is not spicy, combine the above in a larger tortilla, or try it with cooked black beans, rice and avocado if you can't pass off a cabbage slaw.

Vegetarian Option: Use two, large portobello mushrooms in place of the salmon. Use the same marinade, add a few minutes to the cook time on either the grill or in the oven. After grilling, dice the portobellos into chunks to use for filling.

Gluten Free: 100% corn tortillas are naturally gluten free. Larger health food stores stock tortillas, such as Siete, made from alternatively gluten free ingredients.

Low Carb: skip the tortillas and use crispy romaine leaves as a “taco shell.”

Extra Credit: quick pickled onions: 1 peeled red onion, sliced thin. Warm 1/2 cup white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp. sea salt and pepper, 1 bay leaf. Put the onion slices in a container that has a lid. Pour the warm liquid over the onions, put the lid on, store them in the fridge until ready to use. They will last a month.

 

Recipe Ingredients
 

For the Salmon

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
1 tsp. chili powder
dash of cayenne
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1.5 lb filet of wild salmon or fish of choice
fresh lime, to finish


For The Avocado Sauce

2 cloves of garlic
1/2 a bundle fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño, mostly seeded
1/4 cup roasted pepitas/pumpkin seeds
juice of one large lime
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. sea salt, to taste
2 medium avocados, pitted
 

For Serving

corn tortillas
3-4 cups finely shredded cabbage
1/2 a bundle of cilantro, roughly chopped
6 green onions
toasted pepitas, for garnish
hot sauce, optional
pickled onions, optional

 

Recipe Instructions
 

Heat your grill to medium low heat. Clean and oil the grates. If the grill sounds like a hassle, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Make a paste by mixing the oil, chili powder, cayenne, maple, cumin and salt. Rub it onto the flesh of the fish and let it sit about 15 minutes. 

While you wait, make the sauce. In a food processor or blender, combine the garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, pumpkin seeds, lime juice, olive oil, water, salt and pulse a few times. Add the flesh of the avocados and pulse again until combined, but not completely pureed. Your going for a consistency that's thinner than guacamole but thicker than salad dressing. If it looks too thick, taste, and add lime juice or water to thin. Taste for seasoning, set aside in the fridge. Sauce will keep about 3-5 days.

Grill the filet, lid closed, to medium doneness, about 8 minutes. I don’t like flipping the fish on the grill, it’s a mess, so I just cook on one side until it's done. If you’re using the oven, roast the salmon about 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness (you can assume about 10 minutes per inch). Transfer the fish to a platter and let it rest for a few minutes. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top. Gently flake apart the fish for taco filling. 

Toss the cabbage and cilantro with a bit of the green sauce to coat. Warm the tortillas. Assemble your tacos with a spoonful of sauce, portion of fish and generous topping of slaw on top. 

Garnish with pepitas and pickled onions, if you've got them.

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    766
  • fat
    48 g
  • carbs
    46 g
  • protein
    46 g

recipe 03: mediterranean chopped salad + wraps

serves 4

We eat this as a customizable entree salad. Omnivorous eaters can add some shredded chicken or even grilled lamb if you’re wanting to be super Mediterranean. Purchasing or roasting a whole chicken at the beginning of the week, provides easy protein to add to meals. I wrote in lentils, which you can use as your light protein here or swap in another option instead of, or along side.

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: the tahini dressing will keep for a week. The vegis can be roasted a day in advance.

Use It Twice: use extra roasted vegetables to make a frittata with some quick sautéed greens, eggs and soft goats cheese.

Kid Friendly: stuff the ingredients into a pita or lavash wrap (or tortilla). Go easy on the kale, add optional chicken.


Recipe Ingredients
 

For All the Veggies

1 bell pepper
1 small eggplant
1 zucchini
1/2 a red onion
1 pint baby tomatoes
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper

For The Tahini Dressing

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
juice of one lemon
2 grated garlic clove
dash of cayenne
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
 

For the Salad or wrap

4 cups baby kale, spring greens or a mix
handful of fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup cooked lentils, cooled
1/2 cup pitted olives, optional
4 ounces sheep's milk feta
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts and sesame seeds, for garnish
Lavash or pita bread for wraps, as needed

 

Recipe Instructions
 

Preheat the oven to 425'. Cut the bell pepper, eggplant, zucchini and onion into 1” bits. Halve the tomatoes. Collect all the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle them with oil, dried oregano and a few pinches of salt and pepper. If it looks crowded, use two baking sheets. By crowded I mean, they should not all overlap; they need a little elbow room to avoid steaming each other. Toss to coat, spread them in an even layer and roast for 20 minutes, stirring half way through, until just softened. Set aside to cool. 

Whisk the tahini dressing ingredients together, or shake them all together in a jar with a lid. 

In a large bowl, toss the kale and mint with a drizzle of the tahini dressing. Transfer the greens into bowls and top with a scoop of the vegetables, lentils, olives (if using), a sprinkle of feta cheese, toasted pine nuts and sesame seeds. 

Nutrition Information

per serving (salad)

  • calories
    334
  • fat
    22 g
  • carbs
    28 g
  • protein
    13 g

Recipe 04: Honey Chocolate Fudge

Makes 14 Pieces

Last year, I found this chocolate bar at select health food stores called Honey Mamas. It is basically a honey sweetened fudge, made with coconut oil and almonds. I made a knock-off version after I found myself hiding the expensive bars from my family in an effort to hoard my over-priced treat. 

Because of temperate coconut oil, the bars do need to stay refrigerated, but they keep well there for months. These can take on aromatics or add-ins. Try a dash of peppermint extract or toasted coconut flakes. 

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: the fudge will keep for a weeks in the refrigerator.

Use It Twice: double the batch and try different add ins, maybe cocoa nibs and some espresso powder? oats and honey roasted peanuts?

Kid Friendly: my kids are very friendly with anything chocolate.

 

Recipe Ingredients

2 ounces dark chocolate, well chopped
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/3 cup cocoa powder (natural or dutch) or raw cacao, plus more for dusting
pinch of sea salt

1/3 cup honey plus 1 Tbsp. 
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup crisp rice cereal

 

Recipe Instructions

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate along the bottom of the pan. 

In a food processor or a strong blender, combine the almonds, cocoa powder and sea salt. Pulse the mixture until it resembles coarse sand, about 10 times. You want some crunchy bits of almonds. 

In a saucepan, combine the honey and coconut oil and bring it to a gentle boil. Stir to mix. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Add the almond mixture and the rice cereal into the wet mixture and stir to combine. Any extra add-ins would go in here. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, smooth the top and put it in the fridge to cool for at least an hour. 

Nutrition Information

per piece

  • calories
    124
  • fat
    8 g
  • carbs
    13 g
  • protein
    2 g