Tag Archives: simple

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

15 Feb

flourless peanut butter cookies

Can we talk about all the things I love about this recipe? Since there’s no flour, it’s great for gluten-free folks, and there’s also no worry if you’ve run out of flour in your cabinet (or butter, for that matter). Another perk of the lack of flour is that you don’t have to worry about overworking the dough. This means that you can taste and adjust the quantities of peanut butter, sugar, and salt, if you’d like (so long as you don’t mind raw egg – or taste before adding the egg), so it’d be easy to practically just eyeball the recipe (not something a lot of baked goods can claim). Last, but most important, these cookies are delicious – and seriously addictive. These are probably the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever eaten. Every time I ate one, I found myself saying, “I could eat a million of these” and needing to tuck the container out of sight. They’re healthy, I tried to convince myself when inevitably grabbing another moments later – there’s no butter or flour, plus there’s added protein from the peanut butter (shh, don’t remind me about all that sugar). You probably want to double the recipe – trust me. You can thank me later.

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Coconut Breakfast Quinoa

4 Feb

coconut breakfast quinoa

My parents are here visiting me in Buenos Aires, so it’s been a whirlwind taking them around to all the best sights and restaurants (and it’s also the reason why I didn’t post on Friday – whoops!). They get breakfast at their hotel though, so I’m on my own for fixing breakfast. Something quick and easy but healthy and filling is important to have enough energy to get me through until lunch with all the sight-seeing, and this coconut breakfast quinoa has been a great option. Coconut milk adds richness to the quinoa, which is similar to oatmeal in this preparation (not that I’ve given up on my favorite steel-cut oats), but with the added boost of quinoa’s higher fiber and protein – even more so if you include the optional chia seeds. This can be served warm or cold and can be adapted endlessly with your favorite fruits and nuts, and you can also use a different spice in place of cinnamon, if you’d like, or omit it altogether. Although it’s geared towards being a breakfast (and will give you a great start to your day), this would even make a delicious, healthy (vegan and gluten-free) dessert.

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Thai Stir-Fried Cabbage

30 Jan

thai stir-fried cabbage

I’m back in Buenos Aires now, getting settled into a new place. The apartment is twice as big as the last two we’ve stayed in – still a studio apartment, but now there’s a couch! And the kitchen is much nicer, with a lovely gas stove and oven, a full-sized refrigerator, and ample counter space. It’s hard, though, to ramp back up with cooking, but I’ve learned to start off with simple dishes. Luckily, we’re near a great market with lots of fruit and vegetables vendors. And of course, I’m still carting spices around with me and (embarrassingly) some sauces, too… Asian sauces in particular (soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce) can be hard to find and expensive, so it made sense to take them to/from Montevideo (I think).

Anyway, on my first trip to the market, I just grabbed a couple of basic vegetables, including one of my favorites – cabbage. Not a lot of people are enthusiastic about cabbage, I know, but I love it. In salads, soups, or stir fries like this. When I came across this Thai recipe, I knew it couldn’t go wrong, but I wasn’t prepared for how flavorful such a simple dish could be. It could easily be a side dish to a Thai curry or a little midday snack, but served over rice (or quinoa, as I did) with chopped fresh vegetables (like the cucumber and tomatoes shown here) and, of course, nam pla prik on hand to add to taste, it makes for a surprisingly satisfying meal.

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Cilantro Lime Quinoa

16 Jan

cilantro lime quinoa

While I’m still a big proponent of one pot meals, I often feel like I need to round out my repertoire of sides. It can be hard though, since I try not to eat too much rice, bread, or potatoes, foods with notoriously low nutrition values. I love using quinoa in place of rice though, since it’s great for soaking up flavors, but healthier and, in my opinion, tastier. This quinoa is just perfect for serving alongside Mexican food – simple, but tasty with the herbaceous and tart flavors of cilantro and lime a great match to the subtle nuttiness of the quinoa. It can really help complete a meal with grilled fish or meat or with black or pinto beans and is a wonderful base for a burrito (or burrito bowl).

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Basic White Beans

7 Jan

basic white beans

When I first arrived in South America and found myself faced with a dismal selection of canned beans (the few that were available being expensive and poor quality), I was very disheartened. Beans are a staple in my cooking, and I wasn’t sure how I’d manage. Now, though, I feel glad to have been forced into cooking up dried beans. After many batches of black beans, I decided to try my hand at other beans as well. This basic recipe should work with nearly any variety of white beans – I can’t say exactly what variety I used, but they were the only dried white beans available here, labeled simply as “porotos alubia.” Whatever the variety, they’ve been great to have on hand for putting on salads or in soups, and when I ran out of the beans themselves, I even used the remaining cooking liquid to add extra flavor and richness to a simple lentil and vegetable soup. I look forward now to cooking up my weekly batch of beans, and I think this is a habit I’ll keep even after I return somewhere with canned beans readily available.

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Hot Crash Potatoes

4 Jan

hot crash potatoes

When I was in college, I wasn’t much of a chef. I definitely preferred buying a fast food burrito to cooking a meal for myself. But I slowly started learning very basic recipes and cooking them over and over – grilled cheese with tomato, egg in the hole, that sort of thing. These hot crash potatoes, though, were one of my favorites. A more ambitious dish than the rest of what I was cooking at the time, since it involves boiling and then baking the potatoes, meaning 45 minutes to an hour of cook time, though most of it is only spent waiting. Embarrassingly, I’d just eat a batch of these as a meal (maybe topped with bacon). Recently, I had a couple potatoes hanging around, so I thought I’d dig up this old classic. These days, it seems really simple compared to what I usually cook, but, as before, the crisp edges and creamy interior make these potatoes hard to resist. This is also one of the first recipes I learned to get creative with, varying the toppings on the potatoes to suit my mood. My favorite additions are still simple – minced garlic, paprika for a little extra color, cheese of any sort (though they’re also just fine without it), and a sprinkle of fresh herbs at the end.

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Mediterranean Fish Stew

28 Dec

mediterranean fish stew

I’m getting settled in here in Montevideo, and although a lot of things are very similar to Buenos Aires, there are also a lot of noticeable differences. For one, food on the whole is surprisingly expensive – about two to three times as much as I’d encountered in my neighborhood in Buenos Aires. So I’m cooking even more in order to save money. The river here is a lot cleaner, and we’re just at where it meets the ocean, so there’s a lot more seafood available here, and that’s one thing that’s actually cheaper. So I put together this basic fisherman’s stew, using tilapia that was on special (though any firm white fish should do). I’d never cooked something quite like this before, but it was very easy to throw together and packed with flavor. I especially liked the technique of using anchovies and garlic to create the base (instead of the usual fish stock or clam juice). Topped with fresh herbs, this stew makes a lovely simple meal.

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Roasted Cabbage with Soy-Glazed Shiitake Mushrooms

21 Dec

roasted cabbage with soy-glazed mushrooms

The past three months in Buenos Aires have been an exciting time for me – getting adjusted to a new city, learning Spanish, and settling into a new food routine (an amazing verduleria down the street for fresh, great quality vegetables when I feel like cooking and a cheap empanada place for when I don’t). But I’m taking a little break now from Argentina to check out Montevideo for a month. As I was preparing to leave, one of the main things I focused on was cleaning out my kitchen, and this recipe was great for the half head of cabbage rolling around in my refrigerator and the dried shiitake mushrooms sitting in the back of my cabinet. I’m already a big cabbage fan, but roasting cabbage just might be my new favorite preparation. As with most vegetables, roasting draws out the natural sweetness of cabbage and makes it easy to eat a lot of without even thinking about how healthy it is. I brushed the cabbage with sesame oil to pair with the Asian flavors of the shiitake mushrooms which are cooked in their soaking water along with soy sauce and sugar, boiling down to a flavor-packed glaze. Not a bad way to use up the last of some basics on my kitchen – now it’s time for me to start stocking up my new place.

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Roasted Broccoli and Sun-dried Tomato Salad

10 Dec

roasted broccoli and sun-dried tomato salad 1

I’ve long been a proponent of roasting vegetables – it’s an easy way to enhance their flavor without even needing to add anything (other than a little olive oil and a pinch of salt). But I don’t think I’ve posted any recipes before with roasted broccoli. It’s a great focal point for a salad like this, where the concentrated flavors are well-complemented by the intense umami of sun-dried tomatoes. A simple balsamic honey reduction adds sweetness. Hard-boiled eggs add a great additional texture and help to balance the other strong flavors (although I think this salad would still be quite good as a vegan version without them). I can never resist putting nuts, seeds, and dried fruit on my salads, and this is no exception, with almonds, sesame seeds, and raisins rounding things out here. All together, the ingredients make for a sophisticated and delicious salad, with more than enough components to make it a satisfying meal.

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Basic Black Beans

9 Nov

basic black beans

I know I already posted a recipe for cooking dried black beans (and quite recently too), but I couldn’t resist posting another one. My previous recipe has a long ingredient list and turns out a flavorful bowl of beans ready to be eaten plain, but this recipe is different. It’s much more basic, with a very short ingredient list (even shorter if you leave out the two optional ingredients, cumin and cilantro), meaning that you most likely have all the ingredients already on hand and can make these beans with almost no effort. I like this recipe for making black beans just to have on hand, to use in place of canned beans in recipes (a 15-ounce can is about 1 1/2 cups of beans, so this recipe makes the equivalent of about 4 cans). Onion and garlic give the basic backbone of savory flavors to these beans, and a little red wine vinegar stirred in at the end helps balance them, but it’s nothing fancy here, just a great building block for any black bean soup, black bean salad, or other black bean dish you might want to cook up.

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