Bulgur w/ Roasted Vegetables and Lentils

I love bulgur – one of my favorite dishes is Mujadara ( a Middle Eastern lentil, onion, bulgur dish) which my dearest friend Rula Baki makes to perfection. It’s what made me fall in love with bulgur so much and now I use it all the time in my kitchen. 

Here is one of my go to dishes which combines lentils and a bunch of roasted veggies with bulgur. Its really easy and you can substitute th vegetables with anything you have in your fridge ( sweet potatoes, asparagus etc). I prefer to use a coarse grain of bulgur – my favorite one is Duru which has vermicelli in it too but you can use any kind. This dish so so versatile that it can be served alongside pretty much anything or be a meal in itself. Click here to print recipe.

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Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies

I came late to the party of #nationalcookieday – not that I’m very aware of these things but I do have a cookie recipe that my daughter made a few times that is share-worthy. This recipe for Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies was adapted by Julia Moskin in @NYTcooking from @SarahKieffer’s recipe.

I must say they are exceptionally pretty and taste rather good too! Happy banging – that’s what makes these cookies beautifully crinkled.

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Rotis with Mint/Cilantro Gravy (Manni Sel)

Manni Sel is one of my very favorite Sindhi dishes. Sindh is a province that used to be in India before partition, but is now in Pakistan. Manni Sel is usually made with rotis or bread ( Indian bread) that is at least a day old. These rotis are soaked in a delicious cilantro and mint based gravy.

I don’t make rotis so I just use Trader Joe’s tortillas as a substitute. They work great. You could use any of your favorite tortillas or rotis in this recipe. Make sure that when you cook this dish –  you don’t put too much of the rotis in it – as it will become too dry. Keep the dish nice and gravied as the rotis tend to continue soaking the gravy long after the cooking process is done. This dish freezes really well too.

Nobody makes Manni Sel better than my best friends mother, Veena Thani does. I just love all her recipes because they are simple, really healthy and so so yummy!

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Spicy Sautéed Bitter Gourd (Karela)

Bitter gourd (karela) is a vegetable that I really didn’t grow up loving. The only way I could tolerate it when I was younger was when it was deep fried and covered in spice.

This spicy sautéed karela recipe however, changed my whole relationship with this vegetable for me. Maggie who makes the best Trini food ever – makes Karela in the simplest, most delicious way.

You can make this dish as spicy as you wish – just increase or reduce the number of chili peppers – and you can use whatever peppers you have but tasty peppers is the key to this recipe. This recipe is best cooked in a cast iron or nonstick pan.

All I need is a bowl of dal to go with this karela and life is good!

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Squash Toast

This recipe is from ABC Kitchen, at one of New York City’s most beautiful stores ABC Carpet & Home.

The menu offers many seasonal dishes of which one I just could not get enough of. It was their roasted kabocha squash toast w/ fresh ricotta and apple cider vinegar”. The flavors and textures of this creation were simply divine. Thoughtfully layered with crunchy bread, salty cheese, sweet and earthy squash, topped with chili and mint – it was divinity in each bite.

I recreated this dish in my kitchen using Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s recipe and though I could not get it to taste exactly the same but it was still par excellence.

 

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You must use good quality bread and you can use any cheese from ricotta, goat cheese – I even tried it with a herbed cream cheese and it tasted so good. I would try it with butternut squash the next time around.

 

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This makes for a wonderful snack, appetizer or even a lunch dish!

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Tomato Pasta Salad

This is a great summer dish when you can get your hands on really great quality tomatoes. My mother in law Atsuko used to make this simple tomato pasta salad really often which was really refreshing and a hit with kids and adults alike.

The better the quality of your tomatoes – the better this dish will taste. You will have to adjust the quantity of tomatoes according to the type you use. I usually use heirlooms or new jersey tomatoes but you can also use super sweet cherry tomatoes, plum or Roma.

You can choose any kind of pasta though I prefer the the shorter tubular ones, farfalle or fusilli. Always use a good quality EVOO – I personally love Brightland. 

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Vegan Beet Poke Bowl

This vegan beet poke bowl recipe is one that I have been most excited about recently. 

My daughter discovered it from Feasting at Home and made it for dinner one night and I’ve been hooked ever since. 

The beets add such vibrancy both in flavor and color – you do not miss the fish at all. I just love the zesty sauce that goes with it and always make extra as everyone loves to douse their bowls with it.

This is the first time we made a poke bowl at home and it just opened up a whole slew of ideas where I’ve made several iterations of them since – some veggie and others with sashimi. It’s such an easy, quick and super healthy meal to put together and it looks just gorgeous. You can play with colors and ingredients as you wish and can serve this with any kind of noodles, rice or just greens too.

 

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Grilled Asparagus, Ramps, Scallions & Zucchini

It’s grilling season and as exciting as all the meats are to cook – for me there’s nothing tastier than throwing a whole lot of farm fresh veggies on the grill. This mix of seasonal greens served as a perfect accompaniment to our bbq pork. 

The fresher your vegetables, the less intervention they need. Just a brush of olive oil and some salt and pepper. I served them with a homemade ramp chimichurri but you really don’t need a sauce to go with these.  Just putting those grill marks and some char on those veggies takes them to the next level.

I chose a combination of ramps, scallions, asparagus and zucchini- as that was part of my veggie haul from Union Square GreenMarket and The Queens County Farm.

 

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