Kale Pesto and Zucchini Pasta

kale pesto zucchini pasta

One of the hardest parts of living in a different country is the communication barrier to friends back home.  I can’t pop over after work for a glass of wine or even go visit them on long weekend.  It used to be that I’d make my catch up calls on my walk home from work, but these days a Skype or FaceTime date has to be penciled in well in advance. 

With this change in circumstance, some of my best friends and I have figured out an alternative way of communicating.  That is – through food and recipe sharing.  Whether we email  tips of how to cook tofu or a new slow-cooker recipe – we  sit around the same table even if we are thousands of miles away. 

One of my closest friends started her own food blog earlier this year.  Not only does she come up with phenomenal vegetarian recipes, but she’s also a fantastic writer. This post is an ode to her amazing inspiration and another way for us to stay connected across the pond.  You can find her original recipe for sautéed zucchini noodles with kale basil pesto here!

zucchini ribbons

 

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Kale Pesto and Zucchini Pasta
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Ingredients
  1. 2 zucchini
  2. 3 cloves of garlic
  3. 1/2 cup walnuts
  4. 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  5. Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  6. 2 cups kale
  7. 1/3 cup olive oil
  8. Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Using a mandolin with a julienne option, or a vegetable peeler, cut the zucchini into small pasta like strips. Place in strainer and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Drain the excess water and pat dry with a tea cloth or paper towels
  3. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a food processor or strong blender. Mix until you have a smooth paste.
  4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbs olive oil and sauté the zucchini until soft, roughly 4 to 5 minutes. Mix in pesto. Serve hot with grated parmesean cheese.
Adapted from The Minimalist Pantry
http://therelocatedkitchen.com/

 

Almond and Seed Crackers – A Paleo Snack

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For the last five months, I’ve been following the Primal Blueprint also known as the Paleo Diet. Combining these guidelines with exercise and more conscious eating (less snacking, less drinking, smaller portions, etc) is getting me closer to my fitness and health goals. 

Now I have my qualms about fad diets and miracle fixes. I also think you have to respect the reality of life that means the occasional urge for smooth glass of red wine after a hard week does not always need to be denied.  However, taking the time to get organized with my food shops and finding healthy alternatives for snacks has been critical for my success.  It means that five or six days a week I can be good and then I can absolutely relish in my cheat day. 
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To get me through the day with focus and energy, I have to snack.  I’m sure there’s significant literature supporting this and equally against it. Regardless, it must be done.  These paleo friendly, almond and seed crackers are an incredibly healthy alternative to high carb snacks.   

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Almond and Seed Crackers
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups raw almonds
  2. 1 cup cashews
  3. 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  4. 1 egg, whisked until frothy
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. Pepitas, Chia, or Flax seed for topping
Instructions
  1. In a food processor or blender, combine almonds and cashews and mix until a course flour forms
  2. Combine almond and cashew flour with sesame seeds, egg, salt, and oil and mix until a dough forms
  3. Separate the dough into two halves
  4. Place one half of the dough in the middle of a large piece of parchment paper then cover with a second piece of parchment paper
  5. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough between the two sheets until it is roughly 1/8 inch thick
  6. Lift top sheet of paper off and sprinkle with pepitas or other seeds and press lightly into the dough so they stick
  7. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into 2 inch squares
  8. Bake at 175C for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown
  9. Cool and serve
http://therelocatedkitchen.com/
 

Green Goddess Dressing and the start of Spring

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There are subtle hints on every corner, a few daffodils here or some cherry blossoms there.  Though it is not completely in your face, there is no denying that Spring is here.  Now I haven’t packed away my thick wool coat and there might have been a hail storm yesterday, but London is returning to the city that I initially fell in love with. 

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I saw this green goddess dressing recipe on one of my favorite blogs A Couple Cooks. I was looking for a light and easy lunch after my personal training session. This fit the bill! Along with using this on a salad, I’ll be using it with tomorrow nights sweet potato fries. 

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Healthy Green Goddess Dressing
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For the Dressing
  1. 2 scallions, roughly chopped
  2. ½ green jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  3. ⅔ cup Greek yogurt
  4. ½ cup lightly packed cilantro
  5. Juice from 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
  6. ⅓ cup olive oil
  7. ½ teaspoon salt
  8. 1 tablespoon honey
For the Salad
  1. 5-10 radishes
  2. 1/2 avocado
  3. Fresh Spinach
Instructions
  1. Combine all dressing ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend. Transfer to a sealable container; stores in the refrigerator for 1 week.
  2. Combine salad ingredients together and toss with the dressing.
http://therelocatedkitchen.com/

Coq au Vin with White Wine for a Warmer Winter

coq au vin soup winter warmer

It seems that every time I turn on the news from BBC to CNN there are winter weather warnings. Floods around London and seemingly endless snow storms on the East Coast! The first blossoms of Spring and the plans for summer BBQs seem an eternity away. For those of you affected by these storms, hang in there! Warmer weather will eventually come. To ease my survival of this winter I’ve invested in two crucial items: a heated under-blanket and time to systematically go through the soup chapter of the Sunset Cookbook.

winter soup coq au vin This White Wine Coq au Vin is a bit of a twist on the French classic.  The addition of fresh green herbs  also trick you into thinking spring is closer. Cuddle up on the sofa with a blanket, some fresh bread, and a bowl of this soup and I guarantee you’ll feel that much warmer! If all of this fails to do the trick, I’ve entered the www.coopelectricalshop.co.uk competition to win some electronics to help me thaw out on these winter nights. 

tarragon fresh herbs
fried chicken coq au vin
White Wine Coq au Vin
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Ingredients
  1. 4 1/2 tablespoons flour
  2. 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  3. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  4. 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  5. 4 slices bacon (1/4 lb.), chopped
  6. 1 1/2 pounds boned, skinned chicken thighs
  7. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  8. 1 1/2 cups peeled baby carrots
  9. 3 stalks celery
  10. 1 medium onion
  11. 1 1/3 cups Chardonnay
  12. 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  13. 1/2 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  14. 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh tarragon sprigs
Instructions
  1. In a plastic bag, shake flour with 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and the herbes de Provence; set aside.
  2. In a 5- to 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat, brown bacon, stirring often, 6 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, cut chicken into 1-in. chunks, then shake half at a time in flour to coat.
  3. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon from pan to paper towels. Brown half the chicken in bacon fat, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding oil to pot. Meanwhile, halve carrots lengthwise and cut celery into diagonal slices. Chop onion.
  4. Add vegetables to pot with remaining 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper and sauté until onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, microwave wine and broth until steaming, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add broth mixture, chicken, and bacon to pan, stirring to loosen browned bits. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely chop parsley and tarragon. Stir them into stew.
http://therelocatedkitchen.com/

Classic Caesar Salad

caesar salad

Full disclosure, what you’re about to read is a complete first world problem…one of my big challenges is balancing my desire to be a domestic goddess with the reality of a 50-60 hour work week.  I wish I could come home from work and feel energized to cook something elaborate and still get it on the table before the sunrises again. This doesn’t even include the washing up afterwards! The times where I have managed to pull off something slightly more elaborate than the basics always included serious pre-planning, grocery shopping, and extra caffeine right around 5 or 6 o’clock. 

I have such a new found appreciation and understanding of what an incredible feat it was for my Mom to put delicious meals on the table night after night.  Fortunately she’s starting to fill me in on some of the tips of the trade and insider secrets.  This one is “make double batches”.  There was always a quart sized mason jar of this caesar salad dressing sitting in the fridge ready to top over some quickly chopped up lettuce and rotisserie chicken.  No need to pull the cook book down from the shelf either – this recipe has been taped to the inside of our cupboard door for as long as I can remember.  It is an absolute family staple.

caesar salad dressing joy of cooking

You’ll find this version is a bit different from the creamy mayonnaise based version you tend to find at restaurants. It is taken directly from the 1973 edition of the Joy of Cooking and is more garlic and lemon infused!

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Classic Caesar Salad
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For the dressing
  1. 1 Clove garlic, minced
  2. 1/2 cup olive oil
  3. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  5. 1 Tbs anchovy paste
  6. 3 Tbs wine vinegar
  7. Juice 1 lemon
  8. 1 Coddled egg (boil it for 90 seconds)
To top the salad
  1. 1 Small Ciabatta loaf or other crusty bread
  2. 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  3. 2-3 Tbs shaved parmesan
  4. 1 Head Romain Lettuce, washed and ripped into bite size pieces
For the dressing
  1. Combine all ingredients into a large jug and shake to combine.
For the toppings
  1. Heat the oven to 200C. Tear the bread into bite size pieces. Toss in a bowl with olive oil until they are evenly coated. Spread out on a cooking sheet and bake for 8-10 mins, turning the croutons a few times during cooking so they brown evenly.
  2. Toss the lettuce with the dressing, chicken, parmesan and croutons. Serve and enjoy!
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking - 1973
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking - 1973
http://therelocatedkitchen.com/
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Baked Eggplant Fries with Yogurt Dip

egg plant fries aubergine

While I’m still figuring out what to call them here, eggplants or aubergines to the Brits (either way the both are quite odd names when you stop to think about it) are starting to become a regular staple in my kitchen. They’re cheap and can be cooked with almost any type of cuisine from asian stir fries to Mediterranean bakes.  Even if the health-kick of January has wound down, I’m always intrigued by healthy ways to recreate the traditionally unhealthy versions.  These baked eggplant fries don’t require any oil and make a great accompaniment to any meal!

aubergine

za'atar bread crumbs

baked eggplant fries

Baked Eggplant Fries with Yogurt Dip
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Dipping Sauce
  1. 1/2 c plain yogurt
  2. 1 garlic clove, crushed
  3. ½ cucumber, finely chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 1 tbs lemon juice
  6. Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Fries
  1. 1 large or two small eggplants cut into 3 cm rounds then into 3cm strips
  2. 1 cup flour
  3. 2 eggs, beaten
  4. 1 cup bread crumbs
  5. 3 tablespoons za’atar seasoning
  6. 1 tablespoons garlic powder
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450F/230C
  2. Put the cut eggplant in a large bowl with 2 cups ice and enough water so all pieces are covered completely. Cover and chill for at 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile mix bread crumbs with with za'atar, garlic powder and salt. Next, drain the water from the eggplant.
  4. Set up an assembly line for yourself and toss the pieces of eggplant in the flour, then dip in egg, then finally into the bread crumbs. Place onto rack.
  5. When you've finished coating all the pieces, bake, turning once, until browned, crispy, and tender to the bite, about 30 minutes.
  6. While the fries are baking, combine all ingredients for the dip. Serve the egg plant fries hot with the yogurt and cucumber dip!
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Adapted from Bon Appetit
http://therelocatedkitchen.com/

Dutch Baby Pancakes for a Celebratory Breakfast

dutch baby pancake with lemon sugar

Not that you should need an excuse to indulge, but a few weekends ago my boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary.  If almost by design the weekend was filled with a never ending stream of different foods rich and savory, sweet and sugary. Our stomachs were generously filled all weekend. We had two nights of curry, incredible hot pork baguettes from Hobbs Meat in Borough Market, and I hate to say it, much much more. 

I wanted Saturday morning breakfast to be knock-out as well.  I could think of nothing else to make but my mom’s Lemon Dutch Baby.  This rich and impressive pancake was served throughout my childhood for birthdays, Father’s Days, and even Easter. I remember always waiting anxiously by the oven to see the massive puff as it came out of the oven and arguing with my sister over who got to pour the powdered sugar.

dutch baby with lemon sugar berries

This recipe is relatively easy to prepare considering it’s WOW factor.  I know it will continue to make appearances for all of our upcoming breakfast celebrations.  Do you have a family breakfast favorite? Now that I’m in London there are so many different breakfast dishes to try.  Please let me know if the comments below! 

Dutch Baby with Lemon and Berry Syrup

Ingredients

3 large eggs at room temperature 
2/3 cup whole milk at room temperature
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Topping

1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tbs water
1 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries

Method

Put oven-proof skillet (I recommend cast iron if you have it) into the center rack of oven and preheat to 450F/230C. Meanwhile, beat eggs until frothy with a mixer. Then add milk, flour, vanilla, and salt and beat until mixture is smooth.  The batter will be thin don’t worry!

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, lemon zest, water, and berries and heat to a low boil. 

Remove the skillet from the oven and add butter and swirl to melt and coat the bottom. You may need to put the skillet back in for a minute.  Add batter and immediately return skillet to oven. Bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18 to 25 minutes.

Dutch baby pancake  

The New Year, Sailing Adventures, & BBC Cocktails

 

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Happy New Year to all. 2014! It will be a phenomenal year.  I’ve taken quite a hiatus since my last post.  The holidays swept over me like a tidal wave of red and green and ever flowing champagne! Now that the storm of Christmas dinners and New Years Eve party planning has subsided, that blissful feeling of the fresh new start of January settled in. Fortunately, a week sailing off the coast of Belize really facilitated the “reset” process. 

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To celebrate my father’s recent retirement from his oncology practice in California and my twin sister just completing her nurse practitioner’s program at UPenn, we chartered a catamaran for a week long sailing journey. It was a week of pure relaxation and sun.  More important than the tan and snorkeling with sharks however, was the uninterrupted time to be with my parents and sister. As we get older and our lives spread out all over the world, it is a rare opportunity to satiate the family time batteries. 

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Now back in the reality of my life in London, it’s a bit colder and running at light speed compared to mornings reading on the deck of the boat. Despite that, I’m excited for all that is to come and specifically with the Relocated Kitchen – many new recipes!  To kick it off, a recipe from one of the most indulgent parts of our trip – Captain’s Hour every day at 5pm.  

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Bailey's Banana Colada "BBC" Cocktail
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Ingredients
  1. 1 oz. Baileys Irish Cream
  2. 1 oz. Rum (Preferably Dark Rum)
  3. 1 oz. Banana Liqueur
  4. 1 Banana
  5. 3 oz. Pina Colada Mix
Instructions
  1. Put banana and liqueur into blender until it is a thick paste. Add Bailey's Irish cream, pina colada mix and rum. Blend well then add 1 cup of ice and blend again until smooth. Garnish the glass with chocolate sauce if you are feeling particularly indulgent!
http://therelocatedkitchen.com/
 

The Thanksgiving Menu and Cooking Action Plan

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I have a lot to be thankful for this year.  My move to London over a year ago opened one of the most influential  and wonderful chapters of my life.  It hardly seems that one, albeit large, meal could do justice to all that I have to give thanks for.  At least this Thanksgiving, I am recognizing how blessed I am for the opportunity to travel and do business throughout Europe, to learn new cultures, wander through history, build friendships with people from all over the world, and create a home in the heart of London. I’m thankful for my family who is patient with the eight hour time zone between us, my incredible boyfriend, and the warmth of knowing that eventually I’ll move back to the more temperate climate of California. Now on to the delicious part…

The Official 2013 Thanksgiving Menu

Starters
Herbed Almonds from Faith Durand at TheKitchn.com
Garlic Herb Rolls from Mary at One Perfect Bite

Mains
Perfect Roast Chicken from Karen Burns-Booth at Lavender and Lovage
Cornbread, Sausage, and Pecan Dressing from Bon Appétit
Garlic Mashed Potatoes from Diane at Delicious as it Looks
Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Goat Cheese from Deb at Smitten Kitchen 
Brussels Sprout Slaw with Pancetta and Caramelized Shallots from…ME! 
Green Beans with Almonds from Jessica Seinfeld at Do it Delicious
Cranberry, Apple, & Ginger Chutney from The Chef’s Wife

Desserts
Pumpkin Pie with Streusel Topping 
Chocolate Hazelnut Tart from Gourmet
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from Epicurious

* Even though there will be only 6 of us at dinner this year, and despite being thousands of miles away from my family this year, it’s unlikely that I will distance myself from the familiar habit of making too much food.  The Tupperware and freezer are more than ready for leftovers!
** Turkey is somewhat difficult to find in London except right before Christmas, so I will be substituting two whole chickens instead.
*** Photo Credits are from each of the Blogs/Websites that are linked to the respective recipes

The Cooking Action Plan 

Two Days Before
1) Bake  Cornbread for stuffing
2) Prepare Cranberry Ginger Chutney
3) Prepare Fresh Cranberry Relish

One Day Before
1) Bake Pumpkin Pie
2) Bake Chocolate Hazelnut Pie
3) Bake carrot cake but do not frost
4) Prepare the remaining stuffing with previously prepared cornbread
5) Chop all vegetables for Chickens, Roast Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Brussels Sprout Slaw

Thanksgiving Morning 
1) Prepare and bake dinner rolls
2) Make roasted nuts
3) Frost Carrot Cake
4) Roast Sweet Potatoes and mix topping
5) Set the dinner table

Thanksgiving Afternoon
1) Make Brussels Sprout Slaw
2) Prepare chickens for oven and start cooking
3) Chill drinks if necessary

While chickens are in the oven
1) Make Mashed Potatoes
2) Cook the Green beans
3) During the last 30 minutes of cooking the chickens, reheat mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, stuffing.

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Caramelized Shallots and Pancetta

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Brussels sprouts used to have the same appeal to me as mini cabbages – ie none. That is, until I realized you could smother them maple syrup, roast them to perfection in butter, or toss them in a salad with bacon. My world was rocked.

If it was up to me (and not the calorie and nutrition gods), I would serve only turkey and pies for my Thanksgiving meal. For the sake of variety and adding some nutritional content to this otherwise amazingly gluttonous meal, this brussels sprout slaw is a delicious addition to my Thanksgiving menu.  The sweet and savory combination of caramelized shallots with the cooked sprouts coupled with the crunch of the pancetta packs a serious flavor punch with each bite.

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Brussels Sprout Slaw with Pancetta and Caramelized Shallots

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
8-10 shallots, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Teaspoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 Ounces diced pancetta
1 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts thinly sliced
1 Cup chicken broth
Salt and Pepper

Method:

In a skillet over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter.  Add the shallots and sauté until golden, approx. 10-12 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar and continue to cook until brown and glazed for 5-10 min.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a separate large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, add the pancetta and cook until crispy.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta to paper towel on top of a plate, keeping the fat in the pan.  With the heat on medium add the sliced Brussels sprouts and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken broth to sprouts and let cook for about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the remaining liquid has evaporated. When finished, add the shallots and pancetta and toss to combine.

This recipe has been adapted from the Galley Gourmet and originally from Epicurious.com