lime and cilantro kasha salad

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  • 2+ cups chicken stock (I had this lying around from slow cooking a package of frozen chicken thighs)
  • 1 cup kasha
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 4 oz? cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 bunch flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 roasted sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 2 large collard green leaves, stem removed and discarded, cut into ribbons
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes
  • salt
  • pepper

Bring the stock to a boil, add the kasha and salt, and turn down to a simmer. Set the timer for 15 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the collard greens. When it’s done, drain and add to a bowl, add the other ingredients, toss and serve.

Written by orata

May 24, 2016 at 3:25 pm

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I made beef tongue for the first time last night/today and was astonished at how easy it was. My grandma always used to make beef tongue congee for me when I was little, and my favorite tacos are lengua tacos, but I had never done it from scratch before.

I took the whole frozen tongue and put it in the slow cooker with about 4 peeled garlic cloves, a bay leaf, and a peeled/trimmed/halved red onion, and covered it with boiling water. I set it to “low” and let it cook overnight. The next day, I took it out, peeled it (gave the skin to the cat), cut it into cubes, and pan-fried it with a little sliced garlic and salt and pepper over medium-high heat, with a bit of grapeseed oil. It developed an amazing brown crust and was ready in about 5 minutes.

Festival Foods was out of cilantro (!!) when we went shopping, so I had my lengua tacos with corn tortillas (microwaved for 45 seconds under a damp paper towel), sour cream, thinly sliced red onion, and lime juice. So damn good. I also had some of the tongue-stewing broth for breakfast with a dash of soy sauce and dry toast crumbled into it.


Written by orata

May 11, 2016 at 2:48 pm

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yummy thank you meal

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Had Michael and Casey (who’s in town for a few days) over for dinner and made:

Pickled cauliflower salad

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/4 cup green olives (I used the kind with pimentos inside), roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • roughly 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • roughly 1/8 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped

Blanch the cauliflower for 4 minutes. Drain and shock with cold water.

Heat the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the other ingredients and mix together.

Kale and white bean stew

  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch curly kale, cut off stems and chopped
  • 1 can navy beans, rinsed
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes with basil
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 white sweet potato, peeled and diced

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the sweet potato with olive oil and salt and roast for 20 minutes.

Saute the onions and carrots in the olive oil over medium heat until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes longer.

Add the beans, kale, tomatoes, and herbs. Stir and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is reduced. Add the roasted sweet potato and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Roasted mashed kabocha squash

  • 1 medium-large kabocha squash, halved
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/8 cup ricotta salata, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • Salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the squash cut sides down in a cast-iron skillet and add water to about 1/4 inch. Place in the oven and roast till soft, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and scoop squash into a bowl. Add the butter and allow the heat to melt it.

Puree the cottage cheese with about 1/4 cup water until smooth. Add to the squash mixture along with the salt and stir together.

Sprinkle the ricotta salata and parsley over the top of the dish.

Pumpkin pie

  • 1/2 recipe flaky pie crust
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Ground dried ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves

Roll out the pie crust, mix up everything else and pour into the unbaked shell, bake at 425 for 10 minutes and then turn down the heat to 350 and bake for 1-1.5 hours, till the pie is set. Eat with Chocolate Shoppe vanilla and butter pecan ice cream.

Written by orata

April 14, 2016 at 1:45 am

zucchini casserole thing, chicken cooked in milk, ham and cheese scones

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I made chicken cooked in milk in the slow cooker the other day:

Slow-Cooker Chicken in Milk

Serves 4 to 6

4- to 5-pound chicken
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
1 cup hard cider or apple juice
10 cloves garlic, left unpeeled
1/4 cup lightly packed sage leaves [I did not have fresh sage so I used 1 Tbsp dried sage leaves. 1/4 cup seems like an alarming amount of sage]
1/2 whole cinnamon stick (about 3 inches long) [I used a whole cinnamon stick]
Zest from two medium lemons
2 1/4 cups whole milk

Remove the chicken from its packaging and pull the bundle of giblets from inside; discard or reserve the giblets for another use. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Mix together the salt and pepper, and rub this all over the chicken.

→ At this point, you can sear the chicken for deeper flavor, or you can transfer it directly to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker, breast-side down. If you skip the searing step, reduce the amount of cider to 1/2 cup and don’t use the olive oil.

To sear the chicken, warm the tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Sear the chicken on all sides until deep golden-brown; use tongs to help turn it as you sear. The heat in the pan should be hot enough that you hear a constant sizzle as you sear the chicken; reduce the heat slightly if the oil begins to smoke.

Transfer the seared chicken to the bowl of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker and lay it breast-side down.

Pour off any grease left in the pan and return the pan to heat. Add the cider and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan as the cider simmers. Continue simmering the cider until it has reduced by roughly half. Pour the cider over the chicken.

Rub any loose papery skins from the garlic cloves, but otherwise leave them in their peels. Scatter the garlic cloves, sage leaves, cinnamon stick, and lemon zest on top of and around the chicken, then pour the milk over top.

Cover the slow cooker and cook for 4 to 6 hours on low heat.

To serve, lift the chicken from the slow cooker and transfer it to a cutting board; the legs or wings may fall off. Carve the chicken into pieces; you can leave the skin on or remove it, as you like.

Scoop the garlic cloves from the cooking liquid and scatter them over the chicken pieces. Transfer the liquid to a serving dish, straining if you’d prefer to remove the solid curds (although they’re tasty!). Serve everything while still piping hot.

Tonight I made a zucchini and rice casserole thing to use up a bunch of old food in the fridge. Came out great, actually. Zucchini casserole is a misnomer as it doesn’t have a huge amount of zucchini, but it was what I thought of first.

1 yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 large zucchini, diced

1 head broccoli, cut into small florets

1 bunch dinosaur kale, shredded

1 container cherry tomatoes, chopped

About 2 cups cooked white rice (we had this left over from a takeout Indonesian meal)

About 1 cup shredded cooked chicken (we had this leftover from the slow cooker chicken meal)

1 rib celery

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 large container cottage cheese

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

3 large eggs



Paprika (sweet and smoked)



About 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil and butter until translucent. Add the zucchini, broccoli, kale, and flour, and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and milk and cook, scraping and stirring to incorporate the flour and browned bits into the liquid. Add the chicken, rice, cheese, eggs, and seasonings, and mix everything together well. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and dot with butter or drizzle with oil. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown.

And ham and cheese scones:

2 3/4 cups flour

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp dried rosemary

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, cubed

1/4 cup ham, chopped

5 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup whole milk

1 large egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and herbs. Rub in the butter as for pie crust, leaving pea-sized pieces unincorporated. Mix in the ham, garlic, and cheese. Mix in the milk and egg. Drop in scone-sized lumps onto a Silpat sprayed with baking spray (on a baking sheet, obv.) I guess a scone-sized lump is like the size of 2 walnuts or a medium egg? I wound up with around 20 scones total. Bake for around 30 mins, until they seem lightly browned.

Written by orata

October 4, 2015 at 10:22 pm

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Chile Verde, Broccoli Cake

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I made this chile verde from Serious Eats in the slow cooker the other night, but used only 2 lbs chuck roast, and instead of canned diced chile, I used 4 or 5 hot Hatch chile peppers that I had roasted in the toaster oven (450 degrees for like an hour, I think, let them cool then scraped the interior out; they were the impetus for this recipe in the first place, as we went to Hy-Vee and there was a huge display of sweet and hot Hatch chiles, long curly waxy green things, smelling fresh and fragrant and divine, and I had to buy some):


  • 4 pound chuck roast, or pork shoulder/butt (I used a chuck roast)
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced chile (mine were mild, your choice)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 10 tomatillos, diced (peel off the outer wrapper, if they have one)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sage
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves


Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Trim any visible fat from the meat, and plop into your slow cooker stoneware. Add diced bell pepper and onion. If your tomatillos have the leafy-outer skin left on them, take the skin and stem off, and dice finely (I used a handheld chopper). Pour in the contents of the diced chile can and the tomato can. Add spices. Stir a bit to get the spices down the sides of the meat. Add chopped cilantro to the top. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, on high for 6 hours, or until the meat shreds easily with a fork. Serve with rice, corn tortillas, shredded cheese, and a dollop of sour cream.

And I am currently making an Ottolenghi-inspired savory broccoli cake:

Broccoli Cake

1 onion, diced

1 large head broccoli, cut into smallish florets

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 1/2 cups flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1 tsp dried rosemary

4 eggs

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup pine nuts



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Saute the onion until browned, then remove from the heat. (I cooked mine in bacon fat!)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and shock with cold water and ice.

Mix together the broccoli and onion with all the other ingredients, reserving about 2 Tbsp of pine nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth down until level. Sprinkle the reserved pine nuts over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Written by orata

September 15, 2015 at 11:27 am

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Dood peda (milk balls)

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I think I’ve posted the “hard” version of dood peda on this blog sometime before. These are ultra-sweet little caramelized milk balls somewhere between candy and pastry. My mother-in-law found an easy version that takes only 10 minutes:

  • 3/4 stick butter (1/2 stick might be enough)
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup nonfat powdered dried milk
  • 1 pinch ground cardamom
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • Optional: slivered almonds or shelled pistachios to garnish

Cook everything together for 10 minutes. (I think this would be improved by cooking it longer so the sugars caramelize, but it’s delicious only cooked for 10 minutes.) When cool enough to handle, shape into little flattened balls of about a tablespoon in size, and garnish with an almond or pistachio.

Written by orata

September 4, 2015 at 3:58 pm

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Carrot and arugula salad

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Lovely dinner last night: chicken pot pie with smoky collard greens and a carrot-arugula salad.

Reporting back–I’ve by now broken every Whole30 commandment and noticed I paid for it, with a creeping fatigue and post-sugar crash after eating desserts or too many simple carbs like flour or alcohol. I’m trying to stick to it at home, still, mostly, though last night’s pot pie certainly did not.  

Carrot and Arugula Salad

6 carrots, spiralized, the remaining cores sliced thinly 

Coconut oil



1/2 preserved lemon rind, minced, plus a splash of its juice/brine

2 Tbsp toasted extra virgin walnut oil

2 Tbsp mixed chopped fresh herbs (mint, cilantro, parsley)

2 Tbsp slivered toasted almonds

1 Tbsp fried crispy shallots (I get these in a plastic tub from the Asian supermarket)

4 cups arugula (or about 1 cup per serving)

Mix the carrots, coconut oil, salt, and pepper and roast on a baking sheet at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, till the carrots are tender.

Mix the carrots with all other ingredients except the arugula.

Serve as about 1/4 cup carrot mixture spooned over each cup of arugula.

For the collard greens, I fried up chopped bacon, added some fresh chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika to the oil for a few minutes, then added a big pile of chiffonaded kale and collard greens and a big splash of chicken poaching water from the pot pie; cooked on low heat till everything else was ready.

For the pot pie: poached chicken leg quarters, then removed skin and pulled the meat from the bone. Fried chopped onions and carrots in butter with some flour, then added chicken poaching water, rubbed sage, bay, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and potatoes, and simmered till the potatoes were cooked. Added the chicken meat back in, topped the skillet with a half recipe of the flaky pie crust from the Joy of Cooking, basted with ghee, and baked till brown, about 350 for 30 mins.

Written by orata

July 12, 2015 at 11:43 am

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