Category: Entrees

Baked Falafel with Feta Tzatziki Sauce

Baked falafel with feta tzatziki sauce is a quick and flavorful weeknight meal.  Or a great snack after a few beers.  No judging.Baked Falafel with Feta Tzatziki

It’s storytime folks…

When Liz was attending law school, she was fortunate enough to live in heart of Greenwich Village, meaning she had easy access to great food and bars nearby.  And as you might expect from a young, energetic lady-about-town (and less so from her grumpy, crotchety, in-bed-by-ten significant other), there were a fair number of nights that involved alcohol induced frivolity.  Now, provided you don’t push into the dreaded hangover territory, that state of buzzed bliss leads to something truly awesome: drunk food.  How good does ordinary food taste when you’ve been out whooping it up?  That pizza joint on the corner?  Tremendous!  Fast food burger?  Insert angelic choir here.  And one that you might not expect?  Falafel.

Falafel makes for great drunk food.  It’s hot and savory, and the name seems impervious to slurring.  It just sort of rolls off the tongue.  Our favorite place was a hole in the wall called Mamoun’s.  It’s the place to go at 3 am when you need some falafel!  And even better, when we visited in a more… er, sober… condition, we found that it wasn’t just the booze talking, it was just really good food!  We’ve tried a few different recipes, and although this isn’t exactly like the original (I think it’s something in the 40 year old fryer…), it’s a recipe good for a meal anytime.

Baked Falafel with Feta Tzatziki Sauce

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Open-Face Smoked Salmon and Avocado Sandwich

This open-face smoked salmon and avocado sandwich combines salty, creamy, zesty, crunchy goodness, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or hors d’oeuvres!

Open-Face Smoked Salmon and Avocado SandwichTwo things to start us off:

  1. This is one of my favorite things to eat.  EVER.
  2. I struggled on the name.

Let’s go with #1 first.  This recipe puts together some of the best things on God’s green earth: smoked salmon, avocado, jalapeno, and cilantro.  The avocado mixture is almost like guacamole, which is obviously awesome at all times, but it’s even a tiny bit simpler and therefore quicker to throw together.

The smoked salmon is what really puts this dish over the top.  You mix the salmon with some unexpected ingredients: a bit of toasted coriander and a touch of orange zest.  Of course, on further thought, these seasonings make total sense.  Coriander = cilantro, and orange zest is just a mild citrus flavor that complements the lime in the avocado.  In fact, the odd man out might be the smoked salmon – yet we all know smoked salmon goes beautifully with avocado, so why not avocado that’s a close cousin to guacamole, and it all just turns into one big beautiful circle of life!

I could eat this not only for lunch, but also dinner, and snacks, and breakfast.  More about that later.  But let’s not beat around the bush and just admit we want to add an egg to this bad boy right now.

Open-Face Smoked Salmon and Avocado Sandwich

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Salmon with Honey Mustard Mint Sauce

Serve some fresh salmon with an unexpected honey mustard mint sauce – yes mint! – and let your taste buds rejoice.Salmon with Honey Mustard Mint SauceSometimes I feel like my kitchen is a high school, and the ingredients are much-put-upon stereotypical students.  Quinoa and kale are the nerds everyone loves to copy, but no one reeeeeally gets excited about their company.  Salted caramel is the hot cheerleader who kinda peaked as a sophomore, but still gets plenty of attention her senior year.  Bacon is the class clown, getting along with everyone.

In this world, mint is a pleasant girl, good friends with chocolate and loose tea, but otherwise a bit of a loner.  Even though all agree she brings something nice to the table, her extracurriculars are limited.  Some, not knowing her full charms, would even shamefully lump her with that weirdo, gum.  (He’s always underfoot and sticks around too long.)

NO!  This is wrong.  Mint deserves more!  Mint, break that mold and bust those clichés!  Flirt with a savory dish and leave those mouths hanging open in wonder.

Which is all to say that you probably expect a recipe for a honey mustard mint sauce to be very very bad – It’s unheard of! They don’t hang out!—but one taste will adjust your views.  Be open to this new world.   Welcome dear mint into your entrees.

Salmon with Honey Mustard Mint Sauce

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Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce

A fresh, delicious take on the classic meatball – and they can go straight from the freezer to your oven.Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce Not only are these meatballs delicious, but I think they can be served in a variety of settings.  Casual weekday dinner?  Whip up a quick stir-fried rice to accompany them.  Want to dress it up a little?  Serve them with some sautéed baby bok choy.  Just got off a 14 hour flight that was the final leg of 24 hours of travel?  These will go straight from the freezer to the oven while you get the rice cooker going and grab a shower.

This recipe is a definite favorite among my immediate family.  I mean, I like spaghetti and meatballs as much as the next guy, but sometimes you want something a little different.  The Asian flavor from the sesame oil and soy sauce provide that, and I really like the inclusion of the water chestnuts for the crunch they provide.  I had never heard of water chestnuts, and when I first tasted them out of the can, I was rather underwhelmed.  Quite frankly, they are almost flavorless.  But that’s not what they are there for.  They provide a bit of crispness that I really enjoy, and that you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a meatball.Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce

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Beef Bourguignon

Beef bourguignonIf I had to put together a list of my top recipes, this would probably land on the podium.  It’s a rich beef stew that’s perfect on cold rainy days.  Or cool sunny days.  Or pretty much any day.

We ate this recipe often in the winter growing up.  It’s a recipe that can be made ahead of time as it freezes beautifully.  In fact, I think it’s actually better to re-heat it a day (or week, or month) later.  It was a staple for ski weekends, because it could go directly from the freezer to the stovetop to warm it up and serve over noodles.

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