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A few years ago, I went through this thing where I was eating Chinese chicken salad pretty much every day for a month. It was right after I tried my very first Chinese chicken salad and, I guess you could say I became a little obsessed.

What truly makes a Chinese chicken salad superb is the dressing. Minced fresh ginger is one of the essential ingredients in this great-tasting dressing. I like to make a big portion of the dressing and keep it in the refrigerator to enjoy over a few days, since I clearly never get tired of eating this salad! All you need for a simple salad is chopped romaine lettuce, mandarins, sliced almonds, grilled chicken and carrots. Pour this dressing over and you’ve got a spectacular meal.

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Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing
Ingredients
  •  3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
Directions
  1. Add all ingredients to a small Magic Bullet cup and pulse a few times until all ingredients are blended together well.
  2. Cover with a lid and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Makes ~1 cup dressing

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Sep
1
2

Avocado Linguine

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The other day, I came up with a new recipe that seriously surprised me. The title of this post already gives it away, but there you have it: avocados really do make delicious, creamy pasta sauce! After the first bite of my avocado pasta, I scarfed down the rest of the entire dish in a matter of seconds. It may sound strange to use avocados in pasta sauce, but I promise it is so good!

Don’t you just love it when healthy foods taste amazing?

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Avocado Linguine
Ingredients
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • Parsley for garnish
  • 1 box linguine
Directions
  1. Cook the linguine al dente, according to the package directions.
  2. Add all other ingredients to a small Magic Bullet cup (except the parsley) and blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Toss the drained noodles with the avocado sauce.
  4. When ready to serve, sprinkle Parmesan cheese and parsley on top of individual plates.

Makes 2 servings

I was recently in Greece, home of my ancestors (not really) and, in addition to having no trouble getting money out of ATMs, I had Greek salad almost everyday. There’s nothing more Greek than Greek salad, except debt crises and ouzo, which is a nasty liquor that tastes like a mixture of fennel, vodka and squashed bugs.

Okay, I can’t really back that up. Anyway, when I got home, in addition to watching the Greeks and the Germans negotiate on television everyday, I realized that IT’S TOMATO SEASON and I should make Greek salad for myself because Greek salad is delicious and so should you.

In Greece, they use a variety of interesting cheeses for this salad, but back home we’re mostly stuck with feta, unless you happen to have a great Greek store in your ‘hood.

This salad uses one of my favorite new ingredients, white balsamic vinegar. White balsamic vinegar: you’d never guess it from the name, but it turns out that it’s white vinegar, not balsamic vinegar at all. What it really turns out to be is good, like balsamic vinegar in terms of depth and tang, but with a pleasant sweetness. Make this Greek salad with white vinegar and see if the Grexit happens.

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Greek Salad with White Balsamic Vinegar Dressing
Ingredient
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, cut into big pieces
  • 5 pounds cucumbers, peeled
  • 4 oz feta cheese, or to taste
  • a few slices of red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Greek olives
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 4 Tbsp Greek olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp white vinegar
Directions
  1. Blend olive oil and vinegar in the Magic Bullet and serve over all the other ingredients.

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Chickpeas are an exciting food that can add substance to an already-established dish, or, given the opportunity, can rise to the challenge of leading a meal. Inspired by Indian curry flavors and Greek hummus textures, this recipe presents a delicious chickpea curry spread that you’ll find both new and comfortably familiar.

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Chickpea Curry Spread
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chickpeas, cooked (about 8 oz.)
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Handful of raisins
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
Directions
  1. Lightly chop cilantro, removing stems (most of the nutrients and flavor are in the leaves).
  2. Combine all ingredients in a Magic Bullet cup and blend.

Enjoy as a side dish, appetizer or snack. Best if served with small pieces of bread, crackers or carrot sticks. Or add this spread to a wrap, along with lettuce, tomato and other garnishes and enjoy it for lunch!

There are some dishes that are so classic they don’t need to be improved upon. But everything can be improved upon, right? I present to you, courtesy of the clever little buggers over at Cooks Illustrated, fresh pasta puttanesca.

Pasta puttanesca is a famous classic Italian pantry dish. Its name translates to – well, you can google that yourself – but suffice it to say it’s a dish that’s known for being salty and satisfying. What I love about it is the way it combines the bold flavors of anchovies and capers with olives; it just smacks you in the face with flavor. This version is very clever because it combines those lip-smacking elements of the original with fresh tomato flavor.

If you’re dying for tomato season to come along but are getting impatient, this is the perfect pasta dish for you. Fresh cherry tomatoes get blended up in the Bullet to provide sweetness and, well, freshness that really pair well with the salty umami of the classic puttanesca ingredients.

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Fresh Pasta Puttanesca
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tin anchovies, or to taste
  • 1 quart grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound small pasta, such as fusilli or campanelle
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 3 Tbsp capers
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. oregano
Directions
  1. Boil pasta in heavily salted water until just short of al dente.
  2. Blend anchovies, garlic and oil in the Magic Bullet and add to a pan over medium heat. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about two minutes.
  3. Blend tomatoes in the Magic Bullet and add to pan. Raise heat to high and cook three minutes.
  4. Add cooked pasta and tomato mixture to a pot and put heat on medium. Cook one or two minutes until pasta starts to absorb the tomatoes. Serve.
Aug
7
0

Vegan Basil Pesto

If you’re like me, you may not be vegetarian, let alone vegan, but you have more and more vegans in your life and sometimes you need to cook for them. Hey, I’m cool with that.

Basil pesto is a classic in more ways than one – a classic dish from my childhood, a classic dish from Italy and a classic recipe from the Magic Bullet. This is the perfect time of year for making pesto, too, with basil overflowing from every stall at the farmers’ market.

Classic basil pesto contains parmesan cheese and it turns out that making pesto without cheese is tricky. You can’t really just leave out the parmesan or you’ll really notice the difference and parmesan substitutes like nutritional yeast are, well, not my style. Instead, the idea here is to get nuttiness and umami from really well-toasted almonds and edamame. It’s not exactly the same as parmesan, but it’s just as good and hits all the same flavor notes.

I ended up using this pesto on a pizza with cherry tomatoes and shrimp. The pizza had mozzarella on it, which sort of defeated the purpose of keeping the pesto vegan, but you could use a vegan mozz substitute (much better than a parmesan substitute) or just use the pesto on pasta.

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Vegan Basil Pesto
Ingredients
  • 1 cup deshelled frozen edamame, microwaved for two minutes
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • leaves from a big bunch of basil
  • olive oil to taste
Directions
  1. Add a dash of olive oil to the almonds and microwave for two minutes. Stir and microwave for another minute. Stir and repeat until almonds are nice and brown, but not burned.
  2. Add all ingredients to Magic Bullet with two big glugs of olive oil. Blend, stirring as necessary, and keep adding olive oil until mixture is a paste.

 

When I was a kid, eggplant wasn’t even on my radar. After discovering it as an adult, the consistency and flavor were so unique that it took some time to learn to fully appreciate its taste and versatility. Now, though, it’s a food I seek out and anytime I see it on a menu, it’s my go-to.

This recipe combines roasted eggplant, pepper and onion in a hearty and delicious spread that works great as an appetizer or snack.

Eggplant can be difficult to cook – it takes patience in the oven and when fried and can often soak up a lot of oil. Be careful! Cook all the way through, or you’ll end up with a spongey texture that is less than appetizing.

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Roasted Eggplant, Pepper and Onion Spread
Ingredients
  • 3/4 eggplant
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt & pepper
Directions
  1. Lightly chop eggplant, pepper, onion and garlic and combine in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add oil, salt and pepper to vegetables and mix thoroughly.
  3. Place all vegetables on oiled baking tin and roast for 30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees, until brown.
  4. Let cool.
  5. Combine roasted vegetables with tomato paste in Magic Bullet and blend roughly, until you reach spreadable consistency.

Served best on slices of a toasted baguette!

If you’re looking to improve your regular salad routine, I have you covered. Sometimes, it’s fun to spice things up with an exotic ingredient, but this dressing takes it to a whole new level with two unusual components: tahini and miso. While you can use each of them individually  to add a little bit of kick and flavor (and believe me, I have), this is the first time I’ve tried experimenting with tahini and miso together. And it really worked!

Tahini is a staple of Middle Eastern cooking – it’s a paste made largely of sesame seeds and has the texture of somewhat thin natural peanut butter. It’s salty and has a decadent, rich mouth feel while giving food a bit of unusual flavor. You can find it either with the peanut butter or in the international food aisle at most grocery stores.

Miso is… well, I could write a sonnet to miso. As fermented soy paste bursting with umami, miso takes everything and turns it up a notch. It’s used extensively in Japanese cooking and can be found in the international aisle.

This salad dressing combines the two, with just a little bit of water to manage the consistency – all of which comes together perfectly in the Magic Bullet.

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East Meets Further East Dressing (Tahini-Miso)
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 tsp. miso, any kind (I use Awase, which halfway between mild and funky)
  • juice of ¼ lemon
  • 2 Tbsp water, or more to taste
Directions
  1. Add all ingredients to Magic Bullet. Blend, adding water as necessary.

 

Jul
31
0

Horseradish Sauce

Saturdays and Sundays are usually the two worst days to visit any grocery store. For me, the exception is Zabar’s, an ancient specialty food store on the Upper West Side of New York City. Weekends at Zabar’s are ruled by fancy and exotic samples given out across the store, and the one I look forward to most every week is a platter of smoked mussels and horseradish sauce on a cracker. But why should I have all the fun? Here, you’ll learn to make a delicious horseradish sauce (don’t worry, I was cautious at first, too) that will delight at every occasion – from a house party to a night in relaxing on the couch.

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Horseradish Sauce
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup grated horseradish
  • 1/4 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • Pepper
Directions
  1. First thing up is grating your horseradish. If you’re like me, you’ve never paid attention to horseradish before and are not sure how to do this. Fear not! Just peel and grate it like you’d peel a carrot.
  2. Combine grated horseradish with all other ingredients in the Magic Bullet and blend.

As mentioned above, I love this with steamed mussels and crackers, but you can substitute other fish or meat if mussels sound a little too adventurous.

Pasta with pesto sauce is a classic Italian dish that everyone can enjoy. Basil, garlic, cheese, oil… What’s not to like? Here, I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit by using pistachios instead of traditional pine nuts. Pistachios add a subtle and very nice nutty flavor to the dish, not to mention that they’re far less expensive than pine nuts. Another plus? They’re green! Perfect for any pesto recipe.

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Pistachio Pesto Sauce 
Ingredients
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Basil leaves (1 or 2 handfuls: more or less depending on preference)
  • 1 Tbsp pistachios
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • A few pinches of parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • Pinch of salt
Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients in your Magic Bullet and blend until creamy.
  2. Boil your favorite pasta and pour the pesto sauce generously over top until it’s thoroughly green and delicious!