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This delicious chicken dish is both savory and hearty without being too heavy. The mustard and balsamic vinegar sauce brings together the tartness of both the mustard and the vinegar while really cutting through the richness of the chicken.

Best of all, the sauce all comes together in the Magic Bullet with minimal work and fuss.

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Chicken Legs with Mustard and Balsamic

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken legs, cut into thighs and drumsticks
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbl dijon mustard
  • 1 tbl honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Olive oil

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Instructions

  1. In a large oven-safe pan, add a glug of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken legs and cook until well-browned. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Meanwhile, blend the garlic in the Magic Bullet. Add the honey, the mustard, and the vinegar and blend.
  3. Add the sauce to the pan all over the chicken and stir. Move to the oven and cook until the chicken is cooked through.

 

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Sometimes you want a dinner that brings you completely new and different flavors, and sometimes you want to rearrange familiar flavors into something delicious and straightforward. This pasta dish takes the latter approach, taking a classic Spanish tapa — shrimp with garlic and pimenton (smoked paprika) — and turning it into a tasty pasta. I came up with the idea after getting some beautiful, large raw shrimp at the supermarket. This all comes together in under twenty minutes and is quite good: the garlic butter spiked with pimenton and juices from the shrimp serves as a perfect sauce for the pasta, which absorbs lots of delicious flavor.

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Pasta with Spanish Shrimp in Garlic and Pimenton

Ingredients

  • 2/3 lb long pasta, like spaghetti
  • 2/3 lb raw shrimp, peeled, preferably large
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbl pimenton
  • 3 tbl butter

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in heavily salted water until al dente, reserving about a cup of pasta cooking water.
  2. Add garlic to the Magic Bullet and blend. Add pimenton and blend.
  3. Add the butter to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter melts, then add the the garlic-pimenton and cook for a few minutes, just until garlic is translucent.
  4. Add the shrimp and cook until shrimp is just cooked through (shrimp will change color).
  5. Add the pasta to the skillet with about half of the pasta cooking water. Stir everything and let the pasta absorb the sauce. If the pasta is dry, add more pasta cooking water. Serve.

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If you’re tired of the usual chicken-beef-pork routine, here’s an easy recipe to mix things up. Lamb shanks are inexpensive and make a delicious, rich, different-but-not-too-crazy meal. Braising them in pomegranate juice and honey provides a delicious sweet-and-sour sauce that is just perfect over couscous. The sauce comes together easy in the Magic Bullet, and I bet your family will be surprised at just how easy it is to devour something a little different.

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Pomegranate Glazed Lamb Shank Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs lamb shanks
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 12 ounce pomegranate juice (beware blends that are mostly apple)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 head garlic, cloves peeled
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Vegetable oil

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Instructions

  1. Blend garlic in Magic Bullet. Add pomegranate juice, vinegar, and honey and blend.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Add a glug of vegetable oil to a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Rub salt all over the lamb shanks and add them to the dutch oven. Cook, turning frequently, until well-browned and set aside.
  3. Add the onions with some salt and cook until the onions are beginning to brown, about eight minutes.
  4. Add the juice mixture and scrape the bottom of the dutch oven. Raise the heat to high and bring everything to a boil.
  5. Add the lamb shanks bank to the dutch oven with their juices. Cover partially with a lid.
  6. Check periodically to make sure liquid remains (if not, add some water). Cook for approximately three hours or until meat is appropriately tender.
  7. Remove the shanks from the dutch oven. Pour the liquid into a small pot, trying to avoid rosemary seeds or any other solids. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce until syrupy.
  8. Serve shanks with sauce over couscous.

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I guess my mind is on the perfectly sweet and delicious corn and basil I keep finding at the farmer’s market, because here’s another crazy delicious recipe taking advantage of this spring bounty.

Taking my lead from Serious Eats, here’s a way to whip up a corny, corny soup with lots of deep, rich, and complex flavor in under 30 minutes using your pressure cooker. (I suppose if you didn’t have a pressure cooker you could cook this for about four times as long, for similar results.) If you’ve never had corn soup (I hadn’t), you’re in for a treat: it’s like the essence of corn and so creamy without adding any extra cream. Plus, it’s vegan if you use vegetable broth. I take this to the next level by topping it all with crispy chorizo – in my case, soy chorizo, so that’s vegan, too. What a world!

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Pressure Cooker Corn Soup with Basil and Leeks

Ingredients

  • 2 tbl butter
  • 2 small leeks, dark green parts discarded, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 4 ears of corn, husk and silk removed, cobs broken in half crosswise and reserved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs basil
  • 3.5 cups chicken or veggie broth
  • Minced fresh chives, for serving
  • Crispy chorizo, for serving

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Instructions

  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a pressure cooker. Add leeks and a big pinch of salt. Blend the garlic in the Magic Bullet and add to the leeks. Cook, stirring, until softened, about four minutes.
  2. Add corn with cobs, bay leaf, basil sprig, and enough broth to barely cover the corn.
  3. Seal pressure cooker and bring to high pressure. Cook for 15 minutes. Release pressure using quick-release method and uncover.
  4. Fish out the corn cobs, bay leaf, and basil sprigs. Discard them.
  5. Working in batches, transfer remaining mixture to the Magic Bullet. Blend, adding broth as necessary to get a nice consistency. Taste for salt.
  6. Serve, passing chives and chorizo.

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Here’s a question I get pretty often: if you cook dinner after work, when do you actually eat? And the answer is: usually, not that late! The key is developing straightforward “go to’s” that can be on the table quickly. And in my opinion, if a dish is going to be a weeknight regular, it should be healthy, too.

In that spirit, I present to you sheet-pan chicken fajitas. This dish is almost too good to be true: the sizzle and delicious flavor of fajitas with minimal work and more vegetables (and much less grease) than you would get at a restaurant. Instead of doing a stir-fry situation, the trusty sheet-pan and the broiler allows you to get crusty char with minimal oil and cleanup. The only downside is…. OK there isn’t any downside. I like to serve these with a can of refried beans, just heated up in the microwave, some tortillas, a little sour cream, and maybe some fresh lime wedges.

The Magic Bullet comes through to produce an entirely homemade, extra-flavorful blend.

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Sheet-pan Chicken Fajita Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless chicken thighs or breast meat, cut into strips
  • 1 large onion, thick sliced, or to taste
  • 1 green bell pepper, core removed and thick sliced, or to taste
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced, or to taste
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tbl corn starch
  • 1 tbl chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • Tortillas, warmed in the microwave, for serving
  • Sour cream for serving
  • Lime wedges for serving (optional)
  • Refried beans, heated up in the microwave, for serving (optional)

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Instructions

  1. Blend cumin seeds in the Magic Bullet, then add the other spices and the corn starch and blend.
  2. Preheat the broiler. Toss chicken, onions, and peppers with a big dash of oil and the spice mixture. Spread over a sheet pan
  3. Put the sheet pan under the broiler and cook until everything is crispy and just beginning to char, stirring once or twice during cooking.
  4. Serve, passing tortillas and toppings.

 

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If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the look-out for healthy, delicious, vegetable-based side dishes that come together quickly and can be on hand for almost any meal. Ta da! Here’s a recipe that doesn’t even involve any cooking, just some pantry ingredients (well, they’re in my pantry — you might need to buy them, but then you’ll have them) mixed up in the Magic Bullet for a delicious, and indeed authentically Chinese, side dish. The use of Chinese black (Chinkiang) vinegar here gives a distinctive, vaguely smoky tang, and you can mix up as many or as few other Chinese ingredients to provide as simple or more complex a dish as you like. My version is spicy with sweetness from sugar, depth of flavor from sesame oil and soy, and a good bit of bite from fresh garlic.

Plus, if you have a flair for the dramatic, you can smash these cucumbers with a side of a cleaver (the smashing apparently helps them soak up the dressing) to really impress your friends. Or you can just smoosh them down on the cutting board, like I did. Up to you, really.

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Smashed Cucumbers with Chinese Black Vinegar Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber, peeled if you like, smashed on the counter then cut roughly into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbl Chinese black (Chinkiang) vinegar
  • 1 tbl roasted peanuts
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp hot chili oil (optional)

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Instructions

  1. Blend peanuts in the Magic Bullet until roughly chopped. Remove to bowl.
  2. Blend garlic in the Magic Bullet. Add vinegar, oils, sugar, and soy sauce and blend just slightly.
  3. Toss cucumbers with vinegar blend in a big bowl. Serve, garnishing with peanuts.

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Mar
13
0

Mapo Tofu

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Do you know mapo tofu? This classic Chinese meal uses an unusual (to the American palette) combo of ground beef and tofu for an incredibly interesting effect. The combination of the meaty beef and the silken tofu creates a fascinating textural contrast, and the beef combined with fermented ingredients creates an incredibly savory mouthfeel. Plus, the famous Sichuan peppercorns are used to generate a distinctive, spicy-but-vaguely-numbing effect.

This recipe requires a few unusual ingredients that you may need to go online to purchase, but once you do it’s totally worth it: my version comes together in a matter of minutes for an incredibly flavorful, unusual weeknight dinner. You can even add some hearty greens for what is truly a one-pot meal.

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Mapo Tofu Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb silken tofu
  • ¼ lb ground pork or beef
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 2 tbl preserved Chinese vegetable or fermented black beans
  • 1 bunch hearty greens, sliced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbl Sichuan peppercorns (half ground, half not)
  • 2 dried red chilis
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp water
  • 4 tsp fermented Chinese bean paste
  • 4 tsp Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp chili oil
  • 1 tbl brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Blend the garlic, ginger and preserved vegetable (or black beans) in the Magic Bullet.
  2. Add vegetable oil, chilis and whole Sichuan peppercorns to pan over medium-high heat. Cook two minutes until sizzling, maybe beginning to brown. Drain peppercorns and discard.
  3. Raise heat to high until oil lightly smokes. Add ground meat and cook, stirring, for one minute.
  4. Add garlic, ginger, scallion whites, and yucai and cook until fragrant.
  5. Add chili-bean paste, wine, soy sauce, brown sugar, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium. If using the hearty greens, add them and cook until wilted, about four minutes.
  6. Combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and mix with a fork until homogenous. Pour in cornstarch mixture and cook for 30 seconds until thickened.
  7. Lower heat to medium, add tofu and carefully fold in, being careful not to break it up too much. Let tofu get hot for a few minutes.
  8. Stir in chili oil, scallion greens, and ground peppercorns and serve.

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Mar
6
0

Sichuan Green Beans

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Okay, my love for Sichuan Chinese food may be getting a little out of control, but here’s a recipe for a healthy, delicious side dish that packs a TON of flavor and is extremely easy to make. You will need Chinese preserved vegetables, which can be bought online very easily or from any decent Asian grocery store. (Once you pop open the can, the vegetable will keep for months in the fridge.) For deep fermented flavor with truly minimal effort, it’s worth a little shopping. A touch of sugar and the classics of ginger and garlic add layers of flavor and sweetness, and a handful of dried red peppers (available in the “Latino” section of most supermarkets) add heat and a hint of smoke.

With the Magic Bullet this dish all comes together in no time at all. Sichuan peppercorns get blended up into that distinctive, vaguely anise-like, mouth-tingling powder. The fermented vegetable goes in as big pieces and comes out perfectly sized for cooking. Finally, I use my “best green beans ever” technique for perfectly al dente green beans in no time flat.

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Sichuan Green Bean Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb green beans, ends trimmed, cut into three inch pieces if necessary
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 piece of preserved Sichuan vegetable (about two tablespoons when diced)
  • Handful of dried red peppers, or to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled.
  • 1 two-inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Add peppercorns to Magic Bullet and blend. Remove to small bowl. Add vegetable to Magic Bullet and blend. Remove to bowl. Add the garlic to the Magic Bullet, blend, and move to bowl. Add the ginger to the Magic Bullet, blend, and move to bowl.
  2. Add green beans to skillet on high heat with dash of vegetable oil. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until green beans are thoroughly browned.
  3. Add ¼ cup water. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow green beans to steam for 2 minutes, until cooked through but still a touch al dente.
  4. Raise heat to high. Add blended mixture, the scallions, and the red peppers to the pan. Cook until garlic is mellowed and flavors meld, another two to three minutes. Add the sugar, stir everything up, and serve.

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Is there anything more delicious than pesto? Or anything better suited to the Magic Bullet? If there is, I don’t know it.

I like to change up the pesto sauces I make and this time I  swapped the traditional basil pesto with fresh arugula pesto. Subtle, yet delicious: the arugula is peppery and vaguely woody, giving it a nice but none-too-bold flavor. I picked up some fresh pasta at the farmer’s market here in DC, as well as some delicious in-season tomatoes.

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Arugula Pesto Pasta Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 8 oz. arugula
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbl. walnuts, toasted in the microwave in a bit of oil
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil with some salt and add the arugula for fifteen seconds, then remove and run under cold water. Squeeze dry in a strainer.
  2. Add the pasta to the water and cook according to the package instructions.
  3. Blend the parmesan in the Magic Bullet until all the big pieces are gone. Add the arugula, garlic, olive oil, salt, and walnuts, then blend until you have a paste.
  4. Mix pesto with pasta and serve, passing additional parmesan, with a runny egg if you like.

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Feb
15
0

Pasta carbonara

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Spaghetti carbonara… it’s a classic, easy, delicious, cheap, and hearty dinner, so why haven’t you made it? If you don’t know what carbonara is, you’re in for a treat. This classic, Roman dish consists of bacon, barely cooked eggs and parmesan, to create a rich, delicious pasta sauce.

Although I’ve made carbonara many times before, this one follows a new recipe from Serious Eats, which involves more egg yolks and less bacon and cheese than other recipes. The result is particularly eggy and rich but less greasy. You can also use any type of bacon; here I use pancetta, which is more porky and less smoky.

The Magic Bullet does triple duty here, grating the parmesan, chopping the garlic, and grinding the pepper.

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Pasta Carbonara Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta (I used bucatini; spaghetti is “traditional”)
  • 1/2 cup diced bacon (or guanciale or pancetta)
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 2 whole eggs plus 6 egg yolks
  • 1 large parmesan (enough to make ½ cup when grated)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled

 

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta until al dente in heavily salted water. Without draining the pasta water, remove the pasta.
  2. Add bacon to pan with oil over medium heat and cook until crisp. Turn off heat.
  3. Blend garlic in the Magic Bullet and remove to a large metal or glass bowl. Blend the parmesan and remove to the bowl. Blend the black pepper and remove to the bowl. Add the eggs and egg yolks and stir everything up.
  4. Add cooked pasta to the pan with the bacon and stir everything together. Add the egg mixture to the pan and stir everything some more. Add ½ cup of the pasta water and bring the pasta water to a boil.
  5. Dump everything in the pan back into the bowl over the boiling water. Let the pasta cook from the heat of the steam until you have a creamy sauce.
  6. Serve immediately.

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