Monday, November 24, 2014

CELEBRATION SALAD WITH A LEMON-SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

celebration salad with a lemon-shallot vinaigrette // sevengrams

I attended my first engagement party this weekend, and in my opinion, engagements are definitely a cause for celebration! This engagement party was unique in that it was a potluck - Nona provided the pasta and crostata, while the guests were tasked to bring appis, salads and bevvies. When I sat down to plan my dish, I knew I had to include pomegranate seeds; not only because they are easy to find this time of year (and I love them), but because there is something about them that just screams CELEBRATION!! The rest of the salad threw itself together fairly easily, inspired by all of the thanksgiving recipes inundating the web these days.

much love to E+J, can't wait for november 2015 xx

celebration salad with a lemon-shallot vinaigrette // sevengrams

celebration salad with a lemon-shallot vinaigrette // sevengrams

celebration salad with a lemon-shallot vinaigrette // sevengrams

celebration salad with a lemon-shallot vinaigrette // sevengrams

CELEBRATION SALAD WITH A LEMON-SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE // serves a large crowd

I recently invested in a rimmed, non stick, baking sheet - goodbye parchment, hello perfectly roasted veggies. Just saying.

Preheat oven to 400.

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato, diced
1 red onion, sliced
4 cups loosely packed red kale (or green), roughly chopped
4 cups loosely packed lacinato kale, roughly chopped
1 pomegranate, de-seeded
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped in half
1-2 T olive oil
1/2 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
s + p

lemon-shallot vinaigrette //
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
juice from 2 lemons
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
s+p

What to do:

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potato cubes with a drizzle (~1 T) of olive oil, the paprika and some salt and pepper. Roast for 30-45 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned and crispy.

Line a baking tray with parchment. Toss the onion slices with the remaining olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until caramelized.

To make the vinaigrette, combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine the kale with a 1-2 spoonfuls of vinaigrette. Use your hands to gently massage the kale and dressing. Set aside.

Toast the nuts in a small saucepan over medium heat. For the most part, the skins will fall off during/after toasting. Set aside.

Remove the veggies from the oven, and allow to cool before adding them to the kale. Continue to add the pom seeds and hazelnuts. Dress liberally, and toss well.

If  making ahead of time, add the pom seeds, hazelnuts and dressing just before serving.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

JERK TOFU SMORGAS-BOWLS WITH A TURMERIC TAHINI DRESSING

jerk tofu smorgas-bowls with a tumeric tahini dressing // sevengrams

We had our first snow fall this weekend, and though we weren't here to witness it, we returned from a weekend in the sun to a slushy, wintery city. There was a segment on the radio this morning asking people what they turn to as comfort food once the temperature begins to drop. Some said soup, others chili, one lady swore by mac and cheese, and another guy raved about his home-made poutine. Me on the hand, I can't stay away from meals in bowls. There's something really comforting about eating a warm, hearty meal out of a bowl -- a smorgasbord of ingredients tossed in some really kick-ass dressing.

jerk tofu smorgas-bowls with a tumeric tahini dressing // sevengrams

jerk tofu smorgas-bowls with a tumeric tahini dressing // sevengrams

jerk tofu smorgas-bowls with a tumeric tahini dressing // sevengrams

JERK TOFU SMORGAS-BOWLS WITH A TURMERIC TAHINI DRESSING // serves 4

This recipe can easily be adapted to whatever you have in the fridge; start with some brown rice, be sure to include a protein, add something fermented (sauerkraut, kimchi, etc), and a whack load of veggies (roasted or raw). Finish with a flavour packed dressing and you're good to go!

Preheat oven to 400.

Ingredients:

1 block of firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 T jerk seasoning
drizzle of olive oil

5 carrots, roughly chopped
10 brussels sprouts, leaves separated
olive oil, salt and pepper

2 cups loosely packed carrot top greens, roughly chopped*
2 cups loosely packed lacinato kale, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 T olive oil

1 cup brown rice, cooked
~1 cup sauerkraut (store-bought)
sesame seeds, to garnish

*note: can easily be replaced with more kale if you don't have carrot top greens on hand.

Turmeric Tahini Dressing //
1/4 cup tahini
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T tamari soy
1/2" nub of fresh ginger, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp maple syrup
1/3 cup water

What to do:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the tofu, jerk seasoning and drizzle of olive oil in a bowl. Gently toss to combine. Spread evenly onto one baking sheet. Toss the carrots with a drizzle of oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on half of the other baking tray. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the brussels sprout leaves to the carrot tray. Continue to cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat 1/2 T of olive oil in a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Saute the garlic before adding the greens. Heat for about 5 minutes, until the greens begin to wilt and smell fragrant. Set aside.

Combine all the dressing ingredients into the body of a blender or magic bullet. Pulse until smooth. Add more water to thin if need be.

To serve, place about 1/2 cup of brown rice in each bowl. Surround with 3-5 tofu pieces, and a handful of sautéed greens, brussels leaves, carrot pieces and about 1/4 cup of sauerkraut. Drizzle the turmeric tahini dressing over top of the whole bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm or cold.

There will be quite a bit of dressing left; it will keep for several weeks and is so incredibly delicious, you're going to want to drizzle it on EVERYTHING.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

CHICAGO


Those of you who follow me on instagram will know that I spent this past weekend in Chicago -- a mother/daughter weekend at its best! Chicago was one of those destinations that encompassed everything I love about exploring a new city: great food, incredible architecture, walkability and diversity. I was able to simultaneously fuel my love for traveling, all the while giving-in to my nerdy architect ways.

I was blown away by the beauty and charm of the city, and can't believe its taken me this long to get there. Everything we did, I would do again (and again), and if you can swing it, I would highly recommend a 3 day weekend to the Windy City. Big thanks to those of you who sculpted our itinerary, we couldn't have done it without your recommendations.

TO SEE //

burnham building
mies' lakeshore drive apartments
aqua condos
marina city car park
wrigley building
tribune tower
monadnock building
sullivan centre

TO DO //

architecture foundation boat tour
tour of frank lloyd wright's home + studio (worth the trek out to oak park)
hancock building (head straight to the 96th floor lounge for a bevy with a view)
art institute (thorne mini rooms in the basement and the impressionism section)
stroll through millennium park and get up close and personal with cloud gate
shop your way along the magnificent mile (michigan ave north of the river)
check out the shops along north milwaukee ave near damen station

TO EAT //

Most of the restaurants we went to weren't in the downtown core. Public transit works really well, and taxis are fairly affordable -- so don't sweat having to travel a bit to track down the good food -- totally worth it, promise!

avec (their sunday brunch blew my mind; get there when they open to avoid the line-up)
mfk (small spanish plates - still thinking of the anchovies on buttered toast)
eataly (never have i ever perused cookbooks and kitchenware with a glass of red wine; 5 sit down restaurants, several first come first serve counters, a grocer and a kitchen store - aka heaven)
publican (sharing plates at their best, and an epic beer menu)
birchwood kitchen (i promise to attempt to recreate my mom's salad of roasted squash, wheat berries, crispy chickpeas and arugula -- sooooo good)
giordano's deep dish (i think i'm still full)
coffee from intelligencia
goose island urban wheat ale

















NEXT TIME //

river walk
a shot of malort
rootstock wine bar
dinner at the purple pig
dinner at the girl and the goat
dinner at parachute
lunch at lula cafe
tacos at big star
brunch at little goat
mies' iit
flw's robie house

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A MISO + RED CURRY ROASTED VEGGIE AND SOBA BOWL

a miso + red curry roasted veggie and soba bowl // sevengrams

There are some tools and ingredients in the kitchen that are totally life changing. Like that time I bought a mandoline, or a julienne peeler; or starting using coconut oil when making granola, or discovered epic red curry paste.

This is the story of life changing red curry paste. We had been on the hunt for a good red curry for a while -- probably since this lady whipped up an amazing thai curry two years ago in her adorable little mountain home. She had the good stuff, and as hard as I looked, I couldn't find it anywhere on my side of the ocean. I was unimpressed with the brands I'd find at the grocery store -- pricey, lacking kick and really just not that good.

We live quite close to Chinatown, and stumbled into the curry aisle of a local supermarket a few weekends ago. We bought a brand we had never seen before, and our curry lives will never be the same. A few panangs and massamans later, I decided to switch it up and mix the curry paste with miso, then smother some seasonal veg and soba noodles with it. Yum.

a miso + red curry roasted veggie and soba bowl // sevengrams

a miso + red curry roasted veggie and soba bowl // sevengrams

a miso + red curry roasted veggie and soba bowl // sevengrams

A MISO + RED CURRY ROASTED VEGGIE AND SOBA BOWL // serves 4

Inspired by Heidi Swanson.

Preheat oven to 375.

Ingredients:

1 small butternut squash
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
~5 kale leaves (2-3 cups)
1/3 cup pepitas, toasted
2 sprigs cilantro

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup miso
2 T red curry paste
juice 1 lemon

soba noodles, cooked as per manufacturer's directions, for serving
optional: chicken or tofu pieces for some added protein

What to do:

Whisk together the olive oil, miso, red curry paste and lemon juice. Set aside.

Cut the ends off the butternut squash, then carefully, using a carrot peeler, peel off the skin (trust me, this step makes cutting the squash that much easier). Cut the squash into cubes and transfer into a large bowl. Toss the squash with 2 spoonfuls of miso curry and spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Repeat with the cauliflower florets and chopped onion - toss with 2 spoonfuls of miso curry, then spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Roast for 30 minutes. Remove the cauliflower/onion tray and continue roasting the squash for another 30 minutes.

While the veggies are roasting, rinse the kale and tear (or cut) it into medium-small pieces. Toss the kale in a large bowl with 1-2 spoonfuls of miso curry. In a separate bowl, toss the soba noodles with some dressing as well.

After an hour in the oven, the squash should be ready. Add the squash, cauliflower and onion to the kale and gently toss everything with your hands. If you're adding chicken or tofu, do it now.

To serve, place a mound of soba noodles in a bowl and top with a large serving of vegetables, and a sprinkle of toasted pepitas and fresh cilantro.

Friday, October 31, 2014

SOFT PUMPKIN SUGAR COOKIES

soft pumpkin sugar cookies // sevengrams

How is it oct 31st already?! I seriously have no idea where this month went. Sure, we were busy (roasting veggiespicking apples and traveling), but still -- I am totally not ready for november. November means cold, and november almost always means snow flurries. Eek.

So for now, I'm ignoring the fact that when I wake up tomorrow, it will be november. Instead, I'm choosing to focus on pumpkins, costumes, eating too many mini coffee crisps and cookies. These cookies. Happy Halloween !!

soft pumpkin sugar cookies // sevengrams

soft pumpkin sugar cookies // sevengrams

soft pumpkin sugar cookies // sevengrams

SOFT PUMPKIN SUGAR COOKIES // makes 2-3 dozen

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (one stick) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
pinch cloves

extra flour
decorative sprinkles

What to do:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the pumpkin, yogurt and vanilla and continue to mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Transfer the flour mixture into the stand mixer and beat on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go, if need be.

Gather the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into 4. The dough will be super sticky, so use as much flour as you need along the way. Generously flour your countertop, and roll out 1 piece of dough, about 1/8" thick (flour the rolling pin as well). Use your cookie cutter to cut the dough and transfer to the baking sheet. Continue with the remainder of the dough, adding more flour to your counter as you go.

Once all the cookies are placed on the parchment, go wild with your sprinkles!

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the bottoms start to brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.




Monday, October 27, 2014

GREEN CURRY WITH OKRA, EGGPLANT + ROMANESCO

green curry with okra, eggplant + romanesco // sevengrams

Full days at work, busy weekends and darkness at 6pm definitely takes its toll on me. Daylight hours are limited, and though I know that I should be cherishing this fantastic autumn weather before we're hit with our first snow fall, I'm drawn into the kitchen in hopes of snapping some photos before the sun sets. Apologies in advance if posts slow down a bit over the next few months as I struggle to balance my job, weekend getaways, time in the kitchen and very few hours of daylight.

Long days at work, followed by chilly walks home, has me craving couch time, sweatpants, the bridge (obsessed) and hearty, substantial meals; bowls packed with flavour, seasonal veg and warmth. This dish is just that - and more. Probably one of the fastest curries I've ever thrown together (this would be a close second), it works perfectly for dinner, and equally well for a week day work lunch.

green curry with okra, eggplant + romanesco // sevengrams

green curry with okra, eggplant + romanesco // sevengrams

green curry with okra, eggplant + romanesco // sevengrams

green curry with okra, eggplant + romanesco // sevengrams

GREEN CURRY WITH OKRA, EGGPLANT + ROMANESCO // serves 4-6

Preheat oven to 400.

Ingredients:

1 romanesco broccoli, broken into florets
2 japanese eggplants, roughly chopped
20 okra, roughly chopped
1 T olive oil
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

nub coconut oil
2 T green curry (recipe below)
1 can coconut milk
sprinkle coconut (or brown) sugar
2 kefir lime leaves (tough to find, but mandatory! try a grocery store in chinatown)

jasmine rice, cilantro and toasted cashews (optional), to serve

green curry//
5 green chilies
2 tsp lemongrass paste
1 cup fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
1/4 cup shallot
2-3 garlic cloves
2" nub fresh ginger
zest from 1/2 a lime
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup water

What to do:

Start by making the green curry. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse to combine. If too thick, add more water -- you want a paste, not a liquid. Store in an airtight container.

In a large bowl, toss the romanesco, eggplant and okra with the olive oil. Spread onto two parchment lined baking sheets and sprinkle with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Roast for 10 minutes, toss, and an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the sauce. Heat the coconut oil in a heavy bottom pot. Add the green curry paste, coconut milk and sugar and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Toss in the kefir lime leaves and simmer for 10 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken. Discard leaves before serving.

When ready to serve, start with a mound of rice and top with roasted veggies and a heaping spoon of green curry sauce. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and some toasted cashews. Enjoy!

Friday, October 24, 2014

SAO MIGUEL, AZORES, PORTUGAL


The Azores are a cluster of volcanic islands 2 hours west of mainland Portugal. We found a pretty phenomenal flight deal back in May, and though I, nor anyone we knew had ever been to these islands, we figured why not, and booked!

When it came time to plan our one week getaway, we were honestly not sure what to do -- spend the full week on the main, largest island (Sao Miguel), or hop around and explore the eight others, each "famous" for different things: beaches, hiking, wineries, bird watching, etc. Being low season, we were worried we might spend too much time in transit between islands, so settled on the full six days in Sao Miguel.

We booked a hotel on the east side of the island (Furnas) for the first half, and stayed in the main city centre (Ponta Delgada) for the remainder. Though the weather was highly unpredictable, we had a truly fantastic time -- hikes leading to postcard-worthy views; lush, immaculate landscapes cared for by the local people; curvy, potentially nauseous invoking coastal drives; crossing paths with a street light only once the whole week; abandoned buildings growing older each day; daily fresh fish; and copious amounts of Portuguese red wine. The island has so much to offer and makes for an incredible destination for a relaxing escape.
































TO SEE + DO //

botanical gardens, terra nostra, furnas
thermal baths, terra nostra, furnas
salto de prego hike, from faial de terra through sanghuino
scenic coastal drive from furnas to nordeste
pico de ferro viewpoint, furnas
geysers at lagoa de furnas, furnas
visat do rei viewpoint + hike, sete cidades
abandoned monte palace hotel, sete cidades
walk from lagoa do canario to viewpoint (!!!)
sete cidades lakes
hang out by the shore in monsteiros + watch the crashing waves
stroll along the pier in ponta delgada + grab a beer by the marina
viewport + hike, lagoa de fogo
thermal baths, caldera velha
gorreana tea plantation
ermida de n.s. domonte church + viewpoint, caloura
abandoned convent, caloura
visit the pineapple greenhouses at the arruda pineapple plantation
senhora de paz viewpoint, vila franco de campo

TO EAT //

cozido stew, slow-cooked in the furnas geysers, terra nostra, furnas
restaurant garajau, ribeira quente
fish dinner at tasca, ponta delgada
epic pineapple cake at tasca, ponta delgada
tapas + wine at reserva bar, ponta delgada
pineapple ice cream at the tea plantation
local fish lunch at caloura bar esplanada, caloura
lunch or dinner at cais 20 (apparently the grilled limpets are a must)
indulge in a local pastry - queijadas de vila, vila franco de campo
sample pineapple jams, chutneys and mustards at the pineapple plantation
traditional fish, salad + potato lunch at snack bar jordao

TO STAY //

We split out time between the east, and central; in hindsight, I would recommend staying in Ponta Delgada and taking day trips from there. Pack a lunch for daily picnics, and enjoy dinner in the 'city', where options are abundant.

happy travels!