Easy Homemade Pico

Got another one for ya. Something to pair with those chipsIMG_5497

I’m pumping out some adapted recipes I’ve shared on Spoon on the blog while I’m working on some other content projects I’m SUPER excited to share over here and on another platform/medium that I’ve been wanting to try for so very long!IMG_5481

I’m excited and nervous and finally ready to explore a new medium of creativity, and really give it a shot. Any guesses what format? 🙂 IMG_5478

Other life updates: So about 10 years ago at poms camp someone stepped on my big toe and ripped off the big toe nail completely. It’s never been the same. It’s cracked off a few times since then, and has always been kind of discolored and funky.  Last week my toe really started to swell and get painful. Like,all around the nail it was like elevated and puffy and it hurt to put on shoes or walk.IMG_5503

Cue me going to a walk-in clinic feeling like a hypochondriac. Turns out I wasn’t a hypochondriac. Next thing I know, I’m in podiatry getting my big toenail removed and nail bed dug out (there was a lot of scar tissue and pus down there). IMG_5487

I opted to watch the mini surgery. I regret watching the mini surgery. Anyways, they put me a giant dose of antibiotics and I’m pretty sure my gut flora is not pleased. I honestly JUST got off antibiotics for a throat infection 4 days prior to this experience, and I’m kinda worried I will have no good flora left by the end of this course (in like….another week and a half -__-). At least it’s an excuse to buy ALL the booch? 🙂HomemadeBakedTortilalChips_KatherineBaker

Anyways back to pico. Because I bet that story DEFIANTLY made you hungry. For some fresh tomato-y pico. Tehehe #sorryiovershareeverythingIMG_5494

Other notes/truth time: the herb in these photos is not actually cilantro. It’s parsley. Don’t tell anyone. It’s what I had on hand. That’s also the case for this entire series, and somehow thankfully, no one has ever noticed and come for me after it. Which means I don’t think anyone noticed. Since people on the internet are very quick to be mean.

Without further adieu, here is modified pico from my post for Spoon University:

Easy Homemade Pico De Gallo

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Servings: 2-5 ? Eat what feels good to you

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh diced tomatoes (about 2 medium or 1 small container cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 small red or yellow onion, or 1 shallot
  • 1/3-1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped finely
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeño peppers (optional)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Sriracha (optional)

Method:

  1. Dice tomatoes and onions into small pieces. If you like bigger tomato chunks (I do) feel free to leave ’em a little bigger
  2. If you’re fancy, chiffonade the cilantro. If you’re not fancy, just chop it up into really small pieces. Add to bowl.
  3. Remove stems and if you’re sensitive to heat, remove seeds from jalapeños.Dice jalapeños and add to bowl.
  4. Juice one lime and add to bowl. Add a generous amount of salt. Mix well.
  5. If you’re like me and a spiciness fanatic, feel free to add a squeeze of Sriracha to up the spice game.
  6. Enjoy. Maybe with these chips.

 

Vegan Falafel Sliders

Happy July! It’s July already?!? Yeah, I don’t know how that happened either. June flew by. Last thing I knew it was Jimmy’s birthday and now suddenly Summerfest is half over and everyone is getting ready for the 4th.

Vegan Falfel Sliders!

Ahh yes, the 4th of July. Just the mention of such a holiday fills me with Katy Perry song-spirit. The 4th of July means food, and fun, and BBQ. It’s a great excuse to get outside with friends and family and come together to eat good food, enjoy the sunshine, play some weird outdoor games while half drunk, and explode things in the sky.

Falafel Sliders

Personally fireworks confuse me from a waste and ecological standpoint. I just don’t think they’re worth it. Also, they sound funny and my dog doesn’t like the loud booms. But you don’t care about my opinions anyway, do you? You care about what most people care about on the 4th of July which is tacky patriotic outfits and food. Fun food. Party food. Grilled food. Finger food. Basically, ALL DA NOMS.

Vegan Falafel Sliders

When it comes to being a vegetarian or vegan at a BBQ, things can get awkward. I’ve gotten used to the BYOVB (bring your own veggie burger) way of life. Which works for me. I’d rather bring something and know I have a good option than show up to a sad empty bun with a side of grapes, and/or a grilled portabella “burger,” Ugh. No thanks. I have nothing against portabella mushrooms, but I cannot stand the whole portabella mushroom “burger” concept.I kind of wish I did like it, because it’s so often offered to me at BBQs. But it’s just not my taste. Pass me the veggie burgers, plz & thank you.

Falafel Sliders with Muhammara Sauce - Vegan

So I usually come with my own veggie burger (or 4) in hand, and have a happy time. But last night I was eating falafel from Trader Joe’s on pita bread with simultaneously eating these amazing dinner rolls I had. And then it hit me – I could make falafel sliders! What a cute, delicious finger food for the 4th of July or any party! Or my lunch! Excitement flooded my entire being as I stuffed myself with falafel-y goodness.

Vegan Falfel Sliders !

You can also use Trader Joe’s frozen falafels as an excellent shortcut in making these babies. You simply microwave them and they are pretty damn tasty. You can also make your own. These Waffle’d Falafel Patties I made last year would work great. As would other pre-made falafels, or whatever falafels you make from your favorite recipe.

Falafels from Trader Joe's

The concept here is pretty simple: a falfel patty on a little dinner roll with whatever fixin’s and toppings you’re feelin’. I added lettuce, tomato, and a sauce I whipped up using Trader Joe’s Muhammara spread and unsweetened plain coconut milk yogurt. This was a delicious, flavorful, slightly spicy yet cool and creamy topping for the sliders. If you haven’t had the new(ish) Trader Joe’s Muhammara spread, you must.

Muhammara - Trader Joe's

I don’t really mean to tell you that you absolutely need this in your life to survive, but the truth is you actually really need this in your life to survive. Holy yum. It’s a hummus-like spread made of walnuts, roasted red peppers and pomegranate juice. It’s basically a spreadable flavor bomb.

Falfel Sliders - Vegan

If you can’t get access to this, you can sub roasted red pepper hummus. And/or any other spread you may like on your falafels. Like tahini or tzatziki. It’s up to you. Anyway you sauce, these falafel sliders are the boss. They’re tasty, satisfying, and obviously mini and adorable. Cheers to you and happy 4th of July!

Vegan Falafel Sliders

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10-20 minutes (depending on falafels used)
Level: Easy!

makes 8 falafel sliders

Ingredients:

  • 8 dinner rolls
  • 8 cooked falafel patties – [ I bought the frozen ones from Trader Joe’s which are vegan and quite good for a quick shortcut; you can also make your own – I recommend this Waffle’d Falafel Balls from last year (#tbt) and/or any other recipe you may already like 🙂 ]
  • 2 small roma (or other) tomatoes, sliced
  • lettuce
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Muhammara – (so, so good; can’t stress this enough. can also sub roasted red pepper hummus, and/or any hummus of choice, and/or sub with 2 tablespoons hot sauce)
  • 1/4 cup lain unsweetened coconut milk yogurt or other unsweetened yogurt (I used this one)
    • note: if you can’t find these ingredients, and/or are not dairy free, feel free to mix equal parts roasted red pepper hummus or any hummus with any unsweetened plain yogurt of your choice, or a few tablespoons hot sauce with any neutral base like unsweetened plained yogurt or veganaze, for your own dipping sauce. you could also sub Tahini sauce or Tzatziki Sauce – it’s all up to you!) 

Directions:

1. Prepare falafel according to instructions.

2. Prepare sauce by combining Muhammara (or roasted red pepper hummus) and unsweetened coconut milk yogurt in a small bowl and mixing well.

Vegan Falafel Sliders

3. Cut dinner rolls in half. Slice tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce into small slices. Place a piece or two of lettuce, a piece of tomato, and a cucumber slice on each bun. Add one falafel to each sandwich. Top with a dollop of sauce and place top of bun on falafel.

Falafel Sliders

4. Place a toothpick in each slider and serve. Happy summer fun! 🙂

Sweet Potato Latkes with Curried Ketchup

Here is yet another article I wrote for NYU Spoon that I was asked to come up with for the collision of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah or whatnot. I’m not Jewish. But people sometimes tell me I look Jewish. And hand me Jewish pastry things in the streets on Jewish holidays. I tell them I’m not Jewish and they usually just give me stuff anyways. I’ll take it. I grew up an a religious free household so I’ve always been weirdly fascinated by different traditions and holidays and what have you. In fact I took a Jewish literature class at NYU. I was the only non-lit and non-Jew in the class. So that was interesting. Anyways I learned a lot and read a lot. Also a lot of comic books. Apparently those were big in Jewish American lit at some point. All of which have nothing to do with this recipe. Minus potentially relation to Hanukkah.

ANYWAYS….re: the latkes… to be honest I wasn’t sure how’d these turn out in the oven, but I was really lazy, home for like 2 days, had a lot of other stuff going on that weekend. and didn’t want to clean up the mess of pan-frying. So I baked them…and they turned out better that way. Less messy, less greasy, and more delicious?! I’m in. I thought this might be a personal preference since I tend to not like greasy food in general, but even my mom preferred the baked over fried.

The curried ketchup is a must. Not just with these but with sweet potatoes and pan fried potatoes and basically anything and everything you’d usually put ketchup on. I like ketchup. A lot. I used to not like it when I was little. Same with cream cheese. Now I’m overly friendly with the two. #judgeme

So here it is…plugging away another spoon piece. Original link here:

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20-50 minutes
Total Time: 35-65 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes)
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil (if using pan-fry method)
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (more if you’re like me and a freak) [side note: Archer Farms by Target makes *the best* curry powder. i’m serious check it out)

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Directions:
1. If using baking as your cooking method, preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Dice the shallot or onion into small pieces and place in a medium bowl.

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3. Crack the egg into a separate small bowl, and whisk.
4. Peel sweet potatoes and using a cheese grater, grate the sweet potatoes into the bowl with onions. Add the flour, baking powder, and cumin and mix well. Add the egg and mix all the ingredients together until all potato shreds are coated with moisture and mix is well combined.

Image5. If using the pan-fry cooking method, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil over moderately high heat in a skillet or fry pan. Once hot, reduce heat to moderate and scoop about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture from the bowl and form into a flat patty using hands. Lower gently into oil using a slotted spoon metal or wooden spoon or a pancake flipper. Allow to fry until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the patty and allow the other side to brown for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel. Pat excess oil from the latke and season with salt. It is possible to cook 2 latkes at a time, but take care not to overcrowd the pan. Repeat with remaining batter.

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6. If using the baking method, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture from the bowl and form into a flat patty using hands. Place patties on the baking sheet, with at least an inch between all patties. Bake for 35 minutes, then using a metal tongs, flip each patty and bake an additional 8-15 minutes or until patties are lightly browned. Remove from oven, season with salt, and allow to cool.

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7. To make curried ketchup, place ketchup in a small bowl, add curry powder, and stir until well combined.  Proportions of ketchup and curry powder can be adjusted to taste.

 

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8. Serve latkes with curried ketchup for dipping.

 

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Fresh Berry Salad with Basil

I made this at my sister’s bachelorette party, and it’s a very easy and crowd-pleasing way to amp berries from plain to sophisticated by adding one simple thing: chopped fresh basil. You can use any berries you want, even other fruits like peaches or cherries, and add fresh basil. It adds a freshness and contrast to the sweetness, and adds a second dimension of flavor.  You can add lemon juice and sugar is you’d like, but this dish is magic even without it.

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For the salad:

  • 4 cups mixed (i used strawberries, bluberries and raspberries)
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil

Directions:

  • Wash berries! (produce is one of the top offenders for food borne illness! so this is a must!)
  • Chop berries that require chopping (like strawberries)
  • Give basil a fresh chop
  • Combine in bowl.

See? Easy, delicious, and loved by all. Make yourself seem fancy by simply adding basil to your berries.

Enjoy!