Tag Archives: Cook

Recipe Box: Watermelon Steak with Chickpeas and Feta


My mother is the best cook I’ve ever met and this post is really all hers. I had no hand in this meal at all, except for choosing Dr. Konstantin Franks Dry Riesling to go with it. However, it was so delicious and beautiful that I wanted everyone to hear about it!

You can take a look at the original recipe here. The ingredients and steps below reflect what my mum actually did to put it all together. (And honestly, it’s a salad. Measurement are merely suggestions.)

What You Need
For the salad:
1 small watermelon
2 Romaine lettuce hearts
12 grape tomatoes (different colors), halved
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 large spoonfuls feta cheese
2 tsp sumac

For the dressing:
2 tbsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
Fresh parsley, chopped

What to Do
1. Slice watermelon into 1/2-inch rounds and put each slice on a plate
2. Top each watermelon slice with lettuce, tomatoes, chickpeas, and cheese
3. Whisk together all dressing ingredients and drizzle over topped watermelon
4. Finish with a sprinkle of sumac

Bon appétit!


Recipe Box: Roasted Veggies, Halloumi Cheese, and Salmon – Oh my!

I don’t have a photo for tonight’s dinner, unfortunately. While a picture might be worth 1,000 words, it doesn’t do much about taste. These recipes, on the other hand, will more than make up for the lack of photos in this post.

Halloumi salad became part of my mother’s culinary repertoire in the summer of 2007, when we travelled to Israel for the first time. We encountered halloumi cheese served with grilled vegetables while there and couldn’t get enough of it. Upon learning that our local grocery store, the one and only Wegmans, carried halloumi, this salad because a regular part of our summertime meals. It’s best when you can get fresh mint and eat outside.

Grilled Vegetables Salad with Halloumi

What you’ll need:
Olive oil
Halloumi cheese
Your favorite vegetables (I used eggplant, green zucchini, and red pepper because I like all the colors together)
Fresh mint, chopped

What to do:
1. Slice all vegetables into moderately thin slices
2. Slice halloumi into strips about 1/4-inch thick, set aside
3. Heat grill pan on medium-high heat
4. Toss all vegetables in olive oil (I add the eggplant last and sometimes on its own because it will absorb all the oil)
5. Lay vegetables flat on grill pan in batches, flipping once when char marks appear (level of char is up to you)
6. Once all vegetables are ready, grill the halloumi, flipping once when char marks appear (this will happen much more quickly than it did for the vegetables)
7. Toss halloumi and vegetables together in a bowl
8. Add mint
9. Enjoy while warm or at room temperature

I made the halloumi salad as a side for my favorite salmon, the recipe for which follows. I could honestly just eat the halloumi salad and be a very happy person, but eating a block of cheese for dinner is far from healthy. This is probably the easiest way I’ve ever prepared salmon, and it’s also the most delicious.

Lemon-Sugar Salmon

What you’ll need:
4 salmon filets
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest

What to do:
1. Preheat over to 450°
2. Combine sugar, lemon zest, salt, and pepper into a dry rub
3. Rub on both sides of salmon
4. Place salmon into lightly greased baking dish
5. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes until salmon flakes easily with a fork

Bon appétit!

Recipe Box: Brussels Sprouts and Tofu

This recipe surprised me in the best way a recipe can – by being unexpectedly delicious. I’ve written glowingly of Yotam Ottolenghi’s food in the past and his cookbook Plenty remains one of my favorites. As Ottolenghi explains in the introduction to the book, many of the recipes come The New Vegetarian, a column he started writing for The Guardian in 2006. You can check out the original recipe here. As usual, I’ll describe the ingredients I used and the method I followed, both of which vary slightly from the recipe. One caution: Ottolenghi cooks with a lot of oil. He is, after all, a chef and makes his living preparing intensely delicious food. I try to cut down on the amount of oil he recommends, though I always end up using at least twice as much as I normally would.

Brussels spouts and tofu

You’ll need . . .
2 tbsp chile sauce
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
5oz firm tofu
3/4 lb Brussels sprouts
about 2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup sliced green onions
1 red chile, deseeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups shiitake mushrooms, quartered
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tbsp sesame seeds

In a small bowl, whisk together chile and soy sauces, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, vinegar, and maple syrup. Cut tofu into small-ish strips or cubes. Pour marinade over tofu in a medium bowl and set aside.

Trim bases off Brussels sprouts and cut into three slices from top to bottom. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pan. Cook half the sprouts on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Don’t stir much. The sprouts should almost burn in a few places and cook through, but remain crunchy. Remove sprouts to a bowl. Repeat with more oil and the remaining sprouts. Remove to a bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Heat up and sauté green onions, chile, and mushrooms for 2 minutes. Transfer to sprouts bowl.

Leave the pan on high heat. Use tongs to lift half the tofu pieces from the marinade and gently lay them in the pan in one layer. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to sprouts bowl and repeat with the rest of the tofu.

Remove pan from heat and return all cooked ingredients to it. Add the remaining tofu marinade and half the cilantro leaves. Toss and allow to cool slightly in pan. Stir in remaining sesame oil.

Serve warm, but not hot, garnished with sesame seeds and remaining cilantro. Serve over hot brown rice.

Ottolenghi strikes again

Bon appétit!