Roasted Beets with Avocado, Citrus, and Hazelnuts

11/2 lb [680 g] red baby beets,
1 to 2 in [2.5 to 5 cm] in diameter
4 Tbsp [60 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp water
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice, plus 2 oranges
2 Tbsp hazelnuts
1 ripe avocado, cut in 1/4-in- [6-mm-] thick slices
Flaky sea salt
Best-quality olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400°F [200°C].

In a roasting pan, toss the beets with 2 Tbsp of the extra-virgin olive oil and the water and season with kosher salt and pepper. Roast until the beets look caramelized and feel tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 25 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slip the skins off the beets and cut into quarters.

In a medium bowl, toss the beets with the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, the sherry vinegar, and orange juice. Season with kosher salt and pepper and let stand until the beets have absorbed the flavors of the dressing, about 30 minutes.

In a small, dry frying pan over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Lay out on a work surface and let cool. With the bottom of a heavy pan, crush the nuts.

Section one of the oranges by cutting off both ends. Set it on one end, and use a paring knife to cut away the peel and pith in strips, starting at the top and following the curves to the bottom. Then, holding the orange in one hand, carefully insert the blade of the knife between the flesh and the membrane to cut out the sections without any membrane attached. The sections should come out easily. Repeat with the remaining orange, and set aside.

Arrange the beets on a serving platter with the avocado slices, and sprinkle them with sea salt and pepper. Distribute the orange sections throughout the salad and sprinkle with the crushed toasted hazelnuts. Finish with a drizzle of best-quality olive oil. Serve immediately

Basic Chana Masala

Soak 160 grams who,e chickpeas overnight.
Boil until soft. Set aside.
Mash 300 grams tomato in a mixer. Set aside.
Heat 5 teaspoons ghee. Saute a medium sized chopoed onion and 1 teaspoon chopped green chili until brown.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger paste and 1 teaspoon garlic paste. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add tomato puree and pinch of tumeric. Saute until cooked through.
Add cooked chickpeas, 2 teaspoons channa masala, salt to taste, and about 200 mL water to get desired consistency. Simmer 5 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro and julienned ginger.
Serve hot with rice.

Basic Chana Dal Masala

Boil 200 grams chana dal in 800 mL water until tender. Set aside.
Fry 80 grams chopped onions in 40 grams oil until tender.
Add 100 grams chopped tomatoes and 15 grams chana dal masala. Stir for 4-5 minutes until it becomes paste.
Take 1 part of tge boiled dal and add to paste. Mix well, then add remaining dal.
Check seasonings, then simmer for five minutes.
Serve with rice or roti.

Pressure Cooker Lemongrass Pumpkin Congee (Tinutuan)

1/2 cup (120 grams) long grain or short grain rice
8 cups water
1 stalk lemongrass (or 2 stalks if you like a very strong lemongrass flavor)
3 cups diced kabocha squash (the yield from half a kabocha squash)
1 cup sweet corn kernels
4 cups spinach
(Optional) 1 bunch of Thai basil leaves for garnish
Sambal and/or fried shallot for serving

Add rice and water to cover in a large bowl. Use your hand to gently swirl a few times to rinse, discard the water. Repeat 1 to 2 times. Drain rice and transfer into an Instant Pot. Add 8 cups water.

Cut the lemongrass into 2-inch (5-cm) stalks and pound them with the back of your knife, to bruise the stalks so they release more aroma. Add the lemongrass into the Instant Pot. Set the pressure to high and timer for 15 minutes. Once the timer is up, use quick release to reduce the pressure.
Add the diced pumpkin. Cover and cook on high pressure, for another 6 minutes. Use natural release to reduce pressure.

Add the sweet corn kernels and turn on the saute function until bringing to a boil. Cook with the lid two-thirds of the way covered for 3 to 5 minutes, until the corn is cooked through.
Add the spinach and continue cooking for a minute. Turn off the Instant pot.

Transfer the porridge into serving bowls. Serve hot with sambal and / or fried shallot.

Braised Chick Peas with Tomatoes and Almond Pesto

500g chickpeas, soaked in cold water for 24 hours, or 2 x 400g tins
2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove, unpeeled
6 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
500g fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper

For the pesto
50g blanched almonds
1 tbsp pine nuts
2 garlic cloves

1 Drain the soaked or tinned chickpeas, put in a heavy-based pan and cover with 2 litres of cold water. Add the bay leaves and garlic, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the chickpeas are very tender. Pull from the heat, add salt to taste, and leave to cool in the cooking liquid.

2 Warm the oil and fry the onion until soft. Add 1 tbsp chopped parsley and the tomatoes. Simmer, crushing the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Cook until saucy. Dilute with a ladleful of chickpea broth, then add the chickpeas, leaving some broth remaining. Simmer for 10 minutes.

3 Make the pesto by pounding/blending the almonds, pine nuts and garlic into a paste. Stir into the chickpeas. Cook for another 10 minutes, adding more broth if you want. Stir in the last of the parsley. Serve with bread and cheese.

Baked Gobi Manchurian

4 cups chopped cauliflower
1 cup chopped onions
1 large bell pepper chopped or eight small little ones
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric

For the sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce

Line a sheet pan with foil and turn on your broiler.

Sprinkle the veggies with oil, salt, and turmeric.

Mix well and place veggies on foil-lined sheet.

Broil for 30 minutes or so until the veggies are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, mix together all the sauce ingredients and microwave for 30 seconds. Let this sit while the veggies cook.

When the veggies are done, remove from the oven and pour sauce on them, mixing as you go.

Indian Cabbage and Peanut Slaw

4 cups chopped cabbage or use ready slaw mix
1 tomato diced
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
2 tablespoons Spanish roasted peanuts chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar (Optional)
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds or cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 lemon juiced

Rough chop the cabbage and carrots slaw mix into bite size pieces.

Chop up the tomato, cilantro, and peanuts into a fine dice.

Place all the vegetables into a bowl and season with salt and sugar.

In the smallest little heat proof bowl you have, heat the oil until it is hot and shimmering.

Place the mustard and/or cumin seeds and allow them to sputter like popcorn about 30 seconds.

Add in the turmeric and stir quickly.

Pour this hot, flavored oil over the cabbage mixture and mix well.
Squeeze lemon juice and mix once again and serve.

Pressure Cooker Moong Dal

For Dal
1 cup whole moong dal (the green kind)
4 cups water
1 onion diced
1 tomato diced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper adjust to taste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

For Finishing
1 teaspoon Tamarind Concentrate OR 2 lemons juiced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley

Place all dal ingredients in your pressure cooker.

Cook for 20 minutes at high pressure, and allow it to release pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Release all remaining pressure.

Mix in the Tamarind concentrate or lemon juice, and sugar and stir well.

Garnish with cilantro or parsely and serve with either rice or Naans

This recipe can easily be doubled -This recipe freezes very well and is therefore great for meal prep and freezer meals.

Black Beans with Mango

2 cups cubed mango, about 3 mangoes, preferably the Ataulfo variety (see Notes)
2 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 large handful fresh cilantro, stems removed, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a serving bowl, mix the mango and beans.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lime juice and chile powder.

Add the cilantro to the serving bowl and then drizzle the dressing over the salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature. This salad can be assembled in advance without cilantro and refrigerated for a day. Add the cilantro (or parsley) just before serving.

Quick Sesame Noodles (Single Serving)

4 oz. fresh wheat noodles (or 1 serving of dried noodles)
1/2 tablespoon sesame paste / tahini
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons rice vinegar (optional to taste)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
5 tablespoons hot water (or braised meat sauce)
A small handful of chopped scallion
Chili oil (optional)

Cook the noodles according to the package instructions.

While the noodles are cooking, make the sauce by mixing together the sesame paste, peanut butter, light soy sauce, rice vinegar (optional), vegetable oil, sugar, and water. Stir in one direction until it turns into a smooth, even paste.

Once the noodles are cooked, drain them and toss with the prepared sauce, chopped scallions, and chili oil (if desired).

Chili Paneer

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
14 ounces paneer
canola oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 fresh green chili, very finely sliced
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 scallions, finely sliced into rings
lemon wedges, to serve

Throw the cumin seeds into a mortar and pestle and roughly grind them to a coarse powder. Next cut the paneer into 3/4-inch cubes. Pour a thin coating of oil into a large frying pan and bring it to a high heat. Fry the paneer in batches, turning the pieces until golden brown on each side, and transfer them to a dish lined with paper towels. Watch out, as the paneer may spit; if so, half cover the pan with a lid.

Put 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan, followed by the garlic, green chili, cumin, black pepper, and salt. Sauté for around 3 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and sugar and stir, then put the paneer back into the pan along with a splash of water. Cover the pan and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Take the lid off the pan, add the scallions and simmer until there is no water left. Serve fresh and hot with a squeeze of lemon.

Cuban Black Beans

1 pound dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, quartered lengthwise
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red, 1 green and 1 yellow pepper, minced
1 large white onion, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 cup minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato paste
Salt

Put the black beans, quartered green pepper and bay leaves in a large saucepan add 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove and discard the green pieces and bay leaves.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the minced bell peppers and onion and cook over moderate heat until softened. Stir in the cumin and oregano. In a small saucepan, cook the garlic in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil over moderately low heat until golden brown.

When the beans are tender, add the sautéed pepper mixture, the garlic in its oil and the tomato paste. Season with salt and simmer gently for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

Parmesan Cheese Dip

2 cups (5 1/2 ounces / 150g) finely grated Parmesan cheese (on a Microplane)
Scant 1/4 cup (50ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine

Add-in ideas: black pepper, lemon juice, chopped dried figs, chopped dates, finely lots of chopped chives, lemon zest, or red pepper flakes, dried herbs, chopped sun-dried tomatoes

Combine the cheese, olive oil, and wine in a jar or bowl. Stir gently until it all comes together, then press the cheese down a bit into a flat surface. It will keep like this, drizzled with a layer of olive oil, for a few weeks refrigerated. (Let it come back down to room temperature before serving.)

To serve the cheese, scoop out a bit into a separate smaller bowl or plate, and stir in or sprinkle with any add-ins at this point.

Serve with crackers, toasts, or crudités; spread on sandwiches; layer in tarts; spoon into soups.

Pasta con Ceci

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons good tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (or another small shape, like macaroni)
2 cups boiling water
Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil until it shimmers.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring until it becomes lightly browned and fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste and salt and fry for 30 seconds or so.

Add the chickpeas, pasta, and boiling water. Stir to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, lower the heat, and simmer until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

To serve, ladle the pasta into shallow bowls, sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes, and drizzle a bit of extra-virgin olive oil on top.

Braised Corn with Chili, Lime, and Feta

6 ears corn, shucked
Kosher salt
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium-hot green or red chiles, preferably Fresno, minced
1 shallot, minced
21/2 oz [70 g] feta cheese, crumbled
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup [7 g] fresh cilantro leaves

Using a knife, shave the corn kernels off the cobs into a medium bowl and set aside.

Working over a small bowl, scrape the cobs with the back of the knife to extract the milk. Set aside the milk. Cut the scraped cobs into 2-in [5-cm] pieces.

In a 1-gl [3.8-L] saucepan over high heat, combine the cob pieces with cold filtered water to cover and season with salt. Bring to a boil, cover the pan, turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the stock becomes cloudy and is deliciously corn scented, 20 to 30 minutes. Strain and discard the cobs. Set aside 1/2 cup [120 ml] of this corn stock and reserve the rest for another use.

In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the chiles and shallot and cook until tender, but not browned, about 3 minutes.

Add the corn kernels and season with salt. Add the corn stock, the milk from the corn cobs, and half the feta cheese and cook until the liquid has reduced slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with additional salt and stir in the lime juice. Remove from the heat and stir in half the cilantro leaves.

Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with the remaining feta cheese and cilantro leaves, and serve warm.

Green Beans with Smoked Almonds and Preserved Lemon

3 Tbsp Shallot Oil or olive oil
10 oz [280 g] green beans, stem ends trimmed
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup [55 g] Shallot Confit
1/4 cup [30 g] smoked almonds, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp minced Preserved Lemons, rind only
1/2 cup [120 ml] Vegetable Stock
1/4 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the shallot oil until hot but not smoking. Add the green beans to the hot pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the beans begin to blister, about 2 minutes. Add the shallot confit, smoked almonds, and preserved lemon rind and continue cooking until all the ingredients are heated through, about 1 minute longer. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and the lemon juice.

Transfer to a serving platter, season again with salt and pepper, and serve warm.

Stewed Okra and Peppers

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound okra, cut into 1/2-inch-wide rings
Sea salt
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup julienned red bell pepper
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
2 cups peeled and diced roma tomatoes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmery-hot, add the okra and a pinch of sea salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, until the okra develops some color.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute, until aromatic, and then add the shallots and bell peppers. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until the shallots become translucent.

Season with a generous pinch of sea salt and add the bay leaf, toasted cumin seeds, and tomatoes. Cook for 15 minutes, until the tomatoes soften.

Remove the bay leaf, add the lemon zest and juice, and adjust the seasoning with more sea salt if needed. Serve warm.

This is a side that loves to be pushed against some steamed rice, eaten with gusto, and washed down with a very cold beer.

Grilled Corn Salad with Chilies, Basil, and Lime

4 ears fresh corn, shucked
2 red jalapeños
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Sea salt
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn in small pieces
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Light the grill and get it really hot. If you are using a charcoal grill, which I strongly recommend, make sure the coals are cooked down to a fiery-hot gray.

Place the corn and the jalapeños on a baking sheet, and brush with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the corn and chiles all over with sea salt, and place them directly on the grate of the grill. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, turning halfway through, until well charred. Remove the corn and the chiles from the grill and set them aside to cool.

Using a knife or a corn shucker, cut the corn kernels from the cob and place them in a bowl. Finely chop the jalapeños, discarding the stem (I leave it up to you if you want the seeds in there). Add the jalapeños, basil leaves, and lime juice to the corn. Taste, and add more sea salt if needed. Toss well, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and stir. Let the salad sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. Serve.
 

Green Beans with Indian Spiced Tomatoes

4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups very finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon whole yellow or brown mustard seeds
2 cups peeled, seeded, and finely chopped fresh tomatoes (see Recipe Notes)
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds whole green and/or yellow wax beans, ends trimmed and any tough strings removed
1/2 teaspoon ground grains of paradise (see Recipe Notes)
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, brown sugar, salt, garam masala, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, and mustard seed; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Stir in the tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the beans. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook gently in barely bubbling sauce, stirring occasionally, until the beans are fully tender, about 30 minutes.

Stir in the grains of paradise, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Serve warm, at room temperature, or lightly chilled.

Green Beans and Cucumbers with Miso Dressing

3 Persian cucumbers or 1/2 English hothouse cucumber
Kosher salt
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 1-1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1 serrano or Fresno chile, finely grated
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup white miso
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions (for serving)

Lightly smash cucumbers with a rolling pin, then tear into bite-size pieces. Toss with a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Let sit to allow salt to penetrate.

Meanwhile, place green beans in a large resealable plastic bag, seal, and smash with rolling pin until most of the beans are split open and bruised. Whisk ginger, chile, garlic, vinegar, miso, olive oil, and sesame oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Add dressing to beans and toss around in bag to coat; season with salt.

Drain cucumbers and add to bag with beans. Shake gently to combine. Transfer salad to a platter and top with sesame seeds and scallions.