Kimchi-Fried Bulgur

Posted on

You know a food trend has arrived when you see frozen bags of it at Trader Joe’s (no disrespect to Trader Joe’s, purveyor of all things delicious, whimsical, and well-priced). So once I started seeing frozen kimchi fried rice in their aisles, I wondered how else I could riff on one of my favorite weeknight dishes. Enter alt grains.

Why not kimchi-fried bulgur? A little Middle Eastern-East Asian mashup, if you will. It’s just as easy as kimchi fried rice, but more filling, and pretty guilt-free. Put an egg on it and you’ve got yourself a complete meal.

Kimchi-fried bulgur

1/2 cup kimchi, plus 3 tablespoons juice from jar
4 green onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs
Salt
1 carrot, peeled, cut into matchsticks
3 cups cooked bulgur
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 sheet nori seaweed, shredded
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1. Chop kimchi; set aside. Cut green tops from green onions and thinly slice; set aside. Thinly slice white and pale green parts and set those aside too.

2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Crack eggs into pan; season with salt. Cook until whites are golden and crisp around edges and puffing up and set near yolks, about 4 minutes. Transfer eggs to a plate.

3. Return skillet with oil to medium-high heat, add carrot, and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add reserved white and pale green parts of green onions and kimchi and cook, stirring often, until scallions are wilted, about 3 minutes. Add grains, soy sauce, sesame oil, and reserved kimchi juices; cook, stirring, until grains are slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt; divide between 2 plates. Top with eggs, then nori, sesame seeds, and reserved scallion tops.

Spaghetti with Mushroom Bolognese

Posted on

This recipe shouldn’t make any sense, but it does. It’s Bolognese, but it’s vegetarian. Oh, and there’s miso. And a loooot of vegetables. But the resulting sauce is so umami-laden that you won’t miss the meat, I promise. (Even Nishan, who counts a traditional spaghetti Bolognese among his favorite foods of all time, couldn’t get enough of this.)

Adapted from a Food & Wine recipe, I’ve played around with the vegetable proportions to my preference. Feel free to do the same.

Spaghetti with Mushroom Bolognese

Ingredients:

1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small eggplant (8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 pound cremini mushrooms, 1/4 sliced, the rest cut into 1/4-inch dice
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps cut into 1/4-inch dice
Salt
Pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons white miso
One 2-inch chunk of Parmesan cheese, plus grated cheese for serving
One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1 thyme sprig
1/2 teaspoon sugar
12 ounces spaghetti
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. In a small bowl, cover the porcini with 1 cup of boiling water; soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Finely chop the porcini. Pour off and reserve 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid.

2. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook over moderate heat until lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Add the eggplant and 2 tablespoons of the oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 minutes. Stir in the cremini, shiitake, chopped porcini and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste and miso and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chunk of cheese, the tomatoes and their juices, the thyme, sugar and reserved mushroom soaking liquid and bring to a simmer.


3. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick, about 1 hour. Discard the thyme sprig; season the sauce with salt and pepper. 


4. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water.

5. Add the pasta, pasta water, and parsley to the sauce; toss to coat. Serve topped with grated cheese.

Rye Tagliatelle with Yeast Butter and Truffles

Posted on

I’m warning you now: this recipe is really difficult to pull off, but it also produces one of the most delicious pastas things I’ve ever tasted. In other words, it’s totally worth the hours you’ll spend in the kitchen wondering why you listened to me, cursing me under your breath while attempting to make this dish. Patience, my friend.

Adapted from a recipe by Noah Sandoval, the original version calls for handmade capellini. But, you know, I’m not a magician and producing hair-thin strands of pasta with rye flour (which is quite coarse), was beyond my skillset. I enlisted Nishan to help with the pasta-making (he’s handy with a KitchenAid) and the resulting tagliatelle was perfect.

I don’t recommend substituting regular pasta to accompany the sauce here. There’s something about that earthy rye flavor and the yeasty sauce that results in a vaguely Nordic umami bomb beyond your wildest dreams. Enjoy.

Rye Tagliatelle with Yeast Butter and Truffles

Ingredients:

2 cups 00 flour, plus more for dusting

3/4 cup rye flour
2 tablespoons caraway seeds, ground to a powder
Kosher salt
Pepper

10 egg yolks

3 eggs

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

1/2 cup black truffle butter

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

Shaved black truffle (optional) and snipped chives, for garnish


1. Sift both flours with the caraway and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the egg yolks, whole eggs, olive oil and 
1 tablespoon of water. Using a fork, gradually whisk the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until a shaggy dough forms. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and knead until stiff but smooth, about 
15 minutes. Wrap in plastic and let rest at room temperature until softened and relaxed, about 2 hours.


2. Divide the dough into 
12 pieces and work with 1 piece at a time; keep the rest covered. Press the dough to flatten. Set up a pasta machine to roll flat pasta. Starting at the widest setting, run the dough through successively narrower settings until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the sheet to a lightly floured work surface and dust with 00 flour. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.


3. Set up a pasta machine with a tagliatelle cutter. Working with 1 sheet of dough at a time, gradually feed the dough through the cutter. Gently toss with 00 flour and transfer the tagliatelle pile to a lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining sheets of pasta to form 12 piles.


4. In a small saucepan, whisk the cream with 2 tablespoons of water and the yeast and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the yeast is dissolved and the mixture is very thick, 
3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the unsalted butter 1 tablespoon at a time until emulsified, then season with salt and pepper. 


5. In a large saucepan of 
salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 
2 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Wipe out the saucepan.


6. In the large saucepan, melt the yeast butter with the truffle butter over moderately high heat. Add the pasta, the 1/4 cup of Parmesan and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water and toss until hot and evenly coated with the butter, about 2 minutes. Add a little more of the cooking water if necessary. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Top with grated Parmesan and garnish with shaved black truffle, if desired, and snipped chives. Serve immediately.

Halvah-Stuffed Challah

Posted on

Growing up, one of my favorite after-school snacks was halvah rolled up with lavash flatbread: simple, sweet, and satisfying. Called halvardeh in Persian, Middle Eastern halvah is ubiquitous these days in well-stocked American grocery stores. But when I was a kid, halvah was precious: we’d make semi-monthly drives from Santa Rosa to San Jose to stock up on Iranian favorites, including halvah, sour cherry jam, lavashak (sour fruit roll ups), and spices and herbs for days.

This halvah-stuffed challah is a grown-up version of my childhood snack and make no mistake about it: this is a weekend project. Adapted from a Food and Wine recipe, this takes the better part of an afternoon to make, and the results are well worth it. This recipe makes two loaves so make like me and freeze one for eating later, when the craving strikes.

Halvah-stuffed challah

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup tahini
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
Salt
1 1/2 cups chopped halvah
Sesame seeds and more sugar, for sprinkling

1. Make the dough: In a small bowl, whisk the water with the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes, until foamy.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk 4 of the eggs with the oil and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, pinch of salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom and the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. Mix to blend. Add the egg and yeast mixtures and knead until the dough comes together, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl, about 3 minutes. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and knead until smooth and slightly sticky, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to an oiled large bowl and cover with wax paper and a towel on top.

3. Make the filling and topping: In a medium bowl, stir the tahini with 1/3 cup of the honey, the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with the remaining 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of water.

4. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Transfer 1 piece to a lightly floured work surface and keep the other piece covered with a damp kitchen towel. Divide the dough on the work surface into 3 equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out 1 piece into a 
14-by-6-inch rectangle. Spread 1/4 cup of the tahini mixture on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the halvah over the tahini in an even layer. With a long side facing you, tightly roll up the dough into a log, pressing the seam and ends together to seal in the filling. Repeat with the other 2 pieces of dough, 1/2 cup of the tahini mixture and 1/2 cup of the halvah. Arrange the 3 logs on one of the prepared sheets and braid them together. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds and sugar. Repeat with the second piece of dough and the remaining filling, egg wash and toppings. Bake the challahs for about 25-30 minutes on the middle and bottom racks of the oven, shifting and rotating halfway through, until deep golden. Transfer to racks to cool.


Ramen with Miso Pesto

Posted on

I hate cilanto. It tastes awful to me. (Yeah, I’m one of those.) But cilantro is good for you and lately I’ve been trying to sneak it into recipes where I might not notice, like in salsas or chutneys, or this miso pesto tossed with springy noodles.

And you know what? I don’t taste the cilantro. Adapted from Bon Appetit, this pesto is packed with bright, herbaceous flavor, thanks to the addition of spinach, lemon juice, and a healthy dollop of sweet and salty white miso.

These noodles make a perfect warm-weather dinner and they’re a terrific way to get in bunches of greens without even trying.

Ramen with miso pesto

Ingredients:

4 cups baby spinach
2 cups cilantro leaves with tender stems
1 tablespoon white miso
1 small garlic clove
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt
2 5-ounce packages fresh ramen noodles
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Toasted sesame seeds, for serving

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, puree spinach, cilantro, miso, garlic, olive oil, sesame oil, and lemon juice in a blender until mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pour pesto into a bowl.

3. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and add to bowl with pesto. Add butter and toss until butter is melted and noodles are coated in sauce.

4. Divide noodles between bowls and top with sesame seeds.