Egg and Lamb Sausage Wraps

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When I was a kid I used to take lavash bread, stuff it with leftovers like kababs or goosht koobideh, add some Iranian pickles and Tapatio to the wrap and call it an Iranian burrito. I am, after all, a hyphenated Californian-Iranian.

This wrap is the grown up version: a griddled whole wheat tortilla takes the place of lavash, a garlicy yogurt sauce replaces the tapatio, and the filling is all sabzi khordan, egg, and sausage. They’re easy to make and even easier to eat.

Egg and lamb sausage wraps

Ingredients:

8 eggs
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, grated
Salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound lamb sausage, preferably merguez, casings removed
4 large whole-wheat flour tortillas
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
8 Iranian pickled cucumbers, thinly sliced crosswise on the diagonal
3 cups basil and/or mint leaves

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add eggs and cook 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water with a slotted spoon; let cool. Peel eggs, then slice each crosswise into 4 pieces.

2. In the meantime, mix yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl; season with salt.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add sausage and press down on it with a wooden spoon to flatten; cook, undisturbed, until browned underneath, about 5 minutes. Turn sausage over; break into smaller pieces with spoon. Cook until cooked through and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer sausage to a bowl. Reserve skillet.

4. Lay out tortilla on a work surface. Spread 1/4 cup yogurt sauce over each, leaving a border. Top with sausage, dividing evenly. Top each with 8 egg slices in a single layer, then with red onion, pickles, and mint. Fold in 2 sides of tortilla and starting at an unfolded edge, roll up tightly.

5. Set reserved skillet over medium heat and cook 2 wraps until golden brown and starting to crisp underneath, about 3 minutes. Turn over and cook until golden brown on the other side. Transfer to a cutting board. Repeat with remaining wraps. Cut wraps in half crosswise and serve.

Trout Toast with Scrambled Eggs

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My scrambled eggs have always been rubbery. Scratch that — rubbery and bland.

Until I tried this revelation of a recipe. Adapted from Bon Appetit, these eggs are rich and oh-so-creamy. The secret ingredient? Creme fraiche. Paired along lightly smoked trout and an acidic arugula salad, this makes a perfect decadent brunch or dinner. This, my friends, is California cuisine at its finest.

Trout toast with soft scrambled eggs

Ingredients:

8 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more
6 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
4 slices sourdough bread
3 tablespoons creme fraiche
1 skin-on, boneless smoked trout fillet (about 5 ounces), skin removed, flesh broken into small pieces
1 lemon, halved
Pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped dill
5 ounces baby arugula (about 4 cups)
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Crack eggs into a bowl and add salt, whisking until no streaks remain.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium. As soon as foaming subsides, add 2 slices of bread and cook until golden brown underneath, about 3 minutes. Transfer to plates, cooked side up. Repeat with another tablespoons butter and remaining 2 slices of bread.

3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in reserved skillet over medium-low. Once butter is foaming, cook egg mixture, stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula in broad sweeping motions, until some curds begin to form but eggs are still runny, about 2 minutes. Stir in creme fraiche and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggs are barely set, about 2 minutes.

4. Spoon eggs over toast and top with trout. Finely grate lemon zest from one of the lemon halves over trout, then squeeze juice over toast. Season with pepper; scatter green onions and dill on top.

5. Squeeze juice from remaining lemon half into a bowl. Add arugula and drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Serve alongside toasts.

Cashew Chicken

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Cashew chicken occupies the same place in my heart as Mongolian beef and chow mein: rarely authentic and yet typically delicious. These are the heavy hitters of Chinese American food, comforting and nostalgic. I’ve adapted this cashew chicken recipe so that it’s pretty healthy: low on oil and high in flavor. Serve this along rice for an easy weeknight meal.

Cashew chicken

Ingredients:

5 teaspoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ginger juice (squeezed from finely grated peeled ginger)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
Vegetable oil, for frying
2/3 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup thinly sliced white onion
3 green onions, sliced into 2-inch pieces
Roasted Thai chili powder to taste

1. In a large bowl, combine 4 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sugar, and the ginger juice. Add the chicken and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Drain off any excess sauce that hasn’t been absorbed.

2. Heat a empty wok over high heat, then swirl about 2 teaspoons of oil. Add the cashews and stir-fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain the cashews on a paper towel. Add the chicken and white onion to the wok and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining soy sauce, sugar, and the cashews and cook for another two minutes. Add a dash of roasted chili powder and the green onions, cook for another minute, then remove from heat. Serve warm with rice.

Queso with Turkey Chorizo

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I’m just going to break it to you now: this appetizer is definitely not healthy. Like, not even remotely. As in, I-bought-Velveeta-for-the-first-time-in-my-life-for-this-recipe levels of unhealthy.

But it’s worth it. I mean, there’s nothing quite like semi-food Velveeta to keep your queso at a smooth, dip-able consistency even after it’s cooled. A liberal sprinkling of turkey chorizo (don’t @ me, it’s actually really good) rounds things out with another layer of crumbly texture and warm spice.

After the chips are gone, you’ll be licking the bowl with this one.

Queso with Turkey Chorizo

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 ounces fresh turkey or chicken chorizo
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/2 pound Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 pound sharp cheddar, grated
2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chorizo and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until browned and crisp, 8–10 minutes; set aside.

2. Heat half-and-half and Velveeta in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until Velveeta is melted, 6–8 minutes. Add Monterey Jack and cheddar; cook, stirring, until mixture is smooth. Mix in chipotle chiles, salt, and chile powders.

3. Transfer queso to a warm bowl and top with chorizo.

Celery-Spiked Guacamole

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Remember the Great Guacamole-gate of 2015? I do. The New York Times suggested adding peas to your guacamole, and a near all-out war ensued. And understandably so. Peas do not belong in guacamole. Ever.

Nor does celery, or so I thought. I sort of hate myself for even making this recipe, but it’s really, really good. The celery adds an addictive crunch without overwhelming the avocado-lime-onion trifecta of flavor that makes guacamole, well, guacamole.

Just try it. Sorry not sorry.

Celery-spiked guacamole

Ingredients:

4 avocados, chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 serrano chiles, seeds removed if desired, finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely grated
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus leaves for serving
Salt

1. Mash avocados, celery, chiles, garlic, lime juice, onion, and cilantro in a bowl to desired consistency; season with salt. Top guacamole with remaining cilantro leaves.