These are a spin on my vanilla macaroon melts— with extra almond flavor and dark chocolate. Because unless you’re my sister-in-law who genuinely dislikes chocolate (yes really), I’m pretty sure we could all use a nice and tasty, feel good serotonin boost right now. I myself have been fairly consumed with apartment hunting, ever since we received notice that our landlord is moving in and that we need to be out by the end of May. Despite my being something of an anxious wacko lately who checks Street Easy and Trulia every half hour, I am of course aware of just how incredibly lucky we are; I know that no matter what we will have a place to live. Even if it’s crappy. Even if it’s with our parents.
Still, it’s hard not to feel a bit sad. We’ve been here for over nine years. And even though Phil and I were technically adults when we moved in together, it was over the course of living here that we actually grew up. We experienced the amazing and the truly horrible and everywhere in between here. We grew as a couple, adopted our cat Mica, got married. I started One Window Kitchen in our one window kitchen with peeling yellow wallpaper, cracked walls and floor, and the beautiful painted tin ceiling that you see here as the background.
It’s a big change. I am actually really excited to live some place new, though. Maybe our new apartment will even be nicer. (As much as I love our place, “well-maintained” is not a term I have or ever would associate with it.) We probably won’t stay in the neighborhood and may very well move to another borough altogether (WHAT UP QUEENS). New York City is vast and it will be interesting to experience a completely different part of it. And if we hate it, we can always hop on the subway and escape.
*Tip: If you have any leftover melted chocolate (and don’t feel like spooning it straight into your mouth), save it by pouring it onto some parchment paper and freezing.
½ cup blanched sliced almonds
20-30 more blanched sliced almonds (for subtle crunch) OR 10 whole roasted almonds (for more crunch)
½ cup + ½ tbsp unsweetened shredded/desiccated coconut
¼ cup + ¼ tsp virgin coconut oil
1/16 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp almond extract
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 3 oz bar dark (56-71%) chocolate, chopped
- Line a small baking sheet or tray with 10 mini muffin liners.
- In a food processor, process the ½ cup sliced almonds and ½ cup of shredded coconut for about 1 minute, forming a coarse flour/meal.
- Melt the ¼ cup of coconut oil, and add to the food processor along with the salt, vanilla, and maple syrup. Process for another 30 seconds or so, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl if needed, until well combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the mini muffin liners. Top each one with 2-3 sliced almonds (or 1 whole roasted almond), pressing down gently, and sprinkle on the remaining ½ tbsp coconut. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.
- Gently melt chocolate and remaining ¼ tsp coconut oil together, either in a double boiler over low heat or in a bowl in the microwave for short increments (20 seconds or so), stirring frequently either way. Once melted, remove chocolate from heat.
- Remove frozen almond coconut patties from liners and set in a separate dish. One at a time, drop each patty into the chocolate and use a fork to roll it around, then gently lift and let excess chocolate drip back down through the fork tines. Place back on liner. Work quickly for best results. Freeze for 10 minutes, then transfer to a container and store in the refrigerator (or in the freezer if you want them to last longer).
Yield: 10 chocolate almond delights
“Have a macaroon,” my great aunts would say, pulling an old Manichewitz tin from the cabinet. Florence and Lily were my grandmother’s little sisters, who never married but instead grew old together in New York’s East Village. Their apartment on E. 6th Street contained an ancient sofa I never dared sit on, an electric piano, mysterious bedrooms, a television tuned into the news, thick carpets, and thick layers of dust– at least in their final years. I once got trapped in their bathroom for at least 15 or 20 minutes. They said things like “Jeepers!” and on some Thanksgivings my dad would pick them up and bring them over so my sister and I could meticulously make them brie and cracker sandwiches. It wasn’t until I was older that I could appreciate their spunk and wit, and their love for both the city and one another.
I have no idea whether or not Florence and Lily (yes they are always together in my mind) would like these vanilla macaroon melts; they’re a far cry from those Manichewitz cookies. Still, I’d like to think they’d approve of the update. After all, they were modern women who loved a good bite.
*Do not use regular raw almonds here. The measurements will be off and the skin will change the texture. Unless I’m baking, I stay far away from (unsoaked) whole raw almonds because I’ve discovered the hard way that I cannot digest the skin. At all. Apparently I’m not alone.
*I measure the coconut oil in its solid form, then scoop it into a mug and microwave for 20 seconds to melt.
½ cup blanched sliced almonds
½ cup unsweetened shredded/desiccated coconut, plus a bit extra for sprinkling
¼ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1/16 tsp sea salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
- Line a small baking sheet or tray with 10 mini muffin liners.
- In a food processor, process the sliced almonds and coconut for about 1 minute, forming a coarse flour/meal.
- Add the melted coconut oil, salt, vanilla, and maple syrup. Process for another 30 seconds or so, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl if needed, until well combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the mini muffin liners, filling up about half to two-thirds way full. Sprinkle the extra coconut on top. Freeze for 15 minutes, to quickly firm up, then transfer to the refrigerator. Keep refrigerated.
Yield: 10 macaroon melts
It’s been a minute, dear readers. I hadn’t planned on waiting until February to post my first recipe of 2017, but despite my best intentions (and chocolatey experiments) (which will most definitely be revisited), here we are.
January was certainly eventful. On the 21st I rode the bus with my sister Xan and her fourteen year old daughter down to Washington D.C. for the Women’s March. Being surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people standing up to the new POTUS and his agenda of hate was amazing and empowering; I felt hopeful. Meanwhile, back in NY, my family had a good scare when my mom suffered a medical emergency. She’d become very ill due to complications from surgery, then even more ill when she went to the ER and was met with total incompetence. Thankfully she got the care she needed just in time (at another facility; shout out to the wonderful doctors and nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital) and is okay now.
Of course the now daily barrage of crazy news is enough to drive anyone mad. Still, it’s imperative that we stay informed, and never become desensitized or complacent. We need to stay strong and focused, figure out our next steps. And while I’m way too much of a realist to ever look at the world through rose tinted glasses, I’ll gladly fuel my fight with a rose tinted salad. This one is nourishing and bright, with textural variety, tons of flavor, and a pinkish hue thanks to roasted beets. Meyer lemon and hazelnuts make it feel like a treat, while lentils and sorghum help to sustain us through these exhausting times.
*Optional: Before cooking lentils, soak them in hot water with a bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. This makes them more easily digestible and also reduces their cooking time. I soaked mine overnight.
1 cup sorghum, rinsed
3 cups water or vegetable stock (I used water + ½ bouillon cube)
¾ cup black lentils, rinsed and sorted, soaked if desired (see note above)
2 tsp of vinegar (I used apple cider)
a few small beets, scrubbed
1/3 cup hazelnuts
1/3 cup meyer lemon juice (from ~2 meyer lemons)
2 tsp meyer lemon zest
1/3 cup olive oil (plus a tiny bit more for sorghum)
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
optional: salad greens for serving
- Place sorghum, water/stock, and a drop of olive oil in a saucepan and cook over high heat until boiling. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 50-60 minutes (mine took 60) or until tender but still a little chewy. Drain and let cool.
- Meanwhile, make the lentils. Place lentils in a pot and cover with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until done (but not falling apart). Cooking time for the lentils will vary, depending on freshness and whether or not they’ve been soaked. My previously soaked lentils were done in 15 minutes; lentils that haven’t been soaked will take longer, closer to 25 minutes. So be sure to keep an eye on them and check regularly for doneness. Once cooked, drain, then toss with 2 tsp of vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, make the beets. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Wrap beets in foil, place in an oven safe dish, and roast for about an hour, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool, then peel and dice small.
- Turn oven down to 350 degrees F. Place hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, keeping a close watch, until browned and fragrant. Remove from pan and wrap in a dishtowel. Let sit for a minute (this will trap in the steam), then rub through the towel to remove the loose skins. Don’t worry about getting all the skins off– you only want get rid of the excess bits that would come off in your mouth (not pleasant). Roughly chop.
- To make the dressing, place the meyer lemon juice, olive oil, chopped thyme, and a dash of salt and pepper in a jar. Seal tightly and shake vigorously to combine.
- Mix together the lentils, sorghum, beets, and most of the dressing, setting aside some for leftovers (the sorghum will soak it up!). Season with salt and pepper, and top with hazelnuts and zest. Serve as is or with salad greens.
Yield: About 6 servings
For better or worse, 2016 is coming to an end. I know I’ve been feeling all the feels lately, but I’ll keep things nice and cozy here with some pasta featuring the year’s most popular vegetable, cauliflower– which has been everywhere and everything. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I haven’t tried cauliflower in any of its more trendy, experimental forms, but plan to remedy that soon with these buffalo wings, this pizza, and these steaks with romesco sauce. Yep, cauliflower is one intriguing, can-do brassica oleracea. Here, its mellow sweetness is complemented by garlic, kalamata olives, toasted almonds, and aromatic fresh oregano.
*I’ve been so excited that my local nataural foods store started carrying gluten free farfalle. If you buy/eat gluten free pasta with any frequency you know that gluten free bowties are something of a unicorn. Jovial also makes gluten free casarecce and manicotti (!). Get it.
12 oz pasta (farfalle, penne, fusilli, etc.)
4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed, cored, and cut into bite size chunks
1 cup vegetable broth
2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves only, chopped
¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, to taste
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.
- Drizzle a bit of olive oil in a large pan/wok. Add garlic and a pinch of red pepper and cook over medium heat, agitating frequently, for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.
- Stir in cauliflower and then the broth. Cover, turn up heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, or until “crips tender.” Stir in oregano and olives.
- Add pasta to the pan, season with salt and pepper and, if desired, drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Sprinkle on toasted almonds and serve.
Yield: About 5 servings
Fresh cabbage is not something I typically buy. For me, it usually conjures images of sad plops of diner coleslaw and The Kids in the Hall. When shopping I pass right by those pale green heads (and even the purple ones) in favor of darker leafy things like kale and chard, or more exciting things like tatsoi and romanesco. Still, the beautiful varieties at the farmer’s market piqued my interest and made me reconsider. Stir-fried with ginger, garlic, peanuts, tofu, and hot sesame oil, cabbage is totally delicious– and not at all reminiscent of coleslaw. I’m craving some right now.
*I thought this was spicy! Not too spicy with rice, though. And perfect if your head gets extra stuffy this time of year like mine does. Of course Philip added hot sauce anyway. If you prefer a less spicy dish, reduce the amount of hot sesame oil or cut with some toasted sesame oil. For a totally mild dish, replace completely with toasted sesame oil.
1 block extra-firm tofu
½ tbsp grapeseed or other hot cooking oil (peanut, canola, refined coconut, etc.)
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp coconut sugar
½ tbsp tamari
For everything else:
1-1½ tsp grapeseed or other hot cooking oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 medium head of cabbage, trimmed of outer leaves and core, cut into thin shreds
1 tbsp tamari
½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp hot sesame oil
¼ cup peanuts (I used roasted and salted)
Rice, for serving
- Pat tofu with a clean tea towel or paper towel. Cut into 1” cubes, then pat again to soak up extra moisture.
- Heat ½ tbsp grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Add tofu cubes, sprinkle with garlic powder and coconut sugar, and stir gently to distribute seasonings. Then let cook—without touching– for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden and a bit crispy. Carefully flip over (turn down the heat while you do this) and splash with ½ tbsp tamari. Cook for 3-4 minutes more. Turn off burner and transfer tofu to another dish. Let the pan cool a bit and then give it a wipe to remove any blackened bits.
- Heat 1-1½ tsp grapeseed (or other) oil in pan over medium heat, and add the garlic and ginger. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
- Stir in cabbage. Splash with a tiny bit of water and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring as needed. Add tamari and rice wine vinegar and cook for a couple minutes more.
- Add the tofu, peanuts, and hot sesame oil, and cook for another minute or two. Taste for seasonings and serve with rice.
Yield: About 3-4 servings