veggies

Palak Chaat

We here in DC are lucky enough to have one of the most critically acclaimed Indian restaurants in the country, right here in our city.  Rasika, is an elegant and delicious journey through various Indian regional dishes.  Their most famous and addictive menu item is Palak Chaat – a pile of fried spinach covered in yogurt, tamarind and date sauces.  The dish is equally crispy, creamy, cool, hot, tangy and sweet.  It is not unusual for a single table to get multiple orders because sharing is near impossible.

Palak Chaat 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch of kale, ribs removed and torn into large pieces
  • 1/3 cup non fat greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • pinch of cumin
  • 1 plum tomato
  • 3 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 4 tablespoons tamarind sauce (or tamarind chutney thinned with water)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees with two cookie sheets inside the oven (i.e. heat the pans along with the oven.  In a large bowl combine the kale pieces with the olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.

Massage the olive oil into the kale then spread evenly in a single layer on the baking sheets when the oven is at temperature (be careful those cookie sheets are hot!).  Bake for 12-15 minutes, tossing once in the middle of baking.  Meanwhile combine the yogurt, lemon juice, cumin and salt and pepper.  Then seed and chop the tomato (using a spoon is the easiest way to get rid of the seeds).

When ready to serve place the kale chips on a plater and scatter over the chopped tomato and red onion.  Drizzle over the yogurt sauce and the tamarind sauce.

A Deconstructed Turkey Rachel

I used to be able to travel back to Boston all the time for work.  It was great because I got to see family and friends and stay connected to my hometown in a way I can’t do now.  However, I would be lying if I said it didn’t also have to do with frequent stops to the Paramount, an awesome diner like place on Beacon Hill.  Open since 1937 this place is always packed but worth the wait.  My standard lunch order was the roasted turkey Rachel with sweet potato fries.  If you have never had a Rachel, its basically a Ruben sandwich with turkey and coleslaw instead of sauerkraut.  The mix of the tangy Russian dressing with the hearty turkey and the rye bread make me super happy.  Since I no longer get to fly up to Boston for one every couple of weeks I started craving it big time.  That’s when the idea to deconstruct the Rachel came to me – turn a lunch classic into a dinner staple.  In place of the rye bread I simply breaded turkey cutlets with breadcrumbs mixed with caraway seeds (the nutty yummy flavor you get in rye bread comes from those seeds).  Then the Russian dressing and coleslaw come together as a bed for the turkey cutlet.  To elevate this a bit I made my own Russian dressing and used bagged broccoli slaw which is much more crunchy and flavorful then the cabbage kind.  A bite of the cutlet with the slaw together and BAM you have a Rachel sandwich!  This dish will definitely get me through until the next time I can go to the Paramount.  Serve it for a totally outside the box Thanksgiving with some hoppy beer and I am sure your friends and family will flip.  Have a great holiday!!

A Deconstructed Turkey Rachel

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 12 ounce bag of broccoli slaw
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound turkey cutlets
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

In a medium size bowl combine the mayo, Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, apple cider vinegar, and hot sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the broccoli slaw making sure it is all combined.  This can be done several hours in advance, store in the fridge and just take it out 30 minutes before serving to take the chill off.  Set out three bowls for breading – one with the breadcrumbs and caraway seeds in it, one with the flour and one with the egg, beaten with a splash of water.

Set out a plate or cookie sheet to place the breaded cutlets on.  First tip each cutlet in the flour, shake off the excess, then dip in the egg, making sure to coat the entire thing and then finish in the caraway breadcrumbs, pressing them on to make sure they stick.

Once all the cutlets are breaded heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Once they are hot add as many cutlets as comfortably fit in.

Cook 3 minutes per side and remove, add the remaining butter and oil to the pan and cook the remaining cutlets.  Serve the cutlets on top of the slaw mixture.

Fennel and Apple Salad

So we were going to go apple picking this weekend but Hurricane Joaquin had other plans.  Luckily I was still able to get my hands on some good local apples at the super market without all the mud and decided to dedicate this week to all things apple.  I know it’s tempting just to go the pie or apple sauce route if you have a lot of them, but there are so many more ways to use apples.  This week I will walk through 3 totally different recipes that really show the apple’s range.  This first dish is inspired by a terrific tapa at a Spanish restaurant called Jaleo, here in DC.  It’s been on their menu for years and while I haven’t been able to get it 100% perfect, this is pretty close to the real thing.  Raw apple is tossed with raw fennel, salty manchego cheese and nuts to create a great, crunchy fall salad.  Experiment with different ways of cutting the elements of this salad – sometimes I do the apple, fennel and cheese all in baton shapes, sometimes I slice them thinly, and sometimes I do them in different shapes.  The exact same ingredients take on a different personality depending on how you present them, from rustic to sophisticated.  Hope you enjoy apple week!

Fennel and Apple Salad 

  • 1 large head of fennel or 2 small, cored and sliced thinly (some fronds reserved for topping)
  • 1 granny smith apple, cored and sliced thinly
  • 4 ounces manchego cheese, cubed or cut into batons
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup marcona almonds

In a large bowl toss the fennel, apple and manchego together.  In a smaller bowl crease a dressing by whisking together to the sherry vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper.

Toss the veggies with the dressing then spread out the salad on a nice platter.  Sprinkle with the almonds and reserved chopped fennel fronds (the green leafy parts) and serve.

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