Pico de Gallo

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We can be honest with each other. This is a safe space. So I’m going to be frank – this salsa is straight up the worst to make. It’s an irrational time suck and hella messy. If you OCD in the kitchen like I do, I recommend carving out extra time for random cleaning fits. But if you have a few hours of torment to spare and a lot of wine to drink, it will be worth the impending anxiety attack – this salsa is that good.

When I make this, I make a shit load of it. If I’m feeling generous I’ll gift small jars or just eat salsa for weeks, like a lady – so feel free to cut the recommended portions in half for a smaller batch.

  • 15 – 20 Medium Tomatoes
  • 6 Green Onions
  • ½ White Onion
  • 6 – 8 Limes
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper
  • 1 Cup Cilantro
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • Salt to Taste

Wash, core and deseed the tomatoes. Quarter them and chuck them in a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds until the pieces are tiny. Now you have to strain them. You could probably use cheesecloth for this but I’m not one of those assholes who has cheesecloth laying around, I’m the asshole who strains them in a sieve for an hour because I like to make my life difficult. Chop the garlic, pepper, onion and cilantro then pulse them in your food processor until fine. Once you feel you have strained an acceptable amount of liquid from your tomatoes mix everything together, add lime juice and salt (to taste) in a glass bowl (only) and refrigerate for at least three hours before serving.

At this point if you’re feeling ambitious or drunk, making your own tortilla chips is super easy. Preheat oven to 350 ° cut flour tortillas into desired chip size. Place on a baking sheet and chuck them in the oven for 6 minutes, flip and bake for 3 more minutes – watch these suckers, they burn easily.

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Brussels Sprout Slaw

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This couldn’t be easier, guys: throw your sprouts in a food processor and chop that shit up. The first time I made this I thinly sliced every single sprout because sometimes I’m a daft bitch. The processor takes seconds. Get a nice glass bowl and toss the sprouts, walnuts, cranberries, pancetta and shallots with the dressing. I like my slaw well coated, so I often adjust the quantity of dressing.

• 1 Pound of Brussels Sprouts
• ½ Cup of Walnuts, chopped
• ½ Cup of Dried Cranberries
• ½ Cup of Cooked Pancetta, chopped
• 2 Shallots, chopped

UPDATE: do yourself a favour and grate asiago cheese on top – Next Level Shit!

Dressing:

• 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil
• 2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
• 1 Heaping TBS of Grainy Dijon Mustard
• 1 TSP of Honey
• Pinch of Salt

Tabbouli / Tabouli / Tabbouleh

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It looks simple enough to make but Tabouli is surprisingly easy to fuck up and is a huge time suck. I once added too much bulgur, minimizing the freshness of the dish which is imperative. I also had to get over my compulsion to add garlic, it just doesn’t work. The lemon juice intensifies the garlic which overwhelmingly takes over the entire dish.

I only recommend preparing this if you possess enough patience to chop parsley for what seems like an eternity. That shit has to be finely chopped and stems are unacceptable so carve out an hour of your day and grab a glass of wine.

• 3 Bunches of Parsley
• 1 Cup Fresh Mint
• 1 Bunch of Green Onion
• 3 TBSP of Bulgur or Couscous
• 3 Lemons – juiced
• 1 Tomato
• ¼ Cup of Olive Oil
• Pinch of Salt

Prepare bulgur or couscous and set aside. Remove parsley from stems and chop finely until you reach the brink of insanity. Chop mint, tomato, and green onions then toss everything in a non-reactive bowl, which is anything other than metal – if you want to know why, Google it. Refrigerate for at least an hour, tossing it a few times. The idea is to soften the parsley by saturating it in lemon juice.

Halloumi and Arugula Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

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I disappeared again. I do that sometimes. I wish I had an exhilarating reason why but I don’t. I was merely off tormenting myself to complete my novel. It was awful but somehow fulfilling and of course still incomplete. My mother poetically calls me, “a tortured creative soul,” I call myself completely neurotic. This is getting dark. I digress.

This past weekend I made a middle eastern inspired feast for a few friends and I was damn impressed with myself. Chicken was bomb. Smoky Baba Ganoush was bomb. Tabouli was bomb. But the star of the show was by far this salad. If you are unaware, Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese with a high melting point so it can withstand frying and grilling. It’s dense, chewy and salty as fuck which pairs perfectly with the bitterness of the arugula and the sweet but tart dressing.

NOTE: the vinaigrette proportions might be slightly inaccurate because I free poured that shit like a boss. Please modify to your preference:

• ½ Cup POM Juice
• 2 TBSP Olive Oil
• 1 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
• 1 TSP Honey
• ½ TSP Grainy Dijon Mustard
• 1 Small Shallot (finely minced)
• Salt and Pepper

Toss with arugula and serve with halloumi – pan fry, high heat for a 1 min per side.

Greek Bruschetta

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This Greek Bruschetta is a version of a version of an original recipe I’ve never tried. My friend Lee made her version a few years ago and naturally I adjusted it to complement my own palate. What I like about this recipe is how fresh it is. The Bruschetta mixture isn’t placed on top of bread but is scooped up with warm pita triangles. Fresh lemon juice rounds out all the complimentary ingredients that burst with salty and tangy flavours. I use shallots in this recipe because of my intense aversion to raw onions – especially red or purple onions. Yuck. There are so many ingredients you can add or omit – knock yourself out!

  • 1 small pint Grape Tomatoes
  • 10 – 15 pitted and chopped Kalamata Olives
  • Crumbled Feta Cheese (as much as you want)
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 medium Shallot
  • 1 – 2 squeezed Lemons (add to taste)
  • Tiny splash of Olive Oil
  • Tiny pinch of Salt

Just chop, mix and serve.

TIP: I pit olives by cutting one side off then pinch out the pit. 

Shrimp Ceviche

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Once upon a time I tried to squeeze the juice out of 15 limes with a fork and I died. Before embarking on this heinous endeavor, do yourself a solid and buy a citrus juicer. I use the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer, because it’s tots durable and my mom bought it for me.

After juicing five million limes and chopping the ingredients mix it all together in a non-reactive bowl – that would be anything other than metal. If you want to know why, Google it. Tightly seal the bowl and let sit for at least two hours. The lime cooks the shrimp and will be done when they turn pink.

• 1 – 2 lbs of Tiger Shrimp, Raw
• Half Pint of Cherry Tomatoes
• 15 Limes – seriously
• 2 Cloves of Garlic
• 1 LRG Shallot
• Handful of Fresh Cilantro
• ¼ Thai Pepper or Other
• Pinch of Sea Salt