Big Announcement!

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Hello, Lovelies!

I’m pleased to announce a big change in the blog as of today, including a new name as well as a new website!

After much consideration and planning, I’ve decided to change the name of the blog to something which better represents what it is about. Almost all of the recipes I share are inspired from places all around the world, and I wanted the name of the blog to really reflect that.

With that in mind, the new name will be The Wanderlust Kitchen!

In case you couldn’t guess, you can find the new site over at www.TheWanderlustKitchen.com.

You will find all of the old recipes and posts, but displayed in a much more dynamic and interactive fashion. If you go to http://www.iflookscouldkale.com, it will automatically re-direct you to the new site.

Head on over and enter your email address to follow me!

See you on the other side,

Anetta

 

 

Chai Peach Clafoutis

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Chai Peach Clafoutis

Let me begin by saying that two weeks ago I’d never heard of “clafoutis.” I didn’t know how to pronounce “clafoutis.” I certainly did not foresee myself making “clafoutis,” and then eating it three separate times in the same day. I wanted to tell you the proper way to pronounce clafoutis, so like any red-blooded American I went to Wikipedia.

Reading through the clafoutis article just now, I’ve realized that this dish can only be called a clafoutis if it is made with cherries. When made with other fruits, it is referred to as a “flaugnarde” which is really even more ridiculous than clafoutis and I can’t quite handle that. Let’s just continue to refer to it as a clafoutis, simply because this whole mess is getting too French for me.

So back to the pronunciation thing: since I also don’t know how to read phonetic symbols (although I did attend approximately 28% of the scheduled classes for my phonetics lecture at university), I’m going to guess that it is pronounced like “kla-foo-tee” with extra emphasis on the “tee.” Please correct me if I’m wrong!

Right, so whether you are making a clafoutis with cherries or a flaugnarde with peaches, the method is the same. You’re essentially mixing fresh fruit with a delicious flan-like custard and baking it in the oven. It’s heaven, really. My incredible friend Michele came over the morning I was baking this and we weren’t sure if it was meant to be a breakfast or a dessert. So we ate it for breakfast. And then later I ate it for dessert. And maybe in between those two events I snacked on it midday.

Chai Peach Clafoutis from www.IfLooksCouldKale.com

My kitchen was overflowing with an abundance of ripe, delicious peaches so I wanted to make something that really showcased their sweet flavor. This (faux) clafoutis did the job perfectly. I decided to mix things up a bit and spice the clafoutis with chai spices to complement the fruit.

Chai Peach Clafoutis from If Looks Could Kale food blog.

Rather than using a traditional pie dish, I decided to bake the clafoutis in a cast iron skillet. I don’t know why but I just love making desserts in that thing! It makes everything seem so rustic and lovely.

I adapted Julia Child’s original clafoutis recipe because it seemed like a perfectly good place to start. I just finished reading Julie & Julia (I must be the last food blogger on the planet to read it!), so Julia Child has been on my mind lately. Since I also recently bashed French food as being unnecessarily complicated, I thought that you might appreciate a simple and delicious addition to your European repertoire.

Chai Peach Clafoutis from If Looks Could Kale

Ready? Here’s the recipe!

Makes: 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe peaches
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 1/4 c. milk
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp.  salt
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • powdered sugar, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Set out a large bowl of ice water. Use a sharp knife to score the bottom of the peaches with a large “x”, then place them in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove, and plunge immediately into the ice bath. Let sit for another 30 seconds, then place on a cutting board to rest for a few minutes. Starting at the bottom of the peach, use your fingers to peel back the skin by tugging on the corners of the pre-scored “x.” Once peeled, discard the skins and thinly slice the peaches.
  3. Place the cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and coriander into a large blender. Add 1/3 c. sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, flour, and milk and blend until smooth.
  4. Grease a 9-10″ cast iron skillet with butter and pour in a 1/4 inch layer of the batter. Bake for about 2-3 minutes or until a film of batter just barely sets in the pan. The rest of the batter will still be raw.
  5. Remove from the heat and keep the oven on. Lay the sliced peaches over the batter in a circular design. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar over the peaches, then pour on the rest of the batter.
  6. Bake for another 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven when it is puffed and brown, and a knife comes out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve warm.

Chai Peach Clafoutis from If Looks Could Kale

Nutrition (per serving):

225 calories, 4 g. fat, 6 g. protein, 41 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 6

Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce

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Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce

This one is DEFINITELY going on the regular rotation at our house.

Do you see this deliciousness?

Crispy fried tilapia with a sweet and spicy coconut-curry sauce on a bed of fluffy jasmine rice.

Oh.

My.

Heavens.

Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce from If Looks Could Kale food blog.

See this Pin on Pinterest!

Have I already told you about my tilapia obsession? I haven’t?

Let me count the ways I love tilapia:

  1. It’s abundant. I don’t think I’ve ever had trouble finding tilapia in a grocery store. You may not think this is a big deal,  but to me it really is. Doesn’t it drive you nuts when you have EVERYTHING you need for a meal in your cart but come to find out that the store doesn’t have some crucial ingredient? Granted, some of you may say that tilapia is easily substituted because white fish is white fish is white fish, but I disagree. Tilapia is not only white fish,  (wait for it)…
  2. It’s cheap. Mega-cheap. My mom is always telling me that back in “the day,” fish was very inexpensive and was considered a “working man’s food.” Of course as people started buying more and more of it (because it was cheap), the price has inflated over the years. I’m so glad I took those graduate-level economics classes so I could gain a basic grasp of supply and demand. While “fresh” tilapia can certainly set you back a pretty penny if you’re buying out of the fish case at a Whole Foods, I’ll let you in on a little secret… (wait for it)…
  3. It’s freezer-friendly. Aren’t we all a little obsessed with freezing things lately? It seems like 90% of the recipes I see re-pinned over and over again are either crockpot recipes or freezer recipes. I buy four-pound bags of frozen fillets at my local Fred Meyer (Kroger) for about $10. Each fillet is about 4 oz, which means that for about $10 the husband and I can each eat four fish dinners (yay, math!). Other than being incredibly cheap, frozen tilapia provides me an extra advantage in the kitchen…
  4. It’s quick to thaw, and quick to cook! *Technically* I don’t think the food-governing-lords recommend thawing fish any other way than overnight in a fridge (seriously, who has the foresight for that?), but I like to just toss mine in the sink, cover it in room temperature water, and let the magic happen. I’ve been using this method for years and have never had any issues. It thaws in about 5-10 minutes, which means I can have absolutely NOTHING planned for dinner, then 10 minutes later I am cooking away.

Which brings us to today’s special presentation of Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce. This meal rocks my world in so many ways.

Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce from If Looks Could Kale food blog.

Let’s make another list, shall we?

  1. Tilapia (see above).
  2. Thai Food (duh).
  3. Under 30 minutes.
  4. Low-Calorie.
  5. Delicious.
  6. Every ingredient comes from either the freezer or the pantry. Which means I can put absolutely no forethought into making it. <— This is KEY.

Ready for the magic?

Let’s begin.

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 (4 oz) tilapia fillets
  • 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. wok oil (grapeseed or vegetable oil work great, too)
  • 1 (14oz) can light coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp. panang curry paste (or any red curry paste)
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 Tbsp. palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2-4 whole wild lime leaves
  • Jasmine rice, cilantro and lime wedges for serving

Directions:

  1. Pat each of the fish fillets dry with a paper towel, then cut into quarters. Stir together the flour and pepper in a pie plate or shallow dish. Place the fish pieces into the pie plate a few at a time and coat them with the flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour and set aside.
  2. Heat the wok or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, lay half of the fish pieces to the pan in a single layer. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until crisp and brown. The fish doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through at this point because it is going to simmer later on. Once crisp, remove from pan and set aside. Repeat this process with the remaining half of the fish pieces.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and wipe out any excess oil in the pan, then add half a can of coconut milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the coconut milk is hot and foamy. Add in the curry paste and stir for about 2 minutes to work it into the coconut milk, using the back of a wooden spoon to break up any large pieces.
  4. Add the rest of the coconut milk, as well as the water, sugar, fish sauce, and lime leaves (if using). Stir for one minute, then return the fish pieces to the pan. Spoon the curry sauce over the top of the fish. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until fish has cooked through. Discard lime leaves.
  5. Garnish with cilantro, and serve on a bed of jasmine rice with lime wedges for squeezing.

Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce from If Looks Could Kale food blog.

See this Pin on Pinterest!

 

Nutrition (includes fish and sauce):

275 calories, 14 g. fat, 23 g. protein, 15 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 7

Lebanese Warm Lentils

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Lebanese Warm Lentils

Surprise! More Lentils!

Are you surprised?

Neither am I. I just love these little guys! They are packed with all sorts of good-for-you stuff, and just happen to be delicious. These buttery little beans (beans? they are in the bean family, right?) are about as versatile to cook with as they are easy to make. They are also incredibly inexpensive, particular if you buy them in the bulk section.

Lebanese Warm Lentils from If Looks Could Kale

Actually, the first time I ever bought lentils was last fall when I used them as part of my “autumn decor” (if you could even call it that). I bought yellow and red lentils, then just layered them in some mason jars with a candle in the middle. I only started cooking with lentils about six weeks ago!

Speaking of fall, I’ve been trying to ignore the fact that my beautiful morning light will be going away soon but soon I’ll have to face facts and figure out a method other than getting up at the crack of dawn to take photographs of my recipes. Do you have any ideas?

Also, I just confirmed the legume-status on Wikipedia, so at least we have that part down.

So, tell me. Why haven’t you jumped on the lentil bandwagon yet? Do you dislike protein? Fiber? B-Vitamins? Do I sound like your mother yet?

Just get with the program. Cheap, fast, delicious, and healthy. That should check off just about every item on your list.

Oh, lentils. You complete me.

Lebanese Warm Lentils from If Looks Could Kale

Let’s get cooking.

Makes: 4 main dish servings, or 6-8 side dish servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. dried Brown Lentils
  • 8 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. Grapeseed Oil
  • 1/2 c. fresh Parsley (Curly or Italian)
  • 1/4 c. fresh Mint Leaves
  • 1 c. Arugula Leaves
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground Black Pepper

Directions:

  1. Measure out your lentils, place them in a fine mesh strainer or colander, and rinse with cold water. Sort through the lentils to pick out any stones or debris which may be left behind.
  2. Place the rinsed lentils in a medium sauce pan and add 2 cups of water. Bring the water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat. The water should be moving, but it shouldn’t be a full-on rolling boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for between 20 and 30 minutes. You want the water to maintain a soft simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, finely mince 8 cloves of garlic in a food processor (or use a sharp knife). Heat the grapeseed oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until a small piece of garlic sizzles at once when tossed into the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add all of the minced garlic. Saute until the garlic is golden brown and crispy (about 6 to 8 minutes). Set aside.
  4. Chop up your fresh parsley, mint, and arugula. Set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, allspice, salt, and pepper.
  6. Once the lentils are tender, remove from heat and drain any excess liquid. Return them to the pan and add the crispy garlic along with the mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings. Toss well to coat.
  7. Fold in the fresh parsley, mint, and arugula. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  8. Serve warm, accompanied by pita bread, or as a side dish with buttery cod (highly recommended!)

Lebanese Warm Lentils from If Looks Could Kale

Nutrition (per main course serving, or 1/4 of the recipe):

335 calories, 18 g. fat, 13 g. protein, 32 g. carbs, 15 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 8

Recipe Adapted from Saveur Magazine, September 2012

Thai Pork with Spicy Green Beans

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Thai Pork with Spicy Green Beans

I have a serious phobia about trying new things at restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love checking out new restaurants and have no problem ordering whatever sounds good to me, but when it comes to ordering something different than what I got the first time I was there, I’m a total wimp. When I already know that something is good, why would I take a risk and order something different? What if it doesn’t taste good and I just waste a bunch of money?

The absolute worst case of order-changing-phobia I’ve ever had was at this little Thai place in the town where I went to college. The first time I tried Thai food I ordered chicken with cashew nuts, and it has been my absolute favorite dish in the WORLD ever since. In all seriousness, it took me YEARS to order something different. I finally got tipsy brave one night at dinner and decided to order something different.  I went with pad prik king, also known as chicken with spicy green beans, and it was divine. Prik king itself is actually a type of curry , like panang or massaman. In Thailand the husband and I saw prik king used “dry” (meaning without coconut milk) to saute meat and vegetables. While chicken and green beans is the most common combination seen here in the states, moo paht prik king, or pork with spicy green beans, is a delicious alternative.

An absolute cinch to make, this dish comes together in under 15 minutes so be sure to start your rice ahead of time!

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Side note: I recently found myself on the rice aisle at the local Asian supermarket deciding between a ten or twenty-five pound bag of jasmine rice. I think I have a problem.

Okay, back to the pork: Do you see that delicious sauce nestled underneath the green beans and pork? It is just begging to be soaked up by some rice. Never skimp on the rice.

SpicyPork5

You don’t need any special equipment or ingredients to make this incredibly easy dish at home. I’ve included the traditional elements below, but I’ve also added notes about simple substitutions you can make if you don’t have a particular ingredient on hand.

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed (or vegetable) oil
  • 3 Tbsp. prik king curry paste (or use any red curry paste, such as panang, massaman, or regular “red”)
  • 1lb. boneless pork loin, very thinly sliced crosswise into 2-inch strips
  • 1/2 c. fat free chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 4 wild lime leaves*, halved (or serve with lime wedges)

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and toss in your green beans. Let cook for about 3 minutes, then strain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Heat the sesame and grapeseed oil over medium-low in a large skillet. Add in the curry paste and stir for 2-3 minutes until the paste is well combined with the oil. Use the back of a wooden spoon to work the two together.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the pork strips. Stir the pork around to evenly coat in curry paste for a minute or two, then add in the broth, fish sauce, wild lime leaves (if using), and palm sugar. Stir well to combine.
  4. Add the green beans to the pan and saute for another 3 minutes.
  5. Serve with lots of jasmine rice!

*The lime leaves are pictured as a garnish, in case you are wondering what they look like.

SpicyPork7

Nutrition (per serving):

308 calories, 18 g. fat, 27 g. protein, 10 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 8

What are your favorite Thai dishes? I’d love a challenge!

Syrian Meatballs & Sweet Potatoes

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Syrian Meatballs & Sweet Potatoes

For something as seemingly easy as meatballs, I sure had a heck of a time putting together this meal. None of the individual components are really all that complicated – it’s basically meatballs, some roasted red sweet potato, and brown lentils. Easy, right?

Well, it really should have been, except that my regular grocery store has been totally screwing me over lately by selling me bad produce. You’d think that I would be able to pick out good, non-rotting onions and red sweet potatoes but evidently NOT.

I really try my best to cook with as many fresh ingredients as I can get my hands on. You’ll very rarely see my recipes call for cans of anything or “cream of” anything, so I get pretty frustrated when I buy an onion and two red sweet potatoes on a Sunday and by Tuesday the onion is half moldy and one of the two red sweet potatoes practically dissolves in my hand when I pick it up. I bought the two sweet potatoes the exact same way! I picked them each up, gave them a little squeeze, and placed them in my cart. How is it that one of them can just go completely rotten in the span of 48 hours. Damn you, un-named chain grocery store near my house!

So I had been planning to make these meatballs (which call for one WHOLE onion, not half of an onion salvaged from a ball of moldy mess) along with a red sweet potato puree made with coconut milk. Sounds awesome, RIGHT?

Well since I only found myself with ONE red sweet potato instead of two, I didn’t quite have enough to justify the work of a puree, so I chopped it up and roasted it instead. I tried to peel it, but I guess red sweet potatoes don’t like to be peeled. Sooo I left the peel on and it was delicious that way anyhow. If you enjoy being frustrated, feel free to try to peel yours.

I roasted it with some oil, spices, and apple cider vinegar and it was absolutely delicious. Honestly, probably better than the puree would have been. Since I didn’t have a ton of sweet potatoes and I wanted to actually satisfy my hunger with this meal, I decided to make some brown lentils to bulk it up a bit. This also ended up being an awesome idea, because the lentils soaked up all sorts of delicious drippings from the onions and meatballs.

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View this Pin on Pinterest

In short, what started as a big failed project ended up being a truly delicious dinner. It was hearty, flavorful, and full of texture and color. Hooray!

Here are the recipes for both the Meatballs and the Sweet Potatoes:

Syrian Meatballs

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of salt, divided
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 tbsp. of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of beef or chicken stock
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Peel and roughly chop the small onion. Place the pieces in a food processor and process until finely minced. Place 1 tsp. of salt over the onions and set aside to let them spit out their excess water for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, place the ground beef, egg, 1/2 tsp. salt, cinnamon, allspice and cumin. Once the onions have spit out their water, drain them and add them to the bowl. Mix with your hands until all is well incorporated.
  4. Form into marble-sized meatballs (have patience, young Jedi!) and place on a greased wire rack atop a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until brown in color.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Slice your large onion in thick rings and brown them in the pan until they are translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Once the meatballs are out the oven, toss them into the pan with the onions and add the broth and tomato paste. Stir well and let the mixture come to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let the mixture cook for 15-20 minutes until thickened.
  7. Remove from heat and add the juice from half a lemon.
  8. Serve with lentils and roasted sweet potatoes (recipe below)!

Nutrition (per serving):

345 calories, 24 g. fat, 23 g. protein, 9 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 9

Syrian6

Sweet Potatoes

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced 1-inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil (or canola oil)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. curry powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the diced sweet potato, oil, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, cumin, and curry powder. Toss to combine.
  3. Spread in a single layer on a 9 x 13 ” baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Toss, return to oven, and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are able to be cut with a fork.
  5. Serve warm.

Syrian Meatballs & Sweet Potatoes

Nutrition (per serving):

132 calories, 7 g. fat, 1 g. protein, 17 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 4