Phyllo Dough Pizza

My husband and I picked up our puppy last Saturday! His name is Hugo, he’s a IMG_0627Brittany, and he’s 8 weeks old. I know everyone says their puppy is the cutest/smartest, but seriously this dog is so cute and smart (when he’s not peeing in the house or trying to electrocute himself on lamp cords). He learned to fetch in 5 minutes!

I did not realize how much work a puppy can be. I thought he’s be this cute this puppy, which he is, who just wants to cuddle all the time, which he does, who only wakes up to eat or use the bathroom–oh how wrong I was! He basically runs amok 90% of the time and then passes out dead asleep mid-stride. Those of you with dogs are I’m sure laughing at how naive I was. I thought we’d be getting the equivalent of a newborn, I didn’t know we were getting a toddler!

So these days, I don’t really have the luxury of standing in front of the stove to Pizza, Vegetariancook for an extended period of time. Unspeakable things would be happening to my house if I took my eyes off this pup for that long. So I wanted to make something for dinner last night that wouldn’t burn when I had to drop everything and scoop up the puppy to run him outside. This literally took 20 minutes to throw together (minus the time to defrost the phyllo), and I’m happy to report that Hugo sat semi-patiently and watched me put dinner together.

  • 1 roll phyllo dough
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced 1/4” thick
  • 1/2 cup feta crumbles
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
  • Lemon extra virgin olive oil (regular olive oil works fine too)

*Phyllo dough are paper-thin sheets made from unleavened flour. You’ll find it in the freezer section, and when defrosted it is actually quite easy to work with. Just make sure you leave it out to defrost for a few hours before you need to work with it. The roll I buy measures 13” x 18”. I cut the large sheets in half to measure 9” x 13”.

Preheat the oven to 400˚. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place 3 sheets of phyllo dough on the baking sheet. Brush the whole sheets of phyllo with olive oil. Place another 3 sheets of phyllo dough on top, and brush with olive oil. Repeat until you have used all the phyllo, the roll I buy has 20 sheets. Sprinkle the cheese on top, leaving a crush of about 1/2”, and cover the cheese with your tomato slices. Spread the fresh herbs evenly over your tomatoes and grate a tablespoon or two of Parmesan over the tomatoes and herbs. Brush the crust of the phyllo with a bit more olive oil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the crush is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Serves 4.

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Soba Noodle Soup with Miso Eggplant

This recipe was actually inspired by my neighbor, Naomi! We went for a hike Soba noodles, eggplant, soupyesterday, and got to talking about a new market down the street, Driver’s Market. It’s a family owned market, which carries family-owned products and local produce, yay! If you’re ever in Sausalito, you’ve got to check it out. We got to talking about how nice it is to have such a wonderful market just a few blocks away, and somehow we got to talking about eggplant, which led to talking about miso grilled eggplant. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head, which led to a Japanese lunch just down the street, which led to an Asian-inspired dinner.  The weather turned from shorts and t-shirts to why-am-i-wearing-two-jackets (quite literally) in a matter of 6 hours, so a comforting bowl of soup seemed appropriate.

  • 8 oz. soba noodles
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2” piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 lbs. boy choy, ends removed
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1.5 cups frozen edemame
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped in half
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1” pieces
  • Toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Miso glaze:

  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 heaping tbsp white miso
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil

Preheat the oven to 400˚. Combine all the ingredients for the miso glaze in a small bowl and whisk with a fork. In a 9 x 13 roasting pan, pour the glaze over your chopped eggplant and still well to coat all the pieces evenly. Roast until eggplant is tender and beginning to brown, about 20-25 minutes.

While the eggplant roasts, bring about 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to medium heat in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Add the minced garlic and stir frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the grated ginger and cook until fragrant, about another minute. Add your boy choy to the pot, stir to mix up the garlic and ginger, cover and allow to steam for about 3-5 minutes. When the leaves of the bok choy are just starting to wilt but the thick part of the stem is still firm, add the vegetable stock and water to the pan and bring to a gentle simmer. When the stock reaches a simmer, add your edemame, mushrooms and soba noodles, cover and turn off the burner. The residual heat will cook the noodles. (Note: the noodles I bought only needed to cook for 3 minutes, some brands of noodles need to cook longer. If that is the case, I would cook them for about 1 minute at a simmer and then turn the heat off.)

Add the miso eggplant to your soup and stir. Ladle portions in to bowls, top with green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Quinoa and Kale Salad

My birthday is coming up next week. I’m turning 31 and starting to wonder how I became a “grown up”. Besides the year I got married, this was probably the biggest year of my life. Since my last birthday my husband and I bought a house, and did a mini-renovation in less than two weeks (they were carpeting our stairs as we moved in), an experience which probably took a couple years off our lives. I never knew I’d want to know so much about the differences between hardwood floors. We traveled to Paris, a city I found hard to leave at the end of our stay, where we fell in love with the architecture, culture and food. We experienced a handful of different regions in Italy, learning that loving food and eating local is the norm and a way of life there. I learned that jury duty–6 weeks of it to be exact–is not as exciting as movies make it out to be. And our new puppy (read starter baby) was born on March 21st, and we bring him or her home on May 18th! We figure if we don’t screw up a puppy, we’re safe not screwing up a human baby. What a year! This time last year I had no idea that these experiences were ahead of me and it’s exciting to sit here wondering what I new things I will learn between now and my next birthday.Kale, quinoa

Now for how this relates to my post: my aunt took me out to celebrate my birthday at a new restaurant near my house yesterday, Fast Food Français, and since we were celebrating, some day drinking and dessert seemed appropriate. So I was ready for something light and healthy for dinner. And since eight out of ten times when I ask Miguel what he wants for dinner he says “salad”, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to make him salad for dinner. This recipe serves 6 as a side, 3 as a main dish. Unlike other types of greens that get mushy, kale salad holds up very well for leftovers.

  • 2 bunches lacinato kale, large stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, diagonally sliced into 1/2” pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups quinoa (makes 2.5 cups of cooked quinoa)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • sesame seeds
  • 1 avocado, slices
  • Crumbled feta (optional)

Lemon-Tahini Dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 4 lemons
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup Tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, ground finely in a mortar & pestle
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Bring a small saucepan to medium heat. When the pan is warm, add your dry quinoa and toast for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, about every minute or so. After your quinoa has been evenly toasted, add water to the pan. Be careful, I’ve found when I’m adding water to a pan after toasting quinoa, the hot water has a tendency to sputter. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, until you can see the white germ around the quinoa, telling you that it’s done cooking. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes when it’s done cooking.

Bring a pot of water to boil in a large saucepan. When you reach a rolling boil, blanch your asparagus slices for 3 minutes, until crisp tender. Drain in to a colander and rinse will cool water to stop them from overcooking.

Put your sliced kale in a very large bowl. Mix the ingredients for your dressing together in a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Pour about half of the dressing over the kale. Get in there with your clean hands and literally massage the dressing in to the kale. I know it sounds crazy and weird, but trust me, the kale will better absorb your dressing this way. Reserve the other half of your dressing.

Add your chopped fennel bulb, minced shallots, blanched asparagus, cooled quinoa, toasted almonds, and a couple tablespoons of sesame seeds to the sliced kale. Use the reserved dressing to dress the rest of your salad. Toss to coat. Top with a few avocado slices and some crumbled feta if you’d like. Enjoy!