Spanish Tapas-style Blistered Shishito Peppers

shishito peppers - trustinkim.com

A number of years ago I was on a trip to Spain, and I was treated to an amazing tapas feast. We ate so many delicious foods that night, but my favourite by far was the Padrón peppers – blackened, slathered with olive oil, and topped with crunchy salt. They were mildly hot; some were a little warmer than others, but the heat wasn’t uncomfortable.

I didn’t think I would enjoy these at all, since I’m not fond of green bell peppers, but these are completely different from bell peppers. Yay for trying new things!

When I got home from the trip to Spain I thought I would make these peppers all the time when I had guests, however, limited access to Padrón peppers in Vancouver crushed my dream. I was able to find them once at a Farmer’s Market. I paid a small fortune for them, and they were so hot that no one would eat them! I did eat them because I can be a bit stubborn, but they were not nearly as good as the ones in Spain.

Enter: the Shishito pepper. I found them in Vancouver at a Persian store, and at my local Korean store they are labelled as Twist peppers. They are incredibly similar to Padrón peppers – yay!

What you need:

  • Shishito or Padrón peppers
  • olive oil
  • flaky sea salt

What you do:

  1. Wash and dry the peppers.
  2. Bring a large frying pan (I like cast-iron for this) to high heat. Add a glug of olive oil, then add the peppers. Allow to fry for about one minute before turning; they should be blistered and darkened on the first side.
  3. Fry on the other side for another minute or so.
  4. Drizzle a bit more olive oil, then use your fingers to sprinkle on some sea salt.
  5. Enjoy them while they’re hot! You can always soak up the excess olive oil with some bread.

No-Bake Chocolate Date Nut Brownies

 

date nut brownie - trustinkim

This nutty brownie is a no-bake, vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, raw recipe that also happens to be super tasty. It makes a great energy bar that you can pack for a big bike ride or hike. It contains nuts to give you some protein, and there’s natural sugar in the dates to make it taste good. 

You don’t need an oven, but you will need a food processor for this recipe. It keeps well in the fridge for a few weeks, or the freezer for a few months.

Just know that it is not your typical brownie that is cakey or gooey. You can find some of those recipes here here, and here.

I halved the recipe when I made it, but here is the full recipe version that comes from theminimalistbaker.com.

What you need:

  • 1 cup raw unsalted almonds (roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 & 2 1/2 cups Medjool dates (pitted)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder or raw cacao 
  • 1-2 tsp espresso powder or finely ground coffee
  • pinch sea salt
  1. Line a cake pan with parchment paper (or loaf pan for 1/2 a recipe)
  2. Place 1 cup of the walnuts along with the almonds in the food processor and process until it is finely ground.
  3. Put the cocoa, espresso powder and sea salt in the processor, then pulse to combine. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Process the dates until soft, then remove to a bowl.
  5. Put the nut and cocoa mixture back in the processor, then slowly add the dates through the spout in the top of the processor. Process until it becomes doughy; I had to add a little bit of water. The mixture should come together when you squeeze it.
  6. Place the mixture into the lined cake pan, then add the chopped walnuts. Combine the walnuts with the brownie mixture, then press it down until it is flat.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for about half an hour before cutting.
  8. Enjoy!

Cashew Cilantro Sauce

cashew dressing - trustinkim.com

This pretty green sauce makes an excellent topping for Mexican food. Cilantro and parsley with a hint of lime, combined with the creaminess of cashews makes it irresistible. So far I have used it in a Burrito Bowl (pictured), and it was also delicious on pinto bean and avocado enchiladas. When I was eating my leftovers at work a lot of people were curious about it – but it’s not just a pretty face! So delicious!

I found this recipe in The Plant-Based Foodie: Vancouver by Brad Hill. It is part of a recipe for a burrito bowl, but this dressing was definitely the standout of the dish. The only changes from the original recipe are: I halved the recipe, and I used unrefined sunflower oil rather than grape seed oil. I probably used less parsley and more cilantro than the recipe called for because I’m not the biggest fan of parsley, and also I don’t tend to measure with recipes like this.

The sauce will keep in the fridge for a few days.

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons grape seed oil or unrefined sunflower oil
  • juice and zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

What you do:

  1. Soak the cashews in water for at least an hour, then drain them.
  2. Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend for about a minute, until the mixture is smooth. Add a little water if you want it to be a little runnier.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Roasted Eggplant with Roasted Chickpeas and Tahini Sauce

roasted eggplant and chickpeas with tahini sauce - trustinkim

I have seen a number of recipes for roasted chickpeas lately, but I wasn’t very interested in making them because of a bad experience with some chalky store-bought roasted chickpeas. For some reason I decided to give them a try, and was really happy with the result. They come out just the right texture, not too dry, not too soft. I love the bit of saltiness topping off the creamy eggplant and tahini sauce. Add the sweetness of the pomegranate seeds and you’ve got a pretty perfect vegan meal.

This dinner is quite simple to make. Most of the work is done by the oven, roasting the eggplant and the chickpeas, and while it is roasting you just have to whip up a quick sauce.

I made this a few months ago, and I didn’t actually measure the sauce ingredients, so this is my best estimate of the amounts I used. I cobbled this recipe together from ideas I’ve seen in various cookbooks, most notably the Ottolenghi (drool) cookbooks.

What you need:

  • 1 – 540 mL can chickpeas
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 3 – 4 long and skinny, or 8 small eggplants
For the sauce:
  • 1/3 cup tahini paste
  • 2/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup water or more as needed
  • parsley to garnish

Optional:

  • pomegranate seeds, of they are in season. Chopped dried sour cherries might be nice too.

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
  2. Rinse the chickpeas and pat them dry with a clean towel. Toss them in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then toss with salt, pepper and cumin. Spread out into a single layer on a baking tray.
  3. Wash the eggplants and slice them in half lengthwise. Place them cut-side up on a baking tray and brush them with olive oil.
  4. Roast the chickpeas and eggplants for 30-40 minutes, tossing the chickpeas halfway through the time. The eggplant should be very tender when you poke it with a fork. The chickpeas should be slightly crunchy, but not hard. It’s a good idea to test the chickpeas a few times in the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
  5. While the oven is doing its thing you can make the sauce. Whisk together the tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Slowly add the water to make a pourable yet still thick sauce. Taste and add more salt or lemon if needed.
  6. Plate the eggplant, drizzling the sauce over them, and then top with the chickpeas. Garnish with chopped parsley and optional pomegranate.

Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs – to die for!

red wine braised short ribs - trustinkim.com

I made these delicious red wine braised short ribs on Christmas Eve for my good friends, John and Dale. We enjoyed some great conversation, music, wine, and of course the food! After they went home I fell into a deep sleep with a belly full of good food. That night I woke up many times smelling the delicious aroma of this meal, and fell happily back to sleep each time thinking about our evening and all the amazing foods I’ve eaten, that night and others before . . . 

It’s definitely a special meal (the photo doesn’t do it justice – sometimes we just want to eat and not wait for a good photo for the blog), and a bonus is that my whole apartment and the hallways were filled with the amazing scents of it while it was cooking – I’m a bit surprised that no neighbours invited themselves over. When John and Dale arrived they said they could smell it all the way down the hallway, and they had their fingers crossed it was my cooking that they were smelling.

I’ve eaten this meal at a friend’s place before, and have seen many recipes for similar meals. This is my version – you can’t go wrong with a long cooking time in lots of red wine and beef stock (even better if you have a homemade beef stock) and the flavouring of the mirepoix.

To make the beef short ribs they are first browned in butter, then the mirepoix is added, then a whole bottle of red wine and some beef stock. It needs to spend a few hours in the oven before it becomes fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth tender and tasty. I served it on buttermilk mashed potatoes with glazed carrots (brought by John and Dale). So delicious! 

While the ribs are cooking you can be free to attend to other dinner preparations. The ribs can be made a day ahead of time and then reheated in the oven, if you need to save time on the day of the meal.

This recipe should serve at least four people, but it’s also really nice to have leftovers.

For the potatoes I just boiled them and added some heated buttermilk and butter. After draining, I mashed the potatoes by hand with a masher (not an electric mixer) in the pot they were cooked in, with some salt and pepper and the heated buttermilk and butter. I made sure I didn’t over-mash them -they become gluey with too much mashing.

You need a deep covered baking dish for this. If you don’t have one you can cover any oven-proof deep dish in foil. I try to avoid using foil since it it not recyclable, but if you need to, that’s what it’s there for.

If you enjoy this recipe or others on Trust in Kim, please let me know. I write this blog as a hobby, and work full time as a teacher. I’d appreciate feedback as I’m not sure if I will continue writing these recipes; it takes a lot of time and some cost to do this and also keep it ad-free.

What you need:

  • 3 lbs bone-in short ribs
  • butter for browning
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small leek
  • 1/2 small onion or a few shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 bottle red wine (something you would like to drink)
  • 4 cups beef stock (homemade or a better quality one with no MSG – I used —–)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons flour for the gravy

What you do:

  1. Salt the beef generously, on all sides, a few hours or a day before cooking.
  2. Prepare your mirepoix by chopping the carrot, celery, leek and onion. Also mince the garlic.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  4. Place a French oven or other heavy lidded baker on medium high heat and add some butter. Make sure you wait until the pot is hot enough, then add the beef and brown it on all sides.  The beef will “tell you when it is done” by releasing from the pan – you should not have to pull it off. Turn the beef until each side has browned – you may need to do this in two batches. Place the beef on a dish to be added again later.
  5. After removing the beef, lower the heat and add the mirepoix to the pan and cook for about two minutes; it should not brown, just cook slowly. Add the garlic and cook briefly, then add the red wine and beef stock. Bring the liquids to a boil and cook until in has reduced by about 1/3.
  6. Add the beef back to the pot, making sure it is submerged. Place the lidded baking dish in the oven and cook for about 2 & 1/2 to 3 hours. Now… enjoy a glass of wine and get the rest of your dinner ready. You may even have time to sit down…
  7. After spending that long time in the oven, the beef has become very tender, and you have magically prepared everything else you need including the mashed potatoes. So now you just have to get the gravy ready.
  8. Remove the beef from the pan and place in another lidded dish to keep warm. Strain all the vegetables from the pan and save the liquid to make the sauce. Place the pan back on medium heat and whisk the 2 tablespoons of flour into 1/4 cup of water. Add to the warm pan, whisking until it is smooth. Add the reserved pan juices and bring to a boil to thicken them a bit.
  9. Enjoy the beef with the mashed potatoes and sauce, and hopefully some nice veggies on the side. Oh, and a glass of red wine! Enjoy!

Herbed Cheese-Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

herbed cheese stuffed mini peppers - trustinkim

These beauties made a tasty little appetizer. Super easy too.

The type of cheese and herbs you use is up to you and your taste preferences, or what you’ve got on hand. I used a combination of Tofutti “Better than Cream Cheese” along with some goat cheese, and mixed in some basil and parsley.

These can be made vegan by using cream cheese and parmesan non-dairy substitutes.

What you need:

  • mini bell peppers
  • cheese of your choice: goat cheese, cream cheese, Tofutti “Better than Cream Cheese,” or a combination of cheeses
  • chopped fresh herbs (your choice: basil, oregano, or dill, or…) Green onions are another option
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • parmesan cheese

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Slice the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Save one pepper to chop up for a garnish. Roast the peppers in the oven for about 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the herbs, soft cheese, salt and pepper, then spread it into the cavity of the peppers. Top them with a bit of parmesan cheese, then pop them in the oven just long enough to heat them up, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Garnish with chopped pepper and a few herbs. Enjoy!

Turkey Meatballs Marsala with Egg Noodles

turkey meatballs marsala with egg noodles - trustinkim

As soon as I saw this recipe in Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Every Day I knew I would have to make it soon – and I know it will be one of my regular dishes. It’s got that great comfort food feel to it, and it was liked greatly by all the tasters. It smelled so good that I didn’t even take time to get a better photo!

I made a few changes to the recipe: It was written as a chicken recipe, but I used turkey; I find it easier to get good quality ground turkey at my grocery stores, plus in my opinion turkey has a little more flavour. I substituted non-dairy milk and cream since I have a lactose sensitivity. I wrote the recipe up with the option of using a non-dairy butter substitute, but I still used butter because there’s really no substitute for the flavour, and I’m willing to suffer a bit for that goodness. The chicken stock I used is homemade; I store it in the freezer for times like this, because I haven’t found a store-bought stock that tastes nearly as good. For the seasoning, next time I would add the salt and pepper to the sauce at the last minute, rather than before adding the meatballs as the recipe specified. I found that the meatballs contributed to the flavour of the sauce, and it was slightly over-salted. 

This meal serves four, and I served it with some gorgeous tomatoes from my Uncle Arnie’s garden, just with some salt and pepper cracked on top, and a little olive oil if people wanted to drizzle that on. Red wine too! All in all, a super delicious meal!

What you need for the meatballs:

  • 450grams (1 lb) lean ground turkey or chicken (I used turkey)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter)
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for the onion
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (unseasoned)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk or water
  • freshly ground black pepper

What you need for the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup dry Marsala, sherry, or Madeira (I used Gonzalez Byass Oloroso Nutty Solera sherry)
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 3/4 c chicken stock or broth (I used my homemade stock)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (I used Silk Coconut Coffee Cream – doesn’t taste like coconut)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

What you need for the noodles:

  • 340 grams (12 ounces) wide egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoons butter 
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh chives

What you do:

  1. To make the meatballs, begin by heating a large frying pan and adding half the olive oil and butter. Once that is hot, add the minced onions and a pinch of salt. Stir the onions on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes; the onions should become a deep golden brown when they are done. Remove them from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Put all the meatball ingredients in a bowl, including the cooled onions, and stir to combine, not overmixing. Using wet hands, form the meatballs using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time. Place them on a plate.
  3. Using the same frying pan, heat up more of the olive oil and butter, and place the meatballs in the frying pan. Don’t be tempted to turn them until they have sufficiently browned or they will fall apart! Once one side has browned, roll each meatball, and keep doing this until they are browned all over. Place the cooked meatball on a plate – they will not be cooked through; this will happen later. I had to do this step in multiple batches so I that didn’t overcrowd the frying pan.
  4. Now is a good time to start boiling a large pot of water; if it’s ready before you need it, you can always turn it off and bring it back to a boil later.
  5. To make the sauce, add the Marsala/sherry/Madiera to the frying pan and let it boil, scraping all those tasty meatball bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid has almost disappeared. Add the 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan and allow it to melt before adding the flour. Cook this mixture, while stirring, for one minute. Add the broth slowly, whisking it into the flour the whole time; make sure it boils before adding more. Add the cream, bring it to a simmer, and then add the meatballs. Reduce the heat and let the meatballs simmer for 10 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Taste the sauce to see if you need to add more salt and pepper.
  6. Towards the end of the sauce and meatball cooking time, cook the noodles in the salted water, according the the package instructions. I like to start testing the doneness after 5 minutes of cooking time, to make sure I don’t overcook them. Nobody likes a soggy noodle!
  7. Place the drained noodles in a large serving bowl or platter and toss them with some butter. Pour the meatballs and sauce over the noodles and garnish with the chives.
  8. Enjoy!