I spotted this recipe in Food and Wine not too long ago. As an avid lover of Mediterranean dips and meze, it easily grabbed my attention. For some reason celery root had escaped my mind for the past couple of years. I am quite fond of this Fall root vegetable, which can be eaten in a myriad of ways, cooked or raw. I bought the celery root at the farmers market and had sliced almonds in the cupboard. The result was a rich, creamy dip with a slight nutty flavor. Celery root has a reminiscent taste of artichoke, and is easy to pair with steaks. I had my dad pick up lamb kebabs, and we ate this with black hummus, and an eggplant pomegranate dip. It turned into a huge meze feast. I will make this again for sure, but I am also curious to try skordalia with sunchokes and other root veggies this Fall.
I was really excited when Sophia suggested a skordalia variation... I love skordalia, my boyfriend makes it for me all the time (we eat it with beets). I had never heard of putting almonds in it, I've only ever had it with potatoes and garlic... unfortunately Iam going to have to wait a little longer to try skordalia with almonds because that was the change I had to make to this recipe. I was staying at my friends' house and we only had an immersion blender, which I didn't think could handle the nuts, so it was just garlic and celery root. Really tasty though!
The other day I was at The Foragers Market in DUMBO (a really lovely place), and I found black chickpeas. The label on the bag said Kabuli Chana, and I got even more excited, because I thought that these chickpeas were Afghan. However, when I looked into the matter, it turns out that the normal chickpeas that I always eat are actually kabuli chana, and that the black ones are called kala chana. These chickpeas have a tougher shell, and hold together well in stews, but I made a dark speckled hummus regardless. I also included some black garlic, which is a fermented garlic that has an incredible smoky/salty flavor. This detail was lost in the end result, so I would just use regular garlic next time for the pungency, and save my black garlic for crostini. I am going to play around with these black chickpeas some more, but here is a photo of the dish, which follows the same recipe as our Traditional Lebanese Hummus.
Last week I was visiting my grandmother in Pennsylvania. She loves
panang tofu, since there aren't any Thai restaurants near her house I
thought it would be fun thing to try making for this round of Twice is
Nice. I found this recipe from Bon Apetit.
Emma's Cooking Notes
Surprisingly I stayed fairly true to the recipe, the only thing was
that my uncle had a lot of nice veggies growing in the garden so I took
some liberty with the vegetables. There were certain things I couldn't
resist adding like a beautiful acorn squash, and green beans, and fresh
tomato. I also used fresh chili pepper instead of chili sauce, and
honey instead of brown sugar. All the panang tofu I've had in Thai
restaurants uses fried tofu, which is so rarely done well, so I really
appreciated how the tofu in this version was just cubed and added to
Sophia's Cooking Notes
I made this dish the other day and was really captivated by it. My
mother is undergoing chemotherapy right now, and we are strictly
cooking healthy dishes (not really a deviation from our norm, but we
are even more particular these days). Through reading books on cancer
prevention, diet has become a major theme in our lives, as we are all
learning from her experience. Spices like turmeric, garlic, and ginger
are all anti-inflammatory, and we try to use them more and more in our
cooking. So when Emma suggested this dish, I was more than happy to
give it a whirl. I used chicken instead of tofu, because we had a
roast chicken in the fridge that we didn’t want to waste. Instead
of serving it over rice, I soaked wide rice noodles in warm water and
tossed them in the end. The result was a rich, interesting dish that
was healthy and really satisfying. The shallots, garlic, and ginger
with the turmeric, cumin, and peanut butter was a combination that I
don’t think I had quite tasted before, and I really loved how they
developed together. I will definitely be making this over and over. I
also recommend serving it with the rice noodles. They might seem
intimidating, but all you really have to do is soak them for a few
minutes, and add into the curry pan at the end of the simmering
We apologize for the delay in our latest Twice is Nice. Between weddings and family visits, we got a bit caught up. Last week's Twice is Nice was my choice, and I picked an Espresso Rubbed Steak with Green Chile Pesto from Better Homes and Gardensmagazine. My mom is in the midst of a huge decorating project, and there are tons of home decor magazines around our house. Of course I love to flip through them, but it is usually just for the recipes. I especially like to read Daniel's Dish in Elle Decor and Ina Garten's recipes in House Beautiful. I had come across this recipe a few times when flipping through the magazine on several different occasions, and for some reason it appealed to me. I say "for some reason" because I am not a huge steak eater, and almost never cook it myself. But that being said, I love espresso rubbed anything, and the recipe seemed like a good choice for this theme.
Notes: I used real espresso ground up super fine, and not the instant espresso that the recipe calls for. The recipe also says 2 teaspoons of red chile powder for the spice rub. I used 1 teaspoon of chile ancho powder, and 1 teaspoon of chipotle. I loved the combination of the two. They were both earthy and smoky, and am glad that I had them both on hand. I also added a teaspoon of cumin. I always add cumin with chile powders, especially when cooking meat. I left everything the same for the pesto sauce.
I invited a friend over to eat it with me and see what she thought, and we both loved it. The spice rub was deep, rich, and smoky, but in no way overpowering. The sauce was delicious and added a nice cooling counter flavor to the steak. The next day we were both salivating at the thought of it. I served it with black beans, and might have added some rice or tortillas had I had the time.
Emma's Notes: The remote upstate grocery store that supplied my ingredients for this recipe forced me into a bit of improvisation... I couldn't find any cotija cheese, so I ended up using plain goats cheese, whichI know wouldn't even be a true substitute but it tasted really good. Also, no poblano or anaheim peppers, so I used a small green chile that I was told wasn'ttoo hot (it didn't have a name). Back at the house I couldn't find any pine-nuts so I used pumpkin seeds for the pesto instead and it was really tasty... For the steak, I was afraid the pesto would be too spicy with the smaller peppers so I didn't add chile to the rub, I also used finely ground coffee beans instead of instant, since that's what we have... we fired up the grill and cooked the steaks for less than 10 minutes so they were a bit rare inside-- super tasty. We also made some lemon parsley potatoes that we ate with the steak... it was a nice combination, and the next morning we ate the potatoes with the leftover pesto.