Tag Archives: Lunch

Vegan Chickpea Chili Over Rice


I have a new project that I’m working on that I’m SO excited about but can’t talk about quite yet (don’t worry, mom, I told you already). In the meantime, I can tell you it involves this: delicious food. And that’s all you really care about anyway, isn’t it?

This chili should come with a warning: contains colon cleansers. Get my drift? Don’t eat more than one heaping bowl if you’re like, going on a date or something and you prefer not to asphyxiate said date with vicious flatulence.

Do you guys read other food blogs that talk about flatulence? No? Well then I win!

On the menu:
Vegan chickpea chili over rice
Serves 5

2 cups jasmine rice
4 cups water
Salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp chili powder (chipotle chili powder if you can find it)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Fresh ground black pepper
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained
1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained

In a medium pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, the chopped onion, and the red pepper and sautee until the vegetables soften, around 10 – 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, the cumin, and the chili powder and stir to combine. Let simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

While the tomatoes are simmering, make the rice according to the package.

Season tomatoes with salt and pepper. Add chickpeas and kidney beans and cook over low/medium heat until beans are heated through, around 15 – 18 minutes. Put rice in bowls and serve chili over the top.

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A Taste of Jamaica

Unless you live under a rock you’ve probably been watching the Olympics, or have at least heard about them on the news. There are only a handful of events I can sit through and enjoy (equestrian? yawwwwwwn) but I get seriously rowdy during track and field. How thrilling is it to watch the fastest men alive tear across a track and then not even breathe hard afterward? It inspires me to get my butt up off the couch…. and over to the kitchen for another slice of cake.

Guys, I’m not really an athlete, ok?

In watching Usain Bolt dominate every other competitor in the arena, I had a craving for Jamaican food. And only in New York can you think to yourself suddenly, “Man, I’d like some Jamaican food” and then walk 15 minutes to get some.

Well… you can probably do that in Jamaica, too. But… you get my drift.

Brown Stew Chicken with beans and rice and coleslaw

Jerk Pan 48th St. and Park Avenue, New York, NY. Jerk Pan is a food truck located in midtown Manhattan, just outside the JP Morgan-Chase building. It’s kind of amazing to see a run down old truck with five Jamaican men inside, slinging hot street food while 20 corporate yuppies stand in a line waiting for lunch to be served. But isn’t that New York? I think it is.

On the menu:
Brown Stew Chicken with rice and beans and coleslaw

Verdict: Hellooooo lunchtime! Did it take me 20 minutes in 90 degree heat to walk here? Yes. Was it entirely worth it? Yes. I only ate 1/4 of the food on a bench near where the truck is parked because it was pretty messy and I only had one measly napkin. But when I got back to my office? I really wanted to have it again for lunch the next day so I restrained myself as best I could but wow, wow, wow this was delicious. The coleslaw (which is basically just cabbage with corn, green beans, and carrots mixed in) is served hot. Have you ever had hot coleslaw? Well, try it. It is absolutely perfect. Tangy and crunchy, and not too shabby paired with the fall-off-the-bone chicken (covered in sweet and tangy brown sauce) and the chewy and mild rice and beans. The best part? The whole thing only cost me $8. That’s the price of a sad salad from Cosi for all you mathematicians out there. I also sampled the jerk chicken (I was afraid to order it myself in case it was super spicy) which was also tender and flavorful with a kick of spice and worth getting the next time. What I REALLY wanted to order was the jerk goat but the friend I lunched with quickly replied, “Goat… from a truck… in New York?” Good point.

This is my favorite clip of Usain Bolt and it has nothing to do with running:

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Sesame Crusted Tuna

This meal is my idea of a pleasant surprise, meaning I had set aside an hour to cook dinner on Sunday and SURPRISE it took me 15 minutes. Also in my list of pleasant surprises: finding out my new sky-high heels are actually comfortable, and realizing I did not, in fact, drink all the wine in the house when I’m dying for a glass at 11am 5pm on a Saturday.

On the menu:
Sesame crusted tuna over arugula with ginger soy dressing
Serves 2

2 tuna steaks (around 1/2 pound each)
4 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 bunch of arugula (this is the bed if greens for your tuna so use as much as you like)

Dressing:
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp powdered ginger (or 1/4 tsp fresh ginger root, minced)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp water

With a paper towel, pat tuna steaks dry of any residual moisture. In a flat, shallow dish, pour sesame seeds in an even layer. Add salt and combine. Dredge tuna steaks in the sesame seeds so the steaks are coated on both broad sides AND the edges. In a medium sized skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sear each steak for around 60 seconds on each side, including the edges (use tongs for this part). Remove from heat and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes before serving (yes, the inside will be raw and no, you won’t get sick from it).

Whisk all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl. Heat in microwave for 1 minute so the honey melts a bit. Whisk again. Plate arugula over 2 plates, pour half the dressing over the greens, plate the tuna on top of the greens, and then top with remaining dressing.

NOTE: This recipe takes about 15 minutes from start to finish, a tiny bit longer if you’re slow in mincing the ingredients for the dressing. The clean up is minimal, the presentation is impressive, and the leftovers (should you have any…) are divine. Eat it cold so you’re not the smelly office girl.

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Vegetarian Week: Zucchini Quiche


When it came to choosing the focal point of the meal I knew I did not want to serve pasta. If you are a vegetarian or know any vegetarians, you know that 75% of vegetarian entrees involve pasta in one way shape or form. Ignoring the fact that a steady diet of pasta is diabetes waiting to happen, how boring is that? Pasta with vegetables 24/7. Womp womp.

This dish is not ground breaking or even particularly new but it had even the meat eaters at the table going in for seconds. It’s hearty, it’s filling, it is by no means healthy, but it fits the bill of main dish quite nicely in this vegetarian meal.

On the menu:
Zucchini quiche
Serves 4

1 pre-made pie crust or use this recipe for homemade
2 Tbsp butter
2 large zucchini, sliced into 1/8 inch thick rounds
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup half and half
3 eggs
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of pepper
Paprika

Bake pie crust as directed. If you’re using homemade pie crust, roll out the dough in your pie or tart pan, prick the bottom with a fork, and bake until lightly brown. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, sautee zucchini in butter until slices are softened. Drain the zucchini of all moisture (NOTE: this is important, as zucchini has a surprising amount of water in it and if you don’t cook it down and drain it, your quiche will be a soggy mess).

Fill your cooled pie crust with half the zucchini. Top with mozzarella cheese. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs together. Add salt, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and pepper and whisk until completely combined. Add ricotta cheese and half and half, and whisk until combined. Pour egg mixture into the pie tin and spread so it’s evenly distributed. Top with remaining zucchini slices in an aesthetically pleasing pattern. Top with a sprinkle of paprika.

Bake the quiche for 45 minutes or until firm. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

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Hot Dog Crawl

Have you ever been like, “Man, I could really go for a hot dog” but you have this weird hang up about all the weird bacteria that might be floating in the street carts? I know. I’ve been there. I feel your pain.

What you might not know is that there are tons options in New York City for “gourmet” hot dogs – and by “gourmet” I mean prepared in a real kitchen and served with top notch ingredients. Below are three of the stand out options, all within walking distance of the others. So… you know, should you choose to do a “hot dog crawl,” you could hit all 3 in one shot. But let me warn you, 3 hot dogs in one sitting is a lot. Some might call it too much. Not that I would know from personal experience… I’m just saying.

Jersey’s Finest at Crif Dogs

Crif Dogs, 113 Saint Marks Place (Between 1st Ave and Ave A), New York, NY. Crif Dogs is a tiny, hole in the wall place that you might walk right by were it not for the GIANT hot dog hanging outside the door. Take a walk down the steps and into hipster heaven: if there was any doubt, a note on the register tells you that they accept tips in the form of Tim and Eric quotes. I knew this was my kind of place. I ordered a PBR and a dog called Jersey’s Finest: taylor ham wrapped house dog smothered in mustard, onions & a secret chili sauce*. This was PERFECTION and my favorite hot dog of the three restaurants. It was a total guilty pleasure and probably had a bajillion calories, but who cares? A hot dog wrapped in ham topped with more meat? Ok!

Sidney at AsiaDog

AsiaDog, 66 Kenmare Street (Between Mulberry St and Mott St), New York, NY. I tasted an AsiaDog when they had a small stall at Madison Square Eats, a gathering of specialty food stalls in Madison Square Park. The line was epic, but I waited 45 minutes because first of all, I wanted that dog and second of all, everyone kept raving about how amazing they were. I purchased a Sidney: a beef hot dog with Thai mango relish (cilantro, red onion, and cucumber) and crushed peanuts, and a sparkling limeade. If a hot dog can be refreshing, this one was. The topping was super fresh and crunchy, and the peanuts added an entirely different element that I wasn’t expecting. I love, love, love foods with drastically different textures and this hot dog was one of the best textured dishes I’ve ever had. Well done meals from high end retailers… in hot dog form? I’m telling you kids, it can be done.

Terimayo at JapaDog

JapaDog, 30 Saint Marks Place (Between 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave), New York, NY. This was the last stop on my hot dog tour and I have to believe it had something to do with the fact that it was my least favorite. I ordered the Terimayo: a beef frank with teriyaki sauce, mayo, and seaweed. I scraped off all the seaweed because it reminded me too much of sushi (raw fish and hot dogs just don’t mix, you know?) and then it was pretty good, but nothing crazy or special. The hot dog did not have that crispy skin that I love and the bun was mediocre.

Overall, my hot dog crawl left me feeling full and like I didn’t want to see another hot dog for quite some time. So while I may not recommend hitting all three of these spots at once, I definitely recommend one (or two…) for a cheapo meal any hour of the day.

*For some reason, this item has disappeared from Crif Dogs’ online menu but you can custom build it if you want. I highly recommend that you do.

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Make Ahead Greek Pita

I don’t claim to be any type of gym rat. Running on a treadmill just doesn’t turn me on the way eating chips in front of the TV with a beer after work does, you get me? But in the interest of keeping my heart healthy and my saddle bags under control and yada yada yada, I bit the bullet and joined the gym. The problem? Going to the gym after work leaves little to no time for cooking delicious dinners, unless I want to eat at 9pm. And I don’t.

This recipe is perfect if you’re like me, and want to take a maximum of 20 minutes to prepare dinner on a week night. It’s even MORE perfect for a Monday night when you have oodles of time on Sunday to get everything prepared. You can make the sauce ahead of time, cut up and marinade the chicken ahead of time, even chop the vegetables ahead of time. Then when it comes time to assemble dinner, you only have to toss the chicken in a skillet, cook it, and serve. Gym-sweaty to dinner-ready in no time at all.

On the menu:
Greek chicken pita
Serves 2 – 3

Tzatziki:
NOTE: this is WAY more tzatziki than you’ll need for this particular dish, so if you want to halve it, you totally can.
8 oz. plain yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 Tbsp chopped dill
2 cloves garlic, peeled

Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until blended. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving, or for best results, overnight.

Marinade for chicken:
6 oz. plain yogurt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 medium sized chicken breasts, cubed

Add yogurt, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Add cubed chicken and stir until chicken is coated. Let sit at least 2 hours, or for best results, overnight.

Preparation and assembly:
2 Tbsp olive oil
Marinated chicken (see above)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

Heat olive oil and garlic cloves over medium heat in a non-stick skillet. Wipe excess marinade from chicken, and add chicken to pan. Cook until chicken cubes are cooked through, around 10 minutes.

Add to a warm pita with freshly chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and thinly sliced red onions. Top with tzatziki. You can also throw all of this in a bowl without the pita, top with tzatziki and eat it as a salad over lettuce.

Disclaimer: the pita in the picture is actually Indian naan… still freaking delicious.

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Just Chill and Lay Back Cause It’s…

Oh hey! Remember me? I missed you guys. So I’m back. With a couple basic recipes, but stuff you’ll want to make over and over again. And ain’t it pretty?

On the menu:
Cranberry, almond chicken salad
BTM Salad
Serves 4 

Chicken salad

2 chicken breasts
1 sprig fresh dill
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken breasts in a medium sized pot and cover with water for poaching. Turn heat to high and let water come to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot for 10 minutes. Turn heat off and let chicken sit in hot water for 15 – 20 minutes. Once chicken is cool, shred with fingers and toss with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate chicken salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.

BTM Salad

1 medium sized tomato, sliced to 1/4 inch slices
1 ball of mozzarella (approximately the same size as the tomato), sliced to 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup basil, roughly chopped
1 cup of fresh corn, boiled on the cob and then sliced off the cob

Dressing:
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Plate slices of tomato alternately with mozzarella. Mix corn together with balsamic/oil dressing. Top slices of tomato and mozzarella with corn mixture.

This meal is so basic, is best served cold, and is super light and refreshing for summer. The subtle change in the classic BTM salad is really unexpected and delicious… and led this “meal for 4” to turn into a “meal for 2” when The BF had seconds. And then thirds. I thought I’d have leftovers but the “This is SO GOOD!”s were way more gratifying.

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