Gochujiang Tahini Bowl

This recipe is very loosely based on something I ran across in a PureWow email newsletter: creamy gochujiang sauce. I didn’t have time to click on the link when I saw it, so of course my brain turned it over all afternoon – wondering what that could possibly taste like, and what one would use for cream in a non-dairy way.

The original recipe looks fantastic – and if I’d gotten around to making this recipe in a week DH was home and I hauled myself to the grocery (instead of playing my favorite game: home Chopped), I would have loved to have added zoodles and maybe even coconut milk in place of the dairy.

As it stands, I used what I had on hand – and it was still fabulous. I can think of a ton of ways to use this sauce – in a poke bowl, with spare ribs and broccoli, slicked over mango and scallion, or fried up like bibimbap.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo if you choose a non-soy variety

Gochujiang Tahini Bowl

Sauce

2 Tbsp. ajvar (or other red pepper) paste
1/4 c. tahini
2 Tbsp. gochujiang (check your labels for gluten free or paleo)
2 tsp. ginger/garlic paste
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 – 1/2 c. water

Bowl

Sugar snap peas
Broccoli
4 ounces protein (tofu or tempeh if vegan; rotisserie chicken if not)

Toppers

2 tsp. sesame seeds
1-2 scallions, sliced

Blend the sauce ingredients together, starting with 1/4 cup water. If needed, add an additional 1/2 cup – I wanted my sauce velvety but able to ribbon from my spoon, so I went for the full 1/2 cup. Taste – my ajvar was a bit spicy and my particular gochujiang was whatever the manufacturer deems as level 3. On first taste (after 1/4 cup water), the sauce was a touch spicy – diluting with more water took some of that spice out – so keep that in mind when choosing your thickness level.

Drizzle over your chosen bowl ingredients – I used a combination of quick stir-fried sugar snap peas and broccoli – and top with sesame seeds and thinly sliced scallions.

Makes enough sauce for 4 bowls 

Red Curry Miso Sauce

This is one of those sauces that came about because I had expensive ingredients to burn before they went bad.

I’m glad I had the space to dick around in the kitchen – this Sauce is fantastic. I served it with roasted butternut squash and chicken breast for a quick & easy dinner. It would also be delicious with any sort of potato or pasta, toasted hazelnuts, and any roasted veg. I’m thinking: baked potatoes topped with toasted hazelnuts, fry dip, hash sauce, shrimp zoodle pasta with pistachios, swirled around roasted broccoli, or slathered on a nice juicy steak.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, keto

Red Curry Miso Sauce

2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
1 tsp. yellow miso
1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
2 Tbsp. Ghee

Mix all ingredients together. Spoon over or toss with something (see headnote) for a flavorful dinner.

Makes enough for 1 – maaaaaybe 2, depending on what you make and how strong you like your flavors. Doubles or triples nicely.

Roasted Radishes with Gold Sauce

Radishes + butter is not a new concept, but I couldn’t help mess with the idea a bit – especially after viewing a scroll-through Facebook video for something called Cowboy Butter. Cowboy Butter sounded enchanting, but required too many ingredients. So, I got to researching, combining, and playing around a bit and I think I hit on something fantabulous here. This sauce is great with roasted veggies, steaks, burgers & zoodles … pretty much everything.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian


Roasted Radishes with Gold Sauce

1/2 lb. radishes
Oil for roasting
2 Tbsp. unsalted grass fed butter
2 tsp. whole grain mustard (my favorite is Maille)
1 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (watch your labels!)
2 tsp. Texas Pete or other tomatoey hot sauce
2 Tbsp. chopped chives
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Sea salt & black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400F. Chop your radishes into about 1/2 inch segments and toss in a Tablespoon or so of your favorite roasting fat. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and spread out on a baking sheet. Roast at 400 for 20 – 25 minutes or until beginning to brown.

While your radishes are working, make your sauce by melting the butter in a small pan over low heat. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients (minus the fresh herbs) until combined.

When the sauce is combined, throw in the herbs plus a couple pinches salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.

Serve drizzled over the radishes. Also great with meats – really pretty much anything; I’m loving it with eggs, and may even attempt to thin it out to make a salad dressing.

Serves 2 – 4

Sweet & Smoky Chipotle Sauce (paleo)

This sauce started out as a request from my brother, who asked me to recreate the pizza sauce from his favorite pizza joint in the town he and his wife just moved from. “It tastes kinda like the Chipotle sauce from Tabasco,” he said. And that’s about all I had to go on.

So I took to the kitchen and came up with a sauce that works well both as a BBQ sauce and a pizza sauce. And it’s good. Smoky, sticky, a little sweet, a little earthy, with a shot of tart – fantastic with chicken thighs and braised turnips/radishes and really good on a pizza. Hopefully this does the trick.

Paleo (check your labels and swap the brown sugar for maple syrup), and gluten-free (watch your labels)

For the record, I was going for "artfully messy plate" here, not "dropped schmutz all over the plate" :)
For the record, I was going for “artfully messy plate” here, not “dropped schmutz all over the plate” 🙂

Sweet & Smoky Chipotle Sauce

1/2 c. minced onion or shallot
1 clove minced garlic
2 tsp. ghee
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 chipotle in adobo, chopped
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos (if you’re not paleo or gluten-free, you can use soy sauce)
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar (the cheapie stuff is fine)
2 Tbsp. ketchup (check your labels!)
1 Tbsp. molasses
2 tsp. brown sugar (swap for maple syrup if paleo)
Kosher salt

In a small saucepan, heat the ghee over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic, hit with a big pinch of salt, and sautee until translucent.

Add the tomato paste and chipotle and sautee 30 seconds to a minute, mixing vigorously the whole time to combine evenly.

Add the coconut aminos and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer 1-2 minutes. Add the ketchup and molasses and stir to combine. Taste. Add the brown sugar/maple syrup if needed.

Let cool. Blend to break up the onion pieces if desired.

Makes about half a cup of sauce – enough for chicken + a pizza if needed. 

‘Summer Is Almost Here’ Strawberry Mint Salsa

As this hard won Spring starts its slow inexorable crawl toward Summer’s temperature indulgences, I’m happy to see fresh red pops of color starting to populate the produce section. This season’s first strawberries – check. Early tomatoes – check. Salsa craving in high gear – check.

This salsa is bright, refreshing, and was perfect perched on top of a simple salad loaded with cruciferous greens and simple pulled pork (omit, of course, if serving vegetarians or vegans). A winner in my book.

Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo and Whole30 compliant

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‘Summer Is Almost Here’ Strawberry Mint Salsa

2 large strawberries
Half a shallot
3 leaves fresh mint
Juice of 1 lime
2 big pinches salt

Dice the strawberries and add to a small bowl. Mince the shallot (you’re looking for about 2 Tablespoons) and add to the bowl. Roll your mint leaves up into a little tube and chiffonade (cut into ribbons). Add to the salsa bowl. Sprinkle with 2 big pinches of salt and top with lime juice. Toss well to combine.

Serve with sliced cherry tomatoes, pulled pork and a glug of grapeseed oil over a bed of Cruciferous Crunch (kale + brussels + red cabbage + green cabbage salad mix sold at Trader Joe’s) for a tasty and healthy lunch.

Serves 1 for lunch. Can be easily scaled up and served in a myriad of ways – I’m thinking it would be especially nice over a light protein (chicken or fish) and would make a fine dip for plantain chips in place of standard red fruit salsa.

 

Eggplant Sauce

This all-purpose sauce is a great addition to any fall dish and a good way to sneak eggplant past finicky eaters. Try it as a pasta sauce with some fresh ricotta or goat cheese, over a protein with a side of potatoes or greens, nestled in a bowl of polenta, or spread on a sandwich.

I’ve been putting a couple big spoonfuls in pretty much anything I think needs a little comfort food love – including into lunchtime tuna salad. Unexpectedly yum.

*Wtf is umami paste? Umami paste is one of those wing-ding ingredients that while not entirely necessary, lends a little extra something to a dish. Think of it like fish sauce. Fish sauce adds depth to dishes, and so does this stuff. I had half a mind to just add fish sauce instead but grabbed the tube of umami at the last minute. If you have fish sauce (or the original recipe’s tomato paste), by all means use them instead.

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Eggplant Sauce

Based on Yotam Ottolenghi’s Eggplant Sauce

Enough vegetable or other neutral oil to coat the bottom of the pan

2c. diced eggplant – 1/4 to 1/2 inch. cubes

2 tsp. umami paste*

1/4 c. white wine

1 can diced tomatoes with juice

big pinch salt

big pinch brown sugar

1 tsp. dried oregano

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sautee the eggplant for about 15 minutes, or until well wilted and starting to brown in spots.

Add the umami paste to the pan, stir, and cook about 2 more minutes. Add the wine, cook an additional minute. Add the tomatoes, juice, salt, sugar and oregano and cook an additional 5 minutes. Turn the heat off the burner and let cool slightly.

Dump into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until your desired consistency is reached. This step is optional, but makes things more palatable for people with aversions to eggplant consistency.

Serves 2-4, depending upon how much you use and in what application.

Harissa

This fiery little African/Middle Eastern condiment can be dressed up and used a thousand different ways. Use as the base for a dipping sauce for meats, cheeses, etc., on sandwiches, tucked into green beans or other veggies, as a pasta sauce, or anywhere else you want some spicy seasoning with a splash of smoke.

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Harissa

1 red pepper

1 long red chile

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. coriander

1/4 tsp. cumin

Squirt fish sauce

Blacken red pepper. When it cools enough to handle, de-stem and de-seed. Place into a food processor and add the rest of the ingredients. Pulse to forme a paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Season with salt & pepper.

Serves 2-8, depending upon how you use it.

Coconut Curry with Naan

I never promised it was pretty. This pic was taken right before plunging into after-dinner snack bowl full #2.

A nice light Thai-style coconut green curry that’s perfect over noodles or simply scooped up by naan bread. Mixed with a little Greek yogurt, I could see this becoming a go-to dip.

Coconut Curry with Naan
Based on Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Rice Noodles from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Curry paste
1 inch piece of ginger, peeped and roughly chopped
2 green chiles, seeded and roughly chopped
2 lemongrass stalks, outer layer and tough ends removed and roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
zest and juice of 2 limes
2 Tbsp canola oil

Sauce
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp sugar
Big pinch salt
Zest and juice of 2 limes
1 can (15 oz) light coconut milk

To make the curry paste: Combine all the ingredients in a small spice grinder, food processor or mortar & pestle. Grind/blend to a paste. If your mixture is too dry and isn’t paste-ing, add a little more lime juice or oil and move things around in the bowl. Your paste won’t be smooth, but it will come together and the lemongrass fibers will break up. It’s not the prettiest thing in town, but it gets the job done.

To make the sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil until it begins to sputter. Add the onion and sautee, stirring to avoid burning, 3 minutes or until softened, translucent and beginning to brown around the edges. Add curry paste and continue to sautee, stirring frequently, 3 minutes more. At this point, everything should be looking rather toasty in the pan and the smell should be incredible. Add salt, sugar, lime zest and coconut milk. Stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring up to a boil, knock the heat back to a simmer and let go 7 minutes.

At this point you have a very lovely coconut green curry sauce. You can serve this over rice noodles and broccolini like the original recipe calls for (which is great), or you can spoon some leftover curry sauce into a small bowl and scoop it up with naan bread. This makes an addicting after-dinner (or any time) snack. So addicting I managed to eat 2 small bowls worth right after dinner and i wish I had more.

I would imagine this sauce would keep in the fridge for a few days, but since I decided playing garbage disposal by myself last night was a good idea, we have no leftovers. Which is a total shame, I would eat this again today and in mass quantities.

Note: This is a very, very mild curry. Not hot in the slightest. If you want more heat, I would suggest leaving the seeds in the chiles or adding a bit of heat at the end.

Serves 2 if I’m one of the 2, 4 if I’m not. Really, there is enough curry to happily sauce a family of four’s dinner.