Yotam Ottolenghi’s Mejadra (Rice and Lentils)

Mejadra - A Little Yumminess

A Little Yumminess_Mejadra

Where do cravings come from? Sometimes it seems they follow you for a lifetime, other times they come and go quite mysteriously. My little one is in the midst of a massive pickle phase at the moment which came on all of a sudden and seemingly out of nowhere. He’ll eat dill pickles any time of day (even breakfast) and steals the pickles off our plates when we’re not looking. My favorite junior foodie Ria made her grandparents keep a food diary on their last trip to Singapore, and paging through it reveals a very high frequency of Hainanese Chicken Rice. My older son has always craved the sweet stuff (the particulars change but never the framework), my husband the spicy stuff (or BBQ or chocolate covered bananas). Lately my cravings seem to lead directly to these spiced lentils and rice which are addictively sweet-savory and even more perfect with the tang of yogurt alongside. I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it!

The ease of making this dish is another reason to love it, especially if you plan ahead a bit and cook the lentils the night before. Then it’s really only a matter of a couple of minutes of toasting spices and then plunking everything else to season the rice while it cooks. Admittedly, frying the onions is a huge pain (you’ve got to do it in batches and you have to pay attention so they don’t burn), but it’s definitely worth the effort because they really make the dish. Luckily, like the lentils, you can make them ahead of time.

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Fun to Eat (& Say): Korean Bibimbap

korean bibimbap

We love rice bowls in almost any form, but this bowl of goodness from Korea – called BI-BIM-BAP is an extra special favorite of ours.   This recipe idea was recently featured in Bay Area Parent magazine and hopefully folks will try it at home or at least go out and eat some bibimbap!

Our little ones just cannot get enough of these rice bowls.  The runny egg on top, which is the crowning glory of this dish is essential and makes the dish extra special.  Everyone is topping almost everything with an egg these days, but the Koreans have been doing it for quite some time now :).  The traditional bibimbap is served in a hot cast iron bowl and as you eat it, the rice forms a delicious crackly crust.  You’ll often find us devouring traditional bibimbap at Manna in the Sunset neighborhood.

We just taught a class on making bibimbap at 18 Reasons last month and are traveling to Korea for day of our summer camp.

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Tarta de Santiago (Spanish Almond Cake)

Spanish Santiago Cake by A Little Yumminess

Santiago Cake_A Little Yumminess

This super traditional Spanish cake first caught my eye because of its short list of ingredients and the fact that it uses no flour, just finely ground almonds, as the base. Another example of how a couple of simple ingredients can transform themselves into something special. This cake is moist, deliciously not-too-sweet, delicate and crumbly which makes it great with a cup of coffee in the afternoon. Simran and I and our friend Rachel happy nibbled away on this during a recent afternoon of recipe testing… and the fact that I wasn’t nice enough to save any for my family to try will give you an idea of how much I liked it.

In addition to being a lovely accompaniment to afternoon coffee this is a cake also has a long history. It dates back to the 16th century where it has been enjoyed by Santiago locals and pilgrims making their way to the Cathedral of Santiago Compostel (the burial place of St. James, the patron saint of Spain.). This recipe also happens to be gluten-free which comes in handy as well. Continue reading

Sunday Supper: De Afghanan Kabob House

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Berkeley’s loss is San Francisco’s gain with the De Afghanan Kebab House closing shop across the Bay Bridge and opening up in San Francisco.  The newest location of this amazing kebab house is located kind of in “no man’s land” (Geary and Polk), but do not let that deter you.  It’s a simple restaurant, that is kid-friendly and welcoming with spectacular food. Continue reading

Peruvian-Chinese Grilled Chicken

 

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Peruvian Grilled Chicken Marinade_A Little Yumminess.jpg

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We discovered this absolutely great marinade for grilled chicken recently and I wanted to share because it’s a good one for all those summer BBQs coming around the corner, and really for any time of the year if you turn to your broiler instead. The marinade combines some familiar flavors in a really tasty way: soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, paprika and cumin. It’s actually a pretty interesting cultural and culinary story when you think of it…. the fusion food legacy that came directly out of a Southern Chinese immigration to Peru (mainly Lima) in the early 20th century. I’ve heard from homesick friends from India about their beloved Indian-Chinese food, but Peruvian-Chinese food is a new one for me and a topic I can’t wait to continue to explore. Continue reading

Brunch Time: Shakshuka

shakshuka

This Tunisian shakshuka is something everyone with a blog was making a few years ago.  I had it on my “must-make” list a while back and it just sort of languished on it and never got made.  And this past weekend, we were having company for brunch and the hubby decided to make it.  I usually object to his choices on what to make, but for once we actually agreed. :)

First things first, the name – shakshuka – is so much fun to say, and of course the jokers in our family keep repeating it in different tones and voices.  Secondly, this is one of those dishes where the sum of the parts in far greater than what goes into it.  It’s simple yet impressive due to the bold colors.  The smokey paprika makes the dish and should not be substituted.  In fact, in our kitchen, these days, paprika is sort of the spice of the month.  One slight screw up we had that took the dish from an A+ to a B was that the egg yolks got over-cooked.  So stay on top of it, and make sure the yolks are runny.  Truly a thing of beauty for company, or even just yourselves for Sunday brunch.

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Community Dinner at 18 Reasons: Vegetable Korma

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We recently suggested taking the family for the Community Dinner at 18 Reasons as part of our “Dinner Club” series.  When you just don’t want to cook dinner, it is a good idea to have some fun, unfussy and quick places on your list to take the kids for dinner.

18 Reasons’ monthly Community Dinner is the perfect place for a quick and inexpensive dinner.  This coming Wednesday, we are making a delicious vegetable korma, basmati rice, raita and red onion pickle for the Community Dinner.  Plus, it is a fundraiser and the $10 you pay per plate goes to their wonderful Cooking Matters program.  So skip cooking and join us at 18 Reasons between 6-8 pm – just drop in or RSVP here:)