Fresh, Fattoush

Hey There,

I’ve been spending all week rehabbing by diet since last weekend’s outing. Now, that I’ve spent the last five days eating relatively healthy, I’m ready to cut up again but before I do, I want to share with you all the last recipe I made from Persiana. This recipe is super simple, fresh and easy. It honestly tastes like summer. Traditionally, the salad has romaine in it, but because of the scarcity of romaine, I opted for arugula. Also, I prefer arugula over romaine any day especially when the salad calls for a lemony, citrus dressing.

This is a great example of using a recipe as a launching pad. When you are making something as simple as a salad you can definitely add and subtract anything you want to make the salad yours.

Again, be sure to check out this book. Preferably, pick up a copy from your local library. I’ve said it before but renting cookbooks from your local library is a great way to start exploring different foods. Also, it’s just always a great idea to visit and USE your local library, after all, your tax dollars pay for it! I feel like I get smarter the minute I walk to my local library….LOL.

Anyway, check out this recipe and if you decide to make it, let me know how it turns out!

See ya Monday!

~Samantha J.

Spicy, Spicy…

Hey There,

Happy Monday yall! If you all follow me on my IG page (check out a few pics. from my feed on my homepage. Better yet, follow me on IG) then you all know that I had a wild food weekend. One of my friends came into town and I were out galavanting the RVA streets (not really, LOL). We went to a local winery (my first experience) and then out to eat at some of the cities trendiest and tastiest restaurants. Now I LOVE eating out but after eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the past day and a half, I need a green, crunchy vegetable in my life or at least a homemade meal. So for the next couple of days, I am going to focus on getting my eating back on track.

While I’m stuffing my face with fresh fruits, salads, and vegetables I did want to share with you all a few of the spices that I have been playing around with lately. Some of them are staples while others are new to me (I’m still trying to figure out how to use some of the newer spices).

Check out the list below and tell me what you think. Let me know if any of the “new-to-me” spices are staples in your kitchen. If they are staples, tell me how you use them because honestly, I am struggling with some of them. I can’t wait to read your comments.

See ya on Friday!

~Samantha J.

(s) – staple (n) – new-to-me

  1. Salt (s) – upper right-hand corner
  2. Thyme (s) – far left on the second row from the top
  3. Black Peppercorns (s) – second-row center
  4. Star Anise (n) – third in the second-row from the top
  5. Garlic (s) – far left on the third-row from the top
  6. Rose Petals (n) – third-row right center
  7. Fennell(s) – third-row left center
  8. Za’atar (s) – third-row far right. In large tablespoon
  9. Harissa (n) – below large tablespoon
  10. Red Pepper Flakes (s) – far left, fourth-row
  11. Oregano (s) – fourth-row, left-center
  12. Dried Fennel Seeds (n) – fourth-row, right center
  13. Ras El Hanout(n) – fourth-row, far right.

Middle Eastern Inspired Foccacia Bread

Hey There,

For the next couple of posts, I want to feature a few of the recipes that I’ve made from the “Persiana” cookbook. I’ve mentioned on here a few times that I am working on trying new recipes and I’ve found that cooking out of a cookbook is one of the easiest ways to do that.

Cookbooks are expertly curated to feature just the right mix of recipes. A good cookbook always features several salads, meat dishes, pasta dishes, soups, breads, drinks and desserts and while some of the recipes may be very different from what you are used to, most cookbooks feature “traditional” recipes but with a twist, which is perfect for people who are not ready to fully dive in an try something completely new.

A lot of bloggers really shy away from using cookbooks and I get it. Everyone wants to claim that they are a culinary expert and “recipe developer” so that they can drive traffic to their site, but I think cooking from a cookbook can be innovative and creative too. For example, I very rarely follow cookbook recipes to a tee. I’m always adding something or substituting one ingredient for another. For the average person, a cookbook is a great tool to use as a springboard for coming up with fresh new recipes because it provides the basic steps for making many great dishes.

Since, The Kitchen On Wellington is all about exploring, growing and trying new things, I will from time to time feature recipes from cookbooks. I am not here pretending to be a culinary expert or an expert recipe developer. Instead, I am here to inspire you to push yourself to become a better cook and to challenge you to expand your culinary horizons.

Now, to the task at hand. I made this “spicy” Middle Eastern Inspired Foccacia bread the other day. I’m working on improving my bread making skills and when I saw this recipe I knew that I had to try it. I ended up making the bread twice because of the first loaf burned in the oven (oops!) The second loaf turned out perfect. It had the right amount of spices and it was the perfect compliment to the Quoina and Lentil Salad that I made a few posts back.

I’ve said it before, but I HIGHLY recommend this book and I would encourage you all to check out your local library and check out a copy!

*Shout out to the Henrico County Public Library*

See Ya!

~Samantha J.

Cheesy Tomato Harissa Soup

Hey There,

Soup season, soup season, soup season…I know you all are tired of hearing about soup season, but yall….it’s SOUP SEASON!!! LOL. Just bear with me a few more weeks. After about March, you won’t hear the words, “soup season” until October (well maybe).

But anyway, I have another soup for you all today. It’s a cheesy tomato harissa soup and it’s easy to make, which is always a plus. As yall know, I’ve been playing around with different and new spices and this soup is a result of that. Now harissa isn’t a new spice to me, but this is the first time that I have cooked with it. Since I normally make a spicy tomato soup each winter, I figured that I would use harissa to spice up my soup this year.

Harissa has a very full and dimensional flavor. It is spicy, robust and smokey all of the same time and it really adds a great punch of flavor to anything its added to. It pairs so well with tomatoes

Be sure to check out the recipe for this soup below. Like most soups, it travels well and makes for a great lunch or a healthy and simple dinner.

*Quick Note* – On this website, you will very rarely, if ever find measurements for the spices used in a recipe. I believe that cooking should be an organic process and the best way to season food is truly by taste. Also, a person’s tolerance for spices is truly a personal preference. My mother barely uses salt in any of her food but I on the other hand almost always load up on the salt in my recipes. I encourage you all to taste your food along the way and to season it accordingly.

Ingredients:

7 Tomatoes (on the vine) 1 1/2 yellow onion

Red pepper flakes/salt/pepper/harissa/garlic and onion powder

4 cups vegetable broth 2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour 1/4 cup olive oil

large handful of shredded cheese 1 head of garlic

Directions:

  1. Cut tomatoes and onion into wedges. Cut the top off of the head of the garlic place all ingredients on a baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle ingredients with olive oil and season (according to tastes) with salt, pepper, harissa, garlic, and olive powder. Toss and make sure all ingredients are coated well.
  3. Roast for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Turn ingredients occasionally so that they don’t burn.
  4. Puree mixture until completely smooth and set aside.
  5. Dice half of the onion and saute in a dutch oven until translucent over med-high heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Sprinkle two tablespoons of flour over the diced onions and whisk until mixture thickens. About 1 minute. Reduce heat to low-med. heat. Be sure to continually whisk the mixture so that it does not burn.
  7. While whisking vigorously, pour in one cup of vegetable broth. Continue to whisk until mixture is smooth and lump-free, about 2-4 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and while whisking add in a handful of shredded cheese. Continue to whisk 3-5 minutes. Add in another cup of vegetable broth. The mixture will be stringy, but continue to whisk until smooth.
  9. Add in tomato mixture and whisk to incorporate.
  10. Add in the last two cups of vegetable broth.
  11. Season with more harissa and seasonings to taste.

*Note* – If you feel that at any time during the cooking process, the soup to too thick, add in a little extra broth to get the desired consistency.

Vegetable Chowder

Hey Guys,

There are only a few more weeks left in soup season so I figured I’d share a few more of the soups that I’ve recently made. Whenever I make soups, I always try to opt for healthier options. For me, soups should be clean and relatively healthy. They should be satisfying but not too heavy, so vegetable soups are perfect. 

A couple of weeks ago a featured my vegetable noodle soup on the site and over on my IG (@thekitchenonwellington) and it was a hit. This recipe is pretty similar in that it’s another vegetable soup but this recipe is a little more hearty and filling. It’s really interesting how you can use basically the same ingredients from another dish and come up with a completely different recipe. 

Anyway, this recipe is great for a super cold day or even better a snowy day. Check out the recipe below. If you’ve made a vegetable chowder in the past or if you are planning on making some, leave me a comment below or shoot me a note and let me know how you plan to make your chowder.

Until Next Time,

~Samantha

Vegetable Chowder

Ingredients:

2 stalks of Celery                        2 Carrots                            2 Cloves of Garlic

1 Jalapeno                                   1 Zucchini                          1 Red Pepper

1 Green Pepper                          4 Ears of Corn                    1 tablespoon of Salt

1 tablespoon of Pepper                                              1 tablespoon of Garlic Power

1 tablespoon of Sage                3 Sprigs of Thyme          2 tablespoons of Chives

2 tablespoons of Parsley         ½ Yellow Onion              4 cups of water

2 Bay Leaves                                                                        1 cup Half and Half

Directions:

*Recipe note. You will not use the whole portion of spices listed in the ingredient section above. Use the spices above to season the soup according to your preferences.

1. Dice the vegetables (garlic, carrots, jalapeno, celery, zucchini, red pepper, green pepper, yellow onion) and combine in a bowl.

2. Cook the mixed vegetables over low-med heat in a Dutch Oven until slightly soft. Add in fresh thyme and season vegetables with spices according to your taste level.

3. Add in water and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook until vegetables are mostly cooked.

4. Remove corn from ears and add to the soup. Cook until corn is mostly done, about 5-8 mins. Remove the bay leaves.

5. Remove 2 cups of the soup and puree in a food processor.

6. Add the pureed mixture back to the Dutch Oven and add the half and half. Cook until well combined and remove from heat.

7. Immediately serve and garnish with parsley and chives.

Lentil and Quinoa Salad

Hey There,

So in today’s post, I am keeping with the theme of using new spices and flavors. Today’s “featured spice” is sumac. Until I found a Middle Eastern cookbook I had never heard of sumac or even seen it, but as I flipped through the cookbooks I noticed that it is a pretty common spice. It’s used in/on everything from salads to breads to meats. Now since it’s not a traditional “American” spice, it was pretty difficult to find in the grocery store but I managed to find some at the World Market and of course on Amazon. If you can find some in your local area, I strongly encourage you to pick some up and try it out.

I decided to use my sumac to make this Lentil and Quinoa Salad I found in “Persiana”. I really love this cookbook. I found it at the library and honestly, I don’t want to return it. It is definitely going in my Amazon cart asap! All of the recipes in this book look so great and easy to make. This salad is already the second recipe I’ve made out this book. Definitely check it out.

Since this recipe isn’t my own, I won’t post it below but I will add a few pics of my salad. Hope you enjoy!

Until Next Time,

~Samantha