Crispy Baked Falafel

Welcome to the first ever food memory post with memories other than mine woooooo! (I am accepting food memory submissions to share on memo2munch that will inspire the recipes. Click here for info on submitting.)

Today’s memory takes place in Vienna, Austria and comes from one of my most precious friends, my roommate Tori. You may know her from triumphs such as her handmade prop in this post, and as my supplier of authentic chai spices direct from India, in this recipe.

Crispy Baked Falafel | memo2munch

As the chai spices may have indicated, Tori is an impressive traveler. We both studied abroad in Europe last semester (I was in Bologna, and she was in Rouen, France, a small town about an hour outside of Paris), but when I say Tori studied abroad I mean she, like, S T U D I E D  A B R O A D.

“Over the course of that half-year, I somehow managed to visit 22 countries in Europe and North Africa, an undertaking that I’m still having trouble wrapping my mind around,” Tori told me. YOU GO GIRL.

Crispy Baked Falafel | memo2munch

In March, we had a reunion of epic proportions in Rome, somehow managing to swing a weekend together with our other roommate who was studying in Germany, plus two of our close friends who were in the midst of a Eurotrip of their own.

It was like some wonderful, strange, sitcom mashup of The Lizzie McGuire Movie and Roman Holiday. But I digress.

Crispy Baked Falafel | memo2munch

Roman reunions aside, Tori did much travelling alone, effectively making her the Planning & Coordination Queen™. Exposure to so many new places and cultures taught her lots of useful skills…

“As a solo traveler, bopping from city to city as much as I did, you pretty quickly learn the ins and outs of European markets.”

Successful Encounters with Feisty European Markets 101:

“Learning how to leisurely browse, avoid eye contact, efficiently make purchases, politely refuse aggressive vendors, and exploit any and every opportunity for a free sample, all at the same time, is a skill acquired only with much patience and practice.”

So here’s a Top Secret Market Trick—->“Find a bulk sweets stand where you have to pay by weight, and ask if you can have two dark chocolate covered almonds.” Tori discovered you can often get them for freeeeee

Crispy Baked Falafel | memo2munch

The food memory Tori shared with me is a perfect example of a European market encounter of the best kind. She was exploring a lively marketplace in Vienna:

“I was on the lookout for grab-and-go lunch to take with me as I walked from the center of the city out to Schönbrunn Palace. Already I had been snacking on some dried mango slices, and scored some free chocolate! Anyway, I stumbled upon a bustling falafel stall offering falafel for just 1€ each! When I asked for just one, the boisterous man behind the counter swiftly scooped up one of the warm, crispy delicacies, dipped it in a fresh batch of hummus, and extended his arm towards me in a single swooping motion.

‘“For you,” he said, and when I held up a euro coin he shook his head and smiled. Surprised and delighted, I expressed my genuine thanks and continued on my way, biting into perhaps the best falafel I’d ever tasted (until earlier this week that is). In the end, I went back to the same stand to order a falafel pita for my walking lunch, and enjoyed every chickpea/cucumber/lettuce/tomato/cabbage/hummus/tzatziki-filled bite.”

The very pita and its glorious falafel:

Crispy Baked Falafel | memo2munch

Ahhhhhh I want to be there, don’t you?! How about this, we tuck into some of our own homemade falafel and google pictures of strudel while Mozart plays in the background. Done.

(Also I didn’t even bribe her to subtly compliment my falafel, ain’t she the sweetest?)

Crispy Baked Falafel | memo2munch

Crispy Baked Falafel
(adapted from Mark Bittman)
Makes: about 21 falafel

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups DRIED chickpeas (they will need to soak for minimum 12 hours, so plan ahead)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
Scant tsp cayenne, or to taste
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt, more as needed
½ tsp. black pepper, more as needed
½ tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 Tbsp. olive oil
To serve:
Chopped cucumber and tomatoes
Hummus
Pita

Method

1. The night before: thoroughly rinse the chickpeas in a strainer and then place them in a large bowl (they will triple in size as they soak). Pour water over the chickpeas until they are covered by 3-4 inches of water. Let soak overnight, or for up to 24 hours.

2. The next day, discard the soaking water and rinse the chickpeas thoroughly with new water. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C and line a large baking sheet with foil.

3. Place the chickpeas in the body of a food processor along with all of the remaining ingredients except the oil. Pulse until everything is minced but not pureed. Scrape down the sides as necessary. Add a bit of water if the machine is having a lot of trouble. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

4. Grease the lined baking sheet with 2 Tbsp. of the oil. Roll the chickpea mixture into balls about 1.5 inches in diameter and place them evenly on the sheet. Gently press the tops of each to form thick patties. Brush with the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil. Bake 10-15 minutes on each side until golden all over.

5. To serve, spread each pita generously with hummus. Top with 2-3 falafel and the chopped cucumber and tomatoes. Fold and enjoy!

Spicy Roasted Chickpea Pita

Have we talked about how awesome chickpeas are?

Cuz if not then I think we need to address that at this point in our friendship.

Spicy Chickpea Pita Sandwiches | memo2munch

I mean, what’s not to love? They’re versatile and packed with protein. They make salads next level. You can puree them into hummus. Or fry them into falafel. Or, as I have now discovered, roast them to spicy perfection?!?!?

I’m a fan. Are you a fan? Is that the underlying reason why we get along?

Spicy Chickpea Pita Sandwich | memo2munch

Actually, I’m eating chickpeas while I write this, in their hummus form! But back to that whole ~spicy perfection~ thing.

I used about the same spice blend as in my shakshuka recipe to create a similarly satisfying flavor in a (pita) setting that’s a bit more summer-y. Pop the spiced chickpeas in the oven for less than half an hour, and all that’s left to do is assemble your sandwich!

Spicy Chickpea Pita Sandwich | memo2munch

It’s literally the easiest thing ever, and if chickpeas weren’t so delicious in falafel form I would be kicking myself for not having roasted them and stuffed them into pita before.

Instead I’m kicking myself for not having left the house at all today. Ugh, it’s really so unfortunate to be this lazy. I keep getting phone calls from unknown numbers, too. I haven’t answered for fear that they’ll lecture me about the beautiful weather I’m missing out on or something equally as bad like which candidate I should vote for.

Spicy Chickpea Pita Sandwich | memo2munch

Anywho, I’m going to end this here and get out in the open air! Promise.

PS you should make this for dinner. Promise?

Spicy Chickpea Pita Sandwich | memo2munch

Spicy Chickpea Pita Sandwich
(Adapted from Minimalist Baker)
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

Chickpeas:
1 15-ounce (425g) can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and gently patted dry
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. each ground cumin and garlic powder
½ tsp. each sea salt, black pepper, and paprika
¼ tsp. ground red pepper/cayenne (optional)

To serve:
Pita (or gf bread if needed)
Hummus
Diced tomato
Sliced red onion
Romaine lettuce, chopped,
Tahini (optional)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C and line a large baking sheet with foil.

2. Mix the spices together in a small bowl. Place rinsed and dried chickpeas in a mixing bowl and toss with the oil to coat. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the chickpeas and stir until the chickpeas are evenly coated. Spread in a single, spacious layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.

3. To serve, warm the pitas in a microwave for 15-30 seconds or in the still-warm oven. Spread a generous amount of hummus in the center of each pita and top with chickpeas, tomato, lettuce, onion, and tahini if desired. Fold and enjoy!

Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese

Yesterday evening I curled up in a blanket and watched BBC’s Persuasion on my laptop and tried to forget that I have an exam on Monday. Because even though I’m living in Italy right now, I was recently reminded that it’s called study abroad for a reason.

Boo.

Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese | memo2munch

Now I have to start memorizing names and dates and directors of Italian movies, but temporarily transplanting myself into a lil bit of Jane Austen love story was perfect. Bless her. (But also where is my Captain Wentworth? Serious q.)

Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese | memo2munch

I’ve been living in Bologna for almost three months now (?!!?!). That’s pretty crazy.

I love this city because obsessing over food isn’t weird here. I can step outside my front door and talk for 20 minutes with a street vendor about why buffalo mozzarella is so incredibly creamy. I can take a different route to class between the bright red and orange buildings and discover a new bakery hidden beneath the porticoes. People here will spill their passion for wine or fresh pasta or prosciutto so willingly if you give a little encouragement.

I just want to listen forever and not say a word, but I guess my Italian won’t improve that way.

Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese | memo2munch

I wanted to share something on the blog that was super authentic Italian to pay homage to this delicious city. Then the other day I came across a recipe book I had bought close to the beginning of the semester. It’s filled with adorable illustrations and typical recipes of Bologna, which in true Italian fashion are all minimalistic and rely on good ingredients.

Today’s recipe is translated straight out of that recipe book and is for one of the dishes most associated with Bologna. Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese! Americans probably know it as Bolognese sauce, but by whatever name you know it, it is the best meat sauce in all the land.

Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese | memo2munch

Ladle it over fresh pasta, and you are living the dream, friends.

Make a whole big batch and freeze some for later! The flavor will only get better when you reheat it. Buon appetito 🙂

Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese | memo2munch

Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese
(serves 4)

Ingredients
2 onions, minced
2 carrots, minced
2 stalks celery, minced
Olive oil
300g. (0.6 lb) pancetta, finely cut **Not sure what pancetta is or can’t find it? See note at the end of the recipe!**
400g. (0.9 lb) ground beef
1 c. red wine
1 6oz. can tomato paste
2 cups broth
Salt and pepper to taste
450 g (1 lb) tagliatelle all’uovo (wide, flat egg pasta—get fresh if you can!)
Grated Parmigiano, to taste

Method
1. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to pan and sautee until the onions begin to soften and turn translucent. Add the pancetta and let cook for a few minutes. Add the ground beef and leave to cook for 10 minutes, making sure to mix everything from time to time.

2. Stir the half cup of wine into the saucepan and let evaporate. At this point add the tomato paste and the broth and mix with a wooden spoon (it is apparently important that the spoon be wood). Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your preference.

3. Cover the saucepan and leave to simmer over low heat for up to four hours (the longer the better). Mix every now and then so the sauce does not attach to the bottom of the pan.

4. About a half hour before you want to eat, bring the pot to a boil and then turn off the heat and leave the sauce to cool to close to room temperature. In the meantime, prepare the pasta as directed on the package.

*A note on pancetta: it is the same cut of the pig as bacon, so if you cannot find pancetta, 8-10 regular strips of bacon will work. ONE THING TO NOTE! Bacon is smoked and pancetta is not, so I suggest boiling the bacon for 2-3 minutes first to minimize the smoky flavor.
**If you don’t eat pork, just up the ground beef to 1.5 lb total

Shakshuka!!

Right now I’m bundled up in my big, green, elf sweater (like, cool woodland elf, not north pole elf), listening to the Beatles and dreaming about shakshuka. And everything is perfect because it’s 2pm, and I haven’t left the house yet. ~FRIDAZE~

Unfortunately, there is lots of work to be done before the end of the semester, so I guess I shouldn’t spend allllll day doing what I’m doing. *Cue side-eye at anatomy*

shakshuka | memo2munch

How was your Thanksgiving?! Mine was great and oh-so yum. Hope yours was, too. I helped my grandpa make the turkey and stuffing, and since cooking is a serious matter, we wore serious outfits to boot:

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Our group of eleven sat around a huge dining room table, ate, talked, and had a grand old time, passing dishes toppling with delicious food back and forth until we were full of nutriment and gratitude. Those are nice things to be filled with. 🙂

shakshuka | memo2munch

When the air outside is uber chilly, and we have to wait another year to be filled with Thanksgiving food again (but not gratitude!), some comfort food is certainly in order. But you’ve been around, and you know there must be more to comfort food than mac n’ cheese and potatoes in any form. Enter: shakshuka!!! I just can’t type it without the exclamation points. It’s too exciting. We’re talking spices, aromatic tomato sauce, runny yolks –> warming you from the inside out! <3

Plus it’s fun to say. (And healthy—shhhh!)

shakshuka | memo2munch

shakshuka | memo2munch

Shakshuka is a North African dish in origin, and it’s often eaten in Isreal for breakfast. As a girl who believes breakfast food is anytime food, I’m planning to make this whenever the heck I want. So, basically, way too often. Give it a try the next time you’re looking for a meal you want to dive right into!

shakshuka | memo2munch

Shakshuka

(Adapted from the New York Times)

Ingredients
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne, or to taste
1 (28-ounce) can chopped plum tomatoes with juices
3/4 tsp. salt, more as needed
1/4 tsp. black pepper, more as needed
5-6 large eggs
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Pita or other bread, for serving

Method
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. On the stove in a large cast iron or other oven-proof skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes until tender. Add cumin, paprika, and cayenne and stir. Pour in tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Let simmer about 10 minutes until tomatoes have thickened.
3. Gently crack the eggs into the skillet over tomatoes. Season each egg with salt and pepper. Using an oven mitt or pad, transfer skillet to oven and bake until eggs are just set, round 7 to 10 minutes. Toast bread while shakshuka is in the oven.
4. After the shakshuka has been removed from the oven, sprinkle with cilantro and serve with a slice of toasted bread.

30 Minute Hearty & Healing Stew

You know how sometimes you’ll be doing something and then all of a sudden you’ll be hit by an idea for how you could have done said thing better?

But you’re already at the point of no return, so then you’re just like

Dang.

30 Minute Hearty & Healing Stew | memo2munch

I’m there, friends. In the words of Eunice from She’s the Man (which I have zero shame in admitting I watched last weekend), “I’m so there it’s insane.”

[Aside: Eunice is clearly my spirit animal. See below]

Eunice

Anyway, I can’t speak for Eunice, but the reason I’m so there it’s insane is because I made this k-i-l-l-e-r stew and THEN thought about how epic it would be if I had roasted acorn squash halves and served the soup inside them.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

30 Minute Hearty & Healing Stew | memo2munch

Sink in like the broth would have sunk into the acorn squash, flavoring it with tomato and warm hints of turmeric and ginger.

UGH, I still feel the tingles of regret and opportunities lost.

However, we are now two acorn squash from the farmer’s market richer, and so another soup can yet be made. Redemption is nigh!

30 Minute Hearty & Healing Stew | memo2munch

As the weather gets chillier and the sweaters more worn, a nourishing stew can do us all a world of good. This one comes together in only 30 minutes, and is filled to the brim with the most comforting veggies, legumes, and spices.

Put on your pajamas and curl up with a bowl for dinner tonight. And so help me, I WILL make squash bowls next time! (PS Thank you Ellie for being my soup model u r fabulous.)

30 Minute Hearty & Healing Stew | memo2munch

30 Minute Hearty & Healing Stew
(adapted from Green Kitchen Stories)

Ingredients
1 tbsp cold pressed coconut oil or olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped or 1 tsp ground
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper or more to taste
3.5 cups canned plum tomatoes
1/2 cup lentils, rinsed
2 cups water, plus more if needed
1 tsp sea salt
1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces*
2 zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces*
1 handful asparagus or green beans*
1 cup canned chickpeas
goat cheese, for serving (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan and add chopped onion and garlic. Lower the heat and cook for a few minutes until the onions have softened. Add ginger, turmeric, cayenne and stir, ensuring that they do not burn. When the spices smell fragrant, add tomatoes, lentils, water and salt. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in all the vegetables and cook for another 8-10 minutes. Add the chickpeas toward the end of the cooking time. Serve in bowls with crumbled goat cheese if desired.

*You really can use any vegetables you have on hand! Just keep in mind that harder vegetables like carrots might need to cook longer.

Crisp Autumn Salad

Crisp Autumn Salad | memo2munch

“Salad?” I can hear you scoffing from all the way over here. “It’s the first day of October, which everyone knows is the REAL beginning of fall, and you give me a salad?”

Well, all of that is indeed true. I know you’re ready for apple crisp and pumpkin bread and anything with maple syrup involved, but see, here’s the thing. I think salad has been underrepresented on this blog. So I’m giving it a lil spotlight today.

Crisp Autumn Salad | memo2munch

It also helps that this salad might possibly be the BEST salad of my twenty years of existence. We’re talking big stuff, here.

Oh, and did I mention this salad is SATISFYING? In my opinion, it is this characteristic (or lack thereof, typically) which gives salad a kinda bad rep.

And yeah, it makes sense. I don’t expect anyone to eat a bowl of paper-thin leaves and come away from that experience feeling full and satisfied. (It just can’t be done) But you know what is satisfying?
-snappy raw green beans (our farmer’s market has fantastic ones right now)
-juicy grapes
-chewy pumpkin seeds
-crunchy almonds
-a smooth coating of olive oil

It’s a matter of texture! Give your mouth some variety, not only in the flavor of ingredients but in shape and bite, too. You’ll never have another boring salad.

Crisp Autumn Salad | memo2munch

Crisp Autumn Salad | memo2munch

I love adding whole grains to my salads, like brown rice or quinoa. They add a great chew to salads, and some pretty awesome nutrients, too. You CAN have it all.

So enjoy this nummy salad this week, and next week I PROMISE I will have some scrumptious fall carbs for you. Scout’s honor.

Crisp Autumn Salad | memo2munch

Crisp Autumn Salad | memo2munch

Crisp Autumn Salad

Ingredients
2-3 large handfuls greens
2 tbsp. sliced almonds
2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
¼ c. red grapes, sliced in half
¼ c. raw green beans, cut into 1-2 inch sections
2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic vinegar to taste, optional
Chevre or feta to taste, optional

Method
1. Place greens in a bowl. Top with almonds, pumpkin seeds, grapes, and green beans. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, if using. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with chevre, if desired.

Back to School Popeye Crepes

Do you get it?! Do you? Cuz, like, Popeye liked spinach, and it made him extra strong and ready to face his challenges, so I just thought it would be a good ‘beginning of the school year’ post and…

Well, you know.

Popeye Crepes | memo2munch

I can’t guarantee instant, bulging muscles after eating these, but I CAN guarantee the best-tasting serving of vegetables you will ever have the pleasure of feeding yourself. So tasty, in fact, that you won’t even taste the vegetables. That’s a good trade-off, right?

And I mean, how cool are GREEN CREPES?

popeye crepes | memo2munch

Now I really want to try sneaking other veggies or fruits into these crepes to make different colors. I bet beets would make just gorgeous magenta crepes. Or maybe you could make purple by using blackberries. Oh man, I would literally eat my body weight in crepes if they were purple and slightly blackberry flavored.

Time to put that at the top of my to-do list. (Sorry, anatomy homework.) Besides, I need practice crepe-flipping anyway. I broke about half of this batch before I got the hang of it. Turns out I didn’t have the heat high enough…

Popeye Crepes | memo2munch

Naturally, the filling could be anything you want. I followed the recipe from Green Kitchen Stories (and watched the video approximately 87 times because it was so beautiful) and liked the apple and tahini filling a lot more than I expected, especially with the addition of strawberries.

Here are some other fillings I might try:
-cheese and more spinach (spinach melt, holla)
-egg and tomato
-strawberry and/or banana (nutella optional, but who are we kidding?)

Let me know what other ideas you come up with!

Popeye Crepes | memo2munch

Also, I apologize for the lack of pictures. Photographing these babies was a struggle. Just to give you an idea of how sorry a scene it was, the wooden panels you see in the background are actually my kitchen floor. Don’t worry, I sanitized first!!

Popeye Crepes
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Crepe batter
  1. 1.5 cups flour of your choice
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. 2 cups (500 ml) non-dairy milk
  4. 1 cup (250 ml) water
  5. 1 tbsp. melted butter or coconut oil, plus more for frying
  6. pinch of sea salt
  7. 2 generous handfuls fresh spinach, rinsed (or thawed frozen)
Chickpea, Apple & Tahini Filling
  1. 3 tbsp. tahini
  2. 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  3. juice of one lemon
  4. 2 small apples, grated
  5. around 2 cups (600g) cooked chickpeas
  6. salt and pepper to taste
  7. honey to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all the crepe ingredients in a blender and put the lid securely on. Alternatively, if you have an immersion blender you can place the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend with your immersion blender. I want one of those things. Either way, blend until smooth and green. Refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes.*
  2. Heat an 8 inch frying pan on medium heat. Add a bit of oil or butter. Then pour about 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the batter into the pan. Tilt the pan in circles until the batter has evenly coated the bottom of the pan. Fry about 1 minute on each side, until crepes are golden and can be turned easily. Fry all of the crepes and put on a baking sheet to cool off.
  3. Make the filling: Whisk tahini, oil and lemon juice together in a mixing bowl. Add grated apple, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the chickpeas and mix until chickpeas are coated. If you want a sweeter filling, you can add some honey.
  4. Add a generous scoop of the filling in the center of each crepe and fold in half to serve.
Notes
  1. *This is important!!! The batter will be too runny otherwise
Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

Welcome home! Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

Well guys, I’m writing this post from the States! After 3 and a half months working at the USA Pavilion at this year’s world’s fair in Milan, Italy, I’m back home again in Indiana!

memo2munch | Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

memo2munch | Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

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I can’t help it. Cheesy, America-related references and jokes are kind of ingrained in me by this point. Or should I say *corny*. Cuz I’m from Indiana.

I’ll stop, I’ll stop.

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memo2munch | Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

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So far my time has been spent as such:

  • Stuffing my face with bagels and maple syrup (not together…)
  • Facebook stalking the friends I had to say “see you later” to (miss you guys!!)
  • Hugging friends and family I haven’t seen for a looong time
  • Trying not to fall asleep at 6PM
  • Stopping myself from saying “Benvenuti, welcome” to everyone who walks past me. (Is this how workers at Disney World feel?)
  • Daydreaming about gelato

So you can see I’ve been super busy.

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memo2munch | Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

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memo2munch | Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

Anyway, my cousin David made me promise to cook an Italian meal for the family when I got back and said that he would get me whatever ingredients I needed, which is an even nicer offer than you would think because I became a food snob while I was in Italy, so, you know, ingredient standards have gone up.

Here was our menu:

Antipasto

Tomato Bruschetta (Pronounced broo-SKEH-tah, not broo-SHEH-tah. When you have a –ch in Italian it sounds like a k. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Told you I was a snob now.) on Crostini

Primo

Mushroom Risotto
Sauteed Zucchini (with onions and garlic, made by my grandpa)
Bread

Dolci

Flourless Chocolate Cake topped with Chocolate Meringue (Recipe from an Italian food blog because it was #necessary)
Macedonia (made by my grandma)
A selection of Italian cheeses, courtesy of Eataly in Chicago
Italian shortbread cookies, also courtesy of Eataly

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memo2munch | Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

Man, it was SO fun to make this meal. I simultaneously got to pretend I was still in Italy and spend time with people I love. And I got to feed them, too. (Cue inner Jewish mother fist pump)

Risotto is not as hard as you might think! Another benefit? It’s naturally gluten free! Give it a try. x

Mushroom Risotto
Serves 6
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Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock if not vegetarian)
  2. 1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  3. 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 1 cup finely chopped onion
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 8 oz. white mushrooms, finely chopped
  7. 2 cups arborio rice*
  8. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  9. 1/2 tsp. salt, or as needed
  10. 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  11. 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for topping
  12. Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms and set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the stock warm over very low heat.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy, large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and white mushrooms.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board and finely chop. Add to saucepan with the the onions, white mushrooms, and garlic. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the rice and let it toast for 1-2 minutes, until the edges become translucent. Pour in the wine and stir well until evaporated. Add 1/2 cup of the hot stock and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed.
  5. Continue to add stock in small batches and cook each batch until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remember to stir constantly.
  6. Keep repeating this process, adjusting the heat if need be so that the rice is simmering gently, until all the stock is used up. This should be about 20 minutes after the wine was added.
  7. Remove the saucepan from heat and beat in the butter. Then beat in the cheese and pepper. Serve topped with more cheese.
Notes
  1. *It is important that this variety of rice is used for risotto. Regular white rice does not contain enough starch to make the risotto turn out creamy.
Adapted from Mushroom Risotto with Peas
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Meringue
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For the brownies
  1. 125 g. (1 stick + 1 tbsp.) butter
  2. 125 g. dark or semisweet chocolate, I prefer dark
  3. 150 g. (a bit less than 1 cup) brown sugar
  4. 3 eggs, whites and yolks separated
For the meringue
  1. 2 egg whites
  2. 112 g. (just over half a cup) white sugar
  3. 1 tsp. cornstarch
  4. 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 25 g. (1/4 c) unsweetened cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Grease an 8 or 9 inch round pan and cover the sides with parchment paper.
  2. For the brownies: Melt together the butter and chocolate using either a double boiler or a microwave. (If using a microwave, make sure to stir the mixture every 30 seconds so that it does not burn.) Add the sugar and mix until the sugar is not quite fully dissolved. Let cool for a few minutes before adding the yolks one by one and stirring well to incorporate.
  3. In a clean bowl, beat the whites to stiff peaks. Add a little of the whites to the chocolate mixture and stir. Then, add the chocolate mixture to the whites. This will help the mixture incorporate better. Stir gently until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the meringue.
  4. For the meringue: In a clean bowl, whip the whites to stiff peaks, adding the sugar gradually. Add the vanilla, cornstarch, and cocoa powder and stir delicately until the mixture is shiny and homogeneous.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven carefully and then spread the meringue on top. Bake for another 20-25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool briefly before taking out the parchment paper. Serve as you like!
Notes
  1. This recipe was originally written in grams and the conversions are not quite perfect, so if you don't have a kitchen scale just do the best you can!
Adapted from Mon Petit Bistrot
Adapted from Mon Petit Bistrot
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

Warm Squash, Apple, & Lentil Salad

I am all for a good, crisp, fresh salad. I really am.

Totally customizable, and obviously full of nutrients. But I mean, during the winter… I would kinda rather have something that’s more…

Well, warm. I want something warm. And hearty. And filling.

Warm Squash, Apple & Lentil Salad | memo2munch

As much as I love salad, it just doesn’t cut it when the temperature is lower than my age.

Ideally I could just live off of sweet rolls and muffins all winter. Those are warm! Buuuut we gotta treat our bodies better than that and give ’em some nutrients.

(My stomach, for its part, would like me to inform you that it thinks eating exclusively carbs would be treating it well. Agree to disagree.)

Warm Squash, Apple & Lentil Salad | memo2munch

I’ve got the perfect solution for ya. Behold: the warm squash, apple, and lentil salad of awesomeness! *ness ness ness…* <— that was an echo. If you weren’t sure. (sorry)

Warm Squash, Apple & Lentil Salad | memo2munch

Oh my gosh, guys. This salad. I hesitate to even call it a salad simply because it has alllll of the characteristics I want in a meal during the winter!

Savory, satisfying lentils. Nourishing acorn squash. The comforting scent of cinnamon mingling with lemon.

Seriously, how is this a salad?!

Warm Squash, Apple & Lentil Salad | memo2munch

I’ve noticed that a lot of people think that eating seasonally during the winter automatically means not getting enough nutrients or variety. This is absolutely not the case! There are tons of nutrient-dense foods available during the winter.

There are more types of squash in season right now than I can name. You’ve still got your kale and sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. Clementines are in season, too. THERE ARE OPTIONS! Check out your local winter farmer’s market if you have one, and see what’s there. I bet you’ll find something good. 🙂

Warm Squash, Apple & Lentil Salad | memo2munch

You can easily slice the squash into wedges so that it will cook faster, but I loved how the salad looked piled inside. Also, the recipe makes enough lentils for you to have some leftover. Get creative with them during the rest of the week! You can toss them in soup, or wrap them in a tortilla with some hummus and veggies, or mix them with sauteed spinach, for example!

Warm Squash, Apple & Lentil Salad | memo2munch

 

Warm Squash, Apple & Lentil Salad
Serves 2
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For the squash
  1. 2 tbsp. olive oil
  2. 1/2 ground cinnamon
  3. granulated sugar (optional)
  4. 1 medium acorn squash, scrubbed, halved, and seeded
For the lentils
  1. 3 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  2. 1/2 medium shallot, minced
  3. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 1 cup (7 oz) green lentils, rinsed
  5. 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  6. 1.5 tbsp. lemon juice
  7. salt and pepper
To finish
  1. 1/2 golden delicious apple, cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges
  2. Mixed greens
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat each squash half completely with 1 tbsp of oil, including skin. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, if using.
  2. Place the halves on a foil-lined baking sheet, cut edges up. Bake in oven until soft and tender, 45 minutes to an hour.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat half of the oil. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly golden, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Stir in the lentils and 1.5 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until lentils are tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Transfer lentils to a small bowl and let cool briefly. Stir in the thyme, lemon juice, and remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place the squash halves on plates, and top with mixed greens, lentils, and apple slices. Drizzle with more olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Adapted from Food & Wine
Adapted from Food & Wine
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

Immune-Boosting Veggie Wrap with Hummus & Avocado (Vegan & GF)

Helloooo, have I got a treat for you today in the form of a hearty and filling veggie wrap! Not quite cookies, (those will come next week 😉 ) but if you’re looking for a delicious way to eat more nourishing foods this new year, I’ve got your back.

That reminds me, Happy New Year! Is it too late to say that? Yes? Well, ya see… I’m back in the Bloom and starting spring semester classes, which means it actually feels like more of a new year now because SUDDEN CHANGES. That’s what I always expect from the beginning of a new year, anyway.

Immune-Boosting Veggie Wrap with Hummus & Avocado (Vegan & GF) | memo2munch

Real-Life New Year’s happens right splat in the middle of winter break for me, and things don’t really change much between December 31 and January 1, if you know what I mean (see: wearing pajamas and fuzzy socks all day and not going outside. What are shoes?).

Immune-Boosting Veggie Wrap with Hummus & Avocado (Vegan & GF) | memo2munch

But then winter break/vacation ends and we go back to school/work, and I’m all, “Wait I still need to buy textbooks, also I remember what shoes are now and I would like my fuzzy socks back please.”

Then there’s the whole internal clock adjustment phase. Molly’s stomach is convinced that Molly still has Italian class from 11:15-12:05, and so decided that she really should have lunch at 2:15 when class gets out even though she already had lunch before class began.

Immune-Boosting Veggie Wrap with Hummus & Avocado (Vegan & GF) | memo2munch
Immune-Boosting Veggie Wrap with Hummus & Avocado (Vegan & GF) | memo2munch

The problem is I could really get used to that. You are a PERSON, Molly, NOT a hobbit! Remember that!

You know what else is a big change when you’re back at school/work/the outdoors?

People. So many people. Oh man. And lots of people means GERMS. YUCK-EE.

Immune-Boosting Veggie Wrap with Hummus & Avocado (Vegan & GF) | memo2munch

I realize that germs are an unavoidable fact of life, and that some germs are good (here’s looking at you, gut bacteria). I also realize that I have some germophobic tendencies (It’s true). However, I’d have a much smaller issue with germs if people were more careful about spreading the nasty ones around. Just cough into your elbows and wash your hands, humans of the world. I beg of you!

In the spirit of taking all precautions, today’s recipe has a little immune-boosting element: garlic!

Immune-Boosting Veggie Wrap with Hummus & Avocado (Vegan & GF) | memo2munch

In addition to warding of vampires–and anyone within a very immediate proximity for that matter–raw garlic has long been thought to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral abilities. Even Harvard Health admits that “in laboratory tests, researchers have seen garlic work against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.” It goes on to say that there haven’t been enough well-designed studies done with humans to make any strict conclusions, but it’s still a mighty concession! There’s rarely a study done that can nail down conclusive causes and effects when it comes to our health because it is affected by so many things!

Immune-Boosting Veggie Wrap with Hummus & Avocado (Vegan & GF) | memo2munch

So whether you’re into natural remedies or ya just love garlic (or both), enjoy a healthy, adorable, delicious, nutritious wrap!!! See you next week for COOKIEZ (balance, amiright?)

Immune-Boosting Veggie Wrap with Hummus & Avocado (Vegan & GF) | memo2munch

Immune-Boosting Veggie Wraps with Hummus & Avocado
Serves 2
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 c. dried brown rice or other grain (I used a brown rice medley from TraderJoe's)
  2. 4 small corn tortillas, or 2 regular-sized corn tortillas*
  3. 3-4 tbsp. hummus, flavor of your choice
  4. 1-2 cloves raw garlic, finely chopped
  5. handful or two of spinach
  6. 1/2 avocado, sliced
  7. salt & pepper to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Prepare the rice according to the box instructions. Once the rice is cooling, prepare the wraps.
  2. Briefly warm a tortilla in the microwave. This will help it fold without tearing. Spread with 1-2 tbsp. hummus--depending on the size of your tortilla--in a vertical line in the middle of the tortilla. Sprinkle with 1/2-1 clove chopped garlic, again depending on the size of your tortilla. Top with a bit of spinach.
  3. Add some rice on top of the spinach, being careful not to add too much rice or the wraps won't close. Finish with some avocado slices, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper if desired. Beginning at one side running parallel to your line of ingredients, tightly roll up the wrap. Secure with toothpicks.
Notes
  1. Make sure your tortillas are 100% corn with no wheat flour, or they will not be gluten free.
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/