Saturday, April 19, 2014

Vishesh's 5-Minute Matzo Crumble

We're in the middle of Passover, and there are matzo crackers in the Ratty every day. With such crunchy texture and unassuming flavor, they just beg to be crushed and re-purposed. I tried to keep this crumble as kosher as possible by avoiding corn syrup and oats, but there is enormous potential for variation on this base.

Since the key ingredients are all pretty mellow, you can easily infuse whatever flavor you like with fruit pieces, zests, or juices! A good squeeze of lemon juice permeates the taste and aroma, but I've tried similarly delicious versions this week with half a teaspoon of orange juice, apple juice, or peanut butter instead. Oats or granola can be substituted for some of the matzo for added crunch, and if ice cream is used instead of yogurt, the cold will help it harden so the minute waiting can be skipped! :)

5-Minute Matzo Crumble 
2 packets of sugar
2 pats of butter
1 lemon slice
1 tsp of honey
1 large matzo cracker (e.g. Manischewitz)
plain yogurt (soft serve)

Add the sugar, butter, honey, and a full squeeze of lemon juice to a bowl, and melt the butter in the microwave for 10 seconds. Crush the matzo into small pieces, and add it to the bowl. Stir well, so that the matzo is all lightly coated. Press the matzo to crush it further and form a thinner layer. Microwave for 15 seconds, stir and press again, and microwave for another 15 seconds. Allow a minute to let it set, top with yogurt, and enjoy!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Vishesh's Polenta with Mushrooms in Butter Soy Sauce

Sure, I only had regular white mushrooms without any fine porcini, and the baked polenta wasn't exactly the luscious cloud shown in the original NYT recipe. But soy sauce and butter was such a mysterious and tempting combination of east and west that I could not resist trying, and the duo compensated for the other ingredients with salty, umami goodness.

Polenta with Mushrooms in Butter Soy Sauce 
1/3 cup polenta
2/3 cup mushrooms
3 pats of butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove roasted garlic
parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Mince and crush the garlic as finely as possible, and then add to a bowl along with the butter. Microwave for 20 seconds, and then add the mushrooms, soy sauce, and olive oil. Microwave for 20 seconds, stir, and microwave for another 60 seconds to reduce the sauce. Add salt to taste, and then pour the mushrooms over the polenta while hot, distributing the sauce evenly around. Top with parmesan cheese and pepper, and enjoy!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Nadya's Dessert Panini

Who says panini need to be savory? Sandwich some sliced banana between bread spread with creamy nutella, sweetened with a drizzle of honey - and see how wonderfully sweet panini can be! Thank you to Nadya for sharing this recipe.

Nadya's Dessert Panini 
Two slices of bread
One chopped banana
Cinnamon sugar

Spread nutella on the bread. Add the chopped bananas.  Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if desired.  Put it in the panini press for approximately 2 minutes or until golden brown.

*Please do not use peanut butter in the panini press to be considerate of those who have allergies! Thanks!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Stephanie's Falaco (Falafel Taco)

Falafels – deep-fried, crispy balls of yumminess that still have all the health benefits of chickpeas. Can they possibly get any better? Why yes, indeed they can! Pair them with your choice of ingredients from the Ratty’s beloved vegetarian burrito bar, and lo and behold: a nutritious AND delicious combo of South meets Middle East. Velvety guac and rich sour cream serve as textural contrast to crunchy falafel balls while tangy salsa and chunky veggies brighten up the plate. Thank you to Stephanie Chung for sharing this creation!

Stephanie’s Falaco
1 flour tortilla 
3 falafels 
shredded lettuce 
diced tomatoes 
shredded cheese 
sour cream 
black beans 
corn, squash, and tomato mix 

Assemble burrito bar toppings on a flour tortilla to form a scrumptious bed for your falafels. Fold and enjoy!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vishesh's Peanut Sauce

Chinese peanut sauce typically uses ginger and sesame oil to kick it up, while Thai satay depends on coconut milk and Thai curry paste. This sauce is not traditional and does not use any of those ingredients, though it would certainly be improved if and when the Ratty has them. Nevertheless, sweet and spicy peanut flavor is always tasty over rice and noodles or as a dip for vegetables and rolls.

Vishesh's Peanut Sauce
4 tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
sugar, salt, and cayenne

Combine all the measured ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 15 seconds. Mix in sugar, salt, and cayenne to taste, and add water to reach the desired consistency, stirring until smooth.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Vishesh's Microwave Croutons with Wilted Spinach

Whether you're eating fresh salads or pouring warm soup for snowy winter days, croutons are a great way to add some texture and tie a dish together. The Ratty often lacks these crunchy ingredients, but fortunately it does supply everything you need to make your own! Plus, you can spice it up with custom seasoned croutons, featured here with some deep green spinach. Sourdough and french baguettes work the best, but each bread has its own special flavor.

Vishesh's Microwave Croutons with Wilted Spinach 
olive oil
oregano flakes
garlic powder

In a small plate, cut a slice of bread into 1/2-inch cubes, and mix with the olive oil and seasoning to lightly coat the bread. Microwave for 1-2 min until they start getting crunchy, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, pull any long and tough stems off the spinach, and chop the leaves roughly. Mix the spinach with the croutons, and microwave another 30 seconds to wilt. Enjoy!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Vishesh's Mediterranean Veggie Wrap

As delicious as soul food, fried meat, and melted cheese can be, some ripe fruits and vegetables can be a refreshing delight. Inspired by East Side Pockets, this veggie wrap pulls on some bright flavors from the Mediterranean repertoire for a light meal to go. Crunchy lettuce and juicy tomato plus tangy capers and strong olives make my mouth water!

Vishesh's Mediterranean Veggie Wrap 
plain or herb wrap
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
diced onion
diced or sliced tomato
crisp lettuce
chopped olives
crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper

Layer a small plate with diced onion, and mix with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to lightly coat them. Microwave for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. To the wrap, layer in order the onion, lettuce, and tomato, and then sprinkle with feta, olives, and capers. Finish with just a dash of salt and pepper, and wrap it up!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Nadya's Soft Serve Affogato

If you've never had an affogato, take your right hand and grab your left shoulder and your left hand and grab your right shoulder and squeeze. Our condolences. You've been missing out on an Italian dessert of luscious vanilla gelato doused in smooth espresso. But fear not! Nadya came up with a way to almost recreate the dessert in the Ratty - now how do you say Ratty in Italian?

Nadya's Soft Serve Affogato
soft-serve vanilla ice cream
hot coffee
chocolate sprinkles (or whatever toppings you desire)

Put ice cream in a mug. Pour coffee inside. Immediately after, add chocolate sprinkles or other topping(s) on top.

Nadya's Breakfast Panino

We love panini. And we love breakfast. So I think you know what's coming...yes, why not a breakfast panino?? I know what you're thinking - that's a genius idea! And you're absolutely correct. We want to thank Nadya Kim for her gorgeous photo and creative recipe giving new life to the fried eggs we all know and love from the omelette station. You can customize it anyway you like, jazz it up with cheese and other panino fixin's, and grill it to perfection.

Nadya's Breakfast Panino 
1 fried egg from the egg station at the Ratty with mushrooms, onions, peppers, and tomatoes
Two slices of bread
One slice of cheese
Ham or other sandwich meat

Go to the egg station at the Ratty and order one fried egg with the desired condiments (I usually ask for all the veggies). Once you pick up you fried egg, get two slices of bread. Spread ketchup on the slices of bread Add the egg, slice(s) of cheese, and ham (or other sandwich meat), between the bread slices Put it in the panini press for approximately 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jennifer's Wafflewich Panini

What do you get when you cross a waffle with a panini? A wafflewich panini! (or waffini...or paniffle...?)

Special thanks to Jennifer Pan for sending us this ingenious recipe. According to Jennifer, "you can do a lot more with waffle paninis" - we're thinking roast beef and swiss; grilled chicken and roasted red peppers; chicken fingers, lettuce, and honey mustard sauce...the wafflewich panini possibilities are endless.

Jennifer's Wafflewich Panini
1 waffle
1 slice ham
1 slice turkey
1-2 slices cheese

Make a waffle, cut in half. The two halves are now your "bread." If you're really hungry you can just make 2 separate waffles.

Pile one of your waffle halves with everything you'd like in your panini. I usually go for ham, turkey, cheese and lettuce. Drizzle the other waffle half with maple syrup. (If you don't want syrup in your panini you can skip this step, it's still good.)

Put the 2 waffle halves together so that the syrup side is on the inside of the sandwich. Panini press it.