Pierogies with Roasted Onions (Paleo!)

Happy Monday! I am delighted to have a few recipes to share with you all in the next coming days. I’ve been cooking quite a bit, have a lot of healthy recipes on deck, and have been inspired to make even more stuff.

Let’s start with this week. One exciting thing happening os the Full Moon on Friday, and how the moon will be in LIBRA. I, as a Libra, adore this. Why, you ask? I didn’t think i actually knew — I just knew that my little lunar astrological planner (visit www.magicofi.com if you want one!), I saw that Friday was a special Full Moon and I immediately got excited.

 

Well, here’s why that was. So, what officially is this particular moon? We are in Pisces, and this is a Full Moon positioned at 29 degrees, putting it in Libra. I know i’ve been itching for change. This has also really brought to light any emotional or supportive imbalances in relationships, so this particular moon calls for more patience and compassion when dealing with folks flying off their handle. The concept of the Libra sign is balance – what would that look like in your life at the moment, more balance? How do you view your interactions with others — do you find you’ve been giving a lot of energy up at your own expense to help others? Or is the opposite true — have you been stressed, calling for more than you may intend to from your  friends and loved ones? This particular Full Moon is a good oppportunity to evaluate it all, allow yourself to see where things are falling short, and to take action to bring more balance into your life. The spotlight is now on relationships that may need more attention to help them grow, or perhaps they no longer serve you and you need to cut the cord.

 

Gosh, this talk about balancing my life makes me hungry. Let’s talk food. specifically, let’s talk pierogies.

 

Do you know how much i like pierogies? I can remember my uncle (dad’s brother) and aunt making her old family recipes, hundreds of pierogies at a time. They were so delicious… indulgent, too. Tradtionally, you boil them. Once college came around and I had to get my fix without slaving away in the kitchen, Mrs. T’s in a frying pan became the go-to.

 

In my pursuit to make this gluten free and still indulgent, I came up with THIS. I was inspired by a jamaican beef patty recipe a friend made for her Celiac son, and I figured it could cross over into pierogie-land. While nothing truly beats the fresh taste of flour with potatoes and cheesy goodness, this is a great take on one of my childhood favorites. Bon Appetit 🙂

 

Pierogies with Roasted Onions (Paleo!)

Prep time: 40 min

Cook time: 20 min

Makes about 30 3-inch pierogies

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 cups cassava flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2/3 cup water, plus more if needed (dough can dry out)
  • sea salt, to taste (i used about 1/2 tsp)

For the filling:

  • 1 lb organic potatoes, peeled
  • ~ 1/2 cup cashew milk, or more if needed
  • 1 tsp of ghee, or grassfed butter
  • generous salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
    •  1 egg, whisked

    Directions

    1. In a saucepan, add potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 30-35 minutes. Drain, mash, and add your remaining filling ingredients, adding additional seasonings if desired. set aside.
    1. For the dough, crack TWO of your eggs into a medium sizzed mixing bowl. Add your water, and sea salt. Whisk to thoroughly combine.
    1. Slowly add your flour until it is fully mixed, stirring along the way. If dough is not pliable, add a tsp of water at a time until it is thick and sticky, but flexible. Use your hands to mold the dough into a ball. cut the dough in half, rolling together. Cut each piece in half again, so that you have four separate dough balls. Place the remaining dough in the bowl and cover with a warm/wet towel to prevent the dough from drying until used.
    1. On a dry flat surface, add a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle some cassava flour over it, spreading it evenly. Place your first dough ball and roll out until dough is approximately 1/8 inch thick.
    1. Using a biscuit cutter or rim of a drinking glass (at least 3in. in diameter), cut dough into circles and set aside on another piece of parchment paper. Continue with remaining dough balls until remaining dough is used.
    1. In a small bowl, whisk your remaining egg. If the egg is not runny, add a tsp of water to ensure the right consistency.
    1. Place a small amount of mashed potato filling in the center of each dough round. Be sure to leave about a quarter inch around the edge of the round to seal. Brush the edge of each seal with some egg mixture, and then gently folder the dough circle in half, pinching the edges together to form a semi circle. You may use a fork to gently press them together, if you’d like. Once assembled, transfer to a plate and cover with plastic wrap to prevent them from further drying out.
    1. Once all made, bring a large stock pot filled with water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Place the pierogi in the boiling water — only a handful at a time so they are not crowded. When they float to the top, continue boiling for another 10-12 minutes. Test one to see if the dough is cooked — it should resemble firmly cooked pasta. Once cooked, remove from heat with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain and dry.
    1. There are some that will sprinkle a pinch of salt over them at this point and eat them just like this. I like to saute mine next 🙂
    1. If you’re good at multitasking, you can cook your onions separately, while your pierogies are boiling. Add a tbsp of ghee or grassfed butter to a large frying pan over medium low heat. Add your sliced onion and saute, slowly, over low heat, stirring to prevent burning. add a pinch of salt and cook until starting to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
      To the same pan, add another tbsp of ghee or grassfed butter, over medium heat. Add your pierogies in a singer layer, cooking in batches of necessary. Brown on both sides until crisp, about 5-6 minutes each side. Add your onions to the pan to bring back to temperature and meld the flavors.
  • Serve immediately – enjoy!
  • -S

    Spicy Chipotle Turkey Meatballs in Gravy (Paleo!)

    Well hey, y’all. Interestingly enough, a wild snowstorm appeared in the bushes and all of us are here waiting for it.  Some sources say 3-5 inches, some say 4-6, I say…. I’m wearing leggings, found a giant blanket, and I have my work laptop out with a cup of tea, a dog and two cats staring at me. Woo! Unexpected snowstorms. An interesting turn of events after a few days off from work followed by a day of intense work crises.

    I said yesterday that I often post and talk about the moon. While I’ve not had anyone openly object to my doing so, I figured I’d at least share why I believe it to be so important. Have you ever heard the word “lunatic”? While it’s an antiquated way to refer to someone who is behaving erratically or is mentally ill, the word has roots in a deeper meaning. Philosophers like Aristotle believed that those with bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses were triggered by the moon. Though in modern days, there’s evidence on both sides that the moon impacts human behavior, I’m here for the fun stuff. The “I Can’t Explain It But I Know Something’s Different” stuff. The far-out, woo-woo stuff.

    Though it’s really anecdotal evidence, I find that days where the full moon is expected are not the same. Perhaps it’s that it really is just brighter outside, and you notice all the little leaves blowing about. Perhaps it’s just that it’s something bigger in the sky to look at, and triggers a series of thoughts about what’s really out there, thoughts of existentialism, or how there’s so much more going on than we can see. I’m a believer in the moon’s influence, but I realize its not for everyone.

    That having been said, this moon comes at an interesting time. The “Snow Supermoon”, as they’re calling it, came just on the brink of a major snowstorm. It comes at a particular time of year where people are coming out of their fog, eager for what’s next. Bonus season just ended for a lot of employers, which is a precursor to a lot of job changes, new adventures, and the like. But on a more personal level, Spring is just around the corner. Daylight savings is, too. There’s a lot of change on the horizon politically and economically. So, how does this particular moon really have anything to do with that?

    This  particular moon, falling within 0 degrees of Virgo, is said to strengthen our intuition and emotional side, but also creates the space for us to really take ownership of how to make real what our intentions are. This is really the time for one to lay groundwork and get organized – to set up the logistics to get what it is they really desire. This full moon falls during a great shift in awareness, so it can feel really intense to suddenly realize, “Wow, I have REALLY got to get moving.” Just don’t forget to set aside time to have fun, to relax, and above all, to de-stress your mind.

    What better way to de-stress than to enjoy some good ol’ comfort food? Little meatballs! Maybe I should call them moon-balls. I don’t think people would eat them if I did. I guess we’ll stick with meatballs.

    Enjoy these paleo-friendly Spicy Chipotle Turkey Meatballs – recipe below!

     

    Spicy Chipotle Turkey Meatballs in Gravy (Paleo!)

     

    Prep time: 25 min

    Cook time: 40 min

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb ground turkey
    • 1 4oz can of adobo sauce
    • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped; stems and seeds removed
    • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
    • 1 egg, whisked
    • 1/2 cup almond flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
    • 1 tsp coconut flour or tapioca flour (for thickening), plus more if needed

     

    Directions

    1. In a large skillet, add splash if your preferred cooking fat as well as your chopped onion. Sauté over medium heat until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
    2. In the same skillet, also over medium heat, add your garlic and bell pepper. Sauté until the peppers have cooked out much of their water and onions start to brown – another 5-6 minutes. Season with a small pinch of salt.
    3. Remove from heat, leaving half of your onion/pepper mixture in your pan and set aside – you will move the remaining half into a large mixing bowl.
    4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
    5. Within your mixing bowl, add your ground turkey, egg, almond flour, 2 tbsp of adobo sauce, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. If mixture is too wet, add more almond flour, 1 tbsp at a time. Turkey tends to be less stiff when raw than ground beef or other ground meat, so you don’t want to add too much more flour – they will be dry once cooked.
    6. Once thoroughly mixed, use your hands (or a melon baller/cookie scooper for consistency) to roll mixture into 1-1 1/2 inch balls. Arrange on a greased, foiled or parchment lined baking sheet, evenly spacing 2-3 inches apart. Bake until they start to brown, about 20-25 minutes. It may be more or less time, depending on the size of the meatballs.
    7. Meanwhile, as your meatballs are cooking, place your skillet with onion and peppers back over medium heat. Once brought to temperature, add your coconut milk and another 2 tbsp of adobo sauce, allowing pepper and onion to simmer. Add salt and pepper, to taste. If more adobo is needed, continue to add, 1 tbsp at a time, to ensure appropriate spiciness. Once simmering, if still quite thin, add your tsp of coconut or tapioca flour and stir until well combined. To avoid burning, turn the heat to low and allow to simmer.
    8. Once meatballs are finished cooking, gently remove from  your baking sheet and add to your skillet, stirring to coat meatballs in your gravy. I like to cover it and let it simmer so the meatballs stay tender/juicy for about 3-4 minutes.

    Serve, and enjoy!

    -S

     

     

    Sweet Potato “Crostini” with Red Pepper Bruschetta (Paleo!)

    Ah… the full moon. Sunday was an interesting day for it. My friend and I went out shopping, and the predicted temperature was supposed to dip down to about 4 degrees F that night. We planned to make dinner, and we had to go to 3 different grocery stores to find onions, ground turkey and ginger. Apparently, people in this area thought they weren’t going to be able to go outside… or… eat turkey. It was a really strange day that ended with a giant tarp blowing across the road and into/onto a man’s pick-up truck and then onto mine, and then finding that my cat got stuck in my room and peed on my expensive dress coat because he panicked. Again, very… interesting day.

    I started off this year really strong, actually. Not to say that my year is not still strong, but I was really intentional about my new year’s plans. I had maybe 1-2 drinks at a very small get-together, went to bed at 12:30, and woke up at 7, did some yoga/stretching, and went to the gym. I’ve made an effort to be much more aware of my thoughts, what I want to happen, and want I want, in general. The first week of January, I came across a numerology article about what this “year” is considered, and it says it’s a “3” year. It said that we’re already familiar with this number because our lives revolve around this number – we are on the third planet from the sun, we are made of mind, body and soul, good and bad things come in three’s. After calculating my personal number for 2019, I found that I am also a number 3 for this year. It felt spot on – I’ve said “This year is my year!” before, but this year, it actually feels accurate. It says my creativity and abundance are up on deck to shine, and I honestly couldn’t agree more. I think the thing that keeps me going is truly believing that this kind of energy really is limitless. If you put into practice the idea that your thoughts really do dictate your situation (your job, happiness, wealth, friendships, etc.), it really does happen. It’s so simple, yet so hard for a lot of us. My advice? Invest in yourself, and meditate. Do some yoga. It took me YEARS to learn how to settle into my hot yoga classes and focus – dozens of times to meditate and no longer wonder ‘was I just sort of sleeping?’ This stuff pays off, and it allows you to really connect with what’s going on around (and above) you.

    I find that the frustrations of 2018 haven’t left me, they’re definitely still around. I’m just less mad about them, or more sure that they’ll fade or get better, whether I have control over it or not.  This full moon that happened on Monday was a total lunar eclipse. While eclipses sound like darkness, uncertainty, or unexpected events, there’s place for the confidence and courage to accept the change that is coming. This year is more of a reset button – to take a moment to pause and drop what isn’t serving you. Are you feeling really independent and capable? Awesome, that’s where you should be. This moon was huge – it was closer to us and it was close enough to leave behind some energy to those most sensitive or most in need of it. The moral of the story is this – this year, energetically, we have a leg-up to get ourselves through some challenges… much like our earthly New Years’ resolutions, this is only the beginning. Don’t give up yet.

    I actually have a few recipes to post in the next few days, but every now and again I like to post a recipe for an appetizer, for a party. Now’s a great time to have some friends over – it’s colder than a witch’s bittie right now, so why not sit indoors and sip wine and eat snacks with your friends?!

    Sweet Potato “Crostini” with Red Pepper Bruschetta (Paleo!)

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 45 min

    Ingredients

    For the sweet potatoes:

    • 3 long (or at least more skinny) sweet potatoes, cut into ½ centimeter slices
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp dried parsley

    For the bruschetta:

    • 4-5 pound roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
    • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
    • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 small handful of fresh basil, chopped
    • 1 small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp (ish) balsamic vinegar
    • 3/4 tsp red wine vinegar
    • 1 tsp garlic, chopped
    • salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    2. In a small dish, mix together your first parts of olive oil, paprika, and salt/pepper. Place your sweet potato slices on a greased or lined cookie sheet and brush with oil mixture on both sides. Bake for 20-25 minutes until starting to brown, then flip sweet potato pieces over onto other side for remaining 20-25 minutes, until brown (but not burnt!).
    3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, grab a small bowl for the dressing. Whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, balsamic, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt/pepper) until mixed. Add your tomato, onion and roasted red pepper, and allow to sit and marinate.
    4. Once sweet potato slices are cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool on a rack to allow them to crisp. Once cool to the touch, spoon some bruschetta onto each slice, and garnish with parsley and basil.

    Serve, and enjoy 🙂

    -S

    Peppermint Patty Pudding Parfait (Paleo, Vegan)

    Spirit animals.

    Let’s just jump right into this, because I am too tired to come up with some fancy superfluous introduction. Have you ever given any thought to what a spirit animal is, or why it’s important?

    I think because of subtle Native American influence throughout my life, I’ve paid more attention to it than the average person. Only until more recently did it start to make more frequent appearances, and I have to tell you — it’s more than just coming across a great meme on Instagram or talking about how Cardi B is your spirit animal because she’s a chatterbox who don’t curr about nothin’. A spirit animal is essentially Mother Nature’s driving force of what embodies you as a cultivated spiritual being, or what supports you as someone in need a spiritual fine-tuning.

    Let’s use me an example. I’ve always known my spirit animal was a horse. I’ve loved them and ridden since I was very young, and I’ve always been a “horse girl”. What does a horse actually represent, though? Those of you who know me, I’m sure you know me quite well — I’m the most unintentionally transparent person alive. Apparently, so is a horse. So, the horse… the horse is known for pride, highly charged emotions, and a very driven instinct. Horses are powerful — not in that they are nature’s predators, but they are powerful in such a way where they know there’s strength in numbers and strength in endurance and perseverance. Horses, like any earthly being, are also not perfect. If given the option between fight or flight, a horse will choose flight 99% of the time. However — a horse is not defenseless. they are quick, and bold if need be.

    The interesting thing about the representation of a spirit animal is that — no matter how domesticated, the instinct of an animal remains pure. Animals are born with imprints that can be subdued, but they cannot be stopped. A horse has the innate capability of horsey ways that stay with them for life. The same can be said for someone’s spirituality — you can live your life any way you choose and make any decision you want… but ultimately, one way or another, we are all drawn to the same thing, which is compassion, self-acceptance and growth. When situations come up where I know I need to take a step back, ground myself and really understand the situation, it truly does help to envision what qualities a wild horse possesses, what could apply to this situation and how I could channel that into my own perspective.

    Not to get too “woo-woo” — you can interpret your spirit animal any way you choose. While mine is a horse, maybe I keep seeing a fox while out driving, walking or riding (a horse… lol..). Perhaps, for that time, I need to bring more fox-like energy into my life by way of my thoughts, my actions, or my reactions. I think we’re drawn to certain animals in certain times of our lives, and I don’t think it’s simply because nature is around us and it happens as coincidence. embrace your inner wild side!

    Onto other fun things… like food! I’m not sure where you are in the world right now, but in the Mid-Atlantic US, it’s HOT. Like, stop-wearing-make-up hot. Like, could-I-really-fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk-today hot. Cool down with this fun delicious peppermint patty chia pudding parfait!

    Peppermint Patty Pudding Parfait (Paleo, Vegan)

    Prep time: 4 hours

    Cook time:  n/a

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    For the chia pudding

    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 1 heaping tbsp smooth almond butter
    • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, or 6-8 drops of food-grade peppermint essential oil (use sparingly)
    • 3 tbsp maple syrup
    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup chia seeds

    For the parfait

    • 10 oz almond milk Greek yogurt, such as Kite Hill or Silk
    • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract

    mint leaves, for garnish

    Instructions

    1. In a blender or food processor, mix together almond milk, almond butter, peppermint, vanilla, maple syrup and cocoa powder, until smooth.
    2. Once mixed, add to an airtight container and stir in chia seeds thoroughly. Place in refrigerator overnight or for at least 2-3 hours.
    3. Once ready to serve, mix together your yogurt ingredients – the Greek yogurt, honey and vanilla.
    4. Here’s where you can get creative if you want – layer your pudding, and then your yogurt. Add your cacao nibs, and garnish with your mint leaves. Best served chilled – if you want to put it back in the fridge, feel free to do so for a few minutes!

    Serve and enjoy 🙂

    -S

    Lemon Garlic Scallops (Paleo!)

    Happy weekend! How’s everyone doing?

    What a cray cray week. Yes… I’m still using the term “cray cray”. So did you all know that we just had a new moon on Thursday? This is more fitting than we think, because a LOT is going on these days. This New moon was also a partial solar eclipse. Solar eclipses are interesting, because it’s a literal manifestation of “blocking the light”. The moon stands in front of the sun, essentially blocking the sun’s rays from reaching us. This can be seen as a good thing, but also as something negative.

    This particular New Moon is also influenced by our alignment to Pluto, which falls into line with Earth and the sun – this has not happened since 1931. Feeling a little wonky? Yeah, people probably said the same thing back then, too, except they had no internet. I guess we’ll never know. The happening of alignment with this little planet-not-a-planet-now-a-planet-again indicates some sort of crisis with your self-esteem or self-worth, or some other interpersonal relationship. Everyone has traits or characteristics that are less than perfect, but they are really rearing their ugly heads at this point. The best thing is to be self-aware of your thoughts, feelings and actions. Pluto is also in retrograde, which represents a time to reflect about what control you have over things in your life. Are you on a power trip, or trying to desperately control a situation? Now definitely isn’t the time for that – it’s a great time to release whatever neurosis you have about control and to “live and let live”, or “let go and let God”.

    As if we needed MORE confusing astrology, something called a “Grand Trine” has also occurred. In conjunction with the need to relinquish control over anything we’re desperately holding onto in life, we get a little help. Venus, Saturn and Uranus align at a perfect 60-degree equilateral triangle, which is essentially a huge window of balance and harmony to help us transform ourselves. Grand Trine energy fosters natural talent and creative potential in order to solve problems peacefully. There exists a different energy between each cosmic body, which can be felt for the next few months. Venus to Saturn is best for establishing to a relationship, or making long-term financial investments, or anything requiring long term stability. Venus to Uranus is best for trying something new, or experimenting. This is for all you folks that are itching for a new job, new relationship, or new adventure. Hop on the train to Funkytown, because you’ll be there a while 🙂 Next, Saturn to Uranus represents a shift or transition in life. See where this is going? They’re all related – take this time to make a shift or change in your life you’ve been waiting and wanting to do. If in your gut you feel it’s right, it’ll have long-lasting effects.

    If you’re feeling a little confused, you should probably just take a breather and eat. I’ve got a lil sumpin’ fancy for you to try. Here’s some easy Lemon Garlic Scallops to make your day better. This takes like a micro-minute to do, and as easy as it is, you’ll still impress!

    Lemon Garlic Scallops (Paleo!)

    Prep time: 15 min

    Cook time: 10 min

    Makes 16 scallops

    Ingredients

    • 16 sea scallops (the bigger ones), rinsed, drained and patted dry
    • juice from one lemon, plus a pinch of lemon zest
    • 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
    • 1 shallot, finely minced
    • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley, curly or flat (I used curly)
    • 2 heaping tbsp of ghee (or regular butter, if not strict paleo)
    • generous pinch of salt and pepper

    Directions

    1. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add your shallot and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Then add your garlic, stirring until starting to brown. If it starts to brown too quickly, turn the heat down.
    2. Once your garlic and shallot are cooked, add your remaining ghee and turn the heat up to medium high. Then, add your scallops. These are best cooked when left alone! Don’t play with them or check them, they won’t burn. Let sear for 2-3 minutes per side, until a nice golden brown crust forms. Flip and allow the other side to brown. You can scrape the brown bits from the pan that start to form if they brown too quickly.
    3. Once your scallops are finishing, carefully add your lemon juice and zest, followed by your parsley. Remove from heat, and toss scallops to coat, spooning your butter mixture over them. Since they’re piping hot, I like to let them rest for about a minute in the pan before serving so that all the juices can soak in.
    4. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

    -S

    Full Moons and Moussaka

    Remember how I said the weather turned, and I dug out all my sweaters? It was a fluke. It was 60 degrees yesterday, maybe warmer in the sun. I still wore a sweater, and it was the complete opposite of fun. It was un-fun. My building at work had the heat on, too. Because it’s November, right? It should be cold, right? No, because it’s 2017 and we are very much into global warming right now. Yet — today, I walked out of my house in a light shirt, only to find I need the same warm type of sweater now that I thought I needed yesterday.

    This weekend was also a full moon. Every time a full moon comes along, I have every intention of doing something special – doing yoga outside, doing some sort of special meditation, or cooking some earthy dish to complement a beautiful night with a bright, clear moon. I end up doing none of those things, but I do notice that without fail, stuff gets weird around a full moon.

    The logic in me says, “This is just confirmation bias! Nothing weird happens on a night with a full moon.” The logic needs to be quiet, because that’s no fun, whatsoever. While crazy stuff can happen all the time, I have always found that people act particularly strange and noticeably different during this moon phase.
    Since full and new moons happen when the sun, earth and moon are all in alignment, this impacts the tides more than normal, making them stronger and in turn, falling higher and lower. While we don’t notice it on land, don’t you think it’d be a little silly to not consider what impact it has on us if it can move trillions of gallons of water in a cyclical motion? We are more aware and in tune with the vibrations going on around us during a full moon, which, quite literally, is able to illuminate things more than usual.

    November is already a powerful month with the vibration of the number 11, so it’s not surprising that people are getting quirky when the entire moon is exposed. As a double digit of the same number, 11 is thought of as a “master number” — so anything occurring during this time is magnified.. both good and bad, because with a double number like this, there’s also balance. This particular full moon could’ve potentially been very confusing — a full moon is the end of a revolving cycle — yet the number 1 has a common understanding of beginnings.  Truthfully, you can take from it what you want. Moon phases are consistent and cyclical, and people tend to see the moon as feminine because of this. At this point in time, the entire moon is exposed, bright and clear – which could be symbolic of moving energy, unearthing problems, concerns, chores or tasks, and approaching them with full clarity.

    Whatever the case may be, it is truly beautiful. You can see the little craters, and just thinking how there are footsteps that remain untouched since the landing on the moon is really surreal. Something so still, quiet, and distant can have such an impact on the world around us, to the point where people’s moods change.. it is really cool, is it not? A little floating sky rock moves water next to us from hundreds of thousands of miles away.

    We tried to  come up with something we’ve never made this weekend — we landed on Greek cuisine. Fitting for a full moon, as some of the greatest discoveries in astronomy and moon phases happened in ancient Greek culture… things like Ptolemy, Hipparchus, Aristarchus… all the things you learned about but forgot how brilliant these minds were. Greek culture is so rich, so our tribute to that for the full moon was the heartiest and most flavorful dish we could think of — Moussaka! While I know it’s not made by your family Yia Yia, I think Greek grandmas everywhere might say we did pretty well.

    Make a note to keep an eye out for everything around you on the next full moon – you might be surprised with what you notice. In the meantime, as it gets colder (and hopefully stays colder), enjoy this delicious dinner 🙂

     

    Moussaka

    note: this picture was taken from healthyfood.co.uk, which reserves all rights to the photo. Unfortunately, the kitchen was dark and people ravaged the moussaka before I could get a good picture of it. Mine did resemble this image almost identically (in person), and I promise it looks this delicious when you make it.

    Prep time: 40 min

    Cook time: 30 min

    Serves 8-10

    Ingredients

    Eggplant and Lamb

    • 8 garlic cloves, finely grated, divided
    • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3 tbsp chopped mint
    • 3 tbsp chopped oregano
    • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
    • 3 medium eggplants (about 3½ pounds total), sliced in half lengthwise and then cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
    • 2½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
    • 2 lb ground lamb
    • 1 lb ground beef
    • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
    • 1 tbsp cinnamon
    • 1 large jalapeño, finely chopped (ribs and seeds removed)
    • 1 tbsp paprika
    • 1 tbsp tomato paste
    • 1 cup dry white wine
    • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

    Béchamel

    • 3/4 stick of unsalted butter (if using salted butter, add a pinch less of salt once mixed)
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour
    • 2½ cups whole milk
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 8 oz of farmer’s cheese, crumbled
    • 4 oz grated Pecorino, grated
    • 3 large egg yolks

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Whisk half of the garlic, ½ cup oil, 1 tbsp mint and 1 tbsp oregano in a small bowl.
    2. Thoroughly coat the eggplant rounds with the mixture and season with salt and pepper. Transfer eggplant to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast until tender and browned, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400°.
    3. Meanwhile, add about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Cook lamb and ground beef, breaking up with a spoon, until browned and liquid starts to evaporate, about 12–16 minutes. Drain fat from the meat and transfer to a bowl and set aside.
    4. In the same pan, add another tsp of oil and allow to heat. Add onion, garlic, ~2½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8–10 minutes. Add jalapeño and cinnamon and continue to cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until onion has browned, about 3-4 minutes.
    5. Add paprika, cinnamon and tomato paste and allow to cook for about 1 minute.
    6. Add wine, stirring to mix thoroughly, until reduced and alcohol burns off — about 3 minutes.
    7. Add tomatoes and all of the juice. Carefully break up the tomatoes with a spoon or spatula into smaller pieces… as they heat, they will pop, so be aware.
    8. Add lamb and remainder of mint and oregano and stir to combine. Allow to cook until most of the liquid is evaporated, and remove from heat.

     

    Béchamel

    1. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium until completely melted and starting to froth. Add flour and cook, whisking quickly and constantly, until combined, about 1 minute.
    2. Whisk in milk, slowly and a little at a time, and continue to heat, allowing to bubble. Whisk often, until mixture becomes very thick (like pudding), about 3-4 minutes.
    3. Stir in salt. Remove from heat and whisk in farmer cheese and half of the Pecorino. Let sit 10 minutes for cheese to melt, then add egg yolks and vigorously whisk until combined and béchamel is golden yellow.
    4. Brush a 13×9″ baking pan with 1 tbsp olive oil. Layer half of eggplant pieces in the pan, covering the bottom entirely. Spread half of lamb/beef mixture over eggplant in an even layer. Repeat with remaining eggplant and lamb/beef to make another layer of each.
    5. Top with béchamel and smooth surface; sprinkle with remaining Pecorino cheese.
    6. Bake moussaka until bubbling and béchamel topping starts to brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

    Enjoy!

    -S