Minted Orzo Salad

Minted Orzo Salad | Couple of ZerosWell hello there! We almost forgot how much we like Sundays in the kitchen with the music turned up. Today we were listening to Death Cab’s new album. Death Cab always reminds me of when we first met. ♥

Minted Orzo Salad | Couple of Zeros

Minted Orzo Salad | Couple of Zeros

So it’s summertime! Our basil was begging to be picked, so we decided to make one of our favorite salad recipes. It’s crisp, refreshing, and the leftovers make great quick meals throughout the week. Scott says “Jump on it.

Mint always surprises me — it tastes so different when it’s incorporated into a savory dish with feta. It adds an earthy quality rather than bowling you over with minty-ness.

Though we loved the original recipe, we made a few tweaks. First, you have to chop those onions and celery really finely. Second, we scaled back on the mint just a bit. Third, we did a bit less feta — feta is such a good, strong flavor, and so salty that a smaller amount goes a long way. And lastly, if you’re making a big batch to eat throughout the week, only dress what you’re going to eat. Otherwise the orzo soaks up all of the dressing and gets a bit soggy.

Minted Orzo Salad | Couple of Zeros

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Minted Orzo Salad
Adapted from Can You Stay For Dinner

Serves 8

Ingredients:
• 4 c. chicken broth
• 4 c. water
• 3 c. orzo
• 2 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 1 c. celery, finely chopped
• ½ c. red onion, finely chopped
• ½ c. basil, finely chopped
• ½ c. mint, finely chopped
• ½ c. feta, crumbled

Red Wine Vinaigrette:

• ½ c. red wine vinegar
• ¼ c. lemon juice
• 1 ½ T. honey
• 1 t. black pepper, freshly ground
• ½ c. olive oil
• 4 cloves garlic

Directions:

  1. Cook orzo in boiling chicken broth and water until just tender. Drain and let cool slightly.
  2. Combine with chickpeas, feta, red onion, celery, basil, and mint in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and pulse until well combined and emulsified.
  4. Before serving, pour dressing over the salad mixture and toss to coat — leaving any salad that won’t be immediately served undressed.
  5. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Enjoy!

Samosa Sweet Potato Hash

Samosa Sweet Potato Hash

We’ve gotta give our friend Courtney all of the credit on finding the original recipe for Samosa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. I watched her make it during a Girl’s Weekend visit down to DC—it was the perfect choice for a group of food-lovers. It was good enough to make it again at home the next week. Scott loved it, too.

The prep time for stuffing the potatoes adds a significant amount of work, so we tried chopping the potatoes up instead of mashing and stuffing them into skins. It turned out great, and it’s a lot easier if you’re using the recipe to serve a crowd. We even made a big batch for a camping trip with friends—a good option for a group since it’s vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free (except for optional yogurt topping).

Samosa Sweet Potato Hash

We sometimes have this recipe by itself, and sometimes we combine it with Chana Masala (a common Indian dish of chickpea and stewed tomatoes that Courtney also recommended).

A couple more recipe notes: 1) Amchoor powder is mango. It’s good but I’m not sure I’d miss it if you don’t feel like buying it. Perhaps replace with a spritz of lemon/lime. 2) We cut out the jalapeño—we normally don’t skimp on spiciness, but this dish has so much flavor that we felt it wasn’t necessary.

Leftovers tip: throw leftovers in a hot pan for breakfast. Crack an egg over it, stir it up, dizzle with a few dots of sriracha. Can’t beat it.

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Samosa Sweet Potato Hash
Adapted from Culinary Colleen

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into ½” cubes
  • 1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 T. coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 t. ginger, grated
  • 1 t. ground coriander
  • 1 t. garam masala
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • ½ t. amchoor powder (not critical)
  • ¾ c. frozen peas, defrosted
  • 2 t. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
  • Chutney, for serving (we used ginger beet preserves)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
  2. Coat two baking sheets with olive oil and spread cauliflower on one, sweet potatoes on the other. Spritz top of veggies with olive oil spray (or drizzle). Sprinkle with salt.
  3. Once oven is preheated, bake cauliflower for 20 minutes (flipping half-way through), and sweet potatoes a bit longer—until caramelized on the bottom.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and season with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 10 minutes until onion is soft. Add the ginger and cook for another minute. Add the coriander, garam masala, and cumin. Sautée for another minute until fragrant. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl.
  5. Toss the cauliflower and sweet potatoes into the onion mixture and add amchoor powder, frozen peas, and cilantro. Serve with greek yogurt and tamarind date chutney. Enjoy!

Sage Gimlets

Sage Gimlet

A traditional gimlet is a simple cocktail made with gin, lime juice, and sugar. On a recent visit to Baltimore with Scott’s brother, Ben, we stumbled upon a delicious and refreshing new take—adding sage and replacing sugar with honey. Ben was inspired to recreate it. He said it took him five tries in one night to figure out the right proportions—at which point, he either nailed the original recipe or had too many to be able to tell any difference.

Regardless, the new family recipe is perfect.

Tip: Spring for a few coupé glasses, because they make it feel oh-so-much-fancier (we found ours for about $2/each at Kitchen & Company).

Before the end of summer is here, here’s the recipe.

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Sage Gimlets
from the kitchen of Ben Zero, inspired by a drink at Rye

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 sage leaves (plus 1 for garnish)
  • ½ oz. honey
  • 1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • <¼ oz. fino sherry
  • 2 oz. gin (Bluecoat, Hendrick’s, or Plymouth)
  • ice
Directions:
  1. Fill coupé (glass) with cold seltzer and ice to chill.
  2. Put 2 sage leaves, honey, lime juice, sherry, and gin into shaker. Stir with spoon until honey is dissolved. Muddle to crush sage leaves.
  3. Add ice to shaker and shake vigorously until outside of the shaker is frosty.
  4. Empty seltzer and ice from coupé.
  5. Pour contents of shaker through shaker top/strainer.
  6. Spank that sage leaf and delicately place it on the surface of the gimlet. Enjoy!

 

Sage Sausage Squash Boatengs

Sage & Sausage Stuffed Squash

This year, we planted sage in our garden, and when July came around, we had more that we knew what to do with. Unfortunately, every sage recipe that we could find was a hearty winter casserole. We were looking for something a bit lighter.

Sage & Sausage Stuffed Squash

On the day of the Germany/Brazil world cup game, we made this recipe. During the game, we joked about player Jérôme Boateng, who like many Germans, has a name that is fun to say in a fake accent. These squash halves end up looking like delicious boats, so — naturally — we called them boatengs. Enjoy.

Sage & Sausage Stuffed Squash

Sage & Sausage Stuffed Squash

Sage Sausage Squash Boatengs
from the kitchen of Sarah & Scott Zero

Serves 3–4.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large summer squash (or zucchini, if you please)
  • olive oil
  • 15–20 leaves fresh sage
  • 1 ½ c. Panko bread crumbs
  • 6 hot Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
  • 3 oz. goat cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place the squash in a large pot, covered halfway with water. Bring to a simmer, and then turn to low. Cover with a lid and cook until tender, but still firm, about 8 minutes. Remove from water and let cool.
  3. Remove water from the pot and wipe dry. Add a glug of olive oil. Put on medium-high heat until hot, and add whole leaves of sage and panko. Once crispy, about a minute, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Quickly add the sausage to pot, and cook until browned.
  5. Cut the cooled squash lengthwise, and scoop the goop into the pot with the sausage. Cook on medium-high heat for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Place boatengs on baking sheet. Fill boatengs with sausage/goop mixture. Add a heaping scoopage of sage panko to each boateng (by this point, you should be saying boateng in a German accent).
  7. Add a dollop of goat cheese to each boateng.
  8. Bake until goat cheese is melty, about 25 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven. Squeeze lemon on each boateng. Wait a few minutes to cool. Enjoy!

February Kale Soup

February Kale Soup with turkey sausage, chickpeas, and feta.

After a great weekend in the Poconos with friends, indulging in things like skillet lasagna (thanks, Kate!), birthday cake, and plenty of fancy cocktails, we were craving a cozy but healthy meal to bring our Sunday to a close.

We have lots of homemade turkey stock from Thanksgiving in the freezer (thanks, mom!), so we started with that as our inspiration. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home and picked up a few ingredients that sounded like they’d make a good wintry soup: turkey sausage, chickpeas, and kale.

February Kale Soup with turkey sausage, chickpeas, and feta.

The kale soups we’ve had in the past have been a bit bland, so we picked hot Italian turkey sausage and added a hint of chili powder. Nothing too spicy—just enough to keep it interesting. It turned out pretty mellow, so the last touch was to top with a sprinkle of feta, which turned out to be the perfect salty, melty touch that tied it all together. It’s a keeper.

We’re not sure if the kale will reheat well. Anyone have tips on that?

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February Kale Soup
from the kitchen of Sarah & Scott Zero

Serves 4 – 6

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 hot italian turkey sausages
  • ½ lb. small new potatoes, quartered
  • ¼ c. onion, chopped
  • ¼ c. carrots, chopped
  • ¼ c. celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • 3 c. chicken stock (or whatever you have)
  • ½ bunch kale (stalks removed), chopped
  • 28 oz. canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper
  • feta

Remove the sausage from the casings and brown on high heat in sauté pan. Remove sausage and add a tablespoon of olive oil and the potatoes to the pan. Sprinkle potatoes with a bit of salt and let them cook for a few minutes at a time between stirring. Once golden brown, remove from heat.

In a large stock pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté on medium-high until translucent, stirring occasionally for about five minutes. Stir in the chili powder and immediately add the stock and two cups of water. Bring to a boil, stir in the kale, and reduce to a simmer for five minutes. Add in the chickpeas and potatoes and simmer for another five minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Spoon into bowls, top with a sprinkle of feta and a pinch of chili powder. Enjoy.