Tag Archives: salad

A Middle Eastern Salad Concoction at Sweetgreen

If you’re not familiar with the way it works at Sweetgreen, you can either make your own salad from a set of “bases” and “toppings,” or you can choose from one of their own combinations of bases and toppings. Since the mighty chickpea has become a staple of the American health nut’s diet, it comes up in as many as three different toppings: plain chickpeas, falafel, and hummus. The latter two are featured in Sweetgreen’s Hummus Tahina salad. An updated Greek salad, this concoction starts with a romaine lettuce and kale base, and is topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, pita chips, red onions, and falafel. Dressed with a tangy tahini dressing, and slapped with a scoop of hummus, this salad reaches the end of the assembly line, ready to eat. I went to Sweetgreen to try it out, and got a weird look for ordering the salad without any tweaks. Is that a bad sign? Oh my.

Do I need a better camera or is there no way to make this look appetizing?
Do I need a better camera or is there no way to make this look appetizing?

Usually in these posts I talk about authenticity, but I feel like it is kind of futile in this case. I mean do Guacamole Greens take you back to Mexico? What about the Rad Thai?

When I go to sweetgreen, I don’t expect my taste buds to be dazzled. It seems to be Sweetgreen’s objective to cover each part of the food pyramid in every one of their salads. Unfortunately, this means that their combinations can be very crowded. The list of ingredients that went into my Hummus Tahina is unnecessarily long. I don’t need hummus AND falafel AND tahini. Individually, the hummus is creamy and nutty, the falafel is warm, chunky, and hearty, and the tahini is light and tangy. But together you get tahini and chickpea overload. Romaine is traditional, and kale is a cool update, but again, why put them together? That being said, some ingredients were essential, like pita chips that give crunch, and cherry tomatoes that add color and sweetness.

Overall, it was an okay lunch. Next time, I’d take out the hummus, keep the falafel, and go for an all-kale base.

Also, I promise, I will have at least one home cooked Middle Eastern recipe before the end of the semester!

Happy spring!


“Eat your greens, kids”: MoHi’s Brand New Clean Eats Spot

This summer I fell in love with a new type of cuisine: clean eating. A day in the life of a college student often includes a morning trip to Ferris (if you wake up that early) for bacon, cereal, and everything with Nutella, then lunch at Chipotle, followed by plenty of JJ’s mozzarella sticks. Now while I loved eating all of this, I was a runner, so my body didn’t quite agree, and I often felt fatigued or not fully satisfied.

That’s when I discovered the beauty of eating clean. Now, eating clean takes many forms: eating vegan, raw foods, vegetarian, gluten-free, and more. It takes a bit of time to find clean eats, but after I started making the change to find them, I couldn’t turn back! (Note: most of my diet is clean dishes, but I do like to indulge sometimes!) It also worked with my runner’s lifestyle, because my workouts improved when I was putting only natural things in my body.

Luckily, around my internship this summer, there were plenty of clean and healthy options that I could choose from, but coming back to campus proved to be a challenge. Where was I going to find my daily juice and date brownies? Will I have to stick with Milano salads and Dig Inn forever?

Enter Sweetgreen. There was a Sweetgreen across from my work this summer, and I would eat there two to three times a week. Their menu mostly consists of salads and “grain bowls”, but they have a few soups and some amazing natural teas and refreshers as well. When I heard that one was opening up at Columbia, I was ecstatic, and I went right on opening day.

sabzi bowl
Spicy Sabzi Bowl with Raspberry and Mint Inflused Water.

I ordered my favorite greens bowl: the Spicy Sabzi bowl with chicken, and treated myself to a raspberry and mint infused water. This bowl was chock-full of veggies including spinach, kale, beets, bamboo shoots, carrots, and broccoli, and also included a heaping scoop each of quinoa and chicken. Then they topped it with this masala-like sauce, and while they usually add Sriracha, since I was eating clean I had to ask them to not add it to my salad.

This salad was heaping in protein, iron, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and was delicious at the same time! This was just one of many of their healthy greens bowl options that you can choose from, and depending on whether you want your bowl to be completely raw/clean, ingredients can be removed from their salads.

Thank you Sweetgreen, for providing me with clean eats right at my doorstep.



115th and Broadway.

New York’s Delicatessen

This week, I took a trip with a big group of friends downtown to New York’s Delicatessen. Delicatessen, in short, is upscale comfort food. You should make a reservation beforehand due to this place’s popularity.

The Truffle Spinach and Artichoke Dip check out that cheese crust on top being pierced to unveil the cheesy goodness inside.

For appetizers we ordered the cheeseburger spring rolls and the truffle spinach and artichoke dip. The cheeseburger spring rolls were crispy on the outside. On the in the inside there was ground beef with melted cheese – and yes I had a whole order to myself. The truffle spinach and artichoke dip had the melted cheese on top that slightly hardened – the amazing part was when you open it up and even more cheese would ooze out. The starters were small enough not to make us completely full as we waited for our entrees.

For my entree, I ordered the “Fresh Kale Salad” (from the appetizer menu), and I must admit that I had low expectations as in the case whenever one orders a salad for dinner. However, the salad had an amazing dressing and exceeded my expectation. It had golden raisins, cashews, shitake mushrooms, and sprouts. If you’re looking for a vegan meal at Delicatessen, I would highly recommend this salad.


The “Mac Lobsta'” and the “Mac Quack” right behind it

Because I ordered a salad, my loving friends took pity on me and allowed me to taste their entrees. And I must say that nothing could beat the macaroni and cheese, not even the kale salad. The two kinds of “Macs” we ordered were the “Mac Quack” and “Mac Lobsta’”, containing duck confit, white cheddar & fontina, caramelized onion, and tender chunks of fresh lobster, cognac, tarragon & marscapone, respectively. I’m not a huge fan of duck, so saying that I loved the “Mac Quack” should convince you to go try it. Even when not chewing on a piece of lobster or duck, the flavor was infused into the macaroni, so that every bite was full of flavors.

The “Mac Lobsta'” and the “Mac Quack” right behind it


The Korean Skirt Steak & Spinach Salad.

You would think we would all be full by this time, but NOPE! I have not been able to find the name of the dessert we ordered – it was chocolate pudding with pieces of chocolate cake in it and whipped cream. I have never been a fan of chocolate pudding, but this pudding had great consistency and the bits of cake won me over. There were chocolate balls on the surface which added a crunch. The combination of the crunchiness of the balls, the softness of cakes, and the smoothness of the pudding worked well together to make this dish the best part of the meal.


Behold: the anonymous dessert that won me over.

If you’re not convinced to go try Delicatessen, I’m not sure what will. It is definitely worth the trek downtown.

Bistro Ten 18

Dining starts in the eyes, before you order and even before you sit down. Dining starts when you first enter the restaurant. And I must say, it was a fabulous start to my dinner when I walked into Bistro Ten 18.

The restaurant was dark, perhaps darker than the twilight outside. Yet, as night closed in over the restaurant, I became lost in the soft, intimate glow of candles. Wine racks lined an entire wall, and the white space behind them radiated from some unseeable bulbs. The windows were wide and plenty, but I barely noticed anything besides the superb ambience.

Kentucky Country Ham & Crispy Poached Organic Egg salad

I started with the Kentucky Country Ham & Crispy Poached Organic Egg salad. I’m not quite sure what I expected, but the dish tasted much like a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich on salad instead of bread. Don’t knock it until you try it, though. Clumped on top of the bed of ham were mustard greens and snap beans, all dressed with a dijon vinaigrette. The light and sweet flavors of the salad balanced out the rich, salty taste of ham, egg, and cheese.

As soon as I finished and settled back in my chair, a waiter rushed forth to take my plate and refill my water glass. He was one of many waiters I had. Neither he nor any of the others waiters spoke much, though. They simply minded their own business and let me be, which isn’t such a bad thing on a date.

Next, I had the Braised Berkshire Pork Shoulder. The dish was simple, but perfectly so. Basically, it was a chunk of meat surrounded by beans and topped with a little bit of greens. It was warm, hearty, and unbelievably tender. The thick jus had completely soaked into the meat. I could’ve used a spoon to cut it.

Again, when I finished, a waiter took my plate and said next to nothing. I tried to speak to the waiter, but I realized how loud I was speaking. I could barely hear myself talk. Thus, I wouldn’t recommend this place for a first date. You can’t connect well with someone if you can’t hear what they’re saying. Yet, if it’s not your first date, the noise helps the romance. In order to converse, you need to lean in towards each other. From so close, your date’s eyes will glimmer in the candle light, and blaze like two elegant tongues of flame. You might not know what your date is saying, but you’ll certainly enjoy the intimate stares.

Finally, I got the Peanut Butter Brownie Sundae. Following in the pork shoulder’s footsteps, the sundae was simple. It wasn’t anything more than it needed to be. However, I was a little disappointed. Was it delicious? Definitely. But, it arrived in the classic sundae glass, topped with nuts, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry. It was clichéd. I wanted something more original. Plus, I could easily make a sundae without spending $10.

Regardless, Bistro Ten 18 was a great experience. The ambience was wonderful and the food was fantastic. And one final note: Bistro Ten 18 delivers. If you just want to cuddle up at home and eat a juicy pork shoulder, there’s nothing stopping you.

Bistro Ten 18

1018 Amsterdam Avenue at 110th Street. NYC



Quick n Easy Salad

Today was one of those dark, grey days that really feel like the worst of winter. Definitely not a day to go to the grocery store. So, when lunch time hit, I had to make do with what was left in the fridge. That meant onions, micro greens, and tomatoes. And not just any micro greens: micro arugula, sunflower sprouts, and baby beet leaves. Just so everyone is on the same page, baby beet greens are bitter. Really, really bitter. So eating a salad of really small greens wasn’t gonna cut it, flavor wise. I was rescued by the on the vine tomatoes, which would be sweet and warm, and the yellow onions, which would be even sweeter. It ended up feeling like the perfect Saturday afternoon snack, and was super easy to make but still felt pretty gourmet. I think it was the micro greens. Those little leaves feel fancy.

For this recipe, get some sprouts or other small greens. If you can’t find the ones mentioned above, go for kale or raw spinach and chop it up really fine so it looks like ribbons. You’re going to need two onions, about ten small to medium sized tomatoes, and enough green to fit in a salad bowl. That’s usually one to two bunches.

First, plop the tomatoes onto a baking sheet, put a little bit of salt  and a drizzle of olive oil on them, and put them in the oven. Leave them for about twenty minutes. Ten minutes in, start the onions. Saute them with a little bit of olive oil for about ten minutes, so that they start to caramelize. Basically chop the onions, push them around the pan when they start to stick, and take them out when they begin to brown. Put the onions on the bottom of a bowl. Pile whatever greens you want on top, and season to your liking. When you can smell the tomatoes – or they look like an oozing mess – they’re done! Take them out put them right on top of the salad, and viola! If you’re feeling like it needs something else to really beef it up, then cut tofu into squares and bake them at 350 degrees for about twenty five minutes, and throw those in there too. The tofu will add texture and turn it from mid day snack to full on meal.



Superfood Sunday: Hi there, Hemp!

Toasted Hemp Seeds

I promise, there is nothing illegal going on in my kitchen.  Those little seeds were straight from Whole Foods, not grown in the United States.  Hemp seed comes from the Cannabis sativa plant, the same plant whose fibrous stems are used to make rope and whose leaves are also known as marijuana.  Regardless of the dubious effects of its leaves, when it comes to its seeds, hemp offers up an impressive resume.

The seeds have a high protein content and contain all nine of the essential amino acids human bodies can’t produce on their own, making them popular among vegetarians and vegans.  Easily digestible because of the lack of phytic acid, hemp is rich in polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, with a 3:1 ratio of Omega-6s and Omega-3s.  Studies have shown that a lower ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 helps to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease.

I tried the toasted hemp seeds I found at Whole Foods and found a mildly nutty little seed that added an impressive crunch to my salads.  Although I enjoyed the sideways glances from my parents when I informed them that I was making a hemp salad, I didn’t enjoy them enough to add them to my regular grocery rotation.

And now the question I really wanted answered: what is the difference between the hemp in my yoga guru’s granola and the marijuana that’s so controversial?

Apparently, although they come from the same Cannabis sativa plant, there are different varieties of Cannabis plants.  THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive component of the Cannabis; while marijuana comes from the tops and leaves of high-THC varieties, “Industrial” hemp comes from low-THC strains of the plant.  Commercial hemp seeds contain negligible amounts of THC, so no; the following recipe will not lead to any kind of high except the natural exhilaration of a healthy meal.

Shelled hemp seeds are an interesting way to add fiber, chlorophyll, vitamins, and protein to smoothies, yogurt, veggie burgers, or salads.  If you’re feeling particularly DIY-esque, you could make your own hemp milk from one of the recipes that abound online.  As for me, I tossed my toasted hemp seeds into a simple bean and quinoa salad, excellent over greens.

Simple Hemp Salad

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 scallion, finely chopped

½ yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, grated

¼ tsp chili powder

¼ tsp ground cumin

juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons hemp seeds, toasted or hulled

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients and top with hemp seeds.  Serve on a bed of spring mix lettuce.





Ushering in the Fall

We’re only four weeks into the school year and already the cold weather is upon us! It’s still September and I’m starting to need a scarf and heavier jacket, and before I know it I’ll be breaking out the boots (I did just get a new pair though, so I’m actually more excited for fall then I might be letting on). In any case, before summer is totally behind us weather-wise, I wanted to make one last salad: quinoa with pear, raisins, scallions, and goat cheese, a totally fancy way to transition into the fall season even though we officially passed that day last week.

Continue reading Ushering in the Fall

What Happens When Foodies Unite! Shabbat Edition

Dinners with friends are always fun, but dinners with foodie friends takes the meal to a “whole nother level!”

It started late last week. Rachelle invited the e-board to her weekly Shabbat dinner. It was to be a “Top Model”/”Top Chef” Shabbat. In other words, come dressed to impress, but don’t forget to make amazing food as well. The Culinary Society board quickly co-opted the event, making it a dinner to remember.

We settled down to the table around 8, everyone arriving at different times to begin their contribution to the meal. To start the evening, we were presented with Rachelle’s fresh Challah bread. “It’s the first dish I ever learned to perfect,” she proudly stated as she sliced the bread. With just a hint of sesame seed, everyone dug in to the eggy bread, eager to satisfy growling bellies. To accompany the Challah, we had the traditional Matzoh ball soup, contributed by Kelcey. And who doesn’t love giant dough balls in their soup? The two were a perfect combination, and everyone was soon up for seconds on the soup.

Next came some lighter fare from Rachelle’s (and I’d like to consider my adopted) friends, Melissa and Caroline. They prepared a simple but delicious salad of arugula, mesclun, tomato, chickpeas, and cucumber. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar added just enough acidity to finish the dish. Alongside the salad, we had Helenka’s delicious baked brie–brie cheese encased in puff pastry with cranberries, apricot preserves, and almonds. Once again, I quickly heading to the counter for seconds, but I was starting to feel the oncoming food coma.

Somebody loves fish...

Between the salad course and main, we tried to take a short break, but the main course was too tempting. I had prepared salt-baked fish. Using Mackerel, Branzino, and Blue Fin Tuna, I lined the insides of the fish with bay leaves, sage, white, cardamom, meyer lemon slices, peppercorns, and verbena. After I finished the insides, I quite literally buried the fish in pounds and pounds of salt. The result? The most delicious fish I have ever tasted! Every fish was moist and rich in flavor (My personal favorite was the blue fin.). The presentation was spectacular–scales, fins, and heads complete and ready for the picking. We tried to properly debone and butcher the fish, but we couldn’t resist any longer. We resorted to barbaric picking and groans of satisfaction, until at the end only the bones and the eyeballs were left. Rachelle insisted on kissing the fish, and she was soon chasing Melissa (a vegetarian) with the head, trying to get her to do the same. (The fish was paired with Victor’s potato cakes. Rachelle, what was the name of that dish again?… something Ecuadorian…)

After a little cleaning, we finished with Claire’s dessert, a rich French lemon cake with raspberry sauce. It was the perfect ending to an amazing dinner. We were left stuffed–quite honestly, we hadn’t realized how much food was coming to this event. It turned out to be an absolute smorgasbord. Four complete courses, almost spontaneously. Each of us eventually wandered off into the night–Rachelle and I stayed behind to clean and write the Culinary Society Newsletter. We couldn’t stop laughing.

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include the fish recipe. This is my recipe, but the method allows for several variations. (For example, you don’t have to go the route of 5 different kinds of salt–just using coarse sea salt will be sufficient.) Feel free to experiment and make the recipe your own. I assure you that the technique will not disappoint–and it is sure to impress company, definitely showing a certain culinary prowess. It’s tough to top a whole fish–one that’s staring right back at you! Continue reading What Happens When Foodies Unite! Shabbat Edition

Recipes: Grilled Pluot Salad, Bourbon-Soaked Peaches and Raspberries over Vanilla Ice Cream

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Pluot Salad

Ingredients (Serves 4):
6 fresh pluots, halved and pitted
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh thyme
2 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 bunch of arugula
1/2 lb. prosciutto, shredded by hand
Crumble Goat Cheese

1. Toss the pluot halves with 1 tbsp. olive oil, thyme, and salt/pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Saute pluot halves in a skillet over medium-high heat until heated (about 5 mins.).
3. In a bowl (or on individual plates), combine arugula, sauteed pluots, pine nuts, goat cheese and prosciutto. Toss with remaining oil and vinegar.

Dessert of the Week: Bourbon-Soaked Peaches and Raspberries with Vanilla Ice Cream:
Ingredients (Serves 4):
2 peaches, pitted and cut in eight slices
1 C of fresh raspberries
1 C of bourbon
1/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Vanilla Ice Cream

1. Combine peaches and raspberries in a bowl. In a saucepan, combine bourbon and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Pour hot bourbon liquid over the peaches and raspberries. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over the fruit. Stir the fruit, bourbon, and spices together in the bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes.
2. Scoop generous portions of vanilla ice cream into bowls. Portion out fruit mixture over the ice cream.