Arsip Tag: yogurt

roasted yams and chickpeas with yogurt – smitten kitchen

If one was ever to question their lifetime of unwavering devotion to New York City, February would the month to do it. It’s cold and has been for some time. It’s cold and will be for some time. And somewhere out in California, a “friend” — but really, are they if they torture you so? — is welcoming their first strawberries. You get strawberries in New York, too, but for about 5 minutes every June and they cost about as much per square foot as real estate in a neighborhood with multiple pour-over coffee outlets.

what you'll need
wedges with honey and two peppers

So, yes, February is the month. But this February? I never thought it would be the one. This is, by every measurement known, the mildest winter we’ve ever had, and the shortest too. I am, by almost every measurement I can invent, the most loyal and content New Yorker you’ll meet (but not the shortest, although close). But every night for the last week, I’ve pestered my husband with talk of Los Angeles, a mythical place where it’s warm and sunny all year round, where the tacos are unparalleled, where the avocados are exceptional, where you apparently don’t need to be a millionaire to have a home with more than two bedrooms. This is probably what happens to even the most stalwart New Yorker after too long without a vacation.

seasoning the chickpeas

Fortunately, for times of great flux and inner turmoil, there are always cookbooks offering an escape. Like many a shivering East Coasters, I’ve been gazing lovingly over the Gjelina restaurant cookbook this week, an understandable side-effect of cookbooks photographed by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott. That cover! Maybe I don’t even want to move to LA, I want to move into that cover, a tucked-in nest of fiery squash, protecting you from the slab concrete.

roasted yam wedges

We should talk about the cooking too, and while it occasionally feels the tiniest bit formulaic, when that formula happens to be stunning gently charred vegetables, fish and meat, dabbed with something acidic (a yogurt sauce, bagna cauda, salsa verde and all of the other sauces I write across my heart), something rich (avocado, cheese, a bit of fruit), something fresh (herbs or another shaved vegetable) and something crunchy (seeds, nuts, crushed croutons, crispy onions, hiii ily), it is clearly in the service of greatness. I feel a responsibility to warn the home cook that sub-recipes abound (ocean trout rillettes has four; there are three within the rye rags with sausage, mushrooms and fennel that I’m going to make anyway because you read that title, didn’t you?) but there’s so much else in here for us — an enviable pizza section, a chickpea stew with tomato and turmeric I would swan dive into if I could — it would be a disservice to us to let this keep us away. The 30-deep vegetable section alone is worth the cover price; there isn’t a thing in there I don’t want to eat for the rest of my life.

roasted yams and chickpeas with yogurt

Because I’m back in the kind of place where I roast sweet potatoes all of the time for children tiny and mid-sized, I was drawn to the yams first. They’re roasted in long wedges with a bit of honey, olive oil and a tremendous amount of pepper flakes (adjust to taste, of course) until singed and steak-like then drizzled with a sharp lime yogurt and thinly sliced scallions. For my purposes, I felt like I needed to add one more thing to make this more of a dinner centerpiece and that thing was chickpeas, roasted until crisp with smoked paprika and salt. My husband and I will unapologetically admit that we usually only eat sweet potatoes begrudgingly; they’re fine, but we mostly keep them around for the kids. Not this time. We didn’t even offer to share, just decimated the dish after they went to bed; my sole regret is having not doubled it so I’d have more left for today’s lunch.

roasted yams and chickpeas with yogurt

One year ago: The ‘I Want Chocolate Cake’ Cake
Two years ago: Morning Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel
Three years ago: French Onion Tart
Four years ago: Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon and Blue Cheese
Five years ago: Piña Colada Cake
Six years ago: Thick Chewy Granola Bars
Seven years ago: Hot Fudge Sauce and Red Kidney Bean Curry
Eight years ago: Escarole and Orzo Soup with Meatballs
Nine years ago: Baked Tomato Sauce

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Crispy Peach Cobbler
1.5 Years Ago: Strawberries and Cream with Graham Crumbles
2.5 Years Ago: Key Lime Pie Popsicles and Butterscotch Pudding Popsicles
3.5 Years Ago: Leek Chard and Corn Flatbread
4.5 Years Ago:  Zucchini Fritters

Roasted Yams and Chickpeas with Yogurt
Adapted from Gjelina

You’re going to end up with more yogurt and more chickpeas than you probably need — or fewer potatoes. It’s all a matter of perspective, really.

Serves 2, hungrily, 4, humbly

3 large yams or orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, cut into 4 lengthwise wedges, or 8, if your yams are very thick
1 to 2 tablespoons honey (I used 1; 2 are called for)
1 tablespoon crushed red-pepper flakes (Espelette are called for; I used mild Aleppo)
1 3/4 cups (1 15-ounce can) chickpeas, drained and patted dry on towels
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from approximately 2 limes
2 scallions, both green and white parts, trimmed and thinly sliced, for garnish

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Line two baking sheets with foil, for minimal mess. Coat one, the one you’ll use for the yams, with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Toss yams with honey, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of pepper flakes. Let sit in bowl for 5 to 10 minutes. Toss chickpeas with 1 tablespoon olive oil, smoked paprika and salt, to taste.

Spread yams out on olive oil-ed baking sheet in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, until nicely toasted underneath. Flip/move wedges around and roast for 5 to 10 more minutes, until soft and singed. For extra color, run them under the broiler for a final minute.

Meanwhile, spread chickpeas on second uncoated baking sheet. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, rolling around once or twice so that they cook evenly, until lightly browned and crispy on the outside. Set aside.

Whisk yogurt, remaining tablespoon olive oil and lime juice together in a small dish, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange yams on plate or platter, drizzle some of the yogurt over, then about half the chickpeas. Garnish with scallions and remaining pepper flakes, plus flaky sea salt, if you have any. Keep extra chickpeas and yogurt on the side. Dig in.

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caramelized brown sugar oranges with yogurt – smitten kitchen

Just in case there was anyone still out there mistaking me for some sort of domestic diva, or even a moderately skilled at being domestic, you should know that it has taken until the spring of the year 2016, nearly a full decade after starting a food website where I’ve had the brass to coax others along in the kitchen as if I had some sort of innate greater understanding of it, for me to learn how to use my broiler. Prior to consulting experts reading my oven’s manual um, Googling it a few months ago, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why other people managed to broil things whenever they needed for as long as they needed but mine shut off after 4 minutes. It turns out that cracking open the oven door keeps the temperature from getting so high in the oven that it goes into a panic a shuts off, freeing me fulfill my lifelong fantasy of setting all my food on fire.

the last of the oranges my kind of flowersskinned slices

I’m only a little bit joking. Last summer, trying to return to a level of normalcy in the weeks after bringing the sweetest potato home from the hospital, Alex and I spent a week Netflix binging on the first season of Chef’s Table and I fell head over heels for cooking I will probably never experience in my life, that from Francis Mallmann. Mallmann is an Argentine chef whose specialty is wild, open-fire cooking — everything over wood fire, usually in an open pit, on cast iron planchas and parrillas, and sometimes in the ashes too. And his food looks out of this world — even something as simple as a cheese toast made with a log of goat cheese you can get at your local Stop & Shop is transformed in a griddle over open flames into a crisp, golden-brown crusted melt that I would climb through a television screen to get at. The episode ended and I declared it time to get a fire pit. My husband cited fire codes and other pesky side effects of living in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I sulked.

dabbed with brown sugar broiledready to chill from the fridge

But now that I have a functioning broiler — or, to be clear, now I am functioning at using my broiler — and at least the tiniest portion of this desire to cook and eat artfully charred food is sated. I am also now able, at last, to return to some of the simplest delights of high-heat cooking, in this case, broiled citrus. We’re at the tail end of peak citrus right now as (hopefully) we’re going to be reacquainted with fresh, local spring produce soon, and I wanted to have one last hurrah with the Moros, the Cara Caras and Minneolas before they’re gone. Broiling them with a thin schmear of light brown sugar transforms them into something even more special, a fleck of burnt sugar bitterness with the tang of pineapple in the running juices. Chilling them when you’re done creates a distant relative of a compote that you can use for anything you please over the next week — on pancakes, with yogurt and mint for a luxe breakfast or light dessert, or even with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an unexpected treat, and I didn’t have to break any laws to pull it off.

finished with mint
caramelized oranges with yogurt and mint

One year ago: Wild Mushroom Pâté
Two years ago: Three-Bean Chili
Three years ago: Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Tahini
Four years ago: Raspberry Coconut Macaroons
Five years ago: Spaetzle
Six years ago: Romesco Potatoes
Seven years ago: Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Strawberry Coulis
Eight years ago: Swiss Easter Rice Tart
Nine years ago: Rich Buttermilk Waffles

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Broccoli Cheddar Soup
1.5 Years Ago: Latke Waffles
2.5 Years Ago: Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
3.5 Years Ago: Crackly Banana Bread
4.5 Years Ago: Apple and Honey Challah

Burnt Sugar Oranges with Yogurt and Mint
Inspired by this combination from Nigella

Let this be my contribution to the “no recipes” movement, because you are not going to need one here. What you need is some brown sugar, a few oranges, even imperfect ones, some yogurt and a few leaves of mint. You do not need measuring spoons. You will be most successful if you keep an eye on it, as broilers will vary in how fast they get things done. But, here’s roughly how to do it:

A few oranges, even imperfect ones
Nonstick cooking spray
A little light brown sugar
Plain Greek yogurt
A few leaves of mint, sliced thin

Heat your broiler.

Cut tops and bottoms off oranges, exposing the flesh inside and creating a flat edge that you can stand it up on. Then slice off all the white from each orange. Cut skinned oranges into 1/2-inch crosswise slices, so that each resemble a wheel or flower.

Line a heavy baking sheet with foil and lightly coat it with oil or a nonstick spray. Arrange orange slices in one layer on it. Dab or schmear each with a little bit of brown sugar — I used about 1/4 teaspoon on each. Run under the broiler until they begin to brown on top; this can take anywhere from 5 minutes in a very good broiler to 10 to 15 in my sleepy one. Keep an eye on it.

Transfer oranges and any juices on tray to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for several hours or overnight. More juices will have puddled by the morning. Place a few orange slices in a small glass or cup, top with yogurt, a spoonful of juices and mint.

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roasted carrots with avocado and yogurt – smitten kitchen

Me and this salad go way back. In 2007 — you know, back in the days when I imagine that all of our conversations might have gone “What should we do today?” “Oh, I don’t know, anything we want.” — I had this salad at the then new-ish Spotted Pig in the West Village and attempted to recreate it. It didn’t go well and because I was as mature then as I am now, I had a tantrum and didn’t get back to it until 2009, at which point I made a roasted carrot dish with a bit of cumin and topped it with avocado slices that had been tossed with some lemon and everyone was happy. However, in 2011, Jean-Georges Vongerichten published a book of his homecooking favorites including this salad, which is also on the menu at ABC Kitchen and in 2012, April Bloomfield included the recipe in her first cookbook and I’ve thought it might be nice to circle back to these more complexly spiced and textured versions.

carrots, not having their best day

Can I veer off for a moment here? [I mean, that’s kind of my thing, not being able to finish a sentence without at least one other tangentially-related sentence inside it.] Okay, so I get a lot of cooking ideas from restaurants I go to and I jot them down but it’s not because I want to do anything sinister like pretend I came up with them first, but because I want to do something with the impression it made on me. It’s like going to a museum and admiring the soft colors in a painting and realizing you want to soften the palette in your own artwork; nobody is going to mistake you for Monet any more than anyone is going to mistake me for Beyoncé if I buy thigh-high tights and wear them as pants. (They’re more likely, in fact, beg me to never do this again.) People have said to me, “Why don’t you just ask the chef for their recipe?” or “But this recipe is published! Don’t you want to make their version?” but I actually don’t for two reasons. First, I want to stay true to what I remembered about it, even if it might have been incorrect, because it was my impression that got me daydreaming about a new flavor combination or approach to an ingredient. Second, holy moly, are chef recipes usually a headache! For restaurant purposes, this makes a ton of sense (each element prepared separately before service so it can be assembled and cooked to order) but to cook like this at home — at dinnertime no less, when everyone is hungry — is madness and a short path to being so exhausted you might need a week of takeout to recover.

ready to roast
from the oven

Which begs the question: why make a new, more complicated version of something we were happy with to begin with? In this case it’s because every time I’ve been back to a restaurant that served it, I’ve fallen again in love with how nuanced it is. Plus, I now see its potential to be a rounded meal by making it less restaurant-style (precious and plated) and more homestyle, in a way we’d all want to dig into on a weekday night. In fact, I hope this is your dinner tonight.

spiced roasted carrots with avocado and yogurt
spiced roasted carrots with avocado and yogurt

One year ago: Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake
Two years ago: Five (Different) Egg Sandwiches
Three years ago: Japanese Vegetable Pancakes
Four years ago: Chocolate Buckwheat Cake
Five years ago: Vemontucky Lemonade
Six years ago: Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash
Seven years ago: Cinnamon Raisin Bagels and Endive and Celery Salad with Fennel Vinaigrette
Eight years ago: Crispy Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies
Nine years ago: Raspberry-Topped Lemon Muffins

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Pecan Pie
1.5 Years Ago: Pretzel Parker House Rolls
2.5 Years Ago: Cranberry Orange Breakfast Buns
3.5 Years Ago: Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
4.5 Years Ago: Baked Pumpkin and Sour Cream Puddings

Spiced Roasted Carrots with Avocado and Yogurt


  • On origin: As I mentioned, this recipe has made the rounds at big-name restaurants and from big-name chefs. (Jamie Oliver, who I think was once a silent partner at Spotted Pig, also has a version. Also, if anyone who follows restaurants obsessively wants to tell me how it made the jump from the Jean-Georges to the Spotted Pig camp, I’m curious!) Everyone agrees on 90% of the ingredients — carrots, avocado, sour cream, something crunchy, cumin and citrus — but nobody agrees on how to cook the carrots and other smaller details. This version: Is all and none of the above; you’ll use yogurt instead of sour cream and there will be no segmenting of oranges on a Tuesday night. That’s a rule. Almost everything comes together on one big messy tray of dinner — sheet pans 4eva!
  • Finally, I was champing at the bit to make a spring-ier riff on this with asparagus instead of carrots (but my carrot-loving husband begged to differ). Don’t you think asparagus would be amazing with cumin, coriander, thyme and citrus? With asparagus, everything will go much faster as you’ll probably have it nicely roasted in the 15 to 25 minute range, no foil lid or water in the pan needed. Do it!

I made about a 2/3 to 3/4 size of this on a 10×15 tray but you should use a full half-sheet pan (13×18) or two quarter-sheet (9×13) pans for the yield below.

    For the carrots
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and cooled if you have the patience, ground will work here as well
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and cooled if you have the patience, ground will work here as well
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Red chile flakes, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 pounds thin-to-medium carrots, scrubbed, not peeled; mixed colors are prettier here but not essential
  • To finish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (from about 1/4 orange)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 large or 2 medium firm-ripe avocados, cut in thin slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 cups radish sprouts, other sprouts or light salad greens of your choice
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons roasted hulled pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, toasted sesame seeds or a mix thereof
Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cover 1 large (half-sheet) or 2 smaller (quarter-sheet) roasting pans with foil for easy cleanup. Pour 1/4 cup water in bottom of pan (or divide between both).

Make your spice paste by either pounding the cumin, coriander, thyme, salt and peppers in a mortar and pestle until roughly ground, using an electric spice grinder (i.e. a coffee grinder you don’t mind smelling like spices) or small food processor to do the same, or, if using ground spices, just combining them in the bottom of the large bowl you’re about to use. In the bottom of a very large bowl, combine prepared spices, salt and pepper, garlic, vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil and whisk to blend. Add carrots and toss to coat.

Spread carrots, drizzling with any extra marinade, in prepared pans and cover tightly with foil. Roast for 25 minutes covered then remove the foil and roast for 35 minutes more, until the carrots are lightly browned and tender but not falling apart.

Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, orange and lemon juices in a small dish with salt and pepper. When carrots are done, scatter with avocado and sprouts then drizzle with this citrus dressing all over. Dollop yogurt over the top and sprinkle with seeds. Dig in.

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cucumber yogurt raita salad – smitten kitchen

If you needed another reason to add to the list of why you’d probably never want to be cornered at a party with me, I should tell you I’m more than a normal level of fascinated by the intersection of tomatoes and cucumbers in salads around the world. And I want to talk about it.

what you'll need
finely grated garlic

Because, seriously, can we go on a cucumber-tomato salad summer world tour? From the classic Greek salad (horiatiki), to the Palestinian/Arab/Israeli salads in their infinite variations, their close cousins, the shepherd’s salads (shirazi in Iran, çoban salatası in Turkey, shopska in Macedonia and Bulgaria), plus the kachumber in India and all of the variants, like fattoush and I’m going to need one of each. I was particularly struck by what Ottolenghi said in the intro to the fattoush salad in his Jerusalem cookbook, that freshly chopped vegetable salads like this are served with every meal and that friends visiting London often complained of feeling like they ate ‘unhealthily’ because there weren’t fresh salad with each meal.

adding jalapeno, ginger, salt
the dressing
i might be on a rhombus kick
not bad for grocery store tomatoes, eh?
ready to mix

This only relates to Ottolenghi tangentially, however. After drooling over this entire Middle Eastern take on a proper English garden party in the New York Times last weekend, it was the cucumber salad that in particular stuck with me, and its spiced yogurt dressing. It made me think of cucumber raita, that great cooling Indian condiment. And it made me want to upend the proportions, that is, instead of a lot of yogurt burying a little bit of cucumber, a great pile of cucumber and a smaller amount of yogurt dressing. Tomato isn’t the most common inclusion in cucumber raitas, although I’ve had it before, but it works wonderfully here, and whether you make this as a side dish to a Wednesday dinner or bring it to a picnic or barbecue or beach this weekend, I don’t think this will be the last time you make it this summer.

cucumber yogurt raita salad
cucumber yogurt raita salad

One year ago: Swirled Berry Yogurt Popsicles and Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes
Two years ago: Carrot Salad with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas
Three years ago: Two Classic Sangrias
Four years ago: Tzatziki Potato Salad
Five years ago: Strawberry Summer Cake
Six years ago: Braided Lemon Bread, Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint and Rustic Rhubarb Tarts
Seven years ago: Almond Raspberry Layer Cake, Asparagus Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta and Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
Eight years ago: 30 Ways To Be A Good Guest
Nine years ago: Cellophane Noodle Salad with Roast Pork and Coconut Pinkcherry Yogurt

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Parsley Pecorino Biscuits
1.5 Years Ago: Crispy Sweet Potato Roast
2.5 Years Ago: Cauliflower with Brown Butter Crumbs
3.5 Years Ago: Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
4.5 Years Ago: Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts

Cucumber Yogurt Raita Salad

Think of this as cucumber raita with the proportions inverted — a lot of cucumber, a smaller amount of yogurt dressing — but it’s not overly technical, as there are ingredients here not common in raita.


  • Feel free to play around with this salad; each seed option will provide a different flavor; pomegranate arils might be a punchy alternative to tomatoes (perhaps 1/2 cup to start, add more if desired).
  • Do not mix the dressing with the salad until the end; it becomes looser after sitting a while. You’ll have more dressing than you need, however, so you can always bring extra and stir in more before you share it, to refresh it a little.
  • I don’t generally include notations in recipes that you should have cleaned your vegetables because I bet you’ve got that down already, but as this is one of my axes to grind, may I beg you to not forget to wash those plastic-wrapped cucumbers well? I’m always a little horrified by the color of a white towel used to wipe it dry after rinsing it; the plastic makes them seem cleaner than they are.
  • This made a delicious dinner last night with some roasted chicken and potato wedges (cooked, if we’re being honest, in the roasted chicken drippings). If I didn’t have chicken around, we might have had this with toast pita or naan wedges and maybe even stirred in some chickpeas for more protein.
  • 1 cup (227 grams) plain, full-fat yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon minced mild or hot fresh chile (I used a jalapeno)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, black or yellow mustard seeds or nigella seeds (I used black mustard seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, divided
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Assembly
  • 2 long, English-style cucumbers (2 pounds total)
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped small

Make the dressing by placing yogurt in a medium bowl and using a very fine grater to grate the garlic and ginger over it. Stir in sugar, lemon, chile, seeds, half of the mint and cilantro and season it with salt to taste. Set aside until you’re ready to serve the salad.

Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, then each half three more times into long wedge-shaped pieces (i.e. 8 long pieces per cucumber). Cut them into 1 to 1 1/2-inch lengths on a diagonal and add them to a big bowl. Pile tomatoes and onion on top and when you’re ready to eat, mix half of the dressing with the salad. Sprinkle with remaining mint and cilantro and serve with extra yogurt dressing on the side.

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eggplant with yogurt and tomato relish – smitten kitchen

Traditional ikri (Russian eggplant caviar) uses red peppers and dill, too, but not the one I know so I skip it too. I made a little plain couscous to sprinkle on this so it felt more hearty; it’s tasty here but completely non-essential. You could also serve this over the couscous, or skip it entirely.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds eggplant; I prefer the long, thin variety here but any will do
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (75 grams) dried couscous (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Trim eggplants and cut in half lengthwise; season cut sides with salt and pepper. Coat a large roasting pan with olive oil (1 to 2 tablespoons). Arrange eggplants cut side down; sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes on the first side, or until brown underneath then flip and roast 5 to 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, make couscous, if using it. Bring 3/4 cup water and a few pinches of salt to a simmer then pour it over dried couscous in a bowl. Cover with a lid or foil and let side for 5 minutes to absorb, then fluff with a fork.

Make tomato relish by pulsing garlic and parsley in a blender or food processor until finely chopped, then add tomatoes and pulse until they’re well chopped. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, vinegar, salt, freshly ground black pepper or a pinch or two of red pepper flakes and pulse to combine. No food process or blender? Not a problem at all; just mince the garlic and parsley well and finely chop the tomatoes; stir this together with the remaining ingredients. Both methods: taste for seasoning. We like this extra sharp and almost always add 1 more teaspoon vinegar and more salt. The longer it sits, the more potent it gets.

To assemble, schmear each eggplant half with a little yogurt. If you’re using couscous, sprinkle a little on top. Spoon tomato relish over and serve the rest of all the above on the side.

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homemade merguez with herby yogurt – smitten kitchen

This recipe is adapted, just barely, from Julia Turshen’s Small Victories. Merguez is a spicy fresh sausage in North African cuisine, and is also popular throughout the Middle East and Europe. It’s usually made with mutton or beef; we are going to use lamb. Harissa usually gives it its characteristic red color; Turshen calls for 2 tablespoons but because I have kids who would not appreciate it, I used just a little squeeze. You can adjust it to taste as well. Oh, and if you’re feeling extra-ambitious, you can also make your own very delicious harissa. But I was out and used this.

    To serve
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) plain yogurt
  • A small handful finely chopped leafy fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint, chives, dill or a mix thereof) plus a few roughly chopped, to serve
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • A handful shredded red cabbage to serve (optional)
  • Lemon wedges, to serve
  • Sausage
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds or a heaped 1/2 teaspoon ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds or a heaped 1/2 teaspoon ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds or a heaped 1/2 teaspoon ground
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste (I just used a small squeeze) or another hot sauce
  • 1 pound (455 grams) ground lamb, at room temperature

Make the herby yogurt: Mix the yogurt, finely chopped herbs and vinegar in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and extra vinegar, if desired. Set aside until needed.

Make the merguez: If using whole spices, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Grind them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Combine lamb, spices, including paprika, harissa, garlic and 1 teaspoon (Turshen called for 1 1/2, which was very salty and we liked it but probably not for everyone) kosher salt and mix to combine. Form into 12 mounds.

[Do ahead: You can keep the mixed meat patties and herbed yogurt in the fridge for up to 3 days.]

Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Coat with olive oil and once it is very hot, add a few sausage mounds. Once they hit the frying pan, flatten them with the back of your spatula. Cook until brown and crispy underneath, then flip and cook for another minute or two. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining meat.

Serve patties warm with herby yogurt and scattered with extra herbs and shredded cabbage, if desired, plus wedges of lemon to squeeze over.

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crisped chickpeas with herbs and garlic yogurt – smitten kitchen

We’ve all been lying to you about crispy chickpeas. I’m sorry. It wasn’t very cool of us. I include myself; I’ve been telling you for years that you can crisp chickpeas in the oven and you can, you really can. But it’s not the whole story. The whole story is that you can get them crunchy in the oven but they also dry out a bit and the texture isn’t half as good as the more lightweight, nuanced crisp you get from frying them on the stove. I’ve always known this. But, who wants to deep fry? Not most of us, and certainly on a random Tuesday. It sounds like a project. It must use a ton of oil. It feels a bit heavy… for lunch.

what you'll need

But what if none of this is true, either? One day earlier this summer I wanted crispy chickpeas and I didn’t want to crank up the oven for 35 to 40 minutes to make it happen. Instead, I heated a few tablespoons of oil (a tablespoon more, if that, than I find roasting them requires) in a small frying pan and it took all of 10 minutes to get them perfect — crispy with shattery edges, but still soft inside. I drained them briefly on a paper towel, coated them with salt, pepper, and lemon zest, and then I added a little more oil to the pan and fried some thinly sliced zucchini until it were browned in spots. On a plate, I stirred together some plain yogurt, finely grated garlic, lemon juice, and salt. I layered the zucchini on top, and half the chickpeas on top of that. I finished the whole thing with red pepper flakes, fresh herbs, and more lemon juice. And I don’t know that I have made a more perfect plate of food since.*

patted drypan-crisped chickpeasvery fried chickpeasdrained, salted, lemon zestthinly slicedbrown the zucchiniyogurt with lemon, garlic, and salta layer of fried zucchini

Nutty chickpeas, almost sweet browned zucchini, cold garlicky yogurt, with an intense toum-like vibe, all together in each forkful is more complexity than I’d ever hoped to find in a plate of beans and yogurt. I made it again the next day, frying more zucchini and using the second half of the fried chickpeas, and I plan to repeat it all fall and winter with other vegetables I can singe in a pan (eggplant, thinly sliced peppers, perhaps even some winter squash). I’m envisioning a future where I sit down to stunning, plated lunches I’ve made just for me, because I’m worth it, but that’s just early September ambition talking. But let me daydream, okay?

crisped chickpeas with herbs and garlic yogurt

* which is either an insult to all of the food I’ve made since or a tell that, well, I’ve barely cooked recently. Because… we just got back from Ireland! We’ll talk more about the food soon, but in the meanwhile, if you’re into reading itineraries, I wrote this up just for you.


Six months ago: Salted Peanut Tart
One year ago: Foolproof Cacio e Pepe
Two years ago: Cheesecake Bars with All The Berries and Corn Chowder with Chile, Lime, and Cotija
Three years ago: Eggplant Parmesan Melts and Even More Perfect Blueberry Muffins
Four years ago: Angel Hair Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce, Crispy Peach Cobbler, and Corn Chowder Salad
Five years ago: Strawberries and Cream with Graham Crumbles and Corn Cheddar and Scallion Strata
Six years ago: Almond-Crisped Peaches, Key Lime Popsicles and Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
Seven years ago: Mediterranean Baked Feta with Tomatoes, Leek, Chard, and Corn Flatbread and Vanilla Custards with Roasted Blueberries
Eight years ago: Hazelnut Plum-Crumb Tart, Zucchini Fritters, and Naked Tomato Sauce
Nine years ago: Eggplant Salad Toasts and Peach Shortbread
Ten years ago: Griled Eggplant and Olive Pizza and Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting
Eleven years ago: Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, Kefta and Zucchini Kebabs and Dimply Plum Cake
Twelve years ago: Double Chocolate Torte and Spicy Soba Noodles with Shiitakes
Thirteen years ago: Moules Frites and 44-Clove Garlic Soup

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layered yogurt flatbreads – smitten kitchen

Heap these flatbreads with a simple salad, an egg, a saute of vegetables, or eat them as my kids do, warm from the pan with a little extra butter on top. Feel free to use this recipe as a springboard for other flavors — garlic, herbs, or spices.

Update, 6/5/20: What I’m learning from your comments is that yogurt varies widely in how loose it is and if yours is on the wetter side, you may not need any added water here. So, I am updating the recipe to only add water as needed. I hope this resolves any issues with sticky dough. Stick dough is fine when it first comes together — the goal, in fact — but it should absorb and become easy to roll as it rests; check my pictures of each step for reference.

  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (I use Diamond, use half of another brand, here’s why)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup plain, full- or low-fat yogurt (Greek or regular)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter, olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee (for assembly)
Make dough: Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add yogurt and [updated to edit] stir to combine — you’ll have to mash it a bit to get it mixed in. If needed, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring thoroughly to combine, until flour-yogurt mixture forms large clumps. For plain, non-Greek yogurt, you might need 2 to 3 tablespoons of water total; for Greek, you might need up to 4 tablespoons; for a thinner or homemade yogurt, you might need no water at all. Mix as best as you can with a spoon and then, if you can reach your hands into the bowl, use them to bring the dough together into a rough ball. Transfer — along with any unmixed bits — to your counter and knead into a smooth ball, about 1 to 2 minutes. Lightly flour a spot on the counter, place the ball of dough on top of it, and upend the empty bowl over it. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Layer dough: Divide dough into 8 wedges. Working with one at a time, very lightly flour your counter and roll out each into a round or oblong shape as thin as it will go — usually about 6″ in diameter. Brush thinly with 2 teaspoons butter or oil. Roll dough away from you into a thin cylinder, then wind each cylinder into a coil (it will look like a sideways snail). Place each coil of dough back on a floured spot and cover, resting for another 15 to 20 minutes; repeat with remaining pieces of dough.

Heat your oven to 300 degrees F and have a big baking sheet ready. (Flatbreads fully cook on stove, but you can keep them warm and lightly puffed in the oven.)

Cook flatbreads: Working with one coil at a time, roll into a thin round (about 5″). Brush the top with more butter, you can be a bit more generous here. Repeat with as many flatbreads as you think you can fit in your pan; leave the remaining coils continue to rest, covered.

Warm a frying pan over medium-low heat. Flip flatbread butter-side-down onto pan and cook until a deep golden brown underneath, about 5 minutes. Brush the top with more butter as it cooks on the first side, then flip and continue cooking until the same deep golden brown on the second. Transfer to baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm. Continue this process with the remaining coils and flatbreads.

Do ahead: These layered yogurt flatbreads keep perfectly in the fridge; I wrap mine in foil. Rewarm in a 300-degree oven for about 10 minutes.

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