Justin Winokur's Kitchen Cooking Notebook

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Friday, March 24, 2017, 02:54 AM

I discovered a little bit ago that falafel freezes well so when I made it on 2016-11-16 I made a double batch and froze it.

We had it today with some (store bought) hummus and Cava Style Harissa (which was spicy but awesome)

Harissa Salad Dressing

Thursday, March 23, 2017, 02:39 AM

Not much to say about this except that I am continuing to use Cava Style Harissa (Which I just moved to my recipe book). I mixed it with some greek yogurt and then some almond milk to thin it.

It was pretty good. I did like it but not as much as the salsa with the cilantro stuff (which I should try with greek yogurt)...

Curry Chicken Salad and Broccoli

Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 08:58 PM

Meredith made a big batch of curry chicken salad with rotisserie chicken and made it about 6x the amount it calls for.

She followed the recipe pretty generally but accidentally used too much turmeric. It still worked pretty well. It had some spice from the cayenne and she used walnuts instead of cashews. Also, as usual used non-fat Greek Yogurt for the mayo.

Not too much else, but it was good as usual. And we have a ton of food for lunch for the next few days!

We also made broccoli with leftover tahini sauce from 2017-02-26. The broccoli was a bit overcooked and the sauce was old but it was fine.

Pita Pizzas

Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 03:10 AM

Pretty simple meal of pita pizzas (and also some salad with leftover dressing). I made

And Meredith made: (both with fresh-from-the-garden oregano)

On both of them, we used some roasted garlic powder which was really good.

We baked them for 350°F for 15-20 minutes

Turkey K(o/e)ftas and Teriyaki Mushrooms

Sunday, March 19, 2017, 09:35 PM

We were originally going to make half keftas and half koftas but somewhere in the process of making them, I got mixed up and started to mix the ingredients so I just made a big batch of both. Also, we decided to go with turkey instead since it was a great price, a good fat content (7%) and we thought it was a good change. The only problem was that it was a big thing of it (3.35 lbs). So I also eyeballed upping the spices.

I struggled to place it on 6 double-skewers. It was a lot and it was also very droopy. But, I managed to do it! I thought I'd have to grill it for a long time, but it ended up getting sufficiently cooked in time. I ended up keeping the heat on low while I worked on the mushrooms.

Anyway, they came out really good. I was worried that they would be too cooked but I think they held up really well. And, the flavors were a bit strange but they did worked. I mean, the koftas and keftas have very similar recipe (and origin?) so I think it worked pretty well!

Besides combining the recipes, I made a few small changes:

Again, these came together really well. Kind of surprisingly well!

We made the same mushrooms as yesterday since they were (a) really good, and (b) we had leftover teriyaki (though it was a bit too thick). They came out really good too. I think I figured out why: it is because it basically makes candies bacon!

Meredith also made fattoush though she basically just eyeballed everything. And, unfortunately the flatbread we bought went moldy (way too quickly!) so we also didn’t

Prepped and ready. They were big On the grill

Final view of everything

Harissa and Cilantro Dip

Sunday, March 19, 2017, 01:46 PM

I really liked the harissa (now in my recipe book) from yesterday so I made a full batch. The only real changes I made was to pre-grind the crushed red pepper and I used about 1/3 cup oil instead of half. Grinding the crushed red pepper worked well enough, but it did get very, very hard to breathe in the kitchen! And, of course, it came out pretty spicy. I think it was fine with the lesser oil amount.

I also made our (now staple) Cilantro Chili Dip but used way too many peppers and didn't deseed them enough. It was spicy. I need to be more careful about the spice levels!

Chicken Skewers and Grilled Bacon Mushrooms

Saturday, March 18, 2017, 10:28 PM


We made two types of chicken skewers and also teriyaki mushrooms.

The chicken skewers were from Zahav (scanned here). It was part of their "Pargiyot Three Ways" though we only did two. For the "onion marinade" (they both have the same amount of onion but whatever), we followed the recipe pretty directly. For the harissa one, we did follow the recipe but used a tomato-based harissa (see below).

I tried to do a more Japanese style of skewering. I butterflied the chicken and then also pounded it thin. I cut it into smallish pieces and basically folded every piece as I put it on and packed it tight. According to Serious Eats, this helps to keep them from drying out. I also just think it looked good and gave some more texture.

Anyway, the chicken was marinated for a few hours and was really flavorful. I put on more sauce at the end before the last turn. They came out really good. The onion one was a bit lemony but not bad. I liked the harissa one a lot too! And the onions in both smelled really good while it was cooking.

Finally, I also made yakitori mushrooms as we did last time. Except I used regular mushrooms with 4 per skewer and a total of 1 slice of [center cut] bacon per skewer (basically a third). Like the chicken, I tried to also fold them up as I put them on. It worked really well. I was a bit unsure about the teriyaki (which I also made myself with some ginger an garlic) because it came out too thick. But heating it a bit helped. And it did end up giving it enough flavor. The bacon again gave a lot of flavor to the mushrooms.


Meredith and I used to really like the Harissa at Cava in Northern Virginia. She was working on it at one at one time but it was complicated and a lot of work.

Well, she found this article and recipe (LOCAL recipe1 -- now My Recipe Book). It seemed too good to be true. Especially since the ingredients on the package are:

Stewed tomatoes / Non-GMO canola oil / Spices / Extra- virgin olive oil / Fresh parsley / Kosher salt / Fresh garlic

and this one just calls for tomato paste instead of stewed tomatoes. And it just seemed too easy. But it actually worked really well. It had some crunchiness from the not-fully-ground crushed red pepper but was pretty spot least to our memory. I think we would make this and keep it around. Especially it was so easy! (and the recipe does seem to come right from them!). Maybe next time, I will grind up the crushed red pepper in a spice grinder first.


  1. Harissa with the harissa and onion marinade
  2. In the bags marinating
  3. Skewered and ready

Salad and Dessert

When Meredith was in Durham at Burger Bach, she had a very flavorful, herb-centric salad and decided to make something like it.

She was inspired by Good House Keeping's recipe (LOCAL1) but added a ton of thyme and oregano. We basically did most of it by eye adding more oil, and then some water, as needed.

Our friends made dessert of a strawberry short cake. It was home made whipped cream with macerated strawberries and some Angel's Food Cake

  1. U: guest, P: name of my boston terrier, all lower case  

Huevos Rancheros

Friday, March 17, 2017, 11:07 PM

We made the typical huevos rancheros with green chile and rotisserie chicken. I used feta on one and some Mexican cheese blend on the others.

It has been a while since I've made them and I think I burned the tortillas a little. Also, I used too much chicken. But, still good! And easy!