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Author: nmalekan@gmail.com

Pretty Pickled Onions

Pretty Pickled Onions

I experimented with quick pickling last memorial day and they were a hit!

Back in May, I made them as a condiment for the Ultimate Naz Burger. Since then, they’ve become a family staple. We use them on everything for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They work with countless dishes. They can be a nice addition to simple eggs, add a bright zing to any salad or sandwich, and their tangy goodness offers a balanced compliment to anything rich or sweet (i.e. roasted butternut squash or a creamy soup).

Besides, it takes about 10 minutes to make and the beautiful crimson jewel-toned color is gorgeous!

Full instructions are below, but you basically slice the onions and submerge in a bath of vinegar, sugar and salt. After some experimentation, I’ve come up with the perfect ratio of those elements. You don’t want the end result to be too sour, sweet or salty.

After you put everything together, refrigerate for 3-4 hours. But honestly, it starts tasting pretty darn good in about an hour. You can add aromatics like garlic, thyme and peppercorns if that tickles your fancy. But this simple 4 ingredient version will be hit without the extras.

 

 

Like the recipe? Feel free to share with us your rendition on our Basil and Roses Facebook page or @basilandroses on Instagram using the hashtag #PrettyPickledOnions 

Enjoy ya’all!

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

They say “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” 365 days ago, I took my first step and became a food blogger. It is hard to believe I am writing about the one year anniversary of Basil & Roses!  And  what an incredible year it has been. First and foremost, thank you to all the beautiful people whom have supported me. Without your love and enthusiasmthis journey would not have been the same.

As I reflect on the last year, I’m inspired by the meals I’ve shared with loved ones and humbled by the lessons I learned along the way. To be honest, I dragged my feet launching this site. I had experience cooking, but had never built a website, nor fully understood what a web hosting service was. Despite working endlessly on content, the perfectionist within me kept hesitating. I couldn’t fathom a launch unless the website was the best you had ever seen– an unreasonable expectation. And, a mistake.

Luckily I’m surrounded with wise friends and a life Sherpa who provide endless encouragement. So, I set a final deadline and just did it. I launched, with imperfections and all. It was better to roll the dice and move forward, instead of procrastinating and finding excuses to not take a risk. That was one of my biggest lessons. Don’t wait for the conditions to be perfect to begin anything. It is the act of beginning that actually makes it all perfect.

George Bernard Shaw says “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Basil and Roses is my platform of creation. It is through sharing my culinary journey with you that I have been able to grow, evolve and learn.

“Although this is only the beginning, and self-growth is a continuous, arduous process, for the first time in a long time I can say that I feel happy. Throughout my journey, I’ve learned that happiness is a kind of courage. Rumi says, “Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love.” Basil and Roses is my homage to cultivating that love.”

That is how I introduced myself to you one year ago. Those words mean as much today as they did then.

So join me and take a risk! Take many risks. Follow your passions, do everything you love. Throw fear out the door. Fall in love with basil. Dance without a care. Embrace what makes you smile and welcome new beginnings.

Or as Rumi tells us:

“Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I’ll be mad.”

With love,
~ Notorious Naz

Attempting to conquer my fear of heights, Cadillac Mountain Acadia National Park Maine

 

And by the way,

In honor of a year of delicious meals, celebrations, and gatherings –  I’ll be sharing with you my favorite entertaining recipes. Whether hosting an intimate gathering or a large soiree, these dishes are excellent for any celebration in the true Basil & Roses spirit of Breaking Bread Together In Style!

We’ll start with my Spicy Thai Basil Beef. A simple stir fry served with fluffy rice. Make if for a cozy dinner for 4, or double/triple the recipe for a bigger dinner party with friends!

Nani’s Vitamin Soup

Nani’s Vitamin Soup

Fall has begun in New York and soup season is here! I love soup. It can be comforting, delicious and nutritious. And like many other popular dishes that exist in multiple cultures, soup has several origin stories. Among the most popular is the suggestion the word “soup” can be traced back to the sixth-century Latin word “suppa,” meaning a piece of bread eaten in broth. We’ll go with that.

There are endless creative ingredient combinations for a delicious soup. Here I share with you a recipe I made for my family last week when we all came down with a pesky cold. I call it Vitamin Soup! It’s rich tapestry of vegetables, herbs and spices is guaranteed to boost the immune system while providing a delicious and satisfying meal.

I strongly believe this is how we should take our vitamins. In my opinion, the health and wellness section of the supermarket is the produce section. The name vitamin soup is a fun play on words and it doesn’t just need to be limited to when we’re sick. A balanced and vegetable-rich diet complimented with healthy fats, savory spices and fresh herbs not only does a body good- but it is the best way to enjoy the fruit of the earth and maintain a healthy body, mind and spirit.

This is also a good way to use leftovers in the fridge. For example, I had a bit of rice and quinoa leftover that I just threw in there.

Customize with your favorite veggies + herbs and enjoy!

 

Lavender & Mint Infused Iced Tea

Lavender & Mint Infused Iced Tea

Both Lavender and Mint are wonderfully  fragrant on their own. Combined, that heavenly fragrance is even better! Both grow in full abundance this time of year and I like to get creative with how to use these prolific herbs. I recently created “floral” arrangements with these beauties and they were magnificent.

Lavender + Mint are also a great combo in iced tea. I like making big batches of it and keeping it chilled in the fridge for hot summer days. A refreshing, clean, and aromatic thirst-quenching delight!

Keep in mind, you need a small amount of lavender, you don’t want your beverage to taste like potpourri. You can adjust the amount of mint and lemon to your preference. Personally, I LOVE mint and lemon so I don’t hold back- but experiment and find the balance you enjoy best.

Roasted Cauliflower with Tangy Tahini Sauce

Roasted Cauliflower with Tangy Tahini Sauce

Cauliflower is a wonderful ingredient to cook with. This cruciferous vegetable has a mildly earthy and nutty flavor. It’s easy to cook, a nice source of vitamin C and quiet filling as vegetables go.

I try to incorporate vegetables in most meals, but once a week I like to highlight them in my Meatless Mondays. It is a simple way to not only diversify the week’s meals, but also experiment with whatever seasonal vegetables tickle your fancy at the moment.

The are many ways to cook with cauliflower. Simply roasting with olive oil, salt + pepper will result in a nice gold brown texture which enhances the nutty flavors. Combined with the sweetness from the caramelized onions and the tangy tahini sauce- you have yourself a flavor explosion made from a few simple ingredients.

 

Check out this page  for the Tangy Tahini Sauce Recipe.

Herb & Citrus Chicken Skewers with Mint-Basil Sauce

Herb & Citrus Chicken Skewers with Mint-Basil Sauce

Legend has it Kabab was invented by medieval soldiers who used their swords to grill meat over open-field fires. But mostly likely cooking pieces of meat over a flame has been around since humans began cooking with fire.

There are cultural variations to skewered food around the world: En Brochette as in the French technique, Satay of Malaysian or Indonesian origin , Souvlaki of Greece, Yakitori of Japan (which literally means “burnt chicken”),  Espetada of Portugal and my personal favorite Shish Kabab from Iran and surrounding Middle East countries- just to name a few.

It is a simple and practical way to cook and I want to share one of my favorite recipes with you. You can either grill these over fire or bake in the oven. Either way you end up with a tasty and juicy chicken. Drizzle it with my mint-basil sauce and you have a flavor explosion to boot!

 

Panko-Crusted Dijon Cod & Fragrant Mediterranean Salad

Panko-Crusted Dijon Cod & Fragrant Mediterranean Salad

Over the years I’ve enjoyed many delightful meals with my friend, Anjali. We both like beautiful and healthy food but never compromise flavor! So we teamed up for our next video to cook a delicious menu of panko crusted Dijon Cod fish and a fragrant Mediterranean salad with fresh herbs.

The fish is light and flaky with a tang of Dijon and cooks in a snap. The cucumber-tomato-feta salad is savory, fragrant and colorful.  Pair that with a chilled  Rose and fantastic company and you got yourself a fabulous meal!

 

Make The Best Steak Of Your Life!

Make The Best Steak Of Your Life!

Hi Friends,

I’m excited to introduce the first video of our Basil and Roses YouTube Channel!

I team up with my cousin Kam to make the best steak of your life. Impressive doesn’t have to mean fancy. All you need is great ingredients and technique, fabulous company and wine doesn’t hurt either.

The recipe is below. Check us out and feel free to comment, share, try the recipe and give us feedback.
Happy cooking!

 

 

 

June in the Garden

June in the Garden

Yesterday was a full day of work in the garden, feeding and pruning the kids. But, it’s all worth the hard work as June is one of the loveliest months in the garden.

The roses are gloriously perfuming the oasis. The hydrangeas are in early stages of color while courting the bumble bees. The marigolds echo the scent of the earth while murmuring the colors of the sun. The day lilies are bursting with gold while flirting with the wind. The regular lilies are starting to grow under the fallen blanket of white dogwood petals which retired in spring. And the herb garden is erupting with aromas of basil, sweet mint and French lavender.  The butterflies are ecstatic and so is this humble gardener. There is something especially satisfying in seeing your hard work literally “bloom” into beauty.

“We bury our seeds and wait,
Winter blocks the road,
Flowers are taken prisoner underground,
But then green justice tenders a spear.”
~Rumi

The Perfect Burger Recipe

The Perfect Burger Recipe

Every year my family hosts a big Memorial Day BBQ for our friends and family. On the menu are burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, veggies and lots of side salads and condiments. Over the years, I’ve learned to perfect what my friends call “The Naz Burger”.” It’s simple and delicious, and based on the feedback I’ve received on the 700+ burgers (that’s not a typo) I’ve made over the last decade, I think you’ll like them too!

You too can make a  great burger if you cover these basics:
-Good quality meat (I use beef)
-Minimal seasoning
-Properly made patties
-Not messing with the burgers too much
-Right cooking time
-Fun condiments (pickling recipes coming soon!)