Kel’s Easy Black Bean and Garbanzo Salad (Vegan)

Kel's Cafe Black Bean and Garbanzo salad

With warm weather finally on the horizon, I made this easy black bean and garbanzo (chickpea) salad. It takes about five minutes to assemble and once it has been refrigerated for 30 minutes or so it is ready to be enjoyed! Not only is this hearty salad full of fiber and good for you, it tastes fantastic.

This is a great dish to make for a pot-luck get-together – the guests will eat it up!

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Tip of the Month, March 2013: Covet Your Cookbook Collection

More cookbooks

My love of books started shortly after I was born and has been a huge factor in my career choices: librarian, writer and editor. My fascination with cookbooks started in junior high school. My parents had a small collection and my favorite was a Good Housekeeping cookbook with a bright blue cover. From that book I learned to make my own pie and pizza crusts from scratch. I still have several of my parents’ old cookbooks, like this great one by Julia Child, but do not have a clue what happened to the Good Housekeeping cookbook.

A page from Julia Child

I have finally managed to weed my cookbook collection to a mere four shelves worth – not an easy feat. However, with so many recipes on the Internet and the need for more space on my shelves, I did find new homes for many of them over the past several years.

Cookbooks

I love the convenience of finding recipes and meal ideas online as well as on some of the food apps on my cell phone (that’s a whole other post.) It comes in especially handy when I find something on sale at the store and am able to look up recipes on my phone to figure out what other ingredients I need to buy. Or, when I’m at work, I can just print a recipe from the Internet and take it shopping with me. However, browsing recipes online never will be able completely to replace leafing through an actual hard-copy cookbook, taking in the pictures and getting ideas for new dishes to make.

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Kel’s Crispy Oven-Baked Tilapia

Lovely piece of fish @kelscafe

For years I’ve been buying what Brad and I refer to as “oven fish” from Whole Foods or Fresh Market. “Oven fish” is simply fish filets such as tilapia, trout or flounder, encrusted in some sort of bread crumb mixture that may include Parmesan cheese and/or nuts such as pecans, pistachios or almonds. Simply bake for 20 minutes or so, and voilà, you have an easy and delicious main dish to serve for dinner. But the breaded fish usually comes at a price, as most prepared “fresh” foods do – the other day it was $10.99/lb.

So I decided to save some money and make my own encrusted fish. I found some great tilapia filets for $6.99/lb. Sliced almonds were also on sale and became my nut of choice.

Tilapia on sale!

I’m not 100% sure what the stores use to make the crust stick on the fish, but decided to give mine a bit of a kick with Dijon mustard. Excellent choice! It gave the filets a nice depth of flavor that the store-bought fish does not have. It takes a little bit longer to prepare this fish instead of buying the store-bought, but not by much and what you save makes it all worthwhile!

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Kel’s Crispy Oven-Baked Tilapia

Lovely piece of fish @kelscafeFor years I’ve been buying what Brad and I refer to as “oven fish” from Whole Foods or Fresh Market. “Oven fish” is simply fish filets such as tilapia, trout or flounder, encrusted in some sort of bread crumb mixture that may include Parmesan cheese and/or nuts such as pecans, pistachios or almonds. Simply bake for 20 minutes or so, and voilà, you have an easy and delicious main dish to serve for dinner. But the breaded fish usually comes at a price, as most prepared “fresh” foods do – the other day it was $10.99/lb.

So I decided to save some money and make my own encrusted fish. I found some great tilapia filets for $6.99/lb. Sliced almonds were also on sale and became my nut of choice.

Tilapia on sale!

I’m not 100% sure what the stores use to make the crust stick on the fish, but decided to give mine a bit of a kick with Dijon mustard. Excellent choice! It gave the filets a nice depth of flavor that the store-bought fish does not have. It takes a little bit longer to prepare this fish instead of buying the store-bought, but not by much and what you save makes it all worthwhile!

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Kel’s Homemade Italian Pizza with Turkey Meatballs

 

Kel's homemade Italian Pizza

I recently made some turkey meatballs (see Kel’s Tasty Turkey Meatballs for Pasta, Pizza and Pitas) and promised I would share my recipe for homemade Italian pizza. These meatballs have the right balance of seasonings and the addition of the paprika gives them a nice, smoky kick.

Turkey meatballs

The savory meatballs, sweet onions, slight bitterness of the green peppers and the mild black olives are a perfect combination on my homemade herb and garlic crust. Continue reading

Kel’s Homemade Italian Pizza with Turkey Meatballs

Kel's homemade Italian Pizza

I recently made some turkey meatballs (see Kel’s Tasty Turkey Meatballs for Pasta, Pizza and Pitas) and promised I would share my recipe for homemade Italian pizza. These meatballs have the right balance of seasonings and the addition of the paprika gives them a nice, smoky kick.

Turkey meatballs

The savory meatballs, sweet onions, slight bitterness of the green peppers and the mild black olives are a perfect combination on my homemade herb and garlic crust.

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Kel’s Red and Green Cabbage Sautéed With Garlic in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Kel's Red and Green Cabbage

I’ve been making this simple and delicious sautéed cabbage for years, long before I met Brad. Brad hates cooked cabbage, but I bet he would change his mind if he would just give this a try. It has some crunch to it, plus the garlic and olive oil give it a wonderful flavor. If you have any cabbage left over from your St. Patrick’s Day feast, instead of steaming or boiling it, try it this way — you’ll be glad you did!

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Irish Beers You Can Enjoy at Home

Irish Beers

St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, so if you don’t want to go out and celebrate the night before the work week begins, or are like me and just want to avoid the crowds, there are some good Irish beers readily available in the Triangle, either in grocery stores or places like Peace Street Market, Bottle Mixx, Bottle Revolution, Total Wine, etc. You can choose among lagers, red ales, cream ales and stouts. Pick up some Irish cheese (such as yummy Kerrygold cheddar) and crackers and drink to Ireland’s most famous patron saint in the comfort of your home, no driving required! Sláinte agus táinte!

Kerrygold Cheese

For the record, I am no beer expert by any means – I just know what I like and what I don’t. So please keep that in mind as you read my short descriptions of these Irish beers, and check out Beeradvocate’s website if you’d like to see how the experts rate them. Just know I had a lot of fun researching this post!

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Kel’s Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup, Ninja-Style

Soup's on!

With St. Patrick’s Day quickly approaching, I thought I’d share my recipe for this awesome soup for those of you who may have leftover corned beef. This is so easy to assemble and a breeze to make in your Ninja® 3-in-1 cooking system. Don’t have a Ninja yet? I have included instructions on how to make this on your stovetop in the “Preparation” section below.

One of the things I love about this festive soup is that it’s something that you don’t run across every day in stores or restaurants. That’s a shame because it is so delicious. Plus, since March can be quite blustery and cold depending on where you live, a nice hot bowl of this hearty soup is just the ticket. Even if you only make this once a year, you will be glad you did! Savor every drop.

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Restaurant Review: Community Deli, Raleigh, N.C.

Community Deli Raleigh

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”  ~  old English idiom

I probably drove by the Community Deli (901 Oberlin Rd., Raleigh, N.C.) a thousand times before finally stopping in a couple of weeks ago. The building itself is fairly nondescript – nothing really special to entice me to try it. Community Deli is close to Cameron Village Shopping Center, so if I’m hungry, I usually go to one of the many good restaurants there. But I kept noticing the daily special sign, with sandwiches, burgers or hot dogs at great prices. So I finally decided to give it a try and have been back several times in the past couple of weeks for the good deli food and the friendly, friendly service.

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