Kale Salad with Tahini Miso Dressing

Okay, so I like salads as much as the next person, but I really don't like to eat them as a meal.  I don't find them hearty enough and I get hungry shortly after eating them.  My husband eats them, mostly because they are healthy.  Well, until last night.  We were grilling some trout and needed something to go with it.  I had a bag of kale waiting to be used up and I almost resorted to my tried and tested saute method.  But then.. I didn't.  I know it seems like Kale has taken over the world with all it's benefits and it's superfoodness.  For the record I was enjoying Kale before the world fell in love it!  But, I had never eaten it raw.  I was concerned that it's fibrous texture would make it hard to chew.  Let me tell you, I made this raw Kale salad last night and we loved, loved, loved it!!!  And that's a lot of love for a salad.  The bitterness of the Kale cut through the rich, creamy tahini and the miso just gave it the perfect umami (yes I used it).  If you don't have either of those in your fridge, buy them... now.  There a million uses for both tahini and miso so you won't regret it.  We ate the entire bag of it!  And I'm making more tonight with the leftover dressing I bottled.


1 bag Kale- remove the stems and chop the leaves
1 cup cherry tomatoes- sliced
1/2 red onion- sliced
1/4 cup tahini
1 tablespoon red miso- or 2 if using white miso
1 lemon- juiced
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Warm water- use this depending on how thick you want your dressing
2 tablespoons agave syrup- you can use honey as well
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce- taste the dressing before adding this if your miso is very salty eliminate this
Sesame seeds

Pull the kale leaves off from the tough stem and discard the stems. Use a knife or your hands to chop or tear the kale into small, bite sized pieces. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the kale and massage the leaves for a couple of minutes.  Really massage it in there.  The color of the Kale will change to a brighter green and you will be able to smell it.  This helps break down the fibers.

In a small bowl or unce mason jar, whisk together the salad dressing ingredients. Divide the kale into two bowls, drizzle in the salad dressing and massage it in the leaves.  Let it sit for 30 minutes, toss wit tomatoes and onions and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Tomato Tart

I told you I would be doing a lot with Tomatoes!  I can't help it, I have a whole lot I need to use up!  The other night we were going to a friends place for dinner and I offered to bring a side. The day sort of got away from me and before I knew it, it was time to get ready!  That meant either picking something up along the way or it meant whipping something up from start to finish in less than an hour.  I knew I wanted to use tomatoes but had no idea what to do with them.  I almost made bruschetta but it doesn't really travel well in the car.  I had been reading a lot about tomato pies and tarts and figured I would give it a shot and if it didn't work we would would stop somewhere on the way.  Let me tell you, this was one of those times when things just work out!  Not only was it fantastic, my friend's husband told me that I should make him one for his birthday!  It's not often you hear that about a tomato dish!!  It was super easy, didn't really need to be pretty because the charm lies in it's rustic appearance.  You use whatever cheese you like I just used what I had on hand.  I had basil so I used that but thyme or dill would be really delicious as well.  The salty cheese, with the slightly bitter mustard and sweet tomatoes is really a party for your taste buds!


10 sheets of filo dough- keep it covered with a damp cloth while you are working
1/2 cup fontina cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dijon mustard
3 large heirloom tomatoes sliced- lay on paper towels to help drain moisture
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh Basil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a pie pan or other baking dish, lay a sheet of filo dough and gently brush with mustard.  Sprinkle lightly with both cheeses.  Repeat for the remaining 9 layers of dough.  Top with the thick slices of tomatoes and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the filo is crispy.  Top with torn fresh basil and parm cheese.

Zucchini Moussaka- The Turkish Way

Since I do almost all of the cooking, I usually end up deciding the menu.  I am very lucky to be blessed with a non fussy eater husband.  I don't know how people do it with fussy eaters.  I do try and fix something Turkish atleast once in a while.  Over time I have become familiar with a few meals that I resort to a lot, because I know how and they are healthy and are one pot meals, which is always an added benefit.  I have made this a few times and I usually end up making a large batch and freezing some for another night.  In the summer when Zucchini is plentiful I'm always looking for new ways to cook with it.  Greek moussaka, the one that you are probably familair with is richer and heavier,  It's in layers and usually baked.  The turkish version is completely different.  As with a lot of their foods, the sauce is tomato based and not cream based.  They don't bake it they braise it and it's not in layers.  So really, it takes a lot less work to make and is really good.  We always serve it with rice and yogurt.  Give it a shot!


2 medium size zucchinis, washed, slice in round shape
1 cubanelle pepper, discard the seed, cut in medium size
150 gr medium ground beef
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic clove, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 tbsp crushed tomato, in can
1/3 cup warm water

Brown the ground beef with olive oil, onion, salt and pepper. Place zucchini slices in a shallow pan. Spread ground beef mixture all over them along with the cubanelle peppers. Mix the crushed tomato with hot water and garlic, pour into the pan. Cook for about 20 minutes on medium heat.

Turn the heat off. Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle crushed red pepper, chopped dill all over it.

Arugula Salad

I have been on a bit of a blogging break recently.  It's not that I haven't been cooking, I just haven't had the time to blog about it.  But here I am!  With the bounty of summer vegetables and fruits I find myself eating a lot of lighter meals that include a lot of tomatoes.  Actually, my husband and I went to a farm the other day and picked our own tomatoes.  Enough to last us a long time, so needless to say most of my recipes to come in the next few days will be tomato based.  I don't really eat tomatoes during any other season... I just don't feel that they taste the same as the ones I buy during the summer.  With this past July being one of the hottest ever in DC we have been eating a lot of grilled seafood with a salad.  I know it's seems almost silly to blog about a salad, especially this one since it is sooo simple but let me just say that we cannot get enough of it!  Regardless of how many fancy salads I make we love, love this one.  We made it for my dad when he visited and he loved it as much as we did!


1 bag Fresh Arugula
2 of the best Tomatoes you can get your hands on
1/2 Red Onion- sliced on a mandolin
1 Tablespoon Truffle Oil
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Slice the tomatoes into thin wedges.  Toss with arugula and onions.  Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and gently toss them in with the salad.  Sprinkle with the cheese.  Serve with crusty bread!


You know how everyone love's their mom's cooking?  Well I am no exception!  I kow I have said this many times but my mom is an incredible cook.  But here's the thing with living across the Atlantic ocean from family, you CRAVE the food, a lot.  So you go out, find a restaurant, read a bunch of reviews, do your thorough due diligence, arrive the restaurant and with much anticpiation take that first bite you have been longing for... and it's just not the same!  You knew that would probably be the case but you're dissapointed nonetheless,  So this what happens to me EVERY SINGLE time I order Samosa's.  Every culture has their version of fried goodness, and ours is the Samosa.  It's warm and crisp and so insanely good.  Well to me it is.  I order it every time I see it on a menu and I am never happy with it.  Some are too doughy, or too thick, or too spicy, or potato filled.  The other day I decided, I was over it.  I was going to do what my grandmother and mom did.  I was going to make them at home.  I purchased all the ingredients and then like any good housewife, I stood barefoot on the kitchen floor as I delicately filled, wrapped and sealed these little Samosa's.  Just as done in the generations prior to mine, I made several dozen and froze them for later use.  I was extremely proud of myself for this accomplishment.  I made the stuffing just as my mom did and used egg roll wrappers in place of the Samosa wrappers.  I baked my first batch and realized that while they were good they were still, not the same.  So I did something I have never done in my entire culinary landscape.  I fried!  Were they deeeelcious? Yes!  They were as close to my mom's as I could get them.  Did I learn lessons along the way?  YES!!!!  When freezing them, separate each layer with parchment paper!  I didn't and mine were all stuck together!  Lesson 2, add a few to the oil at a time.  If the oil gets cool the dough absorbs the oil making it greasy.  The ones in the picture below are a few that looked pretty!  I ate the rest as well but, they were not as photogenic!  I will be making these again and hope that all turn out as pretty as these ones did!


1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion
1 pack of egg roll wrappers
1 bunch dill- chopped
2 cloves garlic- smashed
1 inch of grated ginger
Salt and Pepper
Oil for deep frying

In a skillet, heat some olive oil and add garlic and onions.  Once they have sweated some, add the ground beef and cook all the way through.  Add the ginger, dill, salt and pepper.  Let the filling cool.  Take the wrapper and fold over into a triangle- really do any shape that comes easy to you.  You could just roll them if you like.  Fry them a few at a time in hot oil.  Place on paper towels on a plate to help absorb the excess oil.


2 frozen Indian Nan (if not available then use pita bread)
4 cloves of garlic- minced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds or fresh cilantro
Melted Butter

Brush the nan with the melted butter and top with the crushed garlic and coriander or cilantro.  Bake on 350 degrees for 5 minutes and serve hot.

Shepherd’s Salad

I make this salad as a side for most Pakistani, Indian and Turkish meals because it’s cool and doesn’t have lettuce which I think, just takes up extra room on a plate and doesn’t provide any value.  Also it has raw onions so you know who loves it!  It’s a somewhere between a salsa and a salad for us.  When we were in Istanbul every single restaurant served it, regardless of what your entrée was.  Sometimes it had feta cheese, sometimes chickpeas and crispy pita croutons.  

1/2 cup cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cubanelle pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint
2 tsp lemon juice
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Place all the vegetables in a medium size salad bowl. Add salt and pepper to liking. Add the lemon juice and olive oil.


We use this to dip the nan in but I eat this with everything Pakistani.  It’s provides a much needed cooling element to the spicy flavors of most foods.  When we eat Turkish food we make a very similar version and eat it with pita bread and kebabs.  It could also be used as a dip for pita chips.  Lots of uses for it, especially if you like yogurt as much as we do!

1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
2 diced tomatoes
½ diced red onion
½ chopped English cucumber
½ teaspoon cumin
Salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and let it sit for about 30 minutes. 

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

This is one of our ultimate favorite grilling recipes.  It’s also one of our favorite chicken recipes.  Each time I go home on my semi annual trips to Karachi, as you know, I have a list of foods (usually longer than the number of days!) that need to be eaten.  One of the very few restaurant items on there, is a barbeque place.  Pakistani barbeque is very different from the American bbq, while it is cooked on skewers in an open fire or sometimes a large clay oven- a tandoor- the spices are warm, spicy and have a lot of depth.  Most meats are marinated for 24-48 hours which ensure extremely tender, juicy and flavorful chicken.  If doesn’t really need to be marinated overnight but it cooks faster if it is because the yogurt tenderizes the chicken.  I love everything at the restaurant but Chicken Tikka is one thing that Ihave been ordering from there since I was old enough to order my own food!  I like to grill drumsticks because they are easy to pick up and eat and don’t’ take up much room on the grill.  This recipe had Mustafa at first bite and they’ve been going strong since!  I use the leftovers and make a nan wrap with some raita and any grilled veggies on hand.  Its deelish and can be as spicy as you want it to be.  This mixture can also be used on fish and shrimp.  The tandoori flavor really gets in the chicken pieces.  I was lucky enough to have the prepared chicken tikka masala that I buy when I visit home so all the prep work is already done for me.  These days you can find many different brands that sell it on Amazon as well as in most grocery stores.  The basics are all the same, but I like the dry rubs because they have no preservatives in them.

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

2 cups whole milk yogurt

4 garlic cloves- minced

1 inch fresh peeled ginger-grated

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground turmeric  

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne  

3 pounds chicken. 

1 teaspoon coriander

Mix all the spices with the yogurt.  This can be done in a blender or just by hand.

Put chicken in a large bowl, or divide between 2 large sealable plastic bags, and add yogurt mixture, stirring or turning to coat. Marinate chicken, covered and chilled (turning occasionally if using bags), at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Brush the grill with oil so that the chicken does not stick to it.  Place chicken on the hot grill and brush with olive oil as it cooks.  This retains the moisture.  Cook until a meat thermometer reads well done and serve with grilled onions and tomatoes, garlic nan and raita.

Sweet and Spicy Sauteed Kale

It's amazing how culinary trends can sometimes take over the world, even more than fashion trends!  Remember the sun dried tomato?  Yeah, me either.  It used to be all the rage once upon a time and while it's flavor profile hasn't changed it's popularity sure has.  Kale is pretty much the same story.  You cannot get away from it.  I remember 2 years ago I made if for thanksgiving and I had to literally beg everyone to give it a shot.  I love that is so good for you and has a ton of fiber but what I love most is that it stands up to cooking.  Unlike it's other green counterparts such as spinach, which turn to mush really easily.  When using it raw you can dress a kale salad hours before serving it because over time the dressign wilts the kale giving it a deeper flavor.  I always buy the loose kind, which takes a bit longer to stem and wash but you could always go for the pre washed kind that most stores now sell pre packaged.  It does wilt quite a but so what seems like a lot might not end up being a lot.  I always eating it cold or at room temperature and it makes a really filling side to a protien.  Cleary, I too have fallen for it!


2 lbs Kale- stemmed, washed and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic- sliced
1 large red onion- sliced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
Crushed red pepper- to taste
Salt and Pepper

Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet.  Saute garlic till golden.  Add onions and cook till soft.  Raise heat, add kale and stock.  Cover for about 5 minutes.  Add raisins, vinegar, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.  Remove from heat and let cook through for another 5 minutes.  Toss and serve.  I served it with a simply grilled Trout.  It was perfect!

Cooked In Heels
by Sumayya

healthy, delicious and always fabulous

Monthly Archives

Recent Posts

  1. Kale Salad with Tahini Miso Dressing
    Wednesday, August 29, 2012
  2. Tomato Tart
    Tuesday, August 28, 2012
  3. Zucchini Moussaka- The Turkish Way
    Tuesday, August 28, 2012
  4. Arugula Salad
    Tuesday, August 28, 2012
  5. Samosas
    Tuesday, July 31, 2012
  6. Naan
    Friday, July 20, 2012
  7. Shepherd’s Salad
    Friday, July 20, 2012
  8. Raita
    Friday, July 20, 2012
  9. Grilled Tandoori Chicken
    Friday, July 20, 2012
  10. Sweet and Spicy Sauteed Kale
    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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