Broccolini with Harissa and Almonds

Since my last post, we celebrated Christmas, went to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans (go Buckeyes!), and moved across country to sunny California. So you could say life has been pretty quiet.  Well, maybe not but the journey has been unbelievably fun. 

We are settling into our little home here and beginning to learn the nuances of our new neighborhood. The windows in this apartment have to be my favorite feature.  They allow abundant warm rays to pour in in the morning and filter through moody shadows in the afternoon hours. From our big kitchen windows I can watch the constant parade of dogs through the park and dream of taking my pup there to play one day. I wish I had a pup. So close and yet so far.  Then through the bay windows in the living room I can spy on the sidewalk world two stories below.  When I see people walking in the afternoon I always think through the list of scenarios that would allow them to be off work at 2pm to take a stroll on my street. Whatever reason may be, I want that job. After all, I am only the afternoon window watcher because I am currently unemployed.       

I am also falling in love with the city beyond my apartment windows.  San Francisco is such a vibrant city and is full of surprises around every turn.  I am constantly overwhelmed with the amount of green space in this densely populated area.  So many parks, beaches, and HILLS! Not to mention I think there is a 1:1 people to Zagat-rated restaurant ratio in this city.  If I didn't hike miles, uphill, both ways, everyday, I would weigh a thousand pounds.  

I am loving eating my way through all of the fabulous japanese, mexican, greek, (etc.) restaurants. If you have a favorite restaurant in the bay area please do comment with it below. Speaking of comments, I would love to hear what you would like to learn in 2015.  It does not just have to be food things, it can be anything!  This blog is a place where I document my journey to learn, not where I teach how-to-have-my-perfect-life-tutorials. 

I am always on the hunt for new flavor combinations and ingredients and actually found this inspiration close to home.  My husband Andy, is one of those annoyingly well travelled people we all wish we were.  He discovered his love of harissa while traveling through Tunisia in college. I know, right? But he introduced me to harissa a while back and and I fell in love with its smoky mild spice.  Harissa is a Chili paste used in North African (Tunisian) cuisine most commonly used on meats or vegetables.  

Broccolini with Harissa and Almonds 

  • 2 small bunches of broccolini
  • 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of harissa
  • 1 Tablespoon of water
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Chop off base of broccolini and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle olive oil on broccolini and dust with salt and pepper.  Bake in oven for 8 minutes. 

In a small bowl mix harissa and water.  Pour over baked broccolini, squeeze on lemon juice, and sprinkle with almonds.  Toss and serve immediately.