This month for the Improv Cooking Challenge, our ingredients were Carrots & Curry. I knew immediately that I wanted to make a soup, so I looked back through my archives and found three soup recipes that I'd previously made. I used these three recipes to help me come up with a new one: Spiced Carrot Soup with Chickpeas and Tahini, Spiced Carrot Soup with Crispy Prosciutto, and Thai Pumpkin Soup.
I started by cooking madras curry and grated ginger in olive oil (though it occurs to me now that I could have used coconut oil), then adding carrots, onion, and garlic. I seasoned with salt and cooked for 15 minutes, until the vegetables started to brown. Then I added chicken broth and coconut milk and simmered covered for 20 minutes. You can use vegetable broth to make this vegetarian/vegan.
When I was assigned Melissa's blog last month for SRC, I was reminded of all the recipes of hers that I had been wanting to make. And I couldn't get my mind off of this warm potato salad with roasted broccoli and an egg vinaigrette. That vinaigrette is called "sauce gribiche", which I had never heard of before. Melissa says, "It’s an eggy French vinaigrette, apparently friends with mayonnaise, that is made from hardboiled eggs, oil, vinegar, capers, and fresh herbs." Sign me up!
First step - roast the potatoes and the broccoli. Why do I only have a photo of the potatoes? I don't know. Melissa used purple potatoes, which looked gorgeous. I couldn't find any, though, so I used red.
Meanwhile, boil the eggs. Hello, lovelies!
I want to A) introduce you to my "famous" brussel sprout recipe and B) apologize for the terrible photos that I don't have time to re-take if I want to get this recipe out to you before Thanksgiving. I call this recipe famous, because my husband requests it all the time. My husband who does not like vegetables. *EDIT - Jasper has informed me that he does too like vegetables!* This week he asked me if we could have steak and brussels for dinner, or even just brussels, and I just about fell over in shock. Let's roast some brussels sprouts!
Trim and halve some sprouts, chop some bacon, and toss them around in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. So far - pretty easy, right?
When they are done, toss in a dressing of balsamic vinegar, honey, and stone ground mustard. The end. Seriously, that's all there is too it! They are tender and crispy, sweet and savory, and pretty much just all-around awesome. Whether you make these for your holiday spread or a weeknight dinner - enjoy!
I recently moved to a new house about 35 minutes from my old one, but I still have a gym membership near my old place because I need to use up some training sessions before I quit. So I've been driving over there twice a week to train. I'm used to drinking a protein shake on the way to the gym, working out, then getting lunch. But now with the extra drive (and waking up earlier), I'm getting hungry by the time I get to the gym - and that is no good for working out! So here is where these (vegan, paleo, gluten-free) date and nut bars come in handy. I throw one in my bag straight from the freezer, and by the time I get to the gym they are thawed, so I eat it before heading in. They fill me up and give me a boost of energy - perfect!
These are also great for healthy homemade snacks or desserts, and especially for people with food allergies (other than nuts, obviously). I bet kids would love them.
The crust is made from nuts, date, and coconut - most of which is pressed into the bottom of a pan, and the rest is sprinkled on top later. The original poster is a big fan of soaking and drying nuts before eating them to remove the phytic acid that can make them difficult to digest. I tried it for this recipe and it took quite a bit of time (I dried them in the slow cooker overnight), but if that is too much work for you it's okay to just use raw nuts. The original recipe also calls for brazil and macadamia nuts, but these are a bit hard to find and a little expensive. I recommend raw cashews as a replacement.
The filling is made from dates, dried figs, and orange zest - yum.
Looking for yet another side to go with your Bacon Bourbon Sweet Potatoes? Check out this pork loin glazed with Dijon mustard, apple butter, and cider and roasted over veggies and sage. It's moist, tender, savory, sweet, and easy to make - plus it's pretty healthy!
I came up with this dish because I needed a protein to go with leftover sweet potatoes, and because I wanted to try out the recipe for the apple butter glaze. We are members of the Frog's Leap wine club, and they sent us a little jar of apple butter along with our last shipment of wine. They also included a recipe for a savory glaze using the apple butter, Dijon mustard, apple cider, shallot, and garlic - it sounded great!
Start by placing a few carrots and an onion in a roasting pan, top with a few sprigs of sage, then pour in a little bit of apple cider (to keep the meat from drying out). Season the pork loin with salt and pepper, and set it on the vegetables and roast it on high heat for 15 minutes.
Then take it out, spread the glaze over the top, and return it to the oven at a lower temp for 45 minutes. And that's it! Rest and slice and you're ready to serve. This is a great dish for fall with flavors that pair with lots of seasonal side dishes. Enjoy!
You guys, I am in love... with a recipe. A recipe for cauliflower that is pretending to be cous cous and filled with herbs, spices, buttery cashews, and plump golden raisins. It's so good it's stupid. And easy, did I mention easy? And low-carb and healthy and gluten-free and vegan and all the things.
I am desperately trying to move away from grains and starches, but it is so hard when my brain had been programmed to think that dinner is meat, starch, vegetable (in that order in terms of importance). So anything like this that I can find that satisfies my need to have a starch, without really being one, is awesome. Oh yeah, and my husband LOVED it.
I served it as a side to some store-bought kebabs because of the distinctly Middle Eastern flavors. But I'm wondering if I can use the same technique and change up the flavorings (a la this post) to do some different things. Speaking of flavorings, this recipe uses a spice blend called za'atar that is super yummy. You should be able to find some in the spice section of your store, but if not here are two recipes to make your own.
Pot roast is a pretty standard American meal. Many folks have their own recipes that they love. But just in case you don't, here's mine! An herb crusted beef roast goes into a pot with potatoes, veggies, red wine, and beef stock until it is super tender - yum.
First step - rub that beef. Combine kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning to make a rub. Sprinkle over and press into the meat.
The you are going to brown those veggies and sear that beef. Heat olive oil in a heavy dutch oven until very hot. Then add an onion and carrots and cook until really browned. Remove the veggies temporarily, add more oil, and sear the beef on all sides. Then take that out, too, because you need to deglaze.
Normally, I wouldn't advertise for warm avocado. I mean, that's just weird. But combined with a soft egg and runny yolk? It becomes like butter. This is the breakfast of champions, friends.
First you will need to scoop out enough of the flesh so that your eggs will fit. Go ahead and just eat that scooped out avocado plain, yum. Place the avocado halves into a muffin tin or ramekins to hold them in place and catch any egg drippings. If you want, you can add a teeny bit of water into the ramekins to prevent the spilled egg from burning.
I find that the best way to get the eggs into the avocado is to crack each one into a small bowl. Then, carefully scoop up the yolk with a spoon and place it in the hollow. Then spoon the white on top until it is full. Save any leftover white for another use.
Season with salt and pepper and bake in a 425 deg F oven for 15-20 min, until the whites are set. The yolks might cook on top, but the bottom will still be runny. Grab a spoon and dig in!
If you want to totally ignore the fact that you were trying to have a grain free breakfast and spread that sucker on some buttered toast, I wont blame you.
I'm about to get all raw food, vegan, and healthy on you. If those words make you cringe, don't worry - these things are addictively delicious no matter what diet you follow! Let's talk about dates - they are naturally super sweet and packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are also low calorie compared to processed sweets. In other words, they are nature's guilt-free candy. Now let's talk about Barhi dates. Oh. My. Gosh. These dates have a really short season and can be hard to find (I order them from here), but they are totally worth the hunt. They taste like butterscotch candy or caramel, just on their own! There is seriously a world of difference between Barhi and other dates, believe me. And in this recipe? Killer.
Now that we've established that you should totally use Barhi dates because they are way more delicious than any other kind, what else do you need to make these caramels? Tahini, coconut oil, cardamom, and that's it! Blend it all up in a food processor and press into a lined pan. I had trouble getting all the coconut oil to incorporate, which didn't make any difference taste-wise, but made them less pretty. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and freeze until firm.
Once they are firm, cut them into little squares and that's it! You have to keep them in the freezer so that they stay firm, but that's not so much to ask, is it? They are rich, sweet, and complex with the flavors of caramel, tahini, cardamom, and coconut coming together, and the sea salt just takes it over the top. Good for you, delicious, fits any diet, and makes great gifts - why are you not making these yet? Get on it!
Raw Tahini Date Salted Caramels
adapted from The Kitchn
*I made double
1 cup pitted dates (Barhi highly recommended)
1/2 cup tahini
2 tbsp coconut oil (room temperature)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
1/8 tsp fleur de sel or other finishing salt
Combine the dates, tahini, coconut oil, and cardamom in a blender or food processor. You should have a very smooth, creamy, and thick paste.
Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined loaf pan (or another equivalent container) and use a spatula to press it down evenly. Sprinkle with salt.
Freeze until firm. Remove from the pan and cut into bite-size pieces.
Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month.
Well, Folks - it's been a great year! I look forward to keep sharing delicious and (sometimes) healthy recipes with you in the years to come. Until then - here are my most pinned recipes of 2013!
#1 - This healthy version of Shepard's Pie with Sweet Potato and Turkey. I find this funny because the photos from this post are so bad!
#2 - Homemade Meat Ravioli - yum!
#3 - Homemade Spinach Ravioli. The raviolis are popular!