I got green beans in my Hungry Harvest box this week. Last time I got them, I made Coconut Green Beans. But it was flurrying outside this weekend, and I was in the mood for something spicy to warm me up. The recipe below took me less than 10 minutes to make, and was really satisfying as a side dish for my miso-glazed tofu (post coming soon!)
This is a simple recipe that packs in a LOT of flavor and texture. You can use it to stuff tacos or event just as a side dish, hot or cold. I’ve also chopped up leftovers and mixed it with tomatoes and onions to make a salsa.
I first had nopales (cactus pads) in a street taco years ago and have been hooked ever since! They have a chewy texture with a light, tart flavor. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a grocery that sells them de-thorned and ready to use, then the steps below describe how to prepare them. I love them plain (sauteed or grilled), but they also make a great addition to tacos and salsa.
This is a multi-purpose, make-ahead staple that’s perfect year-round since it can be served hot or cold! I make large batches of caponata because it can be used so many different ways. I’ve tried numerous recipes over the years, and the one below contains elements from the different recipes that make it my favorite. Pictured are wanton shells filled with chilled caponata and topped with herbed goat cheese. Other ideas for cold/room temperature dishes: spread on top of crostini (sprinkle crumbled feta on top), as a sandwich spread, in a wrap, and as a dip. Ideas for hot dishes: use it as a chunky pasta sauce (topped with Parmesan of course!), place a spoonful on top of small squares of puff pastry and then bake, serve hot over quinoa/cous cous. In fall, when tomatoes are not very good, I replace them with butternut squash and it’s amazing!
My friend gave me a pound of radishes to play with- a whole pound! One of my favorite ways to eat radishes is sliced with butter and salt. But, in this cold weather, I really crave something hot. This soup is my take on sliced radishes with butter and salt for winter days. In the picture above, I topped the soup with everything bagel seasoning, radish matchsticks, and scallion greens.
Over the years I’ve tried many, many, many Italian seasonings and each one was different. After I finished the last one in my pantry, I decided that if all these companies could make up their own Italian Seasoning blend, why shouldn’t I?! Most of the blends included basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Some blends also included parsley, cilantro, marjoram, sage, garlic, and black pepper. Different spices and different quantities of the spices led to totally different flavor profiles. I played around with the spices and settled on the blend below. I intentionally left out the garlic and black pepper because I like to add fresh garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste. I also opted for parsley instead of cilantro since I associate cilantro with Indian and Mexican food and parsley with Italian and French.
Happy Winter! There’s something so indulgent and satisfying about chocolate. So, instead of cookie boxes, I decided to make chocolate boxes this year for friends and family. Pictured above (from left to right):
* Marzipan Stuffed Figs (no link for this one yet)
* Peanut Butter Buckeyes
* Bourbon Truffle Squares
* Candy Cane Truffles
* Butterscotch Pretzel Crunch
Spaghetti squash has become a fall / winter staple for me, especially when I’m craving noodles. You can treat the roasted spaghetti squash like you would noodles- toss it in sauce, bake it into a casserole, stir fry it with veggies, top it with butter and Parmesan, etc. I even used it to make a Pad Thai style dish! The roasted squash also stays well in the fridge once you “spaghetti” it, so it’s convenient if you want a quick dinner.
Sweet, salty, nutty, crunchy, chewy… a constellation of different flavors and textures packed into one tiny bite makes these treats incredibly addictive! The savory pecan and pretzel provides a nice balance for the sweet chocolate and butterscotch. Honestly, the hardest part is finding the mini pretzels and chocolate covered butterscotch (see picture below for what I use). If you can’t find the chocolate covered butterscotch, you can use chocolate covered caramels.
I made 100 of these minty, chocolaty truffles last year for a holiday party, and they disappeared in minutes! They aren’t true truffles since the inside is more like a moist cake than a silky ganache, making it have an unexpected texture inside. For the relatively few ingredients and simplicity, they make a great festive treat! If you are running short on time, roll it in cocoa powder instead of giving it a dark chocolate coating. However, if you do a dark chocolate coating, you can decorate them! Some decoration ideas are: crushed candy cane, edible glitter, a pinch of the cookie crumbs, chocolate drizzle, mint leaves, etc.
I LOVE this dessert- it is so rich and velvety and indulgent. These chocolate pots are a staple because they only require 5 ingredients, which I usually have at home. As an added bonus, it’s easy to adapt the chocolate pots to suit the season or occasion (see variations below the recipe). The most important thing is to make sure you use really good chocolate. Since the recipe is so few ingredients, the chocolate really stands out. The recipe I have below is for two servings (making more is dangerous for me!), but just scale up the recipe if you need more.
It’s surprisingly hard to find cherry ice cream without eggs, colors, stabilizers, and artificial flavors in the grocery store. I like the recipe below because you still get a pretty pink color, but you aren’t adding any artificial things to the ice cream. If you are lucky enough to get cherries in a light syrup, you can use that to replace the cherry juice and sugar (I use Trader Joe’s Morello cherries in light syrup).
Variation: In Step 5, when you add the cherries, also add toasted almond slivers and grated dark chocolate.
These cranberries are sweet, tart, crunchy, and unbelievably addictive- a perfect autumn snack! In addition to just snacking on them, I think they pair really well with cheese boards. They are also a fun alternative to cranberry sauce for a Thanksgiving spread. You have to plan a bit in advance since the cranberries sit in simple syrup overnight, but the actual cooking time is short.
One of the few things from Costco that I don’t need help going through is their 1.5 lb box of cremini mushrooms. Roasting the mushrooms seems to concentrate the flavors and make them extra satisfying. I like this recipe because its easy and uses ingredients I usually have in the house. A pound and a half of mushrooms sounds like a lot, but they seem to disappear quickly! There are so many ways to use these garlicy roasted mushrooms (e.g., as a side dish, with mashed potatoes, chopped up in wraps or a pasta dish, tossed in omelettes, plain, etc.)
This is my year for playing with shrubs (fruity vinegar concentrate that can be mixed with water / sparkling water / alcohol to make a super refreshing drink). I love this shrub since it uses something you normally throw away- pineapple core! You can also use the pineapple chunks if you don’t have the core. There is a difference if you use pineapple chunks vs pineapple core- the chunks yield a more pronounced pineapple flavors, whereas the core yields a more pronounced ginger flavor with a hint of pineapple. I like the sweet, spicy, herby combo either way, which tastes even more fun when you dilute it with sparkling water.
Velvety and versatile. I’m totally addicted to this spread- it’s so simple and adds an interesting dimension to dishes when you use it. Although the ingredients look basic, the end result it truly greater than the sum of the parts, with no one flavor standing out. Trader Joe’s sells a similar spread, but they use canola oil, so I wanted to make a healthier version. I used avocado oil since I’ve been trying to incorporate more of it in my diet, but you could use any neutral tasting oil. Note: This spread does not heat well since it is mostly oil.
If you haven’t had a shrub before, it’s basically a fruity vinegar concentrate that can be mixed with water / sparkling water / alcohol to make a super refreshing drink. I have also used this strawberry shrub to make a light vinaigrette dressing for a strawberry-baby spinach-candied pecan salad. I’m sure there is a proper way of making it, but I like the method below because it is easy. You can let it sit longer or shorter in the fridge prior to straining depending on how strong you want the flavors to be. I wait until the strawberries look washed out and have lost some of their color.
I tried Trader Joe’s Baked Sriracha Tofu a few weeks ago and loved it! It’s so versatile and totally changes the flavor of salads, sandwiches, stir fry, etc. Some days, I just end up snacking on it straight. However, I found myself adding a little more spice and sesame oil to the dishes I used it in… so why not make my own version at home?! The recipe below has become a staple in my fridge since it’s so easy to prepare in a big batch and use throughout the week. As an aside, I use the marinade left over from this recipe to make a stir fry sauce by dissolving 1/2 tsp of cornstarch in it and then cooking it on medium heat until it thickens and doesn’t have the whitish color from uncooked cornstarch.
As a kid, Nutella used to be one of my favorite spreads- on toast, on crackers, on cookies, in a spoon… But I’m far more conscious about ingredients and nutrition now, and the fact that Nutella is so loaded with sugar and palm oil somehow makes it less appetizing. On my quest to find a healthier chocolate hazelnut spread to satisfy my Nutella craving, the options seem to fall short. “Sugar-free” appears synonymous with “sugar substitute added” (and I don’t like the aftertastes). Raw and organic options were gritty instead of creamy. Some options had too many extraneous ingredients… Eventually, I figured I should just try making it at home to suit my preferences. Four ingredients and 3 batches later… I settled on a recipe that I love!
Tiger nuts, tiger nut milk, and tiger nut flour- YUM! Years ago, when I was visiting Spain, I tried these tiny little snacks called tiger nuts. They were sweet and nutty, and so addictive! Many of the places I visited also sold tiger nut milk, which tasted like dessert. I was so surprised when I learned that they are actually root vegetables, and not nuts! Anyhow, I saw some in the store and had to pick them up. I started munching on them the minute I checked out at the cashier. In addition to just snacking on them, I made tiger nut milk (soooo good when chilled). Since I couldn’t bear to waste any of the tiger nuts, I turned the fibrous pulp into “flour” and now have a new flour to play with in the kitchen. I’ll post recipes using the flour as I work on them.
I know you can buy marinated hearts of palm in a jar, ready to eat, but I just don’t like the flavor as much as marinating them myself at home (sans preservatives!). The recipe below takes about 5 minutes, and is totally worth the effort. I make the marinade so that I can use it as a salad dressing. A quick lunch idea is to chop up romaine, add a handful of nuts or pumpkin seeds and these marinated hearts of palm (without draining them).
This has been my breakfast for the last week- and I’ve loved every bite! It’s perfect for the season, and all the spices and flavors totally make up for not adding sugar. I really dislike the idea of using synthetic sugar substitutes, and I don’t enjoy the aftertaste of the ones I tried. That’s why I am always trying to come up with sweet recipes that don’t require sugar at all. The flavors and textures in this cheesecake, combined with the natural sweetness from the pumpkin and dairy, make this satisfying enough that I don’t miss the sugar. If want to add sugar, I’d go with a little maple syrup or brown sugar.
It’s pumpkin season!!! This is a quick, easy recipe for pumpkin “hummus.” I’m calling this hummus even though there are no chickpeas because the texture resembles hummus. The milder bean allows the pumpkin and spices to shine. I may be partial, but I think the Indian flavors complement pumpkin well to make a warm, autumny dip/spread. I served the pumpkin hummus at party this weekend with Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Soup Crackers. It seemed to vanish, so I’m not fussing with the recipe any more! =) You can make this a day or two ahead of time, and it will actually be better since the extra time will allow the flavors to meld better.
I’ve been really craving a chocolate dessert lately. I was walking around town, and none of the restaurants had chocolate desserts that were sugar-free (including no sugar substitutes) and gluten-free. So… I decided to play around with making one at home. Based on what was in my pantry, I came up with this super-easy “mousse.” I poured the mousse into these Hazelnut Coconut crusts. The final product is a rich, decadent, thick filling in a thin, nutty crust. As you can see in the photo, it sliced beautifully. I added a small amount of vanilla whipped cream before serving to lighten it up. As a result, one small slice was so incredibly satisfying =)
This is a quick and simple crust that I use as the base for tarts/pies. I love the texture because you can press it thin, and when it’s finished, it still holds together, but is crumbly and easy to cut with you fork/spoon. It’s also neutral (no sugar, pinch of salt), so it can be used for both sweet and savory tarts. You can also add flavors to the crust if you want (cocoa powder, Italian seasoning, etc.). The recipe below makes a thin crust for 2 4-inch tart tins or a medium thick crust for 1 6-inch tart tin. You can scale up as needed for bigger tarts.
One of the biggest challenges to a high-fat low carb diet is not having the bread and crackers to snack on, use to dip, or round out a meal. Sometimes veggie sticks and cabbage leaves just don’t cut it! I love these crackers because they at fairly easy to make, full of good fats, filling, and last for a while in an air tight container (the ones in the photo are 2 weeks old). I have been using them to make open faces sandwiches, appetizers with flavored cream cheeses and herbs, croutons for salad and soup, and just plain as a quick snack when I get hungry. If you want variety, you can add spices to the mix.
Thanks to my vegetable spiralizer, this whole dish took less than 10 minutes! Spiralized zucchini is an awesome substitute for spaghetti. I like it in light sauces that don’t weigh down the zucchini. The best part of this dish is that it is so versatile. I used basil to add flavor since it’s growing on my balcony, but mint, oregano, rosemary, etc would also taste great. You can also add chopped nuts (pine nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc) if you want more flavor and texture.
I feel silly even posting this recipe since it’s only one ingredient, but the end product is so amazing, it’s worth it just to have people try it! I was very thankful to have my Vitamix for this recipe since it really works the motor. I imagine it would work in a blender or food processor, but may just take longer or be grittier. Also, I made it unflavored so it can be more versatile, but feel free to add vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, sea salt, etc. to make whatever flavor you want.
Side note: I couldn’t bear the idea of cleaning out and wasting the coconut butter stuck to the sides of the blender container, so I made this Almond Milk right after the coconut butter in the same blender. The residual coconut butter resulted in a slightly thicker and sweeter almond milk- delicious!
August = peaches!!! Nothing beats fresh, ripe peaches in late summer. I got 4 peaches, a few tomatoes, and basil in my Hungry Harvest box this week. Instead of eating them straight or making a sweet dish, I decided to make a savory one. The 100 degree weather has really put me in the mood for a nice, chilled gazpacho. I wanted to add a little more flavor to the gazpacho without adding too many ingredients, so I grilled the peaches before adding them. I also had this Mango White Balsamic Vinegar, which added the tart and sweet flavors without being too punchy or overpowering the other ingredients. I listed the topping as optional since some people prefer smooth gazpacho, while I prefer the texture variation that the finely minced topping provides.