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.
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.
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.
My Hungry Harvest box this week had fresh green beans that looked so good that I didn’t want to overcook them. This recipe is one of my favorite ways to make green beans since its relatively quick and so satisfying. A perfect weeknight dish!
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!
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.
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.
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!
Every now and then (especially after I get back from traveling), I just don’t have the produce I need to make a full meal. Luckily, I keep an assortment of sauces, stocks, and gravies in my freezer for these occasions! I normally make karela with onions, garlic, and tomatoes. But, since I had none of these in my kitchen, I decided to use a Coconut-Tamarind Gravy instead (it has onions, garlic, tomatoes and much more!).
This recipe is one of my staples. I love the tartness of the tamarind, the creaminess of the cashews, and the tropical feel of the coconut. I’m posting this as it’s own recipe because it really is worth making a double batch and keeping it on hand for a quick meal. You can add this gravy to fully cooked veggies and it makes them so much more satisfying! I like to go on the drier side when i use it in dishes, but you can thin it out with a little water when you add it to veggies to make it more saucy.
Pumpkins seeds are possibly the best by-product of pumpkin season. For a little bit of extra work, you’ll seriously reconsider throwing away the seeds next time you carve/eat a pumpkin. The recipe below is a mix of techniques I’ve read on the internet, numerous discussions with friends about roasting seeds, and playing around all season. And, yes… sometimes I buy pumpkins solely for the seeds. =) Don’t worry- the squirrels are welcome to the pumpkin flesh.
I made this dressing for my dad’s birthday a few days ago (you’ll be seeing a few more posts from that dinner soon). I wanted to make something with coffee since he loves it. Since this was my first time making this, I kept adding ingredients and changing quantities till I got a taste I liked- meaning I ended up with a lot of extra dressing- I’ve made a few different salads with it, and will post my favorite next: Pear Cocoa Nib Salad. The dressing has just a hint of espresso, so it actually is more versatile than you’d imagine. I normally use honey in dressing, but used sugar in this one because honey was interfering with the espresso taste.
I’ve been playing with a recipe for spicy nuts for a while now, and finally settled on this. I tried various combinations of spices and peppers, but ended up settling on one of the simplest ones… sriracha and lime with a little extra kick, courtesy of smoked paprika. While these are not as spicy as I was envisioning, they pack a lot of flavor so I’m happy munching on them.
We were talking about non-dairy milks at dinner last night, and hazelnut milk came up. I don’t know how I never thought of making this before! I made three small batches today to test different proportions and additions, and loved the recipe below. Toasting it really brings out a different flavor, which felt richer to me. I also added a small bit of chocolate to one batch and it tasted like a Nutella drink. You can also add sugar if you want, but I prefer it unsweetened. However, the recipe below is more versatile, so I’m posting the plain version.
Ever get that craving for just bread and butter? I don’t eat much bread now, but every so often, I really just want bakery-fresh bread with a layer of butter. Today was one of those days. Sadly, I didn’t have the foresight to take the butter out of the fridge before going to the bakery… and I wasn’t willing to wait. The recipe below is a twist on whipped butter. Only 3 ingredients, but each of them matter. I start with unsalted butter, so I can add salt to taste. I like the slight mineral taste of pink Himalayan salt, so I used that- but you can use any salt you want and adjust the quantity to suit your taste. I also added olive oil so that it wouldn’t harden completely when I put it back in the fridge (oil doesn’t become solid when cold). I love the taste of olive oil, so I used a good quality cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. If you’re not a fan of the taste, you can always use a milder olive oil.
Summer = grilling! So why shouldn’t that extend to salads? It’s amazing how something as simple as grilling can change an entire dish. This recipe is centered around dressing up grilled romaine hearts. But really, it’s just to give you ideas… play with the dressing, cheeses, nuts, and other toppings! I like the thinner dressings like the one below since it soaks into the romaine between the leaves. The picture shows one romaine heart plain, and one dressed up with blue cheese and pecans.
I made this green chutney for Mother’s Day since it was gorgeous weather outside and we decided to grill. The flavors are so light and fresh that I love it in sandwiches, wraps, with roasted veggies, as a soup garnish… pretty much anything summery. It’s also very versatile: thin it out with water to make a dressing, mix it into yogurt to make a dip, whisk it with olive oil to make a pasta salad. It also gets bonus points for freezing well. It’s amazing how a chutney so healthy and easy to make can be sooooo good!
Ghee, sometimes called clarified butter, is a staple in Indian cooking. It has a very distinct taste, and a much higher smoke point than oil, so it’s useful in all kinds of dishes. I’ve made ghee over the years the traditional way, which is to bring butter to a boil in a pot over direct heat and let it simmer “till it’s done.” Essentially, until the fat separates from the milk solids. Then you strain it through a cheesecloth so that you’re left with the clear ghee. Sadly, it often yielded mixed results for me. I’ve burned the butter, which is an awful smell… I’ve under-cooked it and the solids didn’t separate enough…. I’ve struggled with cleaning the pot, the cheesecloth, and everything else that comes in contact with pure fat! Until now!!! Although this isn’t a “recipe,” it is a technique I feel is worth sharing. It really simplifies the process (and clean-up), and while it’s not exactly the same end result, it’s close enough that I actually want to make it at home! The only challenge is finding the right sized equipment in your kitchen.
I realized that I use pesto in a bunch of my recipes, but never actually posted a recipe. Surprising, since I consider this a staple. It a quick way to make an okay meal taste special (pasta, sandwich spread, soup, grilled veggies, etc). Adding the other greens keeps the color nice and bright, and adds some additional flavors. Also, if I don’t have pine nuts, I substitute cashews and it still tastes good. This sauce also freezes well, so I often make extra and keep it.
YUM! Forget cereal, this has become my go-to snack and dessert when I am home! Until I started making almond milk routinely, I never realized how easy and delicious this is. I started making this at home because I noticed that almond milk from the store has different gums and flavoring additives. The most basic recipe is to blend the soaked almonds with water and strain it, but I really enjoy a jazzed up version. I add oatmeal for a little thickness and texture, dates for sweetness, and cinnamon/vanilla/salt for flavor. It requires a bit of pre-planning since you have to soak the almonds, but other than that, it’s quick. I also decided to buy a mesh bag to make it easier, but cheesecloth works fine if that is what you have.
This is a really easy, versatile chutney that I use to dress up a lot of dishes. There’s no oil and it freezes well- both reasons that it’s at the top of my list for stocking up on. I don’t usually eat it straight since the flavor is very strong. My favorite variation (if I’m very motivated), is to roast all the garlic in the oven before putting it in the food processor with everything else.
Cooking suggestions: Add a spoonful to rice or lentils when boiling (most common way I use it). Use it to marinate tofu or veggies. Mix a little into roasted veggies. Spread a thin layer on corn-on-the cob before eating. Spread a thin layer on dosa. Add a spoonful into batter that you use for frying veggies. Mix it with water or yogurt to make it more dippable/spreadable. Feel free to share other ideas!