Strawberry-Pepper Shrub


Strawberry Shrub

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.

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Tiger nut milk


tiger-nuts
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.

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Marinated Hearts of Palm


hearts-of-palm

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).

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Pumpkin “Hummus”


pumpkin-hummus

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.

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Chocolate Avocado “Mousse”


avocado-chocolate-mousse

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 =)

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Hazelnut Coconut Pie Crust


nut-coconut-crust

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.

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Grilled Peach Gazpacho


Peach GazpachoAugust = 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.

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Quinoa-Tofu Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


Stuffed Cabbage RollsMy Hungry Harvest box this week contained a gigantic, healthy head of cabbage. I couldn’t bear the idea of shredding it, so I decided to try making cabbage rolls. In my ongoing quest to avoid carbs, the giant cabbage leaves made a perfect wrapper for one of my favorite quinoa fillings.  The recipe below looks labor-intensive (and it it is!), but it’s also easily modifiable to make a quick weekday dinner.  I’d consider the recipe below more of a technique than a hard-and-fast recipe.  You can use your favorite tomato sauce instead of making the one below.  You can also stuff the cabbage rolls with leftovers!

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Karela (bitter gourd) in Coconut-Tamarind Gravy


KarelaEvery 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!).

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Coconut-Tamarind Gravy


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.

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Fennel Vodka


Fennel vodka

A few weeks ago, I made this Apple, Fennel, Manchego Salad.  I used the fennel bulb in the salad, but was left with a whole cup of fronds.  I couldn’t bear the idea of throwing them away, so I thought I’d stick them in vodka and see what happens.  It’s delicious!  It has a light, fresh taste and the pale green is so summery- it’s perfect for this weather!  Today, I added a spoonful to sparkling water and it was really refreshing.  Next, I plan on playing with a fennel-cucumber drink… stay tuned!

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Grilled Squash Protein Bowl


Grilled squash and nutrela

I was traveling for work the last few weeks and totally in withdrawal from not being able to cook.  Luckily, my Hungry Harvest box this week had some awesome fresh ingredients like yellow squash, tomatoes, cilantro, and green bell peppers.  They looked so tender and colorful, that I wanted to use them as soon as possible.  To make the dish more balanced and filling, I added edamame and soya flour chunks (Nutrela).

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Kiwi Basil Sorbet


Kiwi SorbetIn this unbelievably hot weather, we were in the mood for something tart and refreshing.  Homemade sorbets are amazing because you can taste the freshness.  As a bonus, you can also control the sweetness (I often find store sorbet too sweet).   This kiwi basil sorbet really hit the spot in 90+ degree weather!   I left the seeds in for the crunch and because it looks pretty, but if you want a smooth sorbet, you can strain them out.

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Pickled Watermelon Radish


Pickled Watermelon RadishMy Hungry Harvest produce box this week came with 1 pound of watermelon radishes. If you haven’t had them before, they are tons of fun. The outside looks so boring- usually white or pale green, but then you slice it open and see bright pink/red! I find the taste is mildly peppery and slightly sweet. I usually just slice them thinly and put a little salt, pepper, and sometimes even butter for a fun snack. This time though, I wanted to make the 1 pound last for a while, so I pickled it. This pickle is great on a cheese board, in sandwiches, mixed into salads, or even just to munch on. I used a spiraler to get thin slices, but you can also just cut them by hand into thin slices.

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Tahini, Thyme, and Cumin Roasted Carrots


Tahini CarrotsOne of the best things about getting fresh produce boxes is the surprise of finding what is inside and thinking of how to combine them in new ways.  My food box this week contained a ton of fresh thyme and a pound of rainbow carrots so I decided to make some savory roasted carrots to use in dishes throughout the week.

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Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup


Red pepper tomato soup

This is an easy soup that has lots of flavor and really lets the ingredients shine.  That being said, use good quality, fresh produce- it makes all the difference!  If you are short on time, you can roast the veggies ahead of time and blend it later.  The photo shows the soup topped with my attempt at a basil foam, but usually I just top it with basil ribbons.

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Pumpkin Pie Spice


Pumpkin Pie Spice

Why did I ever buy pumpkin pie spice when it is this easy to make?!?!  I ran out today as I was making some muffins.  After panicking for a minute, I realized that I had all the spices that go in to pumpkin pie spice at home.  So I played with mixing the spices in varying proportions (it was very scientific!).  The recipe below is what I settled on.  I listed everything in teaspoons so it is easy to scale up if you want to make a larger batch.

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Espresso Vinaigrette


Espresso DressingI 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.

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Sriracha Lime Nuts


Sriracha nuts

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.

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Hazelnut Milk


Hazelnut Milk

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.

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Pineapple Coconut Sorbet (dairy-free)


Pineapple Coconut SorbetWe had an ice cream party at work this week, and the forecast for the week was in the 90s… totally put me in the mood for pina coladas and pain killers! The sorbet below started out as a pina colada sorbet with just pineapple and coconut. But, somehow, it morphed towards a pain killer as I kept adding/adjusting ingredients. I love how the final sorbet came out- a slight kick of ginger with a creamy ice cream-like texture.  I will definitely be making it again this summer!

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Gazpacho


Gazpacho

Gazpacho is one of my favorite summer soups- straight from farmer’s market treasures!  I’ve seen and tasted so many different gazpacho recipes over the years, and one thing that hits me is how forgiving they are.  The recipe below is a general guide, but you can vary the ingredients based on what’s fresh and available.  How can you not get hooked on a recipe that’s this quick and easy and light!? =)

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Mint Cilantro Coconut Chutney


Mint Cilantro Coconut ChutneyI 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!

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Spicy Tomato Jam


Onion Tomato JamThis jam came into creation because I really dislike ketchup. It’s sweet and doesn’t taste like tomato to me. I’ve made a more than a few batches of the tomato jam, varying the spices and sugars, until I settled on the recipe below.  You can definitely make a smaller batch and keep it in the fridge if you don’t want to go through the whole canning process.  I really like this jam as a spread (especially with cream cheese), as a topping for soups, spread on cheese or roasted veggies, and many other ways… It’s not ketchup, but I’ll actually eat this! =)

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Chunky Bread Salad


Bread SaladThis salad is inspired by multiple delicious panzanella salads I’ve had over the years.  It’s not actually a panzanella salad because it deviates from the traditional ingredients and process, so I’m going with “Chunky Bread Salad.”  I love how easy this salad is to throw together, especially if you make the Spicy Sourdough Croutons ahead of time.

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Spicy Sourdough Croutons


Spicy Sourdough CroutonsYou may never want to buy croutons again… These are super easy to make and soooo addictive!  I end up making extra because I know I’m probably going to eat half of them before they ever make it to the soup or salad.  If you don’t have day old bread, you can dry it out by cutting the cubes and then heating them in the oven at 200 F for a few minutes.  Also, these croutons freeze really well- just take them out of the freezer long enough to allow them to come to room temperature.

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What to do with leftover chili??? (aka… I got carried away and made too much)


This post doesn’t have recipes, just ideas.  A little bit of this… a little bit of that… and suddenly I have a vat of spicy, chunky chili!  Far more than I can eat at once.  Luckily, chili freezes well.  The list below is how I used up all my leftovers…. If anyone else has ideas, please share!  As a side note, I think I’m always going to make extra now. =)

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Avocado Pistachio Open Face Sandwich


Avocado Pistachio SandwichYUM!!!! I’ve had this sandwich 3 days in a row now, and I can’t get over (1) how easy it is, (2) how fresh and summery it tastes, and (3) how filling it is.  The number of open-face sandwiches you get depends on how big your bread slices are and how thin you slice the avocado.  The recipe below is for 2 slices of bakery size loaves of sourdough bread.

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