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.
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.
Last week’s Hungry Harvest box contained a ton of zucchini. After using some to make a Veggie Lentil Loaf, I still had two zucchini left to use, so I made these cute savory zucchini cakes. They are so simple to make, and the best part is that they freeze well so it makes the perfect after work snack! Being a Marylander, I couldn’t resist using Old Bay to flavor them. You can also pan fry them, but I bake to keep things healthier.
My 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.
One 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.
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. =)
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.
Last time I made butter, I had all this liquid left from the first press of the butter. It tasted amazing in these biscuits. That being said, it’s much easier and still yum to use ready-made buttermilk. Also, the cheese really affects the flavor, so definately use a cheese that you like!
A whole day off… that means bread time! I didn’t feel like making a regular loaf of bread, so I made focaccia instead. This is one recipe that I definitely recommend using good olive oil for. As far as the toppings go… make your favorite combo, clean out the fridge, use colorful ingredients to be festive… have fun with it!
This is a fun twist on applesauce. If you’ve never made applesauce before, I think you’ll be surprised at how easy and delicious it is! I can’t recall the last time I bought applesauce from the store… I don’t have a particular kind of apple that I use – it’s usually a mix and match of what I have at home. I’d say to use the apples you like the taste of! There aren’t too many ingredients, so the flavors really stand out. I don’t always add bourbon and it still tastes amazing. The bourbon just makes it feel a little more indulgent. Also, I like it chunky so I don’t puree it at the end, but you can if you like smooth applesauce.
In my attempt to avoid white rice, I’m switching to brown rice. I actually really like the texture of brown rice. However, sometimes I want it to have more flavor so that I can eat it as a side dish. I call this recipe “basic” since I consider it a side dish or a base for a multitude of other recipes. I have been eating it with soup to make the meal more filling. However, you can also toss in sauteed veggies. Mix in scrambled egg, edamame, and sriracha sauce to make it taste Asian. Saute with tomatoes, mushrooms, oregano and parsley to make it taste Italian. Mix in fajita seasoning, bell peppers, and corn to make it taste Mexican. You get the idea- experiment away!
I’ve made egg salad many times, and always thought it was the easy way out of making deviled eggs. But I made these last weekend and it wasn’t too hard. Honestly, the toughest part was figuring out how much to filling to pipe in the egg white halves! I actually really liked the way they came out and will likely make them a potluck and brunch staple.
I am SO not a cauliflower fan, but even I love this recipe! It’s a great substitute for mashed potatoes, and can take on whatever flavor you like. I prefer a garlic-Parmesan flavor, so that is the recipe described below. Sometimes, if I have some nice blue cheese, I will substitute that for the Parmesan.
Until last year, I always used to buy pumpkin pulp from the store, and I’ll admit, I still do if I’m craving pumpkin dishes and don’t have a real pumpkin on-hand. However, now, if I plan ahead, I prefer to buy my own pumpkin and cook it. It feels like the epitome of fall to go to a farmer’s market and pick out a pumpkin to bring home. I like using pie pumpkins because I find that they have less seeds and less stringy flesh. Don’t be intimidated- the toughest part is cutting the pumpkin in half… =)
I realized today that I use roasted red peppers all over my blog, and haven’t actually described how to roast them at home. I put “roasted” in quotes since these are actually broiled (not sure what the difference is). The first time I roasted the peppers, I was really careful not to burn it. Turns out, it actually tastes better if you completely blacken it! You can buy ready-made roasted peppers from the store, but I prefer roasting them at home. It’s fun and I find that it tastes more flavorful to me.
Nothing like the taste of fresh cream butter… This is my method for making butter in the Vitamix- please note that it is different from what is in the Vitamix recipe book. This is a little additional work, but I like how the butter turns out better and I feel like it lasts a little longer in the fridge. The directions look lengthy, but in total this takes me about 10 minutes to do steps 1-5, and then it sits overnight to drain. I tried to be as descriptive as possible, so please let me know if something is not clear!
This salad hits the spot for me when I want something sweet and savory with a variety of textures. It requires a bit of prep work, so I make a double batch. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days, and actually picks up more flavor as it marinates. It’s very flexible in terms of replacing ingredients. I like the tart and sweet of the dried cherries, but you can substitute craisins, raisins, currants, etc. Same for the seeds- I use pumpkin seeds, but I imagine sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc would also taste good.
The last of my Valentine’s Day posts… and probably my favorite. It’s light and easy to make ahead of time. I broiled the veggies ahead of time, and then just baked it for 10 mins right before serving. I used a variety of veggies, but you can mix and match any veggies you want. It’s a great way to use up leftover eggplant, squash, mushrooms, etc. You can serve it a variety of ways- plain, in a sandwich, on a bed of pasta, etc. I made a Roasted Red Pepper Coulis to pour on top, which was a great compliment since I didn’t add roasted red peppers to the stack.
I had some leftover ground some pistachios from a different recipe, so decided to make a pistachio sauce for one of the Valentine’s day dishes. I mixed this with ditalini pasta, but it also tastes good on veggies, toast, and even as a pizza sauce. Just a note, I used key limes last time to make this- and it came out more limey than using regular limes.
I love all holidays, and that includes Valentine’s Day! I made dinner for my parents today to celebrate an early Valentine’s Day. Initially, I wanted every dish to incorporate red- but later decided that might be too much. So instead, I settled for a mix of dishes that let me play with a variety of foods and techniques. The menu is below and the recipes will follow soon! Hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day!
If you like sweet corn tamales, you will like this dish a lot! It took me a while to wrap my head around the idea of sugar in a side dish, but I’m so happy I did! It does take some time to make, but it melts in your mouth when you eat it. If you are in a time crunch, you can make everything up to step 4 the day before, and then just steam it the day you want to serve it.
These little onions are great accompaniments to a heavy meal. Instead of having the spiciness that red onions normally have, the pearl onions have a sweeter, milder flavor. As it cooks, the balsamic vinegar and honey caramelizes them a bit, so they taste amazing when they are done!
I remember the first time I had creamed spinach- it was at a steak house (dinner was a mix of sides…) and I loved it! The texture is a great mix of creamy, but not mushy. The recipe below is my version of creamed spinach. It’s fairly easy to make if you use a whisk. I’ve tried it without a whisk, and it inevitably ends up with lumps. Also, when I make it now, I used 4 tbsp of olive oil and almond milk so it is vegan (and really good!)Continue reading →
Our original Christmas dinner was going to be vegetarian meatloaf and mashed potatoes… however; we had Monday off! Naturally, that meant I spent the day in the kitchen playing! Below is the Christmas dinner I finally settled on (links to follow). Yes… I might have gotten a little carried away with the sides… =)
I had a Halloween party last year and completely forgot to post about it! I had the most fun planning the food for the party (as usual). The best thing about Halloween food is that you can be super creative to make things fit into the creepy, gross theme. Below is the table spread for the party, with links to the foods and how I did them (click on it for a larger image).
A few months ago, I went to the DC fancy food show and got to sample all these amazing food products! One of the new things I tried was Mountain Bread Rice wraps made from rice flour. I used these to make some at home and they came out great. Thin, cripsy, and flavorful!