I decided to make smoothies as a post-Halloween “candy detox” and pre-holiday food coma. We’re in this small window of time where all of the good Halloween candy has run out, yet the holiday baked goodies aren’t yet being brought to the office on a daily basis. It’s the perfect time to blend smoothies and soups and get all of your vitamins and nutrients in before the holidays!Read More
This dish is the perfect combination of simple and complex. It's easy to make yet the flavors complement each other so wonderfully, that it appears more complex than it really is. I most certainly did not grow up eating Brussels Sprouts, but I did grow up in eating kumquats, as there are kumquat trees aplenty in south Louisiana (but certainly no Brussels sprouts!). When I was in Louisiana over Thanksgiving, I had a friend bring some by. I knew that I wanted to try roasting them with Brussels sprouts!
Kumquats are really unique because they're like tiny oranges, but you can eat them whole--peel and all. This is likely because they're too small to bother with peeling. The taste can be a little bitter, but the peel makes them packed with flavor. When I first made Brussels Sprouts, about a year ago, I was told that I should cook them in bacon fat. Although I will indulge in pork occasionally, having bacon fat as a mandatory ingredient for my Brussels Sprouts was far from enticing.
However, I do love the smoky flavor that smoked meats impart. So, when I came across Runamok's Pecan-Smoked Maple Syrup, I knew it would be something really excellent to complement these tiny green cabbages. Plus, the sugar from the maple syrup helps these veggies caramelize, making them all the tastier!
I didn't exactly measure the amount of Brussels Sprouts I used, but I did roast them in two batches because I didn't want to crowd them. If you place too many on the pan you use, they'll steam instead of getting that wonderfully brown color and flavor.
I also used these tips from the New York Times on how to cook Brussels Sprouts.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Kumquats
1 and 1/2 pounds Brussels Sprouts, rinsed, bottoms trimmed and halved 1/4 cup kumquats, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon pecan-smoked maple syrup salt pepper 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds 2 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon pecan-smoked maple syrup (whisk to combine).
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment Paper.
Rinse your Brussels sprouts, trim the bottoms and cut in half. If they are quite large, you may quarter them. Remove any loose sprout leaves. (If you attempt to roast any loose leaves, they will burn and be quite charred.) Rinse the kumquats and slice (the kumquats have a strong flavor so it's best to slice them quite thinly. Add the sprouts and kumquats to a large bowl. Stir in the olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
Place all of the sprout-kumquat mixture on the lined baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes in all, stirring every 10 minutes. Watch them carefully--if they start to become too brown, you may remove them.
Remove the sprouts and top with fresh pomegranate seeds, desired amount of vinaigrette, and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
I had a wonderful and indulgent Thanksgiving. I just got back to New York yesterday, so I decided to do something I don't normally do--meal prep. I picked up some beautiful pomegranates at the market, so I decided to make a favorite salad of mine that is wonderfully accented by the burst-y crunch of fresh pomegranate seeds. I thought about naming this salad “Crazy Salad” since it is Crazy Colorful, Crazy Vibrant, Crazy Delicious, Crazy Filling, and Crazy Healthy.
Before making this salad, I had never cooked black rice before. Black rice turns its cooking water a deep aubergine color. You can substitute the black and wild rice with just about any grain. The total time to assemble this salad is about an hour. I love having healthy breakfasts and lunches during the holiday season so that I feel less guilty when it's time to eat all of the delicious holiday goodies ;)
Layered Wild Rice Salad and Roasted Squash Salad
Ingredients 1/2 cup black rice 1/2 cup wild rice 1 medium butternut squash 1/2 cup olive oil, divided 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons honey 2 green onions, thinly sliced 1 cup pomegranate seeds 2 cups parsley 1/2 cup roasted pistachios, chopped
Preheat oven to 450 F. Roast the squash with 1/4 cup olive oil on a baking sheet.
Cook black rice and wild rice in a covered pot on low, with 2 cups of salted water. Cook until tender, about 45 minutes. (Taste to determine when rice is done and be sure to add water if the rice isn’t cooked by the time all of water evaporates.) Drain and rinse, shaking off as much water as possible. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool.
Roast the squash until it is browned and tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
Prepare the red wine vinaigrette by whisking red wine vinegar, honey, and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl.
Distribute the vinaigrette among several medium-sized jars. For the second layer, add the black rice and wild rice. (This way, the vinaigrette won't cause the other ingredients to be soggy.) Distribute the roasted squash among the jars for the next layer, followed by the green onions, pomegranate seeds, pistachios and parsley. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Pears are autumn’s most underrated and underappreciated fruit. Apples seem to take all of the glory—from apple pies to apple crisps to fried apples, even though pears are incredibly closely related. I too have fallen into the Fall apple-pumpkin trap, as I’m sure you can see with my mini apple tarts and pumpkin pancakes topped with… none other than apples. This is all the more strange since I like pears more than apples. Pears are a mainstay in my breakfast smoothies and salads. I think their flavor is more unique, and they are loaded with much more fiber than apples.
Going apple picking is one of my favorite parts of living in New York, but if you look closely, most apple orchards also have their fair share of pear trees, so be sure to stock up on these lovelies as well!
To remedy this imbalance, I decided to make a tart to showcase the oft-overlooked pear. This tart showcases its hippy lines and long neck. The sliced pears are nestled in a bed of fluffy, almond-y frangipane. This tart was inspired by holidays in France, as frangipane is found in many French pastries, particularly around the holidays. Making frangipane is incredibly simple. You combine almond paste, sugar, eggs, flour and salt. I added a tablespoon of rum because I’ve found that rum helps accentuate both the almonds and the fruit. Also, almond paste can surprisingly be found at most grocers—I purchased some at Whole Foods.
Pear Frangipane Tart Recipe
Crust Ingredients (Alternatively, you can purchase a pre-made crust)
1 and ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 and ¼ sticks unsalted butter (10 tablespoons), cut into one-inch pieces
3-4 tablespoons ice-cold water
1/3 cup almond paste
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon flour
1 large egg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rum
2 large + 1 small bosc pear
demerara sugar, for sprinkling
Prepare the crust. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter-flour mixture resembles small peas (about 25 short pulses). Sprinkle the water in and continue pulsing until the dough starts to come together. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it a few times, and then shape into a round disc. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Once the dough has chilled for at least two hours, place it on a lightly floured countertop and roll it into a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 10-inch tart pan and press it in. Return the dough to the refrigerator while you are preparing the rest of the tart.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare the frangipane. Combine the almond paste and two teaspoons of sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until combined. Beat in the butter. Add the flour, egg, salt and rum and beat until smooth.
Cut each pear in half. Using a melon baller, scoop out the core. Thinly slice each pear half in 1/8” slices.
Spread the frangipane over the chilled tart dough. Carefully arrange the pear slices until they fit in the tart pan (I used 3 large halves and 1 small half). Sprinkle generously with the demerara sugar.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the pears are soft and cooked through, and any frangipane peaking through the top begins to brown.
Remove from the oven and allow the tart to cool in the pan for ten minutes. Then, carefully remove the tart from the pan. It can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Nothing says cozy to me like a warm bowl of soup made with autumnal squash. I strayed from my traditional pumpkin soup since I didn't have any fresh pumpkins on hand--just a butternut squash and an acorn squash. Since acorn squash isn't very sweet (or orange for that matter), I also threw in a few small carrots and an apple for good measure.
This recipe uses coconut milk instead of cream. I converted to coconut milk in my squash soups after hosting a fall dinner party last year for friends, many of whom don't consume dairy. I made two pumpkin soups--one that was vegan and dairy free and one that wasn't. The vegan one was by far superior, and I've been using coconut milk ever since.
I've tried this recipe with boxed or canned squash, and I highly recommend roasting fresh squash. By roasting the squash, you get a wonderfully nutty flavor that imparts an elegant complexity to the soup. Also, I'll include what I used in this soup, but with any soup, be open to free styling. You don't have to follow the recipe exactly. If you like your soups thin, you'll want to add a little more water. If you like them thick, a little less water. As a Louisiana girl who's no stranger to spicy food, I love the kick from the curry powder and cayenne pepper, but maybe you'll want to tone those flavors down. Make this soup your own!
Roasted Acorn and Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
One butternut squash, quartered
One acorn squash, quartered
Extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 small carrots, roughly chopped
One small apple peeled, cored and chopped
One can of coconut milk
2 cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon curry powder
4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
Roasted Pumpkin seeds, to garnish (optional)
A note about garnishes: Here's your chance to really go wild. Try topping it with roasted walnuts, crumbled chèvre, sautéed shrimp or crispy bacon. I also used pumpernickel croutons which were an excellent vehicle to soak up this soup with, made from my botched pumpernickel bread making this weekend.
Place the quartered acorn squash and butternut squash on a lined baking sheet. You can leave the pulp and seeds in tact. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and bake in an oven at 375 F for about one hour. The squash should be lightly browned and have a few brown spots. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, remove the stringy pulp and seeds with a spoon. Scoop the remaining flesh out and reserve in a bowl.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Heat over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and saute them until they soften, about five minutes. Add the carrots and sauté an additional five minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for three minutes.
Add the chopped apples, squash, coconut milk (reserve a couple of tablespoons to use as a garnish), maple syrup, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cayenne powder, curry, fresh thyme & vegetable stock. Increase the heat to high. Once the soup begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer on low, covered, for about 15 minutes.
Remove the thyme sprigs. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup**, or transfer the soup to a blender. Blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning by tasting the soup to see if it needs anything else. If the flavors aren't there yet, add a little more salt. Or maybe you want to add a little more curry powder. If it's too thick, add a little water to thin it out. This is the most important step--be bold in making sure your soup is flavorful.
Transfer the soup to bowls and garnish with coconut milk, fresh thyme, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, or any other toppings you fancy. Serve immediately.
**I purchased an immersion blender after accidentally pouring piping hot soup on myself instead of in the blender. Be very careful!
This unique yet delicious peach cobbler recipe uses fresh peaches, fall spices and a delectable non-traditional biscuit-like "crust." I was perusing my neighborhood farmer's market yesterday and I came across so many perfectly ripe white and yellow peaches. When I find perfectly-ripe, locally-grown, pesticide-free produce, I have a hard time walking away. So, I purchased some peaches, and by "some," I mean several pounds. I prefer white peaches for snacking (since I find that they are a little sweeter and less tart) and yellow peaches for baking. Plus, I didn't want to let another summer go by without making a peach cobbler, so I used the yellow peaches for this dish.
Everyone knows that the crust is the best part about peach cobblers, so I made this cobbler in individual ramekins to ensure that everyone gets a generous serving of crust. But this isn't a traditional pie crust--it's more of a biscuit or scone, but it works perfectly. To make this dish, I peeled several peaches and then cut them into wedges. I tossed the wedges with brown sugar, lemon juice, flour and ground cinnamon. I greased ramekins and then filled them with the peaches and dotted them with butter. I baked them for about 14 minutes, until the juices were just starting to bubble. While the peaches were baking, I prepared the crust. I combined all purpose flour, almond flour (ground almonds), brown sugar, salt, butter and buttermilk. I pulsed the ingredients in a food processor until they were combined. I then turned the rather sticky dough onto a work surface and kneaded it a few times. I then patted it into a 7 inch by 2 inch rectangle, and cut the rectangle into 6 equal squares. I placed a square on top of each peach-filled ramekin, then brushed egg whites and sprinkled sliced almonds and brown sugar. I returned the cobblers to the oven for an additional 25 minutes.
The cobblers oozed with peach goodness and had beautifully-browned tops. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for about 20 minutes. You can even top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
- 2 pounds fresh peaches peeled and sliced into wedges
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 4 teaspoons all purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- FOR THE CRUST
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup almond flour (almond meal)
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- sliced almonds, for garnish
- vanilla ice cream (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400F and prepare 6 small ramekins by lightly greasing them and placing them on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- In a large bowl, toss the fresh peach slices with the brown sugar, flour, lemon juice and ground cinnamon.
- Fill each ramekin with the peach slices and the remaining juice. Place in the oven for approximately 14 minutes, until the peaches just start to bubble.
- While the peaches are baking, prepare the dough.
- Combine the baking powder, salt, all purpose flour, almond flour and brown sugar in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until small crumbs form. Add the buttermilk and pulse until combined.
- Remove the dough and knead it until it comes together (about 15 seconds). Using your hands, pat the dough into a rectangle 5 inches by 7 inches.
- Cut the rectangle into 6 equal squares.
- Once the peaches are baked and bubbly, place a square of dough on top of each ramekin. Brush the lightly beaten egg on top of each square of dough. Sprinkle a generous amount of brown sugar on top of each ramekin, and sprinkle sliced almonds on top.
- Bake for an additional 25 minutes, until the dough is browned and the peaches are bubbling over.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes (they will be very hot!)
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.