roasted butternut squash + sweet potato soup with sage butter.

The sage love continues! I know fall means everyone goes crazy over pumpkins, apple, cider, and I love all those things too, but the thing I really love is sage. The woody, musky flavor it imparts on dishes… heavenly. Sage butter is where it’s at, everyone!

IMG_5127.JPG

This soup is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters: the sweet potato and squash impart not only a natural sweetness, but a velvety smooth texture without any cream! The addition of cayenne pepper offsets the sweetness so that the finished soup is rich and balanced, but not cloying.

IMG_5129

I garnish this with raw pumpkin seeds for some texture, but this is also wonderful with some toasted baguette or pita. I am SO glad soup season is back in full swing! This would also be a lovely second course for your holiday table!

IMG_5131

roasted butternut squash + sweet potato soup with sage butter.
adapted from epicurious. 

ingredients
1 tablespoon grassfed butter or coconut oil
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced (about 1 medium onion)
3-4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons sage leaves, chopped
4-5 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pumpkin seeds for garnish, optional

directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray, add the butternut squash and sweet potatoes and sprinkle generously with the teaspoon of sea salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and light golden. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat and put the sage in and let it cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sage leaves being to get dark and crinkly. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the nutmeg, cayenne pepper, black pepper and cook for 30-45 seconds, stirring well to combine.

Add the roasted squash and sweet potatoes and broth. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a light simmer, and partially cover. Let cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Let cool for five minutes and either transfer to a blender, or use an immersion blender to blend the soup smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and/or pepper.

Divide amongst 4 bowls and top with toasted pumpkin seeds if desired. This soup freezers great, too!

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

Advertisements

sage brown butter + cheddar skillet cornbread.

I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving sides. I mean, the holiday is less than two weeks away (what??), and aren’t we all hyped about the dinner for the sides? Don’t get me wrong, I love the turkey, smattered with cranberry sauce, but the sides always to tend to steal the show. If you serve this dressed-up-in-its-Sunday-best cornbread, you’ll steal the show, too!

IMG_5104

Cornbread is one of my favorite side dishes to make, and it’s so easy! It saddens me that it’s often regulated to buffets and as a throwaway to chili. Not so! There are so many ways to make it; Northern recipes often call for a bit of sugar, where Southerns would balk at such a thing. Or so I hear… you can find recipes with the inclusion of creamed corn, fresh corn kernels, jalapeños, peppers, you name it! And cheese. Mm. You do not need to ever reach for the boxed mix AGAIN.

IMG_5105

I took a decidedly autumn twist by the inclusion of sage butter (<– when is this ever a bad thing?), and cheddar cheese. Don’t like or have cheddar? Use anything you like! Parmesan? Fontina? Monterey Jack? Sure! I use a coarse ground cornmeal, I love the texture in the finished bread. If you prefer a smoother texture, use a fine ground cornmeal. Make sure to preheat your cast iron skillet – the sizzle and toasty/golden brown edges are not to be missed.

Serve this anytime you’d serve bread, and enjoy!

IMG_5103

sage brown butter + cheddar skillet cornbread.
adapted from Bobby Flay. 

ingredients
1.25 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup non-dairy milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-3 sage leaves
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put an 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes.

In a different skillet, combine the butter and sage leaves over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and begins to darken, and the sage leaves are dark and crinkly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, removing the sage leaves.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and melted and cooled sage butter. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined. Do not over mix.

Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven (carefully!), and spray with nonstick cooking spray or brush with additional butter. Scrape the batter into the hot pan (it will sizzle) and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and cooked through.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then serve.

gluten free yukon gold potato latkes.

I know I am posting this way in advance of Hanukkah (the holiday in which latkes are served), but when faced with an oversupply of potatoes and leftover applesauce and sour cream, I knew I just HAD to make them. As a bonus, these are gluten free, too!

IMG_5077

I LOVE latkes. These are insanely simple, thanks to ingredients of just potatoes, a small onion, eggs, salt, pepper, and some rice flour. The most important part of making latkes is to squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the shredded potatoes. I like to rinse them in cold water while I whisk the eggs, flour, salt and pepper together. Then I pile all of the grated potatoes into a cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel and squeeze, adding the dried potatoes to the egg mixture and proceeding with the recipe.

IMG_5076

In a method similar to these fish cakes, I form the latkes and then pop the tray into the freezer for 10-15 minutes, while the oil heats up. I find this, along with using a metal fish spatula, really makes a difference in the latkes holding their shape.

Latkes can be served in any way your heart desires, but I like to serve them traditionally, with some applesauce and sour cream. Smoked salmon is divine also, if you’re feeling extra fancy!

IMG_5078

yukon gold potato latkes.

ingredients
2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, grated
1 small onion, grated
2 eggs
2 tablespoons white rice flour (or AP if not gluten free)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black or white pepper
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
applesauce, to serve
sour cream or creme fraiche, to serve

directions
Using a food processor fitted with the grating blade or a box grater, shred the potatoes and the onion. Add these to a strainer lined with cheesecloth and rinse with cold water (this will help remove some of the starch). Using your clean hands, press the potato mixture to release the moisture, and then twist the cheesecloth and squeeze, pulling out as much moisture as you can.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, rice flour, salt and pepper. Add the squeezed potatoes to the bowl, and mix together until well combined. Form into tablespoon sized balls, and then flatten slightly with the palm of your hand, setting them on a cutting board or tray. Put the tray in the freezer while you heat the oil.

Heat 1/3 cup oil into a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the oil reaches 375 degrees, add the latkes 3-4 at a time, depending on the size of your skillet (make sure not to crowd the pan). If you do not have a thermometer, use a toothpick or a cube of bread to gauge the heat of your oil — if bubbles form around the toothpick or the bread cube sizzles, it’s ready.

Cook the latkes for 2 minutes per side, or until lightly golden brown, flattening slightly with the spatula as they cook. Remove to a platter lined with paper towels, and sprinkle with sea salt.

Serve immediately with applesauce and sour cream.

Makes 15-18 latkes. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

NOTES: Although these are best served immediately after cooking, you can make ahead. To reheat, preheat an oven to 425 degrees and cook the latkes in the oven for 5-10 minutes. They will be darker from the oven, but they also become nice and crispy.

ginger spiced apple-pear sauce.

I feel like applesauce is so underrated. It is not just for school lunch boxes. So, I’ve made you some! But not just any applesauce, a thick sauce full of not just apple chunks, but pears, spiced with fresh ginger, cinnamon, and lemon, too!

IMG_5044

This easy stovetop applesauce comes together in less than 30 minutes: just peel, core and chop the fruit, mince the ginger, and combine everything in a pan over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the fruit is tender. Once you stir everything together, the fruit will break down. For a smoother sauce, use a potato masher to thoroughly breakdown the fruit. I like to leave it chunky for some texture. I know the ginger probably seems like an odd addition, but trust me! It adds a slight spiciness that plays so well amongst the fruit and cinnamon.

IMG_5046.JPG

The sauce will thicken as it cools, the photos were taken right after I took it off the stove, so you’ll see pockets of liquid: these will be gone once the sauce is cooled. Store in an airtight jar, and it will keep well in refrigerator for 7-10 days. Look for my favorite way to serve this next week!

IMG_5047

ginger spiced apple pear sauce.
adapted from Food Network. 

ingredients
3 Macoun, Fuji, or Gala apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 pears (Bosc, or other firm pear), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unrefined sugar (I like coconut palm sugar)
1/4 cup water

directions
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the peeled and cut apples, pears, minced ginger, lemon juice, zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Stir together to get the spices evenly distributed, and then add the water.

Heat to a boil, stir, and then partially cover and reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sauce comes together and the fruit begins to break down, turn the heat off.

Once cool enough to handle, transfer to an airtight container like a Mason jar, and refrigerate once completely cool. Keeps for 7-10 days.

Makes 3 cups.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

whole wheat pear cinnamon dutch baby.

Great for breakfast, brunch, or even dessert, you need a Dutch Baby in your life. Especially one topped with warm cinnamon pears!

IMG_5003

A dutch baby is essentially a slightly fluffy pancake that puffs up in the oven while it bakes with crisp, dark edges. The key to achieving the ‘pouf’ in the oven is room temperature eggs and milk, so set them out about 30 minutes before you plan to cook.

IMG_5002

The batter comes together quickly with just a bowl and a whisk, and you can make it while the pears are sizzling away in the skillet. I used pears because I had some in my fridge and I love their slight sweetness, enhanced by the cinnamon and vanilla, but go ahead and use apples if you prefer.

I topped the fruit with some powdered sugar, but that’s completely optional. Dutch babies are great for entertaining, especially for brunch because they actually require less effort than regular pancakes! Who doesn’t love that??

IMG_5011

pear dutch baby.
adapted from cooking light.

ingredients
2 tablespoons grassfed butter
2 medium pears, cored and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk/non-dairy milk (room temperature)
2 eggs (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

directions
Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and lightly sizzling, add the sliced pears, cinnamon and teaspoon of sugar and stir together, cooking together for 3-4 minutes or until lightly softened and fragrant. Remove to a plate and set aside.

While the pears are cooking, mix together the milk, eggs, vanilla, remaining sugar and flour and whisk well to combine. In the same skillet you cooked the pears in, add the batter and place immediately in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove skillet from oven, top with pear mixture, cut into four pieces and serve immediately.

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

apple cider sidecar (cidercar).

Let’s give the classic sidecar a decidedly fall twist!

A few weeks ago, my friend popped over one evening, and wanted a cocktail instead of wine. Since she came bearing fresh apple cider, I figured we had to incorporate that into the drink du jour: hello, apple cidercars!

IMG_4989

If you’ve never had a sidecar before, you’re in for a real treat! They are the French version of a margarita: a sour-based drink with cognac instead of tequila. Instead of lime juice, sidecars use lemon juice, but I am breaking the rules with the addition of apple cider. The cider really balances the drink, making it sweet, but not cloying, and it places perfectly with the rich flavor of the cognac. Because the cider mellows the drink out, this is great for those who don’t like an alcohol-forward cocktail. Try it, it’s delicious, and a wonderful, festive drink!

IMG_4970

apple cider-car.

ingredients
3 ounces apple cider
3 ounces cognac or brandy
1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
ice

directions
Fill two coup glasses with ice. Set aside. In a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and add the apple cider, cognac, triple sec and lemon juice. Shake 20-30 times, until shaker is ice cold.

Remove ice from glasses and pour the cocktail. Serve immediately.

Serves 2.

roasted butternut squash + sweet potatoes with agrodolce sauce.

As if roasted vegetables could even get any better, we are drizzling them with a sweet and spicy argodolce sauce. Mmmmmmmmm.

IMG_4973

You can use any vegetables you like for this: I used butternut squash and sweet potatoes with an onion because they were what I had hanging out in the fridge. Beets, cauliflower, white potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts; all would be fantastic. But let’s be honest: this is really all about the sauce.

IMG_4972

Argodolce is so versatile! I first had it spooned overtop pan fried pork chops, and have found many ways to serve it up since then. It’s simple to make: just balsamic vinegar, honey, rosemary, garlic, and a hint of crushed red pepper flake. And butter, of course. Butter is the key to making sauces velvety smooth and luscious when you add it in at the end of the cooking process.

The argodolce will continue to thicken after you reduce it, so I like to drizzle it atop the roasted vegetables right away, but you can always serve alongside the vegetables and let everyone dip/drizzle to their liking.

IMG_4975

It’s hard not to eat the whole pan of these. Trust me!

roasted butternut squash + sweet potatoes with argodolce.
agrodolce adapted from Everyday Italian. 

ingredients
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 butternut squash (about 1.5 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper
chives, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)

agrodolce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup raw honey
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon butter

directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, add the cut squash and potatoes, onions, sea salt, pepper and olive oil. Stir well to combine and then spread out on the baking sheet in a single layer. Do not overcrowd the pan, as the vegetables will steam, not roast.

Add to the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring once, until golden and tender.

While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the sauce: In a small saucier, add the vinegar, honey, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Cook over medium heat, allowing the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes until the sauce has reduced by half. Once the sauce is reduced and will coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat and add the butter, stirring until it has incorporated.

Place the roasted vegetables to a platter and drizzle the argodolce overtop. Garnish with chives if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4 as a side. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

dijon tilapia fish cakes with baby arugula.

Today we’re having fish cakes! Tilapia cakes, to be exact. Why should crab cakes have all the fun??

IMG_4942

This recipe is lovely because it can do triple duty: a fresh first course? An elegant yet simple lunch? A light dinner? Check, check, and CHECK.

The key to successful fish cakes is to chill the cakes for thirty minutes minimum after shaping the patties. You may find that the patties are a little wet when you form them, but you’ll be amazed once you’ve let them hang out in the fridge. They really set up nicely, and will not fall apart during the cooking process; which I think is the biggest issue people (myself included, countless times) have when they try to make any type of fritter or cake. Letting them chill for 30-60 minutes is absolutely essential to the success of this recipe. When cooking them, you can press down gently with your spatula to ensure an even browning; I did not do this on my first two cakes, as I was curious about them holding their shape but once they did, I lightly flattened the subsequent patties, as it makes for a prettier presentation.

IMG_4930
See how the bottom cake is unevenly browned? That was my test cake. 🙂

I used 2% greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise, and whole wheat panko instead of white. Both of these swaps up the nutrition and lower the calorie count, so you can feel even better knowing how healthy these are.

I served these with baby arugula tossed with a quick french vinaigrette (recipe below) and a squeeze of lemon: easy and elegant!

IMG_4943

dijon tilapia cakes with arugula. 

ingredients
1.25 pounds tilapia filets
1/4 cup olive oil plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 eggs
3 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup whole wheat panko
6 ounces baby arugula
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I tend to use 4, but go up depending on how acidic you like your dressings)

directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick spray, place each tilapia filet on the sheet and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and pepper and drizzle with the teaspoon of olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through (opaque all the way through). Let cool and using a fork, break into medium flakes. 

In a mixing bowl, add the yogurt, dijon mustard and eggs and whisk to beat the eggs and combine the mixture. Add the sliced chives and stir to incorporate. Add the flaked fish, panko, remaining salt and pepper and lemon zest and fold in to incorporate.

With a cutting board near you, form the mixture into eight cakes (about 1/4 cup each). Do not overwork; the mixture will feel wet. Place the cakes on the cutting board and place in the refrigerator. Let chill for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour.

Heat a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and add half of the cakes (this will depend on the size of your skillet; I was able to cook 4 at a time in 2 batches). Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, pressing gently to slightly flatten. When the cake is ready to flip, it will easily move. Once golden brown on each side, remove to a plate and continue with the next batch, adding the remaining oil.

While the cakes are cooking, make the salad dressing. In a jar or small bowl, whisk the dijon mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Toss with the arugula.

Divide the arugula amongst four plates and top each with two cakes. Serve immediately. Serves 4 as a main, 8 as an appetizer.

*Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible* 

carrot ginger soup.

I cannot believe that I have been blogging for over two years (!), and have yet to share this recipe with you. It is one of my most favorite soups ever. EVER.

IMG_4912

This soup turned me into a carrot soup lover. I never ate it growing up, but once I had it several years ago, I was sold. I crave it now, and it couldn’t be simpler to put together. The ginger provides such a sweet and spicy flavor and aroma, and it pairs perfectly with the carrots. Carrots and ginger are a classic flavor pairing; just think of the carrot ginger salad dressing that is served at most Japanese restaurants! Think of that dressing turned into a soup. The additional of lemon juice and zest add brightness, and the tomato lends some additional acidity to the soup. With just vegetable stock, salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne, the finished soup is delicate, and allows for the carrots and ginger to really shine. This soup is easily made vegan/dairy free by substituting the butter with a vegan spread or coconut oil.

Serve with a swirl of sour cream if you desire, but I prefer it simple, with a hunk of crusty bread on the side. I promise you, this will be your new favorite!

IMG_4916

carrot ginger soup.
adapted from epicurious. 

ingredients
2 tablespoons grassfed butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1.5 teaspoons fresh garlic
1.25 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped (about three cups)
2 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 1.25 cups)
1.5 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
pinch of cayenne (optional)
1/2 teaspoon each sea salt and black pepper (more or less to your preference)

1 carrot, grated, to garnish
sour cream, to garnish

directions
Melt butter and oil in large, deep pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and sauté 2 minutes.

Add chopped carrots, tomatoes, lemon zest, cayenne (if using) and sauté for 1 minute. Add 3 cups stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Puree soup in batches in blender. Return soup to pot. Mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring soup to simmer, thinning with more stock, if desired. Ladle into bowls. Top each with sour cream and grated carrot if desired.

Serves 4 (one cup servings). *Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible* 

sautéed butternut squash + spinach pasta.

I purchased a butternut squash about a week ago and it is the gift that keeps on giving!

IMG_4910

First I used it for butternut squash congee. Then I used some of the grated leftovers for butternut squash polenta when I had friends over for dinner. And I still had some leftover! Not one to let food to go waste, I knew I had to find a way to use up the last cup or so. It was already grated, so the classic roasting was out. I wanted something healthy yet comforting, so vegetable-heavy pasta it is!

IMG_4887

I sautéed the squash in a little mixture of butter and olive oil, seasoned with garlic, crushed red pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the baby spinach until slightly wilted, and then toss with the hot cooked pasta. I do recommend whole wheat here; the nuttiness of it is an ideal accompaniment to the squash and spinach. You can top with grated parmesan if desired, but I left it sweet and simple (and dairy free!).

IMG_4888

butternut squash + spinach pasta. 

ingredients
4-5 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, linguine, or long pasta
sea salt for pasta water
2 tablespoons grassfed butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1.5 cups shredded butternut squash
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2-3 handfuls baby spinach
1/3 cup pasta water

directions
Heat a pot of water to boiling with a big pinch of sea salt, and add the pasta, cooking according to package directions for al dente.

Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter. Once the butter is melted and the fats are lightly sizzling, add the garlic cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly golden but not burnt. Add the butternut squash, nutmeg, cayenne, sea salt and pepper and saute, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes, or until the squash is lightly golden and tender and add the baby spinach. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan with the squash/spinach mixture, and the 1/3 cup of reserved pasta water. Toss well for 1 minute, or until the spinach is just beginning to wilt.

Season with additional salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves 2. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible*