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!

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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.

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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!

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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* 

 

 

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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* 

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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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* 

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.

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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!

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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* 

turmeric roasted cauliflower.

After I made those cauliflower steaks last week (yum!), I was left with a sizable amount of a cauliflower florets leftover (the cauliflower I had was positively huge!). I love, love, love roasted cauliflower, and thought it would be perfect side dish to snack on this week. I typically roast cauliflower very simply, with just olive oil, salt and pepper, but decided to give this dish a spiced up version.

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I love turmeric, and it is so very good for you. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory, and is often used is Indian cooking. It has a bright deep yellow color, and besides being super healthy, the flavor is earthy and fragrant, with hints of ginger and citrus. I’m combining turmeric with ground cumin, with is warming and spicy but not hot, resulting in an aromatic flavor combination that will go beautifully with the nuttiness that arises when you roast cauliflower.

I line my baking sheet with foil, as the turmeric can stain, and the foil allows for easy cleanup! Eat as a side dish, or mix in with any cooked grain, or in a bowl by itself for the main dish, like me!

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turmeric roasted cauliflower.

ingredients
1/2 large or 1 small head of cauliflower, broken down into large florets
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, add the cauliflower florets, drizzle in the olive oil, ground turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well. Add to the pan and spread out in one even layer.

Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once halfway to ensure browning on all sides. Cauliflower florets are done when they can be pierced easily with a fork.

Remove to a platter and season with additional salt/pepper if needed.

Serves 4. *Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

butternut squash congee with fried ginger.

This is congee dressed up in its autumnal finest. We’ve had our fair share of Indian summer weather here in NY, with temperatures in the high 80s for the majority of the past week. Luckily, the weekend has brought relief, by way of temperatures in the low 60s with a gentle breeze. PERFECT for this incredibly simple yet warming congee turned soup.

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Have you had congee? It is essentially a rice porridge that is commonplace in East and Southeast Asian cuisine. On it’s own, it is typically served as a side dish, dressed up with vegetables, meat or seafood, and it’s transformed into a main dish entree. This is very simple to make, and you’ll be amazed at how the simple ingredients transform into a finished dish that is nuanced, fragrant and complex. The shredded squash will melt into the dish during the long, slow simmer. Finished with some brightness and freshness with the basil, cilantro and fried ginger and served with crusty bread on the side, this dish is perfect when you want cozy, comfort food that you can feel so good about.

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The pulsed rice will help release some of the starches and it will thicken the congee; the consistency is very similar to oatmeal once it’s finished.

butternut squash + ginger congee.
from cooking light magazine.

ingredients
12 ounces (weight) butternut squash, peeled and grated
1/3 cup long grain white rice
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1.5 teaspoons fish sauce
1 inch piece fresh ginger, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

directions
Add the rice to a small bowl and cover with water. Let stand for ten minutes and then drain. Add the rice to a food processor and pulse until the rice is in small granules.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the rice and the grated butternut squash and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sea salt, stock and water. Increase heat to high until the mixture starts to boil. Stir, reduce heat to low and partially cover. Let the mixture simmer for 75-90 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and creamy.

When the mixture is almost done, heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add the ginger slices and fry for 3-4 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Turn the heat off and add the sugar and pepper to the congee. Split the congee amongst four bowls, and top with fried ginger, basil and cilantro. Serve with crusty bread if desired.

Makes four 1 cup servings. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

 

 

 

potato crusted kale + bell pepper mini quiches.

I love savory egg dishes. I also love recipes that can serve as the starting point for a wide variety of ingredients. This aptly named stir fry, anyone? As someone who lives alone, I often end up with odds and ends of ingredients, and I always have produce that is hanging out in my crisper. As a die hard vegetable lover, I can sometimes get overzealous and purchase more than I can consume at peak freshness. Quiches and frittatas to the rescue! And in my way, I’m lightening up the quiche by replacing the pastry crust with a potato one. Instantly lighter, healthier, and now it’s gluten free… hooray!

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The potato crust is very simple to make, but it is essential that you squeeze out as much moisture as you can prior to adding to the muffin tins, which have been well-coated with cooking spray. This is also incredibly flexible. Don’t like kale? Use spinach! Have asparagus or broccoli to use up? Toss it in! Prefer goat cheese or cheddar to parmesan? Go for it! The possibilities are endless.

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I love using the muffin tins; automatic portion control and it makes them so portable which is great for grabbing on the way to work or school in the morning. These can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature, making them ideal when you’re on the go!

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mini potato-crusted kale + red pepper quiches.

ingredients
1 large russet/baking potato, shredded/grated
1 teaspoon olive oil
nonstick cooking spray
3 whole eggs plus 2 egg whites
scant one cup of nondairy milk
1 ounce parmesan cheese (or any cheese you prefer)
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cups curly kale, sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2-3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper* optional

directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a food processor or large hole box grater, grate a large russet potato that has been washed but not peeled. Add the potatoes to a clean, dry kitchen towel and squeeze as much water/moisture as possible from them. Season with a pinch of sea salt or pepper. Spray 9 cups of a muffin tin well with nonstick cooking spray and add about two spoonfuls of the potatoes to each tin, making sure to have the bottom and 3/4 of the sides of the tin covered with potatoes. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the bell pepper and saute for a minute or two and then add the kale. Reduce heat to medium and stir occasionally, until kale has wilted slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Make the custard: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper, if using. Once the vegetables have cooled slightly, add them and mix well.

Divide the mixture evenly amongst the muffin tins, being careful to not fill over 3/4 of the way (you may have a touch leftover). Bake for 15 minutes or until eggs are set. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Run a kitchen knife around the edges of the cups to pop them out of the tin. Makes 9 quiches.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

wake me up lemon water routine.

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to sleep. Doesn’t mean I’m any good at it, but I love it. Being wrapped up in sheets, cuddled beneath blankets… heaven. Unfortunately for me, I only get about four to five hours a night if I’m lucky. I’ve tried tons of different things, but regardless of their impact on my sleep duration and quality, one thing is constant: supremely exhausted mornings.

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Now, I am a diehard coffee drinker (black, please!), and essentially need it to function; besides the necessity, I really enjoy the flavor and experience of coffee. However, before I reach for the magical beans every morning, I start off with warm water, fresh lemon, and maybe a pinch of cayenne pepper or splash of raw apple cider vinegar as soon as I step out of the shower.

Why? Well, good question! When I was first getting into healthier, greener and cleaner eating, I kept coming across articles touting the benefits of lemon water, and decided I had to try it. A quick google search will show you a plethora of health claims, but I’m here to tell you which claims have some scientific evidence to back them up, and my own personal experience, albeit anecdotally. Your mileage may vary.

The most important thing that warm lemon water does for you is rehydrate you! Sleeping is essentially intermittent fasting: you’re going approximately 6-9 hours without drinking or eating anything, so your body is dehydrated when you wake up. Starting the morning with a mug full of warm (not hot!) water with a squeeze of lemon is a wonderful way to hydrate yourself, and I’ve found that I have more energy throughout the day. Lemon water also helps with improved digestive and liver function, as your liver is most active while you’re sleeping. Lemon water can help stimulate your liver in flushing out all the toxins that your body doesn’t need. Additionally, lemons have a good amount of Vitamin C, which we all know is essential for immune function, but also Vitamin C stimulates the production of collagen, which is necessary for radiant skin! <— This is probably my favorite benefit of lemon water and one that I can definitely see a difference in my skin if I slack or skip it. My skin looks cleaner, brighter, smoother and more ‘plump’ when I am consistent in this routine. That’s reason enough for me! 🙂

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If you have an electric kettle, this is almost embarrassingly easy. If you’re like me, simply heat some water on a stove top kettle until almost boiling. Pour half of the boiling water into a coffee mug and top with equal parts room temperate or tepid water (I do this because I find it difficult to get the right warm but not hot water temperature from my stovetop kettle, but do whatever is easiest for  you. Squeeze in juice from 1/2-1 whole lemon, and add a pinch of cayenne (spice is great for metabolism!), or some ACV (great for skin). Use a straw when drinking, as the lemon juice is quite acidic and can weaken your enamel. Drink each morning and cheers to your health!

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morning lemon water routine. 

directions
juice of one half-one of a lemon
16 ounces of warm water (I do half hot from kettle/half room temp.)
1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar* optional
1 teaspoon fresh ginger* optional

ingredients
Add the fresh squeezed juice of one half/whole lemon (depends on your preference and the juiciness of the lemon) to the warm water. Top with apple cider vinegar and/or ginger if desired.

Drink through a straw (to protect the enamel of your teeth) each morning before consuming anything to eat.  Serves 1.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible*