Indian mulligatawny lentil soup.

Hello from crazy, unpredictable upstate NY! Our weather here has been all over the place, with the past two days reaching in the high 50s, with a forecasted low tomorrow of -1! Never fear, however, because I have just the recipe to fill you up, keep you warm, keep you energized for all that shoveling (boo) with this vegan, gluten free soup! That’s right – SOUP season is back with a vengeance. Hooray!

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Today it’s Indian mulligatawny soup, which I made recently during the cold snap that hit much of the U.S, with temperatures in the negative 20s and 30s with the wind chill. Mulligatawny is a British soup with Indian origins, and literally means ‘pepper water’. This soup is very spicy, but you can scale the pepper down to your taste preferences. We get some of the spiciness from all the warming spices, as well as the fresh ginger. The coconut milk added at the end cools it down some and adds a nice creaminess to the finished soup. This freezes beautifully, so make a double batch for an easy dinner when winter seems never-ending. ūüôā

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Indian mulligatawny soup.
inspired by the wanderlust kitchen.

ingredients
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 small jalape√Īo, seeded and diced (can sub 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced, (scale back to 1 tablespoon if you prefer less heat)
1 medium firm apple, peeled and diced
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup red lentils
3 cups vegetable stock
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk (canned)
cilantro, to garnish
slivered raw almonds, to garnish

directions
Heat a large, heavy soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once shimmering, add the onion and carrot and cook for 3-4 minutes. Once onions and carrots are slightly softened, add the garlic, pepper, ginger and apple and cook, 2-3 minutes longer, until all the vegetables are tender, reducing heat to medium if needed (you want the vegetables/fruit to sweat [cooking with no color]). Add the tomatoes, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Add the 3 cups of vegetable stock and lentils and stir to combine again.

Increase heat to a rapid simmer and then reduce to medium-low and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and the soup has thickened.

Using an immersion blender (or a stand blender), puree about 50-75% of the soup (I pureed about 75%, but next time I would go a little less, I like a chunkier texture). Taste, and add the sea salt and pepper. With the heat on very low, add the coconut milk and stir to combine and let rest for 5-10 minutes for flavors to meld.

Serve, topping with chopped cilantro and silvered almonds. Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a starter course.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

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curried chickpeas with spinach.

Hi! How was your Thanksgiving holiday? I hope it was filled with friends, family, and absolutely delectable food and drinks. ūüôā ¬†I was in D.C. visiting beloved friends, and it was absolutely splendid! Below are just a sampling of the spectacular day.

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But alas, we’re back to real life! To rectify the absolutely incredibly yet gluttonous eating, I’m starting the week off with this curried chickpea + spinach dish! It’s crazy simple, vegan, gluten free, and comes together in less than 20 minutes!

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Every once in a while, I challenge myself to cleaning out the fridge and pantry down to the bare bones (aside from longterm staples like spices, vinegars, etc.). It helps keep my budget in check, too. I had purchased a huge container of spinach and when I realized I was in danger of letting it go bad before I got to it, I made this dish. Bonus — I had all the ingredients on hand already, and this is super freezer-friendly. Hooray!

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This dish is only chickpeas, tomato sauce, spinach, ginger, garlic, onion and a few spices. That’s it! Serve over rice like I did, or with some naan. This is incredibly filling, and versatile! Add in any other cooked veggie that you’d like (cauliflower would be oh so delicious, as would potato, a la chana aloo, frozen peas, you name it!).

If you make this ahead to freeze, I would freeze just the chickpeas and spinach and then cook up some rice the night you want to serve it. I don’t love the texture of frozen rice, but if you don’t mind it, go right ahead! This is perfect for winter evenings when you want something fast, filling, healthy, and warming.

curried chickpeas + spinach.
barely adapted from Budget Bytes.

ingredients
1 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
8 ounce can tomato sauce
8 ounces baby spinach
cooked rice, for serving

directions
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onion is translucent and garlic and ginger are fragrant. Add the curry powder and smoked paprika and cook for another minute, allowing the spices to bloom.

Add the chickpeas and tomato sauce and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until well combined and fragrant. Add the spinach in 2-3 batches, and stir for 1-2 minutes, until the spinach wilts slightly. Season with the sea salt and pepper and serve with rice.

Serves 3-4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

butternut squash + caramelized onion cheese dip.

There is a crisp chill in the air that says the holidays are right around the corner, and you need this addicting, nuanced, insanely flavorful dip for all of your upcoming events! Roasted butternut squash gets mixed with sweet caramelized onions, sage (sensing a theme here at PTL?) cream cheese and cheddar to make one ridiculous dip. Bonus? It’s even¬†better¬†the second day.

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I found this recipe over on Serious Eats, and had it bookmarked for eons. I finally made it a few weeks ago for a party, and while absolutely delicious, it was almost¬†too rich. Say what? It may sound sacrilegious, but I found the combination of butter, cream cheese, cheese, AND sour cream (omitted for my version below) was so incredibly rich that is overpowered the sweetness of the squash and onions. In my adaptation, we’re using neufch√Ętel cheese, or the 1/3 less fat cream cheese, skipping over the sour cream completely, and upping the flavor by using half sharp cheddar and half fontina.

I made it this way for a Friendsgiving, and it was a total rave. I was able to snap a few photos quickly before I left my house, but I didn’t take any of the dip at the dinner — I was too entranced by wonderful friends and a sensational table setting! ¬†P.S. – I am¬†so, so thankful¬†for wonderful friends! They are absolutely the family I got to choose. ‚̧

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Now, I’m not going to lie. This is dip is time intensive, although the steps are simple enough, this is not something you can whip together in 20 minutes. I suggest you roast the roast while you fry the sage and then caramelize the onions. Once that’s done, you toss the vegetables in a food processor, give it a whirl, and then add in the cream cheese, cheddar, fontina, and season it up. You can store it this way in the fridge for up to 3 days before you bake it off – amazing for entertaining!

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butternut squash cheese dip.
adapted from Serious Eats. 

ingredients
3.5 pound butternut squash, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 sweet onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, separated but not peeled
4 tablespoons butter
20 sage leaves
1 block neufch√Ętel cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup fontina cheese
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Nestle garlic cloves in between the squash. Roast on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or additional oil for 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through. Once tender, remove from the oven and set aside.

While the squash is cooking, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the sage leaves. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the butter is melted and the sage leaves are crispy. Remove the sage with a slotted spoon and set aside. Lower the heat to low and add the sliced onions. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently for 35-40 minutes, until the onions are tender, golden brown and caramelized but not crisp, and are very fragrant. If they start to stick to the pan, add a splash of water. Once they are finished, remove from heat and set aside.

In a food processor fitted with the mixing blade, add the squash, garlic (squeeze the cloves out of their paper ‘jackets’ once cool enough to handle), onions and about 2/3 of the crispy sage leaves and process until well combined. Next add in the cream cheese and process again until well combined. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Transfer the dip mixture into a small baking dish (I used an 8×8 pan here) that was sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and mix in half the fontina and cheddar into the dip and sprinkle the rest of the cheeses on top. *The dip can be stored for up to 3 days at this point*

To serve: bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes until the dip is warmed through and bubbly on top. Serve warm with wheat crackers, tortilla or pita chips.

Serves 8-10.

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* 

 

 

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* 

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*