Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

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During the summer time I’m always looking for any excuse to make a meal that doesn’t require me turning on my oven or standing over a hot stove.  As a result I made spring rolls, but since I’m not a huge shrimp fan, I decided to instead pack as many colorful vegetables as I could into the rolls along with some tofu and rice noodles.

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I’ve also recently fallen in love with this Peanut Sauce so figured it would be the perfect companion as a dip.

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This was my first stab at making springs rolls, and I will be honest with  you – there is a bit of a learning curve.  I think I went through about seven or so wrappers before I successfully packed one.

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I also went with an approach that resulted in a rolls that are a bit shorter and fatter than standard, but it was easier for me to pack things in that way.

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Grilled Halloumi Cheese with Cherry Relish

Confession: I’ve never a met a cheese I didn’t like.  But it wasn’t until only a year or two ago that I came into contact with my absolute favorite: Halloumi.

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What is Halloumi cheese?  It’s a semi-hard brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes cow’s milk.  It is salty and delicious and has a high melting point so is great for frying or grilling.  Often described as a “squeaky” cheese for it’s texture, it gets nice and toasty on the outside and slightly softened on the inside.  It is heaven.

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I’ve noticed it’s available in stores and restaurants much more in New York than when I was living on the west coast.  I actually first heard about it after reading I Quit Sugar, and once I tried it I was immediately obsessed.

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It is incredible served simply grilled in olive oil and drizzled with a little bit of honey,  but I wanted to created a dish that was a little more complex that still played into the salty and sweet combination.

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With all the gorgeous stone fruit in season, I decided to make a cherry relish of sorts with some fresh mint and citrus, all served over a bed of arugula for some pepperiness – recipe after the jump!

Have you tried Halloumi cheese?  What’s your favorite way to serve it?  Continue reading

Curried Purple & Orange Cauliflower with Beluga Lentils, Golden Raisins and Goat Cheese

The produce section is my favorite section of the grocery store.  Even more than that, I love a good farmer’s market.  Seeing all the beautiful fruits and veggies that are in season always spark my imagination and allow me to think up new ways to use fresh ingredients.

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On a recent grocery run, I literally stopped dead in my tracks when I came across some gorgeous bright orange and purple cauliflower.  I had to have them.

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After loading up my basket, I started to think through how I was going to use them. Certainly throwing them raw into a salad would have been just fine, but I wanted something a little more hearty and savory.  I decided to grab some black beluga lentils and golden raisins with the idea that I’d roast the cauliflower seasoned with curry.  Some goat cheese crumbles for creaminess and fresh parsley for freshness would finish things off nicely I thought.  I did.

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Read on for the recipe!

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Red Pear, Pomegranate and Fennel Salad

Pear & Pomegranate Salad

The holiday season is upon us.  It’s time for friends and family and merriment – and also cookies and candy and booze and rich food. I approach this time of year with equal parts enthusiasm and trepidation.  It’s easy to indulge, and even over indulge, so I aim to create dishes that provide balance at a time when meals are dominated by butter and cream and carbs.

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A salad is the easiest way to get lots of nutrients on a plate, but I also wanted it to be refreshing and acidic on the palate, not to mention vibrant and delicious.  Let’s be honest, if you are going to serve salad at a holiday meal, it better look as good as it tastes if you expect people to save some precious real estate on their plate for it.

Salad

For this seasonal salad, I threw in red pears, pomegranate seeds, shaved fennel, pecans and arugula.  It’s a pretty festive combo, but I think my favorite part is the dressing, a combination of reserved pomegranate juice, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt & pepper.  It’s got a nice sweetness and depth to it, and a little bit of it goes a long way.

A few things about salad dressings: Store bought is the worst (it literally tastes like fake sugar and chemicals…because that’s what it is), and there is nothing I hate more than on overdressed salad – you are supposed to taste the ingredients!  Dressing is a compliment, not the star.  A good rule of thumb is if you put on the dressing and toss the salad and there is leftovers pooling at the bottom, you put too much.

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Anyways, I digress.  Bring this salad as a side dish to any holiday gathering for easy assembly or pack it for lunch when your go-to salad is feeling less than inspired.  Plus now you know how to make your own dressing, so that’s one less sad salad in the world! Continue reading

Sweet Potato Cream Pie

Sweet Potato Cream Pie

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and as someone who loves to cook (and eat), it’s without a doubt my favorite holiday. Since I’ve been preparing the Thanksgiving meal for years now, I’ve go most of my recipes on lock.  But I’ve been wanting to experiment with some healthier Turkey Day alternatives that don’t skimp on flavor.

Sweat Potato Pie

I decided to combine one of my favorite foods and Thanksgiving staples into a dessert: sweet potato.  I adapted this recipe and was able to create a dessert that is gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free.  I know what you’re thinking, but I promise it’s still delicious!

Sweet Potato Pie

By using a base of pecans and dates and a filling of cashews, coconut cream and roasted sweet potatoes, the result is silky and decadent without being too cloyingly sweet.  And because it’s no bake, it won’t take up much needed space in your oven on the day when it matters most.

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie Continue reading

Tortilla Española

Tortilla Espanola

I recently returned from a trip to Spain – Barcelona, Valencia and Seville, to be exact.  The trip was incredible for many reasons, but one of my all-time favorite things about traveling is getting to experience the cuisine of different cultures.   Ham, wine, cheese, croquettes, patatas bravas – Spain did not disappoint.

The thing I consistently loved ordering for breakfast, and really at any time of the day, was what they call “tortilla”.  This is not like what we think of in the United States as something you wrap a burrito up with; it’s really more like a Spanish omelette or frittata.

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It’s very simple, straight-forward ingredients – just potato, onion and eggs, really.  But because of the ratios and the way it’s cooked, it has this very unique texture that’s both dense and fluffy at the same time.  It’s the thing I  I enjoy the most about it.  A lot of times eggs can get a rubbery or dry texture if they are cooked to quickly, and this is anything but that.

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Most recipes are pretty standard, but I used this recipe from Epicurious.  You start by simmering the potatoes and onions in olive oil (like a grip ton of it) so that they soften – not brown – and then you stir them into the eggs before dumping everything back in the pan to set and cook.  It is a little bit of a time investment since you have to cook everything at a medium to low temperature, but it’s worth the wait.  And it serves 6-8, so it’s a great brunch dish when having guests over.  Just slice that bad boy up, serve and wait for the compliments to roll in.

Tortilla Espanola

Tortilla Espanola

Tortilla Espanola

What are some of your favorite Spanish dishes?

 

Fresh Herb Potato Salad with Peas

Herbed Potato Salad

Growing up, the only potato salad I ever really knew was the pre-packaged stuff from the grocery store – you know, the thick, sour, lumpy yellow mush that you could no longer even recognize as potatoes?  No wonder I never liked it as a kid.

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But I do love potatoes!  I wanted to tweak this popular summer side dish to bring for a BBQ I was invited to over the weekend for Memorial Day.

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The first thing I did?  Scrap the mayo.  Don’t get my wrong, I actually really love a homemade mayo/aioli, but I also didn’t want it masking the star ingredient in this recipe.  Plus super hot weather and things covered in mayo?  Pass.

Potato Salad

What I whipped up instead was a bright, tangy dressing using lemon zest and juice, whole grain Dijon mustard, olive oil and a little butter for some richness.  Once the potatoes were coated, I threw in huge handfuls of dill, parsley and chives for a good dose of freshness, and also some green peas because I had some lying around and like, why not?

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