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Tag Archive: winter

Fig, Molasses, and Coriander Lamb Kebabs (gluten-free + paleo)

November 8, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Have you ever wanted to make something fancy but felt like you haven’t had the time or energy to do so?

This dish is your solution. Pair it with some roasted vegetables and some couscous (cauliflower or regular) and you can pretty much call yourself a restaurant chef.

OK, maybe not. But you’ll come close.

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I came up with this recipe when I wanted to make lamb kebabs marinated in pomegranate molasses…but had no pomegranate molasses. I decided to use regular molasses instead (even though the two are completely different) and paired it with fig jam and coriander to add another layer of more subtle sweetness and a slightly lemony flavor, along with a dash each of cinnamon, cumin, and salt. After briefly grilling and letting rest, I had this slightly-smoky, perfectly-charred masterpiece to present to my hungry family.

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This dish is wonderful both in the summer and the fall and winter, so make it whenever the grill is calling your name (and it isn’t raining or snowing outside). One piece of advice: have your butcher use lamb shoulder instead of leg for the kebab meat–I find the shoulder meat to have more flavor and be more tender.

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Simply marinate for a few hours…

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…and you’re ready to get grilling!

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do. 🙂

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Fig, Molasses, and Coriander Lamb Kebabs

Ingredients

Prep Time 4 hours
Cooking Time 10 min
Total Time 4 hr 10 min
Yield 4-6 servings

1/3 cup of fig preserves (no sugar added)

1/4 cup of blackstrap molasses

2 teaspoons of coriander

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt

1.5 lb lamb shoulder meat, cut into 2-inch cubes

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients except the lamb shoulder meat in a large bowl, whisking well to make sure there are no big clumps of fig or spices.

Add the lamb shoulder meat and toss with your hands to coat. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours.

Heat the grill to high and grease the grates well. Remove the lamb chunks from the marinade and thread them on either soaked wooden skewer or metal skewers, or simply place them on a greased wire rack.

Reduce the heat to medium and place the lamb on the grill. Grill over direct heat until the outside is nicely charred and pale pink in the center (140 to 145 degrees), about 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Let rest for 5-10 minutes before eating.


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By the way, I apologize for not posting more frequently. You know what they say–junior year of high school is the busiest one of all! Don’t worry, though…there’s lots of yummy food to come, so stay tuned. (Perhaps almond joy brownies…?)


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Fig, Molasses, and Coriander Lamb Kebabs

October 25, 2014 Print this page

Sweet and slightly exotic with a little crunch on the outside, this lamb is delicious but in fact super easy to prepare. You don’t even need wooden skewers–a simple grill rack will suffice.

Ingredients

Prep Time 4 hours
Cooking Time 10 min
Total Time 4 hr 10 min
Yield 4-6 servings

1/3 cup of fig preserves (no sugar added)

1/4 cup of blackstrap molasses

2 teaspoons of coriander

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt

1.5 lb lamb shoulder meat, cut into 2-inch cubes

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients except the lamb shoulder meat in a large bowl, whisking well to make sure there are no big clumps of fig or spices.

Add the lamb shoulder meat and toss with your hands to coat. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours.

Heat the grill to high and grease the grates well. Remove the lamb chunks from the marinade and thread them on either soaked wooden skewer or metal skewers, or simply place them on a greased wire rack.

Reduce the heat to medium and place the lamb on the grill. Grill over direct heat until the outside is nicely charred and pale pink in the center (140 to 145 degrees), about 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Let rest for 5-10 minutes before eating.


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Chickpeas and Dumplings

September 2, 2014 Print this page

The idea for this soup was born when I wanted to make my chicken soup but had just eaten chicken for dinner the night before. What was a girl to do? Well, make it without meat, that is…and throw in some chewy, doughy dumplings! Voila–chickpeas and dumplings. 

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 min
Yield 6 servings

FOR THE CHICKPEAS:

2 cups of dried chickpeas

2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (one with active enzymes, like Bragg’s)

1 strip of kombu (found in the Asian section at grocery stores)

OR 1 15-ounce can of pre-cooked chickpeas

FOR THE SOUP:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder

1 large onion, chopped finely

4 large carrots, chopped finely

2 stalks of celery, chopped finely

1 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

6 cups of vegetable stock (preferably homemade or low sodium)

1 cup of apple cider

FOR THE DUMPLINGS:

1 1/2 cups of almond flour

1/2 cup of tapioca powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup of vegetable broth

Directions

First, cook your chickpeas. I always make my beans from scratch–canned beans always give me indigestion, and personally, I find home-cooked beans to have much more flavor. 

Soak the chickpeas in a bowl of warm water and the apple cider vinegar overnight. This will help lower the level of anti-nutrients (like phyates and lectins) and break down the long-chain carbohydrates that are difficult for your body to digest.

The next day, drain the chickpeas and rinse them well with fresh water. Place them in a medium saucepan, cover with fresh water (enough to cover the beans by at least 2 inches), and bring it to a boil. Once bubbling, add in the strip of kombu (a kind of seaweed that also has enzymes to help break the beans down), and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the beans are soft and tender, about 2 to 3 hours.

Now that your chickpeas are ready, get started on the soup base.

In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until beginning to sizzle. Add the arrowroot powder and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally to help brown it a bit.

Next, add in the onion. Let it saute for five minutes, then add carrots and celery.

Let all of the veggies saute together for another 5 minutes, then pour in the salt, poultry seasoning, and turmeric. Stir to cover the vegetables with the spices and let saute for another 2 minutes.

To the vegetables, add the cooked chickpeas, vegetable stock, and apple cider (the SECRET ingredient!). I made my own vegetable stock, but if you use store-bought, please purchase the low-sodium variety! Increase the heat to high and bring everything to a boil, then turn it down to low and cook for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings, adapted from this recipe.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the almond flour with the tapioca powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/3 cup of vegetable broth. Pulse for about 30 seconds until a soft dough is formed, then simply roll into balls and drop into the soup for 25 minutes.

Serve hot and eat with a big old spoon. Enjoy!


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Chickpeas and Dumplings (gluten-free + vegan)

September 2, 2014 1 Comment Print this page

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As nights and mornings gradually grow colder, I love having something warm to eat. While summer weather is beautiful and I do adore Sun Gold tomatoes, nectarines, and grilling, fall and winter are my favorite seasons for food. Soup, stews, and braises are truly some of my favorite things to cook: throw everybody in a pot, cook over low heat for a long time, and remove the lid to discover broth-infused veggies, perfectly-cooked beans, and meat that falls apart with the touch of a fork. There is nothing better on a dreary November night. Nothing. Except a molten chocolate lava cake.

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Perhaps September 2nd is a bit premature to start talking about fall food, but I started school last Monday, and school means fall, so there. I want my soup and I want it now.

Especially a soup as tasty as this one!

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The idea for this soup was born when I wanted to make my chicken soup but had just eaten chicken for dinner the night before. What was a girl to do? Well, make it without meat, that is…and throw in some chewy, doughy dumplings! Voila–chickpeas and dumplings.

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In addition to being incredibly filling and warming–it kept me warm all through the freezer that is my French class (to quote my teacher, “Pourquoi il fait toujours froid dans ma salle de classe?!”)–this soup provides a healthy serving of vegetables and a good source of protein from the beans and dumplings. Traditional chicken and dumplings includes cream, but I decided to leave it out–we didn’t miss it in the slightest. (We don’t like cream soups very much, anyway.) You’ll be too busy sipping away at that flavorful broth, perfectly accented by my secret ingredient.

Want to find out what it is? Keep reading–and make this dish while you’re at it. 😉

First, cook your chickpeas. I always make my beans from scratch–canned beans always give me indigestion, and personally, I find home-cooked beans to have much more flavor.

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Soak 2 cups of chickpeas in a bowl of warm water and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (one with active enzymes, like Bragg’s) overnight. This will help lower the level of anti-nutrients (like phyates and lectins) and break down the long-chain carbohydrates that are difficult for your body to digest.

The next day, drain the chickpeas and rinse them well with fresh water. Place them in a medium saucepan, cover with fresh water (enough to cover the beans by at least 2 inches), and bring it to a boil. Once bubbling, add in a strip of kombu (a kind of seaweed that also has enzymes to help break the beans down), and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the beans are soft and tender, about 2 to 3 hours.

Now that your chickpeas are ready, get started on the soup base.

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In a dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until beginning to sizzle. Add 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally to help brown it a bit.

Next, add in 1 large onion chopped into small pieces. Let it saute for five minutes, then add 4 large carrots and 2 stalks of celery also chopped into small pieces.

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Let all of the veggies saute together for another 5 minutes, then pour in 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric. Stir to cover the vegetables with the spices and let saute for another 2 minutes.

By the way, vegans and vegetarians–poultry seasoning does not contain any meat, quite the opposite, in fact: it’s a combination of lots of yummy herbs like rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and others.

To the vegetables, add the cooked chickpeas, 6 cups of vegetable stock, and 1 cup of apple cider (the SECRET ingredient!). I made my own vegetable stock, but if you use store-bought, please purchase the low-sodium variety! Increase the heat to high and bring everything to a boil, then turn it down to low and cook for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings, adapted from this recipe.

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In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1 1/2 cups of almond flour with 1/2 cup of tapioca powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/3 cup of vegetable broth. Pulse for about 30 seconds until a soft dough is formed, then simply roll into balls and drop into the soup for 25 minutes.

Serve hot and eat with a big old spoon. Enjoy! 🙂

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What is your favorite fall soup? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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Rutabaga Fries and Healthier Hasselback Potatoes

February 10, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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So, as you may or may not know, I work at a farmer’s market. A winter farmer’s market.

And you know what that means? Roots. Lots, and lots, and LOTS of roots.

When the market began back in November, there was kale. Fresh baby spinach. Brussel sprouts. Salad greens. But as November turned to December and fall turned to winter, the amount of green slowly diminished. People began arriving early so they could buy up anything that wasn’t brown or white before everybody else. I soon found myself with a serious problem. Friends, family, readers: I developed VEGETABLE HOARDING.

A few weeks ago, the vendor that sold her produce next to me had kale. KALE. Just a few precious bags of leafy, crunchy goodness. It was a little hard-hit from the snow and extremely cold weather, but it was green, and I wanted it. BAD. I proceeded to immediately reserve four bags for myself, then laughed with relish at my success. (It was incredibly delicious, by the way.)

Right now, in the heart of February, only the toughest of the veggies have lingered on at the farmer’s market. Sweet potatoes. Gnarly celeriacs. Fat, twisted carrots. Baby beets that definitely need a cuddle instantaneously upon purchase. While they may not be beauty pageant winners, I love them all the same, and I’ll always work with what I’ve got.

Let’s start with rutabaga.

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Everyone, this is a rutabaga.

Hi, rutabaga!

He (or she?) is very hearty in appearance, with a bulbous middle and slightly stringy top. Upon sniffing this magnificent creature, you’ll detect almost cabbage-like notes. You know why? It’s because both plants belong to the Brassica family, which also includes cauliflower, collard greens, and broccoli. This means your kitchen will be a little stinky, too, but no need to fear–rutabaga tastes awesome. Especially when paired with some spices for flavor and color.

Usually, when I’m working with a new vegetable, I cube it and roast it in the oven with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, then taste and determine what it needs for next time to enhance its flavor.  I didn’t do that with rutabaga–I went straight to matchstick mode to make oven-baked fries.

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Crunchy on the outside and just a bit creamy on the inside, these fries are a wonderful change of pace from your typical vegetable side dish. I like them plain, but I bet they’d also be super tasty with Citrus-Infused Mayo on the side.

First things first: preheat the oven to 450 degrees and take out two medium rimmed baking sheets.

If you’d like, peel the skin off of your rutabaga–it’s not absolutely necessary–and slice it into thick matchsticks. Want to make cutting a little easier? Cut off the rutabaga’s bottom so it can stand up on its own on your cutting board!

Once properly cut, put the rutabaga matchsticks in a large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, 1-2 teaspoons of paprika (depending on how spicy you want them), 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt. When all are evenly coated, divide the matchsticks evenly among the two baking sheets.

Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Stir every 10 to 15 minutes to ensure that both sides get properly crisped. Serve immediately with your favorite meat, poultry, or white fish. (May I recommend the Crispy Sweetbreads?)

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Onto our next installment of winter vegetable madness: HASSELBACK POTATOES.

OK, so unless you’ve been living under a foodie boulder for the past, er, year, you’ve probably seen countless of pictures of hasselback potatoes floating around the internet. Unfortunately, all of these recipes are LOADED with butter and cheese…and while I have a problem with neither in moderation, I don’t think that a vegetable side dish should contain an entire stick of butter and up to a cup of cheese. That basically defeats the purpose of a vegetable, don’t you think?

Then, one day, I was hanging out in the kitchen watching Barefoot Contessa, because I was bored and my T.V. channels are pretty much exclusively the Food Network, the Weather Channel, and Kids 13 when Arthur is on. (I am not a tasteful T.V. watcher, mind you.) I was about to turn it off when Ina started talking about potatoes. Immediately, a picture of mini hasselback potatoes popped up on the screen, and I darted downstairs to look  up the recipe.

I was so excited. Hasselback potatoes. Without any butter and cheese. And mini-sized. Yes.

My recipe is slightly adapted from Ina’s; I also used a combination of baby golden and purple potatoes for color and variety. These are so pretty and so tasty…I could eat the entire batch, if you wanted me to. Really.

Just like the rutabaga fries, you’ll need to preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Get out the biggest rimmed baking sheet you have–you’ll need lots of space for these potatoes!

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Unless you’re a knife pro, you’re going to need some help cutting up the potatoes. (FYI, I used about 1 lb.) Here’s a great trick: use a spoon that’s about the same size as the potato you’re using! Every 1/4-inch or so, cut down until you hit the spoon. Repeat until you reach the end of the potato, and here’s what it should look like…

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It holds together, but you still have the cuts you want for crispy hasselback potatoes!

Repeat with the rest of the potatoes and transfer them all to a big bowl. Toss with 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary, and a good crack of black pepper.

Pour the coated potatoes on the baking sheet, and bake until tender on the center and crispy all over, about 40 to 45 minutes. Give the pan a shake every 15 minutes to make sure the potatoes don’t stick!

Serve immediately with your favorite main dish: I’d recommend either Spatchcocked Chicken or the Easiest Roast Pork Ever.

My dad thought they looked like armadillos. What do you think?

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And there you have it! Two tasty vegetable sides that are actually in season.

What’s your favorite winter vegetable? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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