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Tag Archive: winter

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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Healthier Hasselback Potatoes

February 10, 2014 Print this page

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. Mine are made with olive oil and rosemary, and are so pretty and so tasty…I could eat the entire batch, if you wanted me to. Really.

 

Ingredients

Prep Time 10 min
Cooking Time 40 min
Total Time 50 min
Yield 4 servings

1 lb of potatoes (I used mini Yukon Golds and Purple)

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of dried rosemary

A good crack of black pepper

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Get out the biggest rimmed baking sheet you have–you’ll need lots of space for these potatoes!

Unless you’re a knife pro, you’re going to need some help cutting up the potatoes. 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.

Repeat with the rest of the potatoes and transfer them all to a big bowl. Toss with the olive oil, salt, rosemary, and 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.


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Rutabaga Fries

February 10, 2014 Print this page

Upon sniffing this magnificent vegetable, 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.

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 30 min
Total Time 35 min
Yield 4 servings

1 large rutabaga

2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted

1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast

1-2 teaspoons of paprika

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of salt

Directions

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.

Once properly cut, put the rutabaga matchsticks in a large bowl. Toss with the melted coconut oil, nutritional yeast, paprika, garlic powder, and 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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Paleo Gingerbread Men

December 14, 2013 1 Comment Print this page

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Aren’t these guys adorable?! I wish I could date a gingerbread cookie…because then, the guy in question would always smell like cinnamon and molasses, and if he got too annoying, I could decapitate him. Sigh…foodie problems.

One day last month, I was procrastinating on my homework stumbling around the internet, and something hit me: was there a really good-looking, good-tasting paleo gingerbread men recipe out there? I found a couple, and while the recipes themselves seemed intriguing, I didn’t think that the cookies looked very attractive.  (I am a teenage girl, after all: if you look like a toad, I’m not going out with you. Same thing with food.) I then had my mission for the weekend, and set out to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a proper cookie cutter.

Are these gingerbread men exactly like the sugary, buttery original? No, they’re not. Remember what I said about paleo foods: a lion can never be a tiger, even if he shaves off his mane and paints black stripes on himself. But if you’re looking to satisfy your gingerbread craving without jumping off of the real food wagon, these guys are a great option. I highly recommend taking the time to make royal icing to decorate the cookies: when it comes to food (as is the case with many things), appearances are everything! Sure, you can use raisins or chocolate chips instead, but the contrast of the white against the golden brown is a really nice touch.

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 1/2 cup of palm shortening with 1/4 cup of coconut sugar OR maple crystals on high until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Palm shortening loves to stick to the sides of the bowl, so make sure you routinely scrape down the sides so it’ll actually increase in volume.

To the bowl, add in two large eggs at room temperature, 2 tablespoons of full-fat coconut milk, and 1/3 cup of unsulfured molasses. Turn the speed down to medium and continue mixing until homogeneous, about 3 minutes more.

In a separate bowl, stir together 3 cups of blanched almond flour, 2 heaping tablespoons of coconut flour, 1 tablespoon of ginger, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of allspice, 1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg and clove, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Make sure you break up any clumps with your hands!

With the mixer still on medium, gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, pouring in 1/2 cup of dry ingredients at a time. Stop the mixer when the dough is homogeneous, about 2 minutes later. The dough should be sticky to the touch but be able to hold together into a solid ball; it shouldn’t stick like glue to your hands. If it feels too wet, add in some arrowroot powder; if it feels too dry, add in more coconut milk.

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Divide the dough into two balls and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to firm up for at least 2 hours, but the longer it’s in there, the better!

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take out one of your balls of dough and generously dust a rolling pin and a flat work space with arrowroot powder. Pour some arrowroot powder into a small shallow bowl, too: this will be to ensure that your cookie cutter doesn’t stick to the dough and leaves a clean cut.

Unwrap the dough and roll it out until it’s about 1/2-inch thick. DO NOT flip the dough over. It will fall apart and you will have to start all over again. Just keep rolling, because that’s how you roll.

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Dip a man cookie cutter in the arrowroot powder bowl and place it firmly on one of the corners of the dough. Gently rotate it back and forth to loosen, then pull it away from the rest of the dough. Slide a small knife directly under the cut-out to lift it off the counter and CAREFULLY place it on one of the prepared baking sheets. If your first gingerbread man loses an arm or breaks his neck, no need to fear: just set him aside and add him to your pile of dough scraps.

Repeat until no space on the dough remains. Squish your dough scraps back into a ball, re-dip the rolling pin in arrowroot powder, and roll out the dough again. Cut out more men, then do it all over again! If your dough isn’t holding together, put it back in the fridge for fifteen minutes to cool off a bit.

Take out your other ball of dough and follow the same procedure as you did with the previous ball. You should wind up with 24 cookies in total, a perfect two dozen! I love when life works out like that.

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Bake in the oven until golden brown around the edges but NOT super firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate the sheet every few minutes so all of the cookies get even coverage. Bake them for less time than you think they’ll need: I made the mistake of over-baking them with my first batch, and they got a little too crunchy.

Let the cookies cool for at least a half an hour before you frost them with royal icing. This recipe is super simple!

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat one large egg white on high until stiff but not rock-solid peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes, then pour in 2/3 cup of confectioner’s sugar and continue whipping until light and glossy, about 3 minutes longer.

I know what you’re thinking: 2/3 CUPS OF SUGAR?! I know it’s a lot, but remember, less than a teaspoon of royal frosting is going on each cookie. It’s really not that much. Most confectioner’s sugar is made with cornstarch, so I went to Whole Foods and found an organic version made with tapioca flour instead. Yes, it’s not the healthiest choice, but in my opinion, it’s worth it for these cookies. Baking is based on chemistry, and sometimes, chemistry needs sugar to reach the desired result.

Scoop the icing into a pastry bag or a large plastic bag with a thin tip attached. Applying gentle pressure, add eyes, a nose, a mouth, buttons, and arm-and-leg squiggles to your cookies, then let them dry for at least half an hour before eating. (The icing will harden–that’s a good thing!)

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Happy holidays, everyone.

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


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Paleo Gingerbread Men

December 14, 2013 Print this page

These guys are absolutely adorable–and they’re gluten, grain, and dairy-free, too! Grab your ugly Christmas sweater and make a batch, like, NOW.

Ingredients

Prep Time 2 hr 15 min
Cooking Time 10 min
Total Time 2 hr 30 min
Yield 2 dozen cookies

FOR THE COOKIES:

1/2 cup of palm shortening

1/4 cup of coconut sugar OR maple crystals

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons of full-fat coconut milk

1/3 cup of unsulfured molasses OR yacon syrup

3 cups of blanched almond flour

2 heaping tablespoons of coconut flour

1 tablespoon of ginger

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of allspice

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon of clove

1 teaspoon of baking soda

A pinch of salt

Arrowroot powder, for dusting

FOR THE ROYAL ICING:

1 large egg white

2/3 cup of confectioner’s sugar

Directions

FOR THE COOKIES:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the palm shortening with the coconut sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure you routinely scrape down the sides so it’ll actually increase in volume.

To the bowl, add in the eggs, coconut milk, and molasses. Turn the speed down to medium and continue mixing until homogeneous, about 3 minutes more.

In a separate bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove,  baking soda, and salt. Make sure you break up any clumps with your hands!

With the mixer still on medium, gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, pouring in 1/2 cup of dry ingredients at a time. Stop the mixer when the dough is homogeneous, about 2 minutes later. The dough should be sticky to the touch but be able to hold together into a solid ball; it shouldn’t stick like glue to your hands. If it feels too wet, add in some arrowroot powder; if it feels too dry, add in more coconut milk.

Divide the dough into two balls and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to firm up for at least 2 hours, but the longer it’s in there, the better!

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take out one of your balls of dough and generously dust a rolling pin and a flat work space with arrowroot powder. Pour some arrowroot powder into a small shallow bowl, too.

Unwrap the dough and roll it out until it’s about 1/2-inch thick. DO NOT flip the dough over. It will fall apart and you will have to start all over again.

Dip a man cookie cutter in the arrowroot powder bowl and place it firmly on one of the corners of the dough. Gently rotate it back and forth to loosen, then pull it away from the rest of the dough. Slide a small knife directly under the cut-out to lift it off the counter and CAREFULLY place it on one of the prepared baking sheets.

Repeat until no space on the dough remains. Squish your dough scraps back into a ball, re-dip the rolling pin in arrowroot powder, and roll out the dough again. Cut out more men, then do it all over again! If your dough isn’t holding together, put it back in the fridge for fifteen minutes to cool off a bit.

Take out your other ball of dough and follow the same procedure as you did with the previous ball.

Bake in the oven until golden brown around the edges but NOT super firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate the sheet every few minutes so all of the cookies get even coverage. Bake them for less time than you think they’ll need.

FOR THE ICING:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg white on high until stiff but not rock-solid peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes, then pour in the confectioner’s sugar and continue whipping until light and glossy, about 3 minutes longer.

Scoop the icing into a pastry bag or a large plastic bag with a thin tip attached. Applying gentle pressure, add eyes, a nose, a mouth, buttons, and arm-and-leg squiggles to your cookies, then let them dry for at least half an hour before eating.


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