Swiss Chard

I’m about to give a bit of a confession here – I have yet to buy one single Christmas gift.

That holiday, which I celebrate, is just a handful of days away. Yikes.

In my defense, I have constructively made five cutting boards in the past month. (Hello new, awesome, expensive-but-oh-so-worth-it hobby.) While I may shed a tear as I part with each of them, I’m fairly certain they’ll make for good gifts. For the whole family.

I mean, my five-year-old niece will love a nice, smooth piece of wood, right? Yeah, maybe not.

Harvest Stuffed Squash

While I’ve been neglecting a Christmas shopping trip, I have not been neglecting the season’s signature colors. Rather, I’ve been embracing those reds and greens quite frequently in my kitchen lately, this dish included.

If you squint, or dim the lights, swiss chard will shed a nice holiday crimson onto your counters. Keep that in mind if you were about to call me out. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Hey, swiss chard is pink. You should probably go get your eyes checked.”

Kabocha Squash

Bringing green to your plate is one of the best gifts you could give to yourself this winter. Add some nutty winter squash and creamy tahini, and your tastebuds will be more than pleased, too.

With food-filled gatherings, often left and right, now more than ever do I appreciate a meal like this. It’s hearty so it’ll leave you satisfied, but not feeling weighed down like a typical heavy holiday dish.

Swiss Chard

If you do want to richen it up a bit, double the tahini sauce. You can really rarely go wrong with an extra spoonful of tahini on top of cooked winter squash.

Also, feel free to ditch the whole “stuffed” idea, and simply serve this as a pilaf. You can use any squash variety that you like for this dish. So, if you’re using something like butternut, likely it’s not going to have a round enough bowl to really stuff, and that’s okay. Mash the extra and serve it underneath.

I will say though, there is something that feels magical about turning a squash into a bowl. I used a kabocha, which I’d highly recommend if it’s available to you.

CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…

Roasted Squash and Onion

I’ve been eating a lot of other people’s recipes lately. And it’s been great for inspiration.

If you ever feel stuck in your own cooking rut, go explore! Now more than ever, there is a vast world of cookbooks, food blogs, and restaurants out there for you.

Roasted Squash and Onion

One of my longstanding favorites is this one from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem. And by longstanding, I mean, as of last year when I was first introduced to this creamy Roasted Butternut, Red Onion and Tahini dish. It’s so simple to make, yet when it comes out of the oven and gets dressed with that 3-ingredient tahini sauce, it’s mind-blowing. I’ve been making it quite frequently since that first time last year.

Toasted Sesame Seeds

The original recipe calls for pine nuts, which are nearing the price of gold these days. You needn’t need them to make this recipe still taste like pure gold. A variety of toasted, nutty crunches would do. I went with sesame seeds to play off the tahini vibes of the dish.

Roasted Butternut and Onion with Tahini

If I were you, I’d put it on your next holiday meal’s to-make list. It’s easy, and memorable. Surprising, yet crowd-pleasing. And even healthy, too. Oven-roasted gold.

If you’re looking for something a little more sinful, or brunch-worthy, perhaps consider checking out this Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

If you do, I’d consider adding some walnuts (black walnuts, if you’ve got ‘em) into the mix. Also, I like my cream cheese icing a little tangy, so I reduced the sugar, upped the cream cheese, and threw in a squeeze of lemon, too.

Aside from these lovely blogger and cookbook authors’ recipes, I’ve been relishing in the recipes of my two new fav. restaurants in Philly: High Street on Market, and also Good King Tavern. Both are adorably cute, and offer a solid menu from start to finish. The bread at High Street is some of the best I’ve ever had, and only helps enhance their well-crafted sandwiches. They make some rather memorable salads, too, if you’re looking for a light meal in between all of the holiday madness. Good King Tavern often has socca on the menu, which of course holds a sweet spot in my heart. Their Eggplant 3-Ways is also excellent, as is there bread pudding, when on the menu.

If you’re all over the place this holiday season like I’ve been, take a breather with someone else’s recipe. I can vouch that these won’t disappoint, and if you’re in Philly, would recommend a night out at one of the two spots mentioned above. Cheers!

Abandoned Truck

Hey food friends! Alongside this blog, I do a ton of photo work, and lately have been engaged in various creative photo projects. This photo is from one of my more recent series, and is up for consideration in National Geographic.

NatGeo’s editors pick 12 photos daily that they’d recommend for the print mag. Then they let the public vote. I have some amazing competition, but it’d still be so great if you’d give me a vote. NatGeo is one of my biggest inspirations. If nothing else, you should go check out some of the beautiful work being displayed.

Below are a few more from the shoot. You can vote here. (Must vote by today! Thank you.)

Abandoned Truck

Abandoned Truck

Find more work-for-hire gigs on my Portfolio, and ongoing, personal projects on my photo blog.

Vegetarian Three Bean Chili

Have you ever looked up close at a bean, in its uncooked form?

Beans are pure beauty. They’re definitely one of my favorite single ingredient items to photograph, and while their cooked appearance isn’t quite as pretty, it’s hard to deny that a big bowl of chili in the wintertime is a beautiful thing, too.

Dried Beans

This particular chili recipe is destined for a hungry crowd. I whipped this up last weekend before a cookie-making session with some friends. The intention was to void off an overloaded sugar consumption in exchange for sustenance instead. (It worked. Sort of.)

If you’re not trying to feed a large crowd, simply share some of the extra with your freezer. The chili will hold up well, and will be the perfect pal to call upon the next time you’ve got corn bread coming to visit.

Vegetarian Three Bean Chili

When it comes to this recipe, and why it’s worth making in a jumbo-sized cauldron so you can feed your whole village (or freezer, or entourage of friends), the secret’s in the dried beans.  Yep – those beautiful guys I mentioned earlier.

Starting from scratch creates a flavor level you just can’t replicate with canned beans. If you have a pressure cooker, it won’t take much time at all, either. This isn’t some chili-on-the-stove-all-day kind of recipe. My stomach rarely has time for that.

Vegetarian Three Bean Chili

This has plenty of spice, too. In fact, feel free to slightly cut back on the cayenne, if spicy isn’t your thing. It’s not overbearing here, but you will notice a slight kick. Most notable, though, is the chili powder. Yet, even with all that chili powder, the taste of those dried-turned-extra-soft beans shines through. It’s a beautiful thing. Kind of like that beam of sun catching my colander down below.

Dried Beans

 

Top with all of your favorites – avocado, cilantro, maybe even a dollop of salsa and yogurt or cheese. And serve alongside either that corn bread I mentioned before, or a bowl of brown rice with some tortilla chips on the side. That’s a kind of hearty meal that’ll make winter feel alright. And your friends warm and content.

CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…

Brussels Sprout Sliders

If Thanksgiving meal scheming is still taking place in your head, I’m recommending these sliders fill a spot on your menu.

If not, save them for your next holiday gathering. Just don’t forget them.

Brussels Sprout Sliders

Know once you do bring this dish into creation, forget isn’t even possible. NY Times inspired, this recipe makes brussels sprouts one memorable app. If you think like I do, the name alone could’ve told you that.

Brussels Sprout Sliders

As soon as I saw the word “sliders” paired with “brussels sprouts”, this went on the must-make list. Genius!

The New York Times Well blog never fails to round up a solid number of inspiring recipes for its annual “Vegetarian Thanksgiving”. It’s a feature I look forward to every year, and one from which I almost always put to use.

This year, it has me thinking, what other endless combinations of veggie-driven sliders can I create? Thanks for the excellent idea, New York Times. This blog post goes out to you, as does one of the “thank you’s” I’ll be voicing in my head on Thanksgiving.

Brussels Sprout Sliders

These surpassed my expectations, and held together rather easily with the help of a few toothpicks. I did modify the recipe to double the marinade intended for both the sprouts and the tempeh.

Maybe I gave the sprouts too heavy of a dip, but I quickly ran out of the liquid magic that infuses them with flavor in the oven. Perhaps you could give them a lighter coating. Although, I suggest you just double the marinade as suggested below, and allow them to enjoy a nice soak. I found this method to create a rather delicious solution.

Brussels Sprout Sliders Slightly salty, slightly smoky, slightly tangy from that grainy, textured mustard, this is a recipe that layers on all of the best flavors destined to make brussels sprouts a star.

If you didn’t think brussels sprouts could be addicting, then give this a try. Report back because I want to hear the results. Although, I’m pretty sure I already know the answer.   CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…