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Cumin

Creamy Carrot Soup with Tahini

Creamy Carrot Soup with Tahini

Happy first Monday of 2015! If that doesn’t sound so cheery, happy first FFF recipe of the year instead. Can we raise our spoons to that? This one is one of my favorites, so whether your with me or not, my soup-destined silverware will be flying high.

Please don’t leave me hanging.

Creamy Carrot Soup with Tahini

This recipe’s actually a simpler rendition of one of my top picks from 2014. A hint of sweetness from the carrots, a touch of not-too-overbearing smokiness from paprika, and a toasty spiciness from the cumin, this velvety soup hits all the right areas. And the tahini on top really seals the deal.

Spicy carrot soup + tahini = heavenly combination. Perhaps the top “omg I need to get healthy” combination of the New Year.

Its tagline? Making resolutions easy, since 2015. Put this Creamy Carrot Soup on your January recipe list, and you’ll soon realize there’s truth in that statement. My recommendation? Pair it with a slice of crusty whole wheat sourdough, and you’re all set. Cheers.

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Roasted Eggplant Hummus with Toasted Cumin

Roasted Eggplant Hummus with Toasted Cumin

Real talk here – emojis are one of the best attributes to ever appear in the smartphone world. It’s not infrequent that I’m texting half in emoji-speak, and dying in my bed from my own emoji-induced laughter.

Emojis are great, and so are the other goofs who can appreciate them as much as I do. Hopefully that’s you, otherwise you’re probably praying for my sanity right now.

Roasted Eggplant Hummus with Toasted Cumin

While I am forever anticipating the creation of a carrot emoji, I can say I frequently get down with the eggplant icon while I wait. Its purple radiance, with its bright green top, does wonders to add life to my muted text messages.

Eggplant emojis, for the win.

Japanese eggplant

You know what else is an eggplant win? When you add its roasted form to your hummus. You’ll find a recipe for that below, which is essentially a babaganoush meets hummus situation that can only be described as yum-o.

Roasted Eggplant Hummus with Toasted Cumin

By adding roasted eggplant into the chickpea mix, you create a slightly creamier spread to smear across your toasted bread or pita. I wanted to throw a little texture back in, so I toasted up some cumin seeds and added them, too. Like poppy seeds on a cracker, their small pop works well here, and really takes the spice infusion to another level. The toasty aromatics and nuttiness you derive from the whole form of cumin seed is worth the extra step.

Spread on pita with thinly sliced cabbage, spinach, and maybe some feta, too, or serve simply as is with warm, toasted bread and a drizzle of EVOO.

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Moroccan Roasted Carrot Soup

Moroccan Carrot Soup

Another soup, already? Yep. Sorry about it, but…

I’ve been hit by, I’ve been hit by, a smooth (soupy) criminal.

Soup has now robbed my kitchen and all my recipe idea brain space. After that first bowl last week, on one of the first fully chilly fall nights, my mind was stolen. More soup, please.

Moroccan Carrot Soup

I hope you can get on board with that. And if you’re skeptical, let me tell you why it’s a good idea.

The best of fall’s harvest is in. Soup is gladly here to take it all in, and to fill you up and warm you up without weighing you down before the holidays.

For a hearty, yet light meal to welcome in autumn, I can’t think of anything better than soup.

Which means, I’m serving up two of those spoon-ready recipes in a row. Hope you can handle it. High five to you if you’re more than ready.

Carrots

This is one of my more favorite carrot soups I’ve had in awhile. It’s layered with flavor stemming from two main components: the caramelization from the roasted veggies and the toasted hints from the cumin.

Roasted Carrots
Buying the whole cumin seed and grinding it yourself is well worth the extra step. After toasting up those seeds in your skillet, you’ll see why. The fragrance they give off needs no explanation written out here on this blog.

Bottle that up and place it in a spray bottle, and you bet I’d spritz that all around my house. Likely on my clothes, too.

Moroccan Roasted Carrot Soup

If you don’t have a spice grinder, a coffee grinder will just as well do the trick to quickly grind up your toasted cumin seeds.

Their slight smokiness goes so well with the natural sweetness that radiates from earthy roasted carrots. Add a tangy dollop of yogurt to the mix, and it’s like heaven in a bowl.

Or a smooth criminal, that’ll try to steal your bowl, or mind, for the next few days.

Toasted Cumin

Healthful yet so tastefully satisfying, it’s likely I’ll be making this again soon. Don’t worry, it won’t show up on the blog again. Although, I can’t say the same for another soup soon.


High five again if you’re okay with that.

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Basil and Black Soybean Hummus

Herb and Black Soybean Hummus

Slowly. Day by day. I’m getting one step closer to turning into a cucumber. A cucumber who’s getting married to a bottle of vinegar. Sometimes the onions walk in, and the tears of joy cry down on this union. I’m just waiting for the tomato to make it official.

Unfortunately, tomato season rarely coincides with cucumber season, except for a few dangling days at the latter one’s end. But that’s okay. I don’t want to be officially wedded to vinegar. And I don’t I very much like the sound of calling myself a cucumber either. Nor do I really like where this paragraph is going. So let’s cut it at that.

However, I have been eating a ton and ton of cucumbers. Averaging 1-2 per day. And still waiting on the perfect tomato to join them in my bowl of vinegar.

Basil

Though I’m longing for tomatoes to come join my cukes, it’s hard to say eating gets much better than now, in the late months of summer. Fortunately I live in a city submerged with farmers’ markets, and can also retreat to my mom’s house, currently flooded with cucumbers.

With all of the summer produce coming in, this calls on the need for protein-packed dishes to pair with it.

Nearly as easy as slicing a cuke, hummus forever remains one of my go-to’s.

Summer basil

This particular hummus differs from your classic chickpea version by using black soybeans, a high protein legume that tastes kind of like black beans. For that reason, this to me naturally went very well with guacamole and salsa, too. Feel free to swap the basil for cilantro to stick to a full-blown Mexican theme.

Herb and Black Soybean Hummus I went with basil because that’s what was in the garden, and I was initially envisioning this spread on a sandwich with thinly sliced cucumbers. Also snapped a few photos of my lovely friend Laura while picking it. You choose what to put it on. Just don’t forget the scallions on top.

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Swiss Chard Falafel

Swiss Chard

I should probably admit upfront, these err a tad more on the side of fritters than falafel. But I hate a dry, dense ball of falafel, so in my mind, the characteristics of these are what the word “falafel” should always mean.

Falafel should be as moist as the fresh chickpeas you put into it. It should mean a circular or ovular sphere flavorful enough to snack on as it is, even if a little bit of yogurt sauce or hummus elevates it to a whole other level. I.e., a truly good falafel should be the shining star in the pita you pack it in, radiating brighter than all else that lays beside it.

Swiss Chard Falafel

It’s simply impossible to deny how beautiful of a veggie swiss chard is. I’ve expressed before my love of pinks when it comes to produce, and the photographing of it. Beets and radishes, while not necessarily my favorite flavors of the veggie kingdom, stand among my all-time most beloved subjects to photograph. (Apologies in advance to my friend Laura. And my 90-year-old grandpa. And the random boys in my life. All of which are other favorite photo subjects in my life – but I’m telling you, beets and radishes make for some steadfast competition.)

Swiss Chard

The magenta lines that stream down a leaf of swiss chard, the veins not unlike our own that bring this veggie to life, make it a mesmerizing sight. Its yellow veins, too. Although if I had to choose, I’d of course go for the pink. There’s just something about those pinks when you get them in front of a camera. Born to be (still life) models, I tell you.

Swiss Chard Falafel

I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut lately. Breakfast for dinner has been popping up more often than I’d like, as is thrown together bowls of beans, rice, herbs, and avocado. (Although – if that avocado is a magically flawless and ripe specimen, forget the hesitancy and tone of complaint emanating from that last sentence. Hand me a ripe avocado, and I’ll be a happy kid forever.)

I never thought I’d be one to say this, but busyness has led me to allow cooking to fall by the side of the road for a few. Plus, it’s summer, and I enjoy nothing more than eating outside. And if this means scoping out all the restaurants with outdoor seating, then so be it. Cooking can be put on pause for a few.

However, you know as well as I do, I do love cooking. And so I return, by the sight of a healthy looking bunch of swiss chard.

Swiss Chard Falafel

I picked this bunch of from the store and immediately had ideas start to come to me from left and right. There’s nothing like a little ingredient inspiration to draw you out of a slight cooking hiatus.

It’d been forever since I made falafel, so that’s the idea I went with. Don’t ask me how swiss chard led my brain to falafel – but it worked out well. I mean, why not add some green power to falafel? Tastes great, looks decent, and kills it on the “you should really make this meal more nutritious” level.

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard’s back in style. Every farmers’ market table will be wearing it pretty soon. Get some while you can. Admire it’s beauty for a day. Or 15 minutes on your cutting board. Then chop it all and throw it into this falafel recipe.

These are definitely snackable on their own, but I love the pairing with the yogurt/herb sauce. You choose whether to pack them in a pita, or throw them with some brown rice. Either one you go with, drizzle a little tahini on top, and voila. A truly golden, slightly green meal.

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