Browsing Tag:

potluck

Sesame Cucumber Edamame Salad

Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad

The unofficial start to summer has arrived, and all I want to be eating are refreshing treats like watermelon, lots and lots of watermelon, and cucumbers, too.

This sesame-seasoned dish gets even better with time. It’s part of what makes it an ideal picnic bring-along. Put an hour aside to let the flavors mingle. And then serve it as a compliment to other summery dishes, whether a cold soba noodle salad, or warm yet light grain bowl.

Note: If you don’t have sesame seeds available, crushed peanuts are a great substitute.

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Garlic and Dill Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Dill

I cracked my first iPhone screen yesterday. It made me sad. That is a first world problem, I know, and nothing that a little creamy cauliflower cannot fix.

When life gets a little jagged in parts, keep your head up. Toss in some cream. You’ll be golden. Then praise the sun you have a house. And food. And life.

Garlic and Dill Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

One of my coworkers the other day told me about a practice he once did where you count how long it takes you to have six negative thoughts. He said it was surprising how early on the morning he would hit that limit.

It’s a practice I want to start doing – because while I feel like I’m a pretty positive person, I know there are a lot of areas surrounding this in which I could use work. Like appreciating the positive side of things I don’t always love. 2015. Cheers.

Now onto the recipe already…

Cauliflower

Mashed potatoes are a childhood favorite of mine. I mean, who doesn’t love mashed potatoes and gravy? This version uses cauliflower to lighten up the dish, and adds roasted garlic and fresh dill, so that no gravy is even needed. It’s packed with flavor, and every bit as creamy, if not more, than your standard mashed potato recipe.

If you’re ringing in the New Year on a light note, but still want a touch of creamy comfort, know that you can do both. Think positive, and know that this recipe is proof.

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Harvest Stuffed Squash with Cilantro Tahini Sauce

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.

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Vegetarian Bean Chili From Scratch

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.

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Avocado Radish Toasts

Avocado Radish Toasts

You know spring has arrived when there are 7 different street festivals swarming the streets of your one city, all within one Saturday. When your local park is carpeted in pink pedals of the cherry trees after several days of showers. When you look down and notice you’ve gotten a bit of a sunburn after just 2 hours of tennis. When the first farmer’s markets kick off. And when, there, you stumble upon beautiful bunches of radishes.

Spring radishes

The weather is here. The flowers are here. And my favorite – the first smell of fresh-cut grass, a perfume I walked by literally an hour ago, has arrived and bestowed me with this evening’s biggest smile.

Radishes sliced

There are few vegetables I find more stunning than radishes. And they feel rather novel too. Rarely do I eat a radish outside of springtime.

When they are in season though, and just picked from the ground – still young, small, not fully matured – little else can beat how refreshing that crispness of theirs brings to the table. A spring rain rooted radish, yes please.

Sliced radishes

Along with all those seasonal festivals I mentioned earlier comes the arrival of countless picnic-themed holidays, on their way shortly. Next up is Mother’s Day, soon after followed by Memorial Day, and so on, and so on, and so on.

How to prepare for those occasions? Have a radish-inspired recipe you can count on. One that literally takes barely any effort at all to pull together.

Toasted Baguette

When you have quality ingredients, you only need a few ingredients to make a dish that’s memorable.

Fresh radishes. Ripe avocados. Crusty bread. Good olive oil. Coarse salt.

All favorited ingredients of my repertoire.

Avocado Radish Toasts

Pull them all together, and you create this, a recipe perfect for any picnic, potluck, or simple outdoor, light-lunch occasion. (Don’t get me wrong, you can certainly enjoy this indoors as well. But in my dreams, I’m eating outside for all 3 meals of the day.)

Avocado and lime

Sorry (but not sorry) for the photo overload. Like short and sweet recipes that can be easily fantastic when quality ingredients are involved, beautiful photos always come easier with ingredients that inherently shine.

Avocado Radish Toasts

Fun fact – most of the spice (and flavor) of a radish lays in its skin. Early season ones should be pretty tame, but later on, if you can’t handle the heat, you can always give them a zebra-striped peel.

Avocado Radish Toast

A little bit of that heat though, and the corresponding crispness, goes great with creamy avocados, so make sure to hang on to some of it. Enjoy guys!

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