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Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

Do you have a favorite veggie? One you love so much that you’ve considered getting it inked somewhere on your body? If so, we should probably be friends.

Carrot Top Spread

For me, that veggie is carrots. Particularly those that come in multi-colored bunches, beautiful green tops kept attached and in tact.

Carrots are simply a delightful sight, and I happen to absolutely adore their earthy, slightly sweet flavor, too.

Multi-colored carrots

However, it wasn’t until, perhaps just last year, that I would do much with a bunch’s tops. Despite this, it had always pained me to dump all of those elegant, lacy greens into the trash. I’m not one to waste food, especially when it’s the kind that comes straight from the ground and still appears rather fresh.

So, I finally decided to do some research. The result? Without too much surprise, I discovered that carrots were edible from head-to-toe, and that I no longer should be trashing their tops.

Since, I remain determined to find new ways to use them. I’d invite you to do the same. (And share your findings with me!)

Carrot Tops

What do carrot tops taste like? To me, the little leaves resemble the qualities of an herb – very unique in flavor and fairly pungent. I’d liken it to parsley, with a fresh flavor that can cut other rich foods, yet with a slightly bitter touch.

Like herbs, I love to loosely chop the leaves, and use them for topping salads and sandwiches. I also love them for a flavorful pesto-like spread, such as this one.

Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

Given the flavor of carrot tops, this spread is a bit more bitter than a traditional basil pesto, which is why it pairs so nicely with the sweetness of roasted carrots. The beans add a boost of protein to it and also mellow out the flavor. Together with crunchy cabbage and sunflower seeds, all sandwiched into a pita, this creamy spread feels almost decadent. Yet, it doesn’t require much more effort than it takes to pull out the food processor and place it on your kitchen counter. Thank you to whoever invented this wonderful appliance.

Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

 

I chose to keep this dish vegan, but feel free to add some goat cheese or feta on top. You could also swap the pita for a whole wheat tortilla wrap if pita is not available. Enjoy!

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Salad with Salmon and Collard Green Pesto

Salad with Salmon and Collard Green Pesto

I’ve been eating my weight in greens, thanks to this new community garden plot of mine. Some slightly poor planning has left me with little other than kale, collards, swiss chard and tatsoi. I’m waiting with patience for cucumbers and tomatoes, and am in the meantime throwing down a greens party nearly every night in the FoodFitnessFreshAir kitchen.

I really haven’t any serious complaints about it though.

Salad with Salmon and Collard Green Pesto

I do have some little baby carrots and radishes growing, which make an appearance in this recipe. And some lettuce from a friendly neighbor. Both worked well to construct the bed of salad that’s placed beneath the real stars of this dish: salmon and collard green pesto.

Since crispy broiled salmon speaks for itself, let’s get straight to the pesto.

Currently, I have no basil in sight, aside from a few slow growing plants on my back porch. Likely you don’t either.

What there is an abundance of this time of year, however, is greens. And as mentioned above, thankfully I’ve got a ton with which to work. Regardless of whether you’re reaping the same harvest or not, I’d encourage you to give this a go. This time of year, I guarantee it’ll be cheaper, and just as tasty, as traditional basil pesto. And even a little healthier, too.

I tell you, collard greens make for one nutrient-packed pesto.

Salad with Salmon and Collard Green Pesto

If you do have basil laying around, feel free to throw it in with the greens. You could also swap the collards for other greens, such as swiss chard or baby kale. Stay away from greens that are on the more bitter side or are more matured, which will reap a heavier flavor. These could have their place too in pesto, but not aside the delicacy of roasted salmon.

If you have any other green-loaded recipes, please share! I’m looking to freeze a bunch of this pesto for the winter, but would love to hear your ideas, too. Let me know how you’re using kale/collards this year!

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My New Roots’ Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

Life-Changing Bread

More than a handful of my friends have made this bread. Nearly all of my fellow let’s get in the kitchen, anytime, anywhere friends have made this bread. And pretty much my entire food blogging world has mentioned, created, and/or featured this recipe in some form.

Published a little over two years ago, it was about time I tried this illustrious Life-Changing Loaf of Bread for myself. Here I am. Another blogger to declare this recipe is awesome. And despite it’s cult following, I admit it was a bit to my surprise.

Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

Sure, I’ve heard everyone rave about how great this is. But as I was stirring up a bread pan’s worth of nuts and seeds, I found myself a bit skeptical. I knew this thing was going to be dense, and what I didn’t know was how that would play out into its finished form. I wasn’t even sure how it’d come together to ever fully form a loaf. I mean, what was this foreign psyllium husk ingredient, anyways? Could a few Tbsp. really bind a bunch of nuts into a loaf of bread? After finding it in the supplement aisle, the lady at Whole Foods told me psyllium husk is often used to help make you go..

Life-Changing BreadAnyway, when I finally got my first loaf out of the oven and cooled down enough to eat, it proved itself in no time. Yes, it’s dense, but incredibly delicious. Especially in its toasted form, as  many other food blogs assured me prior to making. “Toast it!” So toast I did, and slathered it with jam. I would recommend you do the same.

The toaster (I’d recommend a toaster oven, if you have one) pulls out an extra intensity of flavor from the already slightly browned nuts and seeds. Delish. Again, pair with jelly, or go for the savory route with some crisp radishes and a very thin spread of avocado.

Bluebells

This bread + spring + good cup of coffee + morning breakfast spent outside…now that might just make it to a life-changing status. Head over to My New Roots for the recipe!

Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Pilaf with Feta

Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Pilaf with Feta

Guys. Gals.

Yesterday I received some incredible news.

I’m going to have a garden plot in one of my favorite community gardens in Philadelphia!! I have been dreaming of this day since I first laid eyes many years ago on the magical oasis currently plopped right in the center of what’s now my neighborhood. It’s dreamy. And green. And filled with dirt, and creatures, and veggies, and all the other outdoor components I miss often from my farmer days.

Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Pilaf with Feta

Spaces like these are in hot demand in the city, which of course is no surprise. Generally, they’re locked down with a waiting list so full of names that you could’ve moved to three other towns within the time that they call your name.

Luckily, my roommate and amigo has had her name on that list for three years. And yesterday, she got THE call. I moved into her house a few months ago, and am thrilled to have stumbled into this situation. I am more than excited to scheme up how we are going to takeover the world…I mean, this new 10×10 foot of land.

Roasted Carrots

This was obvious reason to celebrate, and what better way to celebrate a new garden than with roasted carrots? (I would also argue these veggie tats are an excellent source of celebration. But that’s aside the point.)

One of my favorite veggies to grow is carrots because they simply taste 10 times better from the ground than they do from the plastic bags you get at the supermarket.

That thought has me chowing down on this light and healthy pilaf, rich in flavor and salty, feta + sunflower seed goodness. That saltiness gets balanced with a touch of sweetness, derived from both caramelized onions and earthy carrots, to create a well-rounded side dish or lunch.

Sure, those carrots pictured above are from Trader Joe’s…but this recipe’s in honor of my carrot-filled dreams and optimism for spring, when I’ll be eating out of my own garden. Cheers to that!

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Mostly Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

Most Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

Snow in the city is dirty. It will soil your shoes, your gloves, your stoop, your snowballs.

Suit up and put your game face on, or that black — and sometimes salty blue — stuff they call snow might stain a piece of your soul, too. It feels little like the soft, white flakes that flow quietly to country lands. Lands where cars stay stationary, kids go sledding and firesides roar.

Most Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

Yet snowfall in the city can also be a magical experience. I see this in ways far different than where I grew up. It comes in ways that remind me why I’m carrying out my youthful years in an urban setting.

Most Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

For one, while schools might shut down, often the community does not. Where I currently live, on snow days restaurants often remain open. They fill up with afternoon conversation. At the corner of my block, a place lights its fireplace and spreads out its board games. Beer is poured. Coffee is served. Warmth, both literally and socially, can be found in abundance.

My neighborhood’s yoga studio powers through with an evening session taught by a local teacher. I go, as do others, to fill the class, and practice while gazing out the window at the falling white flakes. They remain clean as they hang in the air, and it’s in this moment that I feel like I am “home” again. Back in the country enjoying a piece of serenity.

Following class, I rejoin the bustle. I meet a friend up the street at the fireplace for a beer and a game and good company. And again I remember, this is why I love the city.

Most Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

The start of this year has been a rough one in terms of the weather. I loathe winter. I could do without snow, and even seasons too if I really had to.

Yet, I am constantly reminded of why I still remain on the East Coast, in a state that won’t let me scoot by without being cold, in a city that I’ve grown to love. Surrounded by friends, and not far from family, I’ve learned to survive the cold seasons and even admire some of its parts I hate the most. Snow too has its place, and for now, it seems to be a significant part of my life…like it or not.

So until I get the guts to move far, far away to a new city in warmer lands, you can find me coping in my current city with my baking gear and measuring cups. When snow falls, cooking and tea and adventuring all call — usually in that order, too.

These were whipped up during our last winter storm here in Philly. They make for a healthy snack or breakfast, and are definitely going on my repeat recipe list. Made with antioxidant-rich curry powder and mostly raw ingredients (excluding the peanut butter), their packed with energy. The good kind. The kind you might need to get you through a long winter. Only 31 official days left. Not that I’m counting down or anything.

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