Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sunchokes with Lime and Peanuts

  
This is a great weeknight dinner: simple to make and very flavorful. We enjoyed ours with some firm tofu and rice, though it would be great with chicken or pork too. Roasting brussels sprouts under high heat caramelizes the outer leaves, making them more palatable to folks who don’t usually enjoy these miniature cabbages. Sunchokes, also called Jerusalem artichokes, are a relative of the sunflower and have a mild flavor that soaks up the bright ginger and lime in this dish.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sunchokes with Lime and Peanuts

1 pound Brussels sprouts, bases trimmed and sprouts halved
1 pound Sunchokes, scrubbed and cut into small bite sized pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 limes, zest and juice
1/4 cup peanuts, lightly crushed
1/2 cup cilantro leaves

1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a mixing bowl, toss brussels sprouts, Sunchokes, garlic, onion, oil, chili powder, coriander, and salt until the vegetables are well coated with oil and spices. Spread on a sheet tray and roast for 20 minutes or until the Sunchokes are easily pierced with a fork- the finished texture should be similar to a roasted potato.
2. Remove vegetables from the oven and place back in a mixing bowl. Add grated ginger, lime zest and juice and carefully toss.
3. To serve, top brussels sprouts and Sunchokes with crushed peanuts and cilantro.

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Parsnip Muffins with Thyme and Caraway

  
A quick fix to get your veggies for breakfast? Sign me up! These muffins are a delightful way to start your day… Or to enjoy as a midday snack! Light and fluffy, the parsnips and caraway lend an earthiness to these muffins, while the thyme keeps them bright and cheery. If you’re not a caraway fan, some ground fennel seed makes a nice substitute- or just leave them out. Serve them with some cream cheese or butter.

Parsnip Muffins with Thyme and Caraway

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground caraway
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves removed from stems or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk yogurt
1/4 cup canola or sunflower oil
1 cup sugar
3 medium parsnips, grated in a food processor (about 2 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or spray with cooking oil.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, caraway, thyme, and salt and whisk well.
3. In another mixing bowl, whisk eggs, yogurt, canola oil, and sugar until well combined.
4. Add parsnips and dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
5. Ladle batter evenly into muffin tins. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when poked in the center (always test a few muffins to be sure they have all cooked through).

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

  
There’s truly nothing like homemade vinegars. We always have a batch or two fermenting on top of the fridge, at the ready to be whisked into salad dressings or a pot of beans. Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful introduction to the world of fermentation and it only takes a few minutes of hands on work. Once it’s done and you’ve tasted the fruit of your labors, you too will always have a batch in production.

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

2 organic apples, chopped into medium pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
About 2 cups water

1. Place apple pieces in a very clean quart sized jar. In a separate container, dissolve sugar in water. Pour over apples to cover, leaving about an inch of room at the top. Cover with cheesecloth and a rubberband.
2. Place the jar in a warm place where it won’t be disturbed and let it sit for two weeks.
3. After 2 weeks, strain the liquid off the apples and place in a fresh jar. Discard the apple bits. Cover the jar of liquid with cheesecloth again and let it sit for another 4 weeks. It will begin to develop a funky blob or white scum – this is the vinegar “mother” which is converting the liquid into vinegar! If any blue, grey, or green scum develops, this is bad news and you’ll need to toss the whole batch.
4. After 4 weeks, begin tasting your vinegar. When it has a pleasant acidity, it’s ready to use!

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing, Avocados, and Kumquats

  

Here’s a great salad to celebrate citrus season! As a girl growing up in California, many of my friends had kumquats growing in their backyards. These are such a treat! This easy salad is an homage to my roots- it’s like sunshine in a bowl.

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing, Avocados, and Kumquats

1 bunch kale, leaves stripped from stems, chopped, and massaged
1 large avocado, cut into bite sized pieces
6-8 kumquats, thinly sliced and seeds removed
1 cipollini onion or small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cashews, roasted and crushed
1/4 cup tahini
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Salt to taste

1. In a blender, combine tahini, garlic, lemon juice, water, maple syrup, and chili powder. Blend until smooth. If it’s too thick, add more warm water. Season with salt.

2. Toss massaged kale, avocado, and onion with enough tahini dressing to coat. Place in a large serving bowl. Top with kumquat slices and cashews.

Fingerling Potatoes With Wilted Chard And Leek Vinaigrette

  
We’re in the final stages of winter here in the Pacific Northwest, which means I’m craving greens and starting to look upon root vegetables with disdain. This recipe helps me bridge the gap- it’s still quite hearty with its fingerling potatoes, but the rainbow chard and leeks seem like a promise of better things to come. You’ll have leftover vinaigrette from this recipe. Luckily it’s one of my favorites and is quite versatile. I’d recommend using any leftover dressing on roasted Brussels sprouts, for dipping artichokes, or just smeared on toast. This dish would make an excellent side to roast chicken or would make a tasty brunch dish served with a couple of fried eggs.

Fingerling Potatoes with Wilted Chard and Leek Vinaigrette

1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise 
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch rainbow chard, stem cut into bite sized pieces, leaves chopped
4 tablespoons canola, sunflower, or coconut oil, divided
1 large leek, white and light green stalk only
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil

1. Cut leek into half inch rounds. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over high heat. Add leeks and sauté until wilted and lightly caramelized. 

2. Add leek, mustard, vinegar and salt to a blender and puree. Then slowly pour olive oil into the blender while running. This will create a thick, smooth dressing. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°. Toss potatoes in 2 tablespoons of canola oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast for 12-20 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork. Set aside.

4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon canola over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chard stems and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add chard leaves and sauté just until wilted.

5. In a large mixing bowl, toss potatoes and chard with enough dressing to lightly coat everything. Season with salt and pepper.