Carrot salad with roasted chickpeas and pistachios

This salad is so good that if I were left to my own devices, I would eat all 4 servings in one sitting. Gulp.

Yield: 4 servings (or 1 really big one)

Ingredients

Chickpeas

  • one can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and lightly dried
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin

Dressing

  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • juice from 1 lemon, strained
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • to consider for next time: one crushed, smoked serrano pepper

Salad

  • 4-5 grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup of chopped pistachios (I usually find the roasted and salted variety, but this would work with the roasted and unsalted type as well)

Directions

  1. After tossing with the oil and spices, bake the chickpeas at 220C for 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing and prepare the salad.
  3. Toss everything together. and serve with a bit of parsley as garnish. Alternatively, you can keep the chickpeas and pistachios separate until moments before you eat (so as to preserve the crunch)
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Choco Coco Peanut Butter Dates

This is my first vegan dessert, and it turned out amazing the first time I made it. How many times can I claim wild success the first time I make something? If I were to imagine what a “healthy” snickers bar should taste like, it would be these chocolate covered dates. And the best part is that there is no baking involved whatsoever! Actually the best part is the leftover peanut butter mousse – it is top notch on apples, celery, toast… the list goes on.

Yield: 33 chocolate covered dates

Ingredients

  • 300 g dates
  • 64 g crunchy peanut butter (about 1/2 cup)
  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 can of coconut milk, refrigerated overnight

Directions

  1. Scoop out the fat in the coconut milk can (it will have separated from the liquid).
  2. Whip the coconut cream vigorously for a minute.
  3. Fold in the peanut butter and continue whipping.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. While you wait, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan or in a double boiler.
  6. Pit the dates. I made a small slice down the length of each date to remove the pit – without the pit, the dates could still be smooshed back together. I did not cut through the date completely.
  7. Fill the empty cavity in the dates with the peanut butter mousse and smoosh them back to their original shape.
  8. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Dip the dates in chocolate. Place them on the parchment paper. A fork is very useful for this part.
  10. If it’s cold outside, put the dates outside to set. Otherwise, put them in the refrigerator. This took around 30 minutes.

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

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This is is the cookie to end all cookies, although I have no idea what turtles have to do with it. The memory of eating this cookie for the very first time is seared into my brain. Some foods are just like that – I can vividly remember the very first time I tried this cookie in my high school cafeteria. Yup, this cookie brings back those kinds of memories.

Yields: 13 large cookies or 26 smallish cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100 g butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (I have also tried walnuts and they work too)
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 80 g soft caramel candies diced into very small cubes

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 C
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda
  3. In another large bowl, mix the wet ingredients: melted butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, milk
  4. Add the flour mixture to the bowl with wet ingredients in thirds
  5. Fold in the caramel candies and the chopped nuts
  6. Form the dough into small balls and lay them out on a cookie sheet
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes (Around minute 8, I will press them down with a spoon to flatten them a little)

Cinnamon coffee cake

Soft, fluffy, buttery goodness – who can resist this, especially in the morning with a steamy cup of coffee? Extra bonus: you probably already have all these ingredients somewhere in your kitchen.

Servings: one standard size loaf pan

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 50 g melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla or 1 vanilla bean
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 egg

Topping

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50 g melted butter

Glaze

  • 1 tsp vanilla or 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk

Directions

  1. Separately mix the wet and dry ingredients for the cake. Make sure you sift the dry stuff well (saves you the headache of lumpy batter later)
  2. Slowly add the dry cake mix into the wet mix, folding well.
  3. Preheat the oven to 175 C
  4. Pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan
  5. Prepare the topping by mixing all the ingredients well
  6. Pour the topping over the batter, and swirl with a knife
  7. Bake for 40 minutes
  8. While the cake is still warm, pour the glaze over it. The glaze will harden somewhat when the cake is completely cooled

Potato and Leek Soup with a Twist

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I discovered an Indian twist on a favorite classic. The lemon really shines through and finishes the soup nicely, and the roasted garlic adds a decadent umami flavor.

Since I’ve moved to Germany, I’ve had to switch to the metric system. It wasn’t as hard of a change as I thought it would be! But, I will add some notes on using the imperial system.

This recipe makes about 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 heads of garlic
  • olive oil for roasting the garlic
  • sunflower oil for sautéing the other vegetables (we don’t want to bring the olive oil to smoking point, so we use sunflower oil, alternatives include: coconut oil or canola oil)
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced (3 cups)
  • 2 large leeks, stiff green tops removed, tender white parts sliced
  • 1 liter of vegetable broth (4 cups)
  • ~200 g cashews (1 cup)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • juice from 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 cups spinach, sliced into thin ribbons

Directions

  1. Roast the garlic for 30 minutes in the oven at 200 C (400 F).
    1. Slice the tips off of the head of garlic to expose the cloves.
    2. Wrap the garlic in some aluminum foil, and drizzle a little olive oil over it.
    3. Cover the garlic completely with the aluminum foil so that it looks like a little satchet.
    4. Bake it in the oven.
  2. Heat some oil in a soup pot, add the leeks and potatoes. Sauté for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, cashews, and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic to the soup.
  5. Blend the soup in a blender or food processor. I like it a little chunky, but you could also make it smooth and creamy.
  6. Return the soup to the saucepan, and add the spinach on low heat.
  7. Once the spinach is just wilted, add the lemon juice. Salt to taste.

Caribbean Sweet Potato Patties with Spicy Coconut and Spinach Sauce

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I tried this recipe from foodblogandthedog, made some minor adjustments, and it turned out super tasty. I didn’t use scotch bonnet chilis (yikes, spicy!). Instead I used some super spicy madras chili powder from the indian grocery store. It’s very concentrated though, so a little goes a long way (it is definitely not the same as other chili powders, and I learned that the hard way!). This recipe makes enough for 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (the smaller the cubes, the less mashing you’ll do later)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp masala chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 head of garlic, outer leaves peeled off but still held together
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • zest of 1/2 a lime
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 can of coconut milk (about 14-16 oz)
  • 1 bunch of spinach leaves, ~250-500 g (organic!)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped bell pepper (organic!)
  • 1 tomato, diced (organic!)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 F
  2. In a lined baking tray or a glass casserole dish, toss the potato with olive oil, allspice, cumin, thyme, chili, and salt/pepper.
  3. Place the head of garlic in the tray.
  4. Roast for ~20 min, or until soft.
  5. Take half of the head of roasted garlic and mash it with the potato. Add the green onions, cilantro, and lime zest.
  6. Place the mix in the fridge until the sauce is finished.
  7. Except for the lime juice and coriander, place the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for ~20-25 min.
  8. Puree this mixture in your blender/food processor.
  9. Add the lime juice and cilantro.
  10. Shape the potato mix into patties and fry in oil. Cook until each side is brown and crispy, ~2 min per side.
  11. Serve the cakes with the sauce and extra lime wedges.

Corn Chowder

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Corn chowder is one of those dishes that tastes better the next day after you make it. All the flavors seep into the potatoes and make for a delicious leftover. This is my interpretation of Tyler Florence’s Corn Chowder. I tried it his way the first time I made corn chowder, but I found it to be too rich and salty. This is a lighter version.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • about 1-2 tsp of thyme (fresh or dried, it doesn’t really make a huge difference. The downside with fresh thyme is that you have to pluck all the really tiny leaves off of the sprig)
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced (the smaller you dice them, the better they disintegrate and cook)
  • 1 can of corn (or you can use 6 ears of corn, but let’s be real… that’s more work)
  • 1/4 cup of parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the butter in a large soup pot until it’s hot enough to add the diced onion and thyme.
  2. Cook until the onion is soft, and then add the garlic. Don’t let the garlic brown.
  3. Coat the vegetables with flour and mix well.
  4. Pour in the vegetable stock and water. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add the milk and potatoes and boil (hard) for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the corn and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Stir in the parsley and serve.