Black Fig Food

Passion: Fig and Blackberry Pizza with Mascarpone and Olive Tapenade

By November 19, 2017 Food, My World

This is Izzy.  She’s the one who looks like she’s about to stage-dive off the steep mound of dirt.  She’s one passionate kiddo.

Passion.  If we do not have it, are we wasting our lives?  I don’t really mean, “wasting OUR life”.  I mean, “wasting A life.”  An opportunity to really feel something…anything; gratitude, awe, true desires of our hearts that make our veins burn with anxiousness to take it in… are all within our reach.  Are we grabbing it when we see it?

In picking up a habit of journaling every morning, I often slip into a deep “aha” moment at times.  One morning, not too long ago, I had one of those aha moments about the power of passion.

Recently, I witnessed someone else’s passion…my very own kiddo’s passion.  Izzy has always been that fearless soul; at age 3, jumping into a 10 ft.-deep pool without knowing how to swim, sneaking out hammers and nails to work on crafts at age 5, and to this day at age 11, eating fresh onions for a snack.   I don’t know….maybe she’s just an adrenaline junkie or a masochist.  Like, what kid does that?!?!  This past summer, she developed an interest to learn the ukulele and began playing non-stop until her little fingers yielded blisters.  It was a prime example of where passion outweighs pain.  I was completely awestruck.  The difficult part for me was to step away from my own narcissism in thinking, “wow, look at what an awesome job I’m doing raising this kid to be passionate about something!” I had nothing to do with it.  Instead, I realized, I was witnessing this incredible little human experiencing the growth of passion all on her own.

Sometimes we get so caught up with keeping passion alive within ourselves, we miss opportunities to see it cultivate in others…guilty one, right here!  In this day and age of social media and self image being front row in our “priority bank”, it is important to step back and away from our own narcissism in order to recognize and acknowledge someone else’s passion.  I feel we have become our own paparazzi…self-cheering section, if you will.  I am not suggesting we brush our accomplishments under the rug.  Toot your horn when you want to!  We all all bad-asses at different times in our lives.   I am simply saying, slow down and just LOOK AROUND.  Passion is within others everywhere and can actually be an inspiration to us all if we just pay attention to its presence.  Although I won’t be eating fresh onions for breakfast any time soon, I will, however, be looking forward to finding that good ol’ passion out in the world…starting with this Fig and Berry Pizza!

Fig and Berry Pizza with Mascarpone and Olive Tapenade 

I love a little salty mixed with sweet so, I added a few dollops of olive tapenade and crumbled feta onto the pizza before sliding it into the oven.  You won’t be sorry.

1 container mascarpone cheese

1 vanilla bean, split and beans scraped or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp sugar

Pizza dough recipe or store bought to save time

4 to 5 fresh figs, sliced

1/2 cup fresh blackberries, sliced

1 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup olive tapenade (recipe below)

Prepare pizza dough as directed (3 1/2 hour process).  Combine mascarpone, vanilla, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.  Set aside.

When dough is ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Roll out dough onto a floured surface.  Place pizza stone in oven for about 10 minutes to get nice and hot.  With oven mitts (duh), remove stone from oven and transfer pizza dough on top.  Spread mascarpone over the pizza, then top with figs, blackberries, feta, and olive tapenade.  Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until mascarpone is bubbly around the edges and crust is golden brown.

Olive Tapenade

1 can black olives, drained

1 jar kalamata olives, drained

1 jar green olives, drained

1 small jar capers, drained

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme

olive oil

Add all ingredients into a food processor and process while adding a slow stream of olive oil.  Be careful not to over process olives into a paste.  Top over fig pizza or serve with toasted pita chips.

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Sunday Mix-Tape and Breakfast For Dinner: Frittata Love

By November 12, 2017 Food

Say what?  Breakfast for dinner?  Did you also say you wanted a super cool playlist to jam to while whisking your damn eggs?  I aim to please….myself and then push on to you!  I am horrible at figuring serving quantity because I have no idea how hungry you may be… I don’t know your life!  Seriously though, this will feed 6 to 8…depending on your “sharing mood.”

Potato and Mushroom Frittata

1 bag baby tri-color Yukon potatoes or just plain Yukon

1 tbsp olive oil

kosher salt and pepper

1 container fresh baby portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

4 sprigs fresh thyme

8 eggs

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 cup finely shredded Gruyere cheese

fresh dill for garnish

Preheat oven to 375.  Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in oven on baking sheet for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat an oven safe large non-stick pan over medium high heat.   Add a glug of olive oil to hot pan then add mushrooms, red bell pepper, and onion.  Saute until onions become translucent and water from mushrooms has evaporated.  Mushrooms should have a lightly crisp brown sear on at least one side.

Remove potatoes from oven and add to pan with vegetables.  Add thyme and set aside.

Whisk eggs, ricotta, almond milk, cheese, and dill in a large mixing bowl.  Season with more salt and pepper.  Add egg mixture to hot pan with vegetables.  Cook over medium heat until eggs begin to cook around the edges.  Place pan in oven and let bake for 20 minutes or until egg mixture is completely cooked through.  Last few minutes of cooking, switch oven setting from bake to broil to brown top of frittata.  Using oven mittens, carefully remove pan from oven and set aside to cool before serving.

 

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A Forever Home Is Within Ourselves

By November 5, 2017 My World

Nature is a funny gal.  She never disappoints when I am looking for comfort and answers.  Here in Georgia, I often stand beneath the tall pines to feel a calm come over me.  With their statuesque presence, they hide me from the world so that I can take a moment to meditate and, simply, just breathe.

Back home in Texas, on the eve of Halloween, I was driving through one of my favorite neighborhoods and passed a beautiful home I have always admired.  Its gorgeous blue minty color,  I swear I can taste.  It has always reminded me of a cool blue taste in a stick of gum.  With its warm wooden embellishments and rich seasonal decor of illuminating jack-o-lanterns on every porch step, the home suddenly made me crave hot caramel sauce and pumpkin spice apple crumble.  And so, I began to profile the lady of the home.

Is she a sixty-eight year old lovely woman who stayed at home to raise her children and now has all the time on her hands to drop an insane amount of Benjamins at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s while her physician husband is saving lives and sleeping with his nurses?  Does she buy all of those things to mask her pain from an unhappy marriage?  Do I create this horrible scenario in my mind about her only because she gets to have this beautiful home and I do not?  The answers are no…I am certain her life is damn near perfect.  How awful of me to think otherwise.  Leaving my judgement on the street corner, I drive on past the house to a busy outlet and think to myself, “Will I ever have MY forever home?”

What IS a forever home, anyway?

During my first marriage, I used to dream of what my ‘forever home’ would look like…that place the kids would come home to during Christmas break from college to reconnect with childhood memories…..the home where I could babysit my grandchildren.   I looked and looked for it for two decades, all the while moving from beautiful home to beautiful home every three years, not realizing that those homes were as good as it would get.  After my divorce and fifth year in my rental home, I came to a sad realization I may never have it.  Sad…….OR is it?

Later that day, I found myself unintentionally driving past another home.   This particular home was the place I spent my early years as a sticky-faced baby in cloth diapers and then, a rather shy and quiet young girl through my junior high years…and the house was fucking gone.  I tried to muster up tears but, I just couldn’t.  I even made that squint-y face we all have come to love and know when we are on the porcelain throne ….still, I had nothing.  I sat in my car in total shock thinking, “How dare they tear down my childhood home! I didn’t get to say goodbye!”  I looked for something….anything to take as a souvenir.  All I could find were the memories in my head.  Memories of learning to ride my bike in the backyard, watching my father twist the heads off of chickens so we would have an evening meal, burying our pet cat after it had gotten hit by a car and then digging it up a year later so we could see its decomposition, and hiding behind the big tree by the alley, giggling at smut magazines my brothers and I would find….it suddenly hit me.   A home doesn’t necessarily keep memories alive.  Memories (wonderful and gruesome) stay alive in our minds.  THAT is the place where our forever home truly resides.

……and, nothing lasts forever.  Time and change make sure of that.  Seasons come and go along with a stronger inner growth within ourselves.

…..so that we can get through this thing called life, forever moving toward anything that strikes us as beautiful or makes us want to continue to grow.

 

 

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It’s finally happening…

By October 15, 2017 Food, My World

As many times as I have tried to ignore it…as many times as I have attempted to look the other way, I have finally met eye to eye with the aging process.  It has come at me hard with so many physical and emotional red flags.  In the words of my eighteen year old… “I am shook.”  Let’s count these fucking flags, shall we?

I now have a bottle of “Home Advil” AND a “Purse Advil.”

I am having to wear carpel tunnel wrist bands at night just so I can get to sleep.

A little bit of vanity has gone out the window along with my hands.  They are starting to look like the witch’s in Snow White….true story.

I almost ran over my lawn mower dude the other day because I couldn’t hear the blind spot detector on my car.  So, I’m basically losing my hearing and attention span.

There is now a very a sad truth I wear granny panties.  Here’s a tip…when the top of my “unders” practically touch my bra strap, it is time to go shopping, homegirl.

I caught myself drooling at tapioca pudding in the baking isle but then quickly snapped out of it remembering I needed panko.  Talk about some disturbing shit….

“Root touch ups” are becoming waaaaaaaaaay more frequent than before.  Who the hell is paying for all this dye?!?!?!

Pill popper, achy hands, hearing loss, grey hair….why am I even complaining???  The fact is, we are all getting older and some never even get to experience the aging process at all!  So, take the damn Advil, wear those comfy “unders”, let the grey hair flow, continue making memories and smile at the ones remembered, and in the words of Thug Kitchen,  “Eat like you give a fuck.”  Incorporate more spices with healing properties that promote longevity into your diet and recipes.  Turmeric, cinnamon, cilantro, curries, cardamom, ginger, cayenne, garlic….whatcha got to lose? We aren’t getting any younger.

Indian Spiced Lentils with Cilantro Mint

1 cup dried lentils

3 cups vegetable stock, more if needed

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 of an acorn squash, sliced very thin, seeds and pith removed

1 tbsp olive oil

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1/2 cup fresh mint

juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 yellow onion, roughly chopped

crushed red pepper flakes for garnish

dash of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toss squash with olive oil and then place slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Roast for 15-20 minutes.  Set aside.

Add lentils in a small sauce pan with stock and cook over medium-high heat for 20-30 minutes or until lentils are softened but not too soft.  Add coriander, ginger, curry powder, cumin, salt, and turmeric to the lentils and reduce heat to a simmer for another 10 minutes.

Combine cilantro, mint, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and onion in a food processor.  Pulse ingredients until they resemble a paste.

Ladle lentils into the center of a soup bowl with plenty of stock then gently dopple cilantro mint into the bowl.  Top lentils with a few slices of acorn squash, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, cinnamon and serve.

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Half-Ass Recipe of Soup and Croutes

By September 27, 2017 Food

As I stepped outside into the crisp cold autumn air this morning wearing a dress (I’m such a dumb ass), my leg hairs stood straight up in shock.  It won’t be much longer before they will get to WAVE in this air….you know, with No Shave November being just around the corner and all….but more importantly, the time for making fall soups is finally here!!!!!

Once a week, I clear out my fridge of all the red-headed step veggies and throw them into a nice “Everything But The Kitchen Sink” soup.  You all know what I am talking about…that half of a red onion, those few carrots beginning to not be so happy to see me, and an entire head of purple cabbage minus a small missing piece used for shrimp tacos last Tuesday night.  I’d be so damned happy if stores started selling shredded purple cabbage (not slaw) in itty bitty “one serving” packages.  Until then, I will use the leftover head to make a vegetable broth for soup and whip up a batch of croutes from leftover artisan bread.  I’m not even mad that my broth turns purple.  I waste nothing.

This week, I had green onion, that damn purple cabbage, portobellos, a roma tomato, coarse sea salt, pepper, and parsley to use for my soup broth.  I added about 1 gallon of water to a stock pot along with veggies and kept it at a slow simmer for about an hour, then strained everything through a fine mesh sieve and discarded the lifeless veggies.  Back into the pot the broth went…

I then added about a cup of dried beans (any of your favorite variety will work) to the broth along with two bay leaves and simmered for 2 hours, adding more water if needed.  Don’t roll your eyes at me while whispering, “Who the hell has time to wait for two hours?!”  Uhhhh, you do!  It’s just two Real Housewives or four Chopped back-to-back episodes…..mmmhmmmmm.

After the beans cooked to a toothy texture, I removed the bay leaves, added butternut squash, fresh corn cut right off a few cobs, a half cup of wild rice, and one head of broccoli florets.  I let it hang out over a low heat for another 45 minutes and then served with my Croute recipe.  You can find the recipe here along with a bonus soup recipe..my favorite one, actually.  You’re welcome.

If you get into the habit of doing this once a week, you can stock pile your broth in smaller batches by freezing it in zip lock baggies.  Anytime you need a little or a lot, it will always be there for ya!  I use it for other quick soups during the week.  Or, if you ARE in a pinch for time, you could always buy a box of organic from the grocery store.

On the same day of making this particular soup, I was able to use the veggie broth to steam a batch of vegetarian Asian Pot-stickers.  I do spend a lot of time in the kitchen (thanks to my masochistic ways) so all of this cooking really does not phase me.  I REALLY DO stand in front of the stove, barefoot but NOT pregnant, thank baby Jesus.  I digress….

I make these quite often, however, I was recently introduced to The Giant Asian Pot Sticker.  Seeing these prepared with a large egg roll wrap blew my mind on so many levels.  I just had to try it.  I usually make smaller dumplings (vegan or pork-filled) which can be a little more time consuming so, I was happy to see, where I was making 24 at a time before, I could now make four big ones!  Edamame Mushroom filling tucked into each wrap, lightly fried in a splash of sesame oil then steamed with the flavorful broth…yeah, this shit sent me over the edge with delight.  But, I will have to share this recipe on another day.

Happy broth making!

 

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Autumn, Vintage Finds, and Heirloom Bliss

By September 24, 2017 Food, My World

My time home is coming to a small pause as I wrap up the week and prepare to head back to Georgia.  I was super stoked to be here to witness autumn (my favorite season) slowly creeping in along with the Tri-State Fair into our city.  It is a time for that long awaited seasonal wardrobe change to hang from my clothing rack and cherished fall recipes to adorn the table.

The most perfect end to my week started the moment I stepped foot into Back & Forth Thrift Store.  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love things with a history, a past, a story….it is here where I found heirlooms, once belonging to another human being, meant to be mine.  The energy I felt, coming off of the pieces that caught my eye, were stabbing at my heart, inspiration, and wallet.  Let’s just say I was murdered…and what a wonderful way to go.

It was refreshing to discover a new local thrift store with the most splendid set-up.  Although I sometimes welcome the idea of clothing grouped by color, I appreciated the garb mixed together (but still grouped in sizes) in various patterns, styles, and hues.  I like to hunt for my “high” rather than have it handed to me so, it worked out for me.  The owner, Kristie, and her staff (Korree) were so kind and went out of their way to help me find my inspiration.  I scored some really beautiful vintage Everlast Metal serving platters (there’s still some left, you guys!) and a few pieces to add to my wardrobe.  As I began walking around the store, I thought of my friend, GaLena, who introduced me to this wonderful store.  I vindictively thought, “I beat her here today.  I will take what she hasn’t seen yet.”  I’m a bitch like that…but I still love her.  She too has found her own inspiration at Back & Forth by curating and selling vintage clothing and lifestyle items online and in pop-ups through Lena Von Vintage.   Check her out.  I guarantee, you will find something meant to be yours.  And if you’re local, visit the fine ladies at Back & Forth!  They’ll have you strutting away like George Jefferson with purchases galore in tow.  I was totally George the other day…dreaming about serving some heirlooms on my new heirlooms!

Kick ass vintage Everlast Metal platters for food inspiration

I got a pretty sweet fuchsia dress and printed delicate blouse to pair with my favorite orange coat for the fall.

Vintage Amber Glass for the perfect “after dinner” dessert

Faux Snake Skin Pumps

Romantic Silver Tea Set for your Downton Abby moments

Inspiration in Color Contrast

Simple Oven Roasted Mini Heirloom Tomatoes

The flavor in these roasted sweet little gems is completely insane!  If they aren’t going into a salad, they end up straight from the oven into your mouth.  For a little extra flavor, you can add fresh garlic, thyme, and a drizzle of balsamic…whatever you’re into…you do you!

1 container mini heirloom tomatoes

1 glug of olive oil (about a tbsp)

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper in a baking dish.  Roast tomatoes in oven for 30-45 minutes or until they begin to brown and pop.  Remove from oven and add to pasta dish or refrigerate for salads or any other favorite recipe of yours.

For a delicious lunch with leftovers to make love to later, just combine the roasted tomatoes with your favorite whole wheat pasta and veggies along with my Arugula Pesto recipe.  For you carnivores out there, just top with grilled chicken or sliced skirt steak and a little Parmesan.

 

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CH CH CH CH CHANGES….

By September 17, 2017 My World

There comes a time in our lives when we discover, after 46 years, we actually don’t know shit.  Who’s 46, by the way?  I’m not 46….YOU’RE 46.  Anyway…..

Taking a short hiatus to reboot, recharge and re-evaluate one’s self can for sure be a shock to the system in a very good way.  I took a break from work to become more mindful of my surroundings, reacquaint myself with all the pretty things in nature and step back to see just how messed up my program of self-care, or lack thereof, has been for years.  And, I discovered A LOT.

Here are the things I learned:

1)  Not just one, but, ALL four dimensions (Physical/Body, Mental/Mind, Emotional/Heart, and Spiritual/Spirit) of our well-being must be activated for any one of them to benefit ourselves to the fullest.  If one quadrant gets out of whack, they all shift out of place.  Plain and simple, all of it needs to jive, folks.  We need balance.

2)  In most instances, there is no right or wrong.  Mostly, it is I who makes a judgement.  It is I who chooses to believe in what I see as right or wrong.  Rather, I need to be more mindful on finding what is helpful and what is not helpful to me.  And, any one of you may disagree with this and that is entirely okay.

3)  Just 10-20-30 minutes of meditation or a bit of Qigong every morning does wonders to my “I don’t want to” attitude.

4)  Getting a wild hair and telling myself “I’m going to hike eight miles today” (even though I haven’t exercised since the seventh grade) and actually fucking doing it, is one of THE best feelings of accomplishment in my life as of yet.  Although, I was expecting to see a huge Blue Lagoon-type waterfall or perhaps a Jurassic creature as a reward for my hard work at the turn-around point, I was stoked to have achieved it only falling just once and shitting myself twice.

5)  Practicing gratitude can protect me from being envious or jealous, help me sleep better at night, and give me balance to be open and accepting of my life lessons.  In the words of Rumi, a 13th-century Persian Sunni Muslim poet – “Where ever I am, whatever my condition is, I need to try to be a lover”….so next time you see me, you better pucker up!

6)  I was shown how and why change can be a scary thing and learned more about understanding the process to make it easier to accept.  I have had unrealistic expectations to change before and would self-sabotage my attempts.  I learned that by taking smaller steps toward change and not be intimidated by the bigger picture, I can commit to that change and maintain my progress.  Consistency + Time = Change, bitches.  Have a healthy self-esteem.  Be optimistic.  Have a vision.

7)  I REALLY needed to rethink my food environment and exercise program, you guys.  Mix a crazy eating (or no eating) pattern with life’s imbalances and little to no time for exercise, I had a stroke with my name on it just waiting to happen.  I discovered I was not taking control of what I ate, when I ate, and when I exercised.  I have plenty of time to take care of myself!  Oh….and a bottle of olive oil is supposed to last me wayyyyyy longer than a week.  With the help of some smart individuals (you know who you are), I learned what I have been doing wrong this whole time and have begun taking steps to snuff that shit out!

8)  I have been in a dark place before and hurt people I cared about more times than I want to admit.  But, I cannot turn back the clock to fix it all or beat myself up about it anymore.  I have to just look at those events as lessons learned (for both parties) and walk forward taller with the best intentions and kindness.

Thank you to everyone who enlightened me, held my hand, and told me to just live.  Most life-changing hiatus ever…

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Sunday Hot Mix and Asian Broccoli Apple Salad

By August 20, 2017 Food

Asian Broccoli Apple Salad

 I have so many different versions of this fucking salad, it’s hilarious.  Sometimes, I add cauliflower or shredded purple cabbage but I keep broccoli center-stage so that I don’t have to change the name of the recipe.  For this particular recipe, I had a “Waldorf feel” idea in my mind (hence the Vegannaise) but, I just couldn’t help turning it towards an Asian direction.  You can certainly play around with this recipe as well by adding a little miso paste to kick up the salt factor, switch out the cranberries with dried blueberries or chopped dates, or add walnuts….just turn on this week’s playlist, get in the kitchen and go in hard!

1 bunch fresh broccoli, broken into small florets, and stem, roughly chopped (yes, you can eat the stem)

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 honey crisp apple, cored and chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup frozen edamame

3 carrots, shaved or cut and sliced into thin sticks (or pre-shredded variety from grocery store)

2 tbsp Vegannaise

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional)

grated nutmeg (optional)

kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

*Meat Eaters:  accompany with grilled shrimp or salmon. Use real mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip…just no) instead of Vegannaise.

Combine broccoli and the next five ingredients in a medium salad bowl.  In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the Vegannaise, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar.  Add half of the dressing to vegetables, stir until combined, then check for taste.  Add more dressing if necessary.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and nutmeg, if desired, and serve.

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Sunday Post-Punk Hot Mix With Breakfast

By August 13, 2017 Food

Hot mix is not a bad ass batter for waffles.  Hot mix is a bad ass playlist to accompany you in the kitchen.  Brandon jokes with me all the time about “hot-mixing” when I cannot listen to an entire song without changing it to the next.  Guilty.  So, here is my playlist of hot mixes I have been digging this week.  Wake up and feed your body and soul, and GROOVE!

Although they fall apart after a few days, these Rise & Shine Bars are an easy and delicious “grab-and-go” breakfast for those busy mornings.  I say, let them fall.  When crumbled, they make a nice muesli over yogurt and berries.  Or you can take a little more time and rustle up something more substantial and satisfying!

Tofu Scramble with Sweet Potato Hash

1-14 oz package firm tofu, crumbled into small pieces

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

2 sweet potatoes (skin on), cubed

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 green bell pepper (pith removed), roughly chopped

1 bunch green onion, julienned

2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme

kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

garlic chili paste for topping

alfalfa sprouts for garnish

In a small bowl, combine tofu, turmeric, and garam masala.  Set aside

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Cube potatoes.  Add coconut oil to skillet, then potatoes, bell pepper, green onion (save a bit for garnish), thyme, salt and pepper.  Stir potatoes, then cover with lid and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook for 5 minutes then stir potatoes, cover once more and let cook for another 10 minutes, check midway to avoid burning the potatoes.

Uncover lid and add tofu to skillet.  Cook for just a few minutes or until tofu is hot.  Serve with chili paste, remaining green onion, and sprouts.

This week is a killer post-punk playlist (one of my favorite musical subcultures) for you to get rad while you make brekky.  The Spotify list is only up for a week so, be sure to check it out before it’s gone.  I’ve included a list for you slackers.  Enjoy!

Talk About The Weather-Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

Cool-Pylon

You’re Driving Me Mad-The Cravats

Green Fingers-Siouxsie and the Banshees

Change-Killing Joke

Ghosts-Abecedarians

India-The Psychedelic Furs

Road, River, And Rail-Cocteau Twins

Dark Spirits-Red Temple Spirits

Somewhere-The Danse Society

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If You Carrot All….

By July 16, 2017 Food

Let’s be honest.  Carrots are not really anyone’s favorite vegetable.  No one ever yells, “Damn, I wish I had me a big bowl of steamed carrots!”  I am one of the guilty who keeps them in my crisper until they shrivel up and become easy to bend.  I would buy them in bulk because that is what I do when I tell myself that I am going to eat healthier.  Then, I end up just staring at them every time I open my fridge looking for leftover enchiladas or pizza or cake or…

The vicious cycle of carrot neglect has got to stop.  I am tired of having the red-headed step child of the plant realm glare at me whimpering, “…if you carrot all…, you’ll cook me and eat me and love me.”  Okay, damnit.  Okay…..fuckin’ carrots.

Carrot Idea #1

Carrot Hummus

Hummus is something I make just about every week for us to nibble on when we get hungry.  I do not use tahini in this particular hummus recipe because it tends to overpower the sweetness of the carrots.  It is a great appetizer to serve with baked pita triangles sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

4 carrots, chopped

1- 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained

3/4 tsp chipotle powder

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp lime juice

4 sprigs fresh dill

1/4 cup olive oil

Boil carrots in a small saucepan with 2 cups water over medium high heat until soft.  Drain carrots into a colander in the sink then transfer them to food processor along with beans and the next six ingredients.  Fasten lid and process while pouring olive oil through the feeder tube hole.  Process until carrot mixture forms a spreadable hummus.  Serve with toasted pita chips sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Carrot Idea #2

Carrot Soup with Thyme, Raisins, and Pecans

I cannot believe I’m sharing this one.  This soup is a fantastic dish for fall but, I make it year round (often with butternut squash instead of carrots) because it’s one I actually DO often crave.  I’m not fucking kidding around….you will crave it too.  It’s that good.

6 carrots (tops removed), sliced

1/2 red onion, roughly chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 russet potato, peeled and sliced

13.66 oz. can coconut milk

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp fresh thyme, stems removed

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper

1 cup chicken stock

Golden raisins for garnish

Pecans, crushed, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Toss carrots and red onion with olive oil on a baking sheet.  Roast in oven for 30 minutes or until carrots are soft.  While carrots are roasting, place potato slices into a small saucepan with water and boil until soft.

Process carrots and potato along with coconut milk.  Transfer carrot mixture (it will seem a bit gummy but that’s okay) to medium saucepan, add nutmeg, thyme, salt, pepper, and chicken stock.  Stir and simmer for 15 minutes.  If the soup is too thick, add a little bit more chicken stock.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with raisins and pecans.  Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

*Wanna make it vegan?….use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

Carrot Idea #3

Roasted Carrots

Lastly, there is the simpler way out when you don’t have a lot of time to fuss with making dinner.  Don’t ever let me catch you admitting to that, btw.  Keep that shit yourself.  There is ALWAYS time to make dinner.

A few nights ago, I made a Date-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions and served it with a Chickpea, Spinach, and Red Pepper dish with, you guessed it, Roasted Carrots.  They added a lot of personality to my dish.  Roasted carrots are an easy side that literally takes 30 minutes or less to prepare.  Depending on your chosen regional cuisine, you can switch up the herbs and seasonings for your carrots.

Mexican:  cumin, fresh garlic, and chili powder

Italian:   fresh oregano, parsley, thyme, and garlic

Moroccan:  coriander, cumin, turmeric, fresh dill, brown sugar, cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Rinse one bunch of carrots and trim tops.  Pat dry with paper towels.  I like roasting carrots with their skin so, I don’t normally peel them.  Place on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, your choice of seasonings and herbs, salt, and fresh cracked  pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove from oven and drizzle with melted unsalted butter or Earth Balance.

 

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