Hi all! So to help both you and I amidst a pretty crazy week, I am pulling a few of the cooking club favorites, so we can make recipes we are somewhat familiar with, instead of doing new things. If you are new (hi!) and haven’t tried these yet, hope you enjoy! These are some member favorites from the past 16 weeks of cooking dinners together. Please do join the Facebook group if you haven’t already. People are sharing swaps they made and asking questions and it’s what I am hoping more of us can do to build the community here. If you consider yourself a beginner cook, please please don’t hesitate to ask questions, be it there or in a DM. I desire for you to feel confident in getting dinner on the table.
I made too many different batches of cinnamon rolls the past few weeks looking for just the right recipe. Our tastes may vary, but I really liked the texture of these. All the dough recipes vary slightly by ratios of egg, sugar, butter, flour and these were the favorites of all the recipes I tried. It is a riff on the Cinnabon version, and I toned down the butter an sugar just a bit. I made notes within the recipe for you to have them on Christmas morning if you need a breakfast treat. They are decadent as I don’t find a sweet roll worth the trouble otherwise.
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I am assuming you have sea salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and a higher heat oil, such as avocado oil or coconut oil. Check your stock on these before you head to the market, and check off any other items you may already have. As you continue to use these recipes, you will see repetition of my favorite ingredients. For example, while real maple and pine nuts are pricey pantry staples, they won’t sit in the pantry, you’ll use them in upcoming weeks. Use bulk bins at your local health food store to buy in smaller quantities if you prefer.
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Meat & Dairy
recipe 01: gingered carrot soup
Look at us making a vegan soup! I have a tough time with pureed soups, as they mimic all the baby food I have made in years past, so I like to add texturey bits on top. Here, I used leftover quinoa and garbanzos, which I had some of frozen from the eggplant dish two weeks ago. A scoop of rice to fill it out would be nice too. I added other suggestions below.
I only put the quinoa, yogurt and cilantro on the grocery list, the remaining garnish suggestions are NOT on the grocery list, so if these are items you do not stock, or have leftover from previous weeks, be sure to add them!
Tips of The Week
make ahead: the entire soup can be made 3-5 days in advance, and kept covered in the fridge.
use it twice: double and freeze! My aunt taught me the best way to freeze soup was in a gallon ziplock. Lay it flat, push out the extra air before sealing, and then it stores flat in the freezer to take up minimal space.
kid friendly: be sure your curry powder isn’t too spicy. Serve the soup with avocado toast or pita breads on the side for dipping, depending on your garnishes.
For the Soup
2 Tbsp. avocado or coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 small potato (any white potato will do), roughly chopped
5 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
3 cups vegetable/chicken broth, more as needed
1 tsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1 cup coconut milk
Juice of one lime
for the garnish options
plain, whole milk yogurt (or non-dairy alternative)
garbanzo beans (plain or oh! crispy roasted ones)
In a large dutch oven over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, potato, carrots, garlic and a few pinches of sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7-8 minutes until starting to soften and color on the edges.
Add the broth and curry powder, bring the broth to a gentle simmer, leave the cover ajar and cook for 20 minutes for the vegetables to soften. Turn the heat off. Stir in the ginger and coconut milk and let it cool down.
Using an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender, puree the soup until smooth. Transfer back to the pot and stir in the lime juice and a pinch of salt. Adjust seasoning to taste (dash of cayenne for heat? more curry?)
Serve the soup warm with your choice of garnishes.
recipe 02: oven baked risotto with butternut squash and candied rosemary walnuts
This makes a lot of risotto. If you are one of the folks feeding 2-ish adults, I would halve this for sure. Otherwise, invite people over! Or it’s great for the holiday dinner. It also reheats beautifully and can also be frozen, and reheated for a later time.
Tips of The Week
make ahead: chop your onions and squash. Make the candied walnuts up to 5 days in advance.
use it twice: reheat any leftovers with a splash of water or broth to loosen. I love some leftover risotto with a fried egg on top.
dairy free: use a dairy-free butter alternative. Olive oil would also be fine. Top with some panko breadcrumbs, that have been just toasted in a drizzle of olive oil and salt to sprinkle on the top to make up for the lack of cheese. Put this on just before that last broil.
for the risotto
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 tsp. finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced (about 4 cups)
1 tsp. sea salt, divided
1 1/4 cups arborio rice
4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup white wine, divided
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
parsley and rosemary, for garnish
for the candied walnuts
1 cup raw walnut pieces
3 Tbsp. cane sugar
1 Tbsp. rosemary leaves
Pinch of salt
Place the walnuts, sugar, and rosemary leaves in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the sugar melts and caramelizes. Don’t leave the pan, as the walnuts and sugar can burn quickly. As the sugar starts to melt, stir continuously until completely melted and the walnuts shift in color. They may smoke a bit. Immediately dump the nuts onto a plate or piece of parchment and sprinkle with salt. Let cool.
Heat 2 Tbsp. of the butter in a large skillet. Stir in the onion and rosemary and saute over medium heat until they just start to color, about 10 minutes. Add the butternut squash, 1/2 tsp. of the salt and cook for another 5 minutes.
In a 13x9” baking dish (or similar size, a 12” cast iron skillet worked great for me), combine the rice, stock, 1/2 cup of the wine, remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir in the butternut squash mixture. Place the dish on the middle rack of a cold oven. Turn the temperature to 400’. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring half-way through. The rice should be slightly chewy. Remove the baking dish from the oven, then stir in the remaining 1/2 cup white wine and parmesan. Turn the heat to broil and give the top a little toast, just for a few minutes.
While the risotto bakes, make your walnuts if you haven’t done so in advance.
Serve the risotto with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, rosemary and the candied walnuts on top!
recipe 03: shaved brussels & kale salad
If you buy the dark, chopped kale from Trader Joes, this bag benefits from a de-ribbing. Tedious? Yes, but it yields a much better salad texture. I empty the bag into a large bowl, turn on a podcast, and rip away the thick stems. Then I’ll go at the bowl with kitchen scissors to get smaller pieces. You can also buy brussels pre-shredded but they use all the stems and tough core and I just don’t like them. You can get much thinner, enjoyable results from a mandolin, or again, rip the cores away from a bag of pre-shredded ones. If you want a pop of holiday color, add pomegranate seeds. I wrote this to serve a larger group, in honor of gatherings this week. Use just one bundle of kale if you want a smaller salad.
Tips of The Week
make ahead: The dressing and pecans can be made in advance. The kale, brussels and fennel can be trimmed and chopped a day in advance, and kept in a big bowl with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap on top to keep it crisp.
use it twice: Make extra dressing to have for the week, and also if you like your salads very well dressed. The pecans work in most fall vibe salads, and are great on top of roasted vegetables.
carnivore addition: You can always add shredded rotisserie chicken, or another favorite protein, if this is going to be the main course.
dairy free: Skip the gruyere.
for the Sweet & Spicy Pecans
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter or coconut oil, warmed to a liquid
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. light brown or coconut sugar
Dash of cayenne
Dash of cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup raw pecan halves, roughly chopped
for the salad
12 oz. brussels sprouts, ends trimmed (or 1 lb. prepared shaved brussels)
2 bundles Tuscan/Lacinato Kale, de-ribbed
1 bulb of fennel
1 crisp apple, such as Braeburn or Honeycrisp
1 cup/ about 4 oz. shaved gruyere (a firm, dry one!)
for the dressing
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. whole grain mustard
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 Tbsp.)
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tsp. maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Juice of half a lemon (about 1/4 cup)
Pinch of chopped greens herbs (dill, chives, parsley all fine)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the sweet & spicy pecans. Preheat your oven to 350’ and line a baking sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, combine the warmed butter or oil, maple, sugar, dash of cayenne and cinnamon, salt and give it a quick whisk. Add the nuts and toss to coat. Transfer them to the parchment and bake for 5-6 minutes. Remove to cool completely, they will crisp as they cool. Stored in an airtight container, they will last a week.
Using a mandolin or super good knife skills, shave the brussels sprouts thin. Discard the tough ends and center if you can avoid them. Collect them all in a big salad bowl. Chop the kale thin, add to the bowl. Shave or slice the fennel thin, as well as the apple (or cut into matchsticks!), and add them to the bowl as well.
Shake all the dressing ingredients together in a jar with a lid, or whisk together in a bowl. All these components can be made in advance if you need to travel with your salad.
Add the nuts, cheese, dressing and toss together just before serving.
recipe 04: Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from a Cinnabon riff from my friend Tori.
I know what you’re thinking, that’s a lot of cinnamon rolls, and it is. You can actually halve this recipe with success, or you make the full recipe, divide the assembled rolls between two pans and pass one of the pans to a friend who can bake them off the next morning so they are fresh and warm. What a gift! They can also be frozen and saved for another occasion.
Tips of The Week
Make Ahead: you can prep the rolls a day in advance, up to the point where you have them arranged in the baking dish(es). Leave them covered in the fridge. Whomever wakes up first in the morning, should pull them from the fridge so they can rest and rise for at least one hour before baking. The frosting can also be prepared in advance and pulled out to room temperature.
for the dough
1 cup warm milk (no warmer than 110’)
1 package (2 1/2 tsp.) dry active yeast
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup cane sugar
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
for the Filling
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
for the Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/4 cup steamed sweet potato flesh into dough
pecans or walnuts into the filling
Warm the milk (not super hot, just above body temp.). Stir in the yeast and let it sit for a few minutes to dissolve. Add the eggs, whisk them in well. Stir in the butter, salt and sugar to combine. Add 4 1/4 cups of the flour, reserve the rest for rolling them out. Stir everything together to combine, then dump the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough by pushing it with the heels of your hands and pulling it back to you on repeat for about 5 minutes. Roll it into a smooth little dough baby, cover it with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let it rise until it doubles in size. This time of year, since it’s a little chillier, this will take no less than an hour, likely two. Go do something else and just leave it alone.
While you’re waiting, stir the brown sugar, cinnamon and butter together. It should look like a thick paste.
Roll the dough out into a 1/4” thick rectangle. No need to bust out a ruler, just guess. Spread the brown sugar butter mixture all across the top. Sprinkle pecan or walnut pieces in there if you like nuts. Starting with the long side, roll the dough down into a log. Cut the log into 14 pieces (you can make them smaller or larger to your preference). Arrange them with an inch of space between in one or two greased baking dishes. I don’t need 14 rolls for just my family, so I bake half in a 10” cast iron skillet and put the rest in a second baking dish to gift).
(This much can be done a day in advance and leave them covered in the fridge. Whomever wakes up first in the morning, should pull them from the fridge so they can rest and rise for at least one hour before baking.)
Cover the rolls loosely and let them rise another hour. Preheat the oven to 350’. Bake the rolls on the middle rack for 18-20 minutes. I like mine a little underdone, so we go with 18.
While the rolls bake, whip up your frosting. In a stand mixer or with an electric mixer (or by hand with your strong muscles), mix the cream cheese and butter together until well combined and smooth (about 5 minutes in a stand mixer). Add the maple, powdered sugar, vanilla and pinch of salt and mix again.
While the rolls are still warm, spread the frosting across the top and let it drip into the crannies. Enjoy warm.