Remember when I mentioned that we’d start throwing in a meal to have people over? We’re doing it! Right this moment, think of another couple or a few friends or another family that you enjoy spending time with, or would like to know better. Invite them over, tell them to bring wine, you are making cauliflower pasta, a super simple salad, and ice cream sundaes. First sell: this meal is super affordable. Second: collectively, to prep all this will take you an hour if you hustle, which is not that big of a deal, all things considered, especially because you can prep some in advance. I am including a fool-proof magic shell recipe as our treat this week. You pick up a quart of your favorite ice cream, make a batch of two-ingredient magic shell, sprinkles are optional, but definitely cute and popular with the little people (we love these India Tree sprinkles). There is nothing that feels as lovely as sitting around a table with friends - laughing, eating, being hospitable.
I’m aiming to set you up for success with the tips. Whether you do this on a work night or weekend, you can get a few things done in advance, so you aren’t all flustered in the kitchen. I’ll put this in my @sk_cookingclub stories on Monday, in case it helps to visually see a few notes or in case you have any questions. Entertaining is an intimidating word, so let’s not call it that, you’re just “having people over”. It’ll be fun. Someone already told you what to make.
Remember: people care about your company! Not your house or if the meal is perfect or if your toddler threw a noodle at your face in rage - what matters is that you welcomed people to your table. Amen. Tag me in your pictures please!
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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 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: fall salad with cider mustard vinaigrette
Fennel. This may be a new veg for some of you. It has a gentle licorice flavor and the texture of celery. I love it shaved thin in salads or roasted with a mix of fall vegetables. To shave it thin, I remove all the stalks (save the fronds and toss them into the salad!), slice the bulb in half top down, trim out some of the root in the center, and shave it thin (with a knife or mandolin). It’s also great on a crudite platter with dips of choice.
Tips of The Week
make ahead: the salad dressing can be made a week in advance. The squash can be roasted a few days in advance, and kept covered in the fridge. Cook the lentils, if starting from scratch. I love those steamed ones from Trader Joes.
use it twice: this salad dressing goes on pretty much anything, and can also be used as a marinade for chicken. I like having extra roasted squash around - see kids note.
kid friendly: my kids are an easy sell on squash, not salad. I like to put the squash into a quesadilla with a handful of chopped greens and a swipe of refried black beans. If we’re doing an entree salad, bits of that salad into a quesadilla is usually what they go for.
carnivore addition: grilled chicken - you can double the dressing and marinate the chicken in it the morning before cooking.
dairy free: skip the parmesan.
for the squash
3 cups cubed butternut squash, about 1” cubes (from about 1 medium-sized squash)
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
dash of chili powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
for the salad
1 5-oz. bag baby kale or similar greens
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and shaved thin
1 cup cooked lentils
1/2 cup toasted pepitas
1/2 cup shaved parmesan
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
for the maple mustard vinaigrette
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
For the dressing, combine the dijon, maple, shallot, cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Shake everything together in a jar and set aside until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 400’. On a rimmed baking sheet (lined with parchment if you want easy clean up), drizzle the olive oil, maple, chili powder, salt and toss everything to coat. Spread the squash in an even layer and roast for 30 minutes until browned on the edges and tender. Remove to cool completely.
Assemble the salad with the greens, fennel, lentils, pepitas and half the parm and poms. Toss with desired amount of dressing. Garnish with remaining parm and poms and serve.
recipe 03: roasted cauliflower pasta
This will make a larger sized portion, per the headnote encouragement to invite people over for dinner. I can feed 6-8 with one pound of pasta and two heads of cauliflower, especially with a big salad on the side, and I can stretch it even further with grilled sausages, if that’s your audience.
This is a crowd favorite from the first SK cookbook. I’ve tinkered with it since then. The original has toasted hazelnuts on top, but I made a crispy breadcrumb here. If you really want to save time, you can totally skip this step, but it’s just textural perfection to have crispy bits on top of your pasta. Hugh likes to add crispy cooked and crumbled bacon.
For the salad, go with a simplified version of what is above, without the roasted squash to save some time and pine nuts or almonds to match the Italian vibes.
Tips of The Week
make ahead: the breadcrumbs can be made the morning before, as can the roasted cauliflower.
use it twice: I love roasted cauli. Put any leftovers on a green salad, with some quick cooking grains like quinoa, or in a veggie wrap with avocado and greens.
kid friendly: this is one of my kid’s favorite dinners. If you suspect resistance, try keeping the noodles and cauli separate.
gluten free: use a gluten free noodle.
dairy free: skip the parm in the breadcrumbs and replace the butter with extra virgin olive oil or a non-dairy butter alternative. Trader Joes sells one, as do almost all health food stores.
for the crispy parm breadcrumbs
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
2 gloves garlic
2 big slices of day old bread, blitzed up in a food processor (or 1/2 cup panko)
sea salt and pepper
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried oregano
for the cauliflower
2 small heads of cauliflower (about 2 lbs), broken into small florets
2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. everything bagel seasoning
For the pasta
1 lb. pasta (capellini, angel hair, a short pasta is fine too), reserved pasta water
4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Squeeze of lemon juice
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the butter for the breadcrumbs. Grate (or finely mince) in the garlic until fragrant. Add the breadcrumbs or panko, a big pinch of salt and pepper, walnuts and saute to get the butter on all the bits. Let it all get pretty toasty and crisp, another 2 minutes, then sprinkle in the parm and oregano. Stir again. Turn off the heat and let it sit in there to dry and crisp up. If doing this in advance. Keep in an airtight container after cooled.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Preheat the oven to 400’. Break the cauliflower up into small florets onto a rimmed baking sheet. Use bits of the stems, they taste fine once roasted and are full of nutrients. Toss them in the oil, salt and seasoning. Rub it all in there so the seasoning sticks. Roast the cauliflower for 40 minutes, tossing halfway through, until browned in parts and tender.
Cook your pasta according to instructions. Drain, and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Into the empty pot, ddd the butter and let it barely brown. You will smell it and see the color start to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add the olive oil into the pan, add the pasta and a splash of the cooking water and toss to coat. Add the parmesan, parsley and give it one more toss. Add more pasta water as needed if it looks dry. Tip in the cauliflower and toss again. I like a squeeze of lemon at the end because I love fresh acidity, but you do you.
To serve, top each bowl with a portion of the crispy crumbs, some fresh ground pepper and salad on the side (see headnote).
recipe 04: magic shell
This recipe can easily be halved. A full batch makes quite a lot, but it’s fun and easy with people over and easy to get through. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge and rewarmed gently when ready to use. After you drizzle it on the ice cream, give it just a minute and it will firm up!
Combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil in small pot. Warm on low and stir until smooth. This can also be done in a bowl in the microwave, be sure to stir halfway through warming.
Cool it down and drizzle on top of your favorite ice cream.
The mixture can be stored and covered, in the fridge for a month or in the pantry for a week. If it firms up due to ambient temperature, rewarm it gently when ready to use.
For the magic shell
1 cup chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. coconut oil