Cooking Club: Week 33

hey hey! I asked everyone for family favorites on instagram and I love the submissions I received, thank you! The sweet potato tots from our recent blog post were a suggestion from Mel, because I couldn’t wait, so thank you!). I’m collecting them through today then going to pick a few if you still want to send a favorite recipe over. I know there is snow near some of you and sunshine by others, so hope everyone finds something they like in this bridge week.
Take care!

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News:

- We updated the Sauces & Dressings page, and renamed it as the Condiment Index, with a few new non-dressing & sauce requests, including the quick pickled onions, spicy maple pepitas, and the green tahini sauce.

- Comments, questions or suggestions? Submit your feedback here.


groceries

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.

Your List i

grilled skewers w/ spicy cashew sauce turkey bolognese (member favorite) kale chop w/ roasted sweet potatoes, apples + avocado sprouted french toast sticks w/ mapled strawberries

s produce

Pantry

Meat & Dairy


recipe 01: grilled skewers w/ spicy cashew sauce

serves 4

You must follow actress Jennifer Garner on Instagram, because she is so charming and funny. If I made cooking videos, I feel like they would look like hers - a bit silly and relatable. One day. Anyway, she mentioned this green sauce a few weeks ago, which she had made by way of Melissa Clark and the New York Times, and I couldn’t stop thinking of it.

She said it leaves you with garlic breath all night- and this is confirmed :) It was originally written as a marinade, but I tweaked it a little bit, and think it’s a fabulous dipping sauce. If you hate cilantro, parsley is fine. If you like it hot, leave in the seeds of the jalapeño. If not, remove some or all of them. The sauce should make more than you need, and we will thin it a bit to use as a salad dressing for the kale chop coming up later. 

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The sauce can be made up to three days in advance. The vegetables and protein can be cubed morning prior, and grains can always be reheated.

Use it Twice: Hang onto your cashew sauce and we’re going to thin it out as a salad dressing later. It also works as a great fish taco sauce.

Kid Friendly: Let them build their own skewer. If bell peppers and onions aren’t popular, you can use barely steamed potatoes or another favorite vegetable. The sauce is mild but remove all of the seeds from the jalapeño if you have spice sensitive eaters.


Ingredients
 

for the spicy cashew sauce

1 cup roasted, salted cashews
1 small bundle of cilantro, ends chopped off, divided
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp. soy sauce (if you sub coconut aminos, skip the sugar)
2 tsp. coconut or light brown sugar
1 jalapeño, some of the core/seeds removed to taste
1/3 cup water
Juice of two limes
pinch of salt

for the skewers

2 bell peppers
1 yellow onion
1 zucchini

1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs/ 14 oz. extra firm tofu
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
sea salt and pepper

for serving

2 cups cooked brown rice, quinoa, etc. 

Instructions

Into a blender or food processor, combine the nuts, half of the cilantro, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, jalapeño, water, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Blend everything until smooth, taste, and adjust seasoning. Dash more soy sauce? Lime? Set aside. The sauce can be made two days in advance. 

Start cooking your rice or grain. 

Preheat your grill to a medium heat. Trim and cut the vegetables into 2” chunks. Cut your chicken thighs or tofu into 1” cubes. Thread the vegetables and protein onto your skewers and repeat to use up all your ingredients.

Lacquer them with olive oil and a generous seasoning of paprika, salt, and pepper. Rub it all around with either your fingers or a brush. Both are washable, get in there. Grill, rotating at the halfway point, cooking for about 10 minutes in total or until cooked through. 

Chop the remaining cilantro or some parsley. Arrange your bowls with the cashew sauce, a scoop of rice, a couple skewers, and a garnish of herbs. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    776
  • fat i
    36 g
  • carbs i
    48 g
  • protein
    68 g

recipe 02: turkey bolognese (member favorite)

serves 4

If you are a Sunday-prep person, this is where you start. As the rumor goes with soups and stewy things, this is even better a day or two later. Alternatively, if you cook in the morning, try to get it started then, and all you’ll need to do come dinner time is make the noodles or spaghetti squash or polenta etc.

This will be richer, if you use the more traditional Bolognese protein of ground beef and two links of an Italian pork sausage, in place of the turkey. I’m writing it as I would make it, but adding this note if you prefer a heavier sauce.

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Tips of The Week

make ahead: the entire sauce can be made up to three days in advance and re-warmed while you’re preparing your noodle/polenta etc. Otherwise, chop the vegetables in advance.

use it twice: any leftover sauce is also great over grilled vegetables, like eggplant and zucchini. Or make a bolognese toast, with toasted baguette, a scoop of bolognese and a slice of provolone on top under the broiler for a minute or two. Like a meatballs sub sort of feel.

kid friendly: I feel like this is kid-friendly as written. My kids also love pasta shells and they hold the sauce a little better in those little cups.

vegitarian option: I hesitate to give exact swaps here, as lentils and mushrooms don’t work exactly the same as turkey, but it will work if you’re flexible. Double the mushrooms and replace the pound of ground turkey with 1 1/2 cups of cooked brown lentils. Also, double the tomato paste for a bit more depth of flavor.

gluten free: We like banza or jovial brands gluten free noodles. Zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash are also great alternatives.

dairy free: use a dairy-free butter and skip the parmesan on top.

low carb: sub in zucchini noodles for the base.



 Ingredients

For the bolognese

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. butter, divided
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, grated
sea salt and pepper, as needed
1 lb. ground turkey (dark meat!)
1 tsp. fennel seeds, roughly crushed
1 tsp. Italian seasonings
Dash of cayenne
Grate of nutmeg, optional
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
3/4 cup white wine
2 cups crushed tomatoes and their juices
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

for serving

Polenta, noodles, spaghetti squash, for serving
Fresh chopped parsley, for serving

Instructions

Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onions, garlic and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes until softened and some of the water has cooked off. Add the carrot and ground turkey, fennel seed, Italian seasoning, dash of cayenne and another pinch of salt and pepper. Break up the meat with the back of the spoon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is mostly cooked.

Add the tomato paste and give it another stir. Add the wine and nutmeg, stir frequently until it has reduced by half. About 7 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low. Add the tomato puree, remaining butter and stir. You want to see the gentlest of little bubbles blurbing up. Cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring from time to time, for the sauce to reduce. If it starts to look dry in the pot, stir in a splash of milk or broth, but keep going. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper if needed, some red pepper flakes if you want more heat.

Stir in a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese into the sauce. If you are cooking this in advance, cool it down completely before covering and storing it in the fridge. 

Cook your noodles or polenta according to instructions. Garnish your dish with a sprinkle of cheese and fresh parsley.

Nutrition Information

per serving (of bolognese)

  • calories
    438
  • fat i
    25 g
  • carbs i
    18 g
  • protein
    32 g

recipe 03: kale chop w/ roasted sweet potatoes, apples & avocado

serves 4

We’re giving a second life to that spicy cashew sauce and using it as a creamy salad dressing here. If you need to save time, the sweet and spicy pecans from Trader Joe’s are so good. I know it’s spring, and tender greens are in, but the sturdiness of kale holds up against the sweet potatoes and apple. 

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The dressing should be nearly done if you repurpose the cashew sauce from the skewer recipe. The sweet potatoes and spicy pecans can be made a day in advance.

Use it Twice: This is a great salad to pack for lunch because everything holds up well.

Kid Friendly: Bares repeating I suppose, skip the dressed kale and give them the sweet potatoes, apples, avocado and quinoa. I can sneak some greens into a wrap.

Carnivore Addition: Add grilled chicken or salmon on top.

Low Carb: Use roasted cauliflower in places of the sweet potatoes.


 Ingredients

for the potatoes

1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2” cubes
1 Tbsp. avocado or olive oil
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt and pepper

For the maple pecans

1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or coconut oil
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
Pinch of salt
Dash of cayenne
2/3 cup raw pecan pieces

for the base

1 head of baby kale (5 oz. bag)
1 large apple, cored and diced
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 avocados

for the dressing

1/4 cup spicy cashew sauce (see above recipe)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

instructions

Preheat the oven to 425’. Toss the cubes of sweet potato in the oil, smoked paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast them on a rimmed baking sheet on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes and remove to cool completely. 

For the pecans, heat the butter and maple syrup in a small pan until fragrant. Add the salt, cayenne, and nuts. Toss everything to coat until most of the liquid looks absorbed. About 5 minutes. Transfer them to a piece of parchment paper and let them cool completely to crisp up. 

Into a bowl, mix 1/4 cup of the leftover spicy cashew sauce from the first recipe with 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. 

In a large salad bowl, collect the kale. Drizzle on the dressing and toss to coat. Use your hands to rub the dressing into the leaves to soften it a bit. Top the salad with the cooled potatoes, diced apples, quinoa, avocado cubes, and maple pecans. Add any desired protein and serve. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    539
  • fat i
    40 g
  • carbs i
    45 g
  • protein
    9 g

recipe 04: sprouted french toast w/ mapled strawberries

Serves 4

I know French toast sounds like a weekend indulgence, but we are going to use “healthier” bread and make our custard the night before, so it comes together quick and gets us out of a breakfast rut. You can use the same measurements and use sliced brioche and half and half if you want something more decadent.

First, you’re going to make the custard the night before, so in the morning, it is just a soak and a cook. You could make the maple berries the night before too (leave them to rest on the stove, they’re fine) and just give them a gentle warm up in the morning.

Alton Brown taught me to use day-old bread, so it soaks up the custard better. More often than not, I have sandwich bread that I leave out overnight or give a quick toast to in the morning if I need to dry it out quickly. 

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: Make the custard and maple strawberries 1-2 days in advance and keep them covered in the fridge.

Use it Twice: Any leftovers can be reheated or toasted and served with yogurt for dipping.


Ingredients

2 eggs
3/4 cup plant or dairy milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
Pinch of salt

5 slices of bread left out overnight or barely toasted (I use sprouted sourdough from Trader Joes)
2 Tbsp. butter, ghee or coconut oil, for cooking

1 pt. strawberries, stemmed and chopped, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp. orange zest
Pinch of salt

for serving

Plain yogurt or coconut yogurt


Instructions

If you have not left the toast out overnight to dry up, give it a light toast. 

Make the custard. I do this in a pie pan, or 8x8 pan so I can fit the bread in for a soak. Whisk the eggs, nut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, and salt together. Whisk until totally smooth. This can be done the night prior, just bring it out to room temperature when you wake up. 

For the strawberries, combine them with the maple and pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Heat everything on low and let it all simmer gently for at least 10 minutes. The longer you cook it, the more tender the strawberries will get, so this is up to you. Turn off the heat and stir in the orange zest. 

Heat a generous nub of the butter in a pan over medium heat. I have the best luck with seasoned cast iron or non-stick. Soak a piece of the bread in the custard, both sides, then let the excess drip off. Cook the bread for about 4 minutes per side to cook through. 

My kids like them in sticks that they dip in plain yogurt and the strawberry maple sauce. Or, all piled on one piece is lovely too. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    370
  • fat i
    13 g
  • carbs i
    55 g
  • protein
    11 g