cilantro

Entrée, Fall

MUSHROOM + BLACK BEAN TACOS WITH CILANTRO BLENDER SAUCE

I had a rough time the first two years of college. It was up and down and there were certainly parts I really liked, but I remember crying in my car asking my parents if I could quit and switch schools on more than one occasion. I was an English major and turns out I am a slow reader with poor retention and grammar. I’d graduated high school with a really tight group of friends I had known my whole life and making new friends was a skill I’d little experience with as an adult. I had broken up with the boyfriend I thought I was going to marry and had one great but a few rough roommates to start. It just seemed...hard. I believe we are equipped to do hard and challenging things but I couldn’t quite find the silver lining. I really wanted to go home. So as my last effort to finish what I started, I applied to study abroad in Spain my Junior year to get better at Spanish (because clearly my English wasn’t awesome) and to hit refresh. And it worked. I loved the experience, saw so much of Spain, started a little romance with Hugh via email, didn’t get much better at Spanish to be honest but came back to school to live with a group of girls that just had great chemistry together. They were fun, kind and communicated well instead of gossip and hurt each other which unfortunately, groups of girls often have the potential to do. I can’t really explain it, or I wouldn’t do it justice if I tried, but those ladies changed me. By the time I moved back towards home to start a career, I was dragging my feet. You couldn’t have told me that three or four years prior. 

I spent last weekend with a few of those ladies and while we don’t keep up as often as I’d like, they are the same sweet women they were in that season. We all now have kids and lives going different directions but I was inspired by our conversations around our rental’s dinner table. One of these was talking about feeding a family, ideally somewhat healthfully, when you are short on patience, energy and creativity. I like to cook and I still find this hard. One of my girlfriends is a nutritionist and and she really believes we dumb down flavors for kids starting at baby food, often followed by bland starches so there is work involved in turning that around when you get to the point of wanting everyone to eat the same meal. It got me thinking of meals I could make that represent something we could all make on a weeknight. I am guilty of dumbing things down too. Hugh and Curran love tacos and burritos so I started with something generally popular, and then made it a little different. I nabbed the name “blender sauce” from the new How to Celebrate Everything cookbook by Jenny Rosenstrach and it’s so telling because you literally throw all the ingredients into a blender at one time and give it a few pulses. My KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series blender has a pulse function so I could keep the sauce a little chunky like I like it and I chopped the mushrooms small so Curran couldn’t single them out from the beans. We ate tacos and even little Cleo girl ate bits of the mushroom saute and avocado bits. We all ate at the same time! I can’t say that happens very often and it was really nice. More of that, please. 

This post was created in partnership with the new KitchenAid®Pro Line® Series Blender.

Mushroom and Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Blender Sauce // Serves 4

The sauce can be made in a blender or food processor and can sit for a few days so make it in advance if you’d like. The heat of the jalapeno is in the ribs and seeds. The sauce needs some for spice but adjust to your taste. Here it’s drizzled on tacos, but makes for a great salad dressing too. If you don’t stock the spices below, 1 teaspoon of your favorite taco seasoning will do. I was trying to not over stuff the tacos but a little shredded cabbage is welcome here too. 

cilantro blender sauce 

1 bunch of cilantro
2 garlic cloves
4 green onions, light and dark parts
1 jalapeno, barely seeded
juice of two limes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. drained capers
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper

2 Tbsp. grapseed or coconut oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 large or 3 smaller portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (roughly one 14 oz. can, rinsed and drained)
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika

8 corn tortillas
2 avocados
goat, feta or queso fresco, for garnish

Throw all the sauce ingredients in the blender and pulse until everything is well chopped and combined. Set aside. 
Warm 1 tablespoon of the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt to the pan and cook for a few minutes until softened. Dice the portobellos and add them to the pan with the garlic, remaining oil and another pinch of salt. Saute until browned and the mushrooms have reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in the black beans and spices and adjust to taste. 
Lightly char your tortillas over the stove. To assemble, mash some avocado down the center of the tortilla. Drizzle a large spoonful of the sauce and top with some of the mushroom bean mixture. Garnish with a sprinkle of cheese and enjoy. 



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Side, Gluten Free, Spring, Summer

ROASTED SWEET POTATO WEDGES WITH AVOCADO CHIMICHURRI

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

I ordered a diet coke on the plane ride home and Hugh gave me a wide-eyed side glance when he heard me ask the stewardess. It was a silent understanding that I was needing my routine back. I'm not a soda drinker so Hugh knows when I order one, I'm not particularly feeling myself. One could think of a few worse vices, no? I had a just barely sleeping, teething baby on my chest and I was so tired. So tired from not sleeping well and stressing about the book and hosting a workshop and talking in front of people and being super social that I was one more night away from a melt down. I ordered a diet coke because there was really no other way to rebel against my own self in that moment. I love being away but being away and working with a baby is just...different. Different as in I needed wine but took the free diet coke instead and called it even.

I had the sweetest time at the book signings meeting a handful of you. This space feels real and communal for me but there is nothing like some good ol' fashioned face time. I hope there is more of it to come, cross your fingers. We taught a photography workshop while in Seattle at Aran's dreamy studio and I felt the spark to be cooking more. I have a bundle of new cookbooks and I'm just going to surrender to other peoples' instructions to coax me back into cooking. I do it for work and because I need to feed my family, but it has lost a bit of its romance as of late. It was so refreshing to talk about what we/I do with other people. I think I felt outside of it for a season, if that makes any sense. So it goes with the value of community, I needed other like-minded people to get my wheels turning. How one can feel so depleted and filled up in a given week is beyond me but that is life and I'm still learning. 

I have been doing some recipe development for Electrolux as they build a pretty neat food blog for prospective customers and curious home cooks. There are a few more springy dishes coming up next week as well if you remember to pop over. I know there are a grip of sweet potato recipes that I've shared here, but I need to add this one to the list because I love having them with a solid dipping sauce. Also, the leftovers in a tortilla with a handful of fresh greens - instant lunch. Think guacamole with an extra bit of heat and generous amount of herbs. I leave mine pretty chunky but you could mash it more smooth and perhaps thin it with more lime juice or olive oil. I hope you don't mind one click over - the site is worth a peruse aside from these tasty potatoes anyway. 

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

ROASTED SWEET POTATO WEDGES WITH AVOCADO CHIMICHURRI // Serves 4

The recipe can be found at the Electrolux blog Live.Love.Lux

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party
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Side, Salad, Gluten Free, Spring

MARRAKESH CARROT SALAD + BOOK PRE-ORDER!

Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen

A few months back I had a lunch date with a wise friend of mine and we got to chatting about this recent cookbook project. She's the sort of friend I don't give general answers to - she asked how I was feeling about it and I immediately shared my insecurities. You see, people have expectations when they buy a cookbook and it is tough, absolutely impossible really, to meet all of them. We are all different cooks with different experience, definitions of easy, too healthy, not healthy, creative, complicated, difficult-to-find ingredients and such. As I told her about the recipes and my worries about how they'd be received, we realized they made sense with what was simultaneously happening in my own life. I was pregnant and moving into our first house and those big life events were affecting how I was cooking. Some recipes were coming up simpler to save time and I seemed to find whipped cream appropriate for each dessert which I blame on the tiny person I was growing in my belly. I became muddled in the trying to do it *right* for positive feedback and lost sight of it being mine. Her encouragement stuck with me and changed my perspective, and I see me, us, in each of these pages. The beautiful thing about blogs, and cookbooks that come from blogs, is that there is more we can know of the story than just instructions on how to make food. Perhaps you become invested in the narrative and the food becomes personal. I think that's pretty unique.

So, if I may direct your attention over to the side bar you will see the cover of our cookbook that comes out at the end of March. March! Three more months! Ah!

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'm stealing a paragraph from the overview:

The seed for this book was planted by an indirect compliment from my husband Hugh about my cooking. Knowing I was an enthusiastic home cook, someone had asked him what my “specialty” was. He and I both know I don’t necessarily have a favorite cuisine. Through trial, error and money wasted, I’m mediocre at cooking meat. I am too unconventional for perfect baking and err on the side of health nut for classical dishes. What I do well, is what I care most about, which is produce. I have an affinity for seasonal vegetables and whole foods with bold dressings or sauces. I crave healthful, colorful foods that taste good. My specialty, per se, is food in a bowl - combinations of vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, big salads - texture and flavor that go together to make a simple, nutritious meal that makes sense composed in one vessel. “Bowl foods” was Hugh’s answer to the question. First I took offense, then I laughed about it, and after telling the story, I came to realize that this is the way a lot of whole foods focused eaters cook. A dish colorful enough to serve when friends are over for dinner, the kind of meal you can bring to the couch with nothing but a spoon or fork, or where leftovers can be packed up easily for the following day. One could argue that food in a bowl has an aesthetic gentleness to it that falls stark on a plate. Ingredients nestled within each other, tangled to make sense as a sum of their parts. I am using the bowl as a point of inspiration for the recipes shared here.

--

There are breakfast bowls and dips and salads and full meals with a whole grain, protein, vegetables and sauce (like you see on the cover) and a brief sweets chapter with a frequent appearance of whipping cream :) The recipe below is one of the side salads. To make it a full meal, we make these herby falafels to have with it. I made the salad here with pretty purple carrots and lentils where the one in the book uses vibrant orange carrots and chickpeas. I think it could be a holiday side if that's what you're looking for but it's also nice to have a bowl prepared in the fridge to keep you from the sweets when you need a nibble. Anyway, it is one of my favorites. Bowl + Spoon is different than our first book in a way I can't quite describe outside of it having a theme. All I know is that I'm super excited for you all to see. I will update the book page after the holidays once I have a hard copy and some more information on events and such. 'Til then, preorder is available at these booksellers:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Google Books

ibookstore

Indie Bound

Powell's

Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen

MARRAKESH CARROT SALAD // Serves 6

This may be a good time for the grater blade on your food processor. It'll save you time. Go with a firmer lentil, like beluga or Puy, so they hold shape in the salad. Chickpeas are written in the original salad so use what you have or prefer. Though you could still make this without, I suggest the good feta cheese, one made with sheeps milk, not cow. It may be an extra dollar or two but it's worth it. Trader Joes sells an incredible one by Pastures of Eden in a yellow and green package. 

  • 4 cups grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup cooked lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 7 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 5 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup toasted pistachios
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice of two limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, lentils, dates, red onion, scallions and cilantro. Break up any bits of dates that are sticking together.

In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, zest and juice of the limes, cumin, nutmeg, tumeric, red pepper, salt and pepper. 

Pour the dressing over the carrot salad and toss to coat. Give the pistachios a rough chop and sprinkle on top along with the feta cheese. Serve as is or cover and chill in the fridge. 

Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
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