There are a few secrets to making top notch granola. First things first, use olive oil as the liquid fat (as opposed to butter or coconut oil), as olive oil adds a touch of savory to the otherwise sweet, salty, crunchy mix. Next, make sure you don’t overcrowd your baking sheet, or else the granola won’t crisp up properly. Third, make the granola your own! Feel free to use this recipe as a basic guide, and incorporate your favorite nuts, seeds, and spices. This recipe is a mash-up of my two favorite granola recipes: Nekisia Davis’ granola (where I learned the trick to use olive oil), and Flagstone Pantry (where I learned the irresistible combination of orange zest and cardamom). See below for the full recipe.
This 100% plant based dip is super creamy and full of warm pumpkin spices, bright citrus, a touch of sweetness, and a hint of heat from the cayenne pepper. Slather it on toast, crackers, apples or (if you’re anything like me..) just eat it straight from the bowl with a spoon.
Every year when the weather cools down, I crank up my oven and make this soup on repeat. By roasting the butternut squash, leeks + apples to bring out their natural sweetness and blending the sweet veggies and fruit with warming fall spices (plus a touch of apple cider vinegar), the end result is a luscious (and super simple) soup I highly recommend enjoying while cozied up in your PJ’s. Keep scrolling for the full recipe, which was inspired by and adapted from Sara Britton and her blog My New Roots.
Every year I’m a bit reluctant to say goodbye to summer and all its abundance - tomatoes! corn! zucchini! basil! - but once October rolls around, I’m finally ready to embrace all the winter squash, root vegetables, and warming spices that arrive each autumn. This recipe makes a truly beautiful fall side dish or vegetarian entree, featuring roasted winter squash stuffed with bright flavors thanks to heaps of citrus, fresh, herbs, and plump pomegranates. While I hesitate to play favorites, delicata squash miiiight just be my favorite variety of winter squash, because of its super sweet flesh and (bonus!) edible outer skin. If you don’t have access to delicata squash, acorn or kabocha squash make great substitutes.
Sweet potato fries are the golden retriever puppies of the culinary world. I mean, who can resist a good sweet potato fry?! Here's my go-to recipe in hopes that you'll kick on your oven and bring more deliciousness into the world with these roasted + spiced sweet potato fries. They are delightfully crispy on the outside, luscious and soft on the inside, with a hint of spice and a touch of honey.
Ratatouille is my go-to recipe to clean out my fridge (and my garden) as we transition from summer into fall. A good long roast in the oven transforms a motley medley of eggplant, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and fresh herbs into a hearty stew, which I love serving over creamy polenta. Don’t forget to add a splash of balsamic vinegar (see full recipe below) before serving, as the sweet + tangy balsamic kicks up the dish to a whole new level of deliciousness.
This recipe is a gluten free variation on an old Irish classic, which I picked up at culinary school in Ireland. Baking soda was introduced in Ireland the early 1800s, and it meant that people who didn't have an oven—and virtually nobody had an oven back then—could make soda bread. Families cooked the bread in a big cast-iron pot right onto the coals or onto the turf fire. These families typically also had buttermilk from the cows and they would have been growing wheat, so they would have had flour.
Traditionally, vichyssoise soup (pronounced vee-shee-swahz) is a comforting, classic french soup made with pureed leeks, onions, potatoes, and a generous amount of cream. I have absolutely nothing against cream (you should see how much I put in my coffee..), but I love this version of vichyssoise from Flagstone Pantry, which omits the cream and instead features succulent, softly simmered zucchini. Enjoy this soup hot or chilled, it tastes fabulous either way!
PREP + COOK TIME:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups chopped leeks (white and light green parts)
- 2 cups peeled russet potatoes, chopped in 1” dice
- 2 cups zucchini, chopped in 1” dice
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup milk
- Fresh chopped chives, for garnish
- Heat the butter in your stockpot, then add the leeks, and saute over medium-low heat until very soft - 8-10 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, zucchini, chicken or vegetable stock, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil; then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Once the vegetables are nice and soft, blend until very smooth with an immersion blender or in batches with a standing blender.
- Add the lemon juice and milk and season to taste - you will likely need to add more salt. If the soup is thicker than you'd like, simply add a bit more water or milk. Serve either cold or hot, garnished with the chopped chives.
It's time you know the truth about pesto. First, you need to know that the word pesto comes from the Genoese verb pestâ (and in Italian pestare), which means to pound or to crush - referring to the traditional method of crushing the ingredients with a mortar and pestle. So while pesto has become synonymous with fresh basil and pine nuts ground together with oil, garlic, and grated parmesan... really pesto is a general term for anything made by pounding.
And here's the truth: Pesto need not be limited to basil and pine nuts! Don't get me wrong - that's a fabulous, time-tested flavor combo - but I think we ought to cook outside the box and embrace the wide world of pesto possibilities. If you don't have fresh basil on hand, just about any leafy herb or tender green will do the trick, such as arugula, kale, and radish tops. BONUS: Because these less traditional greens don't oxidize as quickly as basil, your arugula/kale/radish top pesto won't turn brown nearly as quickly. And let's talk about pine nuts. Let's just say that I haven't bought pine nuts in over two years (and I make a lot of pesto)! Instead I use toasted walnuts, which are deliciously nutty, way less expensive than pine nuts, and they are soft enough to blend smoothly with the other pesto ingredients. If you're cooking for someone with a tree nut allergy, just use pumpkin seeds. Don't have Parmigiano-Reggiano? Don't panic. Just about any hard, salty cheese will do. See what I mean? This whole pesto-without-basil-and-pine-nuts thing is quite liberating.
To make a flawless pesto every time, just follow my Universal Pesto recipe below, which gives handy guidelines for the (approximate) amount of greens, nuts, olive oil, cheese, and garlic to use. Feel free to go traditional and make pesto in a mortar and pestle... but I'll be honest that I just use my 4-cup food processor and it works like a charm.
UNIVERSAL PESTO RECIPE
PREP + COOK TIME:
- 1⁄2 cup toasted nuts or seeds
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups packed herbs and/or greens
- 1⁄2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Pulse nuts or seeds in a food processor until they're completely broken down. Add garlic and olive oil and pulse until garlic is finely chopped.
- Add the herbs/greens, grated cheese, and lemon juice and process until smooth in your food processor. Stop and scrape down the sides and process again until well blended.
- Taste and add salt if needed (the parmesan is naturally quite salty, so you often won't need to add much extra salt).
- To store in the fridge, put pesto in a container and top with a layer of olive oil. To store in the freezer, scoop the pesto into an ice cube tray and freeze into cubes.
One secret to cooking seriously good food is having a killer sauce on hand at all times. My go-to summer-time sauce is Chimichurri, a traditional Argentinean condiment with countless variations, but pretty much always involves fresh parsley, garlic olive oil, vinegar, and some red pepper flakes or chili powder. I like to describe this sauce as PUNCHY - ie you should really taste the vinegar / garlic / fresh herbs in every bite. I like to spoon this glorious green goodness over grilled meats, potatoes, or (as in this case) seafood - and I've learned to always make extra, as it tends to be the sauce that everyone reaches for at dinner parties.
BAKED SEA BASS WITH CHIMICHURRI SAUCE
PREP + COOK TIME:
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 1 small shallot, coarsely chopped
- 1 packed cup parsley leaves
- 1/2 packed cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning fish
- 1.5-2 lbs sea bass (or halibut or similar mild white, flakey fish), cut into 4 portions
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- To make the chimichurri sauce: Combine all the chimichurri ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until well chopped, but not pureed. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed - keep in mind you want the sauce to be pretty punchy from the vinegar, garlic, fresh herbs, etc!
- Lightly season the fish with kosher salt. Rub each portion of fish with a generous spoonful of the chimichurri and place on a foil-lined baking tray. Reserve remaining sauce for serving.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes — depending on the thickness of the fish — or until fish is firm and almost opaque all the way through (and reads 135F on an instant thermometer). Serve with the reserved chimichurri sauce. I love serving this dish with creamy polenta and slow roasted tomatoes.