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Confession: I don’t love quinoa. I know it’s good for you, and I’ve tried to make myself like it. But I just don’t. That is, until I made this salad. In this salad, I actually love quinoa. Some years ago, I was working as a personal chef for a vegetarian family and in looking for inspiration, came across this Food and Wine recipe and decided to adapt it to make my own similar version. I had never been a fan of quinoa because I felt like it had an earthy (as in dirty, not umami) taste and when I’d had it prepared, it was usually terribly under seasoned. That’s why this salad is the savior of quinoa haters. Because there are so many incredible, bold spices in this, it completely masks the “funk” of quinoa and it’s aggressively seasoned so it’s not just a boring, healthy grain bowl that you eat just because it's good for you and not because you actually want to. You will WANT to eat quinoa in this salad from here to eternity, I promise you.
First you’ll make a spice mix that includes really delicious warming spices like cardamom, cinnamon, smoked paprika, cayenne, and ginger, and then that spice mix gets distributed into every element of the salad… tossed with the carrots, onions, and fennel before roasting, into the quinoa as it cooks, as well as in the salad dressing, so every bite is packed with flavor. There is some maple syrup in the dressing as well as dried fruit to give it delightful flashes of sweetness, lemon juice for a subtle tang, toasted pine nuts for crunch and nuttiness, and then parsley and micro greens to finish and brighten it up.
Aaaand as a bonus, this salad is allergen friendly, gluten free and vegan! Oddly enough, I do have a few friends that are allergic to quinoa, and if that’s the case with you, wheat berries, farro, pearled barley, brown rice, or couscous would also work well in the place of quinoa here. I traditionally roast fennel with the carrots because I think it adds an awesome flavor and texture that really works in this salad, but if you want to use another vegetable in it’s place or just use carrots to keep it more simple, that would be fine! It will be hard to mess up this salad and adapting it to suit your preferences should be easy.
This post is my contribution to another big collaboration of bloggers celebrating a seasonal ingredient and this time the theme was carrots! When Rebecca from and Annie from reached out to me to ask me to be part of this combined effort, I immediately knew I wanted to make this salad for it.
There are too many amazing recipes to mention, as we have about 70 participants, but here are just a few titles that caught my eye:
And if you want more inspiration, you can see more carrot recipes by using the hashtag on Instagram #24carrotgoals. Come check it out if you’re on IG!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
300 grams/ 2/3 lbs fingerling carrots, halved lengthwise (or about 3 large, cut into pieces roughly the size of your pinky)
1 large bulb of fennel, stalks removed and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup uncooked tri-color quinoa
2 tsp spice mix
1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
2 Tbs flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
microgreens and/or arugula, for serving
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp honey or maple syrup
1 tsp dijon
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp spice mix
1/2 tsp salt
WHAT YOU'LL DO
Preheat the oven to 400 F / 200 C.
In a small bowl, whisk the ingredients for your spice mix.
In a medium bowl, toss the sliced carrots, fennel, and onion with 2 Tbs olive oil. Add 2 Tbs of the spice mix and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and roast for roughly 20- 25 minutes, stirring to redistribute from the edges at least once. When tender and caramelized, remove and let the vegetables cool on the pan.
Meanwhile, in a small pot or medium saucepan with lid, combine the quinoa with 2 tsp of the spice mix and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, uncovered, on medium-high heat. Once at a rolling boil, turn your heat down to low, simmer, and cover until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and let cool.
Combine all your ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and whisk until emulsified. Set aside.
Transfer your cooled quinoa to a larger mixing bowl. Add your cranberries and pine nuts along with the chopped parsely. Then add the roasted carrots, fennel, and onion to the bowl. Mix to combine. Pour in your dressing and mix to combine again. Taste and season with more salt, if needed. At this point the salad keeps well for days in the refrigerator.
Top with micro greens and serve over a bed of arugula, if desired.
If not serving immediately or making this salad to enjoy for lunch over multiple days, keep the greens separate so they don’t wilt. This salad is best served at room temperature and serves 4.
As some of you may know, my husband and I went back to the U.S. this last July through September basically to pack up our house, sell everything we own, and do a little 'Farewell America' tour. We spent a month in Seattle saying goodbye to all our friends and posessions, then spent another month, divided between the NE (New York & Maine), the SE (Florida, Georgia, & the Carolinas), and the SW (SoCal & Mexico). Needless to say it was a whirlwind tour: we slept on a lot of futons, spent quality time with a lot of people, and ate a LOT of good food. Wouldn't have had it any other way.
We hit a lot of foodie cities on our tour, but for sure the unexpected highlight was Portland, Maine. It actually reminds me of the NE version of Portland, Oregon, except it's even smaller which is what makes the high concentration of artisan everything more impressive. Everywhere we ate could (should) be a blog post in itself. But one place we frequented almost daily was Tandem Coffee Roasters. They had amazing coffee but also a pastry selection that blew my mind.
I can still picture the lineup in my mind: chocolate loaf with paprika peanut butter frosting, loaded biscuits with homemade jam, spelt and coconut tea cake and…. the Everything Bagel Scones. Pure genius. My two go-to choices for breakfast on the go, conveniently combined into one. Perfect domed wedge scones, with an everything bagel crusted lid. When I broke it open, I was delighted to find the everything bagel seasoning distributed throughout the inside, as well. Little pockets of cream cheese tucked into every other bite, a welcome surprise. Savory, with a vague and appropriate sweetness. Dense and moist but still crumbly. I devoured it, and vowed (out loud) to my husband I would try to recreate these to the best of my ability when we returned to Thailand.
And so I did.
So here we are! Now you can enjoy all that you crave from a bagel—lets be honest, its mostly the cream cheese and crunchy seasoned lid—in a scone, anytime you want! I like to think that even the bakery team at Tandem would be proud of what I’ve accomplished here. Since I did not have their recipe, only a distant, delicious memory to go off of, I was prepared to embark down a long road of tweaking and testing. But honest to goodness these were perfect on the first try.
Even though I am bringing the scones to you, I still highly recommend a trip to Portland, Maine if you can swing it. Bring your stretchy pants and eat your way through the city like its your job. Thanks again to Tandem Coffee for the inspo!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
2 cups flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 Tbs sugar
4 Tbs everything bagel seasoning*, divided
10 Tbs unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup cream + 1 Tbs, for brushing
3 oz (85 grams) cream cheese, very cold
3 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
*Personally, I used “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning from Trader Joes that I brought back with me from America. If you don’t have access to a Trader Joes or don’t live in the United States, here’s a recipe to make your own bagel seasoning for this recipe. Or for anything.
In a small bowl, mix 2 tsp each (makes 4 Tbs) :
Black sesame seeds
White sesame seeds
Dried onion (flakes not powder)
Dried garlic (flakes not powder)
WHAT YOU'LL DO
First, put your cream cheese and butter in the freezer to get extra cold. This will help you cut it and keep its shape in the scone mix.
Next preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium sized bowl mix your flour, baking powder, half (2 Tbs) of your everything bagel seasoning, and sugar. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk your eggs and cream. Set aside.
Remove your butter from the freezer. Cut into small cubes (or alternately grate it on a cheese grater) and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your hands, cut in the butter until you have small, smashed pea sized bits of butter remaining.
Remove your cream cheese from the freezer. Dice into small 1/4-1/2 inch cubes. Toss gently into the butter & flour mixture and toss to coat and evenly distribute the cream cheese pieces. Add in the chopped scallions and do the same.
Lastly, add in the egg and cream mixture. Mix with a few turns of a spatula, until the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough comes together but don’t overmix.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently if the dough doesn’t stick together. With floured hands, shape into a flattened circle. Cut the circle into quarters and then in half again to form 8 wedges.
Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet at least 2 inches apart from each other. Brush the tops with a pastry brush dipped into the remaining tablespoon of cream (or milk if you prefer).
Then sprinkle your remaining 2 Tbs of Everything Bagel seasoning on the tops of the brushed scones.
Bake for 14-15 minutes, or until golden and crisp on edges.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool. These are best enjoyed slightly warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from this recipe via Food52
Snickerdoodles might actually be my absolute favorite cookie. Of course a crunchy peanut butter cookie will always have a soft spot in my heart. Chocolate chip if it’s salted with large pools of chocolate. I’ll never turn down a molasses-ginger, but they are more seasonal. But I have never walked into a bakery, seen a fresh baked, puffy, cracked lidded snickerdoodle, and passed it up. How could anyone do such a thing?
There’s a family here in Chiang Mai that my husband and I have drawn quite close to. The parents run a restaurant out of their home that we frequent. They've had us over a few times to feed us local, exclusively Northern Thai dishes and often they want me to watch and learn how to make them. These evenings have been a highlight of our time here, not to mention a lesson in generosity.
Because I don’t like to show up empty handed, I always come toting a dessert. They are fans of American style cookies, so naturally the subject of snickerdoodles came up at some point. As it turns out, the father lived in America for a time when he was younger, where he tried his first snickerdoodle, and never stopped dreaming about them since. But the rest of his family— his two sons and wife had never had one! He begged me to teach them all how to make them because we agreed that no one should live life not having experienced a good ‘doodle.
So this time I was cooking in their kitchen and they were watching & learning from me. We made up a big batch and we all gorged. I scribbled out a recipe for them out on an index card and the next time we were over, I found it taped to the outside of their pantry cabinet on display. They sheepishly admitted they had made them numerous times since. I beamed with pride.
But a month or so ago I was thinking how good a snickerdoodle would taste if it could be elevated by just a few small changes: rolled in cardamom sugar (instead of cinnamon), and rose water added to the traditionally vanilla scented, mildly tangy cookie dough. This middle eastern duo of cardamom and rose water is certainly not a pairing that I invented, but one that I am constantly looking to incorporate in desserts, because I love sweets with a floral or herbal note to them.
Rose water is a dream in this buttery, soft sugar cookie and the spicy, smoky, earthy warmth of the cardamom rounds the whole thing out. It’s extremely reminiscent of the classic snickerdoodle in shape and texture, but just with slightly more exotic flavors infused into them. I’ve been a traditional cinnamon snickerdoodle die hard my whole life, but there might be no going back now. My husband has deemed these “his favorite non-chocolate-chip cookie” that I have ever made, which is extremely high praise in my book. See if they don't become your favorite too.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1.5 cups + 4 Tbs sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs rose water*
3 cups flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 Tbs ground cardamom
*Rose water can be found at most Middle eastern or Asian grocers as well as online. I used Nielsen Massey, which is the most potent version there is. Other brands tend to be more mild. If you are unsure if you will like the flavor, start with less and build from there.
WHAT YOU'LL DO
Beat the butter and 1.5 cups of the sugar together until lightened in color and fluffy. Next add the eggs, and beat again. Then add the vanilla and rose water and mix again.
In another bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together. Then add this dry mix into your wet ingredients and beat again until well combined.
Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 30 mins to one hour, until chilled but still malleable.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Use a cookie scoop or your hands to divide your dough into 24 even(ish) portions.
In a small shallow bowl or rimmed plate, combine the remaining 4 Tbs sugar with 1.5 Tbs cardamom.
Roll each dough ball in your hands to smooth the surface, then roll it in the cardamom sugar until thoroughly coated. When you have rolled them all, place them on cookie sheets at least 2 inches apart from each other.
Bake for 13 mins (the top of the cookie will puff up and begin to crack). Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack and serve as soon as they are at room temp**.
Makes 24 cookies.
**My husband would tell you these were his favorite straight out of the oven, still warm and almost falling apart because of it, but I actually liked these slightly chilled too. You’ll find your favorite way, I’m sure of it.
When I was seventeen I moved from San Diego, CA up to Seattle, WA. While Starbucks at the time was gaining popularity in Southern California, Seattle was the hub/birthplace/mecca and it had already been in full swing for a decade. I needed a job while I was still in school and Starbucks seemed like a good idea at the time. I was already dropping so much money there on a daily basis I thought I might as well try to recoup some of it. I ended up with a job as a barista there for the next couple years, and it was the perfect job while I finished school and started traveling the world.
In time, my preferences changed and I came to value the less commercialized and really incredible artisan coffee roasting scene in Seattle and discovered there was life (and really good coffee!) beyond Starbucks. But to this day, I still look back fondly on my years there. I was well treated and valued as an employee, learned some very valuable multitasking and customer service skills, and ate A LOT of oat fudge bars. There we go. That’s why we went down memory lane. This recipe is an ode to those old school oat fudge bars from Starbucks: rich, gooey, chewy nostalgic goodness. I don’t think Starbucks even sells them anymore, but honestly once I realized how easy they were to make at home I felt silly for ever buying them. Some of you may remember them, but if they were before your time or you never tried one, now you get to try an even better version, so you really haven’t missed out on anything!.
I started thinking about ways I could jazz up the original version, and since booze and salt are my favorite additions to... well, anything, a little bit of both here certainly does the trick. And then there’s browned butter. Which no one in their right mind has ever snubbed. So we have deep, dark, buttery, brown sugary oats, bourbon spiked fudge, and sea salt to finish. What’s not to love here? You can whip these up in just 15 mins of hands-on time with ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry. Great for giving that half-bag of chocolate chips in the pantry and already-opened can of sweetened condensed milk in the fridge a greater purpose. These are a perfect party dessert because they are best at room temp and travel well because you can stack them on each other.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
3/4 cup flour
2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tsp vanilla, divided
3 Tbs bourbon*
Flaky Salt for sprinkling, optional
*If you aren’t a bourbon fan, coffee liquor would be a good substitute.
WHAT YOU'LL DO
First, take 1/2 cup (1 stick) of the butter and put it in a medium shallow skillet (you want more surface space than height) on medium heat. Melt the butter and swirl the pan occasionally. You will see it start to change color from yellow to a very light amber and the milk solids will separate. The butter will start to foam. Turn the heat to low and watch it closely. Remove from heat as soon as the milk solids or “bits” on the bottom start to burn and the butter is a light caramel color. Strain your brown butter through a fine mesh sieve (or don’t, if you like the flavor of those burnt bits) into a small bowl and put in the fridge to cool slightly. Wipe your pan out with a paper towel and set it aside. You'll use it again and there's no need to wash it.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Prep an 8x8 square baking dish by lining it with parchment, leaving two of the edges longer to form “handles” to help you lift the bars out later. Spray or grease the other sides lightly.
Mix your egg and both sugars in a medium sized mixing bowl until fluffy and lightened in color. Drizzle in your brown butter (hopefully slightly cooled at this point) slowly and beat to combine as you do. In a small, separate bowl mix your oats, flour, salt, and baking soda. Then slowly add in your dry mixture to the wet.
Spread about 2/3 of this mixture on the bottom of the prepared dish, pressing it down into an even layer with your fingers or the back of a spoon.
Next, melt the remaining 1/4 cup (4 Tbs) butter, sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips in your pan on medium-low heat and stir until smooth and glistening. If the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat down to low. Once completely melted and smooth, remove from heat and stir in your vanilla extract and bourbon.
Pour your hot fudge mixture over the oat crust. Then drop the remaining oat mixture down on top of the fudge. (I usually make 9 to 12 somewhat evenly sized blobs, so that when I cut the bars into squares later, each square has a nice crunchy oat cap). Sprinkle with flaky salt, if using.
Bake the bars at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan completely before trying to remove. Once cooled and set, lift the two sides with the longer parchment for leverage, and then slice into 9 or 12 squares. Personally I like to chill them for an additional hour in the refrigerator before slicing to make it even easier. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.
Serves 9-12. This recipe can also be doubled and baked in a 13x9 tray. They also freeze well if you want to save some for a rainy day.
Adapted from this recipe from Genius Kitchen.
This recipe is due entirely to popular demand. The story goes: Every week I try to make sure I have a fresh batch of hummus along with baggies of prepped vegetables so that when my husband opens up the fridge looking for a snack he hopefully reaches for the healthy option because it’s already there and made. We are all creatures of convenience, but I really like the guy so I’m always doing what I can to help him live as long as possible.
I normally make hummus using chickpeas, but when I went to whip up a batch one afternoon, all I had were lentils on hand. I love lentils and love switching things up, so I made this batch of hummus with the lentils, plated it with some herbs and gomasio, snapped a few quick photos, and posted it to Instagram. I thought it was pretty enough, but I never expected how much attention it got! It appears to be the most popular photo I’ve ever posted on social media and got re-featured multiple times. You never know what will get people excited I guess! Who would have thought the humble “Lentil hummus with lemony, herby vibes” would be the best seller? But I got flooded with comments and direct messages of people looking for the recipe on my site but unable to find it. This is a good problem to have.
Truth be told, making something just to eat it and making something to blog about it are not the same process. The first time I made the hummus, it wasn’t with the view to sharing the recipe so I didn’t bother measuring or keeping track of my steps, or taking any additional snapshots of the process or ingredients, something that is typically expected on blog posts.
So I remade it and actually recorded the recipe this time for the express purpose of sharing it with you fine folk.
Without further ado, here it is!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
1 (400 gram) can cooked lentils, drained & rinsed
(or 1 1/3 cup cooked lentils)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1.5 Tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbs tahini
1 Tbs good quality olive oil
1/2 Tbs water
Optional Toppings :
Roughly chopped fresh herbs (I used basil, dill, & green onion. Use what you have or love)
Gomasio (toasted sesame seeds + sea salt)
a good glug of olive oil
WHAT YOU'LL DO
Combine the cooked lentils (reserving a spoonful for garnish if you desire), tahini, lemon juice, salt, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse a few times until it is a consistent, thick mash and most of the lentils are smashed. Then add your olive oil, running the machine now on a setting that will puree it thoroughly. Scrape down the sides and blend once more. Add the water and blend on high speed until light and airy. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
I personally like to serve the hummus slightly chilled before serving (about 30 mins in the fridge), but be prepared for the mixture to firm up substantially if completely cold. When ready to serve, pile on a plate and use the back of a spoon or offset spatula to spread the mixture out in a circular motion, leaving deeper swoops to create small ravines for toppings. Garnish as desired with any or all of the toppings mentioned.
Keeps well in the refrigerator for at least a week and in my opinion, only improves in flavor with time.
Pumpkin! The symbol of fall. I had the idea in mind to make pumpkin pancakes recently and when I went to the grocery store here, I was surprised/delighted to find canned pumpkin imported from America! That was, until I saw the price. As is often the case with imported products in Thailand, they are outrageously expensive. And at $6.00 USD a can, I decided I would make my own pumpkin puree this time around.
Thai pumpkin is readily available and very cheap at local markets. I got enough to make two cups of puree (a little more than a can's worth) for less than a dollar. However, it's not quite the same as North American pumpkin, but similar to what we would call Kabocha squash in the U.S. Its essentially gigantic Kabocha, or Japanese pumpkin. So that's how I know this recipe would be infinitely adaptable with pureed North American pumpkin, butternut squash, kabocha squash, or even sweet potato if you are looking for a creative way to use those fall vegetables up this season.
Chinese five spice is an amazing addition to the pumpkin. Recipes can vary slightly, but the constants are usually fennel seed, clove, star anise, and cinnamon. Traditionally, the fifth ingredient is Szechuan peppercorn (sometimes referred to as Chinese Coriander), but I’ve seen blends that include ginger root, black peppercorn or traditional coriander instead. Chinese five spice has all these amazing notes that fire off all at once when you smell or taste it— a little sweet, a little spicy or warm, a little licorice. Even though it is traditionally used in savory & meat dishes, to me, it's the Asian equivalent of mulling spices or gingerbread. So I thought It would go great paired with something that gave me all the fall feels, like pumpkin. And now it's a combo we are going to keep around for a very long time.
I recipe tested these a few times, and one of the times I wanted to experiment with a possible egg-free recipe because I know quite a few people personally with an allergy. The pancakes in the video below where the syrup is continuously pouring were the egg-free batch! They came out just as delicious, but just slightly more doughy and dense, which is to be expected without the eggs to make them more fluffy. I made a note in the recipe below how to make the egg-free version as well.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
1 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp Chinese Five-pice powder*
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs molasses
1 cup pumpkin pureè
1 1/3 cups milk
4 Tbs butter, melted & cooled
WHAT YOU'LL DO
Combine the first five dry ingredients in a small bowl. Mix with a fork or whisk and set aside.
Next, in a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, and molasses until thoroughly whipped. Then mix in the pumpkin puree, followed by the milk.
Add the flour mixture to the wet, stirring gently to combine with a soft spatula but not overworking the batter. While visible streaks of flour and clumps still remain, add in the melted butter and mix just until incorporated. Pea sized clumps in the batter will probably still remain and that’s okay. Over-mixing the batter makes pancakes chewy but you want these to be fluffy!
Allow your batter to rest for 5 minutes for the rising agents to do their thing. Meanwhile preheat your skillet or griddle on medium heat.
Spray or butter your skillet, and then ladle out a heaping 1/3 cup of batter at a time into your skillet (I can fit two pancakes at a time in my 12-inch skillet). When risen and bubbling at the surface, flip your pancake and cook for another 1.5-2 mins on the other side.
Transfer to a warm oven (I set mine to 180 degress F) to keep warm while you cook the rest of your pancakes.
Serve with butter and real maple syrup, if desired.
*Five spice can be found at most grocery stores, but I recommend getting it from an Asian grocery if you want the most authentic, fragrant version. Also make sure the blend is salt-free, or the salt qualities in the recipe will be off.
**For an egg-free version, simply omit the (eggs, obvsies) and baking soda, but instead increase the baking powder to 1 Tbs and the milk by another 1/3 cup.
Makes roughly 12 pancakes about 4-5 inches in diameter.