Harissa Roasted Carrots

I was home alone this weekend (not creepy to write that now, the time has passed! Although I started watching Luther this weekend so was thoroughly terrified the whole time haha – we’ll save that one for another post). With so much time to myself, the cooking plans were pretty through the roof. I also find that when I’m just cooking for myself, I prefer to cook side dishes and just nibble / graze my way through the day rather than making a big main meal.

This carrot dish popped up on my Instagram feed (from @crowdedkitchen) in the last week or so and just knew I had to have it! With a base of the Pumpkin Sage Hummus from my last post, it’s an exceedingly simple recipe and the flavors of the pumpkin hummus, the bold harissa spices, the refreshing pomegranate seeds, and the snap from the nuts is just amazing and oh-so-fresh.

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In case anyone had the same question as me: what is harissa?

According to the Kitchn, “Harissa is a spice blend widely used in North African and Middle Eastern cooking (there is also a harissa paste). The recipes vary between countries and regions, but a standard version includes a blend of hot chile peppers (which are often smoked), garlic, olive oil and spices, like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint. Tomatoes and rose petals are also common ingredients.”

I bought a spice blend mix at the grocery store, but you could conceivably mix your own as well.

One of the many things I love about this recipe (oh yes, I will absolutely be making it again) is that it would really be appropriate any time of year. It would be an amazing Thanksgiving side dish, but doesn’t have to be relegated to just that.

Try it out and let me know what you think! And now that I have a Harissa spice mix, do you have any other Harissa recipes that you know and love? I would love to try them!

You can find the full Harissa Carrots recipe here.

xx Jess

 

Pumpkin Sage Hummus

The pumpkin kick continues! Thank goodness pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween and are perfect for Thanksgiving (and really, all of winter!), otherwise I would never get enough!

I used to make hummus often because once you have the ingredients (or maybe you’re someone that just normally has tahini in the house!), it’s really so easy and so tasty. The only drawback (although this is a positive as well), is that it doesn’t last as long as the store bought versions since there are no preservatives. Regardless, I’ve found it’s super easy to just whip up a small batch whenever you want it, and only keep for a few days!

In keeping with our fall pumpkin kick, I found this Pumpkin Hummus recipe and decided we needed to give it a go! One thing to point out, this recipe makes a metric ton of hummus. Unless you’re feeding a huge crowd, I recommend cutting it in half.

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I was absolutely not disappointed – this hummus  is amazing, and seriously so easy. For my foodies who like to take photos, it photographs beautifully, and honestly, no one will believe you when you tell them how quickly you were able to make this!

Go get your hummus on! And stay tuned….. this hummus will be featured in my next post’s recipe as well.

You can find the full recipe here.

xx Jess

Curried Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup

Ok, ok, so in an effort to get rid of our Halloween pumpkin, we made Short Rib & Pumpkin Chili, but then we were left still with extra pumpkin. And I can’t stand throwing food away, so threw on a quick soup to simmer while the chili was cooking!

This season, second to chili, soup is my favorite thing to make. With about a half pumpkin left, we made Curried Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup, throwing in a little bit of everything (I also threw in some carrots, while we were going with the orange theme!).

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Super easy, super quick, soup is the best. And honestly if you have a little of anything left in the fridge, throw it on in! I especially love the curry flavor of this soup — it really warms it up, and honestly I think it gets better the next day after it has had time to rest and soak up all of the flavors.

You can find the full recipe here.

xx Jess

Short Rib & Pumpkin Chili

RIP Halloween decorations (yes, I still had a pumpkin in my house!). Lucky for me, we never carved it, and I made sure to buy a baking pumpkin so I could make something out of it when the holiday was over 🙂

This weekend was Mission: Get Rid of the Pumpkin, so when I found this Short Rib & Pumpkin Chili, I knew I was a goner!

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The chili was phenomenal, but I would say that it really ended up being incredibly meat heavy, and there are some ratio changes that I would recommend, and personally, I will make myself, the next time that I cook this recipe. In the hopes of helping you before then, here are my suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of meat. The recipe calls for 5 lbs. of short ribs (bone in), but I would reduce this to 3 1/2 or 4 lbs. The end product chili was approximately 80 percent meat, if not more, which for me is just a bit higher than I want it to be.
  • Increase the liquid, especially water / stock. The chili did not have nearly enough liquid, and as mentioned, was pretty much a bowl of meat. It didn’t burn, and I think the recipe as written does work but for me, I would more liquid to help cut a bit of the richness of the meat and spread it out. Granted, it was incredibly tasty meat, but for me to consider this a chili, there needs to be a lot more liquid.
    • To note: the beer is good as welll, but I wouldn’t increase only the beer, as that is very rich as well and the final chili ends up being quite rich. A weaker beer like a Bud Light might even be better.
  • Increase the amount of pumpkin and beans. Similar to the above, the final product was so short rib-heavy, I would have loved to have a little more of the other ingredients, with more black beans, and certainly more pumpkin (you could nearly double it).

I will admit that I perhaps cooked mine a little long, although followed the recipe. The pumpkin and black beans were a little bit on the overcooked / overly soft side, but all in all, the main goal was to make sure the meat was really fall apart tender, and it was (and it tasted amazing).

It was probably the most spiced (not hot spicy, but complex spicy) chili that I’ve ever made, but I really enjoyed it and I would certainly make it again, with the modifications above!

You can find the full recipe here. Let me know what you think!

xx Jess

 

Apple Cornbread Stuffing

Thanksgiving is arguably the best holiday. You have basically zero obligations to go anywhere, get anyone a gift, or even really put on decent clothes (yoga pants to the rescue!).

At our house, Thanksgiving is my dad’s holiday. It’s his absolute favorite and it’s really his time to shine with all of his favorite recipes. They’re the same every year (I am so not complaining!) but we are not a family that tries new things on Thanksgiving — it’s time for the tried and true classics that you only get to eat once a year!

Arguably my favorite thing on the table is my dad’s Apple Cornbread Stuffing. I finally asked him for the recipe so I could replicate it for a Friendsgiving, and now I can share it with you! The beauty of this recipe: the apples keep the stuffing nice and moist, and also give it a bit of a bit / crunch (none of that soggy / mushy stuffing). And since it’s cornbread, it’s gluten free, and I make mine with almond milk, so it’s dairy free as well! Pretty inoffensive to most people 🙂

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It’s a two day process simply because you should make the cornbread the day before and let it sit out on the countertop so it dries a bit. The stuffing recipe itself is the Betty Crocker Bread Stuffing recipe, using the apple cornbread, but otherwise sticking to her directions.

To make the Apple Cornbread:

  • 2 cups yellow stone ground corn meal
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 Tbsp. shortening
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. cold water
  • 1 apple chopped (I leave the peel on)

Directions:

  1. Grease your pan (approximately 8×8 inches).
  2. Mix corn meal, sugar, and salt, in a double boiler (I did this just in a pan on the stovetop). Add milk and shortening.
  3. Cook over hot water until shortening is all melted in stirring often – about 10 minutes. If you’re doing this in a regular pan on the stovetop, stir constantly to avoid burning. Remove from heat.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Mix eggs, soda and cold water; add to corn meal mix. Fold in apples.
  6. Bake 25 minutes or until cracked and golden at the edges.
  7. Allow to cool, then remove from pan and cut in squares ( ½ to 1 inch). Allow to sit out overnight to dry before making the stuffing.

The next day, follow the Betty Crocker Bread Stuffing recipe, using the apple cornbread for the bread cubes in the recipe.

I realize I’m not completely objective on this recipe, since I grew up with this stuffing every Thanksgiving, but it really is the best! Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

xx Jess

 

Tex-Mex Chicken & Black Bean Soup

I make chili often. Every time football is on (every Sunday, all the time), I’m cooking. And when it’s cold, chili is the perfect answer. I’ll fully admit, that last year, I think I made the same chili every time. Props to my husband, he never complained. So this year, I’m determined to try out new chili recipes (although the tried and true classic will always have a special place in my heart).

Enter this Tex-Mex Chicken and Black Bean Soup. It’s really not a chili — sorry for the long intro — but I did put some tomato paste and additional tomatoes in it to make it a little thicker since that’s what I was craving.

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Super easy and super tasty. It’s definitely a recipe to add to the rotation! Topped with a little avocado and cilantro (would also be great with sour cream, if you’re ok with the dairy!).

You can find the full recipe here.

Do you have a favorite chili (or multiple!) that you make all the time? I want to hear about it! Happy cooking!

xx Jess

 

 

Alternative Birthday Cake: Baked Brie with Walnuts, Pistachios and Figs

During our Woodstock weekend (I hope you’re not sick of it yet!) we were celebrating our friend Brett’s 30th birthday. Since he isn’t a cake person, we have him to thank for this AMAZING baked brie “birthday cake” that we made!

After a five mile hike (honestly, anything would have tasted amazing!) we made a serious charcuterie board, with a centerpiece Brie. Topped with chopped walnuts, pistchios and figs, we baked the Brie at 375 degrees for 10 minutes (until warm and soft, but not until you have it melting outside of its casing). It was gorgeous, so hopefully you’ll forgive me for taking a million photos….

Not only was the full charcuterie spread gorgeous, but to make it even better, we topped the Brie with birthday candles and it was just too cute not to share!

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This was the first time that I’ve seen an alternative birthday cake like this. Have you done anything along these lines? I would love to hear about it!

You can find the full baked Brie recipe here.

xx Jess

P.S. for anyone that has been following closely enough, you know my lactose-intolerant self did not eat the cheese 🙂 but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate a good charcuterie board, and even better, appreciate my friends loving a great dish! 🙂