taste the rainbow

The act of preparing food is a highly multisensory experience. While taste may be the predominant sense in mind when selecting ingredients to pair and flavors to layer, each of our senses plays a key role in the makings of a meal, no matter how complex or simple. Smell is the telltale sign of a perfectly baked brownie or a sadly charred piece of bread. Touch, not only on our hands but all throughout our mouth, is what makes biting into a crisp apple or crackly meringue so satisfying. The sounds of clanging pots and sizzling oil are my comforting soundtrack after a long day. Sight is what attracts us to food both up close and at a distance. The most simple breakfast of toast can be elevated to something special when placed on a beautiful plate and surrounded by bright orange slices. It is this final sense that most inspired my cooking last week. I was moseying around the produce section of the grocery store when a dazzling display of rainbow carrots caught my eye. I’d seen white and yellow carrots before, but these—as advertised—covered the whole spectrum. I giddily picked one of each hue and made my way home.

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Each carrot harbored a surprise inside. The green one had a lemony yellow center. The red had a horseradish tang. My favorite was the purple one, with a strong amethyst rim and a bright orange center, reminding me of my favorite Disney dragon. I was sated merely by looking at this colorful array. In an attempt to not mar their natural beauty, I roasted them for just twenty minutes to bring out a bit of sweetness and softness. I tossed them with a bright dressing of lime juice, honey, pomegranate molasses, and cumin, and a heaping handful of chopped parsley. To give it some lunchtime bulk I added some cooked couscous and chick peas. In the midst of a busy day in the O.R., pulling out this dazzling lunchtime display literally brightened my day.

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As you shop, cook, and eat, I hope you challenge yourself to see, taste, smell, feel, and hear food in new ways and allow your kitchen to be a playground for your senses.

Rainbow Carrots with Lime Dressing

Carrots:

6 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick coins

3 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 500F. Toss carrots with olive oil and a healthy sprinkling of salt and pepper and arrange on a cookie sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until carrots are slightly soft but still retain a bite.

Dressing:

3 limes, juiced

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp honey

2 tsp pomegranate molasses

1/4 tsp cumin

1/3 cup chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk dressing ingredients together. Set aside.

To assemble: 

Toss roasted carrots with dressing. If desired, combine with 1 cup of cooked couscous and 1 can of drained chickpeas (or any other grains or beans that strike your fancy). Dried cranberries or toasted almonds would also be great additions.

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nested

I have been jokingly saying that for the past few weeks, I have been nesting. Like an expectant mother awaiting the chaos and loss of leisurely times that a new baby brings, I’ve been bracing myself for starting third year, where, as we were told during orientation, we should expect to have none of our ducks in a row.

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And now, the night before my Medicine rotation starts, I sit here with my laundry folded, pants hemmed, bathtub scrubbed, and most importantly, my fridge, freezer, and pantry stocked with food. I’ve realized over the years that knowing that I have healthy, delicious food on hand is a form of security for me—a way of knowing that no matter how crazy a day I have, a fresh, nutritious meal will await me at the finish line. So in preparation for busier times ahead, I’ve been embracing the freezer: mushroom barley soup, lentil stew, Cuban black beans, Spanish garbanzos, ratatouille, veggie chili and mushroom walnut burgers from Kate, and and embarrassingly lot more are neatly tucked away into plastic containers, awaiting a day in the near future when they’ll be lovingly reheated and put to a very noble and nourishing use.

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But today was a final day of leisure. And for me, a leisurely day always incorporates some time in the kitchen. A fresh mango salsa and vanilla almond granola arose from the day’s culinary adventures, as well as a bountiful slaw with miso dressing. Inspired by a carton of plump sugar snap peas from the farmers’ market and a recipe from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, I concocted a salad of Napa cabbage, snap peas, carrots, red pepper, scallions, and proteinaceous doses of quinoa and edamame. The mountain of vegetables and grains was tossed in a creamy miso, ginger, and tahini dressing, and sprinkled with some fresh cilantro and basil for brightness. This was the ideal recipe to tackle during an afternoon where I was looking for an activity to draw out the hours and listen to some music, as lots of slicing, blanching, julienning, blending, and tossing were involved. But the result is a huge batch of a fresh, protein-packed slaw bursting with sweet peas of summer that will serve as a hearty yet light lunch for the week.

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So, maybe my ducks will be all out of order this year, but at the very least, I’ve tried to make them the best nest I could.

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Sugar Snap Pea, Edamame, and Quinoa Slaw with Sesame Miso Dressing

adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

1 cup quinoa

1/2 lb sugar snap peas

1 cup edamame, cooked and shelled

1/2 pound Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 large carrot, grated (about 1/2 cup)

3 large scallions, white and green parts sliced thinly on a bias

3 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Sesame-Miso Dressing

1 tbsp fresh ginger

1 large garlic clove

2 tbsp mild yellow or white miso

2 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp honey

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil

To cook quinoa: bring 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water to boil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium and allow quinoa to cook for 15-20 minutes, until water is gone and quinoa is soft to your taste. Fluff with a fork.

To blanch snap peas: Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sugar snap peas and cook for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water and drain. Pat the snap peas dry, and then remove the stems and slice them thinly on a bias.

In a very large bowl (this makes a ton!) combine snap peas with cooked edamame, sliced cabbage, red pepper, and scallions, grated carrot, and sesame seeds.

For dressing: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blender and whir until smooth.

Pour dressing over vegetable and quinoa mixture and toss many times to coat completely. Serve right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.

rising from the rank

This week we once again bring you an ingredient switch. But this time, it is not predicated on a lack of finding the ingredient. Oh no, I found epazote. I even added (and quickly removed) a few leaves of it to my dish. Let’s just say, if lemongrass is my new perfume, then epazote is what I am going to use to ward off my enemies. This stuff is frankly foul. My sister Erica, who has a knack for characterizing scents, declared that epazote smelled like “cheap industrial bathroom cleaner.” I had to agree. So, in the interest of saving Kate the physical and olfactory trouble of acquiring and using epazote, and of saving you all from reading about malodorous creations, we adopted a new ingredient. Still sticking with a Mexican theme, this week we’re taking on the poblano pepper.

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On Saturday, my then-quest for epazote took me to one of my favorite South Florida gems, the Homestead Farmer’s Market. This open air market caters to a largely Mexican and Central American community and carries a plethora of Latin ingredients: dried chiles, homemade queso fresco, warm freshly made tortillas, tomatillos, and poblanos to name a few. I came home with three overflowing bags of goods, and more importantly, with inspiration and guidance from conversing with women at the market to try my hand at a classic Mexican dish.

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Chilaquiles. It seems that there are a million versions and techniques of making this conglomeration of fried tortillas, warm salsa, drippy eggs, and cheese, but I used my limited experience with eating chilaquiles at restaurants and my desires to try my hand at making a poblano and tomatillo salsa to guide the way. I broiled a big, bright green poblano pepper with a bunch of plump tomatillos and a jalapeno to impart them with a smoky flavor. Once blistered and blackened, I whirred them up with key lime juice, onions, and cilantro to make a quick and fresh salsa that had a healthy dose of heat.

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We had the good fortune of being able to buy warm, freshly made corn tortillas from a stand at the market. I cut them into wedges and gave them a light fry and sprinkling of kosher salt to make a warm and crunchy bed for the salsa and eggs. If you’re in the market for an addictive appetizer rather than a brunch-y creation, then I’d suggest you stop here and dive into a bowl of fresh chips and poblano tomatillo salsa. But we found the self control to press on with the chilaquiles, soaking the chips in the warm salsa, and topping the saucy mixture with fried eggs.

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For my family, the most fun part of making and eating chilaquiles was getting to adorn them with all sorts of accompaniments: queso fresco, avocado, cilantro, lime, onion, crema, and—what deserves a future post in itself—pulled ancho chile spiced lamb that Erica had seemingly effortlessly stewed. We ate this as breakfast-for-dinner, and I’m already looking forward to making this for a brunch in the near future, perhaps experimenting with new techniques, flavors, and toppings. Rest assured, epazote will not be one of them.

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Chilaquiles with Poblano Tomatillo Salsa

Poblano Tomatillo Salsa

1 lb tomatillos, peeled and rinsed

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded

1 poblano pepper, seeded

½ medium onion, chopped

½ cup cilantro

1 lime, juiced (or juice of 3-4 key limes)

1 tsp salt

Set broiler to high. Cut tomatillos, jalapeno, and poblano in half and place on a large baking sheet. Broil until mostly blackened, about 4 minutes on each side. Place roasted tomatillos and peppers in a blender with onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Puree until blended.

Tortilla Chips

8 corn tortillas

Vegetable oil

Salt

In a large skillet, heat ½ inch oil to 350. Cut tortillas into sixths. Once oil is hot, fry tortillas, about 1 minute on each side, until golden brown. Drain onto paper towels and sprinkle with salt while still hot.

To assemble: 

Heat salsa in a saucepan until hot. Divide tortilla chips into four bowls. Divide hot salsa evenly over chips and allow it to sit while you cook the eggs. Cook the eggs to your liking (we liked ours with a runny yolk). Place cooked eggs over chips and salsa. Serve immediately with a panoply of toppings! Recommended: queso fresco, crema, lime, cilantro, onion, avocado.

dillicious

So, apparently our heads were off in the Southern Hemisphere when we chose pomegranate as this week’s ingredient, proclaiming at the time that it would be “the perfect springtime food” with which to experiment. Turns out that pomegranate is in fact a fall food, and furthermore, it is nowhere to be found in our respective grocery stores in the middle of March. Hence, we unveil this week’s new ingredient: Cauliflower.

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This ingredient switch came at a fortuitous time, as I was assigned to bring a vegetable side dish to my family’s Passover seder on Monday night. Cauliflower is really a carte blanche among the vegetable kingdom, amenable to countless cooking techniques—steaming, boiling, roasting, mashing—and endless flavor combinations. I knew that amidst a smorgasbord of my aunt’s famous brisket, my grandma’s fruit compote, potato kugel, matzah ball soup, charoset (apple and walnut salad), and gefilte fish (shout out to Diphyllobothrium latum!), something fresh and light was in order for my cauliflower dish.

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In keeping with the holiday’s celebration of the springtime, I chose to showcase the most quintessential of spring herbs: dill. This feathery herb is one of my all-time favorites and is a natural fit with cauliflower. Into the food processor went a huge bunch of dill, a bit of parsley, lemon zest and juice, some garlic, and a handful of pistachios for sweetness. The result was a verdant and vibrant sauce that deliciously enveloped florets of golden roasted cauliflower.

This dish added a dilly and lemony bite of freshness to our abundant holiday meal, and the next day, it made for a great addition to a lunchtime salad. When it’s not cauliflower week, I can’t wait to try this sauce on other things—pasta salad, potatoes, sandwiches—it’s almost as versatile as our starring ingredient itself.

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If we manage to track it down, see you next week for some epazote experimentation!

Dillicious Roasted Cauliflower

2 heads cauliflower, broken into florets

2 tbsp olive oil

1 bunch dill (about 1 cup)

¼ cup flat leaf parsley

1 lemon

1 clove garlic

¼ cup pistachios

⅓-½ cup olive oil

1 tsp sugar

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 500. Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until cauliflower is golden brown in places.

While cauliflower is roasting, combine dill, parsley, zest and juice of lemon, garlic, and pistachios in a food processor until finely ground. With processor running, slowly stream in olive oil until it reaches desired consistency. Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste and give mixture one final pulse. (Pesto can be made 1 day ahead of time).

Toss roasted cauliflower with pesto and serve (I would suggest starting off with about 1/2 cup and adding more of the sauce to taste). Cauliflower keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge and is tasty as a cold salad, as well.

cranking up the heat

In the realm of baking, 350 is a comfortable number. It’s the tried and true temp for producing moist quickbreads, gooey brownies, and tender cookies. As a kid, I was schooled in the world of baking long before I ventured into the arena of savory cooking, and for most of my childhood, I thought that temperatures above the 300s were reserved for the oven cleaning mode or some horribly hazardous activities.

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I distinctly remember the first time I cooked something at 400 degrees. I was in middle school. The recipe was for Rachael Ray’s oven fries. My mom was at work. My dad was busy with his tools in the garage. With no one around, I cranked the oven dial past the 350 mark and set it squarely on 400. I felt a rush of rebellion. The potato wedges quickly crisped to a golden brown before anyone could see the dangerously high temperatures with which I was playing. I had discovered the joy of roasting, and there was no turning back.
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These days, roasting is one of my techniques for cooking all manner of things. Carrots are a natural fit for high-heat cooking and have become my favorite vegetable to roast. For this recipe, I first thought about cooking them at 425, but on a whim, let the dial creep up to 475. I figured it would save me some time, and potentially add a bit more color to the carrots. I tossed the half-moon slices in a generous glug of olive oil and threw them into the fiery oven as I prepared the rest of the salad components: a lemon harissa dressing (inspired by this great book), quinoa with golden raisins, and wilted rainbow chard. Within 30 minutes, everything was ready for assembly, and I opened the oven to find 475-degree-kissed perfection: the carrots were caramelized, tender but not too soft, and had a beautiful amber hue. I mixed everything together and topped the salad with fresh mint and a handful of chopped walnuts for a weeks worth of filling lunches. Even when eaten cold, the sweet smokiness from the roasted carrots really shone through.

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Whether you’re reading this from chilly Iowa or steamy Miami, I urge you to crank up the heat higher than usual and bask in the pleasures of roasting.

Roasted Carrot Salad with Harissa Lemon Dressing

Roasted carrots:
4 large carrots
3 tbsp olive oil
salt

Preheat oven to 475. Peel and cut carrots into half moons. Toss carrots with olive oil and a couple shakes of salt and spread on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes, tossing halfway through and then every 10 minutes after that until tender and caramelized in some spots.

Quinoa:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
¼ cup golden raisins

Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan on high heat, covered with a lid. When contents come to a boil, reduce heat to medium high and cook for 10-15 minutes, until water is completely absorbed and quinoa is al dente.

Chard:
1 large head rainbow chard (or any other dark green)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
Zest of a lemon

In a large pot over medium heat, saute chard and garlic in olive oil for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until wilted and slightly cooked down, but still retaining some bite. Add lemon zest and remove from heat.

Dressing:
1 lemon
2 tbsp harissa
1 tbsp honey
⅛ tsp cumin
3 tbsp olive oil

Combine lemon zest and juice, harissa, honey, and cumin in a small bowl. Add olive oil and whisk vigorously to emulsify the dressing.

To assemble:
½ cup chopped fresh mint
Handful of chopped walnuts
salt and pepper to taste

Combine cooked quinoa, roasted carrots, cooked chard, dressing, mint, and walnuts in a large bowl (or save a dish and use the chard pot) and stir until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy warm or cold. Keeps well in the fridge.

Other tasty add-in ideas: feta cheese, 1 can of drained garbanzos, chopped or shredded cooked chicken

deconstructed dolmades

Almost every week this winter, I’ve make some sort of dinner dish that includes a combination of beans, greens, and grains. It’s a hearty, healthy, and student budget-friendly meal. But after making one too many iterations of stewed beans in tomato or curry-based sauces, I was feeling in a rut. Thus, a new dish was born. Inspired by a technique of pan-frying beans that I had recently read about and a steadfast love for Middle Eastern flavors, I paired together garbanzos, caramelized onions, spinach, lemon, za’atar, and brown rice.
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It was love at first bite. I gobbled up a bowl for dinner, reveling in the zing of the lemon, the earthiness of the za’atar, and way that the garbanzos had a crispy bite, yet a soft and creamy interior. The caramelized onions added a rich sweetness, the rice a bit of heft, and the spinach a healthy dose of vitamins.
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I was going to clumsily dub this “Lemony Greens & Beans Rice with Za’atar” until Kate had an aha moment while eating some of this dish tonight. “In the best of ways,” she said, “this tastes just like deconstructed dolmades.” She was precisely on point. The spinach had wilted down in such a way that it resembled the texture of a grape leaf, and the ingredients were pretty much identical to what one might stuff inside of grape leaves, or dolmades. For a non-vegetarian version, you could add in some sauteed ground beef, lamb, or turkey. And for an extra special touch, a drizzle of tahini made this delicious dish even better. I think it’s safe to say I’ve broken free from my greens and beans rut. I’m looking forward to seeking out more de- and re-constructions of dishes in the future.
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Deconstructed Dolmades

1 medium onion
4 tbsp olive oil
1 15 oz can garbanzos, drained
10 oz spinach leaves, torn or chopped into smaller pieces
2 generous tbsp za’atar
2 lemons
1-1 ½ cups cooked brown rice
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Slice onion thinly and add to olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 25-30 minutes, until golden and caramelized. Remove onions from pan. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to pan over high heat. Add drained garbanzo beans to pan and arrange in a single layer. Allow beans to cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown on bottom. Toss the pan or give them a good stir to rearrange them and allow them to cook on the other side for another 3-4 minutes. Add spinach, onions, za’atar, and zest and juice of two lemons and allow to cook until spinach wilts down, about 5 minutes. Toss in cooked rice and allow to cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

dinner date

On Saturday night, the sugar cured kitchen was abuzz with kneading, baking, tossing, and dressing up the makings of a perfect girls’ night dinner. Kate and her roommate whipped together two incredible and innovative pizzas (recipes forthcoming) and I was put in charge of the salad.

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I haven’t shared many salad recipes on this blog, which runs counter to the fact that concocting big salads full of interesting ingredients is one of my favorite  things to do in the kitchen. Our special Saturday night dinner invited the opportunity to finally try my hand at a salad that had spoken to me from the moment I saw it touted on Lottie & Doof as “the best thing I made this year.” It hails from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, an incredible book full of Middle Eastern dishes that Kate has featured before on the blog. It combines baby spinach with dates, red onions, toasted almonds, homemade pita chips, and a simple dressing of lemon juice and olive oil and results in a blissful marriage of flavors.
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The pita chips, which are made by pan frying torn pieces of pita bread in butter and olive oil and then dusting the golden crunchy pieces with salt, red pepper, and za’atar, almost didn’t make it into the salad. They were so darn delicious on their own that we kept munching away at them straight from the pan as we [not so] patiently waited for the pizzas to cook. I had never thought to pan fry pita chips before, but I’ll definitely be adopting this technique when the need, or craving, for pita chips next arises. The dates and onions were soaked together in vinegar before being added to the salad, a step that both mellowed out the onions and made the dates even moister.

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A little sweet, a little tangy, a little crunchy, and extremely unique—this salad is nothing short of brilliant, and yet another testament to the genius of Yotam Ottolenghi.

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Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds
from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 1/2 oz/100g pitted Medjool dates, quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons/30g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small pitas, roughly torn into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup/75g whole unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons sumac (we used za’atar instead, which contains sumac)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (we used aleppo pepper)
5 ounces/150g baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt

Put the vinegar, onion, and dates in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well with your hands. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain away any residual vinegar and discard.

Meanwhile, heat the butter and half of the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the pita and almonds and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring all of the time, until the pita is crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and mix in the sumac, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.
When you are ready to serve, toss the spinach leaves with the pita mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the dates and red onion, the remaining olive oil, the lemon juice, and another pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

feeling squirrely

Being stuck in the middle of winter has imparted me with a squirrely compulsion to have my pantry hyper-stocked. This is by no means a bad thing, except for the fact that I am about sixteen bags, cans, and boxes of nuts, grains, and beans away from clearing out my cabinet before heading home in a month. I knew this weekend I needed to tackle a few of these items, and the first, and perhaps fondest item, to experiment with was a bag of dried brown lentils. Lentil soup is my usual go-to lentil dish, but I decided to switch it up this week, inspired by three juicy Meyer lemons that had been eyeing me from my produce drawer all week long and a recipe I had recently seen for lentils, sweet potatoes, and radishes in a Meyer lemon dressing.
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Radishes are not something I normally gravitate towards—their bitterness just doesn’t sit quite right with me. But roasting them was pretty revolutionary. They went from being having a sharp and crunchy bite to being meltingly soft and even a little bit sweet. Paired with my all-time favorite, the sweet potato, and a mustard, thyme, and Meyer lemon vinaigrette, this salad was bright, yet earthy, and had a beautiful mix of colors to boot. I shared this with friends at a potluck dinner tonight, and I’m already looking forward to having leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

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One bag of beans down, 15 more pantry staples to go. Stay tuned for more!

Lentil Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Serves 8-10

Roasted Vegetables:
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 lb radishes, cut into small cubes
1 red onion, diced
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 450. Toss cubes sweet potatoes, radishes, and diced onions with 3 tbsp olive oil, salt, and thyme. Use remaining tbsp of olive oil to coat the bottom of a cookie sheet. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer. Roast for one hour or until sweet potatoes start to caramelize, stirring every 15 minutes.

Lentils:
2 ½ cups (1 bag) green or brown lentils
5 cups water

Rinse lentils under cold water. Place them in a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer with a lid partially on the pot for about 30 minutes, or until lentils are soft but not mushy. If all the water is not absorbed during the cooking process, drain off liquid in a colander.

Vinaigrette:
3 Meyer lemons
2 tbsp grainy mustard (Dijon would work too)
1-2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
a few cracks of black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil

Whisk together zest and juice of 3 lemons, mustard, thyme and black pepper. Add olive oil and whisk until vinaigrette is emulsified.

To assemble:
Stir cooked lentils, roasted vegetables, and vinaigrette in a large bowl. Serve warm or cold. Keeps well for meals throughout the week!

just what the student doctor ordered

Flu season has officially announced its nasty presence throughout the country. It seems that I can’t turn on the radio, open my email, or walk through the halls of the hospital here without being reminded of the especially aggressive season that’s taken hold, and furthermore, of the seemingly low efficacy rates of the vaccine this year. All this adds up to the need to prophylactically boost my immunity. That means plenty of sleep, hydration, and of course, stocking my fridge and pantry with immunity-boosting foods.
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I made this soup with flu prevention and health promotion on my mind. It’s loaded with ginger, turmeric, spinach, carrots, and quinoa. A dash of red pepper flakes adds a generous dose of heat that promises to clear out your sinuses. I enjoyed the flavors of this soup as I was concocting it, but I felt there was something slightly off about the many different textures that were at play. So, I whipped out my favorite new Christmakkah gift (thanks, Erica!), a mini food processor, and blended the soup until smooth. This helped the spices and flavors meld together even better. I served the soup with a sprinkling of cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. If you had it on hand, some yogurt would make a nice addition. After having this soup for dinner, I’m feeling in pretty good shape. Hopefully it brings you a delicious dose of flu prevention too!
Immunity Boosting Soup
2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced

3 tbsp finely grated ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp turmeric
2 tbsp garam masala
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 quart chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
6 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1 large bag washed spinach leaves
Cilantro and lime, for serving
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion for about 5-7 minutes, until slightly golden. Add carrots and saute another 2-3 minute. Add ginger and garlic and saute another minute. Add spices and stir well. Add broth and water. Allow mixture to come to a boil and then add the quinoa. Boil soup for about 10 minutes, and check to see if quinoa is done (should be softer, but not mushy). Add spinach leaves and allow them to wilt for 2-3 minutes, being careful to not overcook the spinach. Taste soup for seasonings and adjust to your liking.
For pureed option: Allow soup to cool a bit before blending it in batches in a food processor or with an immersion blender.
Serve with cilantro and lime wedges. Yogurt would also be a great addition!