I have been super MIA. This time of year I seem to get so sucked into laziness as the days get shorter and the sun and warmth disappear. This makes it particularly hard to snap a photo of dinner when dinner is a bowl of roasted veggies we eat at 9pm.
With my husband and I both in grad school (me full time, him part time) and both working (him full time, me part time) we often find ourselves home late only to look at each other and almost simultaneously say "wanna order sweetgreen". Maybe I am SUPER basic, but I freaking love sweetgreen. Something about being able to order a hardy, filling salad that's comparable to something homemade feels like such an easy satisfying choice.
And being the total creature of habit that I am, despite going to sweetgreen maybe 20 + times I order the same thing literally every time: The Harvest Bowl no chicken. Sometimes I add tofu, sometimes I add falafel, sometimes I add nothing but it's so damn good on it's own.
With thanksgiving coming, I knew I wanted to recreate my beloved salad at home. I spruced it up with pomegranates and used warm roasted butternut instead of the cold sweet potato slices and it is everything. Prepping all of the different elements takes some time - which is part of what makes sweetgreen so damn tempting for folks who are busy, but it is worth the effort if you have some extra time. And because kale is basically the most badass green you can totally eat the leftovers the next day without them getting soggy! This will for sure be on our thanksgiving table this year!
Serves 4 as a large meal, or 8-10 as an appetizer/side
Inspired by: sweetgreen
1 small butternut squash
1-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 cup wild rice, uncooked
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large pomegranate (or about 3/4 cup arils)
1 large bunch of kale (~10-12 oz), de-ribbed and thinly chopped
1 large honeycrisp apple, cored and diced into large cubes
3 oz goat cheese
1/3 cup raw almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the balsamic vinaigrette:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Meanwhile peel the butternut, then slice in half and discard the stringy center and seeds (or toast them with olive oil and salt for a tasty snack). Dice the butternut and then toss the cubes with oil and a liberal amount of salt. Bake the butternut for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned, tossing halfway through. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly as you assemble the rest of the salad.
Make the rice. Bring water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan, then add the rice, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 50 minutes (or per the instructions on your rice container).
Slice open the pomegranate and remove the seeds. I find the easiest way to do this is to quarter the pomegranate then submerge one quarter at a time in a large bowl of water. Underwater carefully tear away the pith, removing the rubies. The rubies will float to the top of the water and the pith will fall to the bottom!
Roast the almonds. Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees (alternately you could roast the almonds in a small toaster oven - that's usually what I do). Toss almonds with olive oil and salt and cook for about 5 minutes until almond skins begin to crack and turn a dark brown color (watch carefully so they don't burn). You want to bring them right to the edge of burnt so they are crunchy and extremely fragrant. Roughly chop and set aside.
Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients into a airtight jar (I use a mason) and shake until combined. Pour about half of the dressing over the kale and using your hands, massage the kale and dressing together for a good 3 minutes until the kale becomes limp and the pile decreases in size. Top with the roasted squash, wild rice, pomegranate seeds, almonds, goat cheese, and apple. Drizzle on the remaining dressing, toss and serve!
I, like many of you, finally found myself sick with the first cold of the season last week. The combination of travel and lack of sleep did me in. Also, it's that time of year. I found myself sitting at home with a stuffy nose and a foggy head trying to pull myself together enough to be able to teach. Working while sick is rough, but when your work is teaching yoga, complete with demonstrating handstands and not being able to excuse yourself to blow your nose because that would be both awkward and really embarrassing, it's really rough. So I do the best I can, sub out classes, and attempt to heal myself with food.
The more I think about food, and specifically seasonal food, the more I marvel at how masterfully designed our planet is. Am I getting too spacey for you? Hear me out, because maybe, like myself, you've never really sat back to think about it. It's no coincidence that watery cooling fruits like watermelon and juicy peaches pop into season when everyone is parched by the heat of Summer. It's no coincidence that when the sun goes down early and the seasons change to windy, often turbulent Fall that grounding, hardy, root vegetables like squash, carrots, and potatoes spring up to give us the exact stability most of us lack in the Fall. And it's no coincidence that citrus explodes right during the time of year everyone has colds and needs that extra boost of vitamin c. The earth literally gives us exactly what we need exactly when we need it. It's growing all around us, we just have to open our eyes and utilize it's resources. Mind blown? Mine was. And don't even get me started on how much money you save when you embrace what's in season. Strawberries in February? Common Valentine's day, get it together. This year we did pomegranates .
But seriously. It's all about the citrus right now and the timing could not be more perfect. Thank you God/Universe/Divine Spirit/Whatever you choose to believe. It's no coincidence I tell you.
So today I'm sharing my favorite green citrus smoothie packed with mandarins, spinach, kale, and frozen pineapple. I've been making some version of this pretty much all winter, throwing whole oranges and grapefruits in my vitamix. Because whole citrus can be finicky, I've had the best luck with clementines and mandarins, probably because they have less pulp and fewer seeds. I'll occasionally throw in additional fruit I have on hand, and sometimes add greek yogurt for creaminess - though when I have a cold I avoid dairy like the plague. And this smoothie is fantastic for cold season. You've got your vitamin c from the oranges, and bromelain from the pineapple which apparently helps reduce mucus and clear sinuses (yum!), and spinach + kale which are packed with protein and vitamin A. Woohoo!
Green Citrus Smoothie
Makes about 1 quart
1 medium banana
1 small handful Kale, de-ribbed (about 5 large leaves)
2 large handfuls baby spinach
1/2 cup frozen pineapple pieces
4-5 small mandarins or clementines, peeled
1 1/2 cups almond milk (or any other non-dairy beverage)
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
I've been gone for a really long time. In that time I've been to San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, San Diego, and DC. I interviewed at 6 grad schools, got upgraded to first class (I'm ruined for life), experienced real winter, attended a funeral, visited my in-laws, snuggled with my canine sister-in-law Abby, and ate pizza in almost every city. I have to admit, as a former New Yorker, Chicago pizza was surprisingly delish, and don't even get me started on their donuts. It's been craziness, and now that I'm finally back home, fluffy-socked in my kitchen with an orange puppy at my feet and my favorite french cafe radio pandora station that makes me feel both like a goddess and like I'm in Paris, I'm back in my element and so happy to be here.
While in Chicago a couple weeks ago, I bought a little gnocchi press from Eataly and knew I had to make gnocchi as soon as I got home. This dish is both green and filled with potatoes, so naturally, it's perfect for St. Patrick's Day. I must admit, I've only had corn beef and cabbage once, and in my experience it was absolutely repulsive. Oh and if you're feeling guilty about eating potatoes for dinner, (I'm not!) know that this fresh pesto is packed with spinach, and everyone's favorite Kale, so it's actually pretty healthy. With a nice dose of creamy mascarpone, and sweet sun-dried tomatoes, this meal is really something special.
I've been making America's Test Kitchen gnocchi for years, it's one of those things that is really surprisingly easy. They perfected the technique so I don't even try to mess with it. The gnocchi itself, doesn't require any special equipment, except maybe a potato ricer, and all of the ingredients are super basic. No pasta maker needed. And it's super fun, and dare I say, kind of relaxing.
Homemade Gnocchi with Spinach, Kale, Mascarpone & Sundried Tomato Pesto
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen
Serves 4-6 as a main
For the Gnocchi
4 pounds russet potatoes
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1.5 cups plus 2 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons salt
For The Pesto:
2 garlic cloves
1.5 cups packed kale
2 cups packed spinach
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmesan
4 oz mascarpone
3 oz sundried tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Poke several holes in the potatoes then microwave them on high for 5 minutes, flip, then microwave another 5 minutes. Remove from microwave, place directly on oven rack, and cook for about 20 minutes until a skewer easily pierces through.
While potatoes are still hot, hold each potato in a kitchen towel, and using a pairing knife, carefully peel away the skins and discard. Once all of the skins are removed, press potatoes through a potato ricer and spread them out in a thin layer across two large baking sheets. Let them cool slightly.
Meanwhile, make the pesto. Pulse garlic in the bowl of a food processor until finely chopped then add kale and spinach and pulse again until finely chopped. Add the pine nuts, olive oil, salt, lemon juice, parmesan, and mascarpone and blend until smooth. Add the sundried tomatoes and pulse 3-5 times, or until you've achieved desired consistency, you'll want the tomatoes to stay a bit chunky. Set aside. Note, the pest can be prepared well in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
Make the gnocchi. Prepare two large sheet pans with parchment paper and dust liberally with flour. Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil. In a large bowl mix together potatoes, eggs, flour and salt. Transfer dough to a floured work surface, and with floured hands knead the dough for about 1 minute. Divide the dough in half, forming two smooth rounds. Divide each round into 8 equally sized pieces. Roll each piece into a 1/2 inch thick rope, then using a bench scraper cut the rope into 3/4th inch pieces of gnocchi. Press each gnocchi into the backside of a fork (or a gnocchi press if you have one, though honestly the fork works just fine), rolling it to create a fold on the backside - here's a great video. Transfer gnocchi to the sheet pans, making sure they don't touch.
Once gnocchi are completed, gently fold the parchment paper in half, and pour the gnocchi into the boiling water. Cook one pan of gnocchi at a time as not to crowd them in the boiling water. Cook for about 90 seconds - they will float to the top just before they are done. Transfer cooked gnocchi to a large bowl, gently toss with pesto, and top with freshly grated parmesan.
This sauce is awesome with regular pasta, or on crostini.
You should have just enough sauce for 1 batch of gnocchi.