Sweet Potato, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Salad
(adapted from The Sunday Times at timesonline.co.uk)

For the Salad
1 medium, orange-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and diced into 2.5cm cubes
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin (original recipe calls for Bengali five-seed mix, also called panch phoran seeds)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
15g whole almonds, blanched, lightly roasted and split down the middle
50g soft goat’s cheese (I used local Giddy Goat's Cheese)

For the dressing
1 3/4 tsp lemon juice
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5. Place the potato and onion on a small baking tray. Heat the oil in a small saucepan and if using, add the seeds. Sizzle for 10 seconds over a low heat, then pour over the vegetables, season with cumin, salt, and pepper and mix well. Place the vegetables in the oven and roast for 45-50 minutes until soft.

Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. When you’re ready to serve, pour the dressing straight onto the vegetables on the baking tray and toss well to coat, then add the almonds. Continue to stir until well amalgamated. Plate up and serve warm with the goat’s cheese crumbled on top.

Fall Vegetable Curry in 30 mins!

As I was flipping through the latest issue of CookingLight magazine last week, this recipe immediately caught my eye! Not only are the fall colors deliciously inviting, but the ingredients were simple (and affordable)! The idea of a light, tomato-based curry was impossible for me to turn down. There is nothing simpler and more satisfying than throwing together this 30 minute dinner after a long day of classes. Serve the curry over steamed rice and add in some chopped cashews for texture and taste! This recipe is a keeper and I cannot wait to make it again and share it with friends!

Fall Vegetable Curry (adapted from the October issue of CookingLight Magazine)

* 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
* 1 cup diced peeled sweet potato
* 1 cup small cauliflower florets
* 1/2 cup sliced red, yellow, green peppers
* 1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
* 2 teaspoons curry powder (Madras)
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder (if you like your curry spicy!)
* 1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
* 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
* 1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
* Served over steamed rice with cashews (I used wild rice but Basmati or brown rice are good too)

1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Decrease heat to medium. Add cauliflower, pepper, onion, and curry powder; cook 1 minute, stirring mixture constantly. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve with yogurt.

Also worth noting - the flavors truly meld together after a day of sitting in the fridge. The leftovers of this sweet potato curry were even BETTER than the first serving!

Ginger-Chile Caramel Cookies

Ingredients - (recipe adapted from Leite's Culinaria)
For the cookies:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the baking sheets
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger

For the chile caramel:
1/2 cup sugar
a pinch of ground cayenne or hot chile powder (I added a little more!)

1. Preheat the oven to 325F (160°C). Butter 1 baking sheet.

2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Stir in the crystallized ginger.

3. Mix the flour, baking powder, and ground ginger in a separate bowl, then gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

4. Place a generous teaspoonful of the dough on 1 of the prepared baking sheets. Flatten it slightly, then repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the dough balls well apart, given that they will spread during baking.

5. Bake for 20 minutes, until the cookies are golden. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet while you make the chile caramel.

6. Place the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved and turned a shade of brown that’s caramel but not yet dark brown. The sugar can burn quite easily (which will turn the caramel bitter and unusable), so stir it often and keep a close eye on it. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the cayenne or chile powder. Use it immediately before it starts to harden.

7. Using a spoon, carefully and quickly drizzle the hot caramel over the cookies any way you like. When the caramel has set (which happens quite quickly, a matter of minutes), transfer the cookies from the baking sheet to a wire rack. Serve (eat) immediately.

Can be enjoyed with milk :)

Austin EATS

Although it feels like we have known each other forever, Milena and I met only 10 months ago (January of this year). Among other things, it didn't take long for us to realize that we both shared the same love for the city of Austin, Texas. Neither of us had ever been to the Austin City Limits music festival (ACL) but had always wanted to attend. Without hesitation, and mostly in the excitement of meeting each other, we marked our calendars and bought ACL tickets the day they went on sale! The rest is...And so, the week finally arrived after months of anticipation and we flew to Austin on Thursday of last week. Everything was amazing! The music, the food, the people, the culture, the weather, it was a perfect weekend in Austin. I decided to blog about this trip because honestly the food was a huge highlight. One of our favorite spots was this small, funky (hipster-esque) cafe found on S. Congress Avenue in Austin called Snack Bar. Don't let the simple name fool you, this modern diner has a killer menu with tons of gluten-free options for Milena and serves up the simplest and most creative brunch favorites to satisfy anyone's taste!OhM Sandwich - 2 over medium fried eggs, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, bibb lettuce, tomato, onion, gluten-free millet bread
Tamago Yoko - cabbage & leek hash cake, 2 poached eggs medium, wild alaskan salmon, with wasabi aioli, siracha, nuóc châm. Yumm! I ate every bite of this Japanese style pancake. For once in my life, I looked at the menu at Snack Bar and immediately knew that I wanted the Tamago Yoko. That never happens - and even rarer, I loved every bite :)

I couldn't go to Austin without eating tamales. I have had a SICK obsession with tamales ever since my pit stop at La Nortena Tamales in Pecos, West Texas during my road trip from Los Angeles to Louisiana.
These were not my La Nortena tamales, but they definitely satisfied my craving! [purchased from The Gardener's Feast - organic tamales sold at the Austin Farmer's Market]
We tried the Pork Tomatillo tamale and the Poblano and cheese tamale. Muy bueno!

Sweet Simplicity

Problem: I cannot ever seem to deny myself dessert; even after the heaviest of meals.
Solution: Light and tangy, fresh, and delicious... Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries and drizzled with honey :)