Spiced Sweet Potato Tart with Pecan Cookie Crust

finished tart

When I was invited to a holiday brunch hosted by the lovely folks at Vitamix and feedfeed to celebrate feedfeed’s amazing new Brooklyn space, I knew exactly what I wanted to create for the the event: a spiced sweet potato tart! Sweet potatoes are my spirit [root] vegetable and I eat them in some form nearly every day, and yet somehow I’ve never whipped them up into tart or pie form. (I can’t quite figure that one out, either.)

So, I swapped out pumpkin for sweet potatoes in my favorite pumpkin pie recipe, and switched up a walnut pressed crust to feature pecans (because what goes better with sweet potatoes and spice than deliciously buttery, toasted pecans?!) Along with plenty of freshly grated ginger, brown sugar, and a warming and cozy Winter Spice Seasoning courtesy of my friends at Vitamix, voila – my new favorite holiday dessert was born! It even turned out perfectly on the first try – certainly a sign that this one was meant to be 🙂

This tart isn’t only delicious, it’s also suuuuper easy to make (a requirement for this lazy baker…I don’t do complicated). The cookie-like pecan crust is a pressed crust — no dough rolling involved! — and the filling blends up into silky-smooth perfection in about 30 seconds in a high-powered blender (my trusty Vitamix Explorian of course, what else would I use? 😉 ) Needless to say this is the ONLY dessert I will be making this holiday season; cause why mess with perfection…

Check out the full recipe below and let me know if you make it!!
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Sungold tomato pasta with zucchini, kalamatas, feta and basil

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When the weekend’s greenmarket haul includes the sweetest cherry tomatoes, summer squash, fresh basil, sweet corn and locally made goat’s feta — naturally the only option is to create a pasta dish that brings all of these goodies together in one big bowl of summery deliciousness.

I first met the sungold variety of cherry tomatoes a few summers ago, and it instantly eclipsed all other little tomatoes in my mind. Unbelievably juicy and sweet but with a nice acidity, sungolds are delicious raw and also make a wonderful quick tomato sauce.

The sauce for this pasta dish is really just a quick veggie saute. The tomatoes break down within minutes creating a chunky, saucy texture, with a perfect balance of sweet and spicy, salty and briny from the olives, and satisfying, almost meaty texture from the tender chunks of zucchini .

I add the pasta (cooked al dente) and a splash of pasta cooking water to the sauce and let everything simmer for a minute to allow the flavors to come together. The saucy vegetable mixture coata the pasta in the most wonderful way, and all that’s needed is a drizzle of olive oil to finish — though I can’t help going slightly overboard by adding some crumbled feta, fresh basil and a sprinkling of my Viva Gomasio.

It would be only a slight exaggeration to say that I could happily eat this dish every day right through the end of summer (or when sungold season ends, whichever comes first). And it’s a perfect weeknight meal, since the sauce comes together in the time it takes to boil the pasta.

For the pasta component I used an einkorn penne that I really like, which is made by Jovial Foods. Einkorn is an ancient wheat variety, and some believe it is easier to digest than modern, hybrid varieties of wheat. These days I mostly use einkorn pasta or brown rice pasta (also by Jovial) if I want to go gluten-free. Read More

Roasted Beet and French Lentil Salad with Beet Greens, Feta and Spicy Candied Pepitas

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Okay, I’m going full-on hippie with you guys today — in the most delicious way possible, I promise! Super sweet and tender roasted beets, beet greens, earthy French lentils, briny feta, spicy-sweet-crispy candied pumpkin seeds: This satisfying, protein-packed salad is my new favorite way to use the whole beet, all the way from the hairy tips of its roots to its ruby-colored stems and the frilly edges of its red-veined leaves. Yes, it’s roots-to-greens cooking at its best.

By the way, slightly off-topic but I could really use a bowl of this wholesome goodness right about now, because the hubby and I just got back from the westside car wash, which means that we also just got back from a trip to the carwash donut shop aka Underwest Donuts.  (The plain Old Fashioned is my favorite… 🙂 So, if you ever find yourself on west 46th street with a dingy car, now you know.

All right, getting back on track.

We often think of beets as a winter vegetable, but the great thing about buying fresh, young beets during the warmer months (since they make an appearance at the farmers market pretty much year-round) is that they are smaller and more tender and sweet than their over-wintered counterparts. And, they often arrive with their green tops still attached – which, at this time of year, are beautifully tender and mild, with a flavor similar to ruby chard or spinach, but with a beet-ier edge.

Inspiration for this dish, as usual, came from a trip to my local greenmarket. Strolling by a new farm stand, I spotted the most gorgeous baby beets that I’ve seen in a long time. Plump, jewel-like, and leafy, they looked like they had just been pulled from the ground, and I couldn’t leave without them. Since earthy lentils are a natural pairing with the sweetness of beets, I decided on a roasted beet and lentil salad that would also feature those gorgeous beet greens, sautĂ©ed and then lightly steamed so they would be tender and retain lots of flavor and nutrition.

Tied together with a bright and flavorful maple-Dijon vinaigrette, goat’s feta, and spicy candied pumpkin seeds, this salad is fantastic on its own as a side dish, and it also makes a lovely plant-based main course served over leafy salad greens or a cooked grain.

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Summer veg coconut curry with chickpeas

summer veg curry

After a week of hot, steamy, 90+ degree weather, the last couple of days (in the mid-60s and 70s!) have been refreshing and downright heavenly. I’ve don’t think I’ve ever felt chilly outside – in a t-shirt – in NYC the middle of July!

We slept with the windows open last night! (which generally never happens between late June and mid-September). It’s been a slightly bizarre but much-needed break from summer-in-NYC type weather, and most importantly the cool has made me actually want to cook again.

There are a lot of curry recipes on this site, because curry just so happens to be my favorite quick dinner. Curries are the perfect way to use up those odds and ends from the crisper drawer, which might be looking less than stellar, and leftover roasted chicken or other proteins. And with a can of coconut milk and jar of curry powder stashed in the pantry you’re always curry-ready. For this summery version I used summer squash, sweet corn, and baby spinach in addition to the usual onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño, and added raw cherry tomatoes to each bowl for a juicy, summery element.

Finished with lots of lime juice and gomasio (nasturtium blossoms optional, but highly recommended), this is spicy, creamy, coconutty comfort food at its finest.  Read More

Matcha Dark Chocolate Truffles

matcha truffle close up

Well hello there! Long time no see. I posted these matcha dark chocolate truffles on instagram weeks ago and intended to share the recipe here in no time. But then things got crazy with our new website + online shop, lots of gomasio-making kitchen shifts, prepping for the NYC fancy food show, fulfilling our first wholesale orders… and these little green balls totally slipped my mind.

Luckily I got a gentle nudge today from the folks over at feedfeed who inquired whether this recipe had been posted. Eeeeek, no, I remembered. So here it is!

These truffles are rich and satisfying, not too sweet, and have lovely grassy, herbal undertones from the matcha powder. I can report from firsthand experience that one or two of these melt-in-your-mouth treats is the perfect antidote for an afternoon energy slump.

I use culinary matcha powder for my truffles (and for my matcha cooking and baking in general), since it’s much less expensive than ceremonial matcha, which I reserve for drinking straight-up or in matcha lattes. And although I boosted this batch with collagen peptides (great for gut, skin, hair & nails), you can easily omit the collagen for a veganized version.

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Weeknight Coconut Chickpea Curry with Spring Vegetables

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There are two pantry staples that I try to never be without: canned coconut milk and canned chickpeas. With just these two humble ingredients on hand, you’re halfway to a delicious and easy to make curry, any night of the week! Just add some aromatics, whatever veggies you happen to have on hand — I like to mix it up each time depending on what’s in season — and you’ll be sitting down to a belly-comforting meal before anyone can say “what should we order tonight?!”

This verdant, spring-y version is loaded with spring garlic, shallots, asparagus, broccoli, spinach ginger, turmeric, and fresh curry leaves. I also added a Japanese sweet potato, so didn’t even need to make a grain to go alongside since the starch was already built-in, so to speak. Sugar-snap peas or green beans are great in this, too, and I love to add fresh-off-the-cob corn kernels when sweet corn is in season. Sometimes when I have leftover roast chicken or salmon I’ll shred or flake it into bite-sized pieces and add that for the last couple minutes to heat through.

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This curry has become one of my favorite feel-good meals: creamy, satisfying and flavorful but not too rich or heavy, it’s also packed with green goodness, immune-boosting spices, and healthy complex carbohydrates. And an added bonus — any leftovers reheat beautifully for dinner the next night, and also pack up easily for a work or school lunch.

If you’re ever in an Asian or Indian specialty shop and see fresh curry leaves in the refrigerated section — get them! They freeze beautifully, so you can grab a few leaves at a time and throw them into your recipes as needed. I simply freeze them right in the bag they come in.

Curry leaves are wonderfully fragrant and add a more nuanced and complex flavor to Indian-style curries, soups, and sauces. I buy mine downtown at Dual Spices, which is a super fun little herb/spice/tea shop to check out if you happen to find yourself in the East Village with some time to kill.  Read More

Roasted asparagus, sweet pea + spring garlic soup

asparagus_pea soup

I love a green soup this time of year. Creamy, cozy, comforting and cleanse-worthy all at the same time — can’t go wrong with that! When I returned from my weekly greenmarket trip with a bunch of the season’s first asparagus in my bag I knew an asparagus soup would be on the menu soon.

Doing a quick, high-heat roast on the asparagus brings out its natural sweetness and preserves its vibrant green hue. I like to reserve some of the tops to garnish each bowl.

Sweet peas (I used frozen, since they’re not quite in season yet in the northeast) add sweetness and a silky texture to the soup, so cream, butter, flour etc aren’t necessary.

With these mild, sweet green vegetables I like to pair an allium that’s gentler than the usual aged garlic — and spring garlic or green garlic is perfect. (If it’s not available, shallots, scallions or chives are good stand-ins).

Swirled with a spoonful of plain coconut yogurt and topped with the reserved asparagus tops, microgreens, and gomasio or flaky salt, this sprightly soup is a fantastic way to start a spring meal. I like it served warm, but you could also serve it chilled on a hot day.  It also looks lovely in espresso cups or shooters if you’re fancy like that, and reheats well, too.  Read More

Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake { gluten-free }

lemon poppyseed cake

Every cook – whether they consider themselves a baker or not – should have one go-to cake recipe up their sleeve, don’t you think? The classic lemon olive oil yogurt cake is mine. Versions of this humble cake have appeared in all corners of the interwebs; the roots seem to be the Gateau au Citron, a simple, French-style yogurt cake infused with lemon, in which the ingredients are, most charmingly and efficiently, measured in a 125-mL glass yogurt pot.

I first saw a version of this cake years ago on Orangette, then came across Ina Garten’s classic, glazed version, followed by Smitten Kitchen’s blueberry-studded iteration. And because 1) if given the choice I will always go for a citrus dessert, and 2) I’m an incredibly lazy baker, so I appreciate a delicious, easy cake that doesn’t require separating eggs, doing anything over a double boiler, or dirtying every bowl in my kitchen, it’s become my very own only-cake-I-ever-make.

My version calls for extra-virgin olive oil in place of the vegetable oil that most recipes call for, both because I love the subtle flavor that olive oil imparts and also because I try to avoid vegetable oil (it’s high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can drive inflammation in the body). I also use a combination of GF flour and finely ground almond meal in place of AP flour, since we mostly try to avoid gluten (though we’re not religious about it).

I often use unrefined coconut sugar in place of refined white sugar, which gives the cake a rich, golden hue and in combination with the olive oil creates an incredibly moist and flavorful crumb. (Though when I’m making this match-swirled version, I use lighter-hued organic cane sugar — otherwise the darker color of the coconut sugar obscures the lovely pale green of the matcha.) I’ve made various versions with plain yogurt, thicker Greek yogurt, and coconut milk yogurt (for a dairy-free cake), all with top-notch results.

For this year’s Easter dessert I decided on a lemon poppyseed version drizzled with a lemon-poppy seed glaze (my friend Shahla likened the look of the poppy seeds to tiny pearls, which I love!). I used fragrant Meyer lemons (a variety that originated as a cross between a lemon and a mandarin) since the natural foods store near me happened to have some real beauties in stock the day I was shopping; but if Meyers aren’t available you can use regular lemons (preferably organic since we’re using the zest here) for the cake and glaze. Happy baking! Read More

Breakfast tacos with crispy fried eggs, shiitakes + quick-pickled shallots

breakfast tacos

When you’re in the mood for a sunny-side-up kind of breakfast, but with a twist: breakfast tacos with crispy-edged, ghee-fried eggs, seared shiitakes, quick-pickled shallots, avocado + hot sauce! Easy to make (and with just one skillet involved for quick clean-up), these make a delicious and satisfying savory breakfast that’s perfect for a weekend morning. Just add coffee (or matcha latte…or yerba mate latte, my latest beverages of choice since I’ve been trying to quit my cappuccino addiction).

One of the questions I’m asked most frequently (because I post a lot of crispy eggs over in IG-land) is how to get that browned, crispy bottom on your fried egg. The trick is to start with a screaming hot skillet (I use ceramic nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron) and don’t be afraid to use plenty of fat — you want to see the egg white start to bubble, hiss and puff up as soon as it hits the pan (if it doesn’t, the pan wasn’t hot enough). I usually allow my pan to heat up for a solid 5-plus minutes before I crack in the egg (maybe even longer if I’m using a heavy cast iron skillet). I’ve also been frying my eggs in this garlic-infused ghee lately, which makes them extra flavorful (can’t recommend this stuff highly enough — love their vanilla bean variety, too).

Once we’ve got our perfectly crispy-bottomed eggs in place, our tacos go NEXT LEVEL as the kids say, with the addition of pan-seared shiitakes for chewy, umami richness, quick-pickled shallots, creamy avocado, thinly sliced jalapeño and tangy fermented hot sauce. And, because in my opinion no meal is complete without some G, a generous hit of my Everything Gomasio (toasted sesame salt) with crunchy garlic, onion, and poppy seeds (which will be available again very soon; we are finalizing packaging as I type these words).

And one last tip to ensure that your breakfast taco game is as strong as can be: to get the most out of your store-bought corn tortillas, toast them over an open flame (stove burner, if you have a gas cooktop) until they’re slightly charred around the edges. Game changer!

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Kale, fennel and red cabbage salad with miso-ginger-lime salmon

salmon kale salad

The ultimate feel-good meal: lots of colorful, crunchy, nutrient-dense veggies (hello, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants!), omega-3-rich wild Alaskan salmon, and some lactofermented veg (beets, in this case) for probiotic power.

Packed with so many good things, this one also checks the boxes on all the “-frees”: dairy-free, gluten-free, gluten-free, grain-free, free of added sugars (not even honey or maple syrup). So it’s perfect for a cleanse or reset meal when your system needs a break. Like the beginning of Spring when, despite the snow that might remain on the ground, we’re starting to crave meals of the lighter and brighter variety.

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