RAW ZUCCHINI AND CHICKPEA SALAD WITH TAHINI YOGURT

This whole meal was superb, main dish and salad from Josette’s blog, that I am super fond of. The salad stole the show, but I will give you the link to the Turkish chicken so you can have the whole gastronomic experience. I would definitely serve this for company. Simple to put together, awesome in flavor and texture.


RAW ZUCCHINI AND CHICKPEA SALAD WITH TAHINI YOGURT
(slightly modified from Thebrookcook)

3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 T tahini
zest from 1 large lemon, plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp plus 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
15 1/2 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 T red wine vinegar
2 tsp za’atar
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced on a diagonal
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint, finely chopped
2 tsp dried dill
ground sumac, to serve (optional)


In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon zest and juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, stir together the chickpeas, shallot, vinegar and za’atar. Cover and microwave for 90 seconds. Uncover and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

When the chickpeas have cooled, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the zucchini, mint, and dill. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the chickpea-zucchini mixture to a platter, spooning it around the edge. Scoop the yogurt mixture into a mound in the center of the chickpea-zucchini mixture.
Drizzle with additional oil and sprinkle with sumac, if using.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


Comments: Totally in love with this preparation of zucchini, and leftovers tasted great too. We enjoyed it with another recipe from Josette’s site, Turkish Grilled Chicken Thighs with Yogurt Marinade (for full recipe, click here). Josette has a very similar taste in food, so I am always paying attention to her posts. If you don’t follow her yet, consider doing so…

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CRANBERRIES, MANY WAYS

It is that time of the year, folks! Cranberries are making their appearance in grocery stores, those cute little bags with bright red fruit begging to jump in your shopping cart. Don’t fight the temptation. Today I share six recipes to put them to use, both savory and sweet.

RECIPE #1
PUMPKIN CRANBERRY LOAF


I rarely watch FoodTV these days, but one show I am quite fond of is Girl on the Farm. She shared a recipe a recipe for pumpkin loaf with cranberries that I made on the same day I watched it. It has a very nice crusty topping, and the tartness of the cranberries is perfect with the other flavors. Recipe available here.

RECIPE #2
CRANBERRY SHORTBREAD COOKIES


CRANBERRY SHORTBREAD COOKIES
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

(Small-batch, see comments))

1 cup flour (120g)
1/4 cup sugar (50g)
zest 1/2 orange
1 stick butter (113g), cold, cut in small pieces
pinch of salt…
1/2 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
white chocolate or candy melts to decorate (optional)

Add flour, sugar, orange zest and salt to a food processor. Process until mixed. Process in food processor. Add the butter, process until it starts to form a cohesive mass.

Add the cranberries, process until a dough almost forms. Remove from processor, work with your hands. I roll and cut it right away, then freeze before baking. 300F until done, maybe 20 minutes or so. Depends on the size you cut the cookies, and it will vary from oven to oven. Just make sure it is slightly golden at the edges.

Once cold, drizzle with melted chocolate or candy melts in any style you like.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


Comments: I made these when our big oven was dead, so I had to use the little Breville oven to bake them. I was trying the recipe and not sure it would work, so a small batch was all I needed. Simply double all amounts to bake a regular batch. I made 10 cookies with this version. I must say these will go into my favorites folder. The tartness of the cranberries adds so much to the biscuit I urge you to give this a try.


RECIPE #3
CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE

FALL SALAD WITH CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE
(adapted from this site)

1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
¼ cup cranberries
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
Romaine lettuce – rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, cut in pieces
½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

In a saucepan, combine vinegar, water and cranberries. Cook over medium heat until cranberries soften. Remove from heat; add olive oil, maple syrup, and salt. Place in blender and mix until smooth. Refrigerate until chilled.

Make the salad by adding all ingredients into a bowl. Add the cranberry vinaigrette and toss to coat. Adjust seasoning with salt, if needed.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


Comments: Can anything beat the beauty of the color of this vinaigrette? I doubt it. I tweaked the recipe a bit to tame the tartness of the original version, which was a bit much for us. It is a great option to put some cranberries to use, and definitely something a bit unusual.

RECIPE #4
AIR-FRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH CRANBERRIES


AIR-FRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH CRANBERRIES
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded
½ cup fresh cranberries, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil
fresh ginger, grated (to taste, or about 2 tsp)
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Whisk olive oil, orange juice, honey and ginger in a small bowl. Pour over the butternut and cranberries in a large bowl, toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Air-fry at 350F until done, shaking the pan every one in a while. Total air-frying should be between 20 and 25 minutes.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


Comments: Once again the little bits of tartness offered by the cranberries add a lot to the dish. I make butternut squash in the air-fryer very often, but really enjoyed this tweaked version. Amounts are all very flexible, I confess I don’t worry about the weight of the squash, I get those little trays in the grocery store and use one to air-fry.

RECIPE #5
CRANBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE TART


A flashback from my past, this tart was made a couple of years ago, and it was absolutely wonderful, so I bring it to your attention. For the full recipe and comments, click here.

RECIPE #6
CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY CURD TART


One of the many recipes I’ve baked from my friend Helen Fletcher’s site. You cannot go wrong with Helen! All the way back to 2017, visit this post to get the recipe.

I hope you can find some cranberry-inspiration in this post…


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AIR-FRIED CAULIFLOWER WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS AND TAHINI SAUCE

This is a winning combination that I urge you to try whenever you find fresh pomegranates to play with. In our neck of the woods, it’s not always available. I prefer to buy the pomegranate seeds in those little jars because I am not too fond of the work needed to extract them from the fruit. Yes, I am familiar with all the tricks, but in this particular case, I opt for the easy way out.

AIR-FRIED CAULIFLOWER WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS AND TAHINI SAUCE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the cauliflower:
1 head of cauliflower, florets only
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt to taste
pomegranate seeds

for the tahini sauce:
1/2 cup tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup water to adjust consistency (you may need less)

Coat the cauliflower florets with the oil, season with smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Place in the air-fryer at 390F or as high as your fryer goes. Cook the florets until they start to get brown at the edges, shaking the basket every once in a while. While the cauliflower fries, make the sauce.

Mix all ingredients for the sauce (except the water) in a food processor and process until smooth. It will be very thick. Slowly add the water, until you get to the consistency you like.

Transfer the cauliflower to a serving platter, drizzle the sauce all over and sprinkle pomegranate seeds, as many as your heart desires.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I adore cauliflower and I am crazy for tahini. It was odd that it took me so long to put both together. If you don’t have pomegranate seeds, kalamata olives will work well for the contrast of color and that sharp flavor. A shower of black sesame or Nigella seeds could be great too. Anything to give some contrast to the cauliflower-sauce duet. Because our air-fryer is small, when I made this recipe there were no leftovers. Actually I did have extra sauce that was drizzled on all sorts of goodies for a couple of days. If you want to make this dish for company (or if you do not own an air-fryer), go for oven-roasting, 425F works like a charm. It just takes longer and the texture won’t be as crispy.

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ORIENTAL-STYLE SESAME SLAW

I love cole slaw, but prefer a dressing without mayonnaise. Something fresh, light, and bright. This version couples orange juice with sesame oil. I add just a little squirt of lemon juice at the very end because I crave that extra acidity. Some might try to convince me that incorporating the lemon juice in the dressing would do the same job, but I beg to differ. In fact, when I ate the leftovers, I did a little lemon juice encore, and loved it even more.

ORIENTAL-STYLE SESAME SLAW
(adapted from several sources)

for the dressing:
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce

for the salad:
3 cups shredded napa cabbage
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
fresh cilantro leaves, amount to taste
black sesame seeds to serve
fresh lemon juice to serve

Start by making the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup or flask with a lid, and whisk or shake to emulsify. Reserve.

In a large serving bowl, add all ingredients for the salad except the black sesame seeds, combine tossing gently, then pour the dressing on top. Toss again and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds, add lemon juice, adjust seasoning if needed, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: f you like cole slaw but mayonnaise is not your thing, this will for sure please you. It gets even better next day, as all components are so sturdy. I made it twice already, the second time I added fresh orange zest together with the black sesame seeds before serving and that was a nice extra touch of flavor. Avocado goes quite well with it, keep that in mind. Not much else is needed to make this a complete meal. We enjoyed ours with a rotisserie chicken, so that was a super easy dinner to put together. The recipe can be easily adapted to a Whole30 system, if you don’t use soy sauce, and replace it with coconut aminos.

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CAULIFLOWER WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND OLIVES

This is cauliflower that deserves a spot at your table when you have special guests for dinner. Amazing that we can now write such a phrase after a couple of years of social isolation. I go as far as saying that even cauliflower haters will be pleasantly surprised. The sun-dried tomatoes add richness and the olives and balsamic vinegar that acidity that lightens things up. Absolutely delicious. And, by the way, it is vegan-friendly.

CAULIFLOWER WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND OLIVES
(inspired by Crossroads)

1 head cauliflower, florets only, chopped in pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil (for oven roasting) or olive oil spray for air-frying
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
slivered almonds, slightly toasted, to taste

If roasting the cauliflower in an oven, drizzle the florets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in 425F oven for about 30 minutes. If using the air-fryer, spray the florets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and air-fry for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden. Reserve. The cauliflower can be roasted hours in advance or even the day before.

Put a large saute pan over medium-heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the celery and shallots, season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes, add the olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers and cook for a few minutes longer, stirring often. Add the reserved cauliflower, the balsamic vinegar, adjust seasoning. Right before serving, add lemon zest and juice, and top with the toasted slivered almonds.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I don’t know which ingredient elevates this recipe, it is a tight match between the sun-dried tomatoes and the green olives. At any rate, it was an outstanding side dish. I highly recommend it. We enjoyed it with grilled chicken breasts, super simple. Just a marinade with olive oil, Garam masala and salt.

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