01.22.2018

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Nick turned 36 last week and, per his request, I made him a Classic Yellow Birthday Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream frosting. The cake smelled, looked, and tasted delicious (I made it while the boys were at school so I had the frosting covered spatulas all to myself…). There was just one problem – I recently challenged myself not to eat sugar, dairy, or gluten during the week (I’m not sweating the frosting licks) as a simple way to recover from our holiday overload. Nick’s beautiful birthday cake had serious doses of all three.

This Raw Pineapple-Mango Cheesecake saved the day for me and was the perfect thing to have as a healthier option alongside the classic birthday cake. I love tropical, tart desserts, especially during the dark winter months – they remind me of sun, sand, and heat! This dessert is also a great party alternative for guests who have food sensitivities.

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Raw Pineapple-Mango Cheesecake is incredibly simple to make – you don’t actually cook anything. The most challenging step for me is to remember to soak the raw cashews overnight. The crust, cheesecake filling, and fruit topping are all whizzed up using a food processor then layered into a springform pan and chilled.

While some sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free desserts are made with tofu or processed vegan foods, I like that this treat is full of recognizable ingredients like nuts, unsweetened coconut, and fresh fruit.

For all of you staying among snow and darkness this winter, give this cake a try. I promise it’ll make you feel like you’re lounging under a palm tree somewhere, however far off that actually may be.

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Raw Pineapple-Mango Cheesecake

Makes 1 9-inch cake – serves 12 to 16

 

Crust:

1 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Juice and zest from 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

10 Dole pitted dates

1 tablespoon flour of your choice (all purpose or gluten-free)

Pinch of kosher salt

 

Cheesecake:

3 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 Dole cup pineapple juice

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

Juice and zest from 1 lime

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 cup water

 

Pineapple Topping:

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1 1/2 cups Dole frozen pineapple chunks, thawed

1 ½ cups Dole frozen mango chunks, thawed

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  1. Start by making the crust. Place all the crust ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and run the motor until the mix forms into a dough. Turn the ball of dough out into a spring form pan and, using your fingers, press the crust into the bottom of the pan. Set aside.  
  1. Next, make the cheesecake filling. Add all the cheesecake ingredients to the rinsed food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for sweetness. This is not a sweet cake so if you prefer more sweetener, add in a tablespoon of agave syrup or other liquid sweetener. Pour the cheesecake batter over the pressed crust.
  1. Lastly, make the fruit layer by blending the melted coconut oil and thawed fruit in the food processor until smooth. Pour over the top of the cake. Set the cake in the freezer to set up. After an hour in the freezer you can remove the springform ring and serve or place the cake in the fridge to serve at a later time. Raw Pineapple Cheesecake is good chilled or at room temperature.

This post is sponsored by Dole Packaged Foods.

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11.29.2017

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I woke up Monday morning determined to eat well this week. After last week’s Thanksgiving escapades (creamed spinach 4-life!!) and extended road trip diet (which consisted of mostly bagels and coffee) I needed a restart. One strategic move that always works to improve my vegetable intake is preparing a handful of favorite dressings, all unique and packed with flavor, to have on hand. These three little jars are my ticket out of this carb jungle.

Each dressing can be made quickly and easily  by simply combining the ingredients in a lidded jar and shaking vigorously. Below are the recipes for Lemon-Tahini Dressing, Carrot-Ginger-Miso Sauce, and Mustard Vinaigrette. I love the Lemon-Tahini number over quinoa and roasted root vegetables. The Carrot-Ginger-Miso is especially good mixed into a stir-fry or tossed with dark leafy greens. The vinaigrette is good on lentils and simple salads.

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My 3 Favorite Dressings:

Lemon-Tahini Dressing:

1/4 cup tahini

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

2-3 tablespoons hot water

Simply combine everything in a lidded jar and shake, shake, shake. Tahini-Lemon Dressing can be stored on the counter for a week.

 

Carrot-Ginger-Miso Sauce:

1/2 cup miso paste, white or red

1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup shredded carrot

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup water

Simply combine everything in a lidded jar and shake, shake, shake. Carrot-Ginger-Miso Dressing can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks.

 

Mustard Vinaigrette:

2/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1/2 a lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 garlic clove, halved

Pinch dried or fresh herbs – dill, thyme, cilantro, and oregano are my favorites.

Simply combine everything in a lidded jar and shake, shake, shake. Mustard Vinaigrette can be stored on the counter for a week.

 

DON’T FORGET! You get 20% copies of Feeding a Family using code FAF20 at this link. Give the gift of food and family this holiday!

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10.05.2017

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My latest recipe for Spicy Cauliflower-Red Lentil Burgers is up on Food52. Here is a little sneak peek…

The Veggie Burger That Turns into 3 Different Meals

Making weeknight dinners on a tight schedule is my thing (see: my book), and I never stop searching for simple, adaptable, satisfying zingers that lift me up at the end of the day. My favorite recipes are both familiar and surprising, highly adaptable, and have pieces that can be made ahead of time, leaving us with slightly re-jiggered leftovers for tomorrow’s lunchboxes and dinner.

These vegetable burgers fulfill all of my weeknight dinner criteria. To prove it to you, I’ve outlined ways you can adapt this recipe to satisfy your tastes (or what you have in the cabinet), ways to prepare pieces of it beforehand (nothing better than getting a head start), and ideas of how to transform leftover burgers into a second (and equally exciting) meal.

Click here for the full story and recipe. All photographs by Elizabeth Cecil.

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05.08.2017

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“Why, it is May!” said Toad as he climbed out of bed. Then he and Frog ran outside to see how the world was looking in spring.

This quote from Frog & Toad runs through my mind all the time these days. We are huge fans of the green and brown dynamic duo and I just love the one-liners in their stories. But yes, spring, asparagus, book events, green grass, flowers – it’s all happening! I am quickly stopping in here to share a super simple spring side dish, one that I made for our cookbook club meeting a couple of weeks ago. Our cookbook club read, cooked, and ate from The Silver Palate and I brought this Crisply Roasted Asparagus with Gremolata and Chicken Dijonnaise (which did not get a pretty picture but was DELICIOUS, you should make it. The main ingredients are mustard and creme fraiche so really, how could it be bad). Oh, and I finally ate the famous Chicken Marbella – two thumbs way up.

The weekend before cookbook club, I was up in Boston strutting my urban stuff at Olives & Grace.  Sofi, the shop’s fearless leader, was so welcoming and knows how to throw a party! I wish I took a break to snap photos of all my pals, new and old, who stopped by to say hello but I was having too much fun. A huge thank you to Sofi and everyone who came out to chow on falafel bites and buy a copy of Feeding a Family. I am so grateful.

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Crisply Roasted Asparagus with Gremolata

from The Silver Palate

Gremolata:

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon

2 teaspoons finely minced garlic

Asparagus:

1 pound medium-size asparagus, woody ends removed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 lemons, halved crosswise, for garnish

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1. To prepare the gremolata: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl with a fork. Cover and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 400F.

3. Place the asparagus in a roasting pan in a single layer, facing the same direction. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake on the center rack for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes longer, Remove to a serving dish and sprinkle with gremolata. Serve with lemon halves.

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02.14.2017

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To celebrate Valentine’s Day I made my loves a lemon tart while watching Beyonce’s grammy performance over and over and over again. Now I’m tearing up looking at these amazing pictures my pal Becca snapped of me and the boys in the fall. I love you Waldman boys – so very very much.

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Lemon Tart from My Kitchen Year

makes 1 9-inch tart

1/2 cup cashews (or unsalted almonds or hazelnuts)

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

3/4 cup flour

Salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

5 large eggs, separated

4 large lemons

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

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Begin by making a tart shell. Toast the cashews then grind them in a food processor with the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and a pinch of salt. Add in 4 tablespoons of butter and pulse until it is the size of peas. Stir in the olive oil and 1 egg yolk.

Form the dough into a disk, put it between two pieces of plastic wrap, and roll it out to an 11-inch round. Press dough gently into a 9-inch tart shell with a removable bottom, and chill for half an hour. Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 15 minutes and allow to cool on a rack.

To make the filling, grate the zest from 1 lemon. Squeeze all 4 lemons and mix the juice with the zest. Put the lemon mixture into a heavy-bottomed pot and whisk in the sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in 2 eggs plus 2 additional yolks.

Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium high. Whisk constantly until the mixture begins to boil, then keep whisking for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth and thick.

Remove from the heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter (cut into pieces), and whisk the mixture until the butter has vanished. Spread into the tart shell and allow to cool. Put the tart in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.

I sliced a few kumquats for the top and served slices with whipped cream.

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