Carrot Cauliflower Soup and Roasted Chickpeas

Carrots and radishes are two vegetables that I can’t walk by in a farmers market without wanting to buy them all up and bring them home with me. They’re always stacked so beautifully, and their rainbow of colors against green leaves make me all sorts of happy. What happens next, of course, is that I end up with these large bunches of radishes and carrots and no plans of how to eat them.

This recipe is great way to put a big bunch of carrots to use and is, scouts honor, incredibly easy to get together. (For finishing up radishes, my personal favorite is on a open faced sandwich, thinly sliced and salted, on top of thick buttered bread.)

I know talking about the weather is all sorts of boring, but it really does play a big part in how I eat. I, and many of you I’m sure, eat with the seasons. Light salads and fruits for snack in the summer; carb/comfort food loading in the winter. Fall is for apples, warm spices, roots, and squashes. But the weather has been super wonky lately, leading me to fluctuate between summer and fall foods. 80 degrees in October is just mean. Pfth.

So, instead of a squash based soup, which would be my typical fall go-to, I went with carrot and cauliflower but brought in all the warm fall spices. It’s a soup for all seasons!

One of my pantry staples is canned chickpeas. They’re great for quickly mixing up some chummus, adding something extra to a salad, or just warmed with black pepper and salt (a classic 1930’s Lower East Side street snack). For this soup, I wanted a topping that would add texture AND be a vehicle for more spice. I’m not typically a fan of roasting chickpeas, but with enough time in the oven these turned out really well. Such a good snack! I had to stop myself from finishing them before the soup was ready.

Carrots and cauliflower are delicious vegetables, but when they’re sitting in a stock, simmering away, they lose some of their flavors. To kick this soup up, you’ll need to break out your spice arsenal and really pack a punch. This is no time to be spice shy!

This soup has the right balance of spice with a creamy (and cream-less) texture. Plus you get to break out the immersion blender (or whatever blender you use) to pull it all together. When I was growing up my mom didn’t use an immersion blender and now as an adult, it’s one of my favorite kitchen appliances; I still get giddy watching soups transform under its magical powers.

While writing this post, and feeling grumpy about the weather, I peeked ahead and saw all the “right” temperatures coming up later in the week. Doing a happy fall dance now and going to go make myself a bowl of soup.

Carrot Cauliflower Soup and Roasted Chickpeas

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
Soup
  • 1 Bunch of carrots (about 1 pound)
  • 1 Small head of cauliflower (about 1 pound) (both my carrots and cauliflower were a little over a pound)
  • 1 Small to Medium sized yellow onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • ¾ tsp Ground cumin
  • ½ tsp Curry Powder (I use a mild curry)
  • ¼ tsp Ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 3 Cups Stock (I used a vegetable stock but chicken would also be great here)
  • 1½ Tbsp Honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Plain Greek yogurt (optional)
Chickpeas
  • 1 Can of Chickpeas (15.5 oz), drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala**
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne (If you like heat add another ¼ tsp!)
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Slice the carrots into half inch discs or chop into small cubes. Break the cauliflower down to small florets. Put aside.
  2. Place a soup pot on the stove over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Dice the onion and garlic and add it to the pot when hot and sauteé them until they are translucent and soft - about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add the carrot and cauliflower and the spices (including a little kosher salt and fresh pepper but not the honey!). Stir so that the spices are distributed over all the vegetables in the pot. Add the stock and bring to a boil. When it boils cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes.
  4. While the soup is cooking make your chickpeas. Preheat oven to 400°F
  5. Toss chickpeas with the olive oil and spices and spread them out in an even layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes and turn the chickpeas over at the 20-minute mark. They'll be done when they have a little crunch on the outside but still a little soft on the inside.
  6. Test the carrots in the soup. If you can break them easily with a spoon or fork you're ready to blend it. Use an immersion blender (or your favorite blending method) and blend all the contents of the pot. Halfway through add the honey and continue to blend. Taste for salt and pepper.
  7. Garnish with your favorite greens and herbs and a dollop of yogurt. Sprinkle the chickpeas on the top. I dare you not to Instagram this.
Notes
**Garam Masala is an Indian spice blend that has turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, and cumin. It's an awesome versatile spice but if you don't have it on hand make a little mix of these individual flavors or similar ones. Seriously, you can't go wrong when making this soup.

Quick Dinner Rolls with Fresh Herbs

Putting fresh baked bread on the table is a “WOAH” moment, as in: WOAH, you made this? Which is usually the last you’ll hear for awhile because warm homemade bread is being devoured.

While these rolls don’t have the same deep flavors you can achieve through the hours of love and patience that traditional breads require, they are amazing last-minute and impressive dinner rolls.

I first discovered this recipe when making some chicken in BBQ sauce in the slow cooker. When it was done cooking I shredded the chicken and realized how much sauce was leftover in the pot. I thought how great it would be to have something to soak up all the BBQ sauce goodness.
Picture Picture Picture

Rice probably would have been great but, and this is the truth, I am really bad at making rice. It is rare that my stovetop rice adventures turn out well. So sad.

This might not sound super normal but my thought process was: I’m going to screw up making rice so let me try making bread. After some quick internet searches under “quick dinner rolls”, a recipe came up and it was a winner.

Since then I have whipped these rolls up often. Every time the recipe changes a little and this is my favorite iteration so far.
In under an hour you can go from “I would love some fresh hot bread”, to actually having it at the table. Promise.
The addition of fresh herbs, olive oil, and whole wheat flour helps to transform the simple white bread roll (which is also delicious) into something more hearty and rustic.
These rolls can double as hamburger buns if you make them a little bigger, or keep ’em small and use them for sliders. The only downside to making them is that they are best when they’re fresh. So while these might not work for Thanksgiving if they’re going to have compete with the turkey for oven time, they would be great for the day after! Mini leftover turkey sandwiches anyone?

Quick Dinner Rolls with Fresh Herbs
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp active dry yeast**
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm water (110° to 115°)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg (+1 more if you want an egg wash)
  • 1 overflowing tsp salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups half whole wheat/half white flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped thyme
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast (yes, 2 tablespoons) in the warm water. Whisk in oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg and salt and whisk. Add enough flour to form a soft dough.
  3. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Incorporate more flour if it feels too sticky. Halfway through kneading add in your fresh herbs and knead so they disperse throughout the dough.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll them into round shapes. Place them a little bit apart from each other on a greased baking sheet or a lined baking sheet (my preference is for parchment paper).
  5. If you'd like an egg wash, beat one egg and brush over the tops of the rolls. I also sprinkled a little salt.
  6. Let them sit for 10 minutes before popping them into the oven.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until their tops turn golden brown.
  8. Let cool slightly before diving into them.
Notes
**The reason this recipe works is because it uses a lot of yeast. If you buy jars of yeast you can easily measure out the 2 Tbsp. Otherwise, if you buy the packets of yeast you'll need to open up three packets and measure out the tablespoons (you'll have a little extra leftover). Each packet has 2.5 teaspoons in it.

Adapted from this Taste of Home Recipe 

Pan Roasted Chicken with Curry, Grapes, and Rosemary

There are typically two types of NYC renters during cold months. The ones who keep their windows open because there’s uncontrollable heat blasting from the radiator, and the ones who are in epic fights with their landlords to get the heat turned on.I am thankful that our heat goes on at a (usually) comfortable temperature when the numbers drop.  Though our apartment stays somewhat cool because it’s in an old building with lots of big shady trees around it. This means I get to wear loads of layers (which is totally fine by me), and have an excuse to have the oven running and cooking warm and delicious foods at all hours of the day.

This also means: ’tis the season for stretchy pants.

Last week a friend, and guest at one of our EatWith dinners, brought beautiful fresh herbs picked from her garden. Not many people I know have such a green thumb as this friend, and I wanted to make sure her gift was used in the most delicious ways possible. Some went into the easiest and yummiest dinner rolls (recipe to come next week) and some went into this chicken dish.What I wanted to make came to mind immediately. It’s a twist on Deb Perlman’s (of Smitten Kitchen) recipe for Harvest Roast Chicken. Even though you don’t cook with the rosemary, its addition at the end produces the most mouth-watering of aromas and transforms the dish.

I promise this photo isn’t a plug for Fairway (even though it’s a great supermarket) but a instead highlighting this spice that I use heavily in this chicken dish. I haven’t yet found its equal and at the rate we use it, I wish it came in larger containers. It’s the flavor of curry without the heat, which is good if you want to use a lot of it without setting your tongue on fire. We use it on so many things like to flavor rice, in tuna salad, on meats and fish, and roast vegetables.You don’t need to have this exact spice to make the recipe – any curry powder will do (just adjust to avoid tongue fires).

The biggest difference between my version and the original recipe is the amount of spice. Originally the recipe called for only salt and pepper. While it’s a really great recipe, it was lacking in “oomph”. So I set about editing it to my taste. My favorite part about the added seasoning is not only how it affects the chicken but the pan sauce as well. Oh…the pan sauce.
Have you roasted grapes yet? Because if you haven’t yet, please get on that immediately. Under high heat the grapes burst and caramelize, while somehow retaining a crunchy texture. They’re definitely the perfect foil to the savory and salty parts of the rest of the dish.
With a small salad and maybe some smashed potatoes, this makes a phenomenal and easy weeknight meal. Spice the chicken in the morning and throw it together in under an hour when you get home. I would say make it for the amazing smells alone but then you’d be missing out on how ridiculously good it tastes. So make it for both reasons. Soon.

Pan Roasted Chicken with Curry, Grapes, and Rosemary
Ingredients
  • ½ Tbsp mild curry powder (or any curry powder you like)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • A few turns of fresh black pepper (or to taste)
  • 4-6 pieces of chicken with the skin on. I prefer dark meat and used 4 thighs but could have squeezed in a couple drumsticks too.
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of red grapes
  • 2 small shallots thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
Instructions
  1. Make the dry rub by mixing the first six ingredients together and season the chicken very well. I like to take my time when seasoning and making sure to go under the skin. I made it with 4 pieces of chicken and had enough leftover rub for 1-2 small pieces more. Cover the chicken and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or for the day before cooking.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F
  3. In an ovenproof skillet (cast iron if you have it!) warm olive oil over medium-high heat.
  4. If you have a lot of chicken work in batches here. Once the oil is shimmering place the chicken skin side down to brown. Don't move the chicken! The skin will release itself once it's ready and if you want that beautiful golden brown and crispy texture let it be in the pan. Give it about 5 minutes on each side.
  5. Shut the heat under the pan. Place the chicken skin side up back into the skillet and surround it with the shallots and grapes. Place in the oven for 2o minutes or until the juices run clear.
  6. Once finished in the oven, remove the chicken, grapes, and whatever shallots get picked up along the way and place them on a serving plate. Place the skillet back on the stovetop and add the wine and stock to the pan juices and bring it to a boil. Make sure to scrape up all the browned bits and onions at the bottom! Let sauce reduce 15-20 minutes or until a desired saucy thickness is achieved.
  7. Pour the sauce over the chicken and grapes and sprinkle the whole dish with the fresh rosemary.
  8. If eating with other folks, make sure to sit down to eat when the chicken hits the table because otherwise, and I've witnessed it, you might return to an empty serving plate. On your mark, get set....

Adapted from Deb Perlman’s recipe in “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Chewy Apple Oatmeal Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Icing

This past week I wanted to make a dessert for a client but she didn’t want something too sweet because her kids had probably just eaten their weight in candy over Halloween weekend. So I went with a cookie that was half dessert and half sorta healthy (well, maybe just half “not total junk food”).When I baked them the first time it was without icing and walnuts. Then later in the week, when I was sitting having my morning life-fuel (coffee), and desperately wanting something to dip into it, I thought about these cookies and how to jazz them up with a little more sweetness.
I never know how to answer the question “what do you love most to cook or bake?”. Honestly, I love preparing almost anything that comes out delicious regardless of time or effort spent. But I will say that pie, cookies, and certain other baked goods are up near the top of my (nonexistent) list.It’s easy to find a recipe that’s quick to put together, yields delicious results, and produces enough product that you can share with friends and family thereby making you the most popular person in town. Which is always the goal, right?
Aside from this being a fast cookie to make, it could also help you use up a couple of the apples from the 20-40 pounds that you got from the pick-your-own farm a few weeks back.  Technically, you only need one apple for these, but if you’re feeling ambitious, you could make your own applesauce (which the recipe calls for).
I recommend throwing these together this weekend and then passing them out at all group gatherings. If there’s anything left, I bet the office would love to have something to dunk in their coffee come Monday morning.

Chewy Apple Oatmeal Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Icing

Serves: Makes about 2½ dozen

Ingredients
Cookie
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce (a 4oz snack cup is the perfect size)
  • 1 apple, medium sized, chopped into small ⅛ sized pieces (I used a Macoun but any good baking apple will work)
  • ½ cup walnuts - toasted and roughly chopped (optional)
Icing
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • Pinch of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. In one bowl whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the melted butter together with the sugars until incorporated. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk until smooth and then add the applesauce and incorporate.
  3. Switch whisk for spoon or spatula and slowly add in the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine. Add in the apples and walnuts and give it one last stir.
  4. Cover and place in the fridge for an hour. The oats will absorb some of the liquid in the batter making it firmer and ready for baking.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F
  6. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mat. Drop the batter by the tablespoon. Bake until cookies are golden brown on the edges, about 15-17 minutes. (In one oven it took 15 minutes and in another in took 17-19 minutes.)
  7. While cookies are cooling and baking, make icing in a separate bowl using a spatula or spoon to stir. Mix the confectioners sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla together first and then begin adding the water until your desired consistency. I wanted a thicker icing and only used 1 tbsp of water. Once you have the icing where you want it, stir in a pinch of cinnamon.
  8. Drizzle the icing over the cookies and let set.
  9. Store in an airtight container with parchment paper between layers. These cookies were best on day 1 but still delicious (more chewy less crunch) on day 2 and beyond.

Slightly adapted from this Serious Eats Recipe