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For Valentine’s Day, I almost did the expected steak and lobster… since technically that would have been A-OK for Paleo. But I thought we might miss the drawn butter. And I figured this was a chance to try something different. EatDrinkPaleo has a ton of gorgeous looking recipes. I settled on the Seared Mexican Tuna Steak with Sweet Red Peppers and Avocado Salsa.
Alterations: Followed as directed, using a bacon avocado from my CSA and a couple of tuna steaks from the fresh section at Trader Joe’s (which were $7/lb cheaper than the ones at Whole Foods).
Do-again?: This was very tasty, though next time I’d cook the tuna a little less so that it was a bit more pink in the middle. This definitely satisfied and my boyfriend said it looked like a “restaurant dish.”
While I love organic carrots, I do notice that they tend to go limp faster than the perfectly shaped nubs from the grocery store. This means, when I get them in my CSA box, I feel pressured to use them as quickly as possible. After a few days of beautiful 80 degree weather, LA remembered that it’s actually winter and turned grey and rainy, which is why LovesVeggiesandYoga’s recipe for Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper Peanut Soup fit the bill.
Alterations: After blending and tasting the soup, I thought it needed a little kick so I added some red pepper flakes and dried thai basil and gave it a few more whirrs of the food processor. I forgot to add the agave/honey.
Do-again?: My boyfriend loved this soup as he loves anything with peanut butter in it. This was really easy to make - just roasted some veggies and dump a can of coconut milk into the food processor. Would love to try this with other veggie combos.
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My boyfriend claims he hates goat cheese, which I don’t believe because he is a lover of all other things dairy. I figured I would “trick” him by making Lauren’s Latest’s Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Alfredo.
Alterations: Instead of roasting peppers, I picked up a jar of roasted peppers at Trader Joe’s. I used a few splashes of whipping cream mixed leftover from Thanksgiving with some milk instead of half and half. I also threw in some red pepper flakes to give it a hint of spice. I decided to add some veggies, since I was as usual craving broccoli - so I threw in some broccolini and chopped artichokes.
Do-again?: The sauce was heavenly and it made a lot, way more than our pasta needed and we didn’t skimp. I think the red pepper flakes really added a nice kick. And my boyfriend totally liked the sauce before I told him it was goat cheese. I tossed some of the leftover sauce with brown rice, steamed veggies and a chicken breast. Have already recommended this dish to several friends.
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Since I’ve been stocking up with a long grocery list for Thanksgiving, it was important to make some room in the pantry to store the ingredients until turkey day. I have bags of beans and grains in the cupboard begging to be used. After perusing many black bean soup options, I decided to give Smitten Kitchen’s Black Bean Soup with Chipotle and Crema a try since I could put it in the crockpot and walk away for the day instead of constantly stirring.
Alterations: Since I hadn’t decided which soup recipe I was going with, I gave my beans an overnight soak to help with the cooking time. This wasn’t required for the Smitten Kitchen recipe, but I realized that it would require me to cut down on the number of cups of water since the beans had already absorbed some in the original soak. I cut it down to about 4.5 cups, which also worked out since I don’t think my crockpot could have fit much more. I also cut it down to just one red onion. I pureed about half the soup since I prefer a creamier bean soup texture. I let the soup cook for 4.5 hours on high. Since I didn’t have whole cumin seeds on hand, I opted to just stir in regular creme fraiche at the end.
Do-again?: The crema really took this soup from good to great. I would likely try it with the toasted cumin next time.
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Once a month, some of my lady friends and I congregate for book club. Our potluck spreads get as much attention as our book discussions. This month, I opted to bring Roasted Garlic and Pepper Guacamole to accompany the dal, brown rice, grilled veggies and artichoke pockets that was being served.
Alterations: The original recipe called for a roasted poblano pepper, I substituted with two jalapenos. I also threw in a half green pepper that I had leftover. I used two cloves of Elephant garlic. To compensate for the extra garlic and peppers, I mashed up one and a half avocados. Instead of making homemade tortilla chips, I served with pita chips.
Do-again?: The roasted peppers added a smokiness to the guacamole and some good texture. Would definitely make again - also learned that this dip pairs well with carrots!
For a while last year, my boyfriend and I were cooking out of Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking a few times a week but our devotion to Italian has trickled off a bit in the last few months. Thankfully, trying out the Roasted Red and Yellow Pepper Sauce with Garlic and Basil was just like getting back in touch with good friend that you haven’t called in a while - we felt at home and satisfied right away.
Alterations: I used one red, one yellow and one orange pepper and served the sauce with half the amount of pasta (in this case penne) that Marcella called for as we like our pasta saucier than she generally calls for.
Do-again?: This was delicious and we will totally make it again (even though peeling peppers was kind of annoying and I’m not sure if it was necessary!)
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Since I stumbled upon the recipe for Citrus Marinated Tofu and Veggies on both Serious Eats and Bon Appetit, I had to try it. I thought it would be the perfect dinner on a roll to fuel a game of kickball last night.
Alterations: I halved the tofu portion of the recipe and used some roasted veggies I already had on hand (eggplant, peppers, onions). I seasoned the veggies with paprika and cumin and let them bake alongside the tofu. Since I decided to serve the tofu and veggies on a sandwich roll instead of on its own, I blended a little light sour cream into the dressing portion of the marinade and drizzled it both on the bread and on the sandwich toppings.
Do-again?: I hadn’t baked tofu in ages. When I was a vegetarian in college I used to do it all the time. This reminded me how easy and satisfying it can be. The citrus marinade was both tasty and had no added oil!
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My love affair with both salmon and sriracha sauce has already been well documented on Epifurious. So you knew I was going to jump at the chance to combine my loves and make Sriracha-Baked Salmon and Kale Wraps with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce which I spotted in an article called Confession of a Sriracha Addict on NPR. And though mine didn’t come out quite like the recipe, I’m glad I made this.
Alterations:I used a jar of roasted red peppers from Trader Joes for the sauce. I also used what I’m guessing is a smaller leafed variety of kale that I picked up at the farmer’s market as I had to use about two pieces of kale per salmon piece and it didn’t wrap quite as elegantly. Additionally, since I preheated my oven without looking in it, I ended up cooking my salmon on a higher shelf than usual as I was too lazy to move it. This made the kale a little crispy which I actually thought worked really well.
Do-again?: Absolutely - though I’d like to try it as written where the kale is more of a wrap than an accoutrement. The red pepper sauce is delicious and I think I will use some of the leftover sauce over some sauteed kale and eggs this weekend.
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Because I liked the name, I impulsively bought a Moroccan squash at the farmer’s market. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it but knew something would inspire me. Thank goodness for Food and Wine’s emails because they pointed me in the direction of this Mario Batali recipe for Cavatelli with Spicy Winter Squash, which brought both warmth and heat to a chilly winter night.
Alterations: I scaled back the recipe to serve two, using up the remainder of a package of Cochiglie pasta. Even though I hadn’t been planning on making this recipe until I spotted it the other day, I happened to have all the ingredients on hand. Love it when that happens.
Do-again?: I hadn’t really thought about squash pasta combinations outside of butternut squash ravioli with sage and this recipe is going to make me think twice. It was so delicious and the bit of heat that the crushed red pepper, red onions and garlic brought it counterbalanced the sweetness of the squash really nicely. It was especially delicious when the sauce creeped inside the shells. Thank you Batali - you didn’t disappoint.