Crunchy Cabbage & Peanut Slaw

Crunchy Cabbage & Peanut Slaw

As readers of my monthly newsletter know, I was that girl that brought a salad to a Super Bowl watching party. Yes. (But also, someone should be that person. The salad is always gone at the end of the night--or halfway through the night - and everyone is always glad to at least have a little freshness on their plates between tasting different dips and chips). 

Where this crunchy cabbage peanut slaw began: I am a pack-my-own lunch kinda gal, but some days getting out of the office just to walk around is really the best medicine. It was a day like that when I wandered to Natural Grocers (a few blocks away), and picked up a prepared salad -- I was craving fresh veggies. The gulp of fresh air was nice, but the salad was dry and pretty boring. It was the idea of the salad that inspired me though: a simple cabbage slaw with a peanut dressing. 

Crunchy Cabbage & Peanut Slaw
Crunchy Cabbage & Peanut Slaw

So I went home and dreamed up a better version, which is still a simple salad but it calls for a LOT of zesty peanut dressing -- a dressing far zestier and more addicting than the original. (So addicting in fact, that it also makes a very good dip for crudités).

You'll notice right away that this dressing calls for a semi-long list of ingredients. They are (almost) all shelf-stable pantry staples, and despite the list of ingredients the magic of this sauce is in how it's made: plop everything in the blender and go. That's it. This is where I tell you: do not fear that list of ingredients, embrace it. It is worth it. And by the time you've checked to see if you have everything you need, you're only 30 seconds away from finishing the dressing. 

Crunchy Cabbage & Peanut Slaw

Crunchy Cabbage & Peanut Slaw

Published February 19, 2019 by
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Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



Ingredients:


For the peanut dressing (yields about 1 cup):
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons water to thin dressing, as needed

  • For the slaw:
  • 3-4 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • 4-5 green onions, white and dark green parts removed
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • Optional additional add-ins we also love: 1 cup chopped bok choy, 1/2 cup chopped sugar snap peas, 1/4 cup minced Thai basil

  • Directions:

    1. Place all ingredients for the dressing, aside from the water, in a blender and purée until smooth. Then, add water as needed to thin dressing as needed (based on preferences).
    2. Sliced green onions and add to a salad bowl with cabbage and cilantro. Toss to combine. Top with sesame seeds and peanuts.
    3. Drizzle with about 1/3 to 1/2 cup peanut sauce, or to taste.

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    Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

    Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

    These sweet potato skins, stuffed with creamy sweet potato mash and cheese and bacon, were originally created as a hooray-it's-Friday, game-day, movie-watching snack, but I'll let you in on a secret: the leftovers make a damn delicious breakfast when reheated. But maybe that's just me. Either way, they DO make a fantastic over-the-top snack/appetizer/appetizer that you're calling dinner. 

    It starts with sweet potatoes (bake 'em up!). The soft, sweet flesh gets mashed with sour cream, which makes them ULTRA creamy and flavorful.

    Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins
    Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

    Toppings is where these sweet potato skins get their name -- and where it gets really delicious. First -- shredded Monterey Jack. Then, bacon pieces. I used Tender Belly Habanero Bacon which was SO good because it's just the right balance of sweet and spicy, but your favorite bacon will be perfect, no matter what it is. The potatoes go in the oven like that, just until the cheesy is extra gooey, and then get topped with fresh green onions (need a little bit of green in all of that orange! 😉), a dollop of fresh sour cream, a few slices of jalapeño (for extra zip!), and a dash of smoked paprika (which also adds nice color and flavor).

    All that's left to do is eat! 

    Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

    Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

    Published January 22, 2019 by
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    Serves: 12   |    Active Time: 1 hour



    Ingredients:

  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • Several dashes of paprika, for garnish
  • Optional: 1 jalapeño, sliced for garnish

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prick each sweet potato with a fork, and bake for 45-50 minutes, until sweet potatoes are soft all the way through. Allow sweet potatoes to cook 10-15 minutes, or until they are cool enough for you to handle.
    2. Slice each sweet potato in half. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh out of each potato half and into a bowl without breaking the skin of the potato (tip: leave about 1/4 inch of flesh attached to the skin, it helps keep everything together!).
    3. Mash sweet potato flesh with 1/3 cup sour cream, salt, and pepper until everything is incorporated (a few lumps are OK).
    4. Scoop mashed sweet potato into potato skins. Top with cheese and bacon bits. Place back in oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and just starting to bubble. Remove from oven, and top with green onions, a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of paprika, and if using, a slice or two of fresh jalapeño.
    5. Serve hot.
    Reheating leftovers: Leftovers can be reheated in a microwave (1-2 minutes, depending on microwave), toaster oven or oven (350° for 10-15 minutes, until warmed through)

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    Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash

    Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash

    Boise is surrounded by golden hills, many of them charred by grass fires. But don’t be deceived: just and hour north, you’ll be among the trees, an hour further and the grass turns green, and just thirty minutes more, you’ll come around the bend into McCall and spot Payette lake, backdropped by Brundage Mountain. This is where we spent the end of August— in a cabin with family. 

    We visited just two weeks after the annual huckleberry festival, but there were plenty of wild blackberries at the farmers market still, something you don’t see much of in the front range of Colorado! So of course, I had to take that inspiration and run with it— creating a massive list of things to make (yes, I do seem to have a thing for lists). And perhaps I’ll plant some berries in my yard next spring... blackberries, blueberries, and gooseberries too. 

    Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash
    Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash

    Between blackberries, we hit the trails, exploring the Payette Lake peninsula and Bear Basin on mountain bikes. On the hottest day, we rented a paddle board and kayak— the river north of town is breathtaking. 

    McCall is truly a gem of a mountain town! Outdoor enthusiasts— put this on your list. You get the strangest feeling riding your bike through the woods, like you’ve been transported to the Red Wood Forest, minus the heat! I'll be sharing a few pictures in my monthly newsletter in just a few days -- sign up here

    Baked Ricotta with Blackberry-Thyme Smash

    Published September 6, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6-8   |    Active Time: 40 minutes



    Ingredients:

    Baked Ricotta:
  • 2 cups of full fat ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup tablespoons Parmesan (divided in 2 parts)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • A few cracks pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Blackberry-Thyme Smash:
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries, divided
  • 3 sprigs thyme, plus more for garnish
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • For serving: crackers, crostinis, and/or crudités of choice

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 50-ounce capacity (about 3 cups) ramekin, baking dish, or cheese baker with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
    2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, egg, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, lemon zest, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
    3. Using a spatula, transfer the cheese mixture to the baking dish. Sprinkle top with remaining 2 tablespoons parmesan. (Note: Do not over fill your baking dish. Make the cheese level or below the top rim of the baking dish (if needed, divide the cheese between two baking dishes. This will prevent overflow and a mess in your oven!).
    4. Place in oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Parmesan on top should begin to turn golden.
    5. While the cheese is cooking, make the Blackberry-Thyme Smash: place 1 cup black berries, leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme, juice of 1/2 lemon, pinch of salt, and honey in a bowl and mash with a fork until a saucy, jammy mixture is created. Add in remaining 1/2 cup whole berries (for texture).
    6. Spoon Blackberry Smash mixture over baked cheese, and top with a sprig of thyme as garnish. Serve while cheese is still warm with crackers, crostinis, or crudités.

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