shaved cauliflower & farro salad

there's a certain salad i've been remaking on repeat ever since our yoga retreat last month. i've made it for all my clients with rave reviews, and most recently brought it to a yogisthanksgiving gathering. i'm remaking it one more time for our meal with my family tomorrow night, but i doubt it will stop there. i still haven't tired myself of it...

the inspiration for this recipe came from my friend becca, who adopted it from a salad on the menu at rock creek in fremont. she assisted me with the food for our yoga retreat and added this crowd pleasing salad to the retreat menu. we served this salad to our guests along with a kabocha squash lemongrass stew that was incredible (recipe from nigel slater's cookbook 'tender' but you can find a version here)... it was a winning combo! i've been fiddling with different versions and various vinaigrettes and have finally settled on a recipe to share with you all! it's the perfect contribution to a holiday potluck or a nourishing meal to balance out all the holiday feasting! 

this past weekend i was house/dog sitting for my sister and wandered with her pup over to the university district farmers market. i was so excited to find a pile of vibrant purple cauliflower at nash's farm!!! they are tricky to track down in the grocery markets... but you can certainly use other heirloom varieties like "cheddar" cauliflower, or even romanesco for to mix in some color with regular white cauliflower. 

shaved cauliflower salad ~ serves 6-8 
2 small heads cauliflower (purple, "cheddar," white or romanesco)
3/4 cup emmer farro
1 cup shaved parmesan (about 4 oz) 
1/4 cup or more toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons pickled peppers (mama lil's or sweet piquante peppers), diced 
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley, roughly chopped

bring farro to a boil with 6 cups of water and simmer for about 45 minutes until chewy but tender (i usually pull it off the stove once i see a few grain berries start to split). strain and rinse with cool water. 

trim cauliflower leaving the stem intact and broken into large florets. use a mandoline slicer to thinly slice florets - thin enough that they are a not quite translucent. i use the mandoline to do the bulk of the slicing, and whatever i can't slice without slicing my fingers i chop finely with a knife or just save those leftover florets for a stir fry. if you don't have a mandoline, you could use a food processor attachment to shave the cauliflower instead, but it will turn into more of a cauliflower "rice" texture than shaved cauliflower. 

toast pine nuts in 350-degree oven or on stove top until gently browned and fragrant. shave parmesan, chop pickled peppers and parsley and set aside. when ready to serve, mix ingredients together with a light amount of vinaigrette to start and add more to taste (you don't have to use the full cup of vinaigrette) 

creamy cashew vinaigrette ~ makes about 1 cup 
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
1 tablespoon maple syrup 
1 heaping tablespoon cashew butter (raw or roasted) 
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
large pinches salt and pepper 

use blender or whisk to combine. if you don't have cashew butter on hand, you could substitute 2 tablespoons raw hemp seeds or pine nuts and blend with remaining ingredients in high speed blender. i didn't want to spend $14 on a jar of cashew butter, but i was able to find one of those tiny single serving nut butter snacks for like 75 cents. if storing in fridge for later use, it will thicken... use a splash of hot water to thin and serve.

maple roasted kuri squash, kale & quiona pangrattato

how do i restart this thing? i had planned to take just a month off from blogging to travel with my partner in south africa for the entire month of august. then from the moment we landed home, i had a long list of tasks to tackle... starting with laundry and then bigger tasks like marketing myself for more private chef clients to fill my schedule back up. i've been trying to hustle but struggling to shift gears out of vacation mode. i'm pretty certain my list of tasks has grown longer faster than i've been able to tick things off it. 

so my blog sat idle for not one but two months!!! but not for lack of inspiration. 

our trip to south south africa was incredible and i have memories and photographs that i'll cherish forever. rad bouldering, inspiring sunsets, new friends and wonderful time spent with my favorite person. we had some fantastic meals but the cuisine is very (like reeeeally) meat heavy. i was thrilled to be there during their citrus, passionfruit and avocado season, but i really craved vegetables. i failed miserably trying to find a farmers market with fresh produce beyond the same small selections at the grocery store. so i pitifully bought arugula in tiny plastic "fresh herb" packets because it was the only bitter greens i could find. i cooked a lot of rice and lentils, rice and beans, fried rice and ate avocado toast day and night. i kept dreaming about our markets back home and told a south african climber about the tomato farmer who grows probably 30 kinds of heirloom tomatoes. the south african was stunned! "we have two kinds here. big or small." 

i was so excited to get my hands on heirloom tomatoes and have been all giddy with all the produce coming into season. it gives me so much pleasure and inspiration... i just needed to get into gear again to share it with you all! 

i drew some inspiration for this fall salad from nigel slater's cookboook tender, for a pumpkin pangrattato. "grated bread" aka breadcrumbs. so first i experimented with homemade breadcrumbs. i think i'm partial to the bread crumb version, but got curious to try a crispy quiona version. both were spectacular. without the pangrattato, this is just a simple salad with some of my favorite seasonal flavors. but with the pangrattato... oh, you'll be glad you didn't skip it! 

if you're curious to try this recipe with breadcrumbs (because it was stupendous!) just swap a cup breadcrumbs (ideally chunky homemade breadcrumbs) for quinoa and add a bit more oil (or butter) ... they will brown quicker, but otherwise follow same recipe and directions! the pangrattato is a wonderful topper for roasted vegetables and squash! 

for the maple roasted kuri squash:
1/2 red kuri squash 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
salt & aleppo pepper
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup 

preheat oven to 375. gut squash and carefully cut into cubes slightly smaller than 1" - the beautiful thing about organic red kuri squash, is that you can and should eat the skin! if you're using another squash variety, or if your particular kuri squash has a really tough skin you might prefer removing it with a vegetable peeler first, then cutting into cubes. toss cubed squash with olive oil, salt and aleppo pepper - reserving the maple syrup for later. 

line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread squash out in a single layer. roast for 15 minutes and then stir to turn squash on their other sides. continue roasting until squash is fork tender, then remove from oven and drizzle with a tablespoon or more of pure maple syrup. if the quash seems a little dry, add a tiny drizzle more of olive oil too! stir to coat and return to oven for 5-10 more minutes to let sugars caramelize. 

for the quinoa pangrattato: 
1 cup chilled leftover quinoa 
2+ tablespoon olive oil 
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped 
large pinch red chili flakes
large pinch sea salt 

in a skillet (nonstick is best), heat oil, quinoa, salt and red chili flakes over medium-low heat. don't rush it, you want the quinoa to brown slowly and crisp up rather than burn. stir every few minutes and continue frying until quinoa is toasted golden. add chopped rosemary, lemon zest and garlic and continue frying until gently browned - adding a bit more oil if quinoa is burning. 

or the kale salad:
1 bunch lacinato kale
1/4 cup roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds 
juice of 1 lemon
1+ tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
salt & pepper 

de-stem, wash and dry kale and tear or chop into large bite size pieces. massage kale in a bowl with lemon juice, olive oil and maple syrup - you can start with less and add more to taste. season well and toss with roasted seeds, warm roasted kuri squash and crispy quinoa pangrattato. top with a little extra lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil! 

apricot & greens smoothie


mornings when you can take a moment to nourish yourself and sit quietly in a beautiful space. i love those mornings.  and i've been cherishing every morning this way all month in our new home. our deck is surrounded be edible goodness and tall green trees, it's quite and the perfect space to sip coffee. i am savoring this new opportunity to walk into the garden and grab a handful of fresh herbs and greens to make breakfast. i'll see how long this morning ritual continues...  we will certainly keep the ritual going from our caravan trailer in south africa next month! and i imagine sitting in slippers and a sweatshirt long into the chillier months back in seattle in the fall (so long as it's not wet outside!) i won't give up mornings like these so easily.

i bought a flat of apricots last week at our neighborhood farmers market. they were bursting with juice, so i frozen several trays of sliced apricots to save for later, and have been slurping up the remainder in these tart green smoothies that are wonderfully refreshing and hydrating in the warm summer weather! the cucumbers this time of year are incredible as well!! i've been munching on them day after day! ah, summer produce! 

apicrot & greens smoothie ~ serves 1 
2 ripe apricots
1 cup greens (kale or chard) 
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup or more cucumber
1/2 cup or more frozen pineapple 
fresh mint spring 
1 tablespoon chia seeds
splash of water or coconut water

blend all ingredients, except chia seeds, and just enough water to get things moving. blend until smooth. add chia seeds and blend to just stir them in. pour and enjoy!

grilled summer squash & corn salad

we leave for south africa in 12 days, but i seem to have already settled into vacation mode. a good portion of my clients are off with their kiddos on summer vacations, so i've just been teaching a little yoga and working irregularly for clients who drop back into town. my partner is a school teacher, so his relaxed summer-break mood is also effecting my motivation to do anything productive. we've slowly managed to settle into our new home and spent a full day merging kitchens with our housemates, but mostly we've been spending our summer lounging on the deck of our new home with coffee and our house mate's cats and utilizing our house mate's incredible vegetable garden and propane grill to assemble meals worthy of opening a good bottle of wine. 

i'm grateful we've had a relaxed july. it's allowed us to fully enjoy our one month of "summer" before we travel to the other hemisphere for early springtime in south africa. soaking it in while we can! 

this is the first time as an adult that i've lived in a home with a grill. i'm convinced that everything tastes better grilled. i know i'm not alone in that thinking. since i have all sorts of free time, made and remade this salad of grilled corn, poblano peppers and summer squash - grilled each vegetable in batches and then cooled and tossed together to create the most flavorful summer salad imaginable. but since it takes a little while to grill everything, know that this salad holds perfectly well in the fridge - so you can make it ahead of time for a backyard bbq party! 

grilled summer squash & corn salad ~ serves 6+
6 ears corn, shucked
6 small-ish zucchini, sliced into 1/4" strips length-wise
6 poblano peppers, halved and seeded
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 limes - zest saved and juiced
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1-2 cloves crushed garlic (optional)
olive oil
salt, pepper & chili powder
1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese (optional)

rub shucked corn, sliced zucchini and seeded peppers with a bit of olive oil - just enough to thinly coat. salt, pepper and sprinkle with chili powder. heat grill to medium-high heat and grill corn, turning every 3-5 minutes or so until the kernels are lightly browned, then let corn cool to room temp. while corn cools, grill zucchini ribbons and peppers in batches until theres some good grill marks on both sides of the zucchini and blisters on the peppers. remove veggies from grill and let cool on a large cutting board or flat surface (try to avoid letting them pile up in a bowl where they will continue to steam and get mushy).

once grilled vegetables are cooled to room temp, slice off the corn and cut the zucchini and roasted peppers into small bites. toss with the zest and juice of both limes, chopped onion, garlic, cilantro and cotija cheese. you might add a bit more olive oil, salt, pepper or some chili powder to taste or toss in some chopped greens like tender kale or arugula. 

snap pea & nappa cabbage slaw

i've spent the last decade in tiny apartments with dinky little kitchens and cheap electric stoves. i made do. in fact, i made some pretty incredible meals out of those tiny kitchens! and while it's still going to be a long while before david and i own a home, we're making the jump to move into a house ...a real house!... with another lovely couple. it's going to be a big transition for us to merge our households, but i'm thrilled about this house, its beautiful kitchen, it's viking gas range, and the wildly productive vegetable garden that our house mate has been pouring his heart into for the past two years! 

but for now, i'm still in our apartment... sweltering on the top floor. it's too hot to consider turning on the stove or oven, so i've been playing with fun salads and smoothies. i've made a few batches of this flavorful dressing for myself and clients and love the sweetness of nappa cabbage. you can toss in any other spring veggies you like and some kind of protein! lot's of different combinations work well with this dressing!

snap pea & nappa cabbage slaw ~ serves 4 
1 pound nappa cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 pound sweet snap peas (about 2 cups chopped)
2 small persian cucumbers (about 2 cups chopped)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup gomasio or toasted sesame seeds

optional additions:
toasted soy nuts
wasabi peas
hard boiled eggs
baked/fried tofu
ripe avocado
toasted seaweed snacks

shred cabbage and chop snap peas and cucumbers into small bites. mix in any other fun additions and dress with a hefty portion of miso-ginger-wasabi dressing. enjoy! 

miso-ginger-wasabi dressing ~ makes about 12 oz
6 oz fresh orange juice 
2 oz untoasted sesame oil
2 oz unseasoned rice wine vinegar
juice of 1 lime
2-3 tablespoons miso paste (white or chickpea miso works best!) 
1 heaping tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon tahini
wasabi to taste (powder or paste) *optional 
best if you wiz this up in a blender, or you can just stir together. store leftover dressing in fridge. 

cold smoked chocolate s'mores tart

when i take pause to add them up, i know an incredible amount of amazing women! i've been so fortunate in the past few weeks to have shared wonderful conversations with the majority of them all ... brilliant, driven female entrepreneurs who meet together for a monthly discussion group. strong and fearless women i train and climb with indoors and recently on a rad ladies-only bouldering trip. knowledgeable and influential instructors who inspire and expand my own yoga practice. and a recent gathering of pnw food bloggers introduced me to a number of talented gals that i had been admiring for years, but had yet to meet in person. 

ladies, thank you all for overwhelming inspiration! 

one of my favorite local female-owned business, 'hot cakes' sent me a goodie bag of ingredients from their wilderness collection to test out. a portion of proceeds from this fun product line benefits organizations committed to preserving wildlife and wild places! so basically ... eat chocolate and save the wild! their alder wood cold-smoked chocolate chips and campfire caramel sauce worked their way into a tart that drew inspiration from a recipe from my friend sasha's blog 'tending the table.' sasha's peanut butter pie is wildly delicious and the crunchy addition of puffed rice in her "crust" was perfect for what i had in mind. adding a ganache layer makes things a bit more complicated, but it's well worth the extra effort. 

smoked chocolate s'mores tart 
note: i made a double batch to fill a 12" tart pan plus 3 mini-tarts (because that's what i own) ... but for a single batch, a 9" or 10" round tart pan or springform pan would all work well. if you have extra makings, fill some cupcake tins with leftovers! 

for the crust
1-1/2 cups pitted dates
1-1/2 cups raw cashews
1 cup puffed rice cereal 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
pinch of sea salt

for the smoked chocolate ganache layer
2 tablespoon coconut oil

for the almond cream layer
3/4 cup smooth almond butter
3/4 cup full-fat coconut cream 
2 tablespoons campfire caramel sauce
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
large pinch of sea salt

2-3 tablespoons campfire caramel sauce
1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
1/2 cup mini vegan marshmallows 

in a food processor, pulse cashews, cinnamon and sea salt until nuts are roughly chopped. add pitted dates and pulse until everything sticks together. transfer crust "dough" to a mixing bowl and work in the puffed rice. 

use a paper towel to lightly grease tart pan(s) with a little bit of coconut oil. press dough in using your fingers and just enough crust dough to cover the bottom of the pan. if you have leftovers, make extra mini tarts in cupcake tins! 

melt coconut oil and smoked chocolate chips in a double boiler. spread a thin layer of chocolate in the tart pan, and then transfer to freezer to let set. reserve a few tablespoons or more of melted chocolate to drizzle on top... just leave it in the double boiler so that you can easily reheat it later. 

in a blender, combine ingredients for the almond cream layer until smooth. it should be slightly airy and pourable, like a thick smoothie. add coconut milk if needed to loosen the mixture. check on the chocolate layer and make sure that it is fully hardened before topping the tart with the almond-cream layer. fill tart pan to the brim. sprinkle the top with marshmallows and puffed rice - whatever proportion you think looks good! return tart to freezer for another 15+ minutes, until almond-cream layer is firm. 

finally, reheat melted chocolate in double boiler and warm the caramel sauce. drizzle both over the chilled tart. return to freezer until ready to serve! to serve, gently remove the tart from the pan and let sit for a few minutes at room temp, until it's easier to cut tarts with a knife. you can also slice tart and return slices to freezer until ready to serve. i think the best texture is when frozen or when they've been sitting out at room temp for about 10 minutes. they can hold for an hour or two at room temp, but the almond-cream layer will soften significantly. 

thank you 'hot cakes' for your sweet contributions! 

parsnip date butter & archipelago preserves

after two full years of self employment, i finally accomplished one of my bigger goals: teaching and cooking for my first yoga retreat! i partnered with my colleague, bree dillon, to share in the organizing and teaching. i also had a tremendous amount of help in the kitchen from my lovely friend becca... a girl with an incredible palate, who could pinpoint the flavor of the tiniest amount of capers in a lentil salad big enough to feed 25 people. together, we pulled off the most incredible three-day weekend retreat at doe bay on orcas island. 

even at the fringe of the growing season, orcas island had so much to offer our bellies. i put together a self-guided food tour of the island, visited farms and fabulous artisans and collected ingredients along the way for our shared meals. with breakfasts in mind, we collected six dozen rich and vibrant eggs from happy hens at warm valley farm, visited the tasting room of 'girl meets dirt' to stock up on island-grown fruit preserves, stopped into roses bakery for my favorite breads and got a personal delivery of island-roasted coffee from 'local goods' for endless pots of french press. our breakfast buffets had homemade everything: granola, almond milk, energy balls, island-grown greens, asparagus-chimichurri frittata one morning and a spanish tortilla with romesco sauce another, parnsip butter & jam smeared toasts... i've never seen a better looking breakfast selection. 

i want to gush on and on about the experience, but i'll reserve that to my personal journal. i will tell you though about these delicious preserves. and this parsnip-date butter i made to go along with audra's preserves. 

'girl meets dirt' is something truly special. audra, the master jammer, is dedicated to reviving and stewarding old fruit orchards throughout the san juan islands, hand picking all her fruit locally and making the highest quality small batch preserves in stunning copper pots. her flavors are many, but her plum preserves are my personal favorite. paired with crusty bread and a smear of parsnip-date butter... oh so magical. 

parsnip date butter ~ makes 2 cups
3 cups peeled and cubed parsnips
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoon lemon juice - or to taste
3 or more large medjool dates - or to taste
large pinch salt

peel and cut parsnips into cubes the size of grapes or hazelnuts. add to steamer basket and steam for 20 minutes or so, until roots are completely smooshable. transfer steamed parsnips to a blender or food processor with remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. start with less lemon and date, and add more to taste. i enjoy this spread lightly sweetened and enough acid to brighten the overall flavor but not to taste intense lemon. let cool and store in airtight container for up to one week. 

notes: i usually don't promote peeling or steaming vegetables (i like to eat all the nutrients) but the resulting color and texture in this butter recipe is far superior. so save those veggie peels for a soup stock, and you can even use your steaming water in a stock too! there's good stuff in there... this recipe was inspired by a toast i had at the london plane in seattle. there they served the parsnip-date butter drizzled with pomegranate molasses, but i highly suggest you get your hands on some 'girl meets dirt' preserves instead!! 

thank you local goods & girl meets dirt for your contributions to our retreat! our guests were well fed and well caffeinated!! 

the perfect spring lunch

as the saying goes: when it rain's it pours. but here in seattle, the weather has brought out the freckles on my nose and tan lines on my back! however in my life, it's feels like it's pouring buckets of both exciting developments and challenging stress. 

... subbing a few too many yoga classes in addition to my usual 5 weekly classes and not finding time to practice for myself.
... taking on a couple new fabulous weekly clients for my private chef work but orchestrating a complicated scheduling puzzle.
... getting the final touches and designs together for my band's new album.
... planning the menu and testing recipes for a yoga retreat that departs in just a few weeks.
... managing a climbing injury, but still wanting to get outdoors to climb (i can't pass up on these wonderful conditions after a long season of wet rocks!)
... realizing that i need to get my act together if we're going to cape town south africa in just a few months but don't have any plane tickets or reservations yet.
... fitting everything in around some weekend trips to portland and austin (both rad cities, surprisingly very similar to each other!)
... sudden adult-onset allergies are destroying me, but i can't resist the outdoors in this glorious weather, so i've been putting off being indoors to do computer work and bookkeeping.
... and my cousin, who lives nearby and is like a brother to me, is having a baby like *today,* so i'm basically going to be an auntie any minute.

in summary... the side effects of having multiple passions in life, each progressing on their own meandering paths. 

last week i was helping a client use up all her random veggie leftovers from hosting an easter dinner. the resulting soup was so delicious, i went out and bought the ingredients for myself to recreate it at home. sometimes my favorite recipes are intuited from everything-but-the-kitchen-sink experimentation. 

today i'm taking a break from the pollen, hunkering down with my computer, and procrastinating with food blogging (which is exactly why this blog initially started back in college). productive procrastination. 

pureed asparagus, pesto & sweet potato soup ~ makes about 3 quarts 
1 medium yellow onion
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs asparagus
1 small bag baby spinach or 1 large bunch adult spinach, washed
1 small yellow/white sweet potato (about .75 lbs)
1 small bunch fresh basil
1 tablespoon (ideally) fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
juice of 1 lemon
salt + pepper to taste
1/2-1 cup raw pine nuts
homemade or store-bought pesto for garnish *optional
shaved parmesan for garnish *optional

crush garlic and set to side. thinly slice onions and saute in oil large soup pot until gently caramelized - about 10 minutes.

wash but don't peel the sweet potato. cut into tiny cubes for quick cooking. wash and trim asparagus and cut into inch-long pieces. once onions are cooked, add garlic, a good pinch of salt and cubed sweet potatoes. cover pot and let simmer on low for about 10 minutes until potatoes are soft.

then add oregano, asparagus, 1/2 cup pine nuts and just enough water that all vegetables are in water but not quite fully submerged. turn up the heat until water is boiling, then lower to simmer covered for another 3-5 minutes until asparagus is for tender but not too mushy.

remove soup pot from heat, add torn fresh basil, spinach and lemon juice. stir and cover until greens are wilted. just a few minutes.

blend in batches until smooth. adding a bit of water if necessary to reach desired consistency. adjust seasoning to taste - adding more lemon, salt and black pepper if you prefer.

garnish bowls of soup with shaved parmesan, a little drizzle of pesto if you have it on hand, or toasted pine nuts, some fresh basil, or all of the above! serve with some good bread & a fresh greens salad!

simple spring salad: 
butter lettuce
shaved carrot ribbons
thinly sliced radish
quick pickled red onion
lemon + local honey + olive oil
sea salt + black pepper

i've been trying to incorporate local honey into my daily routine to combat the allergies. a little drizzle with equal parts lemon juice and olive oil makes a bright flavorful dressing. to quick pickle red onions, just thinly slice any portion of red onion and submerge in unseasoned rice vinegar or white wine vinegar and wait at least 2 hours, or overnight. i shave the carrots with a vegetable peeler and a knife or mandoline to thinly slice radishes.

toss & munch!

honey curry mustard slaw

i have fond memories of the saint patricks day meals my dad made for our family growing up. but as an adult, i don't particularly enjoy corned beef or guiness beer. maybe i would be more thrilled about a holiday that was celebrated by eating greens, rather than wearing green and drinking. i was shopping at my local food coop yesterday, and they had piles of green cabbages on sale. ok, cabbage i can do, but boiled cabbage and potatoes is terribly dull. instead, i got inspired to #eatboldly by mustard & co's honey-curry mustard... this is not your average saint patricks day dish! in fact, you are probably better off just considering it as a great spring or summer slaw!

when i first tried mustard & co's kick-ass mustard, i whisked it into a salad dressing in the same proportion i typically use mustards ... heavily. it had a thrilling wasabi-like effect that i've only tasted before with homemade mustard. i quickly understood the "eat boldly" message on jar's packaging. this little jar is concentrated in flavor and spice. it's a wonderful addition to my unruly mustard collection (apparently my friends and family always remember my love for mustard around christmas time...)

eat boldly, friends.

cabbage, cashew & apple slaw ~ serves 4 
6 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1 large apple, thinly sliced or cubed
1 cup roasted unsalted cashews
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cups roasted honey curry mustard chickpeas (recipe below)
avocado & honey curry mustard dressing to taste (recipe below)
1 ripe avocado *optional

toss ingredients together, reserving a few green onions, chickpeas and cashews to sprinkle on top. extra tasty with ripe avocado slices on top too!

roasted honey curry mustard chickpeas
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey curry mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder

preheat oven to 425-degrees. whisk oil, mustard, salt and curry powder together in a bowl, then stir in the chickpeas to coat. spread coated chickpeas onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. don't overcrowd the chickpeas - the more space between them the better! bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasty and crisp. let chickpeas cool on a paper towel or brown paper bag.

avocado & honey curry mustard dressing
1/2 ripe avocado
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey curry mustard
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
cayenne to taste

wiz up in a blender, adding a splash of water if needed to reach a thick-dressing consistency.

thank you mustard & co. for sponsoring this blog post! all opinions are mine. 

shitake-adzuki bean soup

did i miss something? did the month of february actually happen? i apparently failed to post anything to the blog last month and my brain hasn't quite processed the fact that it is already march! my daily bike commutes have been seeing more and more daylight... a welcome reminder that spring is truly on it's way! but besides the subtle adjustments to sunrise and sunset, i feel like an entire month just slipped away into a blur of events and daily routines. i had the joy of catering an intimate wedding on valentines day and a baby shower for my cousin, taught a yoga workshop to a group of eager beginner yogis, opened up registration for my first yoga retreat that i'll be co-teaching and cooking for (!!!), added two new yoga classes and a new private chef client to my weekly schedule ... whew! no wonder the blog fell by the wayside! but this soup - it is so blog-post worthy! 

i created this soup for a client recently, and loved it so much i made it for all my other clients and twice for myself! it's the perfect soup to help fight off a cold. it's hearty, warming, and packed with flavor and nutrients. if you like the flavors of pho, you'll love this quick and easy one-pot soup! if you can't find adzuki beans (dried or canned), i might suggest swapping them out for shelled soy beans (which you can often find in the freezer section) or green peas. 

shitake-adzuki bean soup ~ serves 4+
3 cups chopped carrots & parsnips (or other root vegetables)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
5-6 cups stock of choice
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon chinese five spice
pinch red chili flakes
2 star anise *optional
1 heaping tablespoon takii umami powder *optional 
3 cups shitake mushrooms
4 stems green onions
2 cups cooked adzuki beans, strained
1 small bunch lacinato kale
juice of 1 or 2 limes
spicy fresh chili *optional 

crush garlic and set to side for at least 10 minutes while you prep other ingredients. clean and chop carrots and parsnips into equally sized disks or half moons. brush off any dirt and quarter or slice shitakes mushrooms. in a large soup pot, heat coconut oil over medium-low heat and add root vegetables, ginger and garlic to saute for 5 minutes. add stock, tamari, five spice, anise, chili flakes and takii powder and bring to a simmer. add mushrooms, cover pot and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes or until root vegetables and mushrooms are fork tender. 

while soup simmers, wash, de-stem and chop kale into thin strips and thinly slice green onions. once root vegetables and mushrooms are cooked through, add adzuki beans, kale, green onions and lime juice. cook for just another minute until kale is gently wilted and beans are warmed through. serve with extra lime wedges, fresh chilies or an extra drizzle of tamari if you crave more salt in the soup. (spoon out the star anise when serving - no one wants a surprise mouthful of wood-hard anise)