Roasted Garlic Dressing + Lentil Salad

garlic dressingJust to prove that I actually do eat salads at work in between the buttery scones and chocolate….

Most of the time I just put olive oil and balsamic vinegar on my salads and call it a day. But I also see the benefit in making different salad dressings and not getting bored. This week I had a lot of leftover garlic, so I wanted to use it up before it went bad. I was also craving a healthy, crunchy and filling salad that day. garlic dressing2

Roasted Garlic Dressing + Lentil Salad

Ingredients:

For the dressing:

2 whole heads of garlic, tops cut off to expose each clove

1/2 cup + a few teaspoons of olive oil, separated

salt & pepper

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup water

2 Tbs of apple cider vinegar

For the salad:

2 cups cooked lentils (I like to cheat and buy cooked lentils at Trader Joe’s)

1 1/2 cups raw broccoli florets, chopped

1 cup raw shredded carrots

1/3 cup roasted garlic dressing + more depending on how heavily dressed you like it

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil over the cut tops of the garlic and rub it into each clove, keeping the whole head intact. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on top and wrap each head in a piece of tinfoil, completely covering it. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until tender. Allow to cool and pull out each clove with a fork or knife and set aside. Discard all the garlic skins.

2. In a blender put the water, 1/2 cup of olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, pinch of salt and pepper, apple cider vinegar and all of the garlic cloves. Blend until creamy. About 30 seconds- 1 minute. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

3. If you want to make the salad, toss the lentils, broccoli and carrots in a large bowl with the dressing. I like to eat this salad as is or over a bed of mixed greens with a side of grilled bread :).


Dirty Chai Latte Scones

Scones1Scones2I woke up Saturday morning and felt like I just had to bake something. But it wasn’t the type of thing where I wanted to look through cookbooks, go to the grocery store to get exactly what I needed, then return home and start baking. I just wanted to do something right away. So I went to the kitchen, opened my cabinets and realized I had spices, espresso, flour, sugar and milk. Immediately, I thought of the flavors of one of my favorite drinks, the Dirty Chai Latte. Scones3Scones4Scones5If you have never had this drink before, you are missing out! It is a Chai Tea Latte with a shot or two of espresso and it is amazinnggggggggg. So I suggest you do two things: go get a Dirty Chai Latte AND make these Dirty Chai Scones to go with it. Trust me, it is a perfect weekend plan and these scones make an excellent weekday breakfast. Scones6Scones9Scones10

Dirty Chai Scones: makes 8 big scones 

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour (you can sub 1 cup of AP flour for whole wheat flour if you desire)

1/3 cup cane sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed

1 cup milk (I have used both 2% dairy milk and almond milk, both work great)

Filling:

1/2 stick butter, melted

1/2 cup cane sugar

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp nutmeg

dash of allspice

2 tsp ground instant espresso

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix the flour, cane sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter resembles the size of peas (I use my hands to break the butter into the flour).

2. Next add the milk slowly and mix with a fork until the dough comes together. Pour the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times until the dough completely comes together. Flour your work surface again and flour the top of your dough. Roll out the dough to a 16 by 10 rectangle. If you are having trouble with the dough being sticky, sprinkle a little more flour on top and bottom.

3. In a small bowl mix the melted butter, cane sugar, spices and espresso. It will be a little bit chunky. Spread this mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border at the far end of your dough. You are going to be rolling the larger side of the dough. Tightly roll your dough towards the border and press firmly down on the border to seal the edges. Cut into two inch pieces, which should give you 8 pieces.

4. Place the scone pieces on the baking sheet, flatten out a bit with a gentle push from your fingers and sprinkle the top with a little cane sugar. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the tops are lightly golden brown. Let cool on a wire wrack on the baking sheet. Enjoy warm. Scones keep refrigerated for a few days in the fridge and are good if they are reheated in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.

 


Earl Grey Poached Pears w/ Whiskey Pecans & Maple Whipped Cream

Poached PearI’m on a Halloween sugar high. Whoops! I made an indecent amount of dessert today for the office. But we had kids come by to trick or treat and I can admit, I got jealous. Kids get to have all the fun. SO….. I remedied the situation by making a ton of popcorn balls, rice krispy treats and dirt chocolate pudding cups with oreos and gummy worms. Oh and some spiked apple cider! I feel better. Less envious of the kids and more content with warm apple cider and chocolate pudding in my belly. Now I’m just waiting for the evening festivities! Daniel is dressing up as Freddie Mercury and I waited until the last minute to come up with something, so my co-worker fashioned me a mask and black beanie so I can be a burglar. Poached Pearclose upMy mom asked me this morning if I was excited for tonight, whether I had a costume and if it was one of those “sexy costumes you wear in your 20s because you can get away with it (kind of) costume”. I laughed pretty hard. Truth is, I have no desire to go in some skin tight or skin baring-going to be freezing all night costume. I would rather be bundled up, warm and cozy. Just saying. So this pear recipe came out of need to make something for clients at work, but I had minimal ingredients on hand and decided to improvise a recipe. It turned out pretty well and I for one, am kind of obsessed with these pears. They are light and delicate while offering so much flavor.Poached pear verticalIt is definitely the kind of dessert I would make for a dinner party and would be great for the upcoming holidays! I hope you take as much enjoyment in making these as I did. Happy Halloween!!!

Earl Grey Poached Pears w/ Whiskey Pecans & Maple Whipped Cream: serves 6

Ingredients:

For the pears:

2 cups 2% milk

3 cups water

1 cinnamon stick

4 earl grey tea bags, label or paper removed

3 medium Bartlett or d’anjou pears, cut in half, do not remove core yet.

For the pecans:

2 tbs butter

1 ½ shots whiskey

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tbs maple syrup

1 cup pecans, roughly chopped

For the whipped cream:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tbs maple syrup

Pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Bring milk, water, tea bags and cinnamon stick to a simmer over medium low heat (do not allow to boil) in a large saucepan. Place pears cut side down and make sure they are mostly submerged in liquid (if not, add more water and milk in equal proportions). Keep at a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out easily and pears are tender.
  2. While the pears are cooking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Melt the butter, brown sugar and whiskey together over medium heat. Stir frequently as it begins to caramelize. Lower the heat and cook for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat and put the pecans in the pan, making sure to coat them well. Dump the pecans onto the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool and break apart nuts if they are stuck together.
  3. Remove the pears from the liquid and place on a plate lined with parchment paper. Put the pears in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool down. Remove from freezer and take out the core (leave the stem) and make sure to keep the sides of the pear in tact. Return to freezer for a few more minutes.
  4. To make the whipped cream, pour cream in a large bowl and use a whisk attachment of either a hand mixer or stand mixer. Mix on high until the cream begins to thicken, then add maple syrup and cinnamon. Continue to mix until the cream is thick and stiff peaks form when you pull the whisk attachment out of the cream.
  5. To assemble: remove pears from freezer and place on a serving plate, dollop a big spoonful of whipped cream in the center of the pear, place a few pecans on top and on the sides and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Green Tea Smoothie

green tea smoothie 2My fridge was bare this weekend. I opened it on Saturday morning looking for something for breakfast and found a very sad and mostly empty fridge. The few items I was staring at were: almond milk, cold green tea, bananas that needed to be used that day, peanut butter and spinach. So I thought why not throw it all into a blender because I am desperate for food and can’t fathom going out of the house yet. Imagine my surprise when it actually tasted good! I have already made this smoothie two more times, so I think it is worth sharing. You might find it odd and you might want to omit the peanut butter and that’s ok.

Green Tea Smoothie: serves 1

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond milk

3/4 cup cold green tea (I used Trader Joe’s brewed unsweetened green tea)

1 banana cut into chunks (preferably frozen)

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use pea protein powder)

1 big handful spinach

1 tbs natural peanut butter (optional)

few drops stevia liquid or 1 tsp of honey

2 ice cubes

Directions:

1. Throw everything in blender and blend well (at least 1 minute).


Hazelnut Fig & Chocolate Energy Balls

energy balls1Last week was crazy and fun. I took over the Popover Instagram for a few days and documented the process of getting ready to cater a screening party at work. My days were very demanding. I was on my feet most of the day, running to the grocery store multiple times a day and trying to calm myself down. I was nervous about how many people were supposed to show up for this party and scared it wouldn’t all come together. energy balls 2I find it extra difficult to eat healthy during these types of stressful situations and I reached for whatever was convenient and fast. Reflecting on last week, I wish I had a snack that was both filling and healthy and didn’t make me feel bad about eating it. So it might be a little late now, but I am so glad I have this recipe in my back pocket for the next catering week! energy balls3Thanks to all of my amazing co-workers, we were able to set everything up before people arrived and it looked beautiful (see below)! I feel so relieved to have this experience under my belt and so ready for more! energy balls 4

energy balls 5These energy balls are the perfect snack to have on hand and grab for a quick bite or on your way out the door. I hope these help you stay satisfied and on track with your health goals! Here is a picture from the catering event!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Hazelnut Fig & Chocolate Energy Balls

Makes 14-18 balls

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup raw hazelnuts

16 dried mission figs, stems removed and chopped (If they are really dry, soak them in hot water for a few minutes, drain and continue)

1 tbs + 1 tsp coconut oil

1 pinch sea salt

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tbs honey

½ cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put almonds and hazelnuts into a food processor and process until the nuts are finely chopped.
  2. Add the figs, coconut oil, sea salt, shredded coconut, cocoa powder and honey. Process until the figs are broken down and the mixture begins to clump together. If you are using chocolate chips, add them now and pulse a few times to distribute.
  3. Take a small amount of the mixture and press between your fingers. If the mixture stays together, it is ready. If not, add a little bit more honey and mix. This is a crumbly mixture. Take a big spoonful and press firmly between your fingers and palm 4-5 times. Gently press it into the shape of a ball. DO NOT try to roll the mixture into the shape of a ball, it will fall apart. Continue this process until you use all of the mixture.
  4. Place the balls on a plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or put in freezer for 15 minutes if you’re too anxious to eat them like I was!


Work Lunches + Salad Inspiration

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetWork has been hectic lately. I am lucky if I get to sit down by 2:30 p.m. and enjoy my food while sitting, instead of sneaking in bites in between baking for clients and cleaning up the kitchen. When I first started work as an in-house chef at a post-production company, my eating habits were completely thrown off. Every day I make breakfast between 8:30-11:00 and after that, I am either making lunches for clients, recipe testing (and tasting) or preparing for the afternoon of snack plates to be made.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSuddenly I was eating bites here and there all day long and I was no longer eating real meals or making the healthiest decisions. I don’t know about you, but once I start snacking or indulging, I find it extremely difficult to reign in control. A few months went by like this. I wasn’t feeling great and realized that I needed a little bit more structure in my life when it came to my eating habits at work. I decided regardless of what time, I needed to sit down to a healthy lunch. So my goal for the work day is to make a hearty salad that I will feel good about eating. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIt is important to me to mix up the greens, the protein source and toppings so I don’t get bored. You’ll find some of my favorite combinations below!

Combinations:

#1: arugula, spinach, hard boiled egg, tuna, roasted herb potatoes, green beans, avocado, tomato & olives w/ lemon herb dressing

#2: kale, spinach, pan seared tofu, toasted almonds, shaved parmesan w/ lemon dressing and side of roasted baby broccoli and roasted potatoes

#3: arugula, swiss chard, pan seared salmon, goat cheese, tomato and olive w/ spicy mustard dressing