curried coconut roasted almonds

Curried Coconut Roasted Almonds

I’ve never been much of a nuts girl, and that still hold true. I loved shelling peanuts growing up, and I loved peanut butter as much as the next kid…well, as much as the next kid that wasn’t allergic to them, at least. Heh. However, cashews, walnuts, almonds, and the like were not even close to landing on my list of favorite foods. Over the past few years, especially since living in NYC, my love of nuts has grown. Actually, I should say my tolerance for nuts has grown. It ain’t quite love yet. Ha! That being said, almonds and I have become more friendly in the past year or two. Honestly, I love them straight up, unsalted, and unroasted. Every now and then, however, a shot of flavor is appreciated.

curried coconut roasted almonds

I’ve never roasted almonds before, but decided that roasting them in some coconut oil would give them a great flavor. I wanted to add something else that wasn’t necessarily straight up sugar; I was originally going to go the sweet route, as I do love cocoa-dusted almonds on occasion. Sorting through my horrendously unorganized shelf of spices, i came across my trusty beloved Jamaican Curry, and visions of hot bowls of vegetable coconut curry popped into my head.

curried coconut roasted almonds

I had to give it a shot!

curried coconut roasted almonds

It took some trial and error, but I think…I think…I think this might be it!

Curried Coconut Roasted Almonds
(Makes 2 cups)

Ingredients:
– 2 cups whole almonds, unroasted
– 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
– 1 teaspoon Jamaican curry powder
– 1 tablespoon sweetener of choice (see note in Before We Get Started)
– Dash of salt

Before We Get Started…

– As I mentioned in the prologue, there was a lot of trial and error when making these almonds. I can say two things assuredly:

– Do not use roasted almonds! After cooking, they will taste distractingly smoky, even a little burnt.

– Do not use Sugar in the Raw or any other type of course sugar. I made my first batch using Sugar in the Raw, and the sugar’s coarseness causes it not to stick to the almonds well. I ended up scrapping a lot of burnt sugar off of the bottom of my baking sheet. A refined sugar (if you don’t mind using it!) or a liquid sweetener (agave, et al) is definitely your better bet.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.) In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss until coated.

3.) Place on lightly greased baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes, checking almonds and shaking at the 15 minute mark to make sure they aren’t over-roasting.

4.) Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before eating; extra almonds can be stored in an airtight container.

NOTE: Please forgive the quality of these photos. My camera’s card went kablooey for a few days, so I was taking the best iPhone photos that I could in the interim. Ha! A reshoot of these photos is due in the future…

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butternut squash soup roasted kale

Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Kale

Autumn just came out of nowhere, both chronologically and atmospherically. I swear, it was May just a minute ago, and social media reminded me that this past Thursday, at 10:21 a.m., was the autumnal equinox. Two, I was walking around the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy on Thursday night, sweating in a pair of shorts at 8 p.m., enjoying the extension of summer weather.

Less than 48 hours later, I was tromping to the Inwood Greenmarket in leggings and a sweatshirt, teeth chattering a bit as the temperature hovered around 56°F at 9 a.m.

I love autumn. It’s my favorite season. However, when the temps take a drip quick, it’s more than I can handle sometimes. Yeah. I’m a big baby for a day or two, guilty as charged. Ha!

However, I welcome the return of my two favorite sub-seasons of autumn: oven season and soup season! Turning the oven on will no longer cause my apartment to swell to temperatures close to 95°F! Also, I will soon start making soups en masse and freezing them in my freezer for future work lunches. I can only hope my roommates forgive me for the amount of space I’ll be usurping soon. (Then again, after more than a year of living with me, I am sure they are used to me annexing our fridge and freezer with many of my culinary creations.)

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Backtracking to my local greenmarket, the peaches and berries were sparser this morning while the fall squashes and gourds have been pushing their way through to the larger tables. Most of them were begging me to cook them. How could I deny their request to become my dinner?

butternut squash soup roasted kale

Needing some greens, I could not help but buy some crisp kale before I headed back home.

butternut squash soup roasted kale

And yes, I’ll be drinking some chardonnay along side it, thank you very much.

butternut squash soup roasted kale

Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Kale
(Serves 4 – 6)

Ingredients:

Soup:

– 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped, seeds removed or 20 ounces pre-cut butternut squash (I use Earthbound Farm Organic butternut squash)
– 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
– 1 carrot, chopped
– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1 medium apple, peeled and chopped (I used a Macintosh, but a tart green apple also works well within this recipe)
– 3 cups broth / stock of choice
– 1 cup water
– 1/4 cup chardonnay (optionalI used the 2014 Chardonnay by Louis Jadot)
– Dash of grated nutmeg
– Salt and pepper, to taste

Roasted Kale:

– 1/2 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and leaves cleaned and roughly torn
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– Salt, to taste

Before We Get Started:

– The amount of roasted kale made will likely eclipse the amount you’d put on top of your soup. Leftover kale not used for garnish can be stored in an airtight container. (It makes for a great snack!)

– Keep this recipe vegan-friendly by replacing butter with oil and using a vegetable-based broth or stock.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease or place parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Set aside.

2.) In a large heavy pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes. Add butternut squash, apple, broth, and water. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover pot and continue simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables and apples have softened; add chardonnay 20 minutes into simmering time.

3.) While the soup is simmering, prepare the kale: Add kale to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Thoroughly massage kale with olive oil. Toss with salt, to taste. Spread leaves out on baking sheets evenly; leave enough space around the leaves for them to bake and dry out. Place in oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until dark green with roasted spots, but not completely brown! Remove from oven and allow to cool.

4.) Using an immersion blender, purée the soup inside of the pot; if you do not have an immersion blender, work in batches to purée the soup in a blender.

5.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with roasted kale.

– – – –

Editor’s Note: This recipe has been entered into Louis Jadot’s Modern Meals contest. I would like to thank Louis Jadot and Elayna from EVINS Communications for their generosity towards this post!

butternut squash soup roasted kale

curried whole roasted cauliflower

Curried Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Easter is getting closer, I’m prepping my menu more by more, and I’m realizing that I may have a vegan or two to feed that afternoon. I had already planned on making a slew of roasted vegetables for the meal, but I’m trying to figure out a way to make one of the vegetables a main dish, rather than just a side.

curried whole roasted cauliflower

Hmmmm…

curried whole roasted cauliflower

There is something very fun about slathering oil and spices onto an entire head of cauliflower and rubbing it all in. That being said, I’m a very sensory-oriented person.

curried whole roasted cauliflower

A constantly wonderful blank palate, various combinations of spices would work for this dish. However, I started simple with a garlic and curry base.

curried whole roasted cauliflower

In addition to carving up a ham or a lamb this Easter, a head of roasted cauliflower makes an excellent accompaniment.

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curried whole roasted cauliflower

Curried Whole Roasted Cauliflower
(Serves 3 as a main dish, 6 as a side dish)

Ingredients:

– 1 head of cauliflower
– 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
– 1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.) Remove the leaves and stem of the cauliflower, taking care to keep the head in tact. Discard leaves and stem.

3.) Drizzle oil over cauliflower and rub in until coated.

4.) Combine spices in a small bowl; apply spice to cauliflower and rub in until coated.

5.) Place cauliflower in greased baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes; remove foil and cook for an additional 60 – 75 minutes, depending on how roasted you prefer the outside of the cauliflower to be.

6.) Remove from oven and test doneness; if a knife slices through the cauliflower with no resistance, it is finished. Serve as is or with additional toppings.