It's been quite a busy time around here, between baking, lab work, and holiday events. I can't say I haven't indulged a bit too much, but at least I have been eating more than cookies ;) Speaking of cookies, I have a few more for you before we get to the main course.
A friend of mine recently had her gall bladder out, and to help her recovery amidst the holiday treats, I sent along some that she could enjoy. This meant no butter, chocolate or nuts to name the usual suspects. I found a few recipes to try including Gingersnaps, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and Carrot Cake Cookies (these were her favorite of the bunch). Olive oil took the place of butter, and I used the white whole wheat flour already in my fridge.
In the midst of the sugar coma that's been the past few weeks, I've tried a few great recipes, and some others that won't be repeated. If you notice a common ingredient, it's because I got a little over-zealous when I saw cabbage for 50cents a head. I'd recommend not trying to buy the biggest head you can find, unless you're prepared to eat it every day for over a week ;)
I am a sucker for good salads with layers of flavor, and this Sugar-Crusted Fennel & Pear Salad was a certainly a winner. I have probably mentioned I don't like raw fennel before, but caramelize it and I just adore it! I used gorgonzola instead of fennel, and since I was eating it at work, dressed it with a Balsamic Vinaigrette already in the fridge. Delicious!
It's snowy and blustery here, perfect for some soup! I've come to enjoy parsnips when their sweetness is brought out by roasting, or when paired with a fruit as in Ricki's Pear & Parsnip Soup. To accompany this soup, a ripe avocado came to the rescue in some Avocado Corn Muffins.
I tried out two cabbage salads-- a Cabbage, Pear & Pistachio Salad and Cabbage, Apple & Walnut Salad (not pictured, sorry!). In the former salad, I didn't have any salted pistachios, so I used pecans. In the latter recipe, I used greek yogurt instead of creme fraiche and gorgonzola instead of blue cheese. Both were tasty, and I was happy to mix it up :)
The last remarkable cabbage dish was this Kielbasa & Cabbage Skillet, made with a grainy dijon and turkey keilbasa. Although I grew up eating my kielbasa with ketchup, much to the chagrin of my grandfather, mustard is a more traditional pairing, and a combination I enjoy now :) I added more cabbage to the recipe, but I would easily double or triple the written out next time.
I was also excited to (finally) try a couple of Molly's recipes on the heels of finishing A Homemade Life. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and was delighted by the recipe for Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, Cider & Vanilla Bean (not pictured, oops!). Another winner, which I've seen pop up various places is her Warm Butternut & Chickpea Salad w/Tahini Dressing. It combines two foods I can't get enough of- butternut squash and chickpeas, and made for a wonderful lunch! I'd recommend the book and these recipes :)