Nourish Your Palate

Living in the city, as you can imagine, cooking is many times one of those things that’s easier said than done. When I cooked for Thanksgiving (Friendsgiving) this year, you’d think that I was cooking for royals - taking a break from those cozy and potent sips of mulled wine to deeply concentrate on what I was doing.

Making that chocolate sea salt tart was quite a stretch because anything involving baking or measuring VERY exact ingredients is usually a challenge for me. My favorite form of cooking is any recipe where I have the freedom to call my own shots and either under or over-do on the ingredients. It's highly likely that chocolate sea salt tart had double the amount of salt grounds on top, which was me getting carried away thinking that the tart looked more fun to with those big white flakes resting on top.

I like to bring a lot of colors, flavors and textures to the table when I actually do find the time to cook. To me, it just makes eating more palate pleasing. A little cilantro here, some rosemary there, quinoa underneath, avocado slices on top and then I tend to fancy a few spices here and there to kick it up a notch. Black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, chili powder and cayenne are current preferences. However there are certain items, such as fresh fruits, that are good enough on their own and therefore choosing to keep it simple will do the trick.

I still do love getting all creative and view the presentation of food as a form of art. Like today when I ordered a simple salad and then drizzled olive oil all over it, asked for basil pesto to pour on top of my already dressed quinoa, and ground nearly what felt like half the pepper grinder. I even said to myself, “wow, dressing a salad is an art.” THEN it felt complete. And it was delicious.

So to that, I’m sharing a few nourishing recipes that give you that feeling that I had when I wiped my plate clean today. You’ll see that many of these combine unique and unexpected ingredients that will give your tastebuds a little dance (I like saying that now for some reason) and for the most part can be adapted to your liking. 

Red Velvet Granola, a crunchy Valentine’s Day inspired oatgasm - that holiday we all love to dread so much.

Have a Taste: Cocoa is baked into the oats, covering up the beet flavor almost completely and keeping this treat heart-healthy, because your heart’s physical shape is just important as any other. To top it off, a generous handful of chocolate chips is sprinkled about. If eaten warm, straight from the oven, the chocolate will melt a bit to make way for a sweetly robust crunch, with the perfect amount of oatmeal chew. Properly Enjoy: Alongside coffee, in company of the quiet pages of a well-loved book. It makes the perfect breakfast spooned over thick yogurt or sunken into your favorite milk, and just as good of a snack if eaten by the handful. Either way, Valentine’s Day or not, this granola, like love and books and all things good, is a keeper.

Have a Taste: Cocoa is baked into the oats, covering up the beet flavor almost completely and keeping this treat heart-healthy, because your heart’s physical shape is just important as any other. To top it off, a generous handful of chocolate chips is sprinkled about. If eaten warm, straight from the oven, the chocolate will melt a bit to make way for a sweetly robust crunch, with the perfect amount of oatmeal chew.

Properly Enjoy: Alongside coffee, in company of the quiet pages of a well-loved book. It makes the perfect breakfast spooned over thick yogurt or sunken into your favorite milk, and just as good of a snack if eaten by the handful. Either way, Valentine’s Day or not, this granola, like love and books and all things good, is a keeper.

Coconut Bacon, because some genius actually came up with something for vegans that you can pour on top of everything.

Have a Taste: Like bacon, but not. Coconut adds an unexpected mouthwatering richness. You’ll have to give this one a chance and try it out for yourself. Properly Enjoy: As a replacement on a BLT (plus avocado, of course), sprinkled on top of scrambled eggs doused with your favorite hot sauce, as crunchies to help flavor a big green salad.

Have a Taste: Like bacon, but not. Coconut adds an unexpected mouthwatering richness. You’ll have to give this one a chance and try it out for yourself.

Properly Enjoy: As a replacement on a BLT (plus avocado, of course), sprinkled on top of scrambled eggs doused with your favorite hot sauce, as crunchies to help flavor a big green salad.

Toasted Coconut Coffee Smoothielike some kind of healthy milkshake with an indulgent kind of morning buzz.

Have a Taste: With toasted coconut and coconut milk, there’s a ton of rich, creamy coconut going on in this thing. What else have we got? Not much – simplicity is a good thing. A frozen banana for creaminess and potassium. Some ground flaxseed thrown in there – it totally looks like more coconut, so you can trick yourself into imbibing the good stuff. Vanilla extract for a bit of heady flavor, and coffee. Strong coffee, preferably.  Properly Enjoy: With a bamboo straw, if you’re lucky. As a pleasing morning indulgence all by itself or sipped slowly while lounging in an adirondack chair overlooking the beach (in my mind, that feels right). As a way to treat yourself after a morning workout, whatever that workout may be. Shaken or stirred around with frozen coffee cubes so that your smoothie stays ice cold, especially during those hot summer days.

Have a Taste: With toasted coconut and coconut milk, there’s a ton of rich, creamy coconut going on in this thing. What else have we got? Not much – simplicity is a good thing. A frozen banana for creaminess and potassium. Some ground flaxseed thrown in there – it totally looks like more coconut, so you can trick yourself into imbibing the good stuff. Vanilla extract for a bit of heady flavor, and coffee. Strong coffee, preferably. 

Properly Enjoy: With a bamboo straw, if you’re lucky. As a pleasing morning indulgence all by itself or sipped slowly while lounging in an adirondack chair overlooking the beach (in my mind, that feels right). As a way to treat yourself after a morning workout, whatever that workout may be. Shaken or stirred around with frozen coffee cubes so that your smoothie stays ice cold, especially during those hot summer days.

Maple Sea Salt Doughnuts with Almond Butter Glazebecause that really just seems like the obvious choice.

Have a Taste: A baked but cakey base, generously topped with a maple almond butter glaze with a fat pinch of sea salt and crushed walnuts that will give your tastebuds a big ole hug. Properly Enjoy: As a stack, jenga style (per the above). On a Saturday morning with a big mug of bold coffee with a significant other, so that you’re not the only one feeling selfishly satisfied. In an office setting, so that you can indulge but also watch the look on everyone else’s face as they indulge, too.

Have a Taste: A baked but cakey base, generously topped with a maple almond butter glaze with a fat pinch of sea salt and crushed walnuts that will give your tastebuds a big ole hug.

Properly Enjoy: As a stack, jenga style (per the above). On a Saturday morning with a big mug of bold coffee with a significant other, so that you’re not the only one feeling selfishly satisfied. In an office setting, so that you can indulge but also watch the look on everyone else’s face as they indulge, too.

Broiled Red Grapefruit with Honey and Pistachiosbecause sometimes simple and sweet is all you need.

Have a Taste: A satisfying warm blend of bitterness from the grapefruit, softened by a touch of honey and completed with a healthy crunch from the pistachio. Properly Enjoy: With a pot of green tea, for that extra dose of healthy antioxidants and alkalinity first thing in the morning. For dessert, fulfilling that sweet fix in a very healthy way. As a starter on your weekend brunch menu, gathered around a big rustic table with friends and family.

Have a Taste: A satisfying warm blend of bitterness from the grapefruit, softened by a touch of honey and completed with a healthy crunch from the pistachio.

Properly Enjoy: With a pot of green tea, for that extra dose of healthy antioxidants and alkalinity first thing in the morning. For dessert, fulfilling that sweet fix in a very healthy way. As a starter on your weekend brunch menu, gathered around a big rustic table with friends and family.

Chimichurri Tempehan herbaceous and garlicky dance for your palate that may make an omnivore reconsider.

Have a Taste: The “meatiest” form of vegan protein where nutty slabs of tempeh are drenched in bright, garlicky flavors from a solid marinade with herbaceous chimichurri. Nom, nom, and more nom. Properly Enjoy: Complete meal by itself. Sliced and diced and used as the base for tacos or on top of a pesto pizza. Thrown into a hearty and delicious quinoa salad.

Have a Taste: The “meatiest” form of vegan protein where nutty slabs of tempeh are drenched in bright, garlicky flavors from a solid marinade with herbaceous chimichurri. Nom, nom, and more nom.

Properly Enjoy: Complete meal by itself. Sliced and diced and used as the base for tacos or on top of a pesto pizza. Thrown into a hearty and delicious quinoa salad.

Spicy Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Avocado-Lime Sauce, making this polar vortex kind of winter a little bit more manageable. I said a little bit….

Have a Taste: One of those recipes that really just speaks your language just by looking at it. Each bite made complete with a generous drizzle from that avocado-lime sauce.  Properly Enjoy: Hot out of the oven and curled up near the fireplace (if you are lucky enough to have one) with a bottle of red wine. Great as a colorful and generous side item at a dinner party. Most of all, doused in that avocado-lime sauce, yeah?

Have a Taste: One of those recipes that really just speaks your language just by looking at it. Each bite made complete with a generous drizzle from that avocado-lime sauce. 

Properly Enjoy: Hot out of the oven and curled up near the fireplace (if you are lucky enough to have one) with a bottle of red wine. Great as a colorful and generous side item at a dinner party. Most of all, doused in that avocado-lime sauce, yeah?

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookiesbecause there is nothing more satisfying than infusing an unexpected ingredient in with a warm batch of chocolate chip cookies

Have a Taste: Buttery, golden, sublime, and just slightly exotic. Be prepared to fall in love. Properly Enjoy: Selfishly. Completely selfishly with a glass of cold almond milk, if that’s your thing. Also, an excellent gift for your host/hostess

Have a Taste: Buttery, golden, sublime, and just slightly exotic. Be prepared to fall in love.

Properly Enjoy: Selfishly. Completely selfishly with a glass of cold almond milk, if that’s your thing. Also, an excellent gift for your host/hostess

Nourish up, my friends. And please do let me know if you try any of these. I'd love to hear your experience!

Warmly,

Allison