Savory Carrot Cake with Chevre

A savory carrot cake? Oh, yes please! And with pepitas on top? Even better! There are some days when munching a piece of still-warm carrot cake for breakfast out on the deck as the day warms to summer temps really takes life to a whole new level. And then there’s the slightly-sweet chevre topping. Plus, the recipe is SUPER-easy — Dig in! And thank you to palate/palette/plate (a 2012 finalist in Saveur magazine’s top food blogs of the year) for the dreamy recipe and pix.

 

SAVORY CARROT CAKE WITH GOAT CHEESE
[Adapted from The Paris Baker, Rose Carrarini]

Ingredients

3 large eggs
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup all-purpose or white whole-wheat flour, sifted
1 tsp tumeric powder
2 tsp ground coriander
A pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
Small 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
_____________
4 oz goat cheese
honey
almond milk

Directions
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine eggs and sugar; beat with a whisk until well-blended. Slowly add the olive oil, slowly, whisking continuously.  Add the carrots and cilantro; stir to combine.

2. In another bowl sift 1 cup flour and add the rest of the dry ingredients (including the ground flax and pepitas). Whisk gently to combine.

3. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet carrot mixture until just combined (do not overmix). Pour batter into a bread pan and bake for about 50-55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

For the goat cheese spread: Combine fresh goat cheese with a drizzle of honey and about a tablespoon of almond milk to thin slightly. Stir to a smooth consistency and spread on slices of the warm bread.

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Pepita Salad

Craving something crunchy? Me too! And here it is, perfect for the fading days of summer:

Pumpkin seeds, yellow split peas and cilantro in a cool and refreshing salad!

You can serve the lettuce mixed in, or under the split peas depending on how you want to serve this.

1 cup pepitas, toasted (divided)
1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, well washed and lightly packed
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese or hard goat cheese, freshly grated
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
juice of 1 medium lemon
1 serrano chile pepper, minced
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups cooked yellow split peas*
2 handfuls lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

Make the cilantro pesto by blending 1/3 cup of the toasted pepitas, the cilantro, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, and chile pepper with a hand blender (food processor or standard blender) until smooth. Continue blending as you gradually drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto comes together into a vibrant green sauce. Taste and add a pinch or two or salt if needed.

In a large bowl toss the yellow split peas and remaining pepitas with the pesto until everything is coated. Add the salad greens and gently toss again.

Serves 6 or so.

*To cook the dried yellow split peas bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add 2 cups (rinsed) dried split yellow peas and cook for 20 -30 minutes, or until tender. Drain, salt to taste and set aside.

Thanks to 101Cookbooks.com

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel

No jokes now. I know, I know, falafel has a very comical reputation…until you taste it! It’s soooooo yummy! And now I have found a recipe which creates a mashup of my two favorite savory flavors (next to goat cheese, of course): chick peas and sweet potatoes! Yayyyy!

This is from a tony restaurant in London that experimented a lot before getting it right. Thanks to 101 Cookbooks blog for sharing. And yes, if you like, you can top the just-baked falafels with a spot of fresh goat cheese on the side.

 

Crisp outside, creamy inside

 

 
Ingredients
2 medium sweet potatoes (orange inside), around 700g or 1 1/2 pounds in total
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 big handfuls of fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
a scant cup (120g) gram /chickpea flour
a splash of olive oil
a sprinkling of sesame seeds
salt and pepper
Directions

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees (220C) and roast the sweet potatoes whole until just tender – 45 minutes to 1 hour. Turn off the oven, leave the potatoes to cool, then peel.

Put the sweet potatoes, cumin, garlic, ground and fresh coriander, lemon juice and gram/chickpea flour into a large bowl. Season well, and mash until smooth with no large chunks. Stick in the fridge to firm up for an hour, or the freezer for 20-30 minutes. When you take it out, your mix should be sticky rather than really wet. You can add a tablespoon or so more of chickpea flour if necessary (the water content of sweet potatoes varies enormously).

Reheat the oven to 400F/200C. Using a couple of soup spoons (put a well-heaped spoonful of mix in one spoon and use the concave side of the other to shape the sides) or a falafel scoop if you have one, make the mixture into falafelly looking things and put them on an oiled tray. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, until the bases are golden brown.

Makes about 18 falafel, enough for 4 – 6.

Mushroom and Poblano Pepper Tacos with Goat Cheese

Great for dinner, snacks or appetizers

I cannot wait to try this wonderful combination of earthy mushrooms, warming peppers and creamy cheese!

1 pound fresh poblano chiles (3 large or 4 medium)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium or large white onion, halved and thinly sliced across the grain

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/4 pounds mushrooms, sliced (about 6 cups)

Salt to taste

3 to 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

12 corn tortillas

2 ounces crumbled Mexican queso fresco or fresh goat cheese

1. Roast the chiles. Light a gas burner, and place the pepper directly over the flame. As soon as one section has blackened, turn the chiles with tongs to expose another section to the flame. Continue to turn until peppers are blackened all over. Alternatively, roast under a broiler. Preheat the broiler. Cover a baking sheet with foil, and place the peppers on top. Place under the broiler until charred on one side, about three to four minutes. Turn and continue to grill, turning every three minutes or so, until uniformly charred. Place in a bowl, and cover tightly. Allow to sit until cool, then remove the charred skin. You may need to run the pepper briefly under the faucet to rinse off the final bits of charred skin. If so, pat dry with paper towels. Cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds and membranes and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the mushrooms, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, then season with salt. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender and moist, about eight minutes. Sir in the poblanos and cilantro, and cook, stirring, for another minute or two. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

3. Wrap the tortillas in a heavy kitchen towel and place in a steamer basket over 1/2 inch of water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and steam one minute. Turn off the heat, and allow to sit for 15 minutes without uncovering. Pass the tortillas, top with the mushroom mixture, sprinkle with a little cheese if desired, fold the tortillas over the filling and enjoy.

Yield: Twelve tacos, serving four to six.

Advance preparation: The mushroom filling will keep for two or three days in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on top of the stove or in a microwave, and proceed with the recipe.

Thanks to Martha Rose Shulman and the New York Times for this healthy recipe!