This week concludes the Entree chapter of the Oh She Glows cookbook! Hooray! Keep reading for a summary of my favorites from this section. I’m still spreading the word about this book every chance I get. This weekend, we spent a lovely afternoon with some friends at their new home. I was asked to bring a snack to bring along on a picnic we had outdoors, and as usual, I chose a tried-and-true #osgcookbook favorite – the Classic Hummus. Before getting into this challenge, I would only ever try the more complicated recipes from my vast collection of cookbooks and magazines. My thinking was that I didn’t NEED a recipe for simpler dishes, like this hummus. But since being pushed to try ALL the recipes from this book, even the simple ones, I have gained an appreciation for those kinds of recipes. It’s just so nice to have something reliable, straight-forward, and tasty to count on when you want to contribute to a potluck, wow dinner guests, or just make something satisfying for yourself at home. In fact, some of my favorites from the book have been the ones with the fewest ingredients and easiest preparation. Like the roasted beet salad I made this week; this dish not only provided a yummy treat, but a funny story to share 😉
Immunity Boosting Tomato Sauce
This was the last recipe I made from the Entree section of the book! Exciting! I love completing a chapter, as it gives me the opportunity to reflect on the recipes as a whole, and pick my favorites. Stand-outs include the Empowered Noodle Bowl with peanut dressing, which I made repeatedly this summer. We also loved the Portobello Burgers, and the 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta is a life saver on busy nights. Honorable mention goes to the Broccoli & Cashew Cheese Burritos and the Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas. All the entree recipes were very good, and funny enough, I’d say the only one I didn’t care for was this last one. The Immunity Boosting Tomato Sauce was too thick for my taste. I was kind of surprised at the whopping amount of tomato paste that went into it, and I had to add some sugar to counter balance the acidity that came with all that condensed tomato flavor. I like the idea of adding mushrooms and chia seeds to tomato sauce – in fact, I’ve done both these things long before reading this recipe. I just think this sauce needs more fresh tomatoes, less tomato paste, and maybe some more seasoning.
Mother Nature’s Apple Crumble
Years ago, when we first started dating, I gave Dhiren a Christmas gift I called “The Pie of the Month Club.” The man has a serious love of pie, so it was the perfect present! Every month, I baked him a new pie, and every Christmas I would renew his subscription. This past year however, I was a very negligent leader of the Pie of the Month Club. I think I may have busted out two or three pies, tops, in the past 12 months. Poor husband 😦 As I made this crumble, I decided that I would present it to him with the happy announcement of a Pie of the Month revival! I am counting this crumble as April’s ‘pie’ since apple pie is his favorite, and crumble is kinda like pie… right? Of course, he was very happy for the news, and even happier to devour this huge tray of apple crisp over the next few days. When I was making this, I thought it seemed as though there was not enough crumble topping, but it turned out to be the perfect amount! I used a mix of different apples like Angela suggests, which turned out great. I have made many pies in my life (hello – 5 years times 12 months worth!) and I have learned the secret to making baked apple anything is to chop the apples quite small so that they cook in time before the crust burns. So while there was no specified size to dice the apples in the recipe, I made mine about 1/2 inch square pieces. The result was perfectly tender, sweet, caramelized apples. Delish!!!
At first I was tempted to make just half a batch of this recipe, as I didn’t want to commit an entire cup of vinegar to making it. But then I figured it would be kind of nice to have some fancy-shmancy balsamic reduction kicking around in my pantry, so that I can make an extra special salad next time I have guests over. I’m glad I bit the bullet and used the full cup, because the 1/3 cup it reduces down to really is a small quantity. It’s fine though, because the super concentrated flavor means you need less of it to dress a salad. In addition to making the beet salad this dressing was intended for (see below) I also used it to make a simple spinach and strawberry salad. In case you have never tried it before, balsamic reduction is amazing on strawberries! I’ve even heard of people drizzling it over strawberries and vanilla ice cream. I wonder how it would go with strawberries and chocolate!? Mmmm, I’ll let you know when I try!
Roasted Beet Salad
I happen to really like beets, so of course, I really liked this salad. Dhiren on the other hand, had an absolutely hilarious reaction to this dish! Now, in the 6 years I’ve been cooking for him, I cannot remember him EVER complaining about anything I served or leaving food on his plate. Of course, there have been things he has gently mentioned were not his favorite, but those occasions have been rare and he always eats whatever it is regardless. He’s a real sweetheart and I’m a lucky woman, I know. That remained the case as he ate this salad, telling me “It’s weird, I mean, I uh… I like it, but uh… I don’t know…” He then would proceed to take a bite and make a grimacing face like someone trying to swallow razor blades. I couldn’t stop laughing. Finally I told him, “you don’t have to eat it hon!” And for the first time in our lives together, he did not finish his plate. Yet he still refuses to admit he clearly did not like this salad. Go figure 😛 Moral of the story is, if you don’t like beets to begin with, you are probably not going to enjoy this salad. However, beet lovers rejoice! The balsamic and hazelnut combo really compliments these purple veggies nicely.