I feel like I don’t have any good stories to share with you guys lately. I just work and cook and do a little yoga. Is this what post-grad life is?? I get a degree, and I become someone who looks forward to coming home on Fridays and eating takeout pupusas in my sweatpants while watching Arrested Development reruns? Because that’s exactly what I did this past Friday, and it was kind of amazing. Although Saturday I went to a party and had two whole beers sooooo…yay? Raise the roof? I don’t know how to be young anymore. Help!!!
In other exciting news, we also got a new Indian restaurant in town, and it’s the best one yet! And this weekend, I’ll be in Seattle hopefully going to lots of fun bars and coffeeshops. So, things are looking up in the ‘cool department’!
On another note, may I introduce you to one of my new favorite recipes? I didn’t know it was possible to like veggies this much, but omg this carrot salad is sososo good!! I don’t think we appreciate carrot salad enough in the states, because I’ve never seen one here unless I was at an authentic-European deli of some sort, but I’m starting a petition to make it a thing.
I made this salad for Easter, and it was perfect with ham and scalloped potatoes. Then, I used the leftover dressing to make more carrot salad for work lunches the next few days. I’m pretty sure I ate like, 8 servings of vegetables a day that week. I hope this obsession lasts and eventually upgrades to a spinach obsession.
For this salad, you can peel the carrots into long, pretty ribbons like I did. Texturally, it’s my favorite, but peeling carrot ribbons takes a long time, and you end up with weird little carrot pieces once you can’t peel anymore. In this case, I just turn them into carrot sticks and snack on them alone. When I was being lazy with it, I just used grated carrots which is way faster and can be done with a food processor. Either way, the real star here is the shallot dressing. It’s slightly-spicy and creamy from the yogurt. I would dip anything into it. If you don’t like carrots, at least make the dressing and put it on some kale or something.
Also! This salad can be made a day in ahead, but put the pistachios on right before serving or they will lose their crunch. Ok? Ok!
Carrot Salad with Pistachios + Queso Fresco + Shallot Dressing
Ingredients for the Salad
2 lbs. carrots, washed, trimmed, and peeled
4 oz. queso fresco, or feta, crumbled
1/2 c. pistachios, toasted
2 Tbs. Italian parsley, chopped
Ingredients for Dressing
1 small shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
3 Tbs. plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
1/3 c. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots into long ribbons. Alternatively, you can shred them in a food processor. Cover carrots with a wet paper towel to keep fresh.
To make the dressing, add shallot, white wine vinegar, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and honey to a food processor. Pulse until combined. Drizzle in olive oil until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To prepare salad, add the queso fresco, pistachios, and parsley. Toss with the shallot dressing, to taste. Start with half the dressing and add more as needed. Serve immediately. To make the recipe ahead, combine everything but the pistachios. Add the pistachios right before serving.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Sleep Apnea by Beach Fossils
I’m sure at some point within my food blogging career, somebody will finally tell me to stop making Asian food. Considering that probably about 50% of my recipes so far are Asian, it is bound to happen at some point. But up until then I will keep on bombarding you with Asian recipes until you just cannot stand it for one more second and throw a fit banning me from using even a teaspoon of soy sauce or a pinch of Chinese 5 Spice.
But for now just bear with me, people.
I swear, I swear, I swear that these are soooo worth making. These are super killer.
Plus this recipe is easily adjustable, so you can make it for 20 people, 2 people, or even a lonely 1 if you’re flying solo. It takes about 30 minutes, and everyone loves lettuce wraps, so they’ll think you’re the bomb dot com.
For this recipe, I kept it simple and just did some iceberg, carrots, cilantro and peanuts for garnish, along with some extra sauce. However, if you’re in to bean sprouts, water chestnuts, scallions, whatevs…this is a great recipe for adding and subtracting. The best part of lettuce wraps is how easy it is to pull random ingredients out of your fridge and throw stuff together.
Which is exactly how this recipe was birthed.
1 lb. chicken breast, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ginger, grated
1/4 c. Hoisin sauce
3 Tbs. reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
1/8 tsp. Sriracha
1/2 tsp. onion powder (or 1/4 c. minced onion)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Iceberg or butter lettuce
Toppings: carrots, cilantro, peanuts, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, green onions, sesame seeds, rice, Sriracha, Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, crunchy rice noodles, etc…..
In a skillet, heat 1 Tbs. of olive oil, or other cooking oil. Add chicken and onion (if using). Cook chicken until it is brown on all sides. Add garlic and ginger, and saute for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
Add Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, onion powder (if using), salt, and pepper. Stir until chicken is cooked through.
Serve warm in lettuce cups with toppings of choice.
Anyways, I don’t have much to talk about today (the lettuce wraps speak for themselves???). This is my last day of spring break (boo), but I spent most of the week in Napa and San Francisco, so expect some great pics and restaurant recommendations coming up soon. Also some pretty good stories. Just know that the weekend included really great SF coffee roasteries, (multiple) amazing steaks, and some really high heels. Also French themed stores. Lots of French themed stores.
But for now, I’ll leave you this recipe while I watch Cinderella and prepare for work tomorrow.
Just keepin’ the party alive.
Song of the Day: Interference Fits–Perfect Pussy
I have been surprisingly social all weekend. I went to a football game on Friday (we won!) (Go Wolfpack!) and then my roommates and I spent the rest of the night with Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen and Cards Against Humanity. If you have never played Cards Against Humanity, let’s just introduce you to their slogan : A party game for horrible people.
And that it is.
I also spent my Saturday night bar hopping with one of my best friends/pseudo cousin. Except that I had to drive home so my bar hopping experience was mostly just me getting leaned on by a bunch of drunk people.
Good times right?
The whole drinking and Cards Against Humanity thing ties together because:
1. Most of the time, if you’re playing Cards Against Humanity, you are simultaneously drinking.
And 2. When I told my roommate, “The only two games I know how to play are beer pong and Cards Against Humanity. What does that say about me?”, his response was, “You’re an evil alcoholic.”
So there’s that.
And now about Zuppa Toscana. It is that delicious soup at Olive Garden with sausage, potatoes, and kale. The broth is lightly creamy and a little spicy.
It is also 220 calories for a bowl of it at Olive Garden. That doesn’t seem tooooo bad, until you consider that it has 15 g of fat and 990 mg of sodium in it. And when you consider that you’re going to have another bowl of it. And a glass (or two) of wine. And probably some type of pasta. And that salad, which also doesn’t seem too bad until you see that there are 150 calories, 10 g of fat, and 760 mg of sodium in it. Also, don’t forget that you’re going to eat like, 4 of those bread sticks (140 calories, 2.5 g fat, 460 mg sodium)
Holy shit, what is in this stuff?
Anyways, I definitely recreated the recipe and lightened it up quite a bit. I calculated it all up and it was about 350 calories per serving. The recipe serves 4, so you get quite a big serving of soup for less than 400 calories. Also, you just throw it in a crockpot. So easy guys.
*The recipe was originally from Fix it and Forget it, but has been changed dramatically*
6 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 c. whole milk or half and half
2 carrots, grated
3 russet potatoes, sliced
4 cups kale, chopped slightly
1 lb. turkey Italian sausage
Dash salt and pepper
Sprinkle of garlic powder
Sprinkle onion powder
1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
Grate 2 carrots into your crockpot.
Pour in chicken broth.
And the whole milk/half and half.
Slice up your potatoes.
Add them to your broth.
Brown the sausage.
Add it to your broth.
Sprinkle your spices!
Cook for 3-4 hours on high, stirring every once in a while.
1 hour, I REPEAT, 1 HOUR before serving, stir in kale. If you do it any earlier, it will be grossly soggy. Do you want soggy kale? Do you?!
No. You really don’t.
Serve with a light homemade salad and some whole wheat rolls. Sprinkle it with a little parm.
Yum yum yum. This is definitely going to be my fall favorite.
Bonus: It’s gluten free naturally!
It doesn’t taste exactly like the Olive Garden version, but it’s pretty damn close for a light version. Sometime (when you feel really naughty) go ahead and use regular chicken broth, cream, and pork Italian sausage. Or just go to Olive Garden and really go all out. I’m normally not a fan of chains, but I still love Olive Garden every once in a while.
But just make this, okay?