holiday

Honey-Balsamic Green Beans

Every year we go to Santa Barbara to my aunt and uncle’s dreamy beach house for Thanksgiving but this year, we are heading to Sonoma County. I’m making a few sides to bring including these green beans from my new Forest Feast Mediterranean cookbook inspired by our time in Sicily.

Honey-Balsamic Green Beans

recipe from The Forest Feast Mediterranean

4 c green beans

2 cloves minced garlic, trimmed & diagonally sliced

1/4 c (35 grams) pomegranate seeds

1/4 cup (30 grams) pistachio seeds, roasted & chopped

Saute on medium heat with 1 T olive oil, plus salt and pepper, for 3-5 minutes or until the beans are bright green. Then add 1 T balsamic vinegar and 1 T honey to the pan and toss until all the beans are glazed. (about 1 min).

Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and the pomegranate seeds and roasted & chopped pistachio seeds.

Max and me in Cefalu, Sicily in 2017 while shooting The Forest Feast Mediterranean cookbook

Max and me in Cefalu, Sicily in 2017 while shooting The Forest Feast Mediterranean cookbook

The rural area of Sicily we visited is known for its honey and pistachio production and these ingredients are used frequently in sweet and savory dishes from the region. I love the added crunch from the pistachios. We visited the snowy volcano peak in the morning and ended the very same day with a sunset walk along the coast in the village of Santa Maria La Scala.

Ezra making a snowball near the top of Mt. Etna, Sicily, 2017

Ezra making a snowball near the top of Mt. Etna, Sicily, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

For more vegetarian sides, try my Persimmon Cranberry Sauce, Butternut Hummus & Deviled Eggs , or Nutty Cauliflower Rice Pilaf.

P.S. The Forest Feast Mediterranean is on sale now and makes a great host gift!

Holiday Party Appetizer: Greek Kale Dip

It's holiday party season and I'm always looking for ideas on what to serve or bring. This year I came up with a Greek Kale Dip, which is a twist on the traditional Spinach Dip that my mom (still!) makes every year. Instead of spinach and sour cream, I used Taylor Farms Kale and Greek Yogurt. But I kept the dry soup mix addition (it's classic!). I like this recipe because it's easy to make ahead and travels well. If you're serving it at your own party, putting it alongside a cookie platter, a cheese plate and some bubbly with pomegranate seeds is easy and feels festive. 

For the cookie platter, I bought chocolate chip cookies, hazelnut wafer cookies and tall pirouette cookies served in a copper cup. I chose just one nice block of cheese (goat Gouda) and some crackers. I like to pre-pour a few glasses of Prosecco with a few pomegranate seeds in each, then leave the open bottle, plus a bowl of the pomegranate seeds for guests to help themselves.

I decorated our outdoor bar with some fresh garland, candles, foraged pinecones and red berries, fresh pomegranates, magenta peonies (!) and some dark red amaryllis flowers.

Greek Kale Dip

16 oz Greek yogurt

1 big handful of Taylor Farms Fresh Leafy Kale Greens (about 2 c)

6 oz crumbled Feta cheese

1 packet of dry leek or onion soup mix (I prefer leek but it may be harder to find)

3 chopped scallions (white and green parts)

1 (8-inch) round sourdough bread loaf

For serving: Sliced baguette and Taylor Farms Organic Broccoli & Cauliflower pieces

Sauté the kale on medium in a large skillet with a splash of olive oil and water. Keep it covered, but stir occasionally, until the kale is bright green and wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer the kale to a cutting board and chop finely. Allow to cool and mix the kale with the yogurt, feta, scallions and soup mix. Cut the round top off the loaf of bread and use your hands to pull the bread out, forming a bowl. (Save this bread for something else, like a panzanella). Fill the bread bowl with the dip and serve on a large platter with slices of baguette and fresh vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower.

* This dip is easily made ahead. Just store and refrigerate in a large plastic bag or container and pour into the bread bowl before serving.

Cheers & Happy Holidays!

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This post was done in partnership with Taylor Farms. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Forest Feast possible. #ATaylorFarmsHoliday @yourtaylorfarms

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Nutty Cauliflower Pilaf

Last night we went to our friends' house for their annual Friendsgiving party. The celebration has grown to about 40 people and features the most amazing potluck feast you can imagine! We all sign up for dishes in advance and this year I brought a Nutty Cauliflower Pilaf using a bag of Taylor Farms Cauliflower Pearls. I thought this would be a good one to bring since it's gluten-free and we have several friends that are gluten intolerant. (Also, one of the only vegetables I can currently get Ezra to eat is cauliflower in this riced/pearl form!) I mixed the cauliflower with quinoa to give it a bit more substance, and for crunch and chew, you can mix in any nuts, seeds or dried berries you have on hand. This will be making a repeat appearance at our Thanksgiving table this Thursday.

I also made a couple quick, seasonal sides to go with it: A simple Kale Salad with baby kale, persimmons and pomegranate seeds, plus some Crispy Old Bay Brussels (see recipes below.)

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Nutty Cauliflower Pilaf

16 oz (1 bag) Taylor Farms Cauliflower Pearls

1 c cooked red or white quinoa

2T butter

2T olive oil

1/4 c golden raisins

1/4 c dried cherries

1/4 c shelled whole pistachios (or chop, if you prefer)

1/4 c sunflower seeds

salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, sauté the cauliflower pearls with the butter and olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are softer, translucent and just starting to brown. Mix in all other ingredients and serve warm in a bowl or on a platter. Serves 6 as a side (easily doubled or tripled for a larger group).

Kale Salad with Persimmon & Pomegranate

11 oz (1 box) Taylor Farms Organic Baby Kale

1 Fuyu persimmon (I leave the peel on)

1/3 c fresh pomegranate seeds (about a 1/2  pomegranate)

Place baby kale on a large platter and top with slices of persimmon and pomegranate seeds. Use your favorite balsamic dressing. Serves about 6. 

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Crispy Old Bay Brussels

9 oz (1 bag) Taylor Farms Shaved Brussels Sprouts

Olive oil

Old Bay seasoning

Spread the brussels out on a baking sheet in a thin, even layer and drizzle the entire surface generously with olive oil and sprinkle with plenty of Old Bay seasoning (which adds saltiness and spiciness). Roast in the oven at 400ºF for about 20 minutes, tossing once or twice, until some bits are brown and crispy. Check it occasionally to make sure it's not burning. Serve hot. This dish is best served relatively soon after roasting, as the crispiness will reduce with time. Serves about 4 as a side.

We are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year– 18 people for dinner in our little cabin will be quite cozy...we are excited! Check my Instagram stories for more (@theforestfeast). 

Happy Thanksgiving,

Erin

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This post was done in partnership with Taylor Farms. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Forest Feast possible.

Happy Hanukkah!

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Today is the first day of Hanukkah! It’s one of my favorite Jewish holidays because you get to light candles every night. Here’s a little round-up of favorite Forest Feast Hanukkah recipes:

Also, if you are in San Francisco tomorrow (Wed. 12/17/14), please join us for a Hanukkah party at Umami Mart SF (my favorite kitchen and barware shop) from 6-8pm. More info here, all are welcome! We’ll be serving latkes and lager and I’ll be signing cookbooks if you want to pick some up for holiday gifts!

Stuffed Baked Apples

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Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, is this week and I am planning our holiday menu! We are hosting a big dinner at the cabin on Friday and I am planning to make baked apples for dessert. Growing up in the apple orchard, we made these when I was little and they remind me so much of Fall. You can really fill them with anything, but I usually do a mixture of butter, dried berries, raisins, dried chopped figs, nuts, cinnamon and brown sugar. Stir all the ingredients together, spoon them into cored apples and bake at 350 degrees F, for about an hour. (I do an hour and 15 minutes to get very soft apples). Serve warm drizzled with honey alongside vanilla ice cream.

For more photos and the full recipe check out my post for Better Homes and Gardens today. 

L'shana Tova! (Happy New Year!)