Tag Archives: Seven Spoons

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Confession: I lived in New York City (Queens) for almost nine years and visited the major Union Square farmer’s market so few times as to be able to count them on two hands. Please don’t judge too harshly. It’s not that it isn’t a fantastic farmer’s market – it definitely is! – but I lived just far away enough to make getting there a serious pain, and there’s a huge Barnes & Noble a stone’s throw away, so I always got really distracted anyway. (We’re here for sour cherries. We’re here for sour cherr-BOOOOKKKKKSSSSS!!!!)

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Living in Hoboken is different, in that several different small farmer’s markets are readily accessible during summer and early fall months (since the entire city is a tad over 1 square mile), and aside from days I’ve been out of town, I don’t think I’ve missed a day yet. Which brings us to rainbow carrots.

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

I keep seeing them, week after week, worming their way into my subconscious like the cleverest of ad campaigns. I caved a few weeks ago, made this superlative side dish with my purchase, and here we are.

Both times I made this, I know I made some kind of protein for the main dish, but I cannot remotely remember, as it was royally upstaged. Lamb chops, maybe? That does sound good…

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Anywho! This is incredible. Sweetness of the carrots, playing off the creamy, spicy aioli, all punctuated by the crunch of the dukkah. Such a beautiful dish. Enjoy!

Source: Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

Ingredients:
3 tbs whole hazelnuts, skin on
1 tbs sesame seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Kosher salt and black pepper
12 skinny carrots or 6 thin rainbow carrots sliced in half lengthwise, tops trimmed and scrubbed clean
Olive oil
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 tsp harissa

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 F and place a rack in the upper third of the oven.
First make the dukkah: in a small skillet over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts until lightly golden and aromatic, shaking the pan often, about 2 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a small bowl and set aside. Repeat the process with the sesame seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds, toasting each separately, then adding each to the bowl with the hazelnuts. Set aside to cool completely.
In a mortar and pestle or small food processor, pound or process the hazelnut mixture into an unevenly textured mix. You want some little chunks, not a fine powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
On a sheet pan, toss the carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the carrots, turning once, about 15-20 minutes, until cooked through but not mushy.
While the carrots are roasting, make the aioli by whisking the mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, harissa, plus salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl until smooth. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
To serve, arrange the carrots on a serving platter. Sprinkle with as much dukkah as you like (you’ll likely have leftovers), then drizzle with aioli. Pass extra aioli at the table.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

For whatever reason, I got on something of a blueberry kick earlier this summer, and became determined to find a perfect, foolproof blueberry snacking cake to stow away in my arsenal of simple baking tricks. I’m usually decent at picking good recipes just by reading them, but my skills were lacking this time, alas.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

This was the third blueberry cake I made and the only one I feel even remotely comfortable sharing here. The first, I had such high anticipation as it had a crumble topping with peanuts, something I’d never seen before. The peanuts, and peanut butter glaze especially, overpowered everything and that was all you tasted.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

Next I tried a simple whole wheat blueberry cake with a glaze made from pureed blueberries, and the whole thing was very meh. It didn’t go uneaten or anything, but I wouldn’t bother making it again, which says a lot.

By the time I got around to baking this cake here, my expectations were pretty low; one bite in, however, and I knew the only mistake about this cake was the fact that I hadn’t photographed it. So, I had to make it again. Oh darn!

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

This is everything you want in a simple snacking cake perfect for summer. There is no leavening agent and that is NOT a typo. I don’t get it either, but it worked beautifully and earned rave reviews. Get on it while blueberries are still in season!

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

Source: Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbs poppy seeds
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs sour cream
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 cup fresh blueberries
Raw sugar, like turbinado, for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 300 F and position a rack in the center of the oven. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar with either a hand mixer or the paddle attachment of your stand mixer. Decrease your mixer speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until each is incorporated into the batter before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture, then the sour cream, lemon juice and zest, then the last half of the flour. Do not overmix. Fold in the blueberries by hand. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the top with raw sugar.
Bake the cake 80 to 90 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a cake tester or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake completely, then cut out squares and eat!

Chaat Tostadas

Chaat Tostadas

I recently breezed through Padma Lakshmi’s recently published memoir, and while part of me wishes I’d waited for a beach to plow through it (it would be SUCH a perfect beach read!), I must recommend it to all the Top Chef fans out there. Yes, much of it is salacious and juicy as you might expect, but I truly loved the food writing. Everyone knows Lakshmi is from India, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about their culinary habits and traditions.

Chaat Tostadas

I thought it would be a bit crass and tone deaf for a Caucasian American to wax purple prose about another culture’s food traditions, especially from a country I’ve never visited and to whose food I was only introduced about a decade ago (grew up in Dallas suburbs in the ‘80’s yo), so I’ll just leave it at recommending the book to Top Chef fans and saying that although I’m an outsider and a novice, I do quite enjoy Indian food.

Chaat Tostadas

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So when I ordered Seven Spoons a couple weeks ago, this mostly Indian dish jumped out at me, and became the first thing I made from the book. It’s such a beautiful dish, it really is. Chaat is the all-purpose word for Indian street food, and it means that all the different tastes and textures are combined in one dish. You have crunchy, spicy, sweet, savory, sour/tangy, creamy, etc. all on one plate. There’s admittedly a lot going on here, but it all works together seamlessly and is so worth your time to put together. A wonderful meal. Enjoy!

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Source: slightly adapted from Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

Ingredients:

CHICKPEAS:
¼ cup canola oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed lightly
½ tsp ground cumin
Generous pinch of sweet paprika
Generous pinch of cayenne
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

GREEN CHUTNEY:
1 bunch of cilantro, stems and leaves, divided
2 tsp water
1 to 2 limes
2 tsp peeled grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 green chiles, seeds left in for a hotter chutney
¼ tsp raw sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 big handful of fresh mint leaves

TO SERVE:
8 corn tortillas, shallow fried in canola oil until browned and crispy, drained on paper towels
1 cup plain yogurt, Greek-style or regular
A sweet chutney, for drizzling (can be tamarind, mango, apricot, whatever you want – but puree it if it’s really chunky)
Chaat masala, a spice mix found at specialty grocery stores, OR combine ½ tsp each ground cumin, cayenne, and ground coriander
1 small red onion, minced
A couple handfuls sprouts, such as mung bean, alfalfa, or radish
Sev (crispy fried Indian noodles); or if you can’t find those, sub in crunchy chow mein noodles
A handful of cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

Directions:
To make the CHICKPEAS: Pour the oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Stir until you can smell the spices, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the chickpeas and turn them through the hot oil to coat. Continue to cook until chickpeas are crisped, 7 to 10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, then set aside.
To make the GREEN CHUTNEY: add the cilantro stems, water, and juice of 1 lime to your blender. Process until pureed or mostly pureed. If nothing is happening, add a little more water or lime juice. Scrape down the sides, then add the ginger and garlic. Process again, scrape down the sides again, then add the chiles, sugar, and salt. Process again, then add the cilantro leaves and mint. Puree again, and this time it should get really smooth. Again, add a touch more water or lime juice if not. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
TO SERVE: place 2 tostadas on each of 4 dinner plates. Top with the spiced chickpeas, followed in order by the yogurt, sweet chutney, green chutney, a couple pinches of chaat masala or the spice mix you made in lieu of it, the onion, the sprouts, sev or chow mein noodles, and lastly cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and eat immediately.