red spinach salad

Marsala: Beyond Chicken

Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness.

– Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®

Marsala Pantone

The color of the year is inspired by the satiation that can only come from a truly great meal. Similarly, I am continually inspired by the colors at play in the foods I eat (as evidenced here and here). But, I’ve never thought about inspiration traveling in the opposite direction. Could a single color inspire a new recipe?

Marsala Pattern

I was skeptical. Particularly given the subdued hue at hand. Besides the obvious chicken Marsala, the only immediate associations I was making with the restrained color were none-too-culinary, (um, chili dogs, anyone?) Further complicating the issue, this color is really hard to pin down –  is it red, brown, or really burnt sienna in disguise??

And yet, in the thick of winter, I kept finding myself drawn to its warm, inviting nature. It reminds me of a shade you might see dancing on a wooden floor in front of a freshly-lit fireplace. It’s sophisticated and easy. I suppose that’s fitting…just like its namesake, Marsala Italian wine.

And so I embraced the marsala, and found my way to three new recipes featuring ingredients which share its color value…or at least, very close variations. Each one has that same hint of sophistication and ease. In fact, each recipe can be prepared in three steps or less, which is hardly enough time to pour yourself that glass of Marsala wine. But, one can try. My skepticism has been proven wrong before. :)

Here they are. My three new, easy (but deceptively sophisticated) ways to eat marsala:

1. Paleo balls with coconut and carob chips, starring dates and dried cranberries

Ingredients (makes about 16)

  • 1 packed cup dried pitted dates
  • 1 cup nut of choice (almonds, cashews or walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more to roll in
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup carob chips

Directions

  • Process dates, almonds, coconut, honey and sea salt in a food processor. Add a tiny bit of water if mixture gets too dry. Add in cranberries and carob chips at the end for a final blend.
  • Roll into balls.
  • Keep in an airtight container. I usually keep mine in the refrigerator, but this isn’t necessary.

2. Rosemary root vegetable saute, starring beets

Ingredients (3-4 servings)

  • 1 bunch of beets (about 1 lb.) washed and cut into cubes
  • 1 yukon potato, cut into cubes
  • 1 kohlrabi, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into medium slices
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 T rosemary
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F then toss all vegetables in a large bowl with the garlic, rosemary and olive oil until coated.
  • Spread vegetables evenly on a cookie sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 45 minute to an hour, stirring at least once midway through. Serve immediately.

red spinach salad with pomegranate seeds

3. Spinach pomegranate salad, starring red heirloom spinach

Ingredients (3-4 servings)

  • 1 bag of red heirloom spinach (I spied mine at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, cut into medium slices
  • Seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, slightly toasted
  • Salt
  • Red balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Directions

  • Divide spinach evenly into salad bowls. Layer with onions, pomegranate seeds and walnuts. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt.
  • Serve with red balsamic vinaigrette. (Marsala red wine balsamic, if you’re fancy.)

Have any marsala or marsala-ish foods that you love? Let me know in the comments if I left out your favorites!

Oscars Party

Recipe: Oscar Party Pun Food

The Oscars are a great excuse to gather with friends, gawk at gorgeous couture, and maybe win a bet or two with your predictions. For me, I’m also always struck by the sheer amount of people and types of craft it takes to make a movie. It’s an event that is such a juxtaposition – an earnest outpouring of adulation for professionals at the top of their game, and a frilly, bedazzled, sometimes strange ceremony that we basically play Bingo to. So, what to serve at this sequin-worthy occasion?

Enter, pun food. Pun-themed food based on Oscar nominees has been around for a while now, but I never tire of it. Never. With new nominees every year, the pun will never end! (See what I did there?)

So, drumroll please, here are my nominees for best appetizers for punny Oscar food for 2015…

Edamame Dip

Edamame “Dip-Lash” (Edamame dip)

In honor of Best Picture nominee, Whiplash

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces shelled edamame (green soybeans)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1-2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and cubed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 T chile-garlic sauce (such as Sriracha®)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Process the edamame, onion, cilantro, and olive oil into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
  • Add the avocado, lemon juice, and chile-garlic sauce; pulse again.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
  • Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Easy!

Original recipe by AllRecipes.Com


Paleo Banana Bread Muffins

“Bird-Ban-ana Bread Bites” (Banana Bread Muffins)

In honor of Best Picture nominee, Birdman

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 275 grams almond flour (about 2 1/2 cups. This will keep muffins moist)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ gluten-free chocolate chips
  • 2 T flaxseed

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease or paper a regular muffin tin.
  • Beat eggs with whisk (or stand mixer + whisk on medium-high, but I did it by hand). Do this for 203 minutes until eggs start to thicken.
  • Mash bananas gently with fork.
  • Add mashed bananas and mix until combined. Pour in honey and lemon juice and mix until combined.
  • Mix dry ingredients, including flaxseed, then add to wet ingredients in 2 additions. Mix until combined.
  • Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts, then spoon batter into muffin tin.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown on the top and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Original recipe by CookEatPaleo.com


 

I loved both of these recipes for their simplicity – you won’t need a whole crew of specialty craftsman to whip them together. I’d say that’s an Oscar win!

But remember, just because these snazzy snacks were served up for the Oscars this year doesn’t mean you have to wait until next year to make them. You can incorporate then into any get together that needs a shot of healthy & special. Just make sure you have your host-of-the-year speech ready. 😉