It is officially December so you know what time it is--COOKIE SEASON!



It is also the time of year to admit that I, Isabelle, have a cardamom problem. I put it in pretty much every recipe I develop, (I can’t help it!!) mainly for its lovely floral and slightly earthy flavor. So when I heard that Cosette of Cosette's Kitchen was hosting a virtual cookie party, I instantly felt beckoned once more to add cardamom to anything I could get my hands on.

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It’s safe to say that I love a good cookie, but usually find myself wishing for more complexity and a little less sweetness. That’s where these guys come in! I used spelt flour for a bit of nuttiness (plus it has a lower gluten content, yielding a softer cookie) in addition to scaling up the salt and adding warming spices such as (you guessed it!) cardamom and ginger.

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This cookie certainly takes inspiration from the ingredients in chai, or the word for “tea” in Hindi. Though the ingredients in chai differ across the various regions of India, some of the common spices or “masala” featured includes things such as cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns, ginger, and of course cardamom. If you’d like to read up a bit more about the history of chai, here are two articles that might be of interest.


Onto the recipe!





Cakey-Chai inspired Cookies

Ingredients:


-2 cups spelt flour

-1 cup AP flour

-16 tablespoons butter, softened

-1 cup coconut sugar

-1/4 cup maple syrup

-1 egg + 1 egg yolk

-1 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp cardamom

-1/2 tsp flakey salt

-1/4 tsp ginger

-1/8 tsp almond extract


Powdered Sugar Icing:

-1.5 cups powdered sugar

-1/8 tsp cardamom

-2 tbsp milk or half and half (with an additional tbsp as needed)



Method:


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add flours, baking soda, salt, and spices to a large bowl and mix until smooth. Set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, add room temperature butter and mix with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the coconut sugar and once more mix on medium speed until the mixture is light and thoroughly combined, an additional 3-5 minutes. Add egg/ egg yolk and mix on medium speed until the mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the maple syrup to the butter/sugar and once more mix on medium until the mixture is smooth and light. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix slowly on a low speed until the flour combines with the wet ingredients. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix on a low speed until the dough comes together. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, portion out slightly larger than golf ball sized amounts of dough onto a lined sheet tray (yield is about 12-14 cookies). Place in the middle rack of the oven and let cook for about 12-15 minutes, checking 15 minutes in. Remove from oven and let cool for about 20-30 minutes. In a medium bowl, add the powdered sugar, milk or half and half, and cardamom and whisk until no lumps remain. Add an additional tablespoon of liquid as needed, until the icing is the texture of honey. Place icing in a piping bag or a zip lock bag, cutting a small hole in the corner. Ice cookies by piping the icing in zig-zag motion, creating lines of icing on half of the cookies. Let the icing set then enjoy -- it pairs nicely with a hot cup of chai ;)




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An easy, vegan, and souper delicious meal. See what I did there? ;)


By some strange act of magic, we are officially in December and 2020 is nearly coming to a close (never thought I'd utter those words). Given that it is positively frigid in Atlanta right now, all I want is buckets of warm soup, big sweaters, and a toasty fire. Plus, I truly cannot stomach the thought of yet another plate of leftovers (although I love stuffing as much as the next gal, I've officially hit my limit). While some of my winter day-dreams have been interrupted with the reality of rapidly approaching accounting finals, I'm still cozying up with this roasted red pepper soup.

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I came up with the idea for this soup last year right around this time when I was dealing with a gnarly head and chest cold. I was so congested and my throat was excruciatingly sore, so the subtle spice and creamy texture of this soup was a sweet sweet relief. I've been making it religiously ever since, and shared the recipe for it on the Institute of Integrative Nutrition's blog as well-- In other words, I basically wax poetic about this recipe to whoever will listen.

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I've since revamped the photos further, but the recipe is same. Like most things that I make, it's a fairly versatile recipe, meaning you can play with the ratios of pepper to tomatoes to cashews as you please. Another option for those with nut allergies could be subbing the cashews for white beans or chickpeas, though I can't personally vouch for this method.

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This soup shares some similarities to a romesco sauce in that they both have tomatoes and nuts, as well as the levantine dip known as Muhammara. The history and origins of both dishes are extremely interesting, and definitely worth some further investigation. Omayah Atassi of Omayah Cooks has a great blog post about Muhammara here that explains a bit more about the dishes's origins and the cultural implications of such.


Onto the recipe!

Roasted Red Pepper Soup~



Ingredients:

-4 red peppers

- 1 can tomatoes

-3 clove garlic, minced

-1/2 yellow onion, chopped

-1 cup cashews

-scant 2 cups of stock of choice

-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

-3/4 tbsp salt (to taste)

-1.5 tbsp olive oil


Method:


Preheat your oven to 450°F. Place peppers on a sheet tray and place in the middle rack of your oven for about 20—30 minutes, or until the skin is blistered and the flesh is fork tender. Remove, wrap with aluminum foil, and let cool. Once room temperature, peel as much of the skin from the peppers as you can, and scoop out the seeds and tear off the stem. Add peppers to a blender and pulse until a rough paste forms. Place a medium sized pot over your stove top and warm over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the olive oil and let warm for an additional 1 minute. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes and sauté until onions are roughly translucent, about 3—4 minutes. Add your canned tomatoes, stock, pureed peppers and salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Add the cashews to your blender first, then top with half of your soup mixture, being careful not to overfill the blender. Blend on medium speed until fully smooth. Transfer blended mixture into a separate bowl or pot while you blend the remaining stock. Once all the soup has been blended together, transfer everything back into your original pot set over a simmer and give the soup a stir. Enjoy as desired.

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Another option for your thanksgiving table, or even just a normal Monday


Salads are with out a doubt one of the most misunderstood and in my opinion underrated of foods. They have a bad connotation with sad and lack-luster diet food, and are basically the most neglected dish at any holiday gathering. As a self-certified salad fiend, I'm here to say that they can be delicious, exciting, and even *gasp* the star of your meal.

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Taking a page straight out of Michael Pollen's book (perhaps even literally) eating simply and veggie forward is a great way to improve not only our health but the well-being of the planet. Of course, this is an extremely privileged viewpoint to have--access to fresh foods and vegetables is an impossible feat for millions of Americans. And considering the high degree of food insecurity happening due to the COVID-19 pandemic/ economic recession, many are struggling to put food on the table, period. In our conversations about health and wellbeing, we must be aware of our collective and systemic role in food insecurity and food apartheid, and actively work towards comprehensive solutions--shifting the brunt of the responsibility from the individual to industries/ society as a whole.

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So this season and beyond, consider getting involved in your local food bank or urban garden. Follow/ support grassroots organizations like Free99Fridge here in Atlanta that is providing meals and food items to unhoused individuals through the use of community fridges. There is no one quick fix to moral dilemmas such as food insecurity, but rather consistent community action can make a difference.


Fall Delicata and Persimmon Salad~

Ingredients:

-1 delicata squash

-1 tbsp avocado oil

-2 tsp salt

-1/8 tsp cayenne

-2 persimmons, sliced

-8 oz lettuce

-1/4 red onion

-1/3 cup sliced radishes

-1/4 cup roasted almonds

Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette-

-1/3 cup olive oil

-1 tbsp Dijon mustard

-juice of 2 lemons

-1/2 tsp honey

-1/4 tsp salt

-black pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Add squash to a sheet tray and mix with avocado oil, salt, and cayenne. Place in the middle rack of the oven and let cook for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown. Set aside. In a bowl or measuring cup combine vinaigrette ingredients and whisk until smooth. In a medium serving bowl combine the lettuce, persimmons, red onion, radish, squash, and almonds, dress as desired, serve and enjoy!

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© 2020 by Isabelle Namnoum. Proudly created with Wix.com

Specializing in food photography, the balanced apron focuses on seasonal ingredients and thoughtful storytelling through evocative imagery found on our portfolio and food blog.

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