Sweet and Smoky Roasted Carrots

I love roasted vegetables…I roast them all the time.

This recipe got me thinking though, I don’t recall ever roasting carrots 😳. I am not even sure why. I guess I tend to eat them raw or cut up in salads. I think this recipe has altered my way of thinking. Roasted carrots are quite remarkable…and like other roasted vegetables, take on quite a different flavor after roasting.

This recipe is centered mostly on the spicy syrup and yogurt sauce. The carrots are roasted, for about an hour coated in a spicy mixture consisting of smoked paprika, cider vinegar, salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, honey, and olive oil. Part of this is reserved to flavor the yogurt and also drizzle upon finishing. We are encouraged to leave part of the green stems to add a rustic touch, and hope for a bit of charing to take place during roasting. It is an impressive looking dish for a weeknight dinner at home. πŸ˜‚

My husband and son absolutely loved these. They enjoy spicy food and this reminded us of a chipotle flavor…similar to the sauce we use in the shrimp tacos…which they love. I think I preferred the carrots plain without the yogurt sauce, but enjoyed trying them for sure. It really got me thinking of variations I could make…although I think the boys would love me to make it this way again!

Another winner from this cookbook!

Honey-Nut Nougat

We had quite a discussion in my house about what “nougat” is and what candy bars had it. πŸ˜‚ We all had different impressions and thoughts which was kind of funny!

Apparently, according to Dorie, the French are very passionate about their nougat..a candy combination of toasted nuts and dried fruit inside a sticky, stretchy honey meringue. Whole societies are dedicated to keeping this sweet alive and appreciated. Who knew?!!

I love how even though this is a baking group, I invariably come away with information I never knew. I also found myself googling what divinity was because I distinctly remember when I was young, my grandma having this white candy called divinity out at Christmas with the fudge. It seemed similar in my memory. I now know it is very close to this nougat, although it has more sugar instead of the honey. It sounded like it might have been a little more marshmallow’y as well. Any thoughts taking me back to my Grandma Rose is a always good thing so I was thankful for that trip down memory lane. ❀️.

I used almonds and cranberries in my nougat. It wasn’t all that hard to make. I used a loaf pan to get the right proportions as directed by Dorie. Also didn’t have any difficulty coating in the powdered sugar mixture so it wouldn’t stick. What I did have trouble with was the cutting. I did cut the few pieces we tried, but hey, this was not a hit in our house. This is very rare. No one liked it..the taste or my additions haha. My husbands comment was, maybe you should have used peanuts and coated it in chocolate. Hmmm maybe we would have enjoyed it better that way but I told them that wasn’t really given as an option in this recipe haha.

Oh well, can’t win them all. This won’t be keeper in our house…onto the next one!!

Gingered-Turkey Meatball Soup

This was unlike anything I have made before. I didn’t know quite what to expect, but what I have come to learn, is that every recipe so far in this cookbook has been outstanding…and this one was no exception! We loved it!

I can’t say I really loved the “making the meatball” part and I was thinking while I was making them maybe I would just substitute frozen meatballs next time…but after eating it, no way! Those meatballs are popping with flavor. My husband said he was surprised at really how many flavors hit you in this soup…it is really delicious.

I used napa cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, and green onions this time…and at the last minute topped it with some avocado. The only change I would make when I make it again, would be to increase the veggie part, and that really is just from a personal preference not because it really needed it. We each personalized our soup with the add-ins…those being soy sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha hot sauce.

All of us said this recipe was a total keeper…and continues the streak! We are excited for the next new dinner recipe! 😍

Touch-of-Crunch Chocolate Cake

This very chocolate cake was quite a winner with my family…and my tasters!

It is not for the faint of heart, you must enjoy chocolate or this is not the dessert for you…but oh if you are a chocolate lover, you hit the jackpot.

This cake is a cross between a flourless cake and a dense, fudge-like brownie. We were given the option of adding black sesame seeds or cocoa nibs for the crunch…I opted for mini chocolate chips, which I am not sure retained much of their crunch, but didn’t matter as this cake was a winner.

After trying a bite, I realized that something that would compliment the chocolate would actually enhance the flavor, tone down the richness of the cake. I always now have whipped cream on hand, for those in my family who love it with these desserts, and I had raspberries. Turned out to be a perfect match. I had my sliver at room temperature but I have to agree with Dorie, that this cake shines brightest out of the fridge. I had a couple “broken pieces” while cutting the pieces for everyone and I think it tasted best cold.

This would be a great dessert option for entertaining…you can make it ahead of time and it would go far, as you don’t need a very big piece! πŸ˜ƒ

Caramelized-Coffee Bean Pots de CrΓ¨me

This latest recipe we made is a coffee flavored custard that got such raving reviews, it shocked me. As my son finished his, he looked at me and said it may be his favorite in a long time…and…is there more? I mean what more can you ask for right?! 😍

This dessert is not hard to make, although it does take time and has a lot to do with the espresso beans haha. It had me buying them which was a first, crushing them, caramelizing them and not getting alarmed when they smoke, and then straining them from the milk/cream. The beans are the integral part of this dessert, although I don’t think it matters what kind you choose. I think this dessert will be a success with whichever you use.

I mistakenly described this dessert to my husband as something like “coffee flavored flan”…he was not that eager to try it based on that description haha but did, and absolutely loved it…everyone loved it and was asking when I could make it again. πŸ˜ƒ

Apple Custard Crisp

We are told this is an unusual crisp, more like a crustless tart. I say, it is the best part of an apple pie…apples and the streusel…who needs the crust. 😍

This got rave reviews from all of my tasters: comments like it could be in the top group of all the recipes you have made, worthy of ordering in any restaurant…and just the all around…this is SOOO delicious!!

I was a little leery of this one just because I am not much of a custard fan, but so glad I tried it because the custard was really not too present… more of a filler binding the apples together. I really thought it tasted like the best part of an apple pie…and really so much simpler to make.

I used gala apples; did a bit more of a sprinkling than a pinch of cinnamon in the custard, and definitely went the spackling rather than the speckling of the streusel as Dorie put it. I used it all…there can never be too much streusel. πŸ˜ƒ.

I ate mine plain, but we had all the range from my tasters…adding varieties of whip cream, ice cream, cinnamon sugar, and salted caramel. This was a huge winner with all of us and I am sure will be repeated many times!

Lightning-Fast Tahini Pork

This was a fun one since we were using ingredients I had never cooked with…tahini, harissa, and turmeric. I enjoy the challenge of a hunt. Thankfully Trader Joe’s made it simple having both the tahini and the harissa…although it was in paste form, not powder. There were quite a few ingredients for coating the pork and making the sauce….5 spices, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, cider vinegar, water and pepper.

While this was an easy recipe, I am not sure I would classify it “lightening-fast” πŸ˜‚ although for the short amount of time you sure got a sophisticated, flavorful dish!

I was worried about adding the harissa full strength after reading it is a “ferociously hot North African spice blend”. I tasted a bit and thought it was too hot for me so I added about half the amount called for of the optional substitute, chili powder, figuring my son and husband could add the harissa to their’s individually. I think that is why my sauce is a little lighter than Dorie’s and more yellow.

I served my pork with roasted broccoli and fingerling potatoes. I actually really liked the flavor of the pork and thought it was really complex with all of the spices and sauces involved…I thought the cumin came in the strongest. Both my son and husband thought it was a little bland and went ahead and added the harissa paste into their sauce…quite a bit of harissa actually. I was like, be careful it said ferociously hot haha. They really liked that flavor and didn’t think it was particularly hot at all 😳. They like hot and spicy foods! My son loved it and my husband said “although I like it, it isn’t something I would be craving”…so mixed reviews in our house. I think we will still have it a time or two simply because I now have the ingredients haha.

On a side note, I can’t tell you how many times I have re-made the shrimp tacos and the green as spring soup! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚