Beet Tacos w. Chipotle Vinaigrette

Three Tacos

I have loved beets ever since I was little - fresh, out of a can, pickled, you name it - I love that bright purple-pink goodness in any form! I created this recipe a couple years ago as one of many in a meal plan for my sister; it started out just being a vegetarian option for her as she doesn’t have a lot of meat in her diet, but we made it one night for the rest of the family and it has become a part of our regular rotation when we all get together! The vinaigrette makes it - it is so so delicious! I love it as-is but the spice can be kicked up a notch with more chipotle if that’s how you roll. I roll a little tamer when it comes to spice! It’s also easy to make it vegan by omitting the cheese and crema, or substituting your favorite non-dairy counterparts.

BEET TACOS W. CHIPOTLE VINAIGRETTE // MAKES 16

Vinaigrette:

3 T honey or agave

¼ c balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 T finely minced chipotle in adobo

1 T smoked paprika

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp white pepper

5 T Canola oil

Tacos:

4 large beets

kosher salt

16 corn tortillas

½ cup pepitas, toasted*

2 cups arugula

1 cup crumbled cotija or goat cheese

Chipotle vinaigrette (see below)

Cilantro, coarsely chopped

⅔ c crema or sour cream

Lime wedges for serving

*To toast pepitas Turn oven to 325 degrees. Toss raw, hulled pepitas with a little olive oil, just to coat. Spread on a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a little salt and ground coriander and cumin to taste. Toast in oven until color starts to turn 9-12 minutes, turning once and checking. Some ovens toast fast!

Increase oven to 425 degrees. Peel beets and chop into ½ inch cubes (wear gloves if you want to keep your hands their normal color!). Toss with a little oil, salt, and pepper and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet, being careful not to crowd them. Roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, until fork-tender. It may take a little longer, depending on your oven and how soft you want them. Wrap tortillas in foil and place them in the oven on the rack below the beets. Remove about halfway through, rotate tortillas in foil, then re-wrap and continue to warm in oven. Alternatively, you can quickly grill them over an open flame just before serving.

Meanwhile, blend honey, vinegar, garlic, chipotle, paprika, salt, and pepper together in a blender or food processor. With motor running, slowly add the oil, one tablespoon at a time, until blended and emulsified with the other ingredients.

To assemble tacos: place a little arugula on a tortilla, drizzle with vinaigrette, top with beets, cotija, pepitas, and crema. Sprinkle with a little chopped cilantro.

Tacos w. Limes

I think both cheeses are equally delicious in this dish - the cotija gives it a more authentic Mexican vibe, but if you can’t find it or won’t use it again, goat cheese is the way to go since many of us already have that in our fridge - goat cheese gives it a more hipster vibe. If you find yourself with leftover vinaigrette, you can serve it with other roast vegetables, or dress a salad with it, or drink it straight, it’s that good.

If you and your family are of the more carnivorous persuasion, toss in some shredded chicken or pork too, but I encourage you to keep the beets as they are pretty little purple jewels that are so good for you!

 

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

Countdown to Thanksgiving

It’s coming, and we all know that as soon as it’s here and gone, Christmas is going to tap us on the shoulder and scare us to death because yet another year has gone by! But that’s too much to think about right now so I am going to reign it in and focus on the next six days.

Growing up, Thanksgiving day meant waking up to a bird in the sink, rolls proofing on the counter, and a table full of pies we dare not touch. Oh, and the simmering pot on the stove that always contained creepy-looking giblets but you would forget each year what it was and still crack the lid with excitement, then immediately regret it. I would put the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on the television, have some breakfast, then help my mom with whatever I could. It was usually just the six of us as our extended family is predominantly Canadian so the BIG Thanksgiving dinner was in October. Twice. So by the time this one rolled around, it was our third feast of the season. Did I ever tire of turkey sandwiches on homemade buns? Never! But this day was usually low-key for us, and as I got older, the evening was spent with my mom and sister, sipping coffee and reading the flyers, planning our big 3am shop the next morning. Back when it was still black FRIDAY. I miss those days; I miss wondering whether or not I can get a cup of coffee on holidays, or making sure the grocery shopping was done because the stores were closed. I’m getting a little tired of all the conveniences we allow ourselves, while cutting into the family time we already have so little of. Even if you don’t celebrate with your blood-related family, it’s so important to take some time off and allow yourself a real break this time of year.

Now that I am married, my Thanksgivings can change quite a bit from year to year; sometimes we get home, sometimes we host, sometimes we are travelling all day! Anytime I host a large dinner or party, I always get excited to try new recipes, show off my classics, and most of all, enjoy time with those I love. I want to give you a few tips as to how I pull it off without going crazy or locking myself away in the kitchen. First of all, it starts out looking like this:

Brainstorming

Phase One: Brainstorming

This is the fun phase! Anything goes - grab that recipe you have been wanting to try that you tore out of the magazine in the waiting room, email your mother-in-law for the family potato recipe, jump online and read a ten-page-long forum about whether or not you should brine! If you are like me and also like to craft and set a perfect table, pull some of that inspiration out too.

Phase Two: Components

Grab a notebook or piece of paper (or start a new Google doc if that’s more your style!) and write down what you know you for sure want, even if you haven’t decided on a recipe yet, and leave some space between each one like this:

Turkey/Gravy -

Cranberry Sauce -

Stuffing -

Salad -

Potatoes -

Vegetable Side #1 -

Vegetable Side #2 -

Dessert -

Misc -

Then, if you know someone else  is bringing something, add their name in. And folks, if you are hosting but others are bringing dishes, for the love of turkey - assign them something! The last thing you want is three sweet potato pies. If you have a self-proclaimed ‘I keep sweaters in my oven’ type of guest, have them bring some nice cheeses for an appetizer platter! When thinking of the dishes you’ll make, consider oven space and perhaps try a new stovetop dish or a squash you can roash ahead of time then pan fry with a glaze to reheat. So now your paper might look something like this:

Turkey/Gravy - Classic roast turkey/pan gravy

Cranberry Sauce - Ginger-Orange infused recipe from my BA mag

Stuffing - try cornbread this year! foodnetwork.com

Salad - Melissa is bringing

Potatoes - Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Potatoes cookbook pg. 257

Vegetable Side #1 - Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash

Vegetable Side #2 - Carrot & Sweet Potato puree - BHG pg 431

Dessert - Mom’s Pumpkin Pie & whipped cream/ Mark is bringing a gluten free torte

Misc - ice, rolls, Wine/Barbara, appies?


Phase Three: THE LIST

Now that you know all of the items that you are making and what miscellaneous items you need to be a good host, make that list! But not haphazardly. When I do my regular grocery shops, I use an app called Grocery IQ; however, for something like this where I *cannot* forget anything, I map it all out on paper. {Remember that time your finger slipped and you accidently ‘checked’ something off your list but cannot retrieve what it was?! Not the best game to play for Thanksgiving}

  1. Write down all your headings, leaving the appropriate space underneath for items. I used: Meats/Deli, Dairy, Canned/Dry, Baking, Produce, Alcohol, and ‘Misc’ for items like ice, club soda, paper towel, etc.

  2. Take each recipe, in the order it’s written above, and write down every ingredient under it’s proper heading on your shopping list. You aren’t worried about different store at this point - this is your master list you can always reference. Unless it’s something you have a large supply of, write it on the list now, just in case.

  3. Depending on how far in advance you do this step(for any future dinners or parties!), use your master list to check weekly sales and flyers so you can grab items as they come on sale, and then you can check them off and keep all the items together.

  4. The final shop - check your list against your cupboards and fridge to ensure there isn't anything you can already check off - space is key so you don't want too many "extras" lying around. If you have your go-to places you know will have everything, just hit the store with you list and go to town. Just remember that on holidays, everyone tends to shop at the same time for the same things so planning is key! At this point, I break my list down on my phone because I can separate lists by store/market: Farmers Market, Sprouts, Whole Foods. I’m going on Tuesday, and my list is down to fresh produce, dairy and the bird - no diving for the last can of Libby’s for me!


Phase Four: Fruition

Give yourself a couple hours on a quiet Sunday morning or set your alarm for 2am if that’s the only quiet time you get while the kids are sleeping. The planning of your meal prep should be done no later than the weekend before the big day so that you can go into the week calmly. You also must know your dinner start time!

Take a look at phase two again, and starting from the first component, read through the WHOLE recipe and make some notes, ie Brine 24 hrs, let stand 30 minutes, place in freezer for 15 minutes, can be made 2 days in advance, etc. Think about what time you want to sit down to dinner, and work backward, making timing notes such as ‘oven @ 3pm’ ‘make dough Wed. a.m.’. Do this for all the recipes - and yes, your page might end up looking a bit like this:

Thanksgiving Plan

Now all you need to do is look at those notes and take the step that can start the earliest - for me it’s homemade jelly candies that can be made up to one week in advance before cutting. I am starting my timeline there on Sunday, then following with the next three days of little things I can do to prepare; Thursday will get it’s own piece of paper. Now since you already got your craziness out on the ‘phase two’ sheet, your timeline can look like this:

Daily Lists

Believe me, come crunch time, you want to be looking at that organized page! I have the ability to be at home the days leading up to the holiday so I am a bit more open with my plan, however, you may want to write specific times in the margins so you have a grasp on what the day looks like in detail.

Now, the final piece of this crazy-organized puzzle, Thanksgiving day. Start with a few key times, building a framework:

7am - Make largest pot of coffee possible

8am - Mix up bun dough and let rise / Have breakfast

9am

    -9:30- start stuffing for bird/turn on oven

10am - Start preparing turkey - in at 10:45!

11am -

12pm -

    -Take break to do makeup and hair!!/Quick snack

1pm -

    -1:45-Quickly get changed

2pm - Appies out/Guests start arriving

3pm -

4pm - Sit down to dinner!

Fill in the rest according to cook & prep time, taking care to note when something needs to be removed from the freezer or oven, chilled, etc. Look over your recipes one last time, and make any adjustments needed, and remember to allow yourself time to do your hair & makeup and to get dressed. By the time your guests start arriving, that alone will make a huge difference on your overall stress level - I’ll even go as far to say set a time on your phone to remind yourself! You are now ready to go forth and conquer Thanksgiving with stressless grace and style. Okay, not stressless...but less stress ;)

Through all of this, remember to give thanks - to God, the universe, those who came before us - and enjoy some time {and food!} with those you love.


With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

New York, New York.

Well folks, it happened. My husband and I moved from my beloved New York City to our home coast, but not home city, of Los Angeles. We have been in transition since the second week of January, when we shipped our storage containers across the country and spent a few weeks connecting with friends and family in Vancouver BC and Seattle. Although I am a little anxious to start over again in a new city, I am thrilled to be in the same time zone as nearly all our friends and family, and for the career opportunities it holds for Jordan.

We landed, bought a car, and began our apartment search - and found one! The only problem is, we cannot move in until the end of the month so we are in an extremely...quirky?...sublet. It's great though, because it's two minutes from where the hubs is currently working and it's given me some extra time to do 'housekeeping' stuff like reroute our mail, hire movers, set up utilities, etc.

Usually, I am wanting to get out and explore new restaurants and find favorites, however, we spent the last few weeks eating out WAY more than usual so we are taking a bit of a break from that and detoxing with lots of homemade salads and healthy options! But, in the spirit of delicious restaurants, and in loving memory of our time in NYC, I compiled a little list of some of our most-ordered dishes, sides & drinks at our favorite New York spots.

BRUNCH:

Friedman's Lunch - Pastrami Hash // Cheddar Grits // Flavored Butters w/ Toast

Locanda Verde - Lemon Ricotta Pancakes // Sheep's Milk Ricotta (w/ truffle honey!!)

LUNCH:

Pops - Crispy Chicken Sandwich // Onion Rings

Shake Shack - Single ShackBurger // Cheese Fries // Peanut Butter Milkshake

DINNER:

Crispo - Spinach & Short Rib Ravioli // Butternut Tortelloni // Mozzarella Risotto Balls

The Brooklyn Star - Buttermilk Biscuits (insane) // Raw Kale Salad // Spicy Fried Duck Wings

DRINKS:

Larry Lawrence - Order anything, the space is just awesome!

Spuyten Duyvil - Excellent outdoor area & a large beer selection

This is obviously a tiny slice of the deliciousness NYC & Brooklyn have to offer, but these are some of the places we frequented and I hope you add a couple to your list for the next time you visit (or go out, if you live there!).

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

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