risotto with smoky roasted carrots

we’re back from a weekend of love and celebration in raleigh – a weekend to witness my cousin derek and his wife, amanda, promise each other forever. our hearts are full with boundless joy for two people we love, and our memories are rich from time enjoyed with family. 

the week ahead is busy, but i find myself smiling thinking back on such abundance of laughter and love, and ahead to the excitement in store for us. next week, henry and i are headed to italy for our own much awaited honeymoon. in the three months since our wedding, our lives have returned to a state of “normal,” which is a welcome comfort, but i’m also eager to carry on our celebration as newlyweds.

in the spirit of comfort, i wanted to share my most recent take on risotto – the warming blend of coriander, curry, and smoked paprika, heartiness of roasted carrots, and creamy rice is a welcome addition to the first chilly nights of the year, curled on the couch. i hope you enjoy.

risotto with smoky roasted carrots

i learned from my mom that risotto is a labor of love – it is not to be rushed. sip a glass of wine, and lose yourself in the rhythm of stirring the pot – it is a truly healing process if you allow it to be. 

the sweetness of these carrots, combined with smokey and warm spices, are a delicious accompaniment to the creaminess of the risotto. 

for the roasted carrots:

1 bunch of carrots (I used rainbow)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 tablespoon alderwood salt (optional – if you can find it, it adds a great smokey flavor, but if you can’t find it, the blend will be delicious without it)


for the risotto:

1 1/4 cup arborio rice

4 cups vegetable stock

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves (one whole with skin on, one minced)

3/4 cup white wine

1 cup grated parmesan cheese (+ some for garnish)

1/2 cup greek yogurt (full fat – it makes a big difference)

1 teaspoon of coriander seasoning blend

2 tablespoons of carrot greens, finely chopped (+ some for garnish)

salt and pepper

preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. while the oven is preheating, add coriander seeds to a mortar and pestle and crush until they become a coarse powder. In a small bowl combine crushed coriander seeds, smoked paprika, salt, curry powder, and alderwood salt (if you have it). set aside.

peel carrots and trim greens. arrange carrots in a single layer on a large baking sheet. drizzle with olive oil and roll the carrots until completely coated. season generously with seasoning blend (and reserve the rest – some will be added to the risotto). add one garlic clove onto the baking sheet (this will be used later in the risotto), and transfer baking sheet to the oven. after about 25 minutes, remove garlic clove and set aside. allow carrots to roast for approximately 15 minutes longer (40 minutes total) and set aside to cool slightly.

while carrots roast, combine greek yogurt and 1 teaspoon of seasoning blend in a small bowl (there will be seasoning blend leftover that you can reserve for another time). squeeze roasted garlic from its skin and stir to combine; set mixture aside. add vegetable stock to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium low heat. add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat. add chopped onions, season with salt, and sauté for 10-12 minutes, until onions are soft and just starting to brown on the edges. add minced garlic clove and sauté for 2 minutes. add arborio rice and toast in pan for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. add white wine and stir constantly until it is completely absorbed by the rice. add 1/2 cup of warmed vegetable stock, and stir constantly. once stock is completely absorbed, continue to add stock, 1/2 cup at a time, waiting to add until the previous 1/2 cup is completely absorbed (don’t rush this process and make sure to keep to stirring throughout the entire time – all in all, the whole process should take around 45-50 minutes.

after all of the stock is completely absorbed, add parmesan cheese, greek yogurt mixture, and 2 tablespoons of chopped carrot greens. mix until completely combined. season with freshly cracked pepper to taste.

transfer risotto to a large platter and top with roasted carrots. garnish with a sprinkling of carrot greens and grated parmesan cheese.

fried eggplant salad with tahini

For my part I know nothing with any certainty, 

but the sight of the stars makes me dream. 

– Vincent Van Gogh

fried eggplant salad with tahini

This salad is as beautiful as it is delicious. The tahini dressing adds a tartness and creaminess to the crispy fried eggplant, while the greens and fresh herbs add a brightness. Serve this as a light summer dinner, or as a side course, when eggplants are in season. 


for the tahini dressing:

this makes leftovers – luckily, it is versatile – drizzle it over grilled chicken or fish, use as a dressing for a simple summer salad, as a dip for crudite, the possibilities are endless. 

1/2 cup greek yogurt (non-fat or low fat works just fine)

1/4 cup tahini

juice of 1/2 lime

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 cup water

pinch of salt

Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl until combined. 


for the eggplant:

if you are only making this for two people, you may have leftover eggplant. You can either wrap the extra medallions in plastic and refrigerate for another time, or fry them all and just reheat the leftovers in a warm oven. 

1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch medallions 

1 egg

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

olive oil

salt and pepper

Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place the medallions in one layer. Season both sides with salt, and allow to sit as you prepare the breading station.

Gently whisk egg with a splash of water in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl season panko breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. 

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, and add enough olive oil to fully coat the bottom of the pan. Working with one medallion at a time, gently pat dry with paper towel and dip both sides in egg wash, making sure to let any extra drip off. Transfer to breadcrumbs and coat both sides. Add to hot pan. 

Fry eggplant, turning once, until golden on both sides – about 3 minutes a side. Transfer back to paper towel lined baking sheet and allow to drain excess oil. 


assemble the salad:

2 cups arugula (or other peppery lettuce)

1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped (plus extra for garnish)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, rough chopped (plus extra for garnish)

1 scallion, minced, for garnish  

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Toss arugula and chopped mint and parsley in a large bowl. Coat lightly with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pile greens on a serving platter, and top with eggplant medallions. Drizzle tahini as desired over top and garnish with fresh mint, parsley, and scallion.  

summer tomato galette

We’re standing at a wooden gate. On one side of us, a field
is flecked with yellow wild flowers. On the other, our friends and family gaze
towards us.  The sun peeks behind
clouds, at one moment bright and golden, the next, dimmed and soft. You’re
looking at me with gentle eyes, brimming with pride, “And with this ring, I
marry you.” We kiss, we hold each other’s hand, and we walk towards the barn.
We’re married. In an instant everything is different, yet still the same. I’m
your wife and you’re my husband. I love you, and you love me.

I am soothed by the comfort in knowing that things are
different, yet still the same. Life feels familiar, but sweeter. Sweeter
because you’re my husband. Sweeter because we’ve promised each other forever.

We’re standing at a wooden gate. Your eyes are smiling, your hands are holding mine. And, in that moment, I’ve never loved you more.

Summer Tomato Galette

This galette is a perfect summer evening meal, when tomatoes are at their peak in sweetness. Serve this alongside a simple, fresh salad with a light vinaigrette. The buttery crust begs for something crisp and green to complement it. The goat cheese really just serves as a creamy component. The true flavor comes from the onion relish and sweet tomatoes. But, if you aren’t a fan of goat cheese, feel free to substitute another soft cheese – marscarpone would be delicious. 


For the pastry crust: recipe from happy yolks

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp sugar

pinch of salt

12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1/2 cup ice water


In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in half of the butter until small pieces are incorporated throughout (the mixture will be the consistency of coarse meal). Cut in the remaining butter. Pour in water and knead dough with your hands until the dough is smooth, and no longer sticky. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 


For the onion relish:

recipe inspired by

not without salt

1 medium onion (both red and yellow work well here)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme


olive oil


Heat a skillet over medium, low heat, adding just enough olive oil to coat the bottom (around 2 tablespoons). Slice the onion and add to the pan and season with a pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and slightly caramelized – about 20 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and thyme and stir to incorporate. Cover, and allow to cook on low until onions have absorbed most of the liquid – about 8-10 minutes. Uncover, and cook until the remaining liquid is syrupy and thick – about 2-3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set aside.


For the galette:

pastry crust (recipe above)

onion relish (recipe above)

the equivalent of about 2-3 medium tomatoes – I used a mixture of all sorts of sizes)

4 ounces chèvre 

3/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano, 1 handful reserved for garnish

1 egg for egg wash

salt and pepper

2 springs of fresh thyme for garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

Line a separate baking sheet with paper towels. Slice tomatoes and lay in one layer over the paper towels. Season with salt and allow to sit to drain excess liquid. 

In a small bowl, mix together the chèvre and parmesan (reserving a handful for garnish), and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. 

On a floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch round. Roll around rolling pin and transfer to the silpat. The edges of the dough may hang over the sides of the baking sheet – that is okay, as they will be folded over before baking. 

Spread cheese mixture evenly over dough, leaving a 1 and a half inch border. Spread onion relish evenly over cheese. Pat tomatoes dry with paper towels and pile evenly over the relish. Working around the galette, fold the border of dough over the edges, making sure everything is sealed. 

In a small bowl, beat 1 egg with a splash of water. Brush egg wash over the exposed dough. Sprinkle the top of the galette with the reserved handful of cheese and lay 2 sprigs of thyme over the center. Bake until golden and bubbly – about 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or room temperature.



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For me, cooking is about the transformation. It’s putting a soupy batter into a hot oven, and pulling out a fluffy cake an hour later. It’s watching rustic circles of dough rise into flaky, layered biscuits. It’s adding a tower of raw spinach to a hot pan, and watching it wilt to almost nothing. There’s comfort in the predictability – in knowing the balls
of cookie dough will spread to form rounded cookies, in understanding that the
quinoa will have absorbed all of the water when I remove the pan’s lid. And, there’s
surprise in the magic – a corn kernel bursting into a puffed, white explosion, a
slice of potato frying into a crisp, golden chip, the clear liquid from an egg, bubbling into a white solid.
This soup transforms dried, hard lentils until they are
plump and softened, and thicken the soup into a rich, hearty stew. Coconut milk
adds a touch of sweetness and subtle flavor, and red peppers flakes, curry, and
cinnamon add depth and spice.

Spiced Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk
I made one slight adjustment*, but I have to give full
credit to Sprouted Kitchen for this delicious recipe. Please click here for the recipe.

*I used the zest of 1 lemon to replace the lemongrass