Spicy Maple Roasted Root Vegetables

Welcome to week two, friends. Continuing with the sweet and spicy theme, this time we’re pairing maple with a snazzy piri piri spice blend on some lovely roasted root vegetables perfect for cozy evenings.

Roasted Spicy Maple Veggies {{Baking Bytes}}

Sweet and spicy is my favorite combination and in my opinion nothing works quite so well on the sweet side as maple syrup. With its own robust flavor, maple is nicely complemented by a number of spicy additions, my own favorite being chipotle. I ventured slightly off my beaten path in favor of using Olivelle’s Piri Piri World Spice blend, featuring a number of different chili peppers and a hint of lemon. It packs quite a bit of heat which means the tin will last other wusses like me quite a long time.

Roasted Spicy Maple Veggies {{Baking Bytes}}

I actually made this recipe a bit differently the first time, and then promptly re-made it after the release of their Vanilla Maple Olive Oil at the end of September. I knew immediately it was perfect for this recipe and round two was even better than the first iteration. (I originally used Caramelized Garlic, which you can see in the round one pictures.)

Roasted Spicy Maple Veggies {{Baking Bytes}}

You can use any firm vegetables here, but I chose a mixture of my favorite fall options. Acorn (or butternut) squash are prolific this time of year, and go well with both sweet and savory flavors. Sweet potatoes are a staple in my world and I rounded out the festive orange ensemble with carrot. Pumpkin would also work nicely to keep monochromatic medley, or for some contrasting color add Brussels sprouts as I did in my second batch.

Roasted Spicy Maple Veggies {{Baking Bytes}}

The maple flavor of the olive oil is not sweet, but has an amazing savory profile that works perfectly with the heat of the spice blend. I rounded mine out with a bit of Cumin Spice Sea Salt, to add just a bit more depth to the whole shebang.

For that hint of sweet and a boost of maple flavor, the roasted veggies are lightly drizzled with pure maple syrup and then popped in the oven for a few more minutes to let it caramelize a bit. I kept mine more on the spicy side than the sweet side, but for a more standard glazed carrot experience just up the maple syrup to two or more tablespoons. Sweet, spicy, and cozy, this recipe is definitely going to become a go-to on cold days.

spicy_maple_veggies_4

A perfect complement to any fall dinner, the sweet and spicy combination brings some warmth and fun to any meal. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving too, going beyond those traditional sugar-filled recipes and adding a little something extra to the table. On the off chance you have any leftovers, it’s also perfect atop a spinach salad or underneath a fried egg.

Spicy Maple Roasted Root Vegetables

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 large carrots, peeled and diced1
1 small butternut or acorn squash, peeled and diced
1 medium sweet potato, diced

2 Tbsp Vanilla Maple (or Caramelized Garlic) Olive Oil
3/4 tsp Piri Piri World Spice, to taste2
1/4 tsp Cumin Spice Sea Salt

1-2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray a baking sheet with oil or non-stick spray.
  2. Combine all veggies in a medium bowl, and add olive oil and spice blend. Use a rubber scraper to toss until well coated.
  3. Spread veggies evenly on prepared baking sheet (save your bowl), and roast for 15-20 minutes, until just before done.
  4. Return veggies to the bowl and toss with maple syrup. Spread back onto the baking sheet and roast another 3-5 minutes to allow syrup to lightly caramelize.
  5. Serve promptly.

Notes

About 4-6 cups total veggies, so mix and match to your heart’s content.

For a mild experience, use 1/2 teaspoon, or if you like more heat, increase to 1 or 1 1/2 teaspoons.

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Grapefruit Ginger Cocktail

Welcome to Olivelle October! As one of my favorite places in Bozeman, Olivelle is a great source of both inspiration and deliciousness, and their cooking classes are something I look forward to attending several times per year. As a fun challenge for the fall I decided to put together my own Olivelle menu in the same format, and I’ll be releasing a new addition each week. Starting with today’s cocktail, look forward to four more delightful recipes coming your way, all featuring some of my favorite Olivelle products with a sweet & spicy theme. Extra bonus: everything will be vegetarian and lactose-free in honor of one of my  best friends.

Fall came in with a bang here in Bozeman, with a mix of rain and snow all weekend and more in the forecast. Fortunately, this cocktail is a delight all year round and a great way to bring some brightness to a gray day. Even more fortunately, I’m actually on my  way  to Europe! (Don’t worry, posts are already scheduled for your enjoyment while I’m busy galavanting around another continent.)

Grapefruit Ginger Cocktail {{Baking Bytes}}

Grapefruit is possibly my favorite citrus, favoring it over orange for mimosas and loving it in tarts and other desserts. It’s somehow both mild and sharp and doesn’t overwhelm other flavors in the same way orange and lemon often do, and lovely in its pure unsweetened form as well as in a more traditional dessert experience. Keeping on theme I’ve paired it here with the spiciness of ginger, bringing a slightly earthy profile without overwhelming the refreshing citrus.

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This cocktail is light and refreshing and dangerously good, equally delightful on a warm summer day as it is on a chilly winter afternoon. A great way to make proper use of citrus season by incorporating fresh grapefruit, but also delicious if you cheat (as I did) and buy a bottle of pure juice. Sweet, tart, and spicy all at once, it’s a mouthful of complimentary flavors with every sip.

Grapefruit Ginger Cocktail {{Baking Bytes}}

Paired with white rum, the alcohol is less of a feature and more of a light compliment to the rest of the drink, which makes it easily substitutable. If you’re not a rum fan, try using gin or vodka instead. Feeling more like a sparkly drink? Make it a mojito and top the whole thing with soda water.

Start your month off deliciously and prepare yourself for more sweet and spicy combinations headed your way.

Grapefruit Ginger Cocktail

Serves 2

Ingredients

Thai Ginger or Lime Fresco Sea Salt

4oz pure grapefruit juice (I used Simply)
3-4 oz white rum
1 1/2 oz White Ginger Simple Syrup, plus more for rimming
1/2 oz lime juice

fresh grapefruit, for garnish

Directions

  1. Pour a small dollop of simple syrup on a paper towel and use to rim two cocktail glasses, then sprinkle with salt.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine all remaining ingredients. Shake with ice until chilled, about 30 seconds.
  3. Strain into rimmed glasses, and garnish with 1/2 slice of fresh grapefruit.
  4. Optional: make a mojito by pouring over ice and topping with soda or seltzer water.

Notes

If you are not a rum person, gin or vodka also work beautifully here.

Squashage Crustless Quiche

Happy fall, friends. Or if it’s not really fall where you are, you can either ignore completely or live vicariously through this post instead. Up to you.

Squashage Crustless Quiche {{Baking Bytes}}

Spicy sausage and sweet squash are a perfect match in my world, and this quiche is inspired by a lovely pizza at a local spot. Butternut squash is one of my favorites, and is a great way to autumnize a recipe if you’re not a fan of pumpkin or just not quite into “pumpkin season” yet. It’s a neutral flavor that lends a touch of sweetness to a recipe without overpowering it, and comes in conveniently pre-diced packages at Costco.

Squashage Crustless Quiche {{Baking Bytes}}

Paired with your preferred Italian sausage, the sweet and spicy notes complement each other perfectly. You can amp up the spicy aspect, as I did here, or amp up the sweetness aspect with a touch of maple and cinnamon if you prefer. Wilted kale generously adds a veggie boost and a color pop without overwhelming the flavor. I prefer kale here since it has more structural integrity than spinach and a more mild flavor than arugula, but you can substitute your favorite leafy green easily enough.

Squashage Crustless Quiche {{Baking Bytes}}

Perfect on its own or with a side of potatoes, pastry, or produce (depending on your mood), this quiche is an excellent meal to have stashed in the freezer or to meal prep for the week ahead. It keeps nicely in the fridge for at least a week or in the freezer for several months, so consider making a double batch if you have the storage space. It’s also lovely topped with some crumbled feta or chèvre if you’re interested in adding a creamy component.

This quiche is sure to be a new fall favorite, but it’s so easy you’ll want to make it all year round.

Squashage Crustless Quiche

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1/2 lb Italian sausage of choice (I like spicy)
1 lbs butternut squash, peeled and diced
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
a few large handfuls kale, to taste1

8 large eggs
1 cup milk of choice (I used cow, almond should be fine)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 – 1/2 tsp paprika, to taste

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray an 8×8″ baking dish (or deep-dish 9″ pie plate) with cooking spray.
  2. Layer a couple of paper towels on a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the sausage to a large frying pan and heat over medium. Cook, breaking into small pieces, until browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain.
  4. Add onion to the same pan and sauté until translucent. Use slotted spoon to spread evenly into prepared baking dish.
  5. Briefly sauté the kale in the same pan until wilted (in batches if necessary) and add to prepared baking dish. Add squash and sausage.
  6. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, milk, and Italian season.
  7. Pour gently into the baking dish, being careful not to overfill. (If you have extra space, you can always stir in some extra wilted kale here.)
  8. Top with additional paprika and crushed red pepper, if desired.
  9. Bake for about one hour, until the top is browned and the quiche is set. If necessary, cover with foil for the last 20 minutes to prevent the top from over browning.
  10. Let cool on the counter briefly before serving with your favorite toppings and sides.
  11. Store leftovers in the fridge or wrap completely cooled slices individually for a pre-portioned and freezer-safe breakfast.2

Notes

I did not actually measure, but it was probably most of one of the smaller sized clamshell packages. I just kept wilting kale until no more fit.

To reheat: unwrap and place in the microwave on a folded paper towel (to absorb excess moisture.) Defrost for 2-3 minutes then heat normally for 30-45 seconds. Enjoy!

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese

Sometimes we all need a superbly simple recipe to bring to a potluck, adorn a cheeseboard, or just brighten up our daily sandwiches a bit. This cream cheese is exactly that. It takes about 10 minutes to put together and keeps well in the fridge for at least a week, by which time I’m certain it’ll all be gone.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

You may be wondering why you’d bother making your own chive & onion cream cheese when it’s something readily available at the grocery store, but fortunately I have two great answers for that. Admittedly this recipe was original born from the necessity of using lactose-free cream cheese, which is available at the store but only in the plain variety. One of my best friends is exceptionally lactose-intolerant and making this from scratch allowed her to enjoy it too. However, having made it I am here to tell you it’s well worth the homemade effort because not only can you customize the proportions and use up excessive chives from your garden, but pieces of fresh onion and garlic gracing the creamy goodness is far superior to most recipes that call for the powdered variety.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

I started off this adventure on Pinterest as per usual, and nearly all of the abundant recipes used powdered or dehydrated onion and garlic. While I’m sure this is also fine, especially if it’s what you have on hand, the idea of freshly sautéed produce intrigued me and I opted to give that a try. Requiring a pan and a smidge of olive oil seemed a small price to pay for the depth of flavor and freshness received in return.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

I am not normally one who cares for chunky spreads, preferring smooth nut butters and pureed jams, but this is definitely an exception. Creamy goodness punctuated by soft and golden bits of onion and garlic and adorned with fresh green chives is a perfect combination of flavor and color without being texturally odd.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

Use this spread with crackers as I have here, atop bagels and toast, inside a cucumber sandwich, or to dress up a wrap. The neutral flavors go with nearly anything and I’m confident you’ll have no trouble finding delicious uses for the batch. Feeding a crowd? Might want to double it to make sure you have some leftovers for yourself.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese

Makes about 6 oz

Ingredients

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 Tbsp fresh chives, minced
4oz cream cheese (lactose-free if needed), room temperature

Directions

  1. If you haven’t already, set your cream cheese on the counter to soften.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering.
  3. Add onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant and onions are translucent. Add to a small bowl and allow to cool about ten minutes.
  4. Add cream cheese and chives and fold in until well combined.
  5. Store in the fridge until ready to eat, allowing cream cheese to rest on the counter about 10 minutes before serving.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad

A few months ago my favorite store announced a limited release of a Black Garlic Tamari Soy infused balsamic vinegar. I promptly went to the store for a taste and it quickly became one of my favorite products. The lovely umami flavor of soy paired with the tangy sweetness of balsamic and a light punch of garlic makes every mouthful interesting. I’ve used it in place of soy sauce in numerous dishes, from fried rice to scrambled eggs to this delightful Thai peanut salad I have here to share with you today.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

In my never-ending love affair with my spiralizer, I recently meal-prepped a super easy, healthy, and delicious salad for my weekly lunches. With very little knife work required, the vegetable prep happens quickly instead of feeling like you are standing in the kitchen chopping for nine hours. The sauce comes together even faster, made easily in a blender or food processor. Chopping some peanuts are all you have to do by hand, and I promise that takes less than a minute.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Inspired in part by last year’s cashew zoodle salad, I wanted to experiment with a peanut-based version. Peanut is far and above my favorite flavor of nut, and pairing it with soy and spice is nearly always delightful. Olivelle’s introduction of this soy-like balsamic sealed the deal in working on this creation.

Thai Peanut Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

I opted to use peanut butter powder in the sauce because the oils already add plenty of fats, but you can certainly use regular peanut butter too. (Just start with half the amount to begin with as the peanut flavor often comes through much strong.) Complemented with tangy balsamic, nutty sesame oil, a hint of sweet maple, and the heat of crushed red pepper flakes, this sauce covers nearly all the taste profiles in every delicious bite. I made mine quite thick to blend nicely with all the water zoodles tend to release, but to use as a regular salad dressing you can thin it was additional water.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Crispy veggies and tangy dressing topped with crispy peanuts are a perfect summer side dish or entree. Round it out with steak, grilled chicken, or tofu, served either on top or alongside this tasty salad. As its sans lettuce this is a perfect meal prep option, and it keeps well in the fridge for up to a week with your dressing reserved in a separate container until ready to eat. It also lends itself well to additional garnishes, like mandarin orange, sesame seeds, scallions, or just a sprinkle of extra red pepper flakes.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini
2 large carrots, peeled

2 medium bell peppers
1 medium red onion
1 small red cabbage
1 large cucumber
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
garnishes: mandarin, sesame seeds, scallion, red pepper flakes
optional: protein of choice (steak, chicken, tofu, chickpeas)

Thai Peanut Sauce
1/3 cup peanut butter powder1
1/4 cup (Toasted) sesame oil
1/4 cup water, to taste
2 Tbsp Black Garlic Tamari Balsamic Vinegar2
2 tsp maple syrup3
1/4 tsp (Roasted Garlic) salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions

  1. Wash and spiralize all veggies: 5mm for zucchini, 2mm for carrot, and the flat blade for the remaining veggies. (Or chop them all, if you don’t have a spiralizer.)
  2. Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Add extra red pepper flakes or water as desired, but remember the zucchini will release a lot of water and thin the sauce substantially.
  3. For meal prep: divide zucchini evenly among four 5-cup containers. Top each with 1/4th of the remaining veggies. Add 2 Tbsp chopped peanuts and 2-4 Tbsp sauce to separate small containers, and tuck them in with the veggies. Refrigerate until ready to eat, up to 1 week.
  4. To serve: layer the zucchini in a large serving dish, then top with remaining veggies. Add 1/2 cup dressing and toss until well coated. Taste and toss with additional dressing if you prefer a more generous coating.
  5. If desired, layer on protein of choice, then drizzle with a small amount of extra sauce.
  6. Top with crushed peanuts, and any other garnishes you like (mandarin orange, extra red pepper flakes, sesame seeds). Serve promptly.

Notes

You could also use regular peanut butter, but start with about 3 tablespoons and adjust after tasting.

If necessary, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce should be an acceptable substitute.

If you use a sweetened peanut butter, like Jif, start without syrup and adjust after tasting.