Okay, sing it with me if you know this one: “It’s the most wonderful(ly indulgent in terms of cooking and eating) time of the year…”
With the holiday season in full swing (Can you believe that Thanksgiving is next flippin’ week?!), many of you reading this have already begun dusting off those time-tested family recipes that see the light of day but once a year. You know the ones: they’re delicious enough to draw a small army of family and friends—even those who don’t get along and can barely stand the sight of each other—to your place to share an annual meal, but the dishes don’t make even a passing pretense of carrying any nutritional value. They are comfort foods in every sense of the phrase, and opting out of second helpings is for chumps, right?
However, those among us who cannot or simply choose not to eat with such caprice can find this to be a lonely time of year from a culinary vantagepoint. In a season characterized by throwing both caution and meal plans to the wind, what’s a person with dietary restrictions to do?
Well, here are two options you might consider, if you’re in that number. The vegans in the house will appreciate this recipe from Chef Justin Cucci (owner of Vital Root restaurant in Denver, Colorado) for a side that utilizes cauliflower and coconut to delicious effect. For our pescetarian peeps, National Seafood Month might be gone, but it’s not forgotten and neither are you: seek below and ye shall find a tilapia entrée with a luxurious pumpkin seed-tomatillo sauce, courtesy of famed food personality Ellie Krieger, of television’s Ellie’s Real Good Food.
Cauliflower Coconut Milk Mashers
By Chef Justin Cucci – Vital Root, Denver, CO
- 3-4 medium Yukon potatoes, large dice
- 1 each small head cauliflower, florets
- 1 ½ cup coconut milk reduction, reduced by ½
- 1 oz coconut flake
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoon Korean chili flake
- Salt to taste
- Steam potatoes and cauliflower until soft.
- In a stand mix, beat all ingredients except for coconut flake.
- Stir in coconut flake.
- Adjust seasoning.
Makes: 7-9 serving
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Ready in: 35 minutes
Creamy Pumpkin Seed-Tomatillo Sauce Over Sautéed Tilapia
By Ellie Krieger
- 6 Tilapia fillets (Ellie recommends a sustainable lake-grown tilapia, such as Regal Springs, that’s antibiotic free – available at major supermarkets nationwide and via Hello Fresh)
- 6 fresh tomatillos (about 1 pound)
- 1 large poblano pepper, seeded and quartered
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- ½ cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
- 5 peppercorns
- 2 whole allspice
- ½ teaspoon whole cumin seed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 a lime
For the Tilapia:
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the tilapia fillets with salt, pepper and lime. When oil is shimmering, add fish fillets top side down and until fish is almost cooked through and the underside is deep golden brown – about 4 minutes on both sides until fish flakes with a fork. Remove from pan.
For the Sauce:
- Preheat the broiler. Remove the papery outer layer from the tomatillos then rinse them in warm water. Then pat them dry and cut them into quarters. Toss the tomatillos and poblano pieces with 1 tablespoon of the oil, place on a baking sheet and broil on high 4 to 5 inches from the flame until charred and collapsed, stirring once or twice, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds, peppercorns, allspice, and cumin seed and toast, stirring, until fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- In the same pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Place the charred tomatillos and poblanos into a blender with the onions and garlic, cilantro, chicken broth, jalapeño, toasted seeds and spices and salt into a blender and blend on high until smooth. Sauce may be refrigerated or frozen at this stage.
- Pour sauce over tilapia to finish and serve.
Makes 6 servings
Serving size for sauce: ½ cup
This article first appeared on FlavorfulWorld.com.