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1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chia seeds
3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw cashews, roughly chopped
1 cup dried fruit, diced (I used chopped dates and apricots)

1. Preheat oven to 250 F.
2. In a small sauce pan, whisk together oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, and salt. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar and salt dissolve.
3. In a large bowl, combine oats, seeds, and cashews.
4. Pour the oil mixture over the oat mixture and stir to coat.
5. Spread evenly on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
6. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
7. Combine granola with dried fruit and cool, stirring occasionally to break into smaller clusters.

Notes: decrease both oil and chia seeds to 1/4 cup each. Otherwise, flavor was great and texture was what I had hoped: crunchy with some larger clusters throughout. Yum. Could probably decrease sweetness (try 1/4 cup maple syrup).

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I am most certainly not taking any credit for this laughingly simple technique that impresses both in flavor, texture, and looks. My version coats a whole head of cauliflower in canola oil, and seasons it with smoked salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast until crispy and dark brown on the outside, and tender inside. Serve a wedge over a smooth squash puree* (in this instance, kabocha) and garnish with a bright, fresh gremolata.

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*I went all indulgent with butter and cream, but feel free to omit for a vegan version.

Another baked good that I brought on our trip to the woods. I was in search of something that represented fall, and what better than warm spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice. For a subtle kick and mild heat, I added ground cayenne pepper, though for this round I substituted with freshly ground black pepper.

1 cup / 141 g whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup / 73 g all-purpose flour
1/2 cup / 55 g ground flax meal
1 tsp / 4 g baking soda
1 1/4 tsp / 2 g ground cardamom
1 1/4 tsp / 2 g ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp / 1 g ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper or 15 turns freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp / 2 g kosher salt
4 / 520 g over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup / 80 g low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup / 60 g canola oil
2 large / 100 g eggs
1/2 cup / 90 g brown sugar
1 teaspoon / 5 g vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
1. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, flax meal, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, bananas, and vanilla.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.
4. Pour into a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, turning halfway, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Notes: This is the third time I’ve tested this recipe, and though I make minor changes each time, it winds up being a success. (The weight measurements, however, were only done once, so they should be re-tested.) I started with a base recipe and do not know where I found it, but I made so many changes that I can safely say this is an original recipe.

1 T (7 g) chili powder
1 1/4 T (10 g) smoked paprika
3 t (3 g) chili flakes
1/4 t (1 g) cayenne pepper
2 t (4 g) cumin
1/4 t (1 g) cinnamon
1 1/2 T (22 g) brown sugar
1 T (10 g) kosher salt
1 T (4 g) whole coriander seeds

1. Combine all ingredients in spice grinder and grind (I use a small coffee grinder). Sprinkle over meat and massage to evenly distribute. Refrigerate for 24 hours, turning halfway.
2. Lay the strips of beef in a dehydrator, being sure not to overlap the meat.
3. Adjust the dehydrator to the highest setting (mine was about 160 degrees F) and let it dehydrate for about 4-6 hours.

Man-O-Meter: 8

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Notes: I think it needs more salt, but I do enjoy the spice. Dried up much differently than the teriyaki version–wasn’t as smooth. Perhaps next time I’ll experiment with marinating time, and will rotate the dehydrator halfway through the process. Worth re-testing!

It’s still warm(ish) outside, and sweet corn and colorful tomatoes persist at farmers’ markets. Let’s make the most of it:

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corn cobs, kernels removed
cherry or grape tomatoes, halved/quartered/left whole, depending on size
kalamata olives, diced
red onion, thinly sliced, soaked in water and then drained
evoo
s&p
burrata, torn

Again, no recipe, just an idea. Make a simple salad with all ingredients, minus the burrata, which is served on top.

I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to summer, and neither should you. Make this dish as a side, or, better yet, an entree to celebrate this last day of summer.

1 pound green beans, trimmed
4 peaches, cut into wedges
Canola oil
1 pint sungold tomatoes, halved
Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup goat’s milk Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp sumac

1. Blanch green beans in salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Shock in an ice water bath.
2. Lightly coat peaches in canola or other neutral oil and grill to desired char.
3. Place green beans on plate or platter and top with peaches and tomatoes; sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
4. Stir together yogurt and sumac, along with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Top salad with a dollop of yogurt.

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I originally made this soup for 300 people and with loads of butter. The curry flavor was subtle yet present enough to make people wonder why this soup was different from the previous version. Wanting to adapt this recipe to make it vegan and guiltless–yet still rich and satisfying–I swapped the butter for extra-virgin olive oil. By emulsifying it in at the end of the cooking process, the soup thickened and became creamy–much like a vinaigrette behaves once the oil has been added.

1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, medium dice
4 stalks celery, medium dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 28-oz cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand

1. Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
2. Add onion and celery, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the garlic, curry powder, and coriander and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, pour in 3 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes.
5. Puree soup until smooth, while gradually pouring in the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil.
6. Adjust seasoning to taste.

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Notes: Could use a bit more coriander, and perhaps some cumin for some smokiness.