Perfect Mashed Potatoes with Saffron Garlic Butter

I posted these mashed potatoes years ago, and hundreds of you have cooked them! But, seeing as mashed potato season is just around the corner, I thought I’d update the recipe with a few notes and suggestions. The bottom line? These are pretty darn close to mashed potato perfection. Buttery peaks and cloud-like potatoes are drizzled with a saffron garlic butter, and topped with a toasted almond, coriander, sesame sprinkle. Incredibly delicious. Simple, but with a enough of a twist to make them special.
Perfect Mashed Potatoes with Saffron Garlic Butter

Best Type of Potato to Use

People really dig in with opinions about what type of potato is best when it comes to making mashed potatoes. I like the creamy texture most waxy “new” potatoes bring to the party. Yukon golds or yellow finns are my go-to. That said, many people use russet potatoes. Russets have a higher starch quantity, and can contribute to a beautiful, fluffy bowl of potatoes for sure. But my secret weapon is smaller, waxy potatoes. They’re so creamy, and lend a beautiful, naturally rich texture you can’t get otherwise.

Skin off or Skin on?

This is completely a personal preference. If you’re serving a crowd that appreciates a rustic mashed potato, by all means, leave the skins on. If your people like uniform billowing clouds of mashed potato, get out the peeler. I tend to bounce back and forth between the two.

The Secret Drizzle Magic

The thing that takes these mashed potatoes over the top is the special butter. It’s the simple combination of butter, garlic, saffron, and a pinch of salt. When you drizzle it over the potatoes, it smells incredible, and is the perfect way to finish your beautiful potatoes. As a last touch, a dusting of almonds and herbs brings an updated accent to classic mashed potatoes, but you can skip of you’re more old-school, and like your potatoes straight.

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Roasted Pumpkin Polenta with Pinto Beans

Close-up overhead photo of pumpkin polenta topped with chipotle pinto beans and cilantro

When it comes to fall cooking, polenta is a staple in our house. This comforting dish has cold-weather/dark nights written all over it. Best of all, this isn’t just an ordinary polenta. Rather, it’s a creamy pumpkin polenta using freshly roasted pumpkins.

Roasted Pumpkin

Sure, you can buy the canned pumpkin but I don’t think you’ve experienced all fall has to offer until you roast a pumpkin. The flavor and texture is a bit different from the canned counterpart. I find the flavor to be a bit more mellow and the texture to be not as thick. For this reason, I cook this pumpkin polenta version a bit more firm than I normally would and then add the pumpkin.

If you decided you didn’t want to use pumpkin, butternut squash, acorn squash, or pureed sweet potatoes would all work well. I like to make dishes like this if I have leftover whipped sweet potatoes. Of course, you can always use canned pumpkin (especially if you have leftovers!)

Polenta Options

Making polenta is one of the base cooking items I recommend you get in your repertoire. It’s not tricky once you get the feel for the steps and being patient is worth the time. I like cooking polenta for at least 30 minutes over really low heat. This mellows out the corn flavor and really makes for a rich-tasting polenta (even before you add any butter or cream!)

Another option, use millet in place of the polenta. This is one of my favorite tricks for people who try to avoid corn. Millet is a seed that, when cracked, has similar properties as polenta. The millet cooks up creamy and can even be cooled, cut, and fried the next day.


In terms of beans, cook them at home. I love dried pinto beans that are cooked with a sizable helping of onions, garlic, and herbs. Cooking them at home sets the second round of cooking, with the chipotle, even more tasty.

Don’t have pinto beans? Swap them for black beans. Both work well with the flavors in the polenta and they both make for a gorgeous final plating.


If you happen to have leftovers, I recommend you store them separately, primarily for the benefit of the polenta. To reheat the polenta, warm on low in a small pot or heat in the microwave. Heat the beans in a similar fashion and combine like you would in the recipe.

[tasty-recipe id=”37315″]

Overhead photo of pumpkin polenta topped with pinto beans, pepitas, and feta.continue reading

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Sourdough Sandwich with Mushroom, Kale and Lentils


More than just a sandwich, this is better described as a warm and wintery mushroom and kale salad on top of a slice of freshly baked sourdough bread and it is every ounce as heavenly as it sounds. But before we talk more, let’s watch a movie. We have been taking an involuntary break from making our youtube videos as we have been finishing up our next book, but we are back with a bunch of new videos now. We are starting off with this sandwich this week and have a few more in the upcoming weeks.

If you’ve been following my stories on instagram, you might have noticed that we’ve been picking up a new (but old) love for baking rye sourdough bread. It’s been years since we baked bread more regularly and I remember giving up the last time after having killed our third starter. Apparently (luckily), we are better at keeping children alive than sourdough starters and plants.

Anyway, I felt a streak of boldness and got back on it again a few weeks back. Instead of making our own starter, we asked if we could buy a rye starter from a sourdough bakery close to us. They handed us a paper cup with a wobbly and bubbly starter and we went home and started baking. It’s been alive for a month now and whenever we are not baking, we simply let it sleep in the fridge.

Many sourdough breads are complicated stories involving a checklist with tasks. This is a simpler method where we bake the bread in a crockpot to help it develop a thick crust and soft centre. It’s a version of the classic No-Knead Bread but with sourdough bread and the addition of rye flour to give it more tang. The dough is more moist than traditional bread doughs and needs longer proofing time so it develops its tangy sourdough flavor.

We use 30/70 per cent rye/wheat ratio. We have been experimenting with various ratios but find that this is optimal for a bread that can rise well and still provide a lot of rye character.


We have been using the bread for lunch sandwiches and this mushroom sandwich is our very favorite at the moment. It’s very very simple, you just fry mushrooms in a pan with a bit of garlic, fold down kale and cooked lentils and add a little vinegar to balance the flavors. We serve it with a herby vegan spread between the bread and the topping that we make from Zeta BreOliv, capers and parsley. BreOliv is a spreadable olive oil that can be used instead of butter. It is made from just olive oil, shea oil, water and salt.

This recipe is sponsored by Zeta and you can find the recipe in Swedish on their site. And the English version below.


Sourdough Sandwich with Mushroom, Kale & Lentils
Makes 4 slices

BreOliv Herb Spread
4 tbsp Zeta BreOliv
1 tbsp capers
1 small bunch parsley

Mushroom Topping
2 tbsp Olive Oil
300 g / 11 ounces (3 cups) mixed mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 large kale leaves, stalk discarded
1 cup / 100 g cooked lentils
salt & black pepper

To serve
4 slices sourdough bread (see recipe below)

  1. Make the herb spread by chopping capers and parsley and stirring it together with Zeta BreOliv In a bowl.
  2. Clean and divide the mushrooms into large bits. Peel and crush the garlic.
  3. Heat a large skillet with olive oil.
  4. Add mushroom and garlic and let sizzle for a few minutes. Then add white wine vinegar.
  5. Chop the kale and rinse the lentils and stir them into the pan. Let saute until the kale has softened.
  6. Smaka av med salt och peppar.
  7. Cut a few slices bread and add a layer of the herb spread. Top with the mushroom and kale mixture and a grind of black pepper.

Rye Sourdough
Makes 1 loaf

Before we make this bread we feed the starter a few hours ahead so it’s alive and kicking.

100 ml (1/3 cup) rye sourdough starter
400 ml (1 ½ cup) water
1 1 /2 tsp salt
330 g (2 1/3 cups) organic all purpose flour
170 g (1 ½ cup)  organic rye flour
6-8 green olives

  1. Stir together sourdough, water and salt in a large bowl, and the two flours in a separate bowl.
  2. Chop the olives coarsely.
  3. Fold the olives and the flour mixture into the sourdough liquid and use a wooden spoon to stir it into a sticky dough. Sprinkle over more flour if needed. You can also dip your hands in flour and use them if you prefer. The dough is ready when it can be shaped to a ball that is smooth on the outside and sticky on the inside.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic and leave in room temperature for 12 hours (can be more or less depending on how warm your room is.
  5. It should have expanded at this point and be very sticky and bubbly. Fold it out on a floured table. Sprinkle extra flour on top and pull and fold the dough around itself a few times. It will be pretty sticky.
  6. Flour a proofing basket or bowl and transfer the dough to it with the folds and ends facing upwards and the smoother (don’t worry if it’s not super smooth) facing down.
  7. Leave to proof for two more hours.
  8. Set the oven to 250°C/500°F and place a Dutch oven with lid in the oven.
  9. Use oven mittens to remove the hot Dutch oven. Sprinkle the bottom with flour and carefully flip out the dough into it.
  10. Put the lid back on, place in the oven and let back for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, lower the temp to 230°C/450°F and let bake for 20 more minutes.
  11. The bread is ready when it has a neice crust and a hollow sound when tapped on.
  12. Let cool wrapped in a cloth before you slice it and it will stay moister.

This post is sponsored by Zeta. All words and opinions are our own.

Moroccan-Spiced Eggplant and Tomato Stew

Moroccan-Spiced Eggplant and Tomato Stew

Friends, I’ve been dreaming of this dish for so long and it’s finally here (after much toil and experimentation).

Whenever we travel abroad, I always try to order eggplant dishes because I love seeing how other cultures prepare eggplant. I try to study the spice mixtures and cooking methods to see how they create such delicate, perfectly seasoned dishes.

This recipe is a hearty stew inspired by the flavors of a Moroccan dish called zaalouk – which is a warm salad of cooked eggplant and tomato.

Moroccan-Spiced Eggplant and Tomato Stew from Minimalist Baker →

Caramelized Tofu

Ten years ago, after coming home from a weekend trip to Big Sur, I ended up throwing together one of my favorite tofu recipes ever – caramelized strips of tofu served over sautéed shredded brussels sprouts. Toasted pecans go into the pan as well and get oh-so lightly candied as they cook alongside the tofu and sprouts. I thought I’d post a slightly updated version today. Enjoy!
Caramelized Tofu

Here’s how it came together: a quick survey of my kitchen revealed tofu and a cluster of brussels sprouts. There was also a vibrant bouquet of cilantro tucked into the refrigerator door begging to be used. I scanned the cupboards and pulled down a small bag of (already toasted!) pecans and the remnants of a once full bag of my favorite sugar. Garlic? Check. If you don’t love cilantro, swap in a big fistful of pea shoots.

Just a few minutes of knife work and a some fast work with a hot pan separated me from my dinner. I cooked the tofu first, then finished with the brussels sprouts. It worked out nicely that only one pan was dirtied in the process.
Curried Tomato Tortellini Soup


Some variations come to mind – throw in some nutty, chewy brown rice. You’ll have a nicely balanced plate – vegetables, protein, and some complex carbohydrates from the rice. For those of you I failed to convert to fans with this brussels sprout recipe, spinach would be a nice alternative. With the pecans and the crusted sweetness, a few pinches of curry powder (or five-spice powder) would be delicious. There are now lots of great ideas in the comments (down below) as well.

Continue reading Caramelized Tofu on 101 Cookbooks

10 Fantastic Pumpkin Recipes Worth Making this Fall

Because pumpkin recipes can often be so wrong, you need a list of when they are so right. A hit-list of recipes to have in rotation for peak pumpkin (and winter squash) season. Emphasis on dinner, emphasis on savory.

1. Pumpkin and Rice Soup(101 Cookbooks)
Six ingredients stand between you and this favorite ginger-chile kissed pumpkin soup. Served over rice it makes the perfect simple, soul-warming meal. Get the recipe here.

Fantastic Pumpkin Recipes worth Making this Fall

2. Pumpkin Miso Broth with Soba(My New Roots)
Soba noodles in a pureed pumpkin soup flavored with miso and ginger. Top with lots of scallions, sesame seeds, seaweed (I like toasted nori, crumbled), and sautéed (or roasted) shiitake mushrooms. Or you can simply make the base soup and top with whatever you have on hand. Get the recipe here.

Fantastic Pumpkin Recipes worth Making this Fall

3. David Kramer and Hayley Magnus’ Squash and Kale Salad(Salad for President)
Use whatever pumpkin or hard winter squash you’ve got, cut into thick slabs. Kale represents big here accented with hazelnuts, pickled onions, and cilantro. Get the recipe here.

Fantastic Pumpkin Recipes worth Making this Fall

4. Pumpkin Cauliflower Risotto – (Wild Apple)
A beautiful autumn risotto made with pumpkin, cauliflower, and sage. You can up the veg even more, and, on occasion I’ll even boost a risotto like this with a good amount of shredded kale…(The site seems to be gone, I’ll replace the link if it comes back)

Fantastic Pumpkin Recipes worth Making this Fall

5. Incredible Squash Pizza(Wholehearted Eats)
If you’re open to alternative interpretations of pizza, this is a beauty. The “crust” is a riff on the popular cauliflower crust, this one made with pumpkin (or winter squash) slathered with a basil-spinach nut sauce, and topped with vibrant cherry tomatoes or other seasonal veg. Get the recipe here.

Fantastic Pumpkin Recipes worth Making this Fall

6. Two Ingredient Fresh Pumpkin Pasta – (Wholefully)
Making fresh pasta when I have a lazy weekend afternoon, is one of my favorite things. This Pumpkin Pasta caught my attention. Get the recipe here.

Fantastic Pumpkin Recipes worth Making this Fall

7. Pumpkin & Feta Muffins(101 Cookbooks)
These are a super interesting, hearty beast of a savory muffin. Packed with seeds, spinach, herbs, and seasoned with mustard, you can use any winter squash. Get the recipe here.

Fantastic Pumpkin Recipes worth Making this Fall

8. Pumpkin, Spinach and Walnut Spaghetti(Lazy Cat Kitchen)
If I can’t be bothered to carve and cube an actual pumpkin or squash for a recipe like this one, I grab for a bag of frozen sweet potatoes. They’re pre-cubed, and I always keep a couple bags in the freezer for lazy weeknights. Alternately, you might carve a number of pumpkins or squash on your own, and freeze any you wont be using. Being nice to your future self! 😉Get the recipe here.

Fantastic Pumpkin Recipes worth Making this Fall

9. Roasted Delicata Squash Salad – (101 Cookbooks)
If breaking down a big pumpkin or squash fills you with dread, this is your recipe. A longtime favorite, it calls for thin-skinned delicata squash, and you leave the skins on. Tossed with a miso harissa paste, roasted and combined with potatoes, kales, and almonds. Give this one a go for sure. Get the recipe here.

Fantastic Pumpkin Recipes worth Making this Fall

10. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds – (101 Cookbooks)
While you’re at it, if you’re cooking with pumpkin, you might as well toast the seeds. It’s simple and you can season them a bunch of different ways – I’ve included three faves here. Get the recipe.
Fantastic Pumpkin Recipes worth Making this Fall

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Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Cider Donuts

Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Cider Donuts

Hi, friends! Fall is in full swing over here in our part of the world, so naturally, we have one thing on the mind: comfort food. And nothing spells comfort food like these baked apple cider donuts. Consider them a hug from fall. Let’s bake!

This 30-minute recipe starts with aquafaba!

Aquafaba is the liquid from a can of chickpeas, which whips nicely and mimics the properties and texture of egg whites.

Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Cider Donuts from Minimalist Baker →

Perfect Little Kale Quinoa Bites

These little kale-packed quinoa bites came with me to Tokyo. I wedged eight of them into a structured container, tucked that into my purse, and onto the flight we went. I know some of you like to know what I bring to eat on flights, and four hours from SFO, I was wishing I’d brought more. My travel pockets were also lined with kishus (holding steady as my favorite winter citrus), a buttery, ripe avocado, and a bar of dark chocolate. The quinoa bites were nearly perfect for travel, in part because you can do most of the prep ahead of time. Here’s how.
Kale Quinoa Bites
A week before my flight I made a batch, shaped them, froze them, and the morning of my flight baked eight – you could also pan-fry them, if you don’t want to heat the oven. The rest were home awaiting my return. Kale Quinoa Bites


Part of the charm here is the inherent flexibility of quinoa bites. Feel free to play around with the quinoa base. I went with kale, edamame, feta, because they were on hand, tasty, and needed to be used up. But there are a thousand other combinations to explore. You could do chopped broccoli with goat cheese, or baby fava beans, and chopped asparagus with lemon zest as we head into spring. Or, add an assertive spice blend or curry powder, chopped garbanzos, and green peas.Kale Quinoa BitesKale Quinoa Bites

I had a great little trip. Not too long, not too short, and jam-packed. Pictures & and updated Tokyo map to come soon! We found a few special new items to share here, and I’m hoping they won’t take too long to arrive. xo -h

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

I’m going to revisit one of my favorite cookie recipes today. Made using 100% whole wheat flour and hand-chopped chocolate chips, this is a skillet-baked twist on Kim Boyce’s celebrated chocolate chip cookies. It’s also a fantastic recipe to make with kids. We had a house guest this weekend, and this was the recipe he wanted to make. Instead of shaping individual cookies, you spread cookie dough across an oven-proof pan or skillet, and bake it. You can cut the finished cookies into wedges or squares, or whatever shape you like.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie


You can also bake individual versions in tiny skillets or these tiny cast-iron Staubs. Served warm with a little dollop of vanilla ice cream – you get the idea. They’re fun, fast, and couldn’t be simpler. You can see how it all comes together, and meet my favorite kitchen helper, in the video below 😉 Enjoy!


Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie


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Genius Kale Salad

There is a special kale salad in the in the new Food52 Genius Recipes cookbook. A single kale salad that ran the gauntlet, beating out all others, for a slice of limelight in the book. Which is saying something. There is no shortage of kale salad inspiration out there, and I knew this one must be pretty special to make the cut.
Genius Kale Salad
The whole premise related to the genius recipe series is highlighting recipes that aren’t just great – they need to be more than that. They need to change, or surprise, or shift the way you think about a recipe – or cooking in general. Kristen Miglore selected 100 recipes for the book, and this was the kale salad – special it is! The details! It is from Northern Spy Food Co. Shredded kale is tossed with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice, and accented with rough-cut almonds, roasted squash (or, this time of year, asparagus), strong chunks of good cheddar cheese, and whispy shavings of Pecorino. I made it with the last delicata squash in my arsenal, and a second time with roasted asparagus. It’s kale salad well punctuated. Meaning, there you are enjoying a fork full of lacinato kale, and along comes an exclamation of cheddar, or all-caps CRUNCH of almond. It’s really nice, and to my palette it’s the well-accented simplicity that makes this version stand out.

Genius Kale Salad


If you give it a go, I’ll encourage deliberate chopping and slicing. Thoughtful, intentional prep is one of the things that takes this salad from good to great. You want the kale stemmed, and sliced into ribbons not too thick, not too thin. Good cheddar is assertive, so you want crumbles that function as good accents on the fork – too big is overwhelming, but you also don’t want to go too small. The book has beautiful photography accompanying each recipe by James Ransom, and they are illustrative as well as enticing. Meaning, you’re able to see the intended result, and can take cues from not only the recipes, but the visuals as well.

Genius Kale Salad

You can prep this a day or two ahead of time. I might wait until you’re relatively close to eating to toss it with the lemon juice and olive oil, but aside from that it’s incredibly simple. And I recommend doing a double recipe while you’re at it. The leftovers were brilliant, wilted for a flash in a hot pan, and then tossed with fresh pasta for a quick one-pan dinner.

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