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Hello all! I’m excited to introduce my new website, juniperstokes.com. This site is still a work in progress, but I’m feeling good about making the switch. I have some exciting plans in mind for this website, and the new platform will give me greater flexibility. I’ll continue to post updates and links on this site as I transition over, so be sure to follow my updates here and then go explore and check out my new formatting!

Click here to effortlessly subscribe and get my new updates delivered directly to your inbox :)

I should also mention that I’m receiving this beautiful new site thanks to the wonderful man in my life. He uses WordPress as a platform to create awesome, affordable and personalized websites for individuals and small companies. He also has a great online WordPress video course to help you take your blog or site to the next level. If any other .com users are interested in switching to a .org site and all the benefits it offers, he can help you too. For more info, click here: PowerUp Productions.

PowerUp Productions

 

Happy, sensual living to you!

Juniper Stokes

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Visual Quest: An Online Shamanic Painting Exploration

I’ll be taking this course with Pixie Campbell this summer!

Last week I decided to do something I rarely do . . . actually follow a recipe! I’m usually allergic to recipes, obsessively tweaking whatever I’m cooking up to make it a bit more my own. I suppose this comes in part from my years learning to cook while living overseas, where I always felt a bit too transient to invest in measuring utensils. Needless to say I’m not a great baker . . . but that’s another story.

Still, when I came across this recipe for Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Puree  from Michael Natkin’s awesome veggie site, Herbivoricious, I felt inspired to follow it as closely as possible and see what would happen. I got out my measuring cups and spoons, bought the correct ingredients, and whipped up something new and delicious. I served this with fresh fruit to start, a delicious beet tartar, and a good bottle of wine (Erath Pinot Noir, one of my faves). I might have had a special occasion to put together a meal like this. ;)

I learned a few new tricks while taking the time to follow this recipe but still made it my own by discovering some awesome ways to serve the leftovers. And I have to say, as fancy as this sounds, it was a snap to make. Even though the list of ingredients and steps looks long in this post, I probably put together this entire dish in a little over half an hour, including the cooking times. It’s impressive and easy. Go for it.

Pistachios

Pistachios (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Puree

Ingredients

Pistachio Puree

  • 2 cups unsalted, roasted pistachios
  • juice of one whole, medium-sized lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup water

Roasted Asparagus (I guess I did adapt this part a tiny bit. The following is my version—check here for the original.)

  • 1 bunch organic asparagus spears, the fat kind, trimmed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • balsamic vinegar reduction
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, roasted pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped
  • fresh tarragon leaves
roasted asparagus

roasted asparagus (Photo credit: elana’s pantry)

Directions

Pistachio Puree

I bought raw, unsalted, organic pistachios, so I needed to roast them myself. In order to do this:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Spread the pistachios in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Cook for about 10-12 minutes.

The nuts will be warm, chewy, and slightly brown when done. Yum.

Once the pistachios are roasted, combine them with the lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, smoked paprika, and half the olive oil in a vitamix. (The original recipe uses a regular blender, so don’t shy away if you haven’t yet gone pro with your blending utensils.)

With the lid on and at a medium-low speed, drizzle in the rest of the olive oil followed by the water. Blend until mostly smooth but not totally creamy—you’ll want a bit of texture here.

Once the initial ingredients are blended, you can tweak the flavor if needed. I added a bit more salt (I like salt.) and another pinch of smoked paprika, but overall, I didn’t feel the need to change much at all. Make sure to keep the puree covered, as the beautiful green will oxidize and turn brown on top, just like guacamole.

Roasted Asparagus

As soon as you take the pistachios out of the oven, turn up the heat to 400. Toss the asparagus with a bit of olive oil and salt, and roast on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes. (I served the asparagus in full spears because it looks pretty and that’s how it’s done in the original, but I found the spears a little tough to cut into. Next time, I might halve them before roasting and forget the fancy presentation.)

Once the asparagus is tender, turn on the broiler and cook until it becomes blackened in spots. This last step is important—the crispy asparagus heads and crunchy black bits add a great texture to the final dish.

To Serve

Spoon the pistachio puree onto a plate and place the asparagus on top. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios over everything, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar reduction*, and garnish with fresh tarragon leaves. Add a bit more salt to taste.

*The original recipe calls for real balsamic vinegar or a reduction, and considering the price of the real stuff at Whole Foods, I decided to try my hand at a reduction. It worked perfectly, and I’ll definitely be making more. To make your own reduction:

  1. Pour a bit of balsamic vinegar into a small pot or pan.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add sugar—I think I used equal parts organic unrefined sugar and balsamic vinegar.
  4. Reduce to medium-high heat and continuously whisk the mixture until it reduces by half or just a bit more.
  5. Drizzle away!
Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Puree © 2013, Juniper Stokes

Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Puree © 2013, Juniper Stokes

This recipe makes far more puree than you’ll need—after all, it’s basically a fancy nut butter. Luckily, it keeps for up to a week in the fridge and is so delicious you’ll be happy to have extra.

How we actually at the dish--I just piled all the asparagus on in a big messy heap! haha

How we actually ate the dish–I just piled all the asparagus on in a big messy heap! haha

Natkin recommends serving the leftovers with other types of veggies, such as raw endive or roasted cauliflower. I used a bit of my leftovers as a dip for baby carrots, and heated the rest up in the oven to make a hot dip for rice crackers and French bread. I highly recommend heating up the leftovers. The hot dip was gooey and yummy and rich—yet totally vegan. It would make a great pesto-like sauce for pasta, as well.

Enjoy!

Oh, and I did get a nice thank you for such an awesome dinner :)

my thank you for dinner :) ©2013, Juniper Stokes

my thank you for dinner :) ©2013, Juniper Stokes

My first article for Emerald Aromatherapy has been published! Aromatherapy is the perfect way to awaken creative impulses left dormant during a winter rest. Read more in my full article: http://www.emeraldaromatherapy.org/the-creative-impulse-of-spring-aromatherapy-and-creativity/

Aromatherapy and Creativity, Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang Blossom
photo credit: Zaqqy via Compfight

Blogging news! In addition to creating content for my personal blog, I’ve recently started to contribute to Emerald Aromatherapy, a wonderful aromatherapy website based in Italy. The site is run by Italian aromatherapist and botanical perfumery expert, Elena Cobez, and can be read in English: http://www.emeraldaromatherapy.org/ or Italian: http://www.fiordicamomilla.org/.

From now on, most of my aromatherapy articles will be published on that website, though I will probably still include a few original articles here. I will continue to link to each aromatherapy I publish on the other site, so keep checking back for updates!

LILIES

LILIES (Photo credit: whologwhy)

This creation combines one of my favorite foods–potatoes!–with one of my favorite flavor combos–tarragon and nutmeg. I came up with this recipe during a serious craving for comfort food, hence the potatoes (who doesn’t love hot, salty carbs?). Still, I like to at least pretend to be healthy . . . so, I used multi-colored French fingerlings for extra antioxidants and left the skin on for a vitamin boost. I combined the potatoes with all natural ingredients, and viola! A healthy (-ish), gourmet comfort food is born.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fingerling potatoes
  • 2 Tbs butter (or olive oil)*
  • 2 Tbs half & half (or non-dairy substitute, such as hemp milk)*
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan (or 2 Tbs nutritional yeast)*
  • 1 1/2  tsp dried tarragon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • splash olive oil

*Vegan/healthier options

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly toss the fingerling potatoes with olive oil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until you can easily pierce them with a fork. (Alternately, steam or boil the potatoes until tender–the important thing here is just making sure that they’re cooked and soft).

Next, remove the potatoes from the oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees. Mash the potatoes and stir in the remaining ingredients (leave out the nutritional yeast at this stage if you’re making the vegan version–it’s best served uncooked, stirred in right before serving).

Return the potato mixture to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the mixture is cooked through. You may want to top everything with a bit of extra parmesan at this stage ;)

Remove from the oven and serve!

twice-baked fingerling potatoes © 2013 Juniper Stokes

twice-baked fingerling potatoes © 2013 Juniper Stokes

 

 

© 2012, Juniper Stokes

© 2012, Juniper Stokes

 

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