Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan

Sometimes I just don’t know how I come up with certain things.

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com

Take this Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan, for example. I suppose it’s not too surprising that I paired a creamy, vegetable-laden, curry-laced dip with everyone’s favorite Indian carb, but I’m not too sure adding chunks of bacon to the bread is really staying in line with the traditional flavors of that culture. Oh well, that’s what cooking is all about, right? Taking already established, delicious dishes and turning them into your own?

And let me tell you a little story about bacon, and why I feel compelled to add it to just about everything I cook these days (in small amounts, that is.) You see, one of my hubby’s best friends has a family hook up with a local butcher in the Bay Area, and for my hubby’s bachelor party he literally brought all. the. meat. We’re talking tomahawk steaks, ham steaks, sausages and, of course, bacon. It was LITERALLY a sausage fest. My hubs came back raving about this bacon, and the next time we were up visiting his friend we snagged a small pack to bring home with us.

Fast forward a few months, to Christmastime, and we had mentioned to his friend that we were due for a replenishment of our bacon stock. We show up to his parents’ house on Christmas Day, and he literally goes into the garage and comes back with a 15-POUND box of this bacon for us.  So we’re basically set with bacon for life, or at least for the foreseeable future. Thank goodness for plenty of freezer space!

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com

Needless to say, we always have some on hand so I couldn’t help but add a little bit to the naan I was making for this Creamed Curried Spinach. (I must also mention that I was partially inspired by our favorite little spot in Napa, Model Bakery, and the bacon bread that’s regularly part of their daily homemade bread selection.) Let me tell you, the end result is nothing short of spectacular. I adapted the naan recipe from this one I found on Girl Versus Dough, basically just adding in the bacon and using my stovetop griddle instead of the gas grill outside. The end result is a chewy and moist naan that holds up extremely well to the whole dipping and scooping up the creamed spinach process, yet melts in your mouth save for the slight salty crunch of the bacon. Delish.

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com

So now that we’ve talked about the bacon naan, I’ve also GOT to tell you about this Creamed Curried Spinach because it is out of this world. First of all, this part of the dish is completely vegan. Do you believe it? Well, if I told you I used my trusty cashew cream as a base I bet you would. Seriously, I don’t think there’s any sort of cream sauce that vegan sub can’t stand up to. So, if you’re vegan, I strongly urge you to give this a shot, and simply find (or make) some sort of substitute for the bacon naan.

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com

Okay, back to our Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan. When making the cashew cream this time around, I simply added a hefty dose of curry powder instead of nutritional yeast. I then stirred it into some wilted onions, garlic, and spinach, and fancied it up with some fresh cherry tomatoes and a dash of red pepper flakes. The result was so creamy and bursting with flavor, I really am giddy with excitement for you to try this.

All glowing reviews aside, I do realize that Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan is not the most photogenic, but PLEASE do not let that stop you. You will be incredibly sorry if you do. Most Indian food involves dipping into a blurry blend of exotic herbs, spices and sauces without silverware, and this is no exception. Use your bacon naan as your spoon and really get in there and shovel some hefty scoops straight into your mouth. I’m pretty sure once you start eating this you’re not going to be able to stop, so get after it!

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
2 hr 30 mins
 

A vegan, Indian-inspired curried spinach dish is accompanied by homemade naan studded with crunchy, salty bits of bacon. 

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the bacon naan:
  • 3/4 cup water, bathtub temperature (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 3/4 cup milk, bathtub temperature (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
For the creamed curried spinach:
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 4 hours (or up to overnight)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 small sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1 8-ounce bag fresh spinach
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. First, make the naan. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the water, milk, yeast and salt. Next, add the Greek yogurt and honey, then slowly stir in the flour. Before the mixture gets too thick, stir in the chopped bacon and continue stirring until all ingredients are combined and a sticky dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place, away from drafts, for about two hours or until doubled in size. 

  2. With lightly floured hands, punch down the dough and divide into six even pieces. (The dough will be quite sticky, so just keep adding enough flour until you can handle it without all of it sticking to your fingers.) 

  3. Heat a griddle over medium heat on the stove. Spray with nonstick spray (I used coconut oil spray from Trader Joe’s.) Using your hands, form each piece of dough into a flat, oval shape that’s about 1/4-inch thick. Place the dough (working in batches) on the griddle and cook for about 3 minutes each side, until it becomes slightly charred and feels like it’s been cooked through. If your naan seems to puff up a lot when it’s cooking on its first side, simply flip it once that side’s done and then press down with the back of a spatula while it’s cooking on its second side. This will help it spread out more and cook more evenly.

  4. Remove cooked naan from griddle and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.

  5. Next, make the curried cashew cream. Drain the cashews from their soaking water and add to a high-powered blender with the curry powder, ½ teaspoon salt and filtered water. Puree until a creamy sauce forms, adding a tad more water if needed. Measure out two cups of the cashew cream and reserve the rest for another use.

  6. In a large saute pan, melt the coconut oil. Add the garlic and onion and saute until fragrant and translucent, about 3-5 minutes on medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add about 1/3 of the fresh spinach to the pan, stirring until the spinach begins to wilt. Add the tomatoes. Next, add about 1/3 of the curried cashew cream. Continue this process two more times, until you’ve used up all of the spinach and the whole two cups of the curried cashew cream. 

  7. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Simmer on low until ready to serve. Serve with bacon naan. No utensils required!

Recipe Notes

The Bacon Naan recipe was adapted from the No-Knead Grilled Naan recipe on Girls Versus Dough.

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina

The best way to get our daily dose of veggies!

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com

I mean, who doesn’t want to get their Vitamins A and C and tons of fiber from a PIZZA? That’s right, carb-y crust and cheese included. How many times do I have to tell you I’m all about keeping things balanced? This Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina is nothing but.

If it were up to me, we’d have pizza for dinner at least a couple of times a week. I mean, I’ve certainly made quite a few insanely delicious variations here on the blog already (see this Pastrami Pizza, this Fresh Fig, Prosciutto and Burrata Pizza with Truffle Honey and this Chocolate Brie Dessert Pizza with Almond-Orange Shortbread Crust.)  It really is one of my favorite foods, but we gotta keep things in check and make sure we’re evening out that sort of dinner, which is a little more indulgent, with healthier stuff like broth-based soups and protein-packed salads. No restriction, just variation! That’s how I like to eat and I hope it’s the same for you.

That being said, if there were ever a “healthy-ish” version of the dish to be had, this Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza is it. So you don’t even have to feel one bit bad about whipping it up on a weekly basis! And thanks to Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough recipe, you can make one pizza that easily feeds two one night, and another one with the leftover dough a few days later. Let me tell you, we were quite excited to whip out the extra dough and have a pizza ready in 20 minutes this weekend when we had so many better things to do than slaving away in the kitchen.

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com

With it still being winter (and with all the crazy weather we’ve been having in California – I don’t think it’s rained this much in yearrrrrs!) the root vegetables that top this pizza are the perfect thing to make you feel like you’re eating the ultimate comfort food while still getting all of the vitamins and nutrients that they’re known for.

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com

Looking at these likely drool-inducing photos, you may be wondering what those purple-looking things are. They’re the carrots, my friends! I spotted the tri-color bag at Trader Joe’s and knew they’d be the perfect way to jazz up the monotony of color that orange carrots would have provided. That being said, plain ol’ orange carrots would work just fine if you’re not looking to make your pizza super photogenic.

So let’s talk about the process of making the deliciousness that is this Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina. As I mentioned above, I used Jim Lahey’s popular No-Knead Pizza Dough recipe for the base, but you could easily use your own homemade pizza dough recipe OR even a store-bought, premade dough. Jim Lahey’s recipe does require an overnight rise, so plan ahead if you’re going to go that route. It also makes enough dough for two pizzas, but you can easily save one for later if you’re not feeding a crowd that particular night!

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com

After the dough has gone through its overnight rise, the pizza comes together in no time at all. Simply roll the dough out onto your favorite pizza stone (or a pizza pan if you don’t have a stone,) add the toppings and pop it into the oven for 20 minutes. That’s all you need! Your delicious dinner will be ready for you faster than you can finish a glass of wine.

Speaking of wine, my mom is coming down to visit later today and I’m very much looking forward to catching up with her and enjoying a delicious glass of vino or two. We’re heading to check out a new, hip restaurant in Santa Barbara tonight, so be sure to check my Insta-stories for all the deets!

I hope you’re having a great week. Maybe bake up a little pizza tonight to get past the hump? Xx

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This easy pizza recipe is loaded with bright orange and purple veggies, all topped off with a hefty serving of slightly salty fontina cheese.

Course: Main Course
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 recipe Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough (or other pre-made dough)
  • 1 small sweet potato, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup finely chopped cauliflower florets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups grated fontina
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle the cornmeal evenly over your pizza stone or pan, whichever you are using, then roll the dough out on the pan in a circular shape. 

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil, the fresh thyme, salt and pepper. 

  3. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the prepared pizza dough, then sprinkle on the minced garlic and then the grated fontina cheese. Top with the vegetable mixture. 

  4. Put the prepared pizza in the oven and bake at 450 for 20 minutes, or until the crust is nice and golden and the cheese is melted. Remove, slice and serve as soon as it has cooled slightly.

Recipe Notes

Click here for Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough recipe.

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Pizza with Fontina | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

A Valentine’s Day Wine and Food Pairing for Two

I’m so excited to be partnering with Hana-Lee from Wander & Wine to bring you today’s post!

A Valentine's Day Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two | CaliGirlCooking.com

We got together recently to create the perfect Valentine’s Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two, and let’s just say it’s so ridiculously tasty that you won’t even think twice about trying to make a reservation out somewhere to celebrate this year.

We’re talking Savory Triple Cream Tartlets with Blood Orange Marmalade and Herb-Crusted Lamb Lollipops with Blackberry Reduction over Creamy Polenta, both paired with the most delicious wines. If that doesn’t sound like the perfect Valentine’s Day meal, I don’t know what does.

A Valentine's Day Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two | CaliGirlCooking.com

One of the greatest things about this blogging life is the huge network of other bloggers and entrepreneurs I’ve gotten to connect and eventually become good friends with. I feel especially lucky to have found a great group of gals living here in Santa Barbara that are in the same (or very similar) lines of work.

Hana-Lee and I first became “Insta-friends,” and it only took us oh, about six months, to actually meet IRL. Ever since, we’ve become blogging partners in crime, taking “research” trips to Napa and working up some fun collabs just like this one! Stay tuned for another simple fun collab coming in March, but until then, let’s chat about this delicious Valentine’s Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two.

A Valentine's Day Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two | CaliGirlCooking.com

The menu is perfect for next week’s big event for multiple reasons:

  • It looks elegant and decadent, but comes together seamlessly.
  • It has lots of red, purple and pink hues going on.
  • It is INCREDIBLY tasty and is guaranteed to wow your significant other.
  • Finally, and most importantly, it is paired with TWO delicious wines.

Does it get any better than that? I think not.

Savory Triple Cream Tartlets with Blood Orange Marmalade | A Valentine's Day Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two on CaliGirlCooking.com

We start with an appetizer course of Savory Triple Cream Tartlets with Blood Orange Marmalade. From the creamy cheese filling laced with sautéed shallots and thyme to the fruity, citrusy marmalade gracing the top, once you taste these tartlets you MIGHT not be able to go back to just any old sweet or savory tartlet. Even better, the tartlet shells, filling and marmalade can all be made up to three days in advance, which means all you need to do before serving is compose and pop in the oven for five minutes or less. See, I told you this wouldn’t be too difficult.

Savory Triple Cream Tartlets with Blood Orange Marmalade | A Valentine's Day Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two on CaliGirlCooking.com

These Savory Triple Cream Tartlets with Blood Orange Marmalade are mouth-watering on their own, but they only get better when paired with Domaine Chandon’s fruity, refreshing sparkling Rose. Click here for Hana-Lee’s in-depth wine pairing notes!

Herb-Crusted Lamb Lollipops with Blackberry Reduction Over Creamy Polenta | A Valentine's Day Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two on CaliGirlCooking.com

For the main dish, we created these Herb-Crusted Lamb Lollipops with Blackberry Reduction and Creamy Polenta that, although not difficult to prepare, are far from your average weeknight dinner. You’ll want to start by making the polenta because, although it’s incredibly easy to make from scratch, it does take about 45 minutes to come together (most of that just sitting simmering away on the stove.) If you’re really in a pinch, you could use pre-made polenta, but seriously, once you try making it yourself once, you’ll realize it’s not any more difficult. We also graced our homemade polenta with a hearty handful of aged gouda cheese, which lends the perfect salty, savory kick to the entire dish.

Next, you’ll want to get the Blackberry Reduction simmering away on the stove. Sweet, tart and savory all at once, I’m very confident that once you master the basics of a reduction like this, you’ll feel liberated with all of the different ingredient combinations you can use to make the perfect topping for any meal.

The lamb lollipops are going to be the last step, as they’re both the quickest and the easiest to put together. We simply take a garlic and rosemary concoction and rub it all over the chops, then sear them off in a cast iron skillet (although you could use any nonstick skillet or even the grill if you’re so inclined.)

Herb-Crusted Lamb Lollipops with Blackberry Reduction Over Creamy Polenta | A Valentine's Day Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two on CaliGirlCooking.com

Once you have all of these components made, these Herb-Crusted Lamb Lollipops with Blackberry Reduction and Creamy Polenta come together quickly and painlessly. Scoop a heaping pile of the creamy polenta onto whatever serving dish you choose (the individual gratin dishes we used worked perfectly, you can find similar ones here,) top with a lamp lollipop, and then drizzle on the thick, glossy blackberry reduction.

We paired this entrée dish with Tablas Creek Vineyard’s 2014 Patelin de Tablas, a Rhone-style blend made up of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Counoise. Click here for Hana-Lee’s notes on this delicious pairing.

Herb-Crusted Lamb Lollipops with Blackberry Reduction Over Creamy Polenta | A Valentine's Day Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two on CaliGirlCooking.com

With two delicious courses and two just-as-delicious wine pairings, we’re guessing you won’t have too much room for dessert. But, just in case you have a little sweet tooth that needs tending to, here are some options for a third and final course:

A Valentine's Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two | CaliGirlCooking.com

And there you have it! The perfect Valentine’s Day Wine and Food Pairing for Two. So cancel your reservations, put on some slow tunes and light some candles for a romantic night in. Your significant other deserves it, and you do too. XO

Savory Triple Cream Tartlets with Blood Orange Marmalade | A Valentine's Day Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two on CaliGirlCooking.com
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Savory Triple Cream Tartlets with Blood Orange Marmalade
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

These savory tartlets are creamy and decadent and topped with a brilliant red marmalade. The perfect appetizer to pair with a sparkling rose!

Course: Appetizer
Servings: 4 tartlets
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed
  • 2 teaspoons shortening
  • 4-5 tablespoons ice water, as needed
  • Special Equipment: Four 4-inch nonstick tartlet pans
For the filling:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 5 ounces triple cream soft cheese (We used Delice de Bourgogne)
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • Pinch of pepper
For the marmalade:
  • 6 blood oranges
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Cointreau
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
Instructions
To make the crust:
  1. Combine all crust ingredients (except ice water) in a food processor. Pulse until crumbly. Add ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until a dough forms. Remove from food processer and shape into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to ¼-inch thickness (you may need to let the dough warm up slightly before trying to roll it.) Cut dough into fourths and shape into tartlet pans, crimping the edges as needed.

  3. Place tartlet pans on a small rimmed baking sheet and bake in 400-degree oven for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove and let cool completely. If you’re not composing the tartlets that day, wrap the pans in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature until ready to use.

To make the filling:
  1. In a small saute pan, melt the butter. Once butter is melted, add the minced shallots and thyme and saute until fragrant and translucent. Transfer mixture to a small mixing bowl. 

  2. Add your triple cream cheese, crème fraiche and pepper to the mixing bowl and use a spatula to combine all of the ingredients. If you’re not composing the tartlets right away, transfer filling to a resealable container and keep refrigerated until ready to use. 

To make the marmalade (you will have extra marmalade left over, but that means all the more to put on your toast in the morning!):
  1. Using a microplane, gather 1 cup grated blood orange zest (being careful not to scrape the bitter white pith.) 

  2. Once you have the zest, peel the blood oranges and gather 2 cups of pulp, squeezing it out of the translucent white membrane that’s segments the orange into slices. 

  3. Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the zest, pulp, Cointreau, lemon juice and water. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer until mixture is thick and reduced, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely. If not composing the tartlets right away, transfer to a resealable container and keep refrigerated for up to three days. 

To compose the tartlets:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Use a spatula to put the filling into a piping bag. Cut off the tip of the bag (no piping tip needed) and pipe it into each of the tart shells. Use a small spatula to spread it and make it even. 

  3. Place tartlets on a small rimmed baking sheet and place in oven for just 5 minutes (you might not even need this much time, you just want the cheese to get melty so keep an eye on it!)

  4. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Top with a scoop of the blood orange marmalade and serve immediately.

 

Herb-Crusted Lamb Lollipops with Blackberry Reduction Over Creamy Polenta | A Valentine's Day Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two on CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Herb-Crusted Lamb Lollipops with Blackberry Reduction Over Creamy Polenta
Prep Time
55 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 5 mins
 

Rosemary and garlic crusted lamb lollipops are placed over a bed of creamy, cheesy homemade polenta and topped with a perfectly balanced blackberry reduction.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 2 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the polenta:
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup shredded aged Gouda cheese
  • Salt and pepper
For the reduction:
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup red wine (it would be best to use the Tablas Creek here)
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
For the lamb lollipops:
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bone-in lamb chops
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
To make the polenta:
  1. Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Once boiling, slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking as you pour to avoid clumps. 

  2. Turn down heat to a low simmer and let cook for about 40 minutes, whisking every 10 minutes. If polenta gets too thick at the end of this, simply add a bit more water. 

  3. Whisk in butter in two parts, then stir in Gouda cheese. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Keep polenta over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until ready to serve.

To make the reduction:
  1. Combine all ingredients (except butter) in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a heavy simmer. Turn down heat slightly and let simmer until mixture is reduced by at least half. 

  2. Remove thyme sprigs from sauce and remove sauce from heat. Whisk in butter continuously until it is completely melted, or your sauce will break. Return to very low heat until ready to serve.

To make the lamb lollipops:
  1. In a small bowl, form the herb rub by combining the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Place the lamb lollipops on a plate and rub the herb mixture all over both sides. Let lamb sit with the herb rub on it for 20 minutes if possible. 

  2. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once skillet is hot, add the lamb lollipops (you should hear a big sizzle when you put them on.) Cook the lamb lollipops for about 5 minutes each side, or until they get a nice dark golden crust. Remove from heat and let rest for about 10 minutes before plating.

To plate the dish:
  1. Scoop a large spoonful of polenta into two individual gratin dishes. Place a lamb lollipop on top of each dish, then spoon the blackberry reduction over top. Serve immediately.

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Savory Triple Cream Tartlets with Blood Orange Marmalade | A Valentine's Day Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two on CaliGirlCooking.com

Herb-Crusted Lamb Lollipops with Blackberry Reduction Over Creamy Polenta | A Valentine's Day Wine and Food Pairing Dinner for Two on CaliGirlCooking.com

Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets

Little pockets of deliciousness, that’s what we’re talking about today.

Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets | CaliGirlCooking.com

You already know that here at CaliGirl Cooking we’re all about that balance, and today is no exception. I’m bringing you an easy, mouthwatering recipe for Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets. You may never want to make regular chicken pot pie ever again.

I made these last week and we enjoyed them in oh so many ways: as a snack, dipped in tomato soup, or even as a full-on dinner. The beauty of Healthier Chicken Pot Pie (especially in handheld form) is that you can really enjoy it anytime, anywhere. Come to think of it, this would even make a perfectly suitable food to pack for a picnic!

We’re well into the third week of January right now, and I know there are many of you out there who are probably bending under the pressure of all of those New Year’s resolutions you made. They say it takes up to 30 days to form a new habit, so hang in there! You’re more than halfway and I have all the faith in you that you can stick it out.

The good news is, you can still enjoy these Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets, even if you’re trying to incorporate more whole foods into your diet (and less junk!)

Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets | CaliGirlCooking.com

Now, I’m not going to lie and say that these are THE healthiest version of chicken pot pie you’ve ever had, but you should know by now that I am not about giving up ALL of the delicious flavor in a recipe when I make it over. Balance, balance, balance! No restrictions, just trying to make slightly healthier decisions whenever we can.

So, how, I bet you’re wondering, do we make these pockets “healthier” than your average chicken pot pie? The main change I’ve made to the original recipe is using my OG cashew cream in place of the typical heavy white sauce the binds all of the fillings together. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, cashew cream is pretty much a magical healthier alternative to any cream sauce you’ve ever made. You first saw me use it on my Sweet Potato Toast with Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream, then again on my Spicy Stuffed Pasilla Peppers with Cashew Cream Sauce, and once again in my Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese. I think it’s going to be a very rare occasion that I ever make a REAL cream sauce again. Once you try these Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets, I bet you’ll be in the same boat as me!

Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets | CaliGirlCooking.com

With a little planning, these pockets come together in no time at all. I made the pastry dough the day before (using the crust recipe I used in this Cream Cheese-y Pumpkin Pie,) soaked my cashews for the cream sauce overnight, and whipped up the sauce in my Vitamix in the morning. I also simply used some grilled chicken breasts I already had in the refrigerator (something everyone should meal prep every week!) After you have the dough and cashew cream sauce made, and the cooked chicken breast on hand, you’ll spend 15 minutes max whipping together the pot pie filling, and 25-30 minutes baking the pockets. No sweat.

Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets | CaliGirlCooking.com

Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets | CaliGirlCooking.com

Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets | CaliGirlCooking.com

These Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets are not only incredibly versatile in how they can be enjoyed, they also reheat incredibly well. We enjoyed them over a course of a few days and they tasted fantastic every single time we reheated them.

So that’s the deal! That’s how we make tasty, tummy-warming Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets that are the perfect comfort food for this time of year but will still keep us on track with all of our New Year’s goals. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets | CaliGirlCooking.com

Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

These little bites of heaven take the old-school classic chicken pot pie and turn it into a healthier, handheld form. All of the indulgence and less of the guilt!

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Servings: 1 dozen
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the dough:
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 4 tablespoons water
For the cashew cream:
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in filtered water for at least 4 hours
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 medium cooked chicken breast, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg
Instructions
  1. First, prepare the dough. Combine all dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl and, using fingers, incorporate until dough begins to come together (it will still be slightly crumbly.) Using hands, form dough into a ball and then flatten slightly into a disc. Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

  2. Next, prepare the cashew cream. Drain soaking water from the cashews and place in a high-powered blender. Add filtered water, nutritional yeast and salt and blend on high until a smooth cream forms. Set aside.

  3. Now, time to prepare the filling. In a large saute pan, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes, until they start to become translucent. Add the carrot, celery and garlic and saute for another 5-10 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Add the frozen peas and chicken breast, and then the cashew cream. Stir to combine and continue to cook until mixture is warmed through. Turn heat down to low and move on to prepping the dough.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a large baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, or line it with parchment paper. Set aside.

  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. You may need to let it warm up to room temperature a bit before you can roll it out. Once the dough is soft, roll it out to about ½ inch thickness. Using a large circle cookie cutter (I actually used a large ramekin since I didn’t have a large enough cookie cutter,) cut the dough into circles that are about 7-8 inches in diameter.

  6. Scoop about two tablespoons of filling onto one half of each of the circles, and then fold the other half over top. Use your fingers to pinch the dough up around the edge and seal. Place pockets on the prepared baking sheet. 

  7. In a small bowl, whisk the egg to make the egg wash. Brush the wash over each of the pockets, then cut a small slit in the top of each to allow the filling to vent during cooking. 

  8. Place in preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the pockets are a nice golden-brown color. Serve warm.

Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Little bites of heaven right here!

Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter

Because sometimes simpler is better.

Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter | CaliGirlCooking.com

We’re at that time of year when we’re still recovering from the craziness of the holidays, and if you’re anything like me, you’re craving those simple, easy meals that come together in a flash while still delivering loads of delicious flavor. This Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter is one such meal, and I can guarantee that it will change your life.

But seriously, once you go down the path of compound butters (i.e. mixing spices, herbs and other flavorings into your favorite high-quality butter), you’ll never turn back. The hardest part is remembering to put some butter out ahead of time to let it come to room temperature for easy mixing. Thinking up all of the delicious ways you can use said compound butter? I don’t think that’s going to be a problem for you.

I was first introduced to compound butters when I worked a short stint in a French bistro in Honolulu, and all I can say is it was a life-changing experience. Compound butters basically cut your prep time in half, seeing as the herbs and other flavorings are already mixed into the butter you’d use in the recipe anyhow.

Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter | CaliGirlCooking.com

They are THE perfect answer to any sort of grilled, roasted or pan-fried meat or seafood. Just plop a pat on top of your already cooked protein, dish it up with a vibrant veggie side dish, and a simple, balanced dinner is ready for your kitchen table.

Speaking of vibrant veggie side dishes, can we talk a bit about these Haricots Verts and Snow Peas with Hazelnut and Orange that I whipped up to serve with my oh-so-delicious Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter?

Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter | CaliGirlCooking.com

One of my favorite gifts I received this Christmas was Ottolenghi: The Cookbook. I have been dying to get my hands on said cookbook for oh, at least six months now, and my little sis pulled through. Although I’ve never had the privilege of eating at any of his restaurants, everything I’ve read about him, and all of the recipes I’ve seen that are created by him, have been right up my alley. Mostly vegetable- and herb-based, but with no strict dietary callouts. Yes, you will find gluten in his recipes and yes, there are still meats and cheeses making appearances, but veggies are the star of the show. The perfect “balance” if you ask me!

So, after Christmas the hubs had to come back to Santa Barbara for work, but I stayed up north since we had a wedding (and Tahoe trip!) over New Year’s weekend. I made the horrible mistake of sending my new cookbook home with him, and consequently spent many laid-back afternoons and evenings wishing I had it to pore through and even make a recipe or two from.

Needless to say, as soon as I got back home I excitedly started flipping through all of the recipes and marking which ones I wanted to try (um, basically all of them!) When I saw that this Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter was scheduled on my editorial calendar for this week, I couldn’t wait to make these Haricots Verts and Snow Peas to go with it!

Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter | CaliGirlCooking.com

If you want to make delicious vegetable-filled dishes (or super tasty baked goods, for that matter), I HIGHLY recommend that you invest in Ottolenghi: The Cookbook. And if you already have it, do you have any favorite recipes you’ve made from it?

Anywho, back to this Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter. As I mentioned, it is so easy, with minimal mess and cleanup, and requires very few ingredients. It also comes together in less than 20 minutes, plus just a little bit of time for the butter to reset in the refrigerator.

I got the idea for furikake compound butter when my dad and I were in Honolulu this past fall, as furikake is a pretty popular condiment over there and we were enjoying it in EVERYTHING.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a Japanese seasoning blend made up of seaweed, sesame seeds, dried fish and other things. It’s amazing, and surprisingly not too hard to find here on the mainland. Any grocery store with a big Asian section should have it, but you can also order it on Amazon.

As I mentioned, the hardest part about this recipe is planning it far enough in advance to take out some of your favorite high-quality butter (I prefer Kerrygold) and let it come to room temperature so you can easily mix in the furikake. I used my mini food processor to mix everything together, but you could also do it by hand or use a pastry blender.

Once you have the furikake mixed evenly throughout the butter, you’ll want to roll it up into a log using saran wrap (also known as “au torchon” in culinary speak) and place it in the refrigerator to re-harden so you can cut it into pats for on top of your swordfish.

Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter | CaliGirlCooking.com

While your butter is in the refrigerator, you can grill up the swordfish. We’re keeping the seasoning simple for this one, since most of the flavor is going to come from the furikake butter. A little spray (or brush) of oil to keep the fish from sticking, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice and you’re good to go. Grilled only takes 4-8 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of your swordfish filets) and then you’re ready to rock and roll!

Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter | CaliGirlCooking.com

If you’re not a fan of swordfish, you could easily substitute another type of fish or even steak or chicken. Either way, the dish is going to be delicious. Now what are you waiting for? Time to get some fish on the grill for dinner tonight!

Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter | CaliGirlCooking.com

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

A simple, protein-filled recipe - grilled swordfish is topped with a delicious compound butter laced with furikake, the classic Japanese seasoning.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 2 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 8 tablespoons high-quality butter, at room temperature (I prefer Kerrygold)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons furikake
  • 2 swordfish filets (about 3/4 - 1 pound total)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine butter and furikake in a small food processor or mixing bowl. Mix until furikake is evenly incorporated into the butter. Using a spatula, scoop the butter onto a piece of saran wrap in the shape of a log. Using the saran wrap as a guide, roll the butter into a log shape. Place in refrigerator for at least 15-20 minutes to reharden.

  2. In the meantime, prepare your swordfish. First, turn your gas grill on medium to heat up. Next, prep the swordfish by first spraying or brushing with olive oil, then squeezing on lemon juice and finally seasoning with salt and pepper. 

  3. Place swordfish on the grill and cook on one side for 4-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of your filets. Flip over and cook for another 4-8 minutes, or until swordfish looks cooked through and is no longer incredibly tender to the touch. 

  4. Remove swordfish from grill and plate up immediately. Remove furikake butter from the refrigerator and cut two pats (about 1/8 of an inch thick each) per swordfish filet. Place on top of swordfish and serve immediately with whatever veggie side you desire!

Recipe Notes

You will have plenty of furikake butter left over for anything you want to use it on. The possibilities are endless: on top of other proteins, grilled vegetables, or even to season popcorn!

Grilled Swordfish with Furikake Butter | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Dinner is served.