My toddler daughter and I were recently invited to an authentic Sri Lankan dinner party. We had a blast and the food and company were so delightful! I’ve teamed up with my friend Yasara who hosted us to bring you a delicious and super nutritious Sri Lankan dish. Not to mention this Sri Lankan beet curry looks like little ruby jewels of goodness. Thanks Yasara for a beautiful day of food and fun!

Also, Sri Lankans eat with their hands to blend the food and flavors which is just about a dream come true to me. It really brings a new experience to food adding the tactile experience with your hands. I think it makes fo a deeper level of appreciation for flavor and nourishment.

Dark-skinned woman's hand peeling a red onion. Sliced red onion and curry powder on dark handmade plate. Turmeric powder, peppercorns and fresh curry leaves in dark handmade bowl.Dark-skinned woman's hands slicing red beets.Turmeric, red onion, curry powder and peppercorn ingredient shot on dark handmade dishes.Dark-skinned woman's hand sprinkling turmeric over pan of beet curry.Sri Lankan vegan beet curry in metal panDark-skinned woman eating Sri Lankan beet curry with her hand.

  • 2-3 red beets with tops, peeled and sliced beets into slim chunks – chop leaves
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coconut milk powder
  • 1/2+ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2+ teaspoon un-roasted curry powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3-4 fresh curry leaves
  • coconut oil to sauté
~Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
~ Brown onions and garlic, then add beets.
~ Add coconut milk powder, turmeric, and curry powder and stir to combine.
~ Salt and pepper to taste then add curry leaves. Mix thoroughly.
~ Cover and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes until beets soften a bit. Feel free to add more curry powder and turmeric to suite your taste.
~ Once beets soften a bit, add beet leaves and cook them down.
~ Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes before giving them a final stir and serving.
 ENJOY!!!
 Dark-skinned woman eating Sri Lankan beet curry with her hand.

Our family recipe for baby back ribs is an absolute stunner! You can find them here in my rib soup and here in my first post on this obsessive topic of my favorite rib recipe. So this isn’t the first time I’ve thrust this recipe at you. Have you made it? If not that is EXACTLY why I’m throwing it at you again!! Good grief get at it already! If you have, let this be a reminder to pull this delicious recipe out again at your next barbecue and have the happiest, messiest guests imaginable!

Also check out this babe in all her sticky, barbecue awesomeness. Get it Molls!

Fall off the bone baby back ribs.

Woman holding meat cleaver smeared with barbecue sauce.

Woman eating meat from fall off the bone baby back ribs.

Woman eating meat from fall off the bone baby back ribs.

Woman eating meat from fall off the bone baby back ribs.

Woman pulling meat from fall off the bone baby back ribs.

Woman licking barbecue sauce off of her fingers.

Woman wiping barbecue sauce covered hands on her apron.

Woman wiping barbecue sauce covered hands on her apron.

DRY RUB

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  •  1 teaspoon orange peel powder or 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest (use a microplane to fine grate)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 4 pounds baby back ribs
  • your favorite barbecue sauce

~ Cut each whole  rack in half and tear off aluminum foil sheets big enough to enclose each  halved.  Peel membrane off the back of the rib with a butter knife and a paper towel as instructed in this video– apply a dry rub to both sides.

~ Mix up dry rub and apply liberally massaging into meat.

~ Enclose each segment separately and tightly in aluminum foil and refrigerate for 8 hour or overnight.

~ Put ribs still tightly enclosed in foil on a baking sheet (they drip like crazy) and bake at 300 degrees for 2-1/2 hour.

~ After baking you can either refrigerate until ready to grill or put them right on the grill. Once ready to grill, slather with your favorite BBQ sauce and grill at a medium heat for about 5-10 min per side or until sauce is a little bubbly and they are charred they way you like. Don’t leave them on for too long or they’ll dry out.

**Oh Molly, we’re all ravenously nuts about this ribs. You’re in good company girl!

Smiling woman wearing an apron.

Good grief it is soooo wickedly hot all I want is cold food that doesn’t require my oven to be turned on. What is the deal with this heat? 111 degrees today and it’s a struggle to do anything except be underwater in the pool!

For years I’ve been after Molly for this recipe! It goes without saying here that any barbecue or get together at my house goes with an unspoken request for this salad. The flavors are so perfectly balanced, the textures so crisp and fresh, that I’m still surprised by the simplicity of the recipe. It really is a quick, non-lettuce salad to bring anywhere as a respectable contribution to any meal. Now I have the recipe immortalized here and can never lose it again. Whew!

Here’s a bunch of pretty food and beautiful Molly images to get you in the recipe mood. Thanks Molly!!

Grilled corn cob in the husk

Woman's hand cutting grilled corn from the cob

Hands tossing summer Corn Salad with tomatoes and avocado

hands squeezing lemon into summer Corn Salad with tomatoes and avocado

  • 4 Ears of Corn
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 container of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 large or 2 small avocados
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
~ To grill the corn, heat grill on low and place the corn directly on the grill with the husks on. Turn occasionally.  After about ten minutes, remove husks and char 1-2 minutes each side. Let cool.
*** If you do not grill the corn, slice it off the cob first and sauté in EVOO until cooked through. Let stand to cool. If you sauté the corn, no need to add more olive oil when dressing the whole salad.
~ While the corn is cooling, dice the red onion, halve or quarter the tomatoes depending on size. Chop the avocado and mozzarella into bite size pieces. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
~ Once the corn has cooled to the touch break each ear in half to slice off the kernels. Toss the corn with the other ingredients and lightly drizzle EVOO and Balsamic vinegar.
**Variation: Use lime instead of lemon and add some fresh cilantro. Yum!
Summer Corn Salad with tomatoes and avocado

When Molly was up for showing me how she makes homemade lasagna noodles rolled entirely by hand I was pumped. I can’t eat them but, man was I happy to shoot her making these beauties (and housing all the layers between noodles)! This lasagna was a BIG hit in our houses. It’s chock full of flavorful vegetables and the perfect satisfying dish for any meatless Monday (or wednesday, or thursday…). I actually think I like it better than it’s meaty cousin. GASP! Shhhh don’t tell, snitches get stitches!

Molly’s artisanal noodle making was so very beautiful to shoot that I’ve included more images than usual to take ya’ll on the “maker’s” journey with us. Kick back and enjoy because there’s plenty of work to come when you make and roll your own lasagna noodles the old-fashioned way;) You can do it! Let’s see those muscles!

Woman cracking an egg into a pile of flour to make pasta.

Woman cracking an egg into a pile of flour to make pasta.

Woman kneading dough to make pasta.

Woman pulling and flipped fresh rolled pasta dough.

Woman cutting freahly made lasagna noodles.

Sauteed pan of vegetables including squashes, onion and tomatoes.

Woman assembling a vegetable lasagna with homemade noodles.

Woman assembling a vegetable lasagna with homemade noodles.

Woman assembling a vegetable lasagna with homemade noodles.

Woman spooning vegetable sauce.

Woman assembling a vegetable lasagna with homemade noodles.

PASTA
  • 3 c.+ All purpose flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tbsp of warm water
~ Form a volcano shape with the flour and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
~ Crack eggs into the well of the flour.
~ Using a fork begin to beat the eggs and slowly draw in the flour the combine. As the dough starts to come together, use your hands to knead. Add warm water or more flour to get a tacky, yet firm consistency.
~ Let the dough rest for 1 hour. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Using a rolling pin roll (or a pasta maker if you have one!) out each ball like your life depends on! Roll the dough to approximately 1/8 of an inch or thinner.
~ Use a paring knife to cut each sheet into 3-4 inch strips. Each sheet will yield 3-4 strips. Lay the strips out flat to dry while make the ragu and herbed cheese fillings.
VEGGIE RAGU
  • 1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Yellow Squash
  • 1 Green Zucchini
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh herbs (we used Basil, Thyme, and Rosemary)
  • 1/4 c. light dry red wine (we used Pinot Noir)
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Chop all of the fresh veggies into bite size pieces. For the squash and zucchini quarter then slice.
~ Heat olive oil to a large skillet at medium heat. combine squash, zucchini, peppers, and onion to skillet. Saute for 5-7 minutes until all of the veggies begin to soften.
~ Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
~ Add in tomatoes and red wine. Let the mixture cook down stirring occasionally to break up whole tomatoes. Season with parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Allow the mixture to simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for another 30 minutes.
HERBED CHEESE FILLING
  • 1 container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh herbs (we used Basil, Thyme, and Rosemary)
  • Fresh ground pepper
Combine all ingredients and stir well add more pepper and herbs to your liking.
Layering and baking: 
~ Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
~ Use an 11X13 baking dish to layer the lasagna in. Coat the bottom of the pan with the veggie mixture and then lay down the first layer of pasta. Add a thicker layer of the veggie mixture on top of the pasta and then dot with tsp. size spoonfuls of the HERBED cheese mixture. Layer again with pasta and repeat. You should have enough pasta and filling for four layers.
~ After the last layer of pasta, add the last of the veggies and cheese plus shredded bits of mozzarella cheese, more herbs, and pepper. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and lightly golden! Let it cool for 10-15 minutes for serving. Voila : )
 Homemade vegetable lasagna with handmade noodles.

I don’t often post about client work, but we had a super fun shoot for a local clean meal delivery business called Fitness Kitchen L.A. and man-oh-man was it fun, gorgeous and delicious AF!!! It’s really fun to get in with smaller local clients on the ground floor and collaborate on the looks and styles that will define their brand. We had way too much fun and ate way too much food on this shoot! Chef Marieno has some real vision for creating delectable, unique and truly nutritious meals. On to the GORGEOUS!!

Nutritious healthy omelet with tomatoes and citrus

Halibut with squash and squash blossoms

Brioche french toast with sausage, natural peanut butter and berry compote

Harvest Kale Salad with chicken, squash, almonds and avocado

Espresso steak with a sunny egg and brussel sprout slaw

Meal plans including deviled eggs, halibut and spinach omelet

Chef Marieno with his dog

There can never be too many ways or variations to make eggs! In our house, they are the ultimate fast food. I poach them in leftover chili and soups and it makes every leftover dish richer and more nutritious. I actually don’t understand why there isn’t a restaurant dedicated to putting eggs on EVERYTHING! Seems like a no-brainer. If you know of such a restaurant please fill me in!

Anyway, on with the show! Eggs in Cocotte are delicately baked eggs in individual portions. Easy to make for a good amount of people (my in-laws will be eating these when they visit over the holidays) and super, fancy pants impressive. It’s a decadent, warming cool-weather breakfast (or lunch, or dinner!).

baked eggs in pots with mushrooms and prosciutto

  • 4 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • olive oil to sauté
  • 9 large meaty mushrooms (shitake, portobella etc.), sliced thick
  • pat of butter
  • 1 Tablespoon cream (1 teaspoon per pot)
  • few large sprigs fresh thyme, miced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 cup gruyere, grated
  • 8 eggs
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • toast points for serving

~ Heat oil in a large skillet. Add shallots and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add chopped prosciutto and sauté another few minutes until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.

~ Melt butter in skillet, then add mushrooms and sauté until tender. In the skillet, toss together the mushrooms, shallots, prosciutto and most of the rosemary and thyme (reserve some for garnishing).

~ Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

~ Butter or oil the small pots or ramekins. Spoon the mushroom mixture evenly into the bottom of each pot. Drizzle a teaspoon of cream into each pot and divide cheese among the dishes. Make 2 depressions in the mixture with the back of the spoon to cradle the eggs. Crack two eggs in each pot, sprinkle a bit of extra  cheese on top of the eggs.

~ Get a pan big enough to fit the 4 pots and fill it with water so that the water goes half way up the sides of the pots. Either bring water to boil in the pan or, if using a glass baking dish you can let the dish heat in the oven and boil water in a hot pot to fill the baking dish.

~ Place the pots in the water bath and carefully place in oven. Bake for 13-16 minutes though I recommend checking on them at 10 minutes due to differences in oven temperatures.

~Once whites are set but yolks are still runny, remove from oven. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Serve with toast points.

ENJOY!!!

 pan of sautéed prosciutto mushrooms and herbs

This is one of those nutritious bowls that seems super duper fancy and only steals about 5 minutes of your life! If you got this at a restaurant you would be floored. Seriously, it’s incredible and so quick and easy that you could make it daily while simultaneously chopping ungodly amounts of fruit for a toddler fruit monster. I know because I do;)

Customize however you like. Sometimes I do a few shakes of pumpkin spice and that’s delicious. Chia, flax, nuts you name it! It’s all good!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2016

  • 5 medjool dates, pitted
  • pat pasture butter
  • greek yogurt
  • small chunk of honeycomb
  • a few almonds (not pictured)
  • sprinkle of maldon sea salt
  • sprinkle of chili powder
  • sprinkle of ground vanilla bean

~ In a frying pan, melt butter over low-medium heat. Add dates, sprinkle with salt, and sauté turning regularly so they don’t burn. Once they’re a bit crispy on all sides they’re done! It only take about 5 minutes so keep an eye on them because they’ll burn quickly.

~ Assemble your yogurt bowl with the remaining ingredients. Top with the dates and pour the brown butter from the pan over the yogurt. YUM!

ENJOY!!!

My darling friend Emily comes from a long line of impressive bakers. She has much coveted pie traditions with her sweet mother and beloved departed nana. It’s so wonderful to keep those beautiful traditions alive from generation to generation. It keeps us grounded and reminds us where we came from and that we are part of something bigger. We are simply a leaf on a giant tree deeply rooted in the past. There is something profoundly comforting in that anchor when this life can sometimes feel as if you’re bobbing like a canoe in the sea! Some traditions, especially those based in food, allow each generation to keep the old but also customize a dish to make it a bit of their own. This pie is exactly such tradition with small tweaks to herbs, spices and ratios to make this an adapted version of a treasured recipe. Beautiful! For the original recipe passed down from Emily’s nana and some family photos of wonderful women check out her mama Lori’s blog.

Emily makes just about the flakiest, lightly crisp crust I have ever seen (or heard)! Rarely am I so heartbroken to avoid gluten. My husband tells me that flakey crust is a buttery, delicious delight. Emily cuts the butter into the dough by hand, which she says makes all the difference. I believe it! That crust…hubba hubba!

So go cover your kitchen in flour and start (or preserve) a lovely family tradition!

ps: I meant to post this recipe before the holidays but got wrapped up in my own holiday celebration with my little girl’s first Christmas and meeting all of her east coast family. What a beautiful time:)

 Crystal-Cartier-meat-pies-5675full

* makes 2    6-inch pies (or 1  10-inch pie)

CRUST

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 pound + 2 2/3 Tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 1/4 cup very cold water

FILLING

  • 3/4 pounds ground beef
  • 3/4 pounds ground pork (butt/shoulder)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoons allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 egg white, beaten for brushing crust

~ In a large bowl, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Sprinkle in water 1 Tablespoon at a time and toss with a fork until dough begins to come together. Gather into a ball and divide dough into 2 equal balls, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

~ In a large dutch oven, saute onion and garlic. Add beef and pork and cook through. Mix in herbs and spices.

~ On a large floured surface, divide one dough ball in half (if making mini pies, if making 10″ single pie do not divide dough) and roll out one of the halves. Lay in a 6″ pie tin. Using a slotted spoon, spoon filling into crust until flush with top of pie pan. Roll out other half of dough ball, place over filling and seal and trim edges. Brush crust with egg white. Repeat for remaining 4 pies.

~ Bake at 375 degrees for around 30 minutes until golden brown.

ENJOY!!

Looks at that perfect crust! YUM!

Crystal-Cartier-meat-pies-5675CRUST

 

Thank you to these inspiring matriarchs….

hardy-women

As the weather gets cooler I start to gravitate toward heavier foods. It’s just so so satisfying until my tummy starts to protest! Oh heavy foods can come at a price! This recipe used to be a summer staple in our house but has most recently become a go-to any time we need to do some tasty clean eating and give our poor bellies a break. The other day I realized the only place this recipe exists is jotted in barely legible scrawl on a post-it note it my cabinet in true mad scientist form (all of my best ideas and food/body product recipes live on post-its;)! If that post-it ever fell off and found it’s way into the trash, which is right next to it, that would be the end of this dish. My memory is useless! So, needless to say, I had to make and shoot it asap to preserve it’s delicious legacy.

This is the kind of good-for-you food that even veggie haters tend to really like. It’s beautiful and very obviously healthy with tons of crunch, taste and texture to satisfy your taste buds and heal your angry guts! I’ve been on a pickling kick so more pickled recipes to come…

Ps: This slaw is best made the night before and tastes so much better if the flavor have a chance to get it on in the fridge for a bit!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 3 Tablespoons minced dill
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 apple, sliced into match sticks
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

~ In a very large mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar and honey to emulsify. Add dill and salt and pepper once thoroughly mixed.
~ Add sliced apple to dressing and immediately toss to coat to prevent browning.
~ Add cabbage, raisins and pecans. Toss well to coat and mix ingredients.
~ Cover with plastic wrap or lid and refrigerate overnight.
~ Toss thoroughly before serving.

ENJOY!!!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

…look at all that gut-loving goodness, Hubba hubba…

Oh my gosh life has been crazy and I haven’t had half a second to post anything at all! Oh well, sometimes that’s the way it goes, right?

Anyway, I just wanted to share my first shoot getting “back on the horse” after giving birth to our Sweet P, who I call Pickle so much she’s definitely going to think it’s her legal name! I can’t believe how much time has already gone by. I guess I blinked too long!

This lovely spanish picnic style shoot for EatingWell magazine was the kind that required a lot of up and downs on a ladder. Not the most ideal post-partum shoot but it was beautiful and fun to get right back in it and with my little newborn P too!

You may spy with your little eye a two-week-old Pickle attending this very sophisticated Spanish picnic! We have too much fun! HA!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

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