Today is the day my second book baby releases into the world. I wish you could see my smile—my jaw hurts it’s so wide.
Now, I don’t have a clue what having a human baby is like, but I do know that spending almost 2 straight years creating, designing, illustrating, writing, cooking, dish-doing, and photographing enough content for a 320-page book sure does take a lot of mental space, patience, tenacity, resilience, commitment, compromise, and relaxation-breathing technique. I know I slept like I had 1,000 dentist’s-office-x-ray vests on me last night. That’s the kind of exhaustion that comes when you’ve done absolutely everything you can do day after day to make a book and the experience surrounding it, fun and useful for everyone involved (including a new website refresh, what do you think?).
YumUniverse Pantry to Plate is more than a cookbook—it’s a recipe playbook designed to provide health-minded home cooks with the tools they need to create countless meals they love using what they have on hand. There are 30 mix-and-match templates and almost 100 recipes in the book. All plant-inspired and gluten-free and designed for meat-eaters and vegans alike because good food is good food.
Psst: all book owners get bonus recipes and tips—check it out.
A perfect example of “good food” is this recipe I’m sharing below. Seed-Powered Acorn Squash Fries are scrumptious, and in true pantry-to-plate style, you can make them with sweet potatoes, carrots, or any other options provided in the Veggie Fries template from the book. Play. Have fun. Make it your own.
This morning, I hit the road for Asheville, North Carolina to celebrate mutual pub dates with Matt Frazier and Stepfanie Romine, co-authors of The No Meat Athlete Cookbook. It’s the first stop of a super fun book tour and I can’t think of a better way to spend the day than roadtripping through the green-on-green-on-green mountains of North Carolina.
I’ll have the windows down, music booming, and will be thinking of how thankful I am for YU and all of the lovely people that pre-ordered the book, gifted one to a friend, already left a review, and took the time to send me a quick note. I’m grateful for it all and hope you can feel how much I adore the YU community in every page of PTP. Thanks for sharing this journey with me—couldn’t do it without YU. And that’s a fact.
I’ll be sharing highlights from the trip and events on Instagram if you want to join in on the fun from afar. And if you live near Asheville, or any of the tour stops, come out and say “hi!” I want all the hugs.
Now, time for fries. Always, right?
Seed-Powered Acorn Squash Fries
A simple combo of garlic, salt, and pepper on any veggies fries is all you really need for a tasty fry fix. But why stop there? Add toasty crunch from pepitas and sunflower seeds and pair with addictive Chipotle Cream. You’re welcome. And leftover dipping sauce can be used for a Massaged Kale & Mango Salad (page 198).
Chipotle Cream for Dippin’
Prepare for addiction (from page 186 template)
Makes 3+ cups (720+ ml)
2½ cups (350 g) cashews, soaked 4 to 6 hours, drained, and rinsed
½ cup (120 ml) water
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons packed fresh cilantro leaves
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
2 medium acorn squash
¼ cup (60 ml) unrefined coconut oil, gently warmed to liquid
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup (30 g) raw, unsalted pepitas, chopped into small pieces
¼ cup (35 g) raw, unsalted sunflower seeds, chopped into small pieces
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon paprika (smoked or plain—chef’s choice)
Let’s get started.
1. Blend all Chipotle Cream ingredients together until smooth. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Remove the skin and seeds from the squash, slice the squash from top to bottom into ¼-inch (6 mm) thick slices—then slice those squash slices into fries. You will end up with a few non-fry-like strips—keep them to cook up, too.
3. In a large bowl, toss together the squash, oil, and salt until thoroughly coated. Taste and season with more salt if you think it’s necessary. Spread evenly on the baking sheet so each fry has room to brown on all sides—no stacking. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the pepitas, sunflower seeds, garlic, and paprika all over the fries—give them a stir to mix everything together well and spread back out on the sheet. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 to 15 minutes, until crispy and brown. Allow to cool a bit, but serve warm with Chipotle Cream.
I’m giving away one signed copy of YumUniverse Pantry to Plate—if you want to enter to win, here are the deets!
1. Register here.
2. Share on social (tag @YumUniverse #yumuniverse #pantrytoplate):
3. I’ll choose one winner at random May 22, 2017.
Now, I want to hear from YU. What do you think of Pantry to Plate? Tell us with a comment below.