Delightfully Healthy, Cozy, & Warm

Do you remember that feeling that came over you when you saw snow for the first time? Like my fellow blog author, Kati, the majority of you may be reminiscing about all the fun times you had playing in the snow as either a child or young adult. Well, I remember my first snow day like it was just a couple of months ago — because it’s true! The snow was bright white and soft like powdered sugar; the early sunshine glistened off the bed of snow like it was a sizzling hot pan, doused in oil; and each step sounded like you were biting into on a crispy golden waffle. Growing up in Guam, snow was not a common sight!

Who knew that something as cold as snow could make you feel warm inside? After a few rounds of these Fondant Potatoes and a slice of this Labneh Honey Blueberry Tart, you’ll be smiling at the sight of snow like it’s your first time. Come on down to the co-op and grab some russet potatoes, blueberries, and Valencia oranges. These ingredients are more than capable of speaking for themselves. But together, they make your whole meal sing.

Russet potatoes are a part of the nightshade family. Not only are they tasty, but they’re also full of many nutrients. They contain iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, which help our bodies build and maintain our bones’ structure and strength. They also contain fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. These nutrients promote heart health by lowering the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decreasing the risk of heart disease. Vitamin C is also necessary for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues.

Blueberries are just the cutest of berries. They are low in calories but high in nutrients, like phytoflavonoids, potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your body from free radicals that can damage your cells and contribute to aging and diseases.

Valencia oranges are the fruits you never knew you needed! They are bright and tangy, the perfect way to bring some personality to your dish. More importantly, they are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. Potassium is an electrolyte mineral that helps maintain proper fluid levels and promote optimal heart function. Vitamin C helps your body protect your cells from damage, boost your immune system, and make it easier to absorb iron. Fiber helps to improve your digestive health and can promote weight loss. Studies have found that people who had higher amounts of these fruits had lower rates of heart disease and stroke.



Fondant Potatoes

Photo and recipe adapted from


3 large whole russet potatoes
2 T high-heat resistant vegetable oil, such as grapeseed oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 T butter
4 sprigs thyme, plus more for garnish
½ cup chicken broth, or more as needed


1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2.Cut off ends of russet potatoes, stand potatoes on end, and peel potatoes from top to bottom with a sharp knife to make each potato into a uniform cylinder.  Cut each cylinder in half crosswise to make 6 potato cylinders about 2 inches long.

3.Place potatoes into a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes to remove starch from outsides; pat dry with paper towels.

4.Place a heavy oven-proof skillet (such as a cast-iron skillet) over high heat.  Pour in vegetable oil; heat oil until it shimmers slightly.

5.Place potato cylinders with best-looking ends into the hot oil, lower heat to medium-high, and pan-fry potatoes until well-browned, 5 to 6 minutes.  Season with salt and black pepper.

6.Flip the potatoes onto the opposite ends.  As they cook, use a paper towel held with tongs to carefully blot out the oil from skillet. Add butter and thyme sprigs to skillet.

7.Pick up a thyme sprig with tongs and use it to paint butter over the top of the potatoes.  Cook until butter foams and foam turns from white to a pale tan color.  Season with more salt and pepper.  Pour chicken stock into skillet.

8.Transfer skillet to preheated oven and cook until potatoes are tender and creamy inside about 30 minutes.  If potatoes aren’t tender, add ¼ cup more stock and let cook 10 more minutes.

9.Place potatoes on a serving platter and spoon thyme-scented butter remaining in skillet over potatoes.  Garnish with thyme sprigs. Let cool about 5 minutes before serving.

Lebneh Honey Blueberry Tart w/ Almond Cardamom Crust

Photo and recipe adapted from


2 cups full-fat or Greek yogurt

Almond Crust:
2½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
¾ cup almond meal or almond flour
½ tsp fine-grain sea salt
¼ tsp ground cardamom
14 T (1¾ sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup confectioners sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

3 T of good-quality honey
Pinch of fine-grain sea salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 naval or valencia orange


Lebneh (Time 24-48 hours):
1.Line a strainer or sieve with a few layers of cheesecloth.  Suspend the strainer over a bowl, being sure it doesn’t rest at the bottom of the bowl (you don’t want the lebneh to be sitting in the whey). Cover the yogurt and bowl with plastic wrap and transfer it to the refrigerator to drain for at least 24 hours (a few days is awesome too, it’ll just result in thicker lebneh). After it’s drained, discard the whey and set the lebneh aside.

Almond Crust:
1.In a bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, cardamom, and salt.

2.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Mix on medium-low speed until well-combined, about 4 minutes.

3.Mix in the egg and then the yolk, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next. In two additions, add the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

4.Turn out the dough onto a clean lightly floured work surface.  Divide it in half, shape into flattened disks, and wrap each one in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.  (Dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before using.)

5.Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Liberally flour your work surface and rolling pin. Remove one of the discs from the refrigerator and place on the counter. If the crust is too cold to roll out, allow it to come to room temperature, slightly, for about 10 minutes.

6.Roll the crust out, being sure to turn it every so often so it doesn’t stick to the counter (this dough is a bit sticky), and adding more flour for dusting, when needed. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and transfer it to a 14×4-inch tart pan (alternatively you could use a 9-inch tart pan). If the dough falls apart a bit, not to worry. Take the scraps and press it into the dough, sealing any cracks or holes, and then trimming the overhang.

7.Using a fork, score the bottom of the tart crust. Transfer it to the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Line the tart with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or pennies.  Transfer to the oven to bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until tart crust is lightly golden brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Assemble the tart:
1.In a medium bowl, mix together the lebneh, honey, and sea salt.  Mix until thoroughly combined. (At first the mixture will appear striated with the honey but it’ll eventually come together — keep mixing!) Pour the lebneh mixture into the tart crust and spread evenly. Arrange the blueberries to your liking — I went with four blueberries per row.  There’s no wrong way!

2.Just before serving, microplane orange zest over the entire tart.