Our food blogging journey has been quite incredible. At the beginning of next month, it will have been 2 years since we started ful-filled and as we reflect back on everything that has happened in our life since starting this journey, we are blown away. Although it may sound cliche, if you had told me 2 years ago that this little blog of ours would have led us down the path that we are now walking I would not have believed you! This time next week I will be heading off to host our very first food photography workshop alongside my dear friend Betty and it feels quite surreal, to be honest. We have been blessed beyond measure to be able do what we love and we are beyond humbled to be where we are today. It is quite an incredible feeling to know that you are doing what you are meant to be doing in life. Finding your purpose and fulfilling is, indeed, deeply satisfying. I can only imagine that my friend Lily of Kale and Caramel is experiencing very similar feelings at this time in her life, as her first cookbook is being released on May 2nd! I met Lily on Instagram and have been following her journey from food blogger to cookbook author and as I hold her cookbook in my hands, I know that this is absolutely what she is meant to be doing. I am excited to share this carrot, feta & pistachio salad with orange blossom toss recipe from her new book with you all today.
When I opened the package containing Lily’s new book, my senses were immediately filled with the essence of lavender…Lily had included a small bag filled with her Lavender Oat Milk Bath in the package alongside the book. The fragrance was a sweet invitation that beckoned me to come discover what lied in those pages (all of which are now scented with lavender essence). Starting at the table of contents, each chapter is themed around a different herb or flower, something that I have never seen in a cookbook before, but I instantly fell in love with. As I flipped through each chapter; Basil, Cilantro, Mint…Lavender, Jasmine, Rose…I found myself becoming more and more inspired and completely indecisive of where to start because I wanted to make every recipe in this book!
I did finally make a decision and ended up in the last chapter of the book which is all about Orange Blossom. It is Spring here and fittingly, orange blossoms are blooming like crazy in our region right now, so it was only natural to make one of Lily’s recipes from this chapter in her book. Once again, it was extremely difficult for me to choose which recipe I would start with, but the first recipe in this chapter incorporates orange blossom in a savory application. Using orange blossom water with savory elements is, admittedly, not something I have ever done before, so I was captivated by this carrot, feta & pistachio salad with orange blossom toss recipe the moment I laid eyes on it.
Rainbow colored carrots get shaved into elegant ribbons and then tossed with a dressing that is nothing short of genius. The flavors of cumin, cardamom, chili, orange blossom water and honey combine to create a flavor profile that intrigued our senses in the best possible way. The creaminess of the feta, the freshness of the mint and the crunch of the pistachio give this dish the perfect contrast of textures. Needless to say, we were beyond impressed from the very first to very the last bite.
If I was not so busy preparing for next week’s workshop I would literally spend all of my time cooking my way through Lily’s cookbook! I truly mean it when I say it, that this is one of the best cookbooks I have ever laid my eyes on. Lily’s creativity and use of herbs & flowers speaks to my senses on such an intimate level. My own love for herbs and flowers has been taken to new heights and has been realized in ways I never knew before reading this cookbook. For all of these reasons and more, I am so excited to be able to giveaway a copy of Lily’s new cookbook to one of you! The giveaway is taking place over on Instagram (click here to enter)!
As I hold Lily’s cookbook in my hands, I imagine what this time in her life must feel like for her. A culmination of dreams, hard work and passion all condensed into 260 pages of recipes for body, heart & table. There may not be words to fittingly describe this moment in her life, but I know it must be deeply humbling and absolutely incredible all at the same time.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp orange blossom water
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 10 carrots, washed & tops trimmed & reserved
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
- 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Combine the oil, vinegar, orange blossom water, honey, cumin, cardamom, the 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and the salt in a jar, seal and shake to blend. Alternately, whisk the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Use a vegetable peeler, mandoline, or spiralizer to slice the carrots into long, thin strips.
- Finely chop a handful of carrot tops (resulting in about 1/4 cup). Place the carrot strips and tops in a large salad bowl.
- Add the mint and pistachios, and pour the dressing over all. Toss to combine.
- Gently fold in the feta. Top with mint and extra red pepper flakes, if you want an additional kick of spice.
_Copyright © 2017 by Lily Diamond from KALE & CARAMEL: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.