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Cookbooks: The art of eating like Gwyneth Paltrow

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For a condiment called Spicy Cashew Moment ("It’s hard to say exactly what this is," Gwyneth enthuses), I’m blowing the dust off a tin of pimenton; for a grilled-corn recipe, I’m wondering whether regular chili powder will suffice or whether I need to drive to an Asian market for a jar of Korean gochugaru. I’m pondering philosophical questions: Is Avocado Toast — as Gwyneth claims — like "a favorite pair of jeans — so reliable and easy and always just what you want?"

The kick of it is that the food is good. Really, all of it, aside from the muffins. The Korean corn was good, the tahini dressing I whipped up for a salad was delicious and the vegetarian version of her black bean chili was better than the black bean chili recipe I’ve been making — and bragging about — for years, though I ended up doubling the chili powder and pimenton for more flavor. Preparing it made me feel healthy and pure; I felt compelled, in the middle of the cooking day, to stop and do an hour of yoga.

At a glance

Spicy cashew moment

This rich, textured condiment was inspired by the smoked cashew salsa served at Empellon Taqueria, a Mexican restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village.

Serve with tortilla chips or on crackers, or as a topper for Turkey and Black Bean Chili With Sweet Potatoes (see related recipe at the end of this story).

Make ahead » The condiment can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Adapted from “It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great,” by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen (Grand Central Life & Style, 2013).

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup raw unsalted cashews

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika (pimento dulce)

1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 3 or 4 limes)

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Heat the 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the cashews and stir to coat, then add the cumin, chili powder and sweet smoked paprika and stir to coat. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the nuts begin to brown.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor, then add the jalapeno, lime juice, water, sea salt and the remaining 1/3 cup of oil. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes a generous 1 1/4 cups.

Nutrition » Per tablespoon serving: 80 calories, 1 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar

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"The Cashew Moment is what really makes this," my husband said as we sat down to bowls of chili that night, topped with said condiment.

"Thank you," I said, and then proceeded to tell him how I’d lovingly sauteed the raw cashews in olive oil and spices, then blended the mixture until it was creamy; how I had a hot oil burn from a Cashew Moment incident but thought it was all worth it.

"It tastes like mashed Saltines," he said.


The next day, while eating leftovers, I sneaked into the kitchen. I got down a box of crackers and crumbled them over the top of the chili, to prove to myself how wrong he was, and how worthy my labors had been.

But he was right, bless him, he was right. Don’t tell Gwyneth; it would break her heart.

Turkey and black bean chili with sweet potatoes

Gwyneth Paltrow likes to top portions of this chili with her Spicy Cashew Moment and pickled jalapeno peppers. She recommends making this a vegan recipe by omitting the ground turkey and doubling the amount of black beans.

We found this rather mild; you may wish to add another 1/2 teaspoon each of the sweet smoked paprika and chili powder in the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Make ahead » The sweet potato can be roasted, cooled and refrigerated a few days in advance. The chili can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Adapted from “It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great,” by Paltrow and Julia Turshen (Grand Central Life & Style, 2013).

14 ounces sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse sea salt

1 large yellow onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon sweet Spanish smoked paprika (pimento dulce), or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder, or more to taste

1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat

28 ounces canned, no-salt-added whole peeled tomatoes

1/2 cup water

14 ounces cooked or canned no-salt-added black beans (if using canned, drain and rinse; see headnote)

Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

Chopped fresh scallions, white and light-green parts, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

Toss the sweet potato chunks with 2 tablespoons of the oil until well coated, then spread on the baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with a good pinch of the sea salt. Roast for about 20 minutes or until softened, stirring a few times. Let cool.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, chili powder and a big pinch of salt, stirring to coat. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened.

Add the turkey; cook, stirring a few times, until the meat is cooked through and its moisture has evaporated, which should take about 20 minutes. The turkey should be well incorporated into the onion mixture.

Add the tomatoes and a big pinch of salt; increase the heat to high and add the water. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Stir in the beans and the cooled sweet potatoes; taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Cook for 15 minutes to blend the flavors.

Divide among individual bowls; top with the cilantro and scallions. Serve hot.

Makes 6 1/2 cups (4 servings)

Nutrition » Per serving (using no-salt-added beans and tomatoes): 530 calories, 29 g protein, 49 g carbohydrates, 24 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 90 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, 11 g dietary fiber, 12 g sugar

Per serving (using regular canned black beans and whole peeled tomatoes): 530 calories, 30 g protein, 51 g carbohydrates, 24 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 90 mg cholesterol, 940 mg sodium, 13 g dietary fiber, 12 g sugar

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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