Welcome back to Wellness Wednesdays, where I invite guests to share their seasonal wellness tips & recipes. To say that I am REALLY excited for today’s guest, is an understatement! There are a lot of inspiring visionaries here in San Diego, & Farra Miron is certainly one of them. Farra is the creative mastermind behind The Hostess Haven, a “coveted spot for entertaining ideas, a small collection of refined classics & pretty found objects to add to your home, tabletop rentals for gatherings large & small, made-with-love recipes to showcase these items & inspire real moments in life.” Talk about a dream business. She has the most amazing tabletop goods you’ve ever seen – from gold flatware to vintage glassware & more available for rental & offers full service table service, event design & styling, sourcing, & is a fabulous cook & baker to boot. Talk about a true Hostess with the Mostest! I was so thrilled when Farra accepted my invitation to write a guest post, & today she shares a delectable recipe for “Spring Saffron Stew.”
I can’t quite pinpoint when I first discovered Farra, but I will always be forever grateful for having her in my social media realm. It was an Instagram photo that she posted last Fall of a delicious “Sweet Potato Smoothie,” that honestly changed the course of my life. To make a long story short, I was in the thick of a major emotional slump, so depressed, seeking any form of inspiration, & praying for guidance or guru, when that smoothie popped on my Insta-feed. Said smoothie was created by & credited back to Laura Plumb, a regular name around here these days. From that post, I not only discovered Laura, her husband Bhava, & the many services they offer, but I fell back in love with Ayurveda & was re-inspired to pursue the path of becoming a yoga teacher. I begin my training with Deep Yoga in 2 weeks. Eeeeee! So many things have changed over the last 7 months that all point back to that smoothie….which I now call the “smoothie that started it all.”Farra’s post that Fall day may have been directly responsible for bringing one of the most important teachers into my life, & for that I am so truly thankful.
I had the pleasure of meeting Farra in person by chance recently, & she is as warm & kind in person as she seems. It can be very intimidating introducing oneself to an “online” idol & it is quite refreshing when they turn out to be equally charming & sweet in “real” life. So, without further ado, welcome Farra!
Who doesn’t love a stew that is perfect for Spring & is loaded with lots of fun garnishes?! This recipe tastes both hearty & light at the same time, making it the perfect transition into Spring! I think it’s the saffron that makes it feel so fresh & fragrant for me. Also, have you ever steamed couscous?! It’s worth every step! The result is the fluffiest, most yummiest little granules. There is a recipe here & I’m sure you could find elsewhere, but I think it makes all the difference.
This stew is inspired by Smitten Kitchen & I would say it’s definitely one of those recipes you can use what’s on hand in your fridge to make it super easy, or follow it exactly & love it just the same!
I didn’t change much except for make it vegan, of course & brought in some of my favorite recipes for finishing touches & garnishes.
I used Cerignola olives. They have pits, but I don’t mind since they are so unique in flavor & are one of the finishing touches. I’ve also used other green olives in the fridge & would probably even use black olives if that’s all I had. My husband isn’t a big cumin fan so I usually add way less or none at all. This recipe won’t suffer either way. Of course you could use canned chickpeas, but fresh are always so much tastier if you could spare the extra time. The saffron threads are what make this recipe for me. If you don’t have it or don’t like it; it will be just as delicious in a traditional stew sorta way. And lastly, I like to use A House in the Hills recipe for “Preserved lemons” & Laura Plumb’s recipe for “Coconut Yogurt” as a garnish.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
- 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound butternut squash, large dice
- ¾ pound red potatoes, large dice
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices
- Pinch saffron threads
- ½ preserved lemon, finely chopped
- 1 cup brined green olives
- Steamed couscous, for serving
- Fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, for garnish
- Toasted slivered almonds, for garnish
- Coconut yogurt, for garnish
- Hot sauce of your choice (for serving)
- Heat coconut & olive oil in a 3- to 4-quart Dutch oven, or heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight fitting lid over medium heat. When oil is just hot, add onion, garlic, cumin, & cinnamon, & season with salt & freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spices are aromatic & onions are soft & translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add squash & potatoes, season with salt & freshly ground black pepper, stir to coat, & cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add broth, chickpeas, tomatoes & their juices, & saffron, if using. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover & simmer until squash is fork tender, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat & stir in preserved lemon and olives. Serve over couscous garnished with cilantro, almonds, & yogurt.
Make this stew a presentation! Break out all of those cute small bowls you have & get creative in displaying all of the finishing touches & garnishes. Even if you’re cooking for 1, 4 or more; make it an experience for you & your guests!
Isn’t that stunning? The food, the presentation, the photos! Wow! I am so inspired. These beautiful shots were taken by the talented Jacqueline Campbell of Birds of a Feather. I really need to take a photography & food styling class & step up my game! These photos tell such a beautiful story. I only hope that this heat wave passes quickly, & we are graced with more “April Showers” so I can make this stew. There is nothing more comforting than butternut squash, which tends to get all of its attention in the Fall & Winter, but it’s still plentiful & beautiful now! It’s still a great ingredient option during this “in-between” time, before the spring growing season hits full bloom. Oh, & saffron! My absolute favorite spice to cook with. I’m imagining it’s distinctly rich aroma diffusing in my kitchen now, & the tender vegetables infused with it’s delicate taste. So lovely!