rosé with a spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa’s “the clever cookbook” + a GIVEAWAY

books, food, spring, wine

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Happy Friday, everyone!

I’m celebrating extra hard because I survived Valentine’s Day at the restaurant. It was no small feat. We served over 500 guests each evening last weekend. I am still tending to my battle wounds. Couples lingered a little longer than we anticipated, so our reservations ran behind by almost an hour each night. In order to appease the anticipation and impatience of awaiting guests, we ended up having to pour nearly eight cases’ worth of complimentary Prosecco.

I’m still asking, where’s my complimentary case of bubbles?!

Today I’m changing things up a little and hosting Emilie Raffa of the Clever Carrot here on the blog. Emilie has been a longtime favorite blogger of mine, and she recently released her first cookbook, aptly titled, The Clever Cookbook. I’m giddy with excitement! It’s filled with get-ahead strategies and tips for “stress-free home cooking,” and it is quickly becoming a favorite resource in my kitchen. It was also recently named one of Epicurious’ Top 30 Most Exciting New Spring Cookbooks! Get it, Emilie!!

Emilie is kindly letting me share with you, one of my favorite recipes I’ve tried from her new cookbook, a spice-roasted carrot and avocado salad. Of course, I couldn’t resist pairing it with a bottle of wine. So, to celebrate Emilie’s cookbook release, I’m giving away a copy of her cookbook, along with a bottle of wine from my cellar that pairs perfectly with this particular salad! Simply share one of your favorite time-saving tips in the kitchen down below in the comments OR clue me in one of your favorite springtime rosés.


rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveaway

Spend just a few minutes on Emilie’s blog or her Instagram and you’ll feel right at home, quickly inspired to get in the kitchen and create one of her recipes. Emilie’s warmth and genuine friendliness is evident within all of her posts and every one of her thoughtful comments to her readers. She truly embodies a sense of community and conversation, and, to me, that’s what food and the act of dining together is all about.

That same philosophy and feeling applies to her book, as well. You feel as if you’re perched on a chair at her kitchen counter, casually listening to her talk about food, life, and family. Her beautifully photographed recipes are well-organized and thoughtfully presented. Emilie begins by offering meal-prepping advice and practical, time-saving tips, so you can actually make the time to cook.

She follows through by sharing how-tos for necessary kitchen basics, like chicken stock, a master stir-fry sauce, compound butters, freezer marinades, and spice blends. And then come the actual dishes. More than a few have caught my eye: No-Stir Risotto {yes, this exists!}, a 3-Minute Tropical Breakfast Bowl, Zucchini & Brown Rice Gratin, and, most excitedly, Banana Cloud Cake.

rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveaway rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveaway rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveaway rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveawayOne of the attributes of this cookbook that sets it apart from many others is Emilie’s time-saving tips interspersed throughout her recipes. So many cookbooks simply give you recipes but overlook the opportunity to actually share the tools for how to cook. Emilie takes the time to share quick substitutions, alternative cooking preparations, and versatile kitchen staples.

Tools plus application.

Personally, one of my favorite kitchen staples I like to make is a dried “house blend” of herbs from our garden. Steve and I grow and harvest eight different culinary herbs and make a blend that we share with family and friends every year. It’s an all-purpose, Mediterranean dose of green, our garden captured in a bottle. It’s great on almost anything.

Emilie shares a blend of her own, a Mexican spice blend that is “slightly spicy, not too salty, and perfectly zesty” for Mexican-inspired meals. She doesn’t stop there. She also shares recipes that incorporate that kitchen staple, so that you have several ways to enjoy it. I’ve already seasoned black bean chili and a few omelets with this zesty combination of flavors. Emilie was kind to let me share the blend with you, along with a recipe that uses it. I have a feeling it will quickly become a favorite of yours.

mexican spice blend

  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a small mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
  3. Store in an airtight container or mason jar, label, and date.

This mixture makes approximately 1/4 cup and will stay fresh 6 months to a year if kept in a cool, dry place. Emilie also adds that if you have a stash of “vintage” spices, you can easily revitalize their flavors by lightly toasting them in a dry pan for a minute or two. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tossed out old, dried herbs that had lost their original vibrancy. I will be putting this tip to practice.

rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveaway rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveaway rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveaway

I had a difficult time deciding which recipe to share with you. They all sounded so good! I decided upon Emilie’s “Simple Spice-Roasted Carrot & Avocado Salad,” a creative mashup of textures, colors, and flavors. Emilie suggests serving this dish alongside grilled meat or fish, but I made it a standalone meal by tossing it with some quinoa, drizzling it with a little extra virgin olive oil, and squeezing just a little more lemon juice.

spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Mexican Spice Blend {see above}
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 ripe Haas avocado
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • large handful of micro greens, sprouts, or baby mesclun
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the carrots in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and sprinkle with Mexican Spice Blend. Toss well to coat. Spread the carrots out on your sheet pan.
  3. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are caramelized and tender. Remove them from the oven and add the pine nuts and raisins. Give it a good stir. Allow the carrots to cool slightly.
  4. White the carrots are cooling, dice up the avocado. Drizzle with lemon juice to prevent browning and season with a pinch of salt. Add the avocados and greens to the carrots, and toss gently to combine. Finish with extra lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil to taste.
  5. Serve at room temperature, rustic style, directly on the baking sheet.

This recipe was kindly shared, with permission from the author, from the Clever Cookbook.

I am so in love with the vibrant textures, spices, and aromas within this simple salad. They basically beg for a dry and racy rosé. In fact, rosés are my go-to choice for pairing wine with Mexican or spicy-savory cuisine. You get exactly what the dish demands in a wine: bright fruit, zesty acidity, and a crisp, dry finish. I paired this recipe with one of my favorite rosés, vintage after vintage, Matthiasson.

matthiasson, rosé, napa valley, california, 2015

  • on the eyes  –  brilliant, pale salmon.
  • on the nose  –  under-ripe stone fruit, wet rock, lemon peel, hint of alpine strawberry.
  • in the blend  –  Grenache, Syrah, Mouvèdre, Counoise, and Syrah.
  • on the palate  –  bone dry, racy acidity, restrained and elegant, similar flavors that confirm the aromas.
  • on the table  –  pairs perfectly with a spring salad, frittatas, green garlic, or rabbit.
  • on the shelf  –  around $23.

rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveaway rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveaway rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveaway rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveawayAbout that giveaway!

I can’t wait to give away a copy of Emilie’s cookbook to one of you! I’m positive that you’ll find it as helpful in the kitchen, as I have. I’m also sweetening the deal and pairing the giveaway with a bottle of Matthiasson rosé from my personal cellar. The giveaway is open to US residents, and you must be over 21 to enter.

how to enter the clever cookbook giveaway

Simply share one of your favorite time-saving tips in the kitchen down below in the comments OR tell me one of your favorite springtime rosés. I’ll be taking notes. 😉 I will choose a winner on Friday of next week and let the winner know here on the blog. I will even toss in some of my garden herb blend and a batch of Emilie’s Mexican Spice Blend, so you’ll be totally set for an exciting evening in the kitchen.

Cheers to a beautiful weekend! Congrats, Emilie, on your beautiful new cookbook, and thank you so much for sharing a copy with me and a seriously lucky reader.



  1. Jasmine S. says:

    Sometimes I’ll throw chicken breast in the crockpot over the weekend so I have cooked chicken to cook with during the week!

    P.S. Your photos are beautiful.

  2. I love marinating meat in the morning. That way when I’m ready to cook, I’ll have it ready to go and not worry if the meat will be flavorful enough. And my favorite rośe wine is Castello di Amorosa’s La Fantasia. Their wine is darker in color than most rośe but it’s my favorite =)

    • Andrea, we try to do the very same thing, when we think of it. It’s so smart! All it takes is a little forethought, right? And I checked out your rosé recommendation! I had never heard of Castello di Amorosa, and it is from California. I’m super excited to try and find it. The one you mentioned is a little effervescent, which I LOVE. I have a feeling I’d drink it all up too quickly!

      Thanks for the tip, lady! Have a beautiful rest of your week. XO!

  3. Time saving….. I have so many. I should say I cheat so much it’s hard to pick.
    Here is a cheat, I mean time saver,
    I use a large can of organic crushed tomatoes, one normal size organic tomato sauce, one 1/4 cup pre mixed Italian blend herbs one 1/4 cup of red wine (usually what I have open on the counter and am drinking from at the time of cooking, that is time saving in and of its own) summer for about 20-30 minutes and bam there is red sauce to use on a multitude of pasta. In stead of meat I use quinoa. Texture is wonderful and so is the taste.

    • Edie, I am so with you on the cheats, I mean, time-savers! 😉

      I am totally going to use your tip, while we don’t have tomatoes right now. Canned versions are great for the out-of-season times. AND, as you know from the most recent post, you won the drawing for the cookbook and rosé, so there will also be some of my dried herb blend coming your way! It was meant to be tossed into your next batch of pasta sauce! And I’m so down with subbing quinoa instead of meat – same goes with cauliflower!

      Big hugs to you and super congrats!!!

      • Thank you so much!!! I can’t wait to get it. I have already gotten together with a friend and as soon as it comes in we are going to have a cooks night! Love to experiment with cooking, and when better but with a bottle and a new cook book! Love you girl!

  4. Jackie Jauregui says:

    My personal no stir risotto is really a farrotto: sweat chopped shallots in olive oil, add half a cup of dry raw farro and stir to coat and toast. Add 2 -3 cups of good broth, cover, and cook over low heat for 45 minutes. Add whatever goodies you want in the last five minutes or so — roasted tomatoes, browned sausage bits, chopped spring veggies, whatever tickles your fancy — and a healthy amount of grated Parmesan ( wood shavings free, please 😱) and call it dinner. Whole grain, so a ton healthier, and mad easy.

    • Jackie, I meant to thank you SO MUCH for this oh-so-helpful tip. I’m a little behind here on the blog. I will definitely be putting this tip to work! I have recently been using a lot of farro in my kitchen, and I love its texture and flavor. This tip is game-changing for me! XOXO!

  5. Jackie Jauregui says:

    Oops! Forgot an important step in the farroto. Before adding broth, pour in half a cup of wine ( choose red or white depending on your choice of goodies to add later) and cook it down to next to no liquid. Then add broth…

  6. siegalpaula says:

    I like to clean as i go

  7. I couldn’t have asked for anything more beautiful… This was absolutely brilliant, Jayme! Thank you for making me the happiest person ever! I’m honored that you chose to create this recipe, pair it with a gorgeous wine, and make it all look so beautiful! I couldn’t stop staring at the photos. (you even used micro greens!). You are incredible. Love, love, love. xoxo

    • Emilie, thanks so much for letting me host the giveaway for your cookbook! I can’t wait to dig even further into it. As I have mentioned multiple times, it is so well-written and so beautifully photographed. You did an amazing job, and I absolutely love talking about it.

      And hooray for micro greens!! They have a place in my kitchen. We grow them from time to time. The micro greens pack from Botanical Interests is my favorite blend and germinates quickly. Love, love, love to you, too!

  8. Heather says:

    My husband I really enjoy the lightly fruity and floral rosés made from Pinot Noir (esp Russian River) or from Mourvèdre (French Bandol region)!

    • I am SO with you on the Pinot Noir rosés!! My favorite RRV rosés are from MacPhail and Porter Creek. And I’m always looking for a good Mourvèdre-based rosé. Domaines Ott makes a gorgeous one, if you can find it! Cheers!

  9. Landen says:

    I make so many crockpot beans during the week. I add an onion, some garlic and salt and 4 hrs later I have black beans for the week!

    • Hi, Landen!! :-)))) I am a tad behind on my blog replies, obviously. Thanks so much for the tip. We just made beans on the stove yesterday, but in the crockpot sounds perfect and super easy. I hope you’re doing well, and I SO hope you won the Mrs. Meyers contest!! Your video was so great.

      Cheers, lady, and have an amazing week ahead! 🙂 …enjoy Sunday first, though! 😉

  10. Beautiful images, delicious-looking recipe, and even more delicious-looking rose! My favorite time-saver is a bit ridiculous because it’s also kind-of a confession. I eat SO much bacon so I started baking it in the oven to have in the fridge all week. It’s unbelievably faster than frying up a slice or two every time I want (read: need) some. The trick is putting the pan into a cold oven!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Rachel! And yes, if you can try Matthiasson’s rosé, it is a TREAT.

      So, bake your bacon? That sounds super easy. And I’m sure that your house smells amazing during the process. Thanks so much for the tip! 🙂

  11. Angie Baur says:

    I like to keep diced onions and such in the fridge. If I recipe calls for half an onion, I chop the whole thing and save the rest for next time. One clove of garlic? Just chop the whole head and put it up for later. Extra onions and such can go in the freezer if they don’t get used quick enough.

    This is more of a dieting tip, but when I’m making my work meals for the week, I divide it up into containers right away so I can just grab it and go without having to spend a lot of time packing a lunch.

    Aaaaaaand… I love cookbooks and wine 😀

    • ANGIE!! I’m so slow responding to your comment. We were in AZ, when this post went live, and I am still playing catch-up. I am so looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday morning for a garden walk-and-talk with Sully! Steve has never met him!!

      I totally agree with you on chopping up the entire onion. I hadn’t thought of pre-chopping garlic cloves. Super smart. And I always eat better and eat the right amounts, when I portion everything out at the beginning of the week. I’m going to try and do that this week. Plus, I always feel like I have my $@%^ together, when I do take the time to prep in advance.

      Thanks for the tip and see you Tuesdayyyyy! …I’ll be dreaming of your cheesecake, btw… 😉

  12. Cat says:

    Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing!

    Most times I tend to cook right away, having just bought my ingredients.

    That said, if I know I’ll have time to cook, I’ll marinate my meat (love my mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and lemon juice – I know, simple) overnight and prep any veggies as well and keep in plastic containers I get from take out that I wash and reuse.

    As for wine, I have yet to find a rose I would really enjoy. I just got into wine a few years ago after I started blogging, and I tend to gravitate toward white. Or at least that’s what I seem to have in my dining room.

    • Thank you so much, Cat! I’m a tad behind getting back to responses, but I so appreciate your tip. I also keep my marinades simple. And taking time to pre-chop veggies and such is SUCH a time-saver. Re-using the take-out containers is responsible to the environment, AND it saves you money, too.

      That’s SO awesome you love white wine! I am a sommelier, and so is my boyfriend, and we love white wines. So many people just go for big, rich reds, which are great, but for sessionable sips, whites and rosés are the way to go, imo. What is your favorite white right now??

      Have a great week ahead! 🙂

  13. Very beautiful Pictures.
    I love your article

  14. Definitely going to try this! Looks delicious

  15. this all looks so so delicious!! so glad i came across your blog 🙂

    check out mine?

    • Lottie, thanks so much! This was one of my favorite recipes from my friend’s cookbook. I hope you keep up your blogging. If you lived closer, I’d ask you for a ski tutorial. I am two left feet, but I enjoy trying, at least! 🙂 XOXO!

  16. VasDeFleur says:

    Shall be trying this very soon 😊

  17. Great salad, one to cook immediately. There are many rosé wines o enjoy, I prefer a Tavel in spring, light provencal ones in the height of summer.

    • TAVEL!!! Yes, please! Have you ever tried Domaine de la Mordorée’s Tavel? It is my all-time favorite, vintage after vintage. Cheers to spring and warmer weather and more excuses to pop the rosés! 🙂

      • I don’t think I’ve tried that one – yet! Thanks for the tip, looks great. Next time we’ll stop and definitely taste it – can’t wait for those days to come either…

  18. dkdanz says:

    Its seen delicious..i want to it

  19. I absolutely love all your recipes. Can’t wait to try it. Please never stop posting!💗

  20. Farm Graze says:

    My winter cheat when I want to make a homemade soups- buy a rotisserie chicken to start my stock.

    • You’ll laugh – we did the same thing yesterday!! We buy a whole chicken {sometimes rotisserie – so worth it!}, de-bone it, and then make a great stock. I’m sure that a lot of people just toss the bones, when they could be incorporating them into an amazing stock. 😉 We are onto something!


    • PS – super happy to have found your blog! 🙂

  21. Ariel says:

    Ok mine sounds dumb but it’s saved me a lot of time. Forget tossing things into the kitchen garbage bag. Simply get a new bag and loop the handles around a door and toss EVERYTHING in there as you go. That way you don’t have to worry about goinng back and forth to the trash can and all mess is tossed immediatley after wards.

    • Actually, this is something I tell my boyfriend to do. Totally smart. Sometimes the most basic tips are the ones that no one actually does. This is such a time-saver! We also keep a small compost container my the stove, so that we can fill it up and then take it out back to the compost bin later on. It saves so many steps – we are on the same page! 😉

      Thanks for the tip, Ariel!

  22. Jessica says:

    I tend to be “lazy” during the week (i. e. exhausted after work) and don’t always want to cook, so I batch cook a few recipes on the weekends and freeze them in single-serving containers (mainly wide mouth pint jars), labeled with freezer tape. Over time I have a variety of different ready-to-eat meals for lunches and dinners.

    I can’t wait to try this salad! Looks amazing.

    • That’s SUPERB advice – I can’t get enough of those wide-mouthed pint jars. They come in handy for situations like that. We also make a lot of soups during the week, some to eat then and a few days later, and more that we freeze in bags for another week.

      Thanks for the tip, Jessica! 🙂

  23. valladaresgabi says:

    Such a fun giveaway! One of my favorite tips is working with themes. Like, meatless Mondays, etc. We still switch up what we’re making, but it’s a fun way to prep!


    • Thanks so much! 🙂 That is such a great idea to work with themes. I’ll bet your lunches and dinners are never boring that way!

      Have a stellar rest of your weekend and thanks for the tip! 😉

  24. Heather Perez-Conde says:

    OMG! Love me muga rosé!

    • Girl, I will have a case set aside for you, when you make it out to CO one day soon! XOXO! That is definitely one of my favorites. And YOU are one of my favorites, too! 😉

  25. […] catch the post, be sure to read it for a closeup of Emilie’s cookbook, along with her recipe for Spice-Roasted Carrot & Avocado Salad. I paired it with one of my favorite rosés and ate the entire salad in one sitting. It was that […]

  26. Sharon Wynegar says:

    I like Miraval and Whispering Angel rose. And, I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you!

    • You are speaking my language when you mention Miraval and Whispering Angel!! Lady after my own heart. We pour Whispering Angel by the glass at the restaurant I work at, and just having it within arm’s reach is trouble for me. That was one of my favorite pours last year. Can’t wait for the 2015 release!

      Miraval is just gorgeous and is such a treat, too. I am also on the lookout for its spring debut. 🙂 Definitely give this recipe a go! And cheers to the weekend – I’ll be sure to have some rosé at some point! 😉

  27. evie597 says:

    This picture made me mouth water! I needed to stop in and say that Im glad Ive come across your blog. Great inspiration here!

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