Category Archives: Recipes

Lemon-glazed sweet potatoes

I got this recipe from a Bobby Flay cookbook that my sister gave me. Actually, I gave it to her and then she re-gifted it to me. I don’t think she noticed the note I left her on the front page, but I sure did! Whatever…I wanted it anyway.

The potatoes are roasted and then tossed with a sweet/tart lemon glaze.  I served them here with Parmesan kale and tilapia with habanero sauce. Really interesting flavor combination …earthy, sweet, puckery sour. Yum. I’d give them a B+, but my honey gave them an A. I’ll definitely make them again.

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced to 1/2 inch
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine zest, sugar and juice in a small pot. Reduce on medium heat until thick and ~1/4 cup
  3. Meanwhile, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil in an oven-safe pan. Roast until golden and cooked through (~20 min)
  4. Remove from oven and pour lemon glaze over potatoes. [NOTE: don’t just dump the whole amount. Pour half or so, toss and see what you think. I ended up with leftover lemon glaze that was great in cocktails]. Sautee until coated, tossing or stirring gently, season with S&P. Serve!!

Random goodness

Here are some random meals we’ve had (somewhat) recently that I really liked and don’t want to forget….

Leftover pot roast on egg noodles: Pretty self-explanatory, no? When my mom visited, she bought me my beloved crock pot and made an introductory pot roast for me. I popped about 1/2 of it in the freezer and resuscitated it 2 months later for a delicious dinner.

A scrumptious salad: Arugula with chopped cherries, Marcona almonds, grated Parrano cheese and balsamic vinaigrette

Pollo Rico! This is one of my favorite local spots. 1/2 a delicious roasted chicken, Mexican rice, GREAT beans, 1/2 a roasted onion, corn tortillas, fire-roasted tomato salsa and creamy jalapeno salsa…all for about $7. Seriously?

Veggie curry: This is now my go-to pantry/freezer/leftover dish. Yum. Basically onions, garlic, ginger and chickpeas + any veggies I have around, all simmered in a sauce of diced tomatoes, curry, coriander and turmeric. Served with a raita made of shredded cucs, garlic, yogurt and a pinch of salt. Super easy. Super healthy. Super supper

Cobb salad: Your basic composed salad. Romaine + bacon + hard boiled egg + tomatoes + feta + avocado + light, lemony vinaigrette

Homemade pasta

This is going to be a long post. Long like luscious strands of tagliatelle, as opposed to long like a self-indulgent rambling. Hopefully.

I got a pasta machine last year for Christmas and have absolutely loved it. It’s so insanely delicious and fun, and nowhere near as difficult as I thought it would be. I know you can do it without a pasta machine, but I have no idea how. Assuming you have one of these suckers, here’s how it works….

First you make the pasta. I use this recipe:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

On a clean surface make a well with the flour. In a measuring cup mix the eggs, water and oil and salt. Pour the wet mixture slowly into the flour and mix with a fork (or your fingers) until all of the wet is incorporated. Do not force the dough to take all of the flour. Form the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for an hour.

At this point, you’ll start kneading the dough with the pasta machine.

  1. Set up your pasta machine, clamping it to a table or countertop, and turning the dial to the widest setting (usually setting number 1 on the dial). Initially, I divide the pasta dough into two pieces. Working with the first piece (keep remaining piece covered with plastic wrap), flatten it into a rectangle shape. Starting with one of the shorter sides of the rectangle, feed it through the rollers at the fattest setting.
  2. Once passed through, Fold one side of the piece of dough into the middle, then fold the other side over that to form 3 layers (like a letter) pressing lightly on the top of the piece of dough to seal it. Pass this new pasta letter through the fattest setting (#1) again.  Repeat this step 2 times
  3. Now, keep passing the pasta through the machine, at successively skinnier settings until you reach the desired thickness. At this point, it’s best to work with a helper, so one person can turn the crank and the other person can guide the dough into the machine with one hand and catch it with the other hand, being careful not to stretch or tear the sheet. You may also want to cut it half a few times if it gets too long or fat. It benefits from kneading, so don’t worry if you have to manipulate it a bit.
  4. At this point, check out a real cookbook. 🙂 If you’re making ravioli or lasagne, you may want thin sheets. If you want fresh pasta, your machine has an add-on that cuts the sheets into lovely strips of pasta.

Here’s some pics of stuff I did….

Butternut squash Ravioli with brown butter & sage

Fresh linguine with mushroom sauce


 

Shortcake

OK, so this post isn’t exactly “seasonal” or “timely.” So, I’m a bad “blogger” and “person.” You might take all that sass talk back when you try these shortcakes. They are really different from what I grew up with- impossibly tender and delicate, instead of biscuity and sturdy. I love both types, but I think they just go with different fruits. This recipe would be perfect with raspberries or blueberries. The other would be better with strawberries or peaches. Fair enough?

There’s one super nutty step in this that I loved. You add a pulverized cooked egg yolk. That way, you get the fat and richness, but not the moisture. Kooky.

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 hard-boiled egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons lemon or orange zest (optional)
2/3 cup  plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, egg yolks, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and zest, if using, and pulse until the flour resembles coarse meal. Add 2/3 cup of cream and pulse until the dough comes together.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a shaggy mass. Knead a couple times to make it into a cohesive mass and then pat it into a rough circle about 6 to 7 inches in diameter, and 3/4 to 1-inch thick.
  3. Use a cookie cutter to make shapes of your choice. Chill for 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush the tops of the shortcakes very lightly with heavy cream and sprinkle lightly with  sugar (course/decorative if you have it). Bake until risen and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Turn the pan around halfway through to ensure even cooking.
  5. While the shortcakes are baking, toss the berries with a little sugar and lemon juice. Let stand several minutes. The sugar pulls out moisture from the berries and the lemon balances the sweetness and prevents browning.
  6. Split the shortcakes in half horizontally and set the tops aside. Place the bottoms on dessert plates and heap strawberries over them. Spoon whipped cream generously over the strawberries and replace the shortcake tops. Serve immediately with any remaining whipped cream on the side.

Roasted Broccoli

This is my favorite way to cook broccoli. It’s easy, delicious and beautiful. Plus, I’m always looking for ways to get my food into the oven and off of the stovetop. Oven-roasting is so much easier and cleaner, no?

It’s great as-is, but also delicious with some grated parm. In this picture, I’ve tossed it with toasted pinenuts, grated Parmesan and lemon zest. YUM

  • One large head broccoli
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t sugar (I know, it’s weird. But it really helps it caramelize)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon wedges to serve
  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place large rimmed sheet pan on rack and preheat oven to 500. It’s important to preheat your pan with the oven, so that the broccoli is seared when you put it in the pan.
  2. Cut broccoli at head of. Peel from stalk and cut stalk into 2- to 3-inch lengths, then cut each stalk piece into 1/2-inch-thick slices.  Cut crowns into 4-6 wedges, depending on size of crowns. Note that you are not trying to create individual little “trees” like you might normally. Ideally, each piece you cut will have a flat section of exposed stalk.
  3. Place broccoli in large bowl; drizzle with oil and toss well until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt, sugar, and pepper to taste and toss to combine.
  4. Working very quickly, remove baking sheet from oven. Carefully transfer broccoli to baking sheet and spread into even layer, placing flat sides down. Return baking sheet to oven and roast until stalks are well browned and tender and florets are lightly browned, 9 to 11 minutes.
  5. Transfer to serving dish. Serve immediately with lemon wedges. Or toss with basically anything you like.

Here it is again on the plate with some de-licious lemon-glazed sweet potatoes and a simple arugula salad:

 

2 good dinners

  1. Thai chicken salad: I marinated a chicken breast in a ginger marinade, grilled it up and sliced it thin. The dressing is fish sauce, lime juice, chilies, a little sugar and grapeseed oil. The greens are mache, spinach and cilantro. Throw in some peanuts, carrot sticks, red bell pepper, and we’re good to go!
  2. Greek pita and salad: First of all, we didn’t need the beet/goat cheese stacks. I had a roasted beet leftover, so I made it. But it was overkill. Just saying.  I made small patties with ground lamb, lemon zest, salt & pepper, and chopped mint. Sauteed those and served in half a whole wheat pita. Top it with greek yogurt mixed with a crushed garlic toe, a whole shredded cucumber, salt & pepper. YUM. The greek salad is just parsley, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumber and feta, tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Boom

Broiled eggplant parm

I am going to be upfront with you, people. This is not as delicious as eggplant parm. BUT, it is way healthier and easier. That’s worth something, right? My eggplant garden is exploding, so I needed some new cooking methods. I liked it and will certainly make it again, but it does not top the eggplant stuffed with spinach and ricotta. That is divine. I’ll make it/post it next week. In the meantime, this really was quite delicious.

Shown here with my creamy israeli cous-cous (but with whole wheat cous-cous and sauteed mushrooms added…YUM)

  • 2 lbs eggplant (~2 large or 3 medium)
  • 1 T table salt
  • 2 T EVOO
  • 4 t good balsamic
  • 1 toe garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozz (as opposed to grated- just sort of tear it up into small pieces)
  • 6 T fresh grated parm
  • 3 T fresh basil
  • 1/2 C marinara (you can just used good jarred)
  1. Cut off and discard stem and bottom end of each eggplant. Don’t peel. Cut eggplants crosswise into 3/4-inch slices. Lay slices out on a cutting board, sprinkle tops with half the salt, and rub it in with your fingers. Turn eggplant slices over and repeat  with remaining salt. Place eggplant in a colander set over bowl or sink and let eggplant stand for  2 to 3 hours.
  2. Rinse eggplant under cold, running water, rubbing slices lightly in your hands. Shake colander to drain. Lay slices about an inch apart on triple thickness of paper towels or clean dishtowel; cover with another triple layer of towels or clean dishtowel. Using your palms, press each eggplant slice very firmly until it looks green and translucent and feels firm and leathery when pressed between fingertips. You may need to refresh towels if they get too wet.  You can do this and refrigerate up to 3 hours before cooking.
  3. Heat broiler. Mix oil, vinegar, and garlic in small cup. Arrange eggplant slices fairly close together on a baking sheet; brush tops with half of oil mixture. Turn slices over and brush with remaining oil mixture. Broil eggplant slices about 8 inches from heat source until tops turn brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn slices over; broil until other sides lighter brown, an additional 4 to 5 minutes. WATCH CAREFULLY.
  4. While broiling, combine mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. When eggplant is broiled on second side, remove and sprinkle slices with cheese mixture; return eggplant to broiler until cheese melts and becomes a little crusty. Sprinkle with basil and serve with marinara.

Adios for now

I am off for a two-week(ish) trip to fabulous NYC, London and Paris. It’s for work, but I imagine I’ll find a way to sneak in some good times. I’ll start back up in October. Until then, good eating!

R

Sichuan Green Beans

Among other things, my mom instilled in me a deep love of Sichuan green beans. That sweet, spicy, sticky glaze sends me over the moon. I am sorry to be the one to tell you this (if you didn’t already know), but  most restaurant versions are deep fried. That doesn’t entirely cross it off my list, but I do sort of stop counting it as a “veggie” if it’s primary method of cooking is submersion in hot oil. Call me crazy.

Anywho, I found this recipe on Cooks for stir-fried Sichuan green beans and figured I’d give it a go. I edited it a bit, mostly to eliminate some ground pork. Not that pork wouldn’t be good, but I want a veggie dish. Plus, cutting out the pork, but keeping the sauce the same means that the beans are extra saucy and I like that. Boom

Here they are with an Asian cucumber salad and some of those frozen shrimp potstickers I chefed up awhile back:

  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T dry sherry (or vermouth, in a pinch)
  • 1 t sugar
  • ½ t cornstarch
  • ¼ t white pepper
  • ¼ t red pepper
  • ¼ t dry mustard
  • 2 T water
  • 2 T veggie oil
  • 1 lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 scallions, white and green thinly sliced
  • 1 t toasted sesame oil
  1. Stir together soy sauce, sherry, sugar, cornstarch, white pepper, pepper flakes, mustard, and water until sugar dissolves; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot (just smoking). Add beans and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender and skins are shriveled and blackened in spots, 5 to 8 minutes. If beans darken too quickly, reduce heat to medium-high.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and add garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (~20 seconds). Stir sauce to recombine and add to pan. Toss and cook until sauce is thickened, 5 to 10 seconds.
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in scallions and sesame oil. Serve immediately and ENJOY!

Green Chile Pork Tacos

Sigh. This is honestly one of my favorite dishes I have ever made in my whole life. SO delicious! Meaty and spicy and tangy and earthy and soft and crunchy. Basically, perfect. Also, easy. Hells bells!

Here’s the problem…I don’t really have a recipe, per se. More like some vague instructions. Still, it’s so easy, I don’t see how it can go wrong. It seems like a lot of steps, but it’s a lot of passive cooking and it literally made 20 tacos.

I’m breaking it down into 4 separate sections- pork, pickled red onions, sauce and tacos.

Pork

  • Slow cooker
  • Pork roast (needs to fit in slow cooker)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Veggie oil
  • Chicken broth
  • Roasted green chiles (I used hatch frozen)
  • Seasoning: Mexican oregano, Salt & Pepper, Flour
  • Yellow onion
  1. Get ~2 T veggie oil heating in large skillet over med-high. Meanwhile, trim the pork of outside fat. Pat dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with flour and pat in (about 2 Tablespoons). When oil is very hot, add pork and sear on all sides.
  2. While pork is searing, slice onion into thin half moons (pole to pole, then across). Place onions in bottom of slow cooker. When pork is seared, place on top. Add green chiles to taste (I used a full container of hot, so about a cup).
  3. Add enough chicken broth (or water + bouillon) to come 3/4 up roast. Smash and peel garlic, and add whole. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon mexican oregano. Put slow cooker on high for first hour, then cook on low for 6-8 hours. The meat should fall apart.
  4. Remove meat from pot, cover and set aside. When cool enough, strain remaining solids (onion, chiles, garlic) from liquid and set aside for sauce.
  5. Defat liquid by placing in fridge and removing top fat when cool OR by using a fat separator.  Place remaining liquid in small pot and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until reduced to ~1/3-1/2 cup.
  6. Meanwhile, shred meat with two forks or fingers. When liquid is reduced, stir into pork and set mixture aside.

Pickled red onions

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and cut into rings (OPTIONAL)
  1. Thinly slice onions into half moons and place in medium, heat-proof bowl.
  2. Bring vinegar, sugar, salt and optional jalapeno to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. When boiling and sugar fully dissolved, remove from heat and pour over onions.
  3. Stir to combine and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in fridge for 30-60 minutes. Strain liquid and reserve onions.

Green chile sauce

  • Reserved solids from pork
  • Honey
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Blend reserved solids in blender until smooth. If too thick, add a bit of water.
  2. Add ~1-2 teaspoons honey (you can always add more later, but you can’t take it back) and salt and pepper to taste. It should be spicy and creamy.
  3. With blender running, slowly drizzle in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to emulsify.

Tacos

  • Corn tortillas
  • Green chile pork
  • Creamy green chile sauce
  • Sweet, sour and spicy pickled red onions
  • Optional: cilantro, feta or cotija cheese, shredded carrots and/or cabbage
  1. Warm corn tortillas over gas burner until slightly charred or wrapped in foil in 350 degree oven.
  2. Place pork in tortilla. Top with pickled onions, green chile sauce and optional toppings. I don’t have a picture of it, but I LOVE it with carrots, so don’t discount that.
  3. Eat!