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Showing posts from November, 2018

Sweet potato gnocchi with bacon and sage

Making pasta by hand is maybe the messiest thing I do in my kitchen. Flour seems to get everywhere and my hands get coated with sticky dough. Still, there is nothing more delicious than biting into a freshly made ravioli or lasagna or gnocchi and knowing that you made it all from scratch. Gnocchi is pretty simple to make. Potato, egg, flour. Mix, boil, devour. This time, I decided to make a dish full of fall flavors by using sweet potato, brown butter, and fried sage. Bacon, of course, is timeless and always in season in my home.  Be careful to not overwork the dough; you want light, fluffy gnocchi. Nothing dense or heavy. This recipe makes a lot so I recommend freezing the uncooked extras for another meal. Happily, there is no need to defrost the gnocchi; use them in you dish straight from frozen. Enjoy! Ingredients: 2 medium sweet potatoes 1 cup flour plus extra for work surface dusting 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 cup parmesan cheese 1

Salmon Wellington

This is a seafaring take on the classic beef wellington. A beef wellington is beef tenderloin seared, coated with a mushroom reduction called duxelles and less frequently pate, then wrapped with puff pastry and baked till golden brown. In this oceanic version, I use salmon, spinach and cheese for the interior ingredients of my pastry. I like the combination of tangy goat cheese, softened well, creamy, cream cheese, and wonderfully salty, nutty pecorino. The breadcrumbs act as a binder with the cheese to make the spinach and onions cohere together. Dill is the easy and natural friend of salmon, and I think it is perfect here. Wrap the salmon and spinach in buttery pastry, sip a glass of wine while you wait for 25 minutes, then dig in to a flaky, flavorful and fabulous fish feast. Enjoy! Ingredients: 2 tablespoons butter 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 small onion, diced 5 ounces spinach 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper 1/3 cup seasoned pankoyxs breadcrumb

Maple Pecan Pie

I am not hosting Thanksgiving this year; I am traveling down to my sister’s house.  As such, I will not be making the turkey, stuffing, sides, breads, cranberry sauce, gravy- nothing! My sister has entreated me to make two pies for her Thanksgiving Day table; pumpkin and pecan. Well, I refuse to show up with a standard pecan pie; I desire something more impressive to bring to my sister’s home. But how to improve upon such an incredibly perfect pie? If there is one thing I do not like about my tried-and-true version of pecan pie, it’s that it uses corn syrup. It’s serves its purpose, but it tastes like nothing. I happen to have been given a glorious jar of maple syrup for my birthday this year (yay October babies!) and so decided to make a maple pecan pie. When you swap out corn syrup for maple syrup, wonderful things happen. The maple syrup adds wonderful complexity of flavor, and gives gloriously dark color to the pie. Top with some whipped cream, and that is a dess

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie with Streusel

As I am traveling for Thanksgiving this year to my sister’s house and have thus been robbed of producing an over-the-top feast myself, I had to content myself with making two pies; pumpkin and pecan. I get so bored with traditional pumpkin pie. Yes, it’s nice, and smooth, and creamy and full of lovely autumnal spices, but…. The pie is so simple to make! Whack out a pie crust, dump the filling ingredient into a bowl, whisk, pour in, and bake. No challenge, no variety.  This pumpkin pie is still full of classic flavors, but with a twist that will gratify the bored cook and impress the jaded guest. This pie is like a marriage between apple crisp and pumpkin pie- add in a generous amount of apple butter and top it with a buttery, crumbly streusel and voila! A perfect Thanksgiving Day pie.  This is a great pie to bring to a family Thanksgiving; it’s impressive but universally pleasing to palates young and old alike. If you want to up your foodie cred, make the apple butte

Chicken Fajitas

One of my very favorite meals growing up was chicken tortillas. They were easy enough to make that I could help my mother with peeling the onion or coring the peppers. We used a fajita kit- it came with the seasoning packet and the soft tortillas. I no longer use the kit, and not because I am a foodie snob; it’s just less expensive to mix up the spices at home then shell out extra cash for a pre-blended packet.  This recipe is my attempt to be a dupe of my beloved fajita kit. I still buy the on-brand soft tortillas when I make this, for maximum nostalgia. My only twist on the classic is the addition of lime juice for a much needed hit of acidity, and slices of avocado, because I add avocado to almost anything if I can. Enjoy! Ingredients: 3 large chicken thighs 1 medium sweet onion The juice of one lime 3 bell peppers (I like red, orange and yellow) 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 teaspoon chili powder 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 1/2 teaspoon onion

Chorizo Beans and Rice

I am in rehearsals for a wonderful production of A Christmas Carol: The Musical. I play an very impish Ghost of Christmas Past. After rehearsals, I am very hungry and very tired. I want to eat something that tastes amazing but involves very little work from the chef and avoids the long shopping lines. This recipe is something I happened upon the I pulled a bunch of ingredients out of my pantry. Rice, cured chorizo, tomato sauce and beans with Spanish spices- toss in a mirepoix and garlic for some extra flavor and bam. I let my rice cooker take care of the rice (because laziness), but I have made it on the stove top and I have provided those instructions below. If you have a rice cooker, just follow your manufacturer’s instructions for how to cook the tomato rice.  Enjoy! Ingredients: 2 cups rice 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes 4 ounces dried cured chorizo, diced 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 cup water 1 12 ounce can white hominy 1 12 ounce can white northe

Honey Oat Nut Bread-Machine Bread

In my original bread machine bread recipe post, I introduced you all to my late grandfather Bumbi’s friend, Milty. He was like another grandpa to me; he often taught me songs and dances while visiting Bumbi.  I remember when I was around 12 Milty received a bread machine as a gift. He thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread (no pun intended). He loved how you could add in mix-ins to the dough after it was kneaded. When I got married, Milty had already passed. The first thing I bought for our new home was a bread machine, thinking of Milty. I use it all the time and I am constantly experimenting with the Milty mix-ins. This recipe was one of my success stories and now has become a staple in my house. Enjoy! Ingredients (for 1 1/2 to 2 pound machine) 1 cup lukewarm water 1/3 cup lukewarm milk 3 tablespoons melted butter 3 3/4 cup bread flour 3 tablespoons honey 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds


When I was little, my father would make me tapioca for dessert. He would serve it to me, and tell me, “Here you go, fish eyes for dessert!” Funnily enough, it never dissuaded me from devouring that pudding. I love the texture of tapioca; the little pearls surrounded by creamy vanilla pudding. To me, tapioca pudding beats plain pudding and rice pudding by a mile. My father used to make me instant tapioca, the kind that comes in a red box. It really isn’t instant; it takes 20 minutes on the stove to cook it. What is meant by instant is that the tapioca pearls have been broken up small enough so that they do not require pre-soaking. Very large pearls may require hours long soaking before they are useable. Small pearl requires 30 minutes before you can use them to cook; the textural improvement of the dish is well worth the extra step and wait time. Further improving on my childhood tapioca, I use whole milk and light cream rather than skim milk or low fat milk. Is it a decade