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Showing posts from December, 2018

Cauliflower with Agrodolce

Agrodolce is a traditional sweet and sour sauce in Chinese cuisine. In transliteration, it is called tian suan jiang. Agrodolce is the Italian word for this kind of sauce; agro means sour and dolce means sweet. In this version, the vinegar and lemon constitute the sour part and the honey the sweet. The capers add complex saltiness, the mustard a gentle heat, the parsley freshness, the nuts texture and the raisins absorb the liquid and add texture and sweetness. Cauliflower roasted until golden brown develops and warm and inviting nuttiness; this sweet and sour sauce compliments that nuttiness while transforming a simple roasted cauliflower dish into something complex and incredibly satisfying. Best of all, this is a healthy side and takes about 45 minutes to get it from fridge to table.  Ingredients: 1 head cauliflower, cored 2 tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper to taste Agrodolce: 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon oli

Sheet Pan Kielbasa, Cabbage, Apple and Potato

Is there anything better than a sheet pan dinner? Slice, season, roast and you are done. If you use a precooked meat like kielbasa (aka my favorite sausage), the time reduces even further since it just needs to heat through. You can buy pre-mixed Chicago Style Steakhouse Rub if you like the convenience; I like to make my own since it is cheaper and so that I can control the amount of salt. If you make your own, you can tweak the ingredients to suit your tastes.  I love the combination of kielbasa, sweet apple, creamy, crispy potatoes, and colorful cabbage. Add the punch of the steakhouse seasoning and you have a delicious, healthy and easy mea for weeknights or weekends. Enjoy! Ingredients: 1 pound baby yellow potatoes, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 1/2 teaspoon Chicago Style Steakhouse rub, recipe follows 1/2 small head red cabbage, halved lengthwise 1 sweet onion, wedged into 8 pieces  1 large Gala or Fuji apple, cored and sliced

Maple-Glazed Acorn Squash

It’s winter baking time! Tis the season for squash! My favorite combination is acorn squash and maple syrup; the play off one another beautifully. To add texture and take advantage of another in-season produce, I added pomegranate seeds. These little ruby jewels contrast so beautifully with the deep green of the kale, and seem quite seasonally appropriate. Goat cheese marries beautifully with maple syrup and sweet squash, adding creaminess and tang. The nuts add a final, pleasing crunch. This meal is as pleasing to look at as it is to eat, and it requires very little time investment on the part of the cook. You have about 20 minutes of active work and a meal on your plate in about an hour. I hope you’ll try this soon! Ingredients: 1/4 cup maple syrup 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon dijon mustard 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses salt and pepper, to taste pinch red pepper flakes 2 acorn squash 2 cups kale, torn into

Chick Pea Stir Fry

This is a healthy weeknight winner for me. It comes together super quickly, and I generally have all of these ingredients on hand. I like it if I feel like observing “meatless” Monday; the chickpeas have plenty of fiber and protein to keep me full, and the healthy fats of the avocado tamp down my normally insatiable craving for butter. If you have no cooked rice on hand, I have had success with organic instant brown rice. Give it a try on a night when you want to eat healthy, but you are pressed for time. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what a few minutes in the kitchen can yield! It's especially useful this time of year when you are pressed for time and surrounded by holiday foods and need a healthy break. Enjoy! Ingredients: 1 15 ounce can of chick peas 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 sweet onion, sliced into half moons 2 carrots, cut into discs 2 cups of spinach 1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets Pinch red pepper flakes 1 clove of garlic,

Spanish Tortilla

A Spanish tortilla is an omelette made with eggs and potato, and sometimes includes onions, chives or garlic; it is fried in oil. In Spanish, tortilla is a diminutive form of “torta,” which means cake. Thus, this dish could be called a savory potato cake. The addition of onions to this dish can be controversial; some people would argue that a true Spanish tortilla, or tortilla de papas, only consists of potatoes and egg. To avoid such controversy, please consider this recipe a tortilla de papas con cebolla. And accept that I pretend to have no authority on Spanish cuisine; I just find it delicious! You will use a lot of extra virgin olive oil in this recipe to fry the potatoes; you will have a lot leftover. Please be sure to save this leftover oil in a tightly sealed jar. It is wonderfully flavored oil, great for using for future Spanish tortillas or other Spanish-influenced cuisine recipes.  This recipe requires very few ingredients; the beauty of this dish is how a few

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Tis the season to be baking! Last night I performed as the Ghost of Christmas Past in City Theater’s production of A Christmas Carol: The Musical. It is December, it’s raining outside; I am in the mood for holiday baking.  Frosted and rolled out sugar cookies do require a bit of planning, and lots of pottering about in the kitchen; perfect for a relaxing Sunday. The work is easy and fun, and the ingredients are absolutely pantry and fridge staples. The only special tools you’ll need are cookie cutters and a piping or ziplock bag. If you hate the idea of eating raw egg whites, they sell pasteurized egg whites and meringue powder; you will need 3 ounces of egg whites for this recipe. These cookies are beautiful to look at but even more fun to eat; sweet, buttery and wonderfully vanilla, they pair perfectly with a big mug of hot chocolate or mocha latte. Enjoy Ingredients: 1 cup of softened butter 1 cup sugar 1 large egg 1/4 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla

Russian Tea Cookies

Russian Tea Cookies or Mexican Wedding Cookies or Snowball Nut Cookies, as they are known in my house, are a dead simple cookie to make. Buttery, crumbly, nutty and sweet, they pair perfectly with a cup of tea. You can use walnuts or pecans; growing up we always used pecans so I tend to use them when I make this recipe but I have been known to dabble with walnuts. These are easy to make in advance and freeze fully baked; I have been known to devour them still-frozen. Enjoy! Ingredients: 1 cup butter, softened ½ cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour ¾ cup finely chopped pecans ¼ salt Powdered sugar, for rolling Method: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. Stir in the flour, salt and nuts until the dough holds together. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until set but not brown.

Orzo Casserole

I can claim no credit for this recipe. It is my mother’s creation. My mom would make this of family gatherings and it was also the most popular side dish available. It was devoured at a myriad of Johnston family hootenannies and Jordan family reunions, beloved by both my father’s side of the family and my mother’s side as well.  Funnily enough, my mother only made this for big family gatherings; this was not a recipe that found its way into weeknight rotation or even nuclear family cookouts or special events. No, this recipe only made an appearance when grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts would be in attendance. For that reason, this dish holds a lot of special memories for me and eating it triggers such nostalgia that I almost feel like a child again in the midst of a great big family shindig. It’s a fairly simple recipe to make, but perfectly cheesy and spicy and comforting. It is easy to make a big batch, too; great with you need to feed a horde of hungry relative

Turkey Salad

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but the leftovers remain. What to do? You might remember from my previous post the I travelled to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving and thus did not make a meal of my own. True! But, my husband’s work kindly gave us a turkey for the holiday, so on Saturday, I deep -fried it in my indoor electric turkey fryer (20 pound bird done in an hour and 10 minutes, juicy as can be and the crispiest skin you ever had).  That leaves my two person home with 20 pounds of turkey to eat. Of course I gave some to my parents, but I am still overflowing with fowl. This simple turkey salad is an easy and yummy way to use up leftover the Thanksgiving day bird without eating a reheated version of the feast day after day. Enjoy! Ingredients: 1/3 cup dried cranberries 1/3 cup chipped pecans 1/4 small sweet onion, diced 2 celery stalks, diced 2/3 cup turkey, chopped 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced 1 teaspoon fresh sage, minced