It’s winter, even here in Los Angeles and sometimes I want a dish that wraps its arms around me and gives me a huge hug. That’s when I turn to collard greens. Yet my craving didn’t stop at comfort, I wanted the heat of spice and a bit of crunch.
I also wanted to keep the bright green of fresh collard greens. I was determined to stop my collards from marching into the drab army green of so many other recipes.
I am happy to say, success! This is an extremely simple, spicy and green recipe. Zing from ginger, crunch from corn, coconut milk provides a bit of sweetness and the collard greens retain their wonderful color while wrapped in this flavorful embrace.
Last week Erika from Not Ketchup and I cooked up a storm of potatoes for this year’s Potato Palooza. It’s always great fun to create new and unusual dishes with the incredible, edible and utterly versatile Idaho potato.
As always this event draws in some of Los Angeles’ biggest and best food bloggers. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Average Betty’s video of the event.
The very best assistant at Potato Palooza is Simone. She’s definitely a double threat, equally skilled at presentation and kitchen skills.
I recently bought Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s cookbook “Jerusalem” and I’m so very happy with the dishes I’ve made thus far. The standout so far is their recipe for poached pears.
I made these poached pears for Thanksgiving with Bosc pears the very first time. Not a pear remained after the meal was over. I made them for Christmas treats to give to friends in bell jars. I’ve made them with Ya pears—juicy firm pears from China for New Year’s dinner. And made them with small Seckel pears for an FBLA meeting. Until pear season ends or people tire of them (I don’t know how they could) this will be my go to dessert. Plus they’re naturally gluten free.
As I do with most recipes I make for the first time, I follow the recipe to a ‘T’. Then I start throwing in my own personal touches. I took the original recipe and upped the lemon juice from 1 ½ T to an entire lemon and added the zest of that lemon. I increased the cardamom from 15 to about 25.
To make them easier to eat I core the pears from the bottom with a spoon so the presentation is still there but the eating of them is much easier. So here is my take on Jerusalem’s poached pears. Thank you gentlemen for an incredible and simple dessert.
It’s great to be me. I’m surrounded by wonderfully creative and generous people…who love to laugh and share. So today I share some of my favorite links of the week by people I know personally and via the web. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Valentina’s Cooking On the Weekend’s Wasabi Glazed Ahi Tuna had me reeling at its sheer beauty. But when I read the simplicity and flavor of her recipe I fell in love with it. You will too.
Photo courtesy of Cooking on the Weekends
You can’t go wrong with Dorothy’s of Shockingly Delicious’ Candied Orange Peel. Don’t over think this one just make it.
Photo courtesy of Dorothy of Shockingly Delicious
For the shear magic of Evan Funk’s craftsmanship, please watch Life and Thyme’s video of his pasta making. Film making at its best–captivating narrative accompanied by mesmerizing visuals. Poetry in motion.
It’s that time of year–it starts as a sniffle or an ache and before you know it…you’re sick. And you’re grumpy. And nothing tastes good.
I’m no medical doctor but when I was feeling terrible because of the flu I shuffled into the kitchen and whipped up a kale smoothy. I’m not a smoothy kind of girl. If I want kale (on that rare occasion) I cook it. But I didn’t have the energy to cook anything. So I grabbed random ingredients from the frig and threw them in a blender. Lo and behold, after drinking this smoothy I actually felt better for about two hours. Alas, your results my not be the same. But it’s worth the shot.
I have spent most of the second have of 2014 working in Branson, Missouri on the television show Branson Famous. Being away from my home for extended periods is not usual for me, nor any television producer for that matter. What was unusual about this job was that instead of staying in a hotel room I shared a house with the rest of the crew.
To be honest, I had my doubts. It’s been a very long time since I had a roommate, let alone five total strangers as roommates. But I’m not one to scoff at a long-term gig, so off I went.
As soon as I arrived my fears were assuaged. The crew, to a person, was respectful of everyone’s privacy and incredibly good at their jobs. I could recommend each and everyone without a pang of doubt. (So if you’re looking for cameramen/women, field producers, production managers hit me up.)One aspect that I loved about sharing the house was our evening meals. Branson has a ton of restaurants but one can get very tired of pulled pork and barbeque rather quickly. So four or five nights a week someone would cook. Well, mostly, Rudy the cameraman and I would cook. Rudy is a carnivore of the first degree. A methodical magician when it comes to the art of barbequing steak—rib eye, sirloin or any other steak.
But one of the crew’s favorites was my meatloaf. We ate the meal on TV dinner trays and watched the Gilmore Girl’s.Meatloaf Stuffed with Spinach
2 lbs ground beef (not lean)
1 onion chopped
5 cloves garlic chopped
½ cup bread crumbs
1 small can thick tomato sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
½ cup fresh parsley minced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (½ cup for meatloaf mixture, ½ cup to sprinkle on top of loaf)
salt and pepper
Slightly beat eggs
Place ground beef in large bowl and all ingredients except only add ½ cup parmesan
Mix until all ingredients are incorporated
2 bags frozen leaf spinach
small container cherry tomatoes halved
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 small red onion chopped
splash of olive
oil zest and juice of one lemon
½ tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper
In medium sized sauté pan add a splash of olive oil, garlic and onion.
Cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes.
Add cherry tomato halves. Cook for about 2 more minutes.
Add frozen spinach and cook while stirring to thaw out spinach. When spinach is thawed out add remaining ingredients and cook for about 4 more minutes. Cool.
Place half of the meatloaf mixture on a half sheet pan or large baking dish. Shape a log that has a pocket that will hold the spinach.
Spread spinach over bottom portion leaving a half inch hem of meatloaf.
Add the remaining meatloaf mixture on top of the spinach by taking a third of the mixture flattening it a bit and placing on top of spinach. Continue until the spinach is covered. Pinch the edges to seal in the spinach.
Sprinkle the remainder of the parmesan over the loaf. If half cup isn’t enough add more.
This is my go to birthday cake. I’ve been making it for years. It’s got everything I want in a dessert–crunch from the walnuts, cinnamon, two types of chocolate–Ibarra Mexican chocolate in the cake and bitter sweet for both whipped and melted ganache.
Chocolate Walnut Cake
6 egg yolks
5 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cake crumbs
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 bar Ibarra chocolate coarsely chopped
I tbsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1. Whip egg yolks with 1/4 cup of sugar until ribbon stage.
2. In separate bowl whip egg whites until medium peaks are formed
3. Combine remaining dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.
4. Fold dry ingredients into yolks.
5. Fold whites into yolk mixture
5. Pour into 9 inch spring form pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
1 lbs. semi-sweet chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
1. Chop chocolate and place in bowl
2. Heat heavy cream until it almost boils and pour over chocolate. Let stand about 2 or 3 minutes then emulsify the cream and chocolate until smooth.
3. Divide ganache in half. Place one half in refrigerator and stir every 5 minutes or so until it’s room temperature. Once the ganache reaches room temperature whip at medium speed until fluffy and it lightens a bit.
1. Remove cake from spring form pan. Slice cooled cake in half. Place whipped ganache on bottom half to form a 1 inch layer of filling. Place other half of cake on top of whipped ganache.
2. Frost the the cake and place in refrigerator until set. At least an hour.
3. Place frosted cake on wire rack. Pour room temperature ganache on top of cake and gently push ganache over the top so it drips down the sides and coats them thoroughly.
The holiday season has officially begun and one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself is some easy, delicious and jaw-dropping recipes that will satisfy even the fussy eaters around.
My first offering are these roasted beet napoleons: Gluten free, minimal work and lovely to look at. (They could be considered vegetarian if your friends eat dairy.) I made these for an EatWith event and Thanksgiving. All were devoured. In fact, one of my guests dipped the beet scraps in the chevre…they are that good.
ROASTED BEET NAPOLEONS
The most important element is getting beets that are big enough for the circle cutter that you’re using. I use a 2 ½ inch cutter. The other important element is a mandolin or a very sharp knife. I use the latter.
3 Large beets (I like to use different color beets—red, yellow and candy striped)
1 8 oz. log of herbed goat cheese or chevre (I used Trader Joe’s)
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
Roast beets. It’s okay if they are a little under done. It makes them a bit easier to slice.
Cool beets, peel and thinly slice.
With your circle cookie cutter cut out circles from the beet slices.
In a large sauté pan add the sugar and vinegar. Heat to a boil so that the sugar dissolves
When the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is at a gentle boil add beet slices. Cook for 2 minutes and then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Continue until are slices are done. If you are using different types of beets start with the lightest color. The liquid retains the color of the beets.
Remove beets from liquid and place on paper towels to cool. Place more paper towels on tops to blot all sides of the beets.
This step can be done a day or two in advance. Just make sure there is a good padding of paper towels between the layers. The beets really bleed.
Remove goat cheese from refrigerator about an hour before assembly. This makes the goat cheese easier to spread. If the goat cheese is really dry place in a bowl and mix with a little plain yogurt or sour cream until it’s smooth.
Place beet slices on a work surface. If your slices are thick only use three for each napoleon. If thin use 4 or 5.
Spread a generous tablespoon or on the bottom and middle beet slices. Continue until done.
Stack the cheesed slices on top of one another and crown with a clean beet slice.
With a very sharp knife slice into quarters or sixths.
Garnish with reduced balsamic or fresh herbs.
If you make the napoleons too far in advance the beets will bleed into the cheese.