Sweet Potato Gratin

12/01/2016

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I’ve been remiss in posting lately; this actually has less to do with the fact we have an active and wiggly kid, but more that I only have seedlings in my garden at the moment. My oranges are almost ripe, and radishes are ready to be eaten, so maybe new recipes will inspire me soon.

Alas, I couldn’t skip posting about my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! We had 18 friends share our table, and like any potluck around here, the food was divine. I made sweet potato gratin, not from our potatoes, but from Gary’s parents’ potatoes which were lovingly mailed to us through the USPS. Although they were unable to join us, the sweet potatoes on our plate were a little taste of our Midwestern family.

Ingredients: 

3 sweet potatoes, peeled
3 Yukon potatoes, peeled
2 c heavy whipping cream
1/4 c butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T minced fresh rosemary
1 1/2 t fine sea salt
3/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 c (packed) coarsely grated Gruyére cheese

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. After peeling the potatoes, use a mandolin to finely slice them (although beware of fingers!). Slice them into a bowl of water so they won’t brown. After this is finished, combine the cream, butter, garlic, salt and pepper in a small pan, heat on the stovetop and bring to a simmer. Take off from heat and set aside.

In a 13×9 baking dish (or large dutch oven, like I used), layer the potatoes, chopped rosemary, and cheese. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes. Bake uncovered for one hour, or until the top becomes golden brown.

Salmon with Parsley and Lime

10/20/2016

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Our friend Sam’s October birthday starts the beginning of eating outside again after a long, hot Florida summer indoors. Celebration on all accounts!

Ingredients:

1 lb salmon fillet
2 T melted butter
3 cloves garlic
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 T freshly squeezed lime juice (plus lime wedges for garnish)
S&P

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the butter, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, lime juice and S&P in a bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and put the salmon skin down onto the paper. Spoon the mixture over the salmon. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Garnish with lime wedges.

 

Shrimp Scampi

09/30/2016

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My spouse spent last Sunday successfully shrimping. Unsurprisingly, the shrimp made the scampi superb!

Ingredients:

1 lb shrimp, de-headed but shells kept on
3 T olive oil
1/2 t dried pepper flakes
1/2 c dry white wine
1 t salt
4 T unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package linguini
1/2 c chopped parsley

Instructions:

First, get a pot of boiling water ready. Have all your ingredients chopped and ready, and then start cooking the pasta. While it’s cooking, heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add the olive oil. Add the garlic and pepper flakes, and saute for about one minute. Add butter. Then add shrimp. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until all the shrimp are pink. Take off heat. When the pasta is cooked, drain all pasta water except one cup. Add the shrimp and butter liquid to the pasta (add the pasta water if it’s still a little “dry”, or drizzle with olive oil), and add parsley. Enjoy!

Apple Pie

09/16/2016

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I spent a glorious long weekend back in Iowa, with family love, ripe apples, and the smell of fall. When home, I asked my sweet grandma to teach me her “Blue Ribbon” pie recipe, and I mean “Blue Ribbon” quite literally–she’s won numerous for this pie at the Iowa State Fair. This pie is neither gluten nor calorie free–in fact, its secret ingredient is lard–but the thing about Grandma’s Apple Pie is that none of that matters. It’s just sheer delicious flakey goodness made with my uncle’s home-grown apples that tastes like love any way you slice it.

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Ingredients:

2 c flour
1/4 t salt
2/3 c lard
5 T ice cold water
1/2 t vinegar
6 cups peeled and cored apples
1/2 c sugar
1 T cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
3 T butter
cream

Instructions:

In a bowl, first mix together the flour and salt. Next, add half the lard with a pastry blender to make fine crumbs. Then add the rest of the lard to make crumbs the size of peas (see picture above). As my grandma says, “If you have bigger crumbs in the second blending, the flakier the crust will be.” Next add the vinegar to the water, and add the water to the flour mixture a little at a time, blending about a tablespoon at a time with a fork all along the edge of the bowl.

Next, lightly coat hands with flour, and separate dough into two balls, being careful to not over-mix or over-handle. Just put the ball together lightly. Put each loose ball in saran wrap, and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Turn on your oven to 425 degrees now. While waiting, peal and chop your apples. (Apples should be the good sturdy kind, that holds up to baking.) Put in a bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix together.

Take one ball of dough out of the fridge, and place on a lightly floured hard surface. Cut a piece of parchment or wax paper larger than the size of the pie pan, and place over the flour. Roll in one direction gradually coming out from all sides. Do not over-roll! If the dough appears to be sticking, use a long knife (or cake decorating icing knife) to dislodge the dough from the top and bottom. Roll again, until the dough is large enough to fit in the lightly greased pie pan. Once large enough, unstick from the bottom and use your hand on the parchment to guide the dough onto the pan. Put the dough-side down, and slowly take the parchment apart from the dough on the top. Lightly pat down into the shape of the pan. Cut the dough off around the exterior and set aside in flat pieces. If there are holes or tears in the dough, fill a small bowl with water and dip your finger in to wet the edges of the tear. Use an extra piece that was cut off the edges to patch the hole. Then add your apple mixture to the pie. Cut the tablespoons of butter into small pats, and place inside the

For the top, roll out the same as you did the inner section. Once finished, lay over the apples in the pan. Cut the extras around the exterior, and patch in the same way you patched the interior crust. Pinch the edges by using a thumb and index finger in one hand with your index finger in your other to make the crimp. Cut any design on the top you’d like.

Add a little bit of cream to a bowl, then using your fingers, dab the top. (When asked if I should use my fingers, Grandma said, sure, they were made before spoons.) Sprinkle the cream dabbed top with a little sugar.

Cover the entire pie loosely with foil, and carefully cut out the center leaving the crust covered in foil. This will prevent the crust from becoming too done too early. Bake for around 40-50 minutes, or until the apple mixture starts bubbling out of the cut areas in the top crust. If the center looks like it’s getting too brown, put the center foil ring you cut out on top. Around 40 minutes, you may want to reverse the foil, too; take off the foil on the crust, and put the center ring on the area where it has been without foil.

Eat with vanilla ice cream and dear folks who love you.

Jerk Pork with Grilled Pineapple

08/26/2016

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Two sweet things that took long to ripen happened this week: our pineapple was ready for picking, and our little Leo was officially adopted. It took two years for the pineapple to grow, and it took two years waiting on an adoption list to finally be chosen. Obviously one of these is far sweeter than the other, but that doesn’t mean that the grilled pineapple was any less tasty.

Ingredients:

2 pork chops
1 1/2 t ground allspice
1 t dried thyme
1 t curry powder
2 t paprika
1 t sugar
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t cinnamon
1 red onion, chopped in sections for skewering
1 red pepper
1 pineapple
Coconut oil
S&P

Instructions:

First, mix the spices together and set aside. Cut the vegetables into large chunks, and skewer the vegetables. Drizzle coconut oil on the vegetables and both sides of the pork. Then sprinkle the rub on both the vegetables and meat. Grill on medium high until cooked; 5 minutes per side for the pork, and 7 minutes per side with the skewers. Serve with rice.

Chanterelle Mushroom Quiche

08/01/2016

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These golden chanterelle mushrooms look more otherworldly than edible, but man are they good. They were found by my friend Rayne on her run here in town; she promises to bring me to her prized spot where they grow someday soon. I’m holding her to it.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 c butter (cold, chopped in small pieces)
2-3 T cold water

For the quiche:
1 lb chanterelle mushrooms (or shittakes or other edible mushrooms)
2 onions, chopped
2 T butter
S&P
3 eggs
1 1/2 c whole milk
1/4 c swiss cheese, grated
1 T Dijon mustard

Instructions:

First start with the crust. Combine the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the butter pieces at a time. Add the water. Pulse until mixed. Remove the dough and form it into a ball. Chill it for at least half an hour. When ready, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the crust in a pie tin, and bake for 8-9 minutes, or until golden. Set aside.

To make the quiche. In a medium skillet, heat the butter on medium low heat. Add the onions. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until they start to brown. Add the mushrooms. Cook for another 10 or so minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked and the onions have caramelized. Add more butter if the mushrooms are dry. Next, in a small bowl, mix the eggs, milk, mustard, and S&P together. Pour this in the dough crust. Add the mushroom and onion sautee to this, and top then with the grated cheese.

If you don’t want the sides of the crust to get too brown, line the exterior with foil. Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!

Scallop Gratin

07/21/2016

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After working long hours lately, Gary took a break to go scalloping. The water was clear, the scallops were abundant, and they got their limit in record time–less than two hours!

Our friend Parker cooked them divinely. We ate them with toothpicks and savored the taste of the sea.

Ingredients:

1 lemon, cut into wedges
¼ lb. shucked bay scallops or enough to cover bottom of skillet in a single layer
Olive oil
Butter, softened
S&P
1/3 cup prepared seasoned breadcrumbs
1 clove minced garlic

Instructions:

First, combine prepared seasoned breadcrumbs, minced garlic, 1 tsp butter, 1 tsp olive oil in small bowl. Breadcrumbs should be evenly moistened. Next, place oven rack on 2nd highest level and turn on over broiler. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add 1 tbsp. olive oil and a ½” thick slice of butter. Once butter has melted and foaming has subsided, place scallops in a single layer on bottom of the skillet. Season very lightly with salt and pepper, and do not disturb cooking scallops. Cook on the stovetop for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute or until scallops appear to be halfway cooked. Sprinkle moderately heavy layer of seasoned breadcrumbs over scallops. Finally, transfer pan under broiler and cook until breadcrumbs turn golden and scallops are cooked through approximately 2 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan and rotate as needed to prevent breadcrumbs from burning. Remove from oven, squirt fresh lemon over, and serve immediately.

 

Indian-Spiced Beans (Guar ki Bhaaji)

07/16/2016

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There once was was a boy as long as beans,
Because they are heirloom, they are not green.
Seeing that he is small,
He actually would bawl,
If he was fed for dinner purple beans.

Ingredients:

1lb beans, chopped in 2 inch sections
1 onion, chopped
2 T coconut oil
1/2 t tumeric
1 t chili powder
1 t coriander powder
1 t salt
1 c water
1 t garam masala
1 T curry powder
1 green chili, chopped
1/4 c peanuts, chopped

Instructions:

After chopping the vegetables, heat the oil in a skillet. Add all the dry ingredients, and stir for about 3 minutes. Next add the onion. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the beans and chopped chili, and cook for about 3 minutes. Then add the water, and cover the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the beans are cooked through, transfer to a bowl and top with chopped peanuts.

Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon

07/06/2016

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Just returned from a wonderful week in Iowa, which consisted of buckets of change and love. New and wonderful babies and spouses were brought to the mix, and my dear grandma sadly moved from this world into the next. For the ten days I was there introducing my new little guy to the Midwest, everyone opened their arms to us and fed us love.

With all of this commotion, our multi-course meals didn’t exactly happen. But we did have good Lake Michigan salmon caught by these two fisherman. (With a side of Iowa bratwurst, of course.)

Ingredients:

1lb salmon
2 T brown sugar
1 T olive oil
1 t soy sauce
fresh dill

Instructions:

Turn on the grill to high. Pat the salmon dry. In a bowl, mix the ingredients without the dill together to form a paste. Spread the paste on the fish. Put the fish skin-side down on the grill (if you’re not using salmon with skin, you can use a soaked cedar board, or cook on a cookie sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes). Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the ends are done and the middle is still rare. Garnish with fresh dill (or bratwurst, if you’d so prefer).

Sheepshead with Lemongrass & Lime

06/16/2016

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Since our kid came along, the boat has not gotten much use. But this past weekend, finally Gary squeezed in some time to take it for a spin in the Gulf. He came home with only one fish, but one is better than none.

Sheepshead fish have weird human-looking teeth. So if you don’t mind your dinner looking–or frowning–at you, grill it head-on. It’s easy and delicious.

I got this recipe from the NYTimes. Melissa Clark even gives a little video showing the ease of grilling fish.

Ingredients:

2 whole fish, sheepshead or trout
2 T coconut oil
2 limes
2 shallots, chopped
1 stalk lemongrass
1/2 c mint leaves
1/2 c cilantro
1 chili, chopped
1/4 c coconut milk
1 garlic clove, chopped
S&P

Instructions:

If you catch the fish, take out the guts and scale the fish, leaving the head and tail in tact. Slice one lime, and slice one scallion. Fill the cavity with the scallion and lime and lemongrass (you can smash it some, and leave the stalks whole). Salt and pepper the cavity and exterior of the fish. Coat the fish in coconut oil so it won’t stick to the grill.

While the grill is heating, make the sauce. Add the juice from the remaining lime, chop the other scallion, and add the mint, cilantro, chili, coconut milk, garlic, and S&P to a food processor. Pulse, until a chunky sauce is formed.
Grill the fish on high heat over charcoal (or a regular gas grill works fine). Grill each side for 3-4 minutes, or until the fish becomes flaky. Garnish with cilantro, and serve with the sauce.

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