May 12, 2018

Cauliflower Scramble

cauliflower eggs

Most days I don't eat until noon or later, preferring coffee with almond milk to keep hunger and my appetite at bay. In the past when I've gotten in the habit of eating breakfast the pounds seemed to creep up and even though I'm a slim person, I feel best at a certain weight and have to be mindful to keep it there. It's no hardship. Morning is my most productive time and with a few cups of good brew I get going and before I know it it's noon and I'm hungry.

I make this at least once a week, sometimes more. I'll admit the smell of cauliflower cooking is not the best, but it's worth it for something this healthy and satisfying. It's mostly fried cauliflower with a creamy binder of eggs and, if you're feeling decadent, some cream or goat cheese. Easy, quick, virtuous.

Caulifower Scramble

Serves 1-2

1/2 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon (approx.) soft cheese like goat, feta or cream cheese (optional)

Slice cauliflower into 1/4 inch slices. Some slices will fall apart and some will stay in thin planks—both are good. Discard stems (or not—if you don't mind their slightly tougher texture, chop them up in the same size as the florets). Heat oil over medium high heat in a large nonstick pan. When the oil is shimmering add the cauliflower and salt and spread into a single layer. Let sizzle for 8-10 minutes until there are dark brown pieces and flip with a spatula or in the pan with a flick of the wrist. Let cook for another 4-5 minutes and flip again. Add eggs, scallions and cheese, turn off heat (but leave pan on burner) and stir and fold until eggs have set. Serve immediately. 

May 8, 2018

Blueberry Biscuit Rolls

blueberry rolls

I saw this fetching hybrid of a biscuit and a cinnamon roll (sans cinnamon) at the Portland's Farmers Market a few weeks ago. We were there to visit our favorite cousin Julie and celebrate our 25th anniversary.  They're about a month ahead of us weather-wise and the market was filled with gorgeous green things; lettuces, herbs, peas and so much well made food. We had a biscuit and greens egg sandwich, a steamed bao bun with barbecued pork and pickled vegetables, malted ice cream and several pastries from the bakery stand that inspired today's post. 

It's no secret that biscuits are among my favorite foods and organic blueberries are sold in giant bags at Costco so I always have them on hand. Frozen are fine. This roll gives you the buttery, crispy, soft delight of a good biscuit with the sweet juiciness of berries. 

Blueberry Biscuit Roll

Makes 12

2 cups flour
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small dice and chilled plus 2 tablespoons for brushing
3/4 cup cold buttermilk*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
1/4 cup (or more) raw (turbinado) sugar, divided

Preheat oven to 450º convection, 475º conventional

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add vanilla to buttermilk. 

Drop in cold butter cubes and work in with your fingers until shaggy and butter shards are about dime-sized. Pour in most of cold buttermilk and fold in with spatula. If it seems dry, add the rest and stir a few more times.

Dump onto a floured surface and knead gently about three times and pat into a rough 1/2" thick rectangle. Using a rolling pin, gently roll into a 12" x 10" rectangle. Scatter blueberries over the top leaving a 3/4" border (I left closer to an inch and had blueberry-less rolls on the ends). Sprinkle about one tablespoon of raw sugar over the berries. Roll towards yourself being careful not to compress it too much. Pinch seam so it stays shut. Brush roll with melted butter and roll in remaining raw sugar. Cut roll into one inch pieces and place face up on an ungreased sheet pan. Bake for 12 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Cool completely. 

*or add a tablespoon of white vinegar to 3/4 cup plain milk 

September 18, 2017

Bittersweet Potato Hash

sweet potato hash

Another chapter.  My oldest left for college a few weeks ago and it's not the nest that seems empty, it's me. I just can't get to feeling whole. I'm working, taking care of my precious daughter who's still home, hanging with my husband, going to yoga, playing with the dogs and getting together with friends but it's not working. I still feel something missing, some part of me. It's a hole I can't fill and that hole is her growing up and moving on. And of course I'm excited for her and even text and talk to her some, but it's not the same. I miss her physical presence and seeing her face for myself and knowing what kind of a day she had...if she's happy or sad or irritated or stressed. I miss seeing her in the morning and last thing before bed.  I've been dreading this day since she was a baby. That's just how I am. Anticipating where I might hurt in the future and doing my best to avoid it. This one I couldn't.

We'll see her at Parents Weekend in a month and I know she'll be a little changed. And I will not have been there to see the change happen and that's hard. But it's what needs to happen now for her to begin the final stage towards becoming an adult in full. She's going to nail it. I'm going to get used to it. 

Heading to the kitchen when I'm melancholy is one of my remedies. Potato hash is such a good comfort food and can be relatively healthy. Reheats well too. I've learned that the best way to cook them is over medium or even medium low heat for what seems like a long time (20 minutes). This way they have time to cook through and get brown. This version has sweet potatoes and an almost equivalent amount of onions and peppers because I love those brighter flavors in contrast with the mellow potato. The topping is raw scallions for a bit of bite and well-stirred plain yogurt dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper (one of my favorites). This is also good with some sausage mixed in or a fried egg on the top

Sweet Potato Hash

serves 1-2

2 sweet potatoes*, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
1/2 red or green pepper, cut into 1/2"-3/4" dice
1/4 white onion, cut into 1/2"-3/4" dice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon virgin coconut or olive oil
1 scallion, green and light green part sliced thinly
Plain yogurt
Olive oil

Toss chopped vegetables with salt. Heat oil in a large nonstick skilled over medium heat. When hot, add potatoes and vegetables and spread out onto one layer, pressing down gently. Let cook undisturbed for 10 minutes (turn heat up down if they seem to be browning too fast) then flip trying to get brown sides up, turn heat down to medium low and let cook for another 10 minutes. Check to make sure they're cooked all the way through then sprinkle with scallions and serve with yogurt.

sweet potato hash

*Most sweet potatoes around here have light skins and even lighter colored flesh. Often bright orange yams are confused for sweet potatoes but their flesh is softer and tends to get mushy in hashes, in my experience.

March 3, 2016

Pork Chops and Not Too Sauerkraut

My mom used to make the best pork chops and sauerkraut—it was my favorite dinner although I was kind of embarrassed to admit it. Sauerkraut was one of those foods like beans or egg salad or onions that made kids go ewww....

Once she sent me into the grocery store to pick up a can of kraut and I ran into a foxy boy from my high school who worked there. He asked me what I was looking for and when I told him he raised his cute little Scandinavian eyebrow ever so slightly and in that gesture I saw my attractiveness stock plummet.  My ardor for fermented cabbage remained but I had to take it underground for awhile surreptitiously tucking it in along the side of my bratwurst bun at barbecues. 


So I was so happy when I saw my beloved pork and kraut in Amy Thielen's cookbook (which I've raved about here before). She elevates it by adding white wine and spice. Those additions just make a good thing better. A key element in the dish is the sauerkraut and in this case, the can won't cut it. You want to look for fresher, crisper versions often sold in bags or refrigerated jars. The only ingredients should be cabbage and salt. It's milder, less sour and better tasting. You cook it all until the pork is fork tender and infused with the flavors of the cabbage, onions, wine and stock. You could probably add another chop without adding more sauerkraut but that's my favorite part so I like to make sure I have plenty. 

Homey and satisfying with a baked potato. 

Pork Chops and Sauerkraut

2 bone-in pork chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pat butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups sauerkraut with liquid
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Pinch thyme

Preheat oven to 325º. 
Heat oil in oven proof saucepan over high heat. Generously salt and pepper chops and sear both sides, about 3 minutes per side until brown. Remove chops and set aside, then drain fat from pan. Put butter in hot pan, turn heat down to low and add onions and brown sugar. Cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and wine. Boil for 3-5 minutes until reduced by half. Add pork chops back in along with cabbage, bay leaf and thyme. Cover partially and put in oven for 3 hours until pork chops are fork tender and sauce is thick. 

February 17, 2016

Broiling in Palm Springs

I've always maintained that Californians have a culinary and health edge with the produce they can snag year-round. Spending the last month in Palm Springs with my daughter while she pursues her equestrian dreams has made me realize I'm right. Take, for example, the grapefruit trees that line the busy street where I run. One after the other, heavy with gold orbs of citrus. At first I just furtively picked up the ones that had fallen on the ground and jogged with one in each hand like they were weights. Then, a few days ago, I saw guy with a bike and a basket picking them off the trees. He said it was OK and isn't it funny that they still sell them in the grocery store down the street? Yes, it is. Now I pick them straight from the tree too, sans cute basket because we're staying in a rental house that is lacking charming portable vessels of that sort. I use my tee-shirt as a hammock instead.

Today I picked more than usual. After cutting one into quarters and eating it right after my run, I decided to broil another for dessert. I love warm, cooked fruit and never tried citrus. Easy and fast. Cutting the segments for easy removal is the most time-consuming part. 

Broiled Grapefruit

Serves 1-2

1 grapefruit
2 heaping tablespoons total of sugar; white, turbinado, brown or a blend
1/4 teaspoon ginger or cinnamon, optional
Pinch of kosher salt

Preheat broiler to high. Take a small slice off the rounder end of grapefruit so it sits level. Cut the whole fruit into two halves and cut the grapefruit carefully around the circumference and around each little wedge so they release easily when finished. Place in shallow baking dish. Mix sugars and salt together with spice, if using, in a small bowl. Divide mixture between the two grapefruit and spread out. Broil for about 10 minutes until slightly colored. Cool a bit and serve warm with vanilla ice cream. 

It looks like paradise and it is beautiful here, but this sport is not for wimps, equine or human. It's 90 degrees and she's wearing a long sleeved shirt, coat, breeches, tall leather boots and a hat that doesn't even shield her from the sun. But they both love to compete and make it look easy.

February 3, 2016

Crunchy Garlic Lemon Chicken Cutlets

Lemon garlic sauce

Last Friday night my friend Lynn and I made this for 35 people. It was kind of hideous. The final product was terrific as was the game party it was served at but, man, it was a lot of work three-step breading and frying all those cutlets. My house had that cooking smell for days. And yet, I had to make it again tonight because it's so dang good. That and I ended up with about 16 extra pounds of chicken. I'm such an amateur. 

But if you're just making it for four people it's a snap. Make the sauce, set up your breading station and it will be dinner in about 15 minutes. The leftovers are great, too. 

Crunchy Garlic Lemon Chicken Cutlets

Makes 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/4 - 1/2" thickness (hint: ask the meat counter to do it for you)
1 cup flour
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup Panko crumbs
4 tablespoons (or more) olive oil for frying

Lemon Garlic Sauce

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Sauce: Combine all ingredients except parsley in small saucepan and boil for 3-4 minutes. Stir in parsley and set aside.

Put flour, eggs and Panko into 3 separate, shallow dishes. Heat large saute/fry pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Salt and pepper chicken breasts, then dredge:

1. Into flour, shake off excess
2. Into egg wash, let excess drip off
3. Into panko, patting to adhere

Fry, about 4 minutes per side until browned, crisped and cooked through. You may need to adjust heat if it's cooking too fast (i.e., getting too dark too soon or not sizzling a little on the sides). Set aside on a plate, drizzle half of sauce over and pass the rest. Serve with pasta, bread or potatoes to soak up the extra sauce.

December 10, 2015

Pitch: Check Your Butter Label.

My daughter made butter in Kindergarten. You put heavy cream into a lidded jar and shake, and shake and shake and shake until it forms a lump of butter. Simple. Just heavy cream and a little salt, if you like that.

But guess what I recently noticed? Many butters in the grocery store contain more than that. They contain "flavorings". Seriously? How can heavy cream be improved? Can it be made more buttery? 

November 18, 2015

Dig In

My soup post is featured in Tidal Labs round-up of Thanksgiving recipes (one of which is a delicious sounding Rosemary Mushroom Stuffing) so Bear and I shared a few potato chips to celebrate. Then he pulled the bag out of the garbage to make sure all crumbs were consumed. Waste not, want not.

November 12, 2015

Roasted Carrot Salad

Roasted Carrot Salad with Yogurt Dressing and Pepitas

Have you been seeing the effects of the California drought in the produce aisle like I have? The heads of romaine have been leggy and pale for months now. I'm so used to getting whatever I want, vegetable-wise, whenever I want it that having to adjust my meal to account for it has been a shift. Traditional Caesar salad becomes kale salad, spinach stands in for romaine and beet greens for arugula. Not ideal but it works and reminds me that more than ever we're all affected by what's going on in other parts of the country (or world). Now I hear they're in for massive rain so that will pose its own hazards to farmers. My heart and stomach go out to them.

So increasingly I look to what's being grown around here and carrots are an easy one. These are from Featherstone Farms and they are so good. You can usually find them at local co-ops. I got a winter farm share from them last year and while I'll admit I got sick of turnips and rutabagas, I never got tired of their delicious carrots.

Here's how I'll use them this Thanksgiving—roasted with cumin and maple syrup and served on a bed of whatever looks good (hoping for arugula but these would also be good without any greens at all) with crunchy pepitas and a cool creamy yogurt dressing. A more interesting salad to add to the healthier sides that are, increasingly, what our crowd loads on their holiday plates.

Roasted Carrot Salad

serves 8 as a side dish

2 lbs small carrots (about 10 medium)
2 teaspoons cumin
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Handful of roasted, salted pepitas

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400º.
Peel and trim carrots then cut lengthwise into halves or quarters (depending on size). Toss with cumin, salt, maple syrup and olive oil and place on a sheet pan so they don't touch. Drizzle any remaining syrup/oil mixture over top. Roast for 25 minutes or until tender and a little brown (cooking time will depend on carrot size).

Cool to room temperature and place on a bed on bite-sized greens. Sprinkle with pepitas and spoon dressing over the top.

October 26, 2015

Curried Squash Soup with Whipped Yogurt

Curried Squash Soup with Whipped Yogurt

"Thanksgiving in Nantucket" was the title to the glossy spread in my November, 1993 Bon Appetit and it played right into the preppy fantasy I had been nurturing since reading The Preppy Handbook in seventh grade and The Great Gatsby in ninth. God help me.

October 19, 2015

Mojo Verde

This super-flavorful, bright and mildy spicy mojo is comprised of cilantro, chilies, cumin, garlic and lime. It's excellent on roasted meats, potatoes, eggs, tacos and my dear old dog's dinner.

September 29, 2015

Pitch: Hit the Farmers Market on a Tuesday

Here in Minneapolis we have a huge Farmers Market that on weekends has three blocks of vendors offering vegetables, fruit, plants, cheese, meat, eggs, flowers, olives and all kinds of crafts and local foods. It's awesome, no secret and attracts mobs of people, so many that it can be hard to walk down the aisles.

September 17, 2015

8 Bananas

There they were. Waiting patiently on the counter. Perfectly ripe. Forgotten. Ignored. Thrown over for watermelon, berries and that rare bird—affordable organic grapes. 
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