Thursday, February 25, 2010

Curried Sweet Potato Latkes

These sweet potato pancakes are a staple in my little home. They are quick to put together (especially if you use a food processor to grate the spuds) and they're just plain old good. Not to mention versatile.. Serve on top of black beans + rice for supper or over greens splashed with sherry vinegar for a nice lunch. Add a dollop of sour cream or eat them straight up. Whatever you do, make a batch! They keep in the fridge and are ready for round two after only a few minutes under the broiler. I'm thinking - as I write - that I might top them with some applesauce for a sweet and savory dessert tonight. Perfect!

Curried Sweet Potato Pancakes
Adapted from Jewish Cooking in America
makes about 20 small pancakes

1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup flour
2 t. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cayenne
2 t. curry powder
1 t. cumin
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 - 1/2 cup milk
Canola oil, for frying
  • Grate the sweet potatoes coarsely.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, cayenne pepper, curry powder, cumin, and salt and pepper.
  • Add the eggs and just enough milk to the dry ingredients to make a stiff batter. Add the potatoes and mix thoroughly. Batter should be moist but not runny. Add more milk if necessary.
  • Heat a couple of Tablespoons oil in either a non-stick or cast iron skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Drop ¼ cup batter into oil and flatten. Fry over medium-high heat 4-ish minutes on each side until golden. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with a touch of salt and serve hot.
  • Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Crostini with Goat Cheese and Fennel

It's a dreary day here in NYC. Luckily I have a well stocked larder and don't need to venture out into the wet world. I seem to gravitate towards crostini when I'm scrounging around in the cupboards for something to eat (check out my 'Sweep of the Kitch Crostini'). Crunchy chewy bread is just so satisifying, especially when it's topped with pesto, cheese or caramelized vegetables. This particular crostini is loaded with goat cheese, fennel and a pretty little fennel frond for a pop of color. Oh, and the bread is homemade, so check in later this week for the recipe. In the meantime, tell me what your favorite crostini is...

Crostini with Goat Cheese and Fennel

1 fennel bulb, fronds reserved
1-2 T. olive oil
spritz lemon juice, optional
salt to taste
2ish oz. goat cheese
  • Halve fennel lengthwise and cut out the small core. Place each half on flat side and dice in the same way you would an onion.
  • In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add fennel, and stir to coat. Add 1/4 cup water, turn the heat to high and cook fennel until soft. Add more water as necessary.
  • Once fennel's soft, turn heat down to medium-high and allow it to begin to brown. Resist the urge to stir often. Stir only occasionally, after you have added a touch of water so you don't tear the vegetables. Once lightly browned, add salt to taste and lemon juice. The whole process (raw fennel to caramelized) will take about 45 minutes.
  • Spread goat cheese on toast and top with caramelized fennel and reserved fronds.
  • Enjoy!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Classic Hot Wings

For those of you who could care less about Valentine's day, but are lamenting the loss of football Sundays, go ahead and crack open a beer and soothe your broken heart with a batch of these excellent hot wings. This super simple recipe is adapted from Grace Parisi's, check out her variations: Thai green curry, maple-chipotle, etc., at Food & Wine. The active time is all of ten minutes, and you'll be ready to dig into these classically crispy and hot wings in just under an hour. Don't worry, it'll be kick-off time before you know it!

Hot Wings
serves about 4

2 lb chicken wingettes and drumettes
1 t. salt
2 T unsalted butter
2 1/2 T red hot sauce
  • Preheat the oven to 500°. Line a large baking sheet with foil and grease lightly with canola oil.
  • Place chicken on baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and toss with a bit more oil to coat. Spread chicken in a single layer and roast for 45 minutes, turning once or twice, until browned and crispy.
  • In a medium stock pot, melt butter. Add hot sauce and stir to combine. Turn off heat and add cooked chicken; toss to coat completely.
  • Enjoy!

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies

    These are excellent sugar cookies. They are nice and crisp, but their buttery richness makes them melt in your mouth. And they're just sweet enough. Sweet enough to bake up a batch for those you love the most!

    Sugar Cookies
    makes 4-5 dozen

    1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
    1 large egg
    2 t. vanilla
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1 t. baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    • Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.
    • Turn mixer to slow. add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix just to combine.
    • Divide dough in half. Gather each piece into ball; flatten into disks. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour. (Dough can be double wrapped and frozen at this point.)
    • Preheat oven to 325°F. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 1/8-inch thickness and cut out cookies (Use any shape you like:). Transfer cookies to ungreased baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart.
    • Loosely gather dough scraps (don't mush together) and return to the fridge until cool. Re-roll and cut out more cookies.
    • This is the time to add sprinkles etc., if you're not going to eat plain or frost.
    • Bake cookies until pale golden, 10-13 minutes, depending on their size. Transfer cookies to racks and let cool. Frost cookies, if you like, using the recipe below.
    • Store in a airtight container for a week or freeze for a month.
    • Enjoy the LOVE!
    Cookie Glaze
    makes 2/3 cup, enough for about 4 dozen cookies

    2 cups confectioners sugar sifted, spooned and leveled (like you would flour)
    2-3 hot water, milk, lemon or lime juice, etc.
    1 T corn syrup
    (1/2 t. vanilla, if using water or milk)
    pinch salt
    • Combine ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
    • Use sparingly; a little goes a long way.
    • Have fun decorating yer cookies!

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Nutella Pudding Pie

    This pie was inspired by World Nutella Day. I don't usually cook with Nutella; I'm beginning to wonder why not. This fine pie has a crunchy hazelnut crust, a Nutella pudding filling and is topped with (more!) hazelnuts and dark chocolate. It might be a fun anti-Valentine dessert. Not because it's not over-the-top good, oh, it is. But, as you're digging into the silky smooth and rich pudding, you might feel a bit of smug satisfaction because YOU are enjoying such a decadent treat and your Ex is probably chewing on cardboard. Pie in the face. Yeah, yours:)

    Hazelnut Pie Crust

    1 cup hazelnuts, toasted (set 3/4 cup aside for decoration)
    1 cup flour
    1 T sugar
    1/4 t. salt
    1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
    3 T ice water
    • In a food processor, pulverize 1/4 cup hazelnuts, flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture looks like coarse corn meal. Add enough water to form crumbly dough.
    • Press dough into bottom and up the sides of a 9" pie pan. Chill 20 minutes.
    • Bake in a 400 oven 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

    Nutella Pudding

    3/4 cup Nutella
    1/3 cup unsalted butter
    4 eggs, separated
    1 T sugar
    • In a bowl set over simmering water, melt the Nutella and butter; stir to combine. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring after each addition. Remove from the heat and set aside.
    • In large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the sugar and continue beating until smooth and glossy.
    • Use a spatula to gently fold in 1/4 of the egg whites to the Nutella mixture; then add the remaining whites and combine completely. Spoon into cooled pie crust and cool in the refrigerator 4 hours.

    3/4 cup reserved hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
    2 oz. chocolate, melted
    • Sprinkle hazelnuts over pudding and spoon the chocolate over the nuts. Refrigerate for another couple of hours. Cut and serve in bowls.
    • Enjoy!

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Ebook for Haiti

    I have exciting news! Lauren, of the fantastic food blog Celiac Teen, put together an awesome Ebook. She gathered 87 recipes (one of which is mine;) from 71 fellow food bloggers who, like her, want to help in the efforts to rebuild Haiti after the devastating earthquake. All proceeds from the Ebook will go to The Canadian Red Cross and donations made before (THIS) Friday 2/12, will be matched by the Canadian Government. Each Ebook is a minimum of a $10, but feel free to donate as much as you wish. As of this morning, after only one full day of sales, 34 books had been sold. Matched, that makes $2080 total! You Go Girl! Check out Lauren's site to learn a bit more about her labor of love, and to buy a book!

    Saturday, February 6, 2010

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Footballs

    If you're not into football, shape this peanut buttery goodness into hearts and you've got yourself a sweet, homemade valentine.

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Footballs
    makes about 30
    adapted from Food Mayhem

    Peanut Butter Filling

    1 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
    1 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
    1 cup peanut butter (I used natural chunky, but I think any would be fine.)
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    8 oz chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
    • Cover a baking sheet with parchment and place a cooling rack on top of that.
    • Combine the sugar and cereal in a medium bowl.
    • Stirring occasionally, melt peanut butter and butter in a small bowl over (not touching) simmering water or in a double boiler. Add a pinch of salt if your peanut butter is not salted. Pour mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
    • Divide filling into 1 Tablespoonfuls, then form into footballs. Place footballs on prepared baking sheet.
    • In another small bowl over simmering water, melt the chocolate. Place a football in the chocolate and brush with a pastry brush (I like the rubber ones). Transfer bake to baking sheet with the brush and a fork. Continue process with remaining balls. Cool in the refrigerator.
    • Once chocolate has hardened, paint on laces (or hearts, stars, etc. with royal icing
    Royal Icing

    1 large egg whites
    1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar
    • Place egg white and sugar in mixing bowl and beat until glossy and stiff peaks form. If it’s not stiff enough, add another tablespoon or two of sugar.

    turd turd turd, turd is the word.

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Mango Browned Butter Bread

    You just never know what might happen when you enter the kitchen. I didn't plan to make this bread, but I'm glad for the accident. My inspiration: One, I had a ripe mango resting it's pretty little self on the counter (not to mention the lone, rapidly darkening and, decidedly, un-pretty banana). And two, Meg of Queenie Takes Manhattan was gushing over a gorgeous browned butter pound cake she'd made. I wanted that buttery nuttiness and why the hell not throw in a touch of sweet mango. Shake what your mama gave you...

    Mango Browned Butter Quick Bread

    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
    3 eggs
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1 ripe banana
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 t. baking powder
    1 t. baking soda
    1 1/2 t. ground ginger
    1 t. ground cinnamon
    1/4 t. salt
    1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
    zest of 1 lime
    3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
    • Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan.
    • In a small saute pan over medium-high heat, cook butter until it has browned and smells nutty. Remove from heat.
    • Whisk together the eggs and oil and set aside.
    • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, spices and salt.
    • Slowly add the slightly cooled butter to the egg and oil mixture; pour over the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Dough will be thick.
    • Add mango, zest and nuts and stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
    • Bake, on a sheet pan in case there is spillage, for about 1 1/2 hours, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. If you remember, rotate pan half way through baking time.
    • Cool for 5 minutes in pan and then transfer loaf to a cooling rack. Once cool, store in the refrigerator.
    • Enjoy!

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    Sausage Ragu Take Two: Lunch

    I love a good sandwich. Seriously, LOVE. But when I need something to sustain me through an evening on my feet at work, I want a meal. Given my druthers, I like to eat pasta for that (any) meal. Well color me kelly green and call me lucky, last night I made a luscious sausage ragu and the LEFTOVERS might have well been made to match with linguine, a ton of cracked black pepper and a bit of Pecorino cheese. I might just skip to the subway. Probably not. It was a damn good bowl of pasta, though.

    If you are in NYC, check out Flying Pigs Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket. Happy pigs!

    Monday, February 1, 2010

    Sausage Ragu with Polenta

    This stick-to-your-ribs meal is perfect for mid-winter nights. It's serious comfort food, pairing well with a glass of red wine and your favorite pajamas. The creamy polenta is a nice counterpoint to the rich ragu, but if polenta's not your thing, serve it with any type of pasta or rice. An arugula salad with a bracing vinaigrette is a fresh way to finish the meal. No dessert necessary.

    Sausage Ragu

    serves 4, generously

    olive oil
    1 lb. sausage, removed from casings
    1 carrot, diced
    1 red onion, diced
    5 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed or minced
    1/2 cup white wine
    1 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes
    bay leaf
    dried red pepper, crushed
    2 thyme sprigs
    1/2 t. dried sage
    salt and pepper to taste
    • Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add oil, allow it to shimmer, and add sausage. Cook, breaking links up with the back of a wooden spoon, until beginning to brown. Drain excess fat, if necessary.
    • Add carrot, onion and garlic and stir to coat. Add wine and tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil.
    • Turn heat to low, add herbs and a pinch salt, and cook slowly, stirring frequently, for about an hour.
    • Season to taste and serve with polenta (recipe below) or pasta.
    serves 4

    1 1/2 cups water
    1/4 t. salt
    6 oz coarse cornmeal or grits
    2 T butter
    1 oz. Pecorino cheese, finely grated
    salt and pepper to taste

    Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add salt. Slowly pour cornmeal into water, stirring constantly and vigorously with a wooden spoon. When mixture starts to come together and bubble, turn heat as low as possible and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4o minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese. Season to taste.