Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

Smoked Paprika Squash, Topped with Poached Egg

Mmmm… brunch.

Adapted from Encas


  • 1 med acorn squash
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • garlic salt
  • olive oil
  • 3 poached eggs 
  • black pepper


Peel and cut squash in to wedges. Toss wedges in plenty of olive oil, seasonings, and onions, and let sit ~30 min+. Preheat oven 20 375F. Bake squash until just cooked through. Crank up heat to 400F and broil for 5-10 min, or until a nice crust forms on the squash.

Top with poached eggs and fresh ground pepper. (Eggs can be made ahead of time, slightly undercooked, and placed in an ice bath. When ready to serve, place in a small pot of water, and bring to a low simmer until warm.)

Just look at those pretty fall colors (:

Happy Halloween!

October 30, 2011

Ted Mosby Porkchops + Sweet Potato Mash

Mosby was right! What’s salt and pepper without cumin?!?!


  • salt
  • black pepper
  • cumin
  • pork chops
  • brown sugar
  • optional: coriander seeds

Brine chops in ratio of 1 cup of water, 1 tbs brown sugar, 1 tbs kosher salt (if using table salt, reduce to 1 tsp) ~several hours. In food processor, add whole black pepper corns, cumin, and some coriander seeds. Pulse into a powder. Drain chops, pat very dry, and rub on seasoning. Heat oil/ghee (I pan fry everything in ghee. It doesn’t smoke or burn!) in a large skillet, and pan fry chops ~4 min a side, depending on thickness or until center reaches 140F*)

*USDA changed guidelines for cooking pork! Finally. No more overcooked chops. The recommended internal temperature of “cooked” pork use to be 160F, and is now 145F. So if you cook it to ~140F, your chops continue to rise in temperature after you remove it from heat.


  • 1 large sweet potato
  • ~1 tbs brown sugar/and or honey
  • 1 tsp+ butter
  • 1 pinch all spice
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 handful of walnuts
  • 1 dash of cream/milk

Dice sweet potatoes into even sized cubes. Place in bowl and cover with wet paper towel. Microwave ~ 5min+ or until fork tender. Add a dash of milk and mash to the consistency of your liking. Mix in walnuts, butter, and season to taste.

October 26, 2011

Pan Seared Scallops over Sweet Corn Succotash

Recipe adapted from

Also works with pan seared fish (tilapia or other white fish) instead of scallops!


  • 1.5 lb large diver scallops, dry packed*
  • unsalted butter or ghee
  • oil (optional)
  • 20 oz frozen sweet corn, thawed and drained
  • 8 oz frozen edamame, thawed and drained
  • 1 med orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs dry tarragon (or 2 tbs fresh)
  • 1/3 cup cream (or buttermilk)
  • 1 tbs white wine vinegar
  • salt or garlic salt

*Dry-packed scallops are not packed and shipped with any chemicals. Wet-packed scallops look puffy, plump, and taste more bland. Also, because of the excess water retention, they won’t form as nice of a crust as dry-packed!

Wash and rinse scallops. Pat very dry with paper towels. In a large saute pan (NOT non-stick) over high heat, heat equal amounts of butter and oil (I prefer using just ghee and no oil, as the milk fat and olive oil tends to smoke too easily when heated). You want a very hot pan and very dry scallops to create a nice golden crust. Pat scallops dry once more and place in pan one by one to avoid crowding. Lightly season with salt. In about 2 minutes, after a good crust is formed, flip scallops over and sear ~2 more minutes on the other side. When the texture is still bouncy bit almost firm, remove from pan and set aside.

In remaining butter, saute shallots, bell peppers, and garlic ~3 to 5 min or until soft. Season with tarragon and salt. Add corn and edamame. Cook and stir until tender ~4 min. Add vinegar, stir, and let it cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Lower heat to medium and add cream (or buttermilk). Cook and stir until liquid is reduced to half. Serve and top with scallops.

October 19, 2011

Lemon Thyme Meatballs

I LOVE the citrus-y kick in these meatballs! Cuts through the heaviness of the pork. This wonderful recipe was adapted from the kitchn.

Unfortunately i seem to have misplaced my photos for this dish…


  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • ~1/3 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or other hard, sharp cheese
  • ~1 tsp dry sage
  • ~1 tsp dried thyme
  • ~1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1 small lemon
  • salt/pepper
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock


  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Saute onions in a pat of butter over high heat. Add salt, 2 pinches of sage, 1 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp parsley. Saute until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix meat, panko, cheese, ~1.5-2 tsp kosher salt, black pepper, zest of one small lemon, and 1 beaten egg. Mix with hands until just combined. Roll into ping pong ball sized meatballs.
  4. In a large pan (NOT non stick), heat a pat of ghee or oil (preferably not olive oil, it smokes too quickly and isn’t good for frying), and roll meatballs around pan until browned evenly on all sides. Finish meatballs in oven on a greased aluminum lined pan and bake ~ 20min or until cooked through.
  5. Deglaze pan with white wine and chicken stock. Add a pinch more thyme and sage. Let liquid reduce over high heat until only 1/2 of it is left.
  6. Remove meatballs from oven and pour sauce over and serve.
October 15, 2011

Sweet Potato Yellow Curry

The only tricky part of this recipe is knowing when to add your vegetables. Depending on what you use, you have to consider which ingredient to add in which order. It’s not complicated, and it doesn’t have to be exact. Just use your common sense!

Some general guidelines: On a high boil (which you would never do for soups and stews), potatoes cook in about 15-20 minutes. On a simmer, 30-40 minutes. Generally potatoes and starches are added at the beginning. Broccoli takes ~3 min so alway add right before you serve. Any earlier and it will get limp and yellow. Onions and other aromatics (carrots, celery, bell pepper, etc) I always add first because no one wants crunchy onions in a stew/soup/curry, and the longer it simmers the more flavor it imparts to the dish.


  • 1 medium sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 package of tempeh*
  • ~1-2 cups of veggies (I only had broccoli in the fridge…green beans would be nice!)
  • 1 can coconut milk (Chaokoh brand = best)
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • ~3 tbs thai yellow curry paste (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 15oz can of chicken stock/vegetable stock
  • vegetable oil
  • salt

*WestSoy Tempeh Review: Texture is like soft, cooked peanuts. No real flavor (which is good, because it’ll take on whatever flavor you want it to), but it does not stay together very well. Even when raw, it crumbles under slight pressure. meh. I’m still on the search for the best vegetarian protein.


  1. Heat vegetable oil in 3.5qt dutch oven/pot.
  2. Add onions (cut to same size as sweet potato. large squares.) and saute until soft and translucent ~5 min.
  3. Add a tsp or so more oil and mix in curry paste with oil. Stir to coat onions.
  4. Stir in coconut milk, adding soup stock to thin it out if necessary.
  5. Stir in fish sauce, sugar, more curry paste if necessary, and salt to taste.
  6. Stir in sweet potatoes and tempeh and reduce heat to medium.
  7. In ~30min, check to see if potatoes are almost done. It should give under pressure from a fork into a slight crumble. If it breaks in half or breaks into large crumbles, it is too hard and still raw. If your fork sinks into a mealy mush, you waited too long (if this happens, simply take your curry off the stove uncovered, steam/blanch your veggies in a separate pot and add back into the curry.)
  8. Once potatoes are ALMOST done, add broccoli and do NOT mix. Just leave it sitting on top of everything else. Cover pot and steam ~3min.
  9. Mix and serve over rice.
October 12, 2011

Vegetable Pot Pie + Sweet Potato Cheddar Biscuits

Adapted from Food and Wine. A great recipe to try out new vegetables! I’ve never had celery root before, and after seeing the ugly things at the super market, I had my doubts. But it turned out to be my favorite veggie in the dish! It has the texture of a starchy tuber (kind of like yucca) but has all the lovely flavors of celery. (For how to prep celery root, watch this video on youtube.) I’ve also never had parsnips before. They look like pale carrots but have a nice sweet and spicy kick. Add some sage and nutmeg = a great earthy combo of flavors. Perfect for autumn (which does not exist in Texas, btw).

Note: I may leave out brussel sprouts in the future. I find they leave a slightly bitter aftertaste. Not a fan. Maybe regular cabbage? To be honest any vegetables would work in this recipe…


  • 1 lb parsnips, diced
  • 1 lb brussel sprouts, halved/quartered
  • 1 large celery root (1.5 lb), diced
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 tsp dried sage (very strong herb! don’t abuse)
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • pinch of sage
  • ~3 tbs white wine


  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Chop celery root, brussel sprouts, parsnips, cauliflower, and dice HALF the onions.
  3. Spread veggies on a LARGE baking pan, lined with aluminum foil. Coat generously with olive oil. Mix sage and thyme and salt/pepper.
  4. Roast veggies for ~40min or until veggies are cooked through and golden brown.
  1. Roughly chop remaining onion.
  2. In a small sauce pan, add milk, onion, a pinch more sage and thyme. Bring to a simmer on low heat. Cover and turn off heat and let it stand ~10-15 min. Strain milk and set aside.
  3. In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat until just bubbling and stir in flour slowly ~2 min.
  4. Whisk in milk slowly, a bit at a time, and let sauce thicken ~10 min. . Mix slowly to avoid lumps.
  5. Add a pinch of nutmeg. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Fold in veggies, or if sauce pan is not large enough, pour veggies into a large baking dish or individual ramekins, and mix in sauce.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste if needed.
  8. Top with unbaked biscuits (see below for recipe) and return to oven for 15min on 425F until golden brown and filling is bubbling.


  • 1 small sweet potato (3/4 cup mashed)
  • 1 3/4 cups AP flour
  • 1/3 cup grated sharp chedder
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7 tbs cold unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 medium egg for egg wash

*I use powdered butter milk. I don’t really bake all that much, and I find fresh buttermilk always goes to waste.


  1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder/soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. (If using powdered buttermilk, add that here.)
  2. Cut 7 tbs butter into small pieces. Toss in a bit of flour mixture from first step to avoid sticking. Put in freezer.
  3. Dice sweet potato and cover with wet paper towel. Microwave for 4-5 min or until soft.
  4. Mash sweet potato and reserve 3/4 cups.
  5. Add cheese and butter milk (or if using powdered butter milk, add equivalent amount of plain water to potatoes). Mix well.  Set aside in refrigerator to cool.
  6. When potatoes are cool, take butter out of freezer and add to flour. Mix with hands or food processor until it resembles coarse sand. Do NOT over mix or butter will melt. Work fast!
  7. Fold in sweet potato mixture or pulse in food processor until dough just comes together.
  8. Lightly knead dough on heavily floured surface until just smooth. Roll out into 1/4inch thick sheet. Cut into small rounds (or squares to minimize scraps).
  9. Place on top of pot pies and apply egg wash. Bake ~15 min until filling is bubbling and biscuits are golden brown.

October 11, 2011

Fail Proof Meatloaf

I’m sorry. My pictures are really ugly. But I promise it tastes good! I probably should’ve used extra ketchup to more fully cover the loaves…plus I like that nice crust it forms (:


  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium red peper, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 lbs 95% lean ground beef (too fatty = greasy loaf)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup finely crumbled saltine crackers (remember to cut back on salt if crackers are salted)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • ~2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  2. Line baking pan with aluminum foil and grease generously (I’ve discovered spray-able olive oil!)
  3. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Saute onions, garlic, bay leaf until onions are soft and translucent. ~3min
  4. Add red pepper and cook until just soft ~5 min.
  5. Stir in parsley and thyme. Cook 2 more min.
  6. Remove from heat. Let it cool in the fridge. (You can also do this ahead of time.)
  7. In large bowl, combine beef, eggs, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of ketchup, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and cooled vegies. MIX WITH HANDS. it’s fun. DO NOT over mix! just enough to combine ingredients. You don’t want a dense/tough loaf.
  8. Transfer meat to pan. Form into 2 loaves. Coat with remaining 1/2 cup of ketchup.
  9. Bake for ~hour or until firm. Set aside to let heat distribute ~5-10 min, before cutting.

October 11, 2011

Quick and Easy Sides: Sautéed Green Beans

This is my lazy, 1 pan method of making green beans. I like to buy the pre-washed packages of haricot verts from HEB.  I can’t remember the last time I bought normal green beans… haricot verts are just so much more tender.

  • 1 package of haricot verts (about 2 handfuls)
  • 1 medium shallot, sliced
  • chicken stock
  • butter (I typically use homemade ghee.)
  • salt and pepper

Heat large pan on medium high. Add green beans. Add ~1/2 cup chicken stock (will submerge about 1/3 to 1/2 of green beans.) Cover and steam until just soft, ~5 min, turning often. Drain out excess liquid. Push beans over to one side, add a pat of butter, melt, then fry shallots until fragrant and soft ~2 min. Mix with green beans. Salt and pepper to taste.

Fee free to use bacon instead of butter.

October 11, 2011

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 large russet potatoes (for creaminess)
  • 2 medium white yukon potatoes (for firmness)
  • ~1.5 tbs butter
  • ~1 cup milk
  • salt
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Peel off outer layers of garlic skin, leaving skin of each individual head. Chop off 1/4 tip of whole head, exposing the garlic inside.
  3. Drizzle generously with olive oil, making sure each head is coated.
  4. Wrap with aluminum foil and bake until soft ~30 min
  5. Peel russets (I like to keep the skins on Yukons), and chop all potatoes into uniform sized cubes.
  6. In a large pot of water, add potatoes and bring to a boil. Stir when needed. Boil until potatoes are just tender and break easily with a fork ~15 to 20 min after it boils.
  7. Drain potatoes in colander. Dump into large bowl and salt generously. Mash until still chunky. Add butter and milk until it reaches the consistency you like.
  8. Remove garlic from foil and squeeze individual heads out of their skins into the potatoes. Fold in. Salt to taste if needed.
October 5, 2011

Chinese Chicken Wings

Adapted from this great recipe. So simple! So good! Who knew I could make chicken wings at home!


  • ~2.25 lb chicken wings, wings and ‘drums’ separated
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup hoisen sauce
  • 1/2 cup chinese rice wine
  • 1 tsp chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 stalks of green onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbs ginger (powder)
  • 3 dried red chilies, sliced


Prep all ingredients besides chicken in a large mixing bowl. Slice the necessary ingredients to maximally expose surface area. Marinate chicken overnight. Preheat oven to 350F. Place chicken, drenched in marinade, on aluminum lined baking pan, skin down first. Brush with another coat of marinade, and bake for 30min. Flip wings to expose skin (should be browned a little by now). Brush on more marinade and continue to bake, another 30 min. If the wings ever look too dry, brush on more marinade.