Sweet Potato Pancakes with Rosemary, Sausage, Kale and Pomegranates

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These pancakes are inspired by my brother who makes incredible sweet potato pancakes, and my mom, who taught me to roast a bunch of sweet potatoes at a time and use them throughout the week. The rosemary, sausage, kale, pomegranates and maple syrup add the Ohmigod this is good! factor and make these a perfect seasonal treat. The pancakes are pretty fluffy and thick, which you can change by adding more liquid, but I like to make little cakes and then keep them warm in the oven until we’re ready to eat. We ate these pancakes and then went out and chopped down our Christmas tree which seemed just about perfect after such a nice breakfast.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Rosemary, Sausage, Kale and Pomegranates

Prep: 15 min      Cook: 30 min        Serves: 2-4

Pancakes
1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil-melted, plus extra for cooking the pancakes
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1-2 cooked + mashed sweet potatoes

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger in a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, coconut oil, sweet potatoes and eggs.
3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until just incorporated. The batter will be thick, if you want thinner pancakes, add another few tablespoons of milk.
4. Add 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil to a skillet and heat over medium. Spoon small circles of batter into the pan and watch for bubbles to appear on top before flipping. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Rosemary, Sausage + Kale
1 small branch fresh rosemary
1/2 lb loose sausage-I used pastured pork “Grandpa’s Sausage” from a local farm
5 kale leaves, stems removed + chopped
1 tsp olive oil
Lemon juice
Sea salt

1. Make the toppings before cooking the pancakes, and keep them in a warm oven.
2. Place the olive oil in a small skillet, heat to medium, then add the chopped kale. Season the kale with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of sea salt.
3. Cook the kale until wilted, about 4 minutes, then add the rosemary and sausage. Cook the mix in the skillet until the sausage is slightly browned, you may need to turn up the heat slightly. Place the skillet in the oven to keep warm while you cook the pancakes.

Serve the pancakes with the rosemary, sausage, kale mix, fresh pomegranates, and maple syrup.

 

Diana Henry’s Radicchio and Onion on White Bean Puree

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A few months ago my boyfriend got me Diana Henry’s cookbook, a change of appetite. I’ve spent hours flipping through the book, studying the recipes, textures and ideas and admiring the food photography, elegant simplicity and beautiful ceramic dishes on each page. You have some choices in this recipe, whether or not to soak and cook your own beans or buy them canned; what to serve with the dish, crusty bread, or tortillas, or crudités. The end result is a colorful, delicious and soul-satisfying pretty meal, perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack. There are so many other wonderful dishes I’ve made from this cookbook and it has found a happy home on my kitchen shelf.
Her version is a great serving size for a crowd, but I made this for two, so my portions are a bit smaller. Also, I soaked and pureed a nice quantity of cannellini beans and ended up freezing about half for a later use.

Radicchio and Onion on White Bean Puree
(Adapted from Diana Henry’s a change in appetite)

Bean Puree:
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (15 oz.) cans or about 4 cups cooked cannellini beans
2/3 cup chicken stock
sea salt + pepper
Juice from 1 lemon

The Rest:
1 head radicchio
½ large white or red onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup basalmic vinegar

1. For the bean puree, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and cook the onion over medium heat until it is translucent, not browned, about 8 minutes or so. Add the garlic, cook another minute, and then add the beans, chicken stock, and a bit of sea salt + pepper.
2. Add the olive oil and half of the lemon juice to the beans, and process in a food processor or blender until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Adjust the amount of lemon to your preference, I like a lot of lemon juice, so I use a whole lemon.
3. At this point, I froze about half of my bean puree. If you’re feeding a crowd, double the amount of radicchio and onion.
4. I made the beans ahead of time, and reheated them in skillet in a 400°F oven. While the beans heat, or stay hot, start the rest. Halve the radicchio, and cut each half into quarters. Trim some of the white heart from each piece, trying not to let the sections fall apart. Slice the onion so that you make nice big rings.
5. Mix the olive oil and basalmic, and put the radicchio and onions in it, allowing it to marinate for about 10 minutes.
6. Heat a skillet over high and cook the onions until they are charred and browned on each side. Cover, turn down the heat, and cook until they are softened. After a few minutes, turn the heat back up and add the radicchio. Let it brown and char on each side.
7. Remove the beans from the oven, keep them in a skillet or place in a serving bowl. Put the onion and radicchio on top of the bean puree. Season with a good flaky sea salt—I used this nice hibiscus sea salt that is purply pink and beautiful—and drizzle with bit more olive oil. I served this dish with homemade corn tortillas and sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, but it would also be lovely with some crusty bread.

 

 

Butter Chicken with Chicken Skin Fried Rice

IMG_3437 IMG_3461IMG_3470Chicken skin is supposed to be crispy. It’s not a food I can bring myself to cook via boiling. Instead, I fried it in my skillet and cooked the rice in the extra fat and the result was damn good. The chicken meat itself in this recipe is so tender and flavorful. It cooks perfectly at a low simmer in the creamy spiced tomato sauce. The fried rice is simple, but it added flavor and complexity with the crisped shredded skin and crunchy sweet peppers. Combining the butter chicken and fried rice brings everything together; so you have a bite of tender chicken, paired with crisped skin and fresh cilantro. Each bite tastes better than the last and this is an easy dish to throw together for dinner.

Butter Chicken with Chicken Skin Fried Rice
Prep: 10 minutes  Cook: 30 minutes  Serves: 4

3 organic, free range, pastured, etc. chicken breasts, skin on
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala

Sauce:
olive oil & butter
1 large white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon clove
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups diced tomatoes, canned or fresh
3/4 cup fresh heavy cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter

Fried Rice:
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1/2 red pepper, diced
3 chicken skins
Butter
Salt & pepper
Cilantro

1. Mix the chicken with the lemon juice, garlic, salt and garam masala. Marinate for a few hours or overnight.
2. Drizzle a tablespoon of oil into a dutch oven over medium heat and add the onions. Saute until translucent, about 20 minutes, but do not burn or crisp. During this time, peel the skin off the chicken and reserve in marinade for later. Cut the chicken into about 2 inch pieces, but do not remove the bones.
3. Add the garlic to the onions and saute about 2 minutes, then add the garam masala, paprika, cinnamon, clove and cayenne. Stir well, and cook another 2 minutes.
4. Pour in the tomatoes, cook for a few minutes, then add the cream. Bring to a simmer, and then add the chicken. Cook the chicken for about 10 minutes over a low simmer. If you cook the chicken too hot, it won’t come out as tender. When the chicken is cooked, add the lemon juice and butter. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
5. While the chicken cooks, make the fried rice. First, add 1 tbsp of butter to a hot skillet. Place the reserved chicken skins in the pan and fry until browned on each side. Remove the skins from the pan. Turn down the heat and add the peppers to the skillet. After a few minutes, add the rice to the skillet/ Cook the rice until slightly browned, about 5-10 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed. Tear the skin into small pieces and add them back to the rice, stirring to combine. Add a handful of cilantro and stir it into the rice. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Serve the butter chicken with the fried rice and big handfuls of cilantro.

Lilikoi Ricotta Cheesecake

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Cheesecake hasn’t historically been my thing. When I look at a dessert menu, I glance over the cheesecake, think hmm, that looks kinda tasty…then I see CHOCOLATE flourless cake! or creme brulee, or whatever, and forget about cheesecake. But, I’ve just been moving in the direction of souffles and panna cotta, cheesecakes and custards; fresh, light, and airy desserts with subtle flavor and a bit of delicacy. These desserts are so good and so easy to make at home and they are beautiful.

I gathered pounds and pound of lilikoi, or passion fruit, from my friend’s place in Berkeley recently and have had so much fun with all the different uses. I’ve topped ice cream and yogurt, made passion fruit curd for tarts, made preserves, and eaten them fresh and whole. For this recipe I mixed the remaining preserves with the last bit of fresh lilikoi and spread it on the cheesecake when it was at room temperature. This dessert could be an easy addition to a holiday feast, and you can top it with powdered sugar, or candied orange, or a glaze, or whatever you have on hand. Also, this is a smaller portion that most cheesecakes recipes and is very easy to double.

Lilikoi Ricotta Cheesecake 
Inspired by Martha Stewart & Others
Prep: 15 minutes Cook 45 minutes  Serves: 5-8

Butter for pan greasing
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4  pound smooth whole milk ricotta cheese
3 farm fresh eggs, separated
1/8 cup white whole wheat flour
Zest from 1 lemon
1/8 tsp salt
4 tbsp fresh lilikoi/passion fruit

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and generously butter a 9 inch pan, 1 1/2 inches deep.
2. Whisk together 3 tablespoons of sugar, the ricotta, egg yolks, flour and zest in a small bowl.
3. Beat the egg whites on low until frothy, and then beat on high while you gradually add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks-about 3 or so minutes.
4. Fold half of the egg white mixture into the ricotta mixture, then fold in the rest using a rubber spatula until just combined.
5. Pour the mix into the pan, and bake until golden-about 40-45 minutes.
6. Allow the cheesecake to cool for about 10 minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife and place on your serving dish. Cool the cheesecake to room temperature, and spread the lilikoi on the top just before serving. 

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Smashed Beets with Crispy Sunchokes, Arugula, Lemon Vinaigrette, Fresh Mint + Thyme

This is the time of year to experiment with alternative holiday dishes. I love the Thanksgiving spread of biscuits, stuffing, roasted vegetables, turkey, etc., but I always end up wishing I’d replaced a few of the traditional dishes with lighter, fresher, more interesting options. This dish was inspired by my recent fascination with smashing potatoes. I just like dishes better when you get mixed up in the creamy, crispy, salty, sweet, lemony bits and such. I made this dish, had a tiny sample plate, and walked away for just a moment. When I came back upstairs it was gone; devoured wholly by my boyfriend who left not even a trace of crispy goodness in the skillet.

I used baby chiogga and red beets, but if you’re making this dish for more than two people, use either more baby beets, or bigger beets, or whatever you can find. This is, so far in my life anyway, my favorite version of beets. They are crispy, while maintaining a creamy inside, and the lemon and arugula add such a freshness and lightness to the dish.

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Smashed Beets with Crispy Sunchokes, Arugula, Lemon Vinaigrette, Fresh Mint + Thyme

Inspired by Bon Appetit

Prep: 15 min    Cook: 1 1/2 hours     Serves: 2

12 baby beets-8 chiogga, 4 red
8 small sunchokes, sliced thin
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
Olive oil: for drizzling, baking & vinaigrette
Fresh mint & thyme
1 handful arugula
Sea salt & pepper
Maldon-flaky sea salt

1. Heat the oven to 400°F . Place the beets on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil and a grind of sea salt. Roast for 30-45 minutes, or until they are slightly browned. Adjust roasting time depending on the beet size.
2. After the beets roast for about 20 minutes, add the sunchokes to the baking sheet, roast with the beets until everything is somewhat golden, but not too browned.
3. In the meantime, mix the vinaigrette: lemon zest, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium bowl.
4. Remove the beets and sunchokes from the oven. Allow the beets to cool slightly, and then gently rub off the skin. It helps to use a paper towel. After removing the skin, crush the beets with the bottom of a small bowl.
5. Heat a skillet over medium-high and add a tablespoon or so of oil. Place the sunchokes and beets in the skillet. Brown the beets and sunchokes on one side for about 4 minutes, then flip and brown the other side. Put the crisped sunchokes and beets in the bowl with the vinaigrette, add a small handful of fresh mint and thyme and toss to coat.
6. Place the arugula in the still hot skillet and stir until it just begins to wilt. Add the sunchoke-beet mix back to the hot skillet, add a grind of Maldon and pepper and serve immediately.

 

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash with Persimmons, Pomegranates, Feta, and Squash Seeds

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Last night the wind kept us up and the horses were eating and active right outside our bedroom. The wind makes our ranch lively, the animals seem a little anxious, and we keep waiting for the rain to come, but it just keeps blowing and blowing, a relentless wind in our open, golden valley. This threat of real weather reminds me that my favorite holiday is coming up. Thanksgiving is such a simple holiday, celebrating my favorite things- food & family- without the business of presents and expectations. This dish is such a treat; a sampling of the rich flavors that come with cooler weather. It would also be a lovely addition to any Thanksgiving feast. We tend to just eat our acorn squash skins, it’s too much work to take them off, and they are sweet and salty and oven crisped. This is quick dish that can easily be doubled or tripled, you can substitute different squashes and cheeses as well. The key element turned out to be the squash seeds caramelized in bacon fat and maple syrup, with flaky sea salt added to balance out the flavors. I’ve never tasted a better squash seed.

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash with Persimmons, Pomegranates, Feta, Squash Seeds & Rosemary

Prep: 15 min Cook: 45-55 min Serves: 2-4

1 acorn squash, halved, then sliced thinly: save the seeds!
1 tbsp butter-melted
Olive oil
Sea salt & pepper
1 tsp red chili flakes
2 tsp/drizzle maple syrup
1 large sprig fresh rosemary, stem removed
1 persimmon, halved and sliced thinly
Pomegranate-use about 1/2 the seeds or less
Fresh feta cheese
Flaky sea salt-Maldon

1. Preheat the oven to 420.
2. Place the acorn squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle the melted butter and some olive oil on the squash and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip. On the flipped side, season with more salt & pepper, red chili flakes and maple syrup. Roast for another 20 minutes, then sprinkle the squash with the rosemary and bake until the herbs and squash are crisped-about ten minutes.
3. During the last 20 minutes, prepare the acorn squash seeds. You can use butter, but bacon fat is best. Place the squash in a skillet with about a tablespoon of bacon fat or butter. Season the seeds with salt & pepper and a drizzle of maple syrup. During the last few minutes of cooking, add some fresh rosemary. Check the seeds often, they are super easy to burn. They are done when they are crisped, slightly browned and the maple syrup has caramelized.
4. To serve, place the squash on a serving plate and top with the seeds, persimmon, pomegranate, feta, a grind of fresh cracked pepper, a sprinkle of Maldon, and the rest of the crispy bits from the baking pan and skillet.