Broccolini with Roasted Kumquats, Parsley, Pecorino, and Balsamic

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This is an easy, quick dish with beautiful colors that is perfect for lunch, or as a dinner side dish. The kumquats get sweet and slightly caramelized and pair well with the salty, crispy broccolini and bread. The balsamic is important. The thick, syrupy balsamic makes such a big difference and I use it from everything from salads to ice creams.

Broccolini with Roasted Kumquats, Parsley, Pecorino, and Balsamic  

Prep: 5 min      Cook: 30 min        Serves: 2

1 bunch broccolini
4 kumquats, sliced thin
Palmful curly parsley, chopped
Pecorino cheese, grated
Butter & olive oil
Salt & pepper
Balsamic (thick and syrupy is best)
Crusty bread

1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of butter and a drizzle of olive oil, then add the broccolini. Season with some salt and pepper, cover and cook for about 6 minutes or so, until slightly browned and crisped.
2. Add the kumquats and place the crusty bread in the skillet to brown on each side.
3. Cook until bread, kumquats and broccolini are nicely crisped, finish seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of balsamic and the curly parsley.
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Braised Lamb Riblets, Grilled Summer Squash, Apricots + Chard

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We found riblets at the farmer’s market. Only a tiny package was left, with these tiny riblets.  We ate them slowly, carefully, little delicacies in our fingers. The sweetness from the peach, crispiness from the braised, then blackened fat, and bitterness from the greens. It’s also a nice thing to grind your own spices in a mortar & pestle. You can switch up the ingredients in this recipe all you want, adding, replacing, changing the spices. The dish is super versatile, but the best part is when the braised ribs get caramelized in a skillet.

Braised Lamb Riblets, Grilled Summer Squash, Apricots + Chard
1 lb pastured lamb riblets
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp red chili flakes
Sea salt
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, chopped
Handful of fresh thyme
2 cups water or beef broth
1 tbsp butter
5 summer squashes, cut lengthwise
Huge handful chard, chopped
3 sprigs rosemary
Lemon juice
5 apricots, halved & quartered
Handful of cilantro

Bring the riblets to room temperature.
Add the pepper, coriander, cumin, chili flakes and sea salt to a dry skillet over medium heat. Toast until fragrant, 2-3 minutes and then grind in a mortar & pestle. Rub the spices into the riblets, place in a covered bowl, and let sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
Heat the oven to 325*.
Place the butter to a dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onions to the skillet, cover and saute for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, but now browned. Add the ginger and garlic, saute for a few minutes, then add the thyme, broth or water, and the riblets.
Bring to a gentle simmer, then place the dutch oven, covered, in the oven and braise for about 2 hours, until the meat is tender.
About 15 minutes before serving, heat the grill, and cook the summer squash.
Remove the riblets from the braise, and cut them into individual ribs, reserving the braising liquid for roasting future vegetables.
Heat a skillet, add some olive oil or butter to the pan, and add the chard and rosemary. Season the greens with lemon juice & sea salt, and then throw the apricots in the with greens. Cover the skillet, turn the heat down and allow to cook for a few minutes until the greens and apricots are slightly wilted & cooked down.
In the meantime, heat another skillet, add a little oil or butter, and sear the ribs until the fat starts to caramelize on all sides.
Serve the riblets with the chard, squash, and apricots, sprinkle with cilantro and a grind of salt & pepper.
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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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