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Bucatini All'Amatriciana

When I was traveling I loved looking up the 36 hours article in the New York times to see what kind of essential stops I hate to make.  In Rome, I was recommended to go to L’Osteria di Monteverde.  I was with a boy I had met in Portugal and it was a strong test of our tolerance of each other as we hiked through the city to find this tiny nook in a random neighborhood.  But once we got there it was well worth it and we didn't hate each other!

I got the Amatriciana, he got the Gnocchi and we both got the tiramisu and it ruined the dessert for me.  It was too good.

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Anyways, though I would not dare to try to recreate the dessert, I decided to try to recreate the pasta.  So I looked for a recipe from someone who would know what to do better than me and found an awesome resource on bowlofdelicious.com.  I won't re-write the recipe for you, check it out for yourselves!

A friend of mine once tried to make Amatriciana at a dinner party at my house, but was disappointed that he couldn't find the right meat, so since then I refused to ever make a dish like this without the traditional meat.  Thus, I used guanciale, which sort of negated the need for olive oil since it's so fatty, and I didn't measure anything but stuck to the general parameters of her recipe and it turned out great!  Check out some pictures from my pasta day.  

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Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

 

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While traveling I was always seeking out food specific to the country.  One in particular that I was thrilled to get to try was Swedish Meatballs at a traditional restaurant called Bullen in Malmo, Sweden.  It was cold outside and these meatballs warmed me up instantly and became one of my favorite meals of my trip.  So I reached out to my sister's boyfriend and asked for a good meatball recipe.  He sent me one in Swedish naturally, but since Google translated 1 pinch of white pepper to 1 cup of white pepper, I had to reference a couple other recipes to make sure it was accurate.  These are the three recipes that I used to create my meatballs:

  • https://receptfavoriter.se/recept/koettbullar.html 
  • https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Swedish-Meatballs-With-Mashed-Potatoes
  • https://addapinch.com/swedish-meatballs-recipe/

INGREDIENTS:

POTATOES:

  • 4-5 russet potatoes peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 tbsps butter (I used salted)

MEATBALLS:

  • 3 slices of bread, crust removed (I used Sourdough because it's my favorite)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsps butter(only for cooking)

GRAVY:

  • 2 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsps flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper 

SIDES:

  • Lingonberry Jam (or strawberry or raspberry, but Lingonberry is best!  Found it at Whole Foods)
  • Pickled Cucumber (I'm not sure if this is actually traditional since I didn't see it with any other recipe, but they served it at the restaurant and it helped to lighten the very heavy meal so I added it to my recipe)

ASSEMBLY:

So I kind of did all of this simultaneously, but let me explain the separate parts and you can choose to overlap or do independently.

POTATOES:

  1.  Place them in a large pot covered at least by an inch of water and bring to a boil.  Cook until the potatoes are tender.  
  2.  After they are tender, place into a food processor and run on low until your potatoes are the smoothness you prefer
  3. Bring cream and butter to a simmer in a small sauce pan
  4. Remove potatoes to a large bowl and mix in the cream and butter until the potatoes are the creaminess you prefer

MEATBALLS:

  1. Shred your bread and place in a bowl with heavy cream to soak
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Dice the onion into as small of pieces as possible, using a tiny bit of butter saute the onions until golden
  4. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and softened bread
  5. Using your hands, mix thoroughly 
  6. Taking about 2 tbsps at a time, roll the meat into balls and place on a plate to be ready to cooked (Should make about 40-50 balls depending on the size)
  7. Heat a frying pan with 1/2 tbsp butter until butter starts to brown
  8. In small batches brown the meatballs, don't worry about cooking all the way through (add more butter as needed)
  9. After browned place the meatballs into a large baking pan
  10. Bake meatballs for about 10-15 to cook through
  11. Once done, add them to your gravy

GRAVY:

  1. In a large sauce pan on medium heat whisk flour and butter until mixed and browned
  2. Slowly mix in the broth and milk 
  3. Add salt, thyme and pepper and let simmer for a few minutes to thicken
  4. Once at your desired thickness, add your meatballs

Pretty straight forward but on one plate put a large scoop of potato with a well pressed into it to add the meatballs and gravy.  On the sides add the Pickled Cucumbers and Lingonberry Jam.  I strongly recommend putting a bit of all of it onto one fork and eating in one giant bite, just like thanksgiving

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Swedish Meatball Dumplings (Kroppkakor)

Swedish Meatball Dumplings (Kroppkakor)

One of my goals was to eat dumplings from every country.  But I quickly failed this goal in Sweden when I took a train 40 minutes out of Stockholm to find the other Kroppkakor shop to find that it was closed for summer.  This is how I felt about it:

 

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Anyways, while making Swedish Meatballs I realized that I had all the fixings to turn it into Kroppkakor, so decided to do a variation on them with meatball filling instead of bacon.  So this recipe is a combination of the three from the other dish as well as one from Martha Stewart for the actual assembly of the dumpling

  • https://receptfavoriter.se/recept/koettbullar.html 
  • https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Swedish-Meatballs-With-Mashed-Potatoes
  • https://addapinch.com/swedish-meatballs-recipe/
  • https://www.marthastewart.com/1142474/kroppkakor

INGREDIENTS:

POTATOE DOUGH:

  • 4-5 russet potatoes peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1.5 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 egg yolks

MEATBALL FILLING:

These are the same ingredients as for the regular meatballs, I used as much filling as I could for the dumplings and then turned the rest into meatballs that way I got some of both!

  • 3 slices of bread, crust removed (I used Sourdough because it's my favorite)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsps butter(only for cooking)

GRAVY:

  • 2 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsps flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper 

SIDES:

  • Lingonberry Jam (or strawberry or raspberry, but Lingonberry is best!  Found it at Whole Foods)
  • Pickled Cucumber (I'm not sure if this is actually traditional since I didn't see it with any other recipe, but they served it at the restaurant and it helped to lighten the very heavy meal so I added it to my recipe)

ASSEMBLY:

You will want to do the potatoes at least a few hours(maybe the evening) before you prepare the kroppkakor so they have time to cool.

POTATOE DOUGH:

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  1.  Place them in a large pot covered at least by an inch of water and bring to a boil.  Cook until the potatoes are tender.  
  2.  After they are tender, place into a food processor and run on low until your potatoes are very smooth
  3. Place into the fridge so they can cool
  4. Remove potatoes to a large bowl and mix in the flour, salt and egg and combine with your hands until you have your dough
  5. Roll into logs about 1.5 inches thick
  6. Slice into 2 inch pieces and roll each piece into a ball

FILLING:

  1. Shred your bread and place in a bowl with heavy cream to soak
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees for any leftover meatballs
  3. Dice the onion into as small of pieces as possible, using a tiny bit of butter saute the onions until golden
  4. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and softened bread
  5. Using your hands, mix thoroughly 

ASSEMBLY:

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  1. Take each ball you have created and flatten or create a large crater
  2. Add about a tablespoon of meatball filling and close the dough around it
  3. Using your hands roll it around until completely smooth
  4. Repeat until you have used all the potato
  5. Once this is done if you have leftover meat, you can follow the directions for baking the meatballs in the other recipe
  6. Boil a large pot of water and place about 5 into water at time
  7. Once they have risen to the top (about five minutes) drain them on a paper towel
  8. In a large frying pan heat up your butter and add the kroppkakor to the pan, turning to brown both sides
  9. Remove to a paper towel to drain excess butter
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GRAVY:

  1. In a large sauce pan on medium heat whisk flour and butter until mixed and browned
  2. Slowly mix in the broth and milk 
  3. Add salt, thyme and pepper and let simmer for a few minutes to thicken
  4. Once at your desired thickness, place into a dish for dipping
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This is a step up from the swedish meatballs because the meat is already inside of the potato so you just need to dip it in the gravy and lingonberry jam and you've got a party in your mouth!

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Pickled Cucumbers

Pickled Cucumbers

These were served on the side with my Swedish Meatballs so I decided to figure out how to make them myself.  Turns out they are super easy to make and even easier to eat!

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 2 small cucumbers sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1/2 red pepper sliced as thinly as possible
  • 2 scallions diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno (totally optional if you like to add spice, I also kept the seeds to add more spice)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 4 tsps salt
  • 3 tsps sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large jar with a lid add water, vinegar, salt and sugar
  2. Close the jar and shake vigorously until the brine is mixed
  3. Add your vegetables to the brine until completely covered, if you have too much brine just pour a little bit out, or add to a second jar with some of your vegetables
  4. Close jar and let sit at least a few hours or overnight 
  5. Serve as a side to meatballs or eat plain!  
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Cardamom Buns (Kardemummabullar)

Cardamom Buns (Kardemummabullar)

When I was in Sweden I was told about "Fika" which turns out to be the best thing ever because it's getting coffee and pastries, and the pastries in Sweden are delicious!  I wasn't sure how I felt about cardamom, but after eating these every day for about a week I definitely fell in love!  My sister's boyfriend shared a recipe for Swedish meatballs and I am going to use the recipe he sent me for the buns as well, you can check out the original here:

https://nadelundgabel.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/the-joy-of-fika-swedish-kardemummabullar/

I adjusted the amounts from metric for us Americans who are inept at weighing ingredients... hope they are all accurate!

INGREDIENTS:

DOUGH:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 envelope dry active yeast
  • 3.5 cups flour
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tsp whole cardamom seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter room temperature

FILLING:

  • 4.25 tablespoons butter room temperature
  • 2.5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsps whole cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

TOPPING:

  • 2.25 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/10 cup water
  • 1 overflowing tsp brown sugar
  • 1tsp cardamom seeds

INSTRUCTIONS:

First thing for everything, put all of the cardamom together and grind using mortal and pestle until as fine as you can get it.  You should add some sugar as the crystals will help to make it easier to grind.

DOUGH:

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  1. Heat the milk until lukewarm and then stir in the yeast until dissolved
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, cardamom, and salt
  3. Stir in the yeast and milk
  4. Slowly add the butter in small cubes until dough is formed
  5. Knead for about 5-10 minutes
  6. Cover with a towel and let sit for 40 minutes

FILLING:

  1. In a small bowl combine butter, sugar, cardamom and cinnamon
  2. Stir until you have a nice paste

ASSEMBLY:

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  1. On a large rectangular cutting board (or marble slab in my case) roll out the dough
  2. Using a spatula or spoon spread the filling all over the dough 
  3. Divide the rectangle into three and fold the two parts on the side over to the middle so there are three layers of dough and filling
  4. Cut these into 2 inch strips
  5. Now take each strip and cut down the middle almost to the end
  6. Twist each piece outward and fold/braid them into a bun
  7. Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes
  8. Preheat oven to 425 degrees

TOPPING:

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  1. In a small pot heat sugar and water until dissolved into a syrup
  2. Mix sugar and cardamom in a small bowl
  3. Once buns are done, using a pastry brush cover the buns with the syrup and sprinkle with sugar and cardamom mix
  4. Enjoy!
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Spaghetti Carbonara

When I stayed in Italy we would cook dinner together most nights.  Usually we made some kind of pasta dish and one that I specifically asked to learn was Carbonara.  It's simple, and still sussing out the exact ingredients, but here's what I've got!

Ingredients PER PERSON:

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  • 1 Fresh Egg at room temperature
  • 4-5 oz dry spaghetti
  • 3 oz guanciale cut into small cubes
  • 2-3 heaping tablespoons grated Parmagiano Regiano cheese
  • 2-3 heaping tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Boil a large pot of water with a LOT of salt 
  2. Add pasta to water (Look at your pasta for cooking instructions for time, but the pasta I purchased took about 14 minutes to cook)
  3. While pasta boils cook guanciale in a large pan until brown and fat has cooked. 
  4. Drain most of the fat and set the pan aside
  5. In a small bowl whisk egg and cheese together
  6. Before draining pasta, take about a tablespoon of pasta water per person and place aside
  7. Drain pasta
  8. Add pasta and water to the pan with guanciale and place over medium heat
  9. Stir for about 30 seconds 
  10. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the cheese and egg
  11. Stir in the pepper and serve!
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Breakfast Burritos

Toronto has amazing food, and obviously I want to eat everything under the sun because it's all new and it's all delicious.  But I have to remind myself I am on a budget and it's important to cook at home and save some $$.  I have found that breakfast burritos have been the biggest bang for my buck, and the most delicious.  My sister inspired me to start prepping breakfast burritos because when she goes snowboarding she always buys a frozen burrito and carries it with her in her jacket.  That way when she falls on it there are no corners of tupperware piercing her ribs.  

However she has always been disappointed with the quality of the frozen burritos, they always seem to be more tortilla than filling.  I knew that I could make a better frozen burrito, so I decided to try.  Turns out if you load it up with eggs and meat instead of beans and air, it's way more satisfying.  Maybe I should turn this into a business and start selling them at the base of ski resorts.  They are easy to assemble, and then you have an easy meal for the whole week!

Ingredients:

  • 6 tortillas
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 lb slab bacon (or sausage)
  • 10 cups spinach
  • 2 tbsps milk

Directions:

  1. Chop up your bacon or sausage into small pieces and throw into a large pan
  2. Cook until the bacon is starting to get crispy or the sausage has browned
  3. Depending on how fatty your meat is you may need to drain some of the fat from the pan
  4. Throw in the spinach a few handfuls at a time until the spinach is cooked
  5. While the spinach is cooking down, whisk all your eggs together with 2 tbsps of milk (or water if you don't like milk in your eggs)
  6. Add the eggs to your spinach and meat and stir until eggs are cooked to your preference (if you are like my dad you want them runnnny)
  7. Microwave your tortillas so they are soft enough to roll
  8. Spoon out your eggs into your six tortillas
  9. Channeling your best Chipotle employee, snuggly wrap up your breakfast burrito to prevent any leakage
  10. At this point I wrap up 5 of the burritos in plastic wrap and freeze at least 3
  11. With the 6th I put it back into the pan rotating it every couple of minutes to brown each side of the burrito
  12. Remove from pan, grab your favorite salsa or hot sauce and enjoy!
  13. When you want to eat the rest of them, either just microwave them for a few minutes.  Or if you are like me and enjoy the crispy tortilla, microwave for 45 seconds, and then put onto a frying pan with a dab of oil or butter and rotate until the sides are all brown.
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Grilled Tuna Saturday with Mango Salsa and Brown Rice

I love when I get to stay in Los Altos and use the grill!  Beautiful house, and beautiful food.

Ingredients:

Tuna:

  • 1 lb big-eye tuna steak
  • 1 scallion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Mango Salsa:

  • 3 mangos
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 scallion
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 lemon

 

Rice

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Start with the marinade!
  2. Mince the garlic and scallion and throw it in a bag
  3. Cut your Tuna into 2-3 steaks depending on how hungry y'all are
  4. put the Tuna in the bag, and add rice vinegar and salsa
  5. Remove the air and make sure the Tuna is fully covered in the marinade
  6. Put into the fridge while you prepare the rest
  7. Start cooking 1 cup of rice - I learned how to use the rice maker.  First, I "washed" the rice till the water ran clear, then added one cup rice and one cup water to the rice maker and watched it do it's magic!
  8. While this cooks, start the salsa!
  9. Dice your mango, avocado, red onion, cilantro and scallion
  10. Combine all in a bowl, and toss with salt, pepper, and the juice of the lemon
  11. Set aside while you make your tuna!
  12. Crank your grill to high and grab the fish
  13. Combine the garlic salt, white pepper and black pepper on a plate
  14. Thoroughly coat the fish with the rub on all sides
  15. Now you are ready for the quick cook!  
  16. Sear the tuna for about 2 minutes each side
  17. Remove from grill and let rest for 5-10 minutes
  18. Put a scoop of rice, a scoop of salsa, and the fish on a plate and eat!
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Pork and Edamame Garlic Dumplings in a Green Curry Sauce

It's been a while since I have felt motivated or excited about cooking, but I woke up this morning with a desire to make some dumplings, and then ate some dumplings in green curry for lunch and decided I wanted to make my own version.  So I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup boiled edamame
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 1/3 cup minced cilantro
  • 3 tbsps soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 tsps sesame oil
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsps minced ginger
  • 70-80 wraps (I used Nasoya wraps this time, but you can also make your own)
  • 1 can light Coconut Milk
  • 3 tbsps green chili paste
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • Chicken broth
  • Oil

Directions:

  1. Grab a large bowl and put the ground pork into it
  2. Coarsely chop the edamame, I prefer to keep them chunky so I barely chop them, just enough to break each one into about 3 pieces
  3. Toss those green nubs into the bowl with the pork
  4. Take the WHOLE bulb apart, you heard me right. The whole thing.  And use your garlic press to add each clove into the bowl so that you have more garlic than you think you could ever need
  5. Add about 1/4 cup of the minced cilantro, save the other bit for your curry
  6. Mix in the soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, ginger and both kinds of salt
  7. Fill a small glass with warm water and now it's time to fold!
  8. For this dumpling, I wanted it lying on it's side, so this time rather than doing creases along the top, I grabbed a corner, and started folding one side over and over again until one side was creased, and the other side was flat
  9. Continue in this manner until all the dumplings are folded
  10. If you are lucky, and have a second pair of hands, they can keep folding while you make the curry
  11. Bring the coconut milk to a boil and stir in the green chili paste, the rest of the cilantro, and sriracha sauce
  12. Stir lightly until it thickens a bit and lower the temperature to simmer 
  13. Heat up a frying pan with a bit of oil (I use canola oil this time)
  14. Place as many dumplings in the pan flat side down
  15. Fry until bottoms are golden brown and crispy
  16. Add about 2 tbsps of chicken broth and cover with a lid
  17. Cook for a few more minutes until the broth has cooked off
  18. Remove lid and let the dumplings get a little bit crispy on the bottom
  19. Spoon some curry into a bowl and add your dumplings, spoon some more curry on top and enjoy!
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Kobe Steak and Kimchi Green Beans

Ingredients:

  • 2 habanero peppers
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red pepper, minced
  • 2 tbsps minced garlic
  • 3 cups green beans
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps hoison sauce
  • 1 jar Kimchi (about 10-12 oz)
  • 3 thinly cut kobe steaks

Directions:

  1. Chop your head of cauliflower into small florets.  Place into a food processor with the two habanero peppers, and run on high until the consistency of chopped up rice.
  2. Add cauliflower and chicken broth to a large sauce pan, cook until the chicken broth begins to boil
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste
  4. Stir and cook until the liquid has cooked off
  5. While the rice is cooking... Clean the string beans and remove the stems
  6. Put 1 tsp of oil into a large frying pan
  7. Saute the garlic until fragrant and add the red pepper
  8. Once the red pepper has started to get soft, toss in the beans
  9. Add hoison and soy sauce and cover with a lid for about 7 minutes
  10. Remove lid and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the beans are to your desired crispness
  11. Then, turn off the heat and toss with the kimchi
  12. At this point, your rice should also be done
  13. Start plating your rice and beans, should be about 3-4 plates depending on appetites
  14. In the frying pan where your beans were, reheat to medium high
  15. One at a time, cook each steak about 1 minute each side to keep the inside pink
  16. Remove steaks from the pan and let rest for 5-10 minutes
  17. Then, put one steak on each plate, or if you are serving four, slice the steaks into slivers and divide between the plates
  18. Enjoy!


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Paprika Lime Salmon Kale Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 salmon filets
  • 6 cups minced kale
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes (I found orange ones!  Not sure what you call those..)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt

Directions:

  1. Put your filets into a plastic bag
  2. Slice your lime in half and squeeze the juice into the bag
  3. Toss in the paprika and garlic salt and coat the fillets
  4. Set aside for about 20-30 minutes
  5. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
  6. While your salmon marinates, prep the salads
  7. Separate the kale into three bowls(or containers if you are prepping for lunches like me)
  8. Wash the tomatoes and remove the stems
  9. Divide between the three salads evenly, save some for later if there are too many tomatoes for your liking
  10. Cut the red pepper into 1 inch cubes and add to your salad
  11. Now, place the fillets into a skillet and put into the oven
  12. Bake for 15 minutes
  13. Remove salmon from the oven and add to your salads
  14. I love when the salmon skin sticks to the pan and I get to enjoy the crispy fat of it.  My dog used to love salmon skins, and now I totally understand why!
  15. Enjoy!
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Chicken Sweet Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 7 cups kale or other dark green
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato 
  • 1 zucchini 
  • 2-3 peaches
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • garlic salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut chicken into small 1 inch cubes
  3. Also, cut sweet potatoes and zucchini into small 1 inch pieces
  4. Toss the veggies with olive oil and garlic salt
  5. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes
  6. Remove from the oven and add the chicken to the pan
  7. Bake for another 15-20 minutes(until the chicken is cooked and potatoes are tender)
  8. While baking, divide the kale into four bowls or containers
  9. Wash the tomatoes and remove the stems
  10. Divide tomatoes between the four bowls (or eat a large handful like I did)
  11. After the chicken finishes baking allow to cool and then dole out over the four salads
  12. Slice up your peaches and toss in to add a fruity touch
  13. Toss with balsamic and olive oil and enjoy!
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Bacon and Spinach Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 5 cups spinach
  • 12 eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut your bacon into 1 inch pieces 
  3. Toss bacon into a skillet and cook on medium heat until bacon begins to crisp
  4. Leaving the bacon fat, add the spinach to the skillet
  5. Cook until the spinach has begun to wilt
  6. If you use slab bacon, there is probably a ton of fat.  CAREFULLY drain out excess fat into a can or jar.  
  7. Whisk your eggs together in a large bowl with 1/4 cup of water
  8. Add the eggs to the skillet and stir with a wooden spoon
  9. Place the skillet into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the center of the frittata is no longer gooey 
  10. Take out, let cool for a few minutes, slice and enjoy!  I packed mine for the week :)
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Epic Brunch: Fried Chicken, Pulled Pork, Eggs Benedict, Home-made potato chips and potato patties, collared greens, green beans, etc.

To make an epic brunch you must make epic foods.  What that means sometimes, is preparation!  So we are trying to eat at Noon on Sunday so let’s get started at 4 PM the day before.  Roll up your sleeves, and let’s go!

Okay.  So I started an hour late.

5 PM:  First things first, let’s start brining the chicken.

Go ahead and jump to the first half of the Fried Chicken recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine.

All set with the brine?

5:30 PM: Let's start prepping the potato chips!

Jump into the potato chip recipe...

Oh yeah, I left my mandolin slicer at my parents house.  So I grabbed my chef's knife and sliced as thin as possible.  Mandolins are best because it gives you uniformity, but a knife can work too!

I made both sweet and dutch potatoes because I do the most.  I let it soak overnight so I could make them fresh right before brunch.

Take the other half and in two batches(sweet and russet) lightly mince them in the food processor with 4 scallions, 2 eggs, and 1 cup of flour each.

Create 24 patties of each by taking about a cup of potato mixture and pressing them between your hands.  Lay them out on parchment paper and place in the refrigerator over night.

8 PM: It's time for salsa!

Let's jump to the salsa recipe..

That was easy!  

9 PM: Time to finish up the chicken!  Hop back into that recipe.

10 PM: Let's prep the Pulled Pork

Here is when I collapsed to the floor when I realized I didn't buy chicken broth.  In a panic I sent Tyler out to search the streets for any store that was open.  Thank you Chico's market for being open so late!!  

Use the spice blend from the Pulled Pork Recipe and rub it into the meat.  Don't leave any crevice unseasoned!  

Place the meat into the slow cooker and set aside.

Now, it is time to go out and have some fun!  But be back by 1!  That's when you need to turn on the 9 hour slow cooking.

1 AM: Turn on Slow Cooker!

7 AM: EARLY START let's go.

Start by frying up the potato chips and baking the potato patties at 375 degrees.  Finish off the patties in a layer of oil if necessary

9 AM: Watermelon salad

9:30 AM: Green beans and Collared Greens

Put the veggies in a casserole dish and leave in the oven to stay warm

Almost there!

OK to be honest.  This is where the times get pretty sketchy.  I got a little champagne tipsy and was running around like a madman.  But based on my theoretical plan this is what happened..

10 AM: Remove pulled pork from slow cooker and make bbq sauce

10:30 AM: Make Tyler make the Hollandaise sauce from my pal Steph at Tout!

11 AM: Start Frying the Chicken and have Andy poaching eggs!  Also, use a few more pieces of bacon to fry some eggs

While all this is going on I was frantically running around putting sauces into bottles, chips into bags and eggs and meat on plates.  

1 PM: EAT AND DRINK

It's really funny to me because I had this specific idea of how I wanted the food to all turn out.  Of course, none of it did.  At all.  My eggs Benedict and nachos turned into just plates of food all mushed up together.  It turned out delicious and was a lot of fun.  But it is always funny how things never quiteeee go as planned.  That's the fun of it though and I am lucky to have such great friends who go with the flow and endure my crazy!

The more champagne the better.

Yum

Pulled Pork with BBQ Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 5 lb pork shoulder
  • 2 thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 6 garlic cloves sliced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup vinegar

Directions:

  1. Add the onions, garlic and chicken broth to the slow cooker
  2. Combine all of the spices into a small bowl
  3. Take about 1/4 cup of the rub and thoroughly coat the meat, get into every crevice!  Use more or less as needed
  4. Now, put the meat in the slow cooker and put on low for 9 hours
  5. After it has completed cooking remove the meat from the slow cooker
  6. Drain the veggies and set the liquid aside and allow to cool
  7. Using two forks, shred the pork and return to the slow cooker with the onion and garlic
  8. Cover with 1/4 cup of the remaining liquid
  9. Now, to make the BBQ sauce
  10. Melt the butter in a pan and cook until it is brown, but not burnt
  11.  Add the left over meat juice and 1/2 cup of spice and cook until it has reduced by a third (about 20 minutes)
  12. Remove from the heat, stir in the vinegar and season as needed
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Homemade Potato Chips

Ingredients:

  • 4 potatoes or about 2 pounds (I used Dutch potatoes and LOVED them, but you can do any kind of potato, including sweet)
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 4 quarts oil
  • Garlic salt to season

Directions:

  1. Wash your potatoes thoroughly, peel if you'd like
  2. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice the potatoes as thinly as possible.  Mandolin is preferred since it's faster and more uniform, but it's definitely do-able with a knife.
  3. Rinse your potato slices and drain them
  4. Place into a large bowl with 1 cup of vinegar and enough water to submerge them
  5. Let them soak for at least 20 minutes and up to a day
  6. Remove from the liquid and pat dry
  7. Heat your oil until it's 375 degrees(I bought a thermometer and it made ALL the difference in making these potato chips the right level of crispiness, I strongly suggest monitoring the temperature)
  8. Place in a handful of chips at a time
  9. Using tongs separate them and flip occasionally if necessary
  10. Once the chips start turning golden brown on the edges, remove and place into a large paper bag
  11. Sprinkle in salt and toss
  12. As soon as the oil is back to 375 degrees, begin the process again until you have cooked all the chips
  13. Toss and set aside until you are ready to eat, and then Enjoy!
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Fried Chicken Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/glazed-fried-chicken-with-old-bay-and-cayenne

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup kosher salt 
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup hot sauce
  • 16 chicken tenders
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons seasoning mix (2 tbsp black pepper, 1 tbsp paprika, 2 tbsp celery salt, 2 tbsp garlic salt, 1 tbsp crushed red pepper, 1 tbsp cayenne pepper)
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • Vegetable oil (for frying; about 4 quarts)

Directions:

  1. Put salt, brown sugar, and 4 cups of water in a large pot over medium
  2. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve
  3. Take off of the heat and add hot sauce and 8 cups of ice water
  4. Add the chicken tenders, cover and chill for 4 hours
  5. If you are making Epic Brunch this is the time to hop back into the steps!  Come back in 4 hours.
  6. And you're back!  Combine two of the cups of flour and 4 tbsps of the seasoning mix in a shallow pan.
  7. Put the buttermilk into a medium bowl
  8. Take the chicken out of the brine and pat dry
  9. Dip each tender in the buttermilk, make sure there is no excess milk!  
  10. Coat the tender in the flour mixture, make sure to get it in all the crevices! 
  11. Set on a wire rack and set aside
  12. Once you have completed this for all of the pieces, toss out the flour and mix up the rest of the flour and seasoning
  13. Repeat the same process so the chicken has a double coating
  14. Now place in the fridge uncovered until you are ready to cook them the next day, Again, if you are working through Epic Brunch hop back into those steps now!
  15. Hey, you're back again!  Take the chicken out of the fridge and let it sit for 30 minutes 
  16. Now pour the veggie oil in a large pot
  17. Heat the oil until it registers at 325 degrees
  18. Split up into a few batches, frying a few tenders at a time until the are golden brown
  19. Place chicken on paper towels to absorb oil and set aside for up to 3 hours ahead of time
  20. Enjoy!
Yum

Homemade Pico de Gallo

Ingredients:

  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1-2 lime
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper
  • Batch of cilantro

Directions:

  1. Cut the tomatoes in half, wash out the seeds
  2. Cut the tomatoes into tiny cubes
  3. Dice the onion and add to the tomato
  4. Juice the entire lime into the veggies, add more/less as needed
  5. Mince the serrano and jalapeño peppers and add to the salsa
  6. Finally, mince the cilantro, toss with the veggies and Enjoy!


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