Tuesday, January 31

Super Bowl Menu Planning

Chips and dip are an easy crowd-pleaser. Pictured: Homemade Guacamole

We’ll be hosting our annual Super Bowl party this Sunday (see last year’s here), which is basically just an excuse for me to cook up indulgent comfort foods. Although I’m not a huge football fan (it’s hard to be passionate when L.A. doesn’t even have a team), this party is something I look forward to all year simply because I get to eat like it’s Thanksgiving Day. In my opinion, the key to hosting a successful, stress-free party is to keep things simple and make everything in advance. I suggest keeping finger foods out all day and then letting something warm simmer on the stove so that guests can help themselves throughout the game.

Casseroles can be prepped a day in advance and then reheated right before your guests arrive. Pictured: Tex-Mex Mac & Cheese
Football and wings go hand and hand, but putting a spin on the classic will surprise your guests. Pictured: Sweet & Spicy Asian Wings
Let a comforting stew simmer on your stove during the game and have your guests help themselves. Pictured: California Turkey Chili
Cookies are a sweet end to a meal and are an easy item to bring to a friend's party. Pictured: Coconut Lace Cookies with Chocolate Drizzle

Monday, January 30

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

Despite the 250+ recipes I've posted and countless others I've made over my lifetime, I've always been afraid to make anything deep fried. It's not that I don't love fried chicken (anyone who doesn't is crazy), but I always thought the frying process was too risky and labor-intensive. Bon Appetit's February cover recipe convinced me otherwise and yielded some of the moistest chicken I've ever had - roasted, grilled, or otherwise. It did require some babysitting, but the resulting crispy-skinned feast was so worth the fifteen-twenty minutes of effort.

Fried Chicken:
  • Combine 1 tbsp. kosher salt, 2 tsp. black pepper, 1 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, and 3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
  • Rub spice mixture over a 3 1/2 lb. chicken that has been cut into 10 pieces* and place in the fridge overnight.
  • An hour before cooking, let chicken sit out at room temperature.
  • Heat 4 c. peanut oil in a dutch oven** until it reaches 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer.
  • Prepare your dredge by combining 1 c. buttermilk, 1 egg, and 1/2 c. water in one bowl. In another large dish, combine 3 c. flour, 1 tbsp. corn starch, salt, and pepper.
  • Drop half the chicken into the buttermilk mixture, then coat in the flour mixture, then carefully place into the oil.
  • Cook the chicken for 10-12 minutes, turning every 2-3 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through.
  • Transfer chicken to a wire baking rack and let the first batch rest while the second batch cooks.
  • Divide chicken onto plates and serve.

Serves four - six
*Ask your butcher to do this for you. It's important to get the pieces as close to the same size as possible.
**The original recipe calls for a deep cast iron skillet, but I think the dutch oven is much easier to clean up.

Thursday, January 26

Bok Choy Asian Noodles

Bok Choy Asian Noodles

I’ve been getting back into my weekly farmer’s market routine (evidenced here) and couldn’t pass up buying five heads of bok choy for only a dollar. I cooked them with some Asian condiments I already had in my pantry and tossed them with some noodles for an updated (but just as cheap) take on ramen. The noodles are super filling and would make a great vegetarian main course, but I served them as a side with chicken skewers; then I sliced the leftover chicken and tossed them with the remaining noodles for a meal the next day.

Related Recipes:
- Cold Asian Noodle Salad
- Serrano-Lime Squid & Bok Choy Stir-Fry
- Duck & Vegetable Asian Noodles

Somen Noodles with Bok Choy:
  • Cook 12 oz. somen noodles in boiling water according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. canola oil in a skillet and add in 1 tbsp. minced garlic, 1 tbsp. grated ginger,* and 5 sliced heads of bok choy.**
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  • Add in the noodles, 3 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. Sesame oil, and 2 tsp. Sriracha.***
  • Toss for a minute or two, then divide into bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Serves four - six (side dish)
*I like to keep fresh ginger in the freezer so that I always have it on hand.
**Discard the center core.
***You may want to add more or less of the hot sauce, soy, and oil. Taste it as you go.

Wednesday, January 25

Roasted Potatoes with Porcini & Rosemary Rub

Roasted potatoes are one of my go-to side dishes for easy entertaining, but I was getting sick of my usual salt-pepper-olive-oil routine. Adding in some fresh herbs and porcini mushroom powder (inspired by this dish) really amps up the flavor. The texture also gets an update as the rub coats each potato and forms a nice crust after roasting in the hot oven. It’s an impressive side dish that will steal the show from any main course and is the perfect thing to bring to a potluck or dinner party. Any leftovers can be transformed into a tasty hash or egg scramble.

Porcini & Rosemary Roasted Potatoes:
  • Cut 1 lb. of small yellow potatoes* into bite-size pieces.
  • Place in a baking dish and toss with 1 tbsp. chopped rosemary, 1 tbsp. porcini powder,** 1-2 tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Roast potatoes in a 415°F oven for 35-40 minutes, or until tender.
  • Let cool for a few minutes, then divide onto plates and serve.

Serves four - six (side dish)
*Such a Dutch yellow or Yukon Gold.
**Available at some specialty food stores. Or make your own by placing 1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms in a food processor.


Tuesday, January 24

How To: Cook & Peel an Artichoke

I came across some gorgeous artichokes at the farmers’ market this past weekend and couldn’t resist taking a few home with me. Fresh artichokes are a real treat and so much different than the canned or frozen versions you find most places. Large ones are best steamed and make a great appetizer or side dish. I like to peel off the leaves and dip them in tzatziki sauce, but my favorite part is the heart, which I like to slice and eat with lemon and melted butter. The whole process is a bit involved, so it's a great thing to make on a lazy night where you can watch a movie while sitting around and dissecting the artichokes.

Steamed Artichokes:
  • Cut most of the stem off of 4 large artichokes so that each artichoke can stand upright, and slice 1/4"-1/2" off of the top of each.
  • Pull off any cracked or bruised outer leaves, then use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the sharp edge off of each outer leaf.
  • Place the artichokes, stem side down, into a large pot and fill with 2-3 c. of water.*
  • Cover the pot and cook over medium heat for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife can easily slide into the steam of each artichoke.
  • Remove the artichokes from the pot and cool for 10 minutes.
  • Peel off the outer leaves and serve with tzatziki sauce or melted butter for dipping.
  • Once all the outer leaves have been eaten, remove all the interior ones and discard.
  • Use a spoon to scrape out the hairy choke in the center,** so you will be left only with the heart.
  • Slice the heart and serve with melted butter and a squeeze of lemon.

Serves four - eight (appetizer or side)
*Or enough to cover about 1" of the pot. Check back after about 30 minutes to make sure that all the water hasn't evaporated.
**This part is completely inedible.

Monday, January 23

Chicken, Shrimp, & Sausage Jambalaya

A healthier take on the Cajun classic made with brown rice, chicken, shrimp, and Andouille sausage

Chicken, Shrimp, Sausage & Brown Rice Jambalaya

It rained in L.A. this weekend (although just barely), meaning that any plans I had to leave the house quickly got replaced by lounging around in my PJ’s and watching more Mad Men on DVD. I normally hate the rain, but it was a great excuse to relax at home while a big pot of jambalaya simmered on the stove. I love Cajun food but usually shy away from making it at home because most dishes require a lot of ingredients. This recipe is perfect because all of the ingredients are totally attainable and even though I did have to buy a few new spices, the end result was so worth it. I enjoyed it the next day as leftovers, but this type of dish is the perfect thing to make for a large group, perhaps for an upcoming Super Bowl party.

Related Recipes:
- Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Fried Chicken
- Smothered Chicken

Chicken & Shrimp Jambalaya:
  • Combine 1 1/2 tbsp. paprika, 1 1/2 tbsp. onion powder, 1 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder, 2 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. dried herbs,* 2 tsp. chile powder, 1 tsp. black pepper, and 1/4 tsp. mustard powder in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in 2 sliced links of Andouille sausage** and 3 sliced boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
  • Cook the meat for 3-5 minutes, or until browned. Remove from pot and set aside.
  • Add in 1 diced onion, 4 stalks of diced celery, and 1 diced green pepper and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened.
  • Add in 3 minced garlic cloves and cook vegetables for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Add 2 tbsp. flour and 2 1/2 tbsp. spice mix to the pot*** and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour in 3 c. low-sodium chicken stock, 1 can (14.5 oz.) of diced tomatoes, and 1 c. long grain brown rice and bring to a boil.
  • Lower to a simmer and add the chicken and sausage back in. Cover and simmer for 70-80 minutes, or until rice is tender.****
  • Add in 1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp, cover, and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until shrimp turns opaque.
  • Divide onto plates and serve.

Serves six
*I used Herbs de Provence. You can also use a combination of dried thyme and oregano.
**I used Andouille chicken sausage to keep it relatively healthy.
***You will have leftover spice mix. Save and make this recipe again, or rub into chicken before grilling.
****Check after 45 minutes or so to make sure there's enough liquid and that the rice isn't stuck to the bottom of the pot. Stir and add more stock if necessary.

    Friday, January 20

    Bikini Body Salad

    This dish is my attempt at recreating one of my favorite seasonal dishes from local restaurant Blue Plate (featured here). They took the Bikini Body Salad off their menu this fall and I’ve been craving it ever since. I usually find vegetarian entrée salads unfulfilling, but this has so many great ingredients, textures, and colors that I’d gladly eat in any night of the week. The sweet beets, crunchy snap peas, tangy goat cheese, and creamy avocado really work together to create a totally satisfying meal. My tip is to roast the beets the night before and then leave them in the fridge so that assembling the salad only takes a few minutes.

    Bikini Body Salad:
    • Slice the tops off 4-5 small red beets and wrap each one individually in foil.
    • Roast the beets in a 375°F oven for 45 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove and let cool in the foil.*
    • Unwrap each beet and use your fingers to rub off the skin. Cut the beets into bite-size chunks.
    • Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil and add in 1 c. snap peas (strings removed).
    • Cook the peas for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp-tender, then drain and cover with cold water until room temperature.
    • In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, the juice of a lemon, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in 2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
    • Add the peas to a large salad bowl, along with 8 oz. wild arugula, 3 oz. crumbled goat cheese, 1 sliced avocado.
    • Toss the salad with the dressing, then add the beets and toss a little more.**
    • Divide onto plates and serve.

    Serves two (entree)
    Serves four - five (side dish)
    *Can be done two days ahead and kept in the fridge.
    **Wait to toss the beets until the last minute or the whole salad will turn pink.

    Thursday, January 19

    Chicken Skewers & Satay Sauce

    With snow in most of the country and chilly temperatures even in L.A., it hasn't been possible to grill as much as we did this summer. These chicken skewers are a great alternative because they get a great charred flavor but are cooked in the broiler instead of the grill. The satay sauce is adapted from Jamie Oliver's latest cookbook (other recipes here and here) and has a real fresh, bright flavor from the cilantro and limes. It's the perfect warm weather meal to lift your spirits during these cold winter months.

    Chicken Skewers with Peanut-Cilantro Satay Sauce:
    • Add ½ bunch of fresh cilantro, 4 tbsp. peanut butter, 1 tbsp. chopped ginger, 1 Fresno chile, 1 chopped garlic clove, 2 tbsp. water, 2 tbsp. soy sauce, the zest of 2 limes and the juice of 1 lime into a blender.*
    • Puree mixture until smooth, adding more water as needed to thin the sauce into a spreadable consistency. Check for seasoning.
    • Meanwhile, vertically line up 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts,** then insert 4 wooden skewers*** horizontally, then cut horizontally between each skewer, so that portions of each breast are on each skewer.
    • Place chicken skewers in a baking dish and pour half of the marinade over them. Rub the marinade into the meat on both sides. Season chicken with salt.
    • Place chicken on the top row of a hot broiler and cook for 8-10 minutes. Turn the chicken over and drizzle with honey, then cook another 8-10 minutes.
    • Remove from broiler and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve with remaining satay sauce.

    Serves four
    *Or use a food processor. Keep stalks on the cilantro and remove the stalk and seeds from the chile.
    **About 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken total.
    ***I soaked the skewers in water for 30 minutes before so that they don't burn in the broiler.

    Wednesday, January 18

    Potato, Spinach, & Goat Cheese Scramble

    I’ve never really mastered the art of creating omelets, but they’re certainly a healthy start to your morning and great way to use up leftovers. My solution is to create a scramble, which has all the same ingredients as an omelet but is so much easier to throw together. I used some roasted potatoes, goat cheese, and baby spinach I had on hand from a dinner earlier in the week, but this dish can be modified to create countless different variations. Since it’s not a very elegant dish to begin with, I find that it’s fun to bring the skillet to the table and serve it family-style from there.

    Potato, Spinach, & Goat Cheese Scramble:
    • Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
    • Add in 3 minced cloves of garlic and cook for a minute.
    • Then add in 1 1/2 c. diced, roasted potatoes* and 5 c. baby spinach leaves.
    • Cook for another 4-6 minutes, or until spinach has wilted and potatoes have warmed through. Season with salt and pepper.
    • Add in 6 beaten eggs and stir until scrambled, about 2-4 minutes.
    • Turn off the heat, add in 2-3 oz. crumbled goat cheese, and stir through. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.
    • Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

    Serves two - three
    *I used leftovers I had in my fridge from a previous meal. Or add raw diced potatoes and cook for 6-10 minutes, or until tender, and then add the spinach.

    Tuesday, January 17

    Stuffed Onions

    I’ve been seeing Yotam Ottolenghi's name everywhere lately, from a recent feature in Bon Appetit to the bookshelves at Anthropologie. His recent cookbook, Plenty, has been heralded for its innovative vegetable recipes and I couldn’t wait to borrow it from my mother. I’m no stranger to cooking vegetarian meals, but I was amazed at how inspiring and beautiful his dishes are. This is his recipe for stuffed onions (with some minor adjustments), which reminds me of one of my favorite dishes, spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta shells. It does take some time and effort to execute this dish, but the results are so worth it. It’s one of those meals that looks as good as it tastes, and it’s a surprisingly hearty main course when served with a light green salad.

    Stuffed Onions:
    • Slice the tops and bottoms off of 3 large white onions, slice them in half lengthwise, and peel the skin off.
    • Carefully remove the large outer layers of the onions, so you have individual onion cups. Save the smaller inner layers for another use.
    • Meanwhile, combine 2 ½ c. vegetable broth and 1 ½ c. white wine in a saucepot and bring to a boil.
    • Add in 3-4 onions at a time and simmer in the broth for 4-5 minutes.
    • Use a slotted spoon to remove the softened onions and drain well on paper towels. Repeat until all onions have been softened in the broth.
    • In a large bowl, combine 4 small grated tomatoes*, 2 c. panko breadcrumbs, 3 oz. crumbled feta cheese, ¾ c. minced parsley, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 3 minced garlic cloves, salt, and pepper.
    • Spoon some of the tomato-breadcrumb filling into each onion shell, then fold the onion around to form a fat cigar shape.
    • Place each stuffed onion, seam-side down, into a buttered baking dish. Repeat until all onions are stuffed.
    • Pour a small amount of the broth into the bottom of the dish and drizzle the tops of the onions with olive oil.
    • Bake the onions in a 350°F oven for 45-50 minutes.
    • Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

    Serves four
    *Use a large box grater to do this, discarding any leftover tomato skin that you have in your hand.

    Monday, January 16

    Hanger Steak with Arugula & Parmesan

    In an effort to stay healthy, I’ve been experimenting with a lot more chicken, fish, and vegetarian recipes than usual. And while everything has been delicious, it’s still hard to top red meat (which is why we broke down and went to Umami Burger the other night). But in truth, I can certainly enjoy a nice steak dinner without sacrificing nutrition. Cuts of meat like skirt and flank steak are much leaner (and therefore, healthier) than my favorite rib-eye but can taste just as delicious if cooked properly. I love the French bistro simplicity of this grilled hanger steak with arugula and Parmesan, which manages to burst with flavor despite the small count of ingredients. It's a great, light way to enjoy a steak dinner.

    Hanger Steak with Arugula & Parmesan:
    • Allow 1 lb. hanger steak to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and cracked black pepper.
    • Grill the steak on high heat for 4 minutes per side, then let rest uncovered for 10 minutes.
    • Thinly slice 1 shallot and place in a bowl with the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, and 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
    • Toss the dressing with 4 oz. of arugula and divide onto plates.
    • Thinly slice the steak and place on top of the arugula, then use a vegetable peeler to shave a few slices of Parmesan cheese.
    Serves two

    Friday, January 13

    Kale Chips

    I cook some sort of kale dish almost weekly (some of my favorites can be found here, here, and here), so it was only natural that I experiment with my own kale chips. The oven slowly draws the moisture out of the leaves and transforms them into something nutty and super crunchy. I like to heavily season them with sea salt flakes and eat them as a snack, but they would make a great side dish or an appetizer alongside a creamy yogurt dip. It’s a great healthy alternative to potato chips and the whole, crisp leaves make a unique and elegant presentation.

    Kale Chips:
    • Remove the tough bottom stem from a large bunch of black kale.*
    • Wash the leaves and pat very dry, then toss with 1/2 tbsp. olive oil.
    • Lay the leaves in a flat layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
    • Place in a 250°F oven for 40-45 minutes, or until very crisp.
    • Let cool completely, then serve.
    Serves two - four
    *Also called dino, Tuscan, or lacinato kale. If using green curly kale, cook 5- 10 minutes longer.

    Thursday, January 12

    Orange-Miso Glazed Salmon

    Most Asian food and fish are great to have when you're trying to watch what you eat because they're inherently good for you without tasting like health food. Salmon is one of my favorite fishes for its meaty, satisfying texture and its ability to stand up to a variety of flavors and cooking techniques. It pairs really nicely with the brightness of the orange-miso glaze (but I think you could put the marinade on anything and it would be delicious). It's a super satisfying meal that feels restaurant-worthy and will keep you looking and feeling your best.

    Orange-Miso Glazed Salmon:
    • In a saucepan, combine 1 c. freshly-squeezed orange juice, the zest of an orange, and 1 tbsp. brown sugar. 
    • Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and let the mixture cook for 10 minutes, or until reduced by half.
    • Turn off heat and whisk in 3 tbsp. yellow miso paste, 1 tbsp. soy sace, amd 1/2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar. Let marinade cool.
    • Place 2 (6-8 oz.) boneless, skinless salmon fillets on a baking sheet* that has been coated with non-stick spray.
    • Brush the miso marinade over the fish and let stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
    • Place fish in a hot broiler for 8-12 minutes, or until just cooked through.
    • Remove the fish and brush with more marinade. Divide onto plates and serve.

    Serves two
    *I like to line the sheet with foil to make clean-up easier.

    Wednesday, January 11

    Turkey Chili

    Even though it's been unseasonably warm in L.A., there's no denying it's winter time. The long nights and NFL playoffs have me craving something warm and comforting like this turkey chili. It's the perfect thing to keep on a simmer all night while we watch TV (we're in the middle of watching old Mad Men episodes on DVD) and leftovers are even more delicious on the second night. Compared to most recipes, this one requires a lot less kitchen time and ingredients, and I love the California-spin on the classic by using ground turkey and avocado.

    Turkey Chili:
    • Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot and heat over a medium-hot flame.
    • Add in 1 large chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
    • Turn up the heat to hot, add a little more oil, and add in 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey.*
    • Cook the turkey until brown, breaking it up into small pieces.
    • Stir in 1 tbsp. minced garlic and cook for another minutes.
    • Add in 2 tbsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper.
    • Pour in 1 1/2 c. water and 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes.
    • Bring chili to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
    • Stir in 1 can of kidney beans and cook for another 35 - 40 minutes.
    • Ladle into bowls and top with slices of avocado, grated cheddar cheese, etc.

    Serves four - six
    *Use dark meat turkey, white meat will get too dry.

    Tuesday, January 10

    Buttermilk Cornbread

    My simple go-to recipe for homemade cornbread

    Moosewood Cookbook Buttermilk Cornbread

    I've been wanting to make my own bread for awhile, but I just don't have the patience to spend hours of my day making it. Enter this buttermilk cornbread: all the satisfaction of homemade bread, ready in 30 minutes, and low fat. It's the perfect side to pretty much anything and leftovers make a delicious breakfast treat when served with jam. This recipe is great because it's neither too sweet nor too savory (although you could always mix in some jalapenos and/or cheddar cheese if you want). I like the presentation of baking and serving it in a skillet, but as a child my mom used to pour the batter into muffin tins to make corn bread muffins.

    Buttermilk Cornbread:*
    - 1 c. yellow cornmeal
    - 1 c. all-purpose flour
    - 1 c. buttermilk
    - 1 egg
    - 3 tbsp. butter, melted, plus more for greasing
    - 3 tbsp. honey
    - 2 tsp. baking powder
    - 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    - 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

    • Preheat the oven to 350F.
    • Grease a 9" skillet with butter. Set aside.
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmealall-purpose flour, baking powder, baking sodasalt.
    • In another mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilkegg, honey, and melted butter.
    • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined.**
    • Pour the batter into the skillet and cook the bread for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
    • Let cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve.

    Serves six - eight
    *Recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook.
    **Do not overmix or the cornbread will be tough.

    Monday, January 9

    Bulgur, Kale, & Squash Hash

    Keeping up with my vow to cook more healthy meals, I set out to reinvent my favorite breakfast, lunch, or dinner favorite: the hash (seen here, here, and here). I swapped out the potatoes with bulgur wheat and chose nutrient-packed veggies like kale and squash. The bulgur-veggie mixture could certainly be eaten alone as a side dish or light lunch, but the fried egg makes it hearty enough for dinner and adds a richness to the whole thing. It's a meal you can feel good about eating and doesn't take much time to put together - what's not to love about that?

    Eggs with Bulgur, Kale, & Squash:
    • Combine 2 c. cold water and 1 c. bulgur wheat in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 12-14 minutes, or until wheat is tender.
    • Drain the bulgur over a fine strainer and discard any leftover liquid.
    • Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pot and add in 2 thinly sliced shallots.Cook the shallots for 3-5 minutes, or until tender.
    • Add in 1 large head* of kale and stir for 3-5 minutes, or until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
    • Add in 1/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth and 1/4 c. white wine and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about another 6-8 minutes.
    • Add in 1 1/2 c. roasted, cubed butternut squash** and the bulgur and stir until combined. Adjust seasonings as necessary.
    • Divide onto plates and top each with a fried egg.***

    Serves four
    *Or two small.
    **Leftover from this meal. Or toss squash with a little olive oil and roast in a 400F oven for 20-25 minutes.
    ***To see tips on frying an egg, click here.

    Friday, January 6

    How To: Make a Vinaigrette

    I've been playing around with my go-to salad dressing recipe and finally hit on the perfect one. It's so easy and cheap to make that there's no reason to buy a bottled version and it's a healthier alternative to store-bought anyway. The basic idea is simple: mustard, acid, oil, salt and pepper in a certain proportion - but the combinations you can make from that are seemingly endless. My latest favorite is this lemon and shallot version, but sometimes I like to add fresh minced herbs to it also. Add it to some wild arugula and shaved Pecorino and you have a side dish that takes less than five minutes to make. Or get creative and swap out the lemon for balsamic or rice wine vinegar and the shallots for minced garlic or grated ginger.

    Lemon & Shallot Vinaigrette:
    • Combine 1 tsp. Dijon mustard with the juice of one lemon.
    • Add in 1 diced shallot and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.*
    • Slowly whisk in 2 1/2 - 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil** and season with salt and pepper.

    Good for one large salad
    *The lemon juice will mellow the raw shallot taste. However, you don't have to wait if you're in a time crunch.
    **This is the time to use really high-quality extra virgin olive oil.