Thursday, October 30

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Molasses-Chile Butter

Hot baked sweet potatoes topped with a sweet and spicy compound butter

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Molasses Chile Butter

Baked potatoes are an easy and tasty side dish for any meal, but during the fall and winter I love swapping regular russets and yukon golds with sweet potatoes or yams. Sweet potatoes have a lot more flavor than regular potatoes and are also more nutritious (make sure to eat the skin, too, which contains a lot of fiber). I play up the sweetness by making a molasses-chile butter that melts into the hot potato and adds richness and contrast. Don't skip a sprinkle of finishing salt, which adds a light crunch and enhances all the inherent flavors of the potato. This recipe is a great side dish to any protein and would be a nice alternative to the traditional candied yams on a Thanksgiving table. Or stuff the potatoes with roasted veggies or beans and enjoy a filling vegetarian meal.

Related Recipes:
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Sweet Potato Cakes with Creamy Herb Dip
- Baked Potato Bites

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Molasses-Chile Butter:
  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Wash and dry 4 sweet potatoes and place in the hot oven.
  • Bake the potatoes for 35-45 minutes, or until tender.
  • In a small bowl, mix together 3-4 tbsp. room temperature butter, 2 tsp. molasses, and 1 tsp. chile powder.
  • When the potatoes are ready, slice a slit down the center of each potato and add in a spoonful of the molasses-chile butter. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Serves four-eight (side dish)

Wednesday, October 29

Broccoli, Lemon, & Parmesan Soup

A healthy five-ingredient soup for the cold months ahead

Broccoli, Lemon, and Parmesan Soup

I used to make a lot of soup when I was working at my previous job because the leftovers made a great lunch the next day. Now that I get free meals at work (combined with the never-ending heat wave we've had since May), I've been missing the big batches of soup I used to cook nearly every week. I went on a bit of a cooking bender over the weekend and threw together a batch of this broccoli, lemon, and parmesan soup from Food52 in anticipation of a meatless Monday dinner. Unlike most soup recipes, the vegetables don't simmer in the broth for long at all. Instead, the broccoli is blanched and then very slowly cooked in garlic and olive oil until super soft before a quick simmer in chicken broth and a pulse in the food processor. I love the freshness that the lemon adds to the dish and suggest finishing each bowl with a fresh sprinkle of lemon zest to enhance the smell and flavor of the lemon in the dish. Serve this with some homemade croutons or a chunk of crusty bread and a salad for a filling and healthy meal.

Related Recipes:
- Cheddar Cauliflower Soup
- Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes
- Asparagus Soup with Greek Yogurt

Broccoli, Lemon, & Parmesan Soup:
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, cut 2 lb. broccoli into florets and chop the stems into thin spears.
  • Cook the broccoli in boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain well.
  • In another large pot, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and smash and peel 2-3 large garlic cloves.
  • Add the garlic to the hot oil and cook for a few minutes, until fragrant and lightly golden.
  • Add in the broccoli and a big pinch of salt and pepper, reduce the heat to lower, and cover the pot with a lid.
  • Cook the broccoli, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, or until very tender.
  • Add in 4 c. low-sodium chicken broth, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Stir in 2 tbsp. lemon juice and another pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Transfer soup to a food processor and pulse until smooth with some small chunks.
  • Add the soup back to the pot and stir in 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese.
  • Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • To serve, ladle into bowls and top with a pinch of grated lemon zest and more grated parmesan.

Serves four-six

Tuesday, October 28

Pumpkin & Pancetta Baked Pasta

A creamy, cheesy baked pasta with roasted pumpkin and crispy pancetta

Pasta Al Forno with Pumpkin and Pancetta

I've had this baked pasta on my saved recipes list at Food52 for years and finally made it for our friends' Halloween party last weekend. It's everything that a baked pasta should be: rich and cheesy with crunchy brown bits at the top and lots of flavor surprises running through each bite. Pumpkin (or butternut squash) gets used twice in the pasta: blended with cream and cheese for the incredible pumpkin cream sauce and diced into chunks for bites of sweet roasted pieces mixed in with the noodles. Pumpkin is inherently sweet, but the mix of salty cheeses and crispy porky pancetta lardons keep the dish feeling savory. It's a great main course for a fall or winter night and travels well for a potluck. I imagine that it would be easy to reheat in the oven if you have leftovers, too.

Related Recipes:
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Pasta Shells with Corn, Bacon, & Chard
- Baked Penne with Sausage & Broccoli Rabe

Baked Pasta with Pumpkin & Pancetta:
- 1 3-4 lb. cheese pumpkin or butternut squash
- 1 lb. pasta shells
- 1/2 lb. diced pancetta
- 2 c. heavy cream
- 1/2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 c. grated fontina cheese
- 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 c. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- olive oil
- salt
- pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Cut the pumpkin or butternut squash into quarters and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Roast the pumpkin for an hour, or until tender and caramelized in some places.
  • While the pumpkin is roasting, cook the pancetta in a skillet until crisp.
  • Scoop out 2 c. of cooked pumpkin and add to a food processor, then roughly chop another 1 1/2 c. of pumpkin. 
  • Add the heavy cream to the pumpkin in the food processor and blend to just combine.*
  • Increase the oven temperature to 500F.
  • Mix the pumpkin cream with the chopped pumpkin, crispy pancetta, mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, gorgonzola, thyme, and a big pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta for 8 minutes.
  • Drain the pasta, then mix with the other ingredients. Pour the pasta into a large baking dish.
  • Bake the pasta for another 10 minutes, or until bubbling and brown in some places.
  • Let cool slightly before serving.

Serves eight-ten
*Do not over-blend or the cream will whip.

Monday, October 27

Slow-Roasted Short Ribs with Horseradish Gremolata

Tender beef short ribs topped with a bright and zippy horseradish gremolata

Short Ribs with Horseradish Gremolata

We had a lazy Saturday, which was perfect excuse to slow-roast these beef short ribs. This recipe was featured in Bon Appetit last year and comes from the chef at one of my favorite local restaurants, Gjelina. Instead of braising the ribs in stock or wine and aromatics, the ribs roast in the oven in just a small amount of water and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. The short ribs cook at a low temperature until  tender, then finish in a hot oven to brown and caramelize. The result is a rib full of concentrated beefy flavor with the texture of a tender steak. They're paired with a zippy gremolata, a condiment made with toasted breadcrumbs, horseradish, lemon, and parsley. It's a beautiful restaurant-worthy dish that looks super impressive but requires minimal effort.

Tip: Shred leftover short ribs and toss into pasta sauce, tacos, or sandwiches for the best leftovers ever.

Related Recipes:
- Wine-Braised Beef Short Ribs
- Grilled Korean-Style Short Ribs
- Short Rib & Spinach Lasagna

Slow-Roasted Short Ribs with Horseradish Gremolata:
  • Preheat the oven to 325F.
  • Season 3-3 1/2 lb. bone-in beef short ribs with kosher salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan.
  • Add 3/4 c. water to the pan, cover it with foil, and bake for 2 1/2 hours, or until tender.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 400F and remove the foil from the pan.
  • Cook for another 30 minutes.
  • While the short ribs cook, add 1/4 c. panko breadcrumbs to a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 4-5 minutes,
  • Let the breadcrumbs cool slightly, then combine with 2 tbsp. lemon zest, 1/2 c. minced parsley, 2 tbsp. minced garlic, 2 tbsp. prepared horseradish, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and 2 tbsp. olive oil.
  • Let the short ribs cool for a minute, then divide onto plates and spoon the gremolata on top.

Serves four-six

Thursday, October 23

Dutch Baby Pancake with Cinnamon Apples

Part pancake, part crepe, and part soufflé... this is the breakfast of champions

Dutch Baby Pancake with Apples

My friend introduced me to dutch babies (the pancakes, not small humans) in high school and I remember a period of time where we were pretty obsessed with making them after school and on the weekends together. I couldn't track down our exact recipe, but this version was pretty close to what I remember. It's a cross between a pancake, a crepe, and a soufflé, and it's one of those dishes that looks impressive but is actually super easy. Heat the pan in the oven while you quickly make the batter in a blender. While the dutch baby bakes, sauté apples in brown butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup - and, voila! The dutch baby is an easy way to make pancakes for a crowd for breakfast and is sweet enough for dessert. I guess this recipe could feed four people, but my husband and I finished it between the two of us and had no regrets.

Related Recipes:
- Oven-Baked Pancakes
- Free-Form Apple Tart With Cinnamon Crumble
- Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Dutch Baby Pancake with Sautéed Apples:
  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Add 2 tbsp. butter to a large, preferably cast iron, skillet and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Swirl the melted butter to coat the whole bottom of the pan.
  • Meanwhile, combine scant 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, 3 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. melted butter, 2 eggs, 1/2 c. milk, and a pinch of salt.
  • Pour the batter directly into the hot skillet and bake for 30 minutes, or until puffed and brown at the edges.
  • 10 minutes before the dutch baby is cooked, melt 1 tbsp. butter in a small skillet.
  • Allow the butter to foam, then to turn brown. Immediately add 1 cored and thinly sliced apple and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in 2-3 tbsp. maple syrup and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes, or until the apples are soft.
  • Sprinkle the dutch baby with powdered sugar and pour the apples on top.
  • Cut into wedges and serve or gather around the skillet and dig in.

Serves two-four

Wednesday, October 22

Savory Leek and Mushroom Bread Pudding

This is like a cheesy, more decadent version of Thanksgiving stuffing

Leek and Mushroom Bread Pudding

Now that L.A. is finally feeling fall-like, I'm starting to get really excited for Thanksgiving. It's one of my favorite holidays of the year, but I don't want to have to wait another month to eat all my favorite Thanksgiving foods. Stuffing (or "dressing" to some people) is usually my favorite part of the meal, and this recipe (adapted from Ina Garten) for leek and mushroom bread pudding is like the best stuffing ever. Bread cubes are tossed with a simple custard made of eggs and milk, sautéed leeks and cremini mushrooms, and parmesan cheese. Then the whole thing is baked until bubbling and brown. It makes a great accompaniment to a roast chicken (or turkey, of course), but would also make a lovely vegetarian meal alongside a green salad. Is mushrooms or leeks aren't your thing, you could easily customize this by adding in other vegetables or even some bacon or sausage.

Note: This recipe is a great way to use leftover stale bread. If your bread is already stale, you can skip the step to toast it in the oven and add it straight to the custard.

Related Recipes:
- Herbed Ciabatta Stuffing
- Cinnamon Walnut French Toast Bread Pudding
- Homemade Croutons

Savory Leek & Mushroom Bread Pudding:
  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a baking dish and set aside.
  • Cut 1 loaf of ciabatta bread into bite-size pieces so that you have 3-4 cups of bread cubes. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Let the bread cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, 3/4 c. whole milk, 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese, and a large pinch of salt and pepper
  • Add the bread to the custard and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add in 3 diced leeks (white and light green part only) and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft.
  • Add in 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for another 30 seconds, then add in 1/2 lb. sliced cremini mushrooms and 2 tbsp. sherry. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Let cool slightly.
  • Stir the vegetables into the bread mixture and pour into the baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the top with 1/4 c. grated parmesan and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is brown and crispy and the custard sets.
  • Let cool slightly, then serve.

Serves four-six (side dish)

Tuesday, October 21

Sautéed Spinach with Feta and Pine Nuts

This ten-minute vegetable side dish will become a new family favorite

Sauteed Spinach with Feta and Pine Nuts

I'm always looking for quick vegetable side dishes and this Barefoot Contessa recipe is a new favorite. Simple sautéed spinach is tossed with crumbled feta cheese and toasted pine nuts for a flavor profile that's similar to spanokopita and pairs well with almost any meaty main course. The whole dish only takes five ingredients, one pan, and ten minutes but the finished product looks super impressive and tastes great. It's great alongside a store-bought rotisserie chicken on a busy weeknight or with a slow-cooked roast for a fancy dinner party. This dish is so versatile that it's sure to become a new addition to the weekly dinner rotation.

More Quick & Easy Veggie Sides:
- Perfect Roasted Vegetables
- Roasted Carrots with Avocado & Lemon Dressing
- Creamed Kale

Sautéed Spinach with Crumbled Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts:
  • Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add in 1/2 diced onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft.
  • Add in 1/2 lb. baby spinach, 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Cook for a few minutes, or until wilted.
  • Add in 2-3 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese, 1 tsp. lemon zest, and 2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts.*
  • Stir to combine but do not over mix. 

Serves two-three (side dish)
*To toast nuts, add them to a dry skillet over medium heat and cook until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes.

Monday, October 20

Gooey Pumpkin Butter Bars

Soft pumpkin cheesecake squares with chocolate chips and coconut flakes

Williams Sonoma Gooey Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin stuff is everywhere lately - pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin baked goods, and even pumpkin butter. For those of you who haven't tried it, pumpkin butter has the consistency of apple sauce and tastes like pumpkin pie filling. I've seen it everywhere, from specialty food stores to the local Trader Joe's. This recipe is adapted from one in Williams-Somona's blog and puts the pumpkin butter to use in a cream cheese dessert bar with a graham cracker and walnut crust and a chocolate chip-coconut topping. The bars are soft and gooey with a bit of crunch from the toasted coconut and some tang from the cream cheese. They make a great dessert or snack for a Halloween party or potluck.

More Pumpkin Recipes:
- Pumpkin Soup
- Citrus Bars
- Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Seeds

Gooey Pumpkin Butter Bars:
  • Preheat the oven to 365F.
  • Spray an 8"x8" baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a food processor, combine 1 c. walnuts, 4 oz. graham crackers, and 2 tbsp. brown sugar and blend until fine crumbs.
  • Pour in 1 stick melted butter and blend again until moist.
  • Pat the graham-walnut crust into the baking dish, making sure it's tightly packed.
  • In a mixer, combine 8 oz. softened cream cheese, 3/4 c. pumpkin butter, 2 eggs, 1/2 c. sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg until smooth.
  • Pour the pumpkin filling over the crust and then sprinkle the top with 1 c. mini chocolate chips.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, then sprinkle with 1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes and bake for another 20 minutes.
  • Let cool, then slice into bars and serve.

Serves ten-twelve

Pumpkin Butter Bars with Coconut and Chocolate Chips

Thursday, October 16

Persimmon, Pomegranate, & Arugula Salad

This vibrant salad is full of fall fruits, nuts, and greens

Persimmon, Pomegranate, Walnut, and Arugula Salad

It wasn't until last winter that I really started liking persimmons, but I can't get enough of them now that it's fall and they're back at our farmers' market. There are two types of persimmons, but the fuyus are crunchy like an apple with a sweet flavor that has a hint of holiday spice to it. They're great to slice and snack on or to add to salads like this one here. The orange persimmons, ruby red pomegranate, purple radicchio, and green arugula make for a colorful, beautiful salad that you don't see with many recipes in the colder months. The salad has a variety of textures and flavors and makes a lovely side salad for a dinner party or holiday menu but is still filling enough to stand on its own for a vegetarian lunch.

Related Recipes:
- Burrata with Persimmon-Pomegranate Relish
- Spinach, Pomegranate, & Feta Salad
- Apple, Radicchio, & Arugula Salad with Parmesan Fricos

Persimmon, Pomegranate, & Arugula Salad with Walnuts:
  • Add 1/4 c. walnut halves to a dry skillet over medium low heat. Toast the nuts for 3-5 minutes, or until nutty smelling and lightly browned. Let cool, roughly chop, and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together 1 tbsp. pomegranate juice, 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.
  • Peel and thinly slice 1 fuyu persimmon and combine with the walnuts, 1 thinly sliced shallot, 3 oz. arugula, 2 oz. chopped radicchio, and 1/4 c. pomegranate arils.
  • Just before serving, toss the dressing with the salad and taste for seasoning.

Serves three-four (side dish)

Wednesday, October 15

Lamb & Mushroom Lasagna

This hearty lasagna is full of ground lamb, sauteed mushrooms, and three kinds of cheese

Ground Lamb & Cremini Mushroom Lasagna

We have a friend who usually watches our cats when we're out of town, and her two favorite things to eat are mushrooms and lamb. As payment for cat sitting, we had her over for dinner and served this meaty, mushroomy lasagna. There are three major components of the lasagna: the meat and mushroom tomato sauce, the herbed ricotta cheese blend, and the noodles. The most time consuming part is making the sauce, but it only takes about thirty minutes and you can even do that a day or two in advance and keep it in the fridge until you're ready to use. I like the ease of using no-boil lasagna noodles, but I quickly soak them in hot water before assembling to make sure they get soft enough to eat. I stack the whole thing high so to have three layers of noodles and five of cheese and sauce. The end result is a bubbling and rich lasagna that's full of sautéed mushrooms, ground lamb, and three types of cheese. Leftovers will keep for days and taste even better the second time around.

Note: You can easily sub ground beef or turkey for the lamb in this recipe.

Related Recipes:
- Short Rib & Spinach Lasagna
- Eggplant & Ricotta Roll-ups with Tomato Sauce
- Corn, Zucchini, & Poblano Lasagna

Ground Lamb & Cremini Mushroom Lasagna:
- 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 lb. ground lamb
- 1 lb. grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 lb. ricotta cheese
- 1 c. grated parmesan cheese
- 3/4 lb. no-boil lasagna noodles
- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- handful of chopped parsley
- handful of chopped basil
- pinch red chile flakes
- kosher salt
- ground black pepper

  • Heat a pot or small dutch oven over high heat and add in 1 tbsp. olive oil until just starting to smoke.
  • Add half the mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring once or twice, until browned, about 4 minutes.
  • Remove the mushrooms from the pot and set aside on a plate. Add in more olive oil and the remaining mushrooms and repeat.
  • Add in another tbsp. olive oil to the pot and add in ground lamb and a very large pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Cook the lamb, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until no longer pink.
  • Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add in tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes until it turns a rusty color.
  • Add in crushed tomatoes, the mushrooms, red chile flakes, and a very large pinch of salt.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until thickened.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Soak lasagna noodles in a bowl of hot tap water.
  • In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, and a big pinch of salt and pepper.
  • To assemble the lasagna, ladle a small amount of the sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish, then top with a layer of noodles, a layer of the ricotta mixture, a layer of the sauce, and a layer of mozzarella. Repeat another three times, ending with a layer of sauce and mozzarella.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  • Cool for 10-15 minutes, then cut into pieces and serve.

Serves eight

Tuesday, October 14

Black Cod with Pomegranate Brown Butter

Easy and elegant pan-roasted fish with a pomegranate caper brown butter sauce

Sablefish with Pomegranate Caper Brown Butter

Fish is something that I usually make most often during the spring and summer months, but this pan-roasted black cod with pomegranate-caper brown butter is a great dish for fall and winter. The cod cooks skin-side down in a hot pan until the skin gets salty and crispy like a cracker and then quickly finishes on the other side until just cooked through. As the fish rests, butter quickly browns and gets tossed with sweet-tart pomegranate seeds and briny capers to form a finishing sauce. I like serving it over polenta or mashed potatoes to soak up the brown butter and provide a foundation for the black cod. It's a beautiful restaurant-worthy dish that's impressive enough for company and quick and easy enough for busy weeknights.

Related Recipes:
- Miso Black Cod
- Burrata with Persimmon-Pomegranate Relish
- Delicata Squash Rings with Feta & Pomegranate

Pan-Roasted Black Cod with Pomegranate-Caper Brown Butter:

  • Remove the pin bones from two 6 oz. skin-on fillets of black cod.
  • Season the fish with 2 tsp. grated lemon zest, 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, and a large pinch of kosher salt. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, or in the fridge up to overnight.
  • Heat 1 tsp. canola oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add the fish, skin-side down, and cook for 5 minutes, or until very crispy and starting to turn opaque.
  • Flip the fish over and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until cooked through.
  • Transfer the fish to a plate and add 2 tbsp. butter to the pan.
  • Let the butter foam, then turn brown - careful not to burn - then add in 1/4 c. pomegranate arils and 1 tbsp. roughly chopped capers.
  • Turn off the heat, divide the fish onto plates, and spoon the brown butter on top.

Serves two

Monday, October 13

Ham & Cheese Omelet

This classic omelet makes a great meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner

Ham and Gruyere Cheese Omelet

Certain dishes are classic for a reason, and when it comes to omelets, nothing is more classic than ham and cheese. This dish is so quick and easy to make, but when you use good ingredients it really tastes like heaven. Here I beat together fresh eggs and a splash of whole milk as the omelet base and then filled it with grated gruyere cheese and diced apple-smoked ham. The eggs lightly puff as they cook and the cheese melts to form a fluffy, soft, and creamy omelet. I like to serve it for lunch or dinner with a green salad on the side to cut through some of the richness.

More Omelet Recipes:
- Fava Bean, Asparagus, & Goat Cheese Omelet
- Crab and Fava Omelet

Ham & Gruyere Cheese Omelet:
  • Beat 4 eggs, a splash of milk, and a large pinch of salt and pepper together in a bowl until pale yellow.
  • Heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add in a pat of butter. Swirl to coat the whole pan in melted butter.
  • Pour in half the eggs and cook until set and lightly golden on the bottom.
  • Add a handful of diced ham and grated gruyere cheese down the center, then fold the omelet into thirds.
  • Cook until the inside is just set, then transfer to a plate and sprinkle with sliced scallions.
  • Add another pat of butter to the the skillet and repeat with remaining eggs, more ham, and and more cheese.

Serves two

Thursday, October 9

Roasted Curry Cauliflower

An addictive side dish of caramelized cauliflower and onions in a curry spice mixture

Roasted Curry Cauliflower and Onions

This recipe from The A.O.C. Cookbook will change the way you think about cauliflower. The florets are tossed with some onion and a powerful spice blend made from cumin, coriander, curry powder, and paprika, and then roast in the oven until deeply caramelized and nutty. The spices turn the whole dish a lovely orange hue, and the savory cauliflower is a great pairing with the sweet onions and fresh cilantro leaves. It's such a simple dish to make at home, but there's little touches that make it feel like a fancy restaurant dish. Everything from the way that the onion is sliced, to the mix of whole and ground spices, to the perfect balance of acidity, makes you realize that this is a dish conceptualized by a great chef. But instead of paying $8 for a small side of it at a restaurant, you can feed it to your whole family for $2-$3.

Related Recipes:
- Sweet & Sour Charred Cauliflower
- Cheddar Cauliflower Soup
- Parmesan Roasted Romanesco

Roasted Curry Cauliflower & Onions:
  • Preheat the oven to 450F.
  • In a small dry skillet, toast 1/4 tsp. cumin seeds and 1/4 tsp. coriander seeds.*
  • Transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle to lightly crush, then add in 1 tsp. curry powder, and 1 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
  • Cut 1 head of cauliflower into pieces, and peel, core, and cut 1 yellow onion into sixths.
  • Place the vegetables on a large baking sheet and toss with 2 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. melted butter and the spices.
  • Sprinkle 1 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar on top and toss again.
  • Roast the vegetables for 35 minutes, tossing every 10-15 minutes, or until well caramelized.
  • Toss with a handful of fresh cilantro leaves and serve.

Serves two-four (side dish)
*Or you can skip this step and use ground cumin and ground coriander.

Wednesday, October 8

Five Minute Polenta

A versatile five minute side dish that's a great accompaniment to any meal

Quick Cooking Polenta Recipe

I didn't grow up eating polenta or grits, but now it's something that I make almost every week. To me, it's hard to serve a meal without some sort of starch on the plate, but polenta has the benefit of being both gluten free and much quicker to make than rice, potatoes, or pasta. Polenta is an Italian dish that's basically just cooked cornmeal that is finer ground than Southern grits. I keep a box of quick-cooking polenta in my pantry at all times so that I can make this quick and easy side dish anytime. The basic five minute polenta recipe that I listed below can be changed numerous ways and I'm always trying new riffs by adding in grated cheese and/or herbs, subbing milk for sour cream or creme fraiche, subbing chicken broth for other liquid, etc. Just make sure to cook your polenta right before serving because it will quickly solidify.

Related Recipes:
- Roasted Sausages with Polenta
Fresh Corn & Goat Cheese Polenta
- Chicken Sausage Ragu with Parmesan Polenta

Five Minute Polenta:
  • Combine 1 clove minced garlic and 2 c. low-sodium chicken broth in a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat to a simmer and whisk in 1/2 c. quick-cooking polenta and a big pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Stir for 3-4 minutes, or until polenta thickens, then add in a big splash of milk and 2 tbsp. butter.
  • Turn off the heat and taste for seasoning; adjust if needed.
  • Spoon the polenta onto plates and serve immediately.

Serves two-four (side dish)

Tuesday, October 7

Shrimp with Three-Herb Chimichurri Sauce

Shrimp with bright and flavorful three-herb chimichurri sauce

Shrimp with Three-Herb Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri is an Argentinian herb sauce that adds a ton of bright, fresh flavor to anything you put it on. It's traditionally paired with steak, but it goes great with the simply sautéed shrimp in this recipe. The whole meal takes just a few minutes to make, and you'll have plenty of leftover sauce to dress up grilled bread, rotisserie chicken, and more later in the week. I like to serve the shrimp over a bed of polenta to round out the meal.

Related Recipes:
- Roast Chicken with Cilantro Chimichurri
- Grilled Pesto Shrimp Pizza
- Pesto-Dijon Salmon

Sautéed Shrimp with Three-Herb Chimichurri Sauce:
For Chimichurri
  • In a blender or food processor, combine 1 handful fresh parsley, 1 handful fresh oregano leaves, 1 handful fresh cilantro, 3 peeled garlic cloves, 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar, 1 large pinch of red chile flakes, and a big pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Blend until finely chopped, then stream in 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil until smooth. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
For Shrimp
  • Peel and devein 12 large shrimp and toss with 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. melted butter, and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Heat a skillet over high heat and add the shrimp.
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes, flipping once, or until the shrimp are opaque.
  • Drizzle the chimichurri over the shrimp and serve.

Serves two with sauce left over

Monday, October 6

Apple, Radicchio, & Arugula Salad with Parmesan Fricos

A simple and delicious fall salad made with apples, parmesan crisps, and lettuces

Apple, Radicchio, & Arugula Salad with Parmesan Fricos

We've been having a crazy heat wave for months now, and it doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon. So while the rest of the world is starting to drink pumpkin spice lattes and roast winter squash, I can barely turn on my oven without breaking into a sweat. This salad, adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit, is the first fall dish I've made this year and it's equally suitable for a 100 degree October day in LA as it is for someone in the midwest experiencing the season's first snowstorm. There's a double dose of apple, from both the crisp pieces tucked among the greens and the cider vinegar in the dressing. The radicchio and arugula balance the sweetness with their peppery and slightly bitter taste. The best part are the crispy parmesan fricos, which add a salty crunch to every bite. This is a great salad to serve all fall and winter and would even be a beautiful addition to a Thanksgiving or holiday menu.

Related Recipes:
- Apple, Blue Cheese, & Pecan Salad
- Miso Asian Pear Salad
- Green Salad with Crispy Quinoa & Pomegranate

Apple, Radicchio, & Arugula Salad with Parmesan Fricos:
For Apple Cider Vinaigrette
  • Whisk together 1 minced shallot, 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard, 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp. honey, and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Slowly whisk in 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
For Salad
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Divide 1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese into 6 different mounds on a silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet.*
  • Bake for 7 minutes, or until melted and crisp. Let parmesan fricos cool.
  • In a bowl, toss together 1 thinly sliced apple, 1/2 head radicchio, ripped into bite-size pieces, and 3 c. arugula.
  • Toss the salad with the dressing and divide onto plates. Top with parmesan fricos.

Serves four (side dish)
*Or parchment paper coated with non-stick cooking spray.

Thursday, October 2

Linguine & Clams

The classic Italian dish linguine con vongole, or pasta with steamed clams

Linguine con vongole

Linguine and clams, done right, is one of my favorite dishes of all times. The concept is very simple: pasta tossed with clams that have simmered in a garlicky white wine sauce. It's quick, easy, and cheap enough to make on any weeknight, but it's still fancy enough to serve for a date or dinner party. The best version I ever ate was on our honeymoon in Venice (see more details here), where we had it as a lunch special at a small neighborhood restaurant. The key is to make sure that everything is well seasoned. Season your pasta water with a lot of salt - it should taste like salt water - it will season the linguine as it cooks and it also add flavor to the sauce at the end. Scrub your clams well and rinse them under cold water for a few minutes to make sure no grit ends up in the final dish. Other than those details, it's a super simple dish that's great to enjoy for lunch or dinner with a cold glass of white wine.

More Clam Recipes:
- Springy Linguine & Clams
- Roasted Clams with Favas & Sherry
- Malaysian Black Pepper Clams

Linguine & Clams (Linguine con Vongole):
  • Wash and scrub 2 1/2 lbs. littleneck or manila clams and discard any that are open.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season generously with salt, and cook 1 lb. linguine pasta until al dente.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add in 3 cloves minced garlic and a large pinch of red chile flakes. Cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant but not brown.
  • Add in the clams, 1/2 c. dry white wine, and a pinch of salt. Cover with a lid.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the clams open and the wine has reduced by half.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 c. pasta cooking water.
  • Add the pasta to the pot with the clams, some of the pasta water, and 2 tbsp. cold butter.
  • Turn off the heat and toss until the butter melts. Add more water as needed to moisten.
  • Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
  • Divide onto plates and serve.

Serves four

Wednesday, October 1

White Chicken Chili

A healthy and hearty soup made of chicken, chiles, and white beans

White Chicken Chili

Early fall is chile season. Every year, there is a special pop-up vendor at one of our local farmers' markets that sells bags of roasted poblanos, anaheims, and jalapeños, and it makes the whole market smell like fire and charred peppers. I always buy a few bags since the leftovers hold up really well in the freezer. Since it's unlikely that you'll be able to buy chiles pre-roasted for this recipe, I've included directions for how to easily do it at home. Go to the trouble of making a big batch so that you can always have some on hand to add to salsas, stir-frys, soups, and more.

This white chicken chili is healthier and more brothy than most chilis, but it's packed full of tender chunks of white meat chicken, cannelloni beans, and the roasted chiles, and it makes a satisfying one-pot meal. I like to garnish my bowls with sliced avocado and serve a cheese quesadilla on the side for dipping (like a southwestern take on the classic tomato soup and grilled cheese), but feel free to customize the garnishes. Sour cream, grated cheese, and crispy tortilla strips would all be good additions.

Related Recipes:
- Turkey Chili
- Grilled Chicken Chili
- Mexican Turkey Tortilla Soup

White Chicken Chili:
  • Roast the chiles. Place 1 poblano pepper and 3 anaheim chiles directly over a gas burner on your oven, on a gas grill, or on a sheet pan under a broiler. Char the chiles, turning once, until the skins are black. Transfer the chiles to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 5 minutes, then rub off the skins and discard the stems and seeds.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
  • Add in 1 1/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-size pieces, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the chicken until browned on the outside, then transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
  • Turn down the heat to medium and add in 1 diced onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until soft.
  • Add in 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tbsp. ground cumin, and 1 tsp. ground coriander and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Dice the roasted chiles and add them in, along with the chicken and 3 c. low-sodium chicken broth. Add in a big pinch of salt.
  • Bring the chili to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse 1 can of cannelloni beans and mash half with a little bit of chicken broth into a paste. Add the mashed beans and the remaining whole beans to the chili and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the juice of 1 lime. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • To serve, ladle the chile into bowls and top with fresh cilantro leaves and sliced avocado.

Serves four-five
Chili will keep (without garnishes) in the fridge for several days. Reheat before serving.