Maple Bourbon Potatoes with Green Peppercorns, Olives, and Scallions

bourbon-maple-potatoes

Maple Bourbon Glazed BBQ Pork Chops with Maple Bourbon Potatoes with Green Peppercorns, Olives, and Scallions

Ingredients:
4-6 medium sized “new potatoes”, Red Pontiac, Melody, or Russet, cut in bite size pieces
6-8 large pimento-stuffed Manzanilla Olives, sliced in thirds perpendicular to the pit (optional)
4 Scallions, cut in 2-3mm pieces, white separated from the greens
1 Tbsp Green Peppercorns
1/4 cup Bourbon
1/8 cup Maple Syrup
1 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp Ground Chipotle Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Onion powder
1/2 tsp Light Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp White Pepper
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, toss the Cumin, paprika, Chipotle, Garlic powder, Onion powder, Brown Sugar, Salt, and Black & White Pepper. Use a fork to mix well.
  • In a saute pan, on medium heat, add the Potatoes and cook until browned, about 7 minutes–you want a crust on them.
  • Toss in the white portion of the Scallions, Olives, Green Peppercorns, and Spice mixture, and stir while it cooks for 1 minute.
  • Remove the pan from the stove, and pour in the Bourbon. Replace the pan to the heat, mindful that the alcohol may flare up. To avoid injury, keep your body away from the pan, and do not have your face near it.
  • Drizzle in the Maple Syrup and adjust the seasonings. Let cook for 1 more minute, allowing the maple syrup to glaze over everything.
  • Plate, and garnish with the green portion of the Scallions.

Makes about: 4-6 servings

Notes: I cannot emphasize enough the need for caution when adding the Bourbon to the hot pan. The risk of flare up is decreased by removing the pan from the heat. I recommend you have a lid ready, just in case, and of course a working fire extinguisher. In general, if you remove from the heat to add the alcohol, the likelihood of it flaring up is much reduced, verses if you were to just add it while over the flames, the vapors could ignite like flash paper.

The Olives are optional–but I recommend trying it with them because they offer a flavor contrast to the spicy and sweet bbq glaze.

Sugar Snap Peas and Red Potatoes

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Egyptian Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas and Red Potatoes

Ingredients:
4 medium sized Red Pontiac Potatoes, cut in 2mm slices
2 cups Sugar Snap Peas
2 Tbsp Sour Cream
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar Glaze
1/4 cup Bacon Bits (Real or Soy)
1 Lime
1 tsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  • In a bowl, toss the Potatoes with Italian Seasoning, Crushed Red Pepper, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper.
  • In a saute pan, on medium heat, add the Potatoes and cook until fork tender and browned, about 7 minutes. Toss and stir so they do not stick.
  • Halve the Lime, and squirt the juice over the Potatoes. Invert the peal and leave to cook with the Potatoes for 2 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the Sugar Snap Peas, Balsamic Vinegar Glaze, and Sour Cream, and 2 Tbsp water to the pan. Stir well, so everything is coated, and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Toss in the Bacon Bits, remove from heat and serve.

Makes about: 4-6 servings

Notes: It is rare that I say this, but I prefer this with the soy-based Bacon Bits rather than real Bacon. One can also use fat-free sour cream and reduce the calories further. Be sure not to add too much salt to the potatoes, as they Bacon Bits will add some when added.

Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Dedicated to my fellow parishioners at the Episcopal Church of St. Luke in the Fields, Greenwich Village, NYC

IngredientsVegan
7 cups Vegetable Broth
2 cups Red Lentils, dry, rinsed
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Sweet Yellow Onion, diced
2 cups crushed Tomatoes
1/2 cup flat-leaf Parsley, chopped fine
1 cup Celery, diced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp Zaatar
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp ground Marjoram
1/2 tsp ground Coriander Seed
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Lemon Zest
1/4 tsp Salt

Lemon wedges

Directions:

  • In a gallon size pot on medium heat, combine the Onion, Salt, Pepper, and Olive Oil; cook until the onions softens.
  • Add the Garlic, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, and Celery. Continue to saute until the Celery starts to soften.
  • Add all the other spices, and mix well so that the spices get into the oil and juices in the pot.
  • Add the Tomato, Vegetable Broth, and Lentils; bring to a boil, stirring often so that nothing sticks.
  • Reduce to a simmer, add the Parsley, and let cook until the Lentils become tender.
  • Taste, and adjust the seasoning and spices to your preferred tastes.
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge. Squirt the juice on the Soup.

Makes about 6 servings

NOTES:Lentil Soup is eaten in various parts of the world. This recipe utilizes spices from Northern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Zaatar a spice blend used in North Africa, especially Egypt and Libya, often added to meats or rubbed in olive oil on flat bread. It is made up of Sumac, Oregano, Sesame Seed, often with other spices.

Lentil soup can be modified to your prefered tastes and needs. You can add chopped spinach or kale, or diced carrots or sweet potatoes. Keep in mind if you add additional starches, you may need to add additional spices. This meal is vegan, however one can add meat like chicken or lamb to it–or even sausage. It is also common to garnish with sour cream or yogurt.

Pommes de Terre Gratin avec Chèvre et Emmental

Ingredients:
6 lg Russet Potatoes, clean, skin-on
4 oz Chèvre Goat Cheese, room temperature
6 oz Mozzarella or other mild semi-soft cheese
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 Tbsp Butter
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 oz Emmental or Swiss Cheese, sliced thin

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Slice the Potatoes in 1/4″ disks slices, discarding the ends.
  • In a sauce pot, bring the Heavy Cream and Milk to a simmer on medium heat–stirring with a wooden spoon. Do not bring it to a boil, and do not let it scald.
  • Break the Goat Cheese up and slowly add it to the Milk/Cream mixture, stirring constantly and allowing it to melt.
  • Do the same with the Sour Cream, Butter, and Mozzarella–not all at once, just in small portions, stirring as it mixes.
  • After all is melted and mixed well, remove from heat.
  • Line the Potato Slices in a 9×13 casserole dish. The slices should overlap like fallen dominoes. You can either put all the potatoes in one layer or divide into two layers–up too you. I prefer one Layer.
  • Sprinkle with the Herbes de Provence, Salt, and Pepper.
  • Cover with the Cheese/Cream/Milk Mixture.
  • Layer the Emmental cheese slices on top, covering the entire surface.
  • Bake covered for 45min to 1 hour, or until the top begins to brown and it is bubbly on the sides.

Makes 6-8 servings

NOTES: So this is really a Cheesy version of Scalloped Potatoes–scalloped referring to the shape of the potatoes and how they are placed in the dish. “Gratin” on it means there is a cheese covering–which is the only way to do potatoes like this, if you ask me. I incorporated two specific mountain cheeses–Emmental from Swizerland and Chèvre from France. In most parts of the US, one will just find them listed as “Swiss Cheese” and “Goat Cheese”. So don’t worry if you don’t find those specific names.

Haricots Verts à l’Orange – Green Beans with Orange

Haricots Verts à l’Orange

Ingredients:
2 cups Green Beans, stems removed
1 red Peperocini Pepper, de-ribbed, de-seeded, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Orange Juice
1 tsp Orange Zest
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat the Olive Oil on Medium in a heavy skillet.
  • Add the Garlic and Peppers, and toss for 1 minute.
  • Add the Green Beans and mix well. Toss for about 4 minutes.
  • Add the Orange Juice, and continue to toss until Greenbeans are a bright Green, depending on skillet and heat, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Toss in Salt and Pepper to taste, and garnish with Orange Zest.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: This adds a citrus flavor to the Green Beans that is a little sweeter and hotter than the normal Lemon juice that one often sees with a stovetop Green Bean saute.

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus with Chestnuts

Ingredients:
2 bunches of Asparagus, trimmed
12 Chestnuts
4 cloves Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Water for boiling

Directions:

  • Trim the Asparagus by removing the lower 1 to 2 inches of hard stem.
  • Cut an X in the side of each Chestnut.
  • Bring the water to a boil in a small pot, and then add the Chestnuts and boil for 7 minutes.
  • Strain, and run under cool water.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Peel the hulls from the Chestnuts. Then coarsely chop the Chestnuts.
  • Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet.
  • Place the Asparagus on the baking sheet, spreading out as best possible to make an even layer.
  • Sprinkle the Chestnuts, Garlic, Salt, and Pepper over the Asparagus.
  • Drizzle with Olive Oil.
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: So this was another whim that had a good payback. The pre-cooked Chestnuts, when chopped and roasted exhibit an outer crispness that gives way to a sweet creamy meat that complements the Asparagus. The Garlic adds a nice bite, but also a contrast to the sweetness of the Chestnuts and Asparagus–not to mention roasted Garlic smells AMAZING.

I also want to comment on boiling vs. roasting the Chestnuts. Boiling allows for a more even cooking, and it is easier to remove the meat from the shells. Whenever making Chestnuts, always make more than needed, in case one is bad, or ends up falling into your mouth. Additionally, if you’re just making Chestnuts for eating, after boiling, and shelling, you can still roast with a little salt. Believe it or not, most street vendors boil their chestnuts before roasting them in their cart…gives them a reliable easy to preserve and serve product.

Mushrooms in a Balsamic Cream Sauce

Mushrooms in a Balsamic Cream Sauce

Ingredients:
1 lb Table Mushrooms, cleaned
4 cloves Garlic, cut in slivers
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  • Add the Mushrooms, Garlic, Olive Oil, and liberal Salt to a medium sized skillet on medium heat.
  • Slowly heat the Mushrooms stirring constantly and flipping every few minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, drizzle in the Balsamic Vinegar. Keep stirring.
  • After 2 minutes, add the remaining ingredients.
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes, being sure to scrape the sides.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES:

This is a very simple side dish with tons of flavor. The Heavy Cream and Balsamic Vinegar add an almost caramel quality sauce. I am sure there is some sort French name for this type of sauce, but I have no clue what it is.  If you want, you can half or quarter the mushrooms.

Roasted Mushrooms and Cipollini Onions

Ingredients:
1 1/2 – 2 lbs Table Mushrooms, cleaned
12-15 Cipollini Onions, peeled, and quartered
2 Tbsp Corn Starch
4-6 cloves Garlic, cut in slivers
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 1/2 cups Mushroom Broth or Beef Broth
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Place the Corn Starch in a quart-size plastic bag with the Mushrooms and shake to coat them.
  • Place all ingredients into a Dutch Oven with a lid.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, stirring mid way

Makes about 4-6 Servings.

NOTES: So I love these…I love mushrooms in general, but roasted is my favorite. And these are very simple and have a nice Autumnal flare to them. They make a great side item maybe with some crusty bread to sop up the broth–Great with roasts or steak too!

Cipollini onions are like mini sweet onions and have a buttery sweet taste to them. If you cannot find them, use a sweet yellow onion diced.

Mustard and Sage Rainbow Carrots

Ingredients:
8-12 Carrots, various colors
2 Tbsp dried Sage, crushed
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Butter, room temperature
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Cut a 1 1/2″ long piece of Aluminum Foil.
  • Clean the carrots, removing tips, greens, and dirt. No need to skin them, but if there is a knick cut it out. If the carrots are longer than 8 inches, cut them in half.
  • Place them on the center of the Aluminum foil, length-wise.
  • In a bowl, combine the Butter, Honey, Mustard, and Sage
  • Brush the sauce over the Carrots evenly.
  • Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Pull the ends of the Aluminum Foil together and form a pocket. Fold the edges in so that the Carrots are sealed into the packet.
  • Place on a cookie sheet, folded edges up, and bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTES: I had not really tried rainbow carrots in the past, opting for the more common orange variety, but there they sat at the local market staring at me and telling me that they would be the best new thing of the fall for me to eat. I will admit, that though I am not a fan of cooked carrots, these are actually pretty tasty. There indeed is a slight difference in taste between the purple, red, orange, and yellow carrots. The Mustard and Sage add a nice autumn flavor to the mix, and the honey retains the sweetness. If you cannot find rainbow carrots, the orange kind work just as well.

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Choux de Bruxelles à la Moutarde – Brussels Sprouts in Mustard

Ingredients:
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, halved vertically
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat.
  • Add the Garlic and let it brown about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the Stock and Mutard, and stir well to combine.
  • Add the Brussels Sprouts, and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender.
  • Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste.

Makes 4-6 servings (depending on how much you love Brussels Sprouts)

NOTES: This is another super easy, super flavorful recipe to share my love of Brussels Sprouts. The creamy Dijon and Butter play off the Sprouts in an amazing comfort-food way. I recommend only Dijon mustard–no American Yellow, and nothing too spicy brown–takes away from the comfort-food nature of the dish.

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Ingredients:
1 bunch Asparagus, cleaned
1 Red Onion, cut in rings
1 Red Bell Pepper, slice each side off
4 oz Halloumi Cheese χαλούμι
1-2 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes, Sliced
1 Avocado, diced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Honey
1-2 tsp Sesame Seeds

Directions:

  • Using a brush, lightly cover the grilling grates, Asparagus, Bell Pepper, Onion, and Halloumi.
  • Prepare the Grill or Broiler as directed by manufacturer–you want medium high heat.
  • Place the Asparagus, Bell Pepper, and Halloumi on the grates and cover with the Onions and sprinkle with the Salt and Pepper. I suggest using an oven-safe cooling rack and placing it on top of the grate. If you use the cooling rack, it is easier to pick everything up in the end.
  • Close and grill for 5-7 minutes or until the onions and Halloumi begin to get a nice golden brown on the outside.
  • Remove and combine with the rest of the Vegetables in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Honey, and Dijon Mustard.
  • Drizzle over the Vegetables, sprinkle with Sesame Seeds, and Toss.

Makes about 6-8 servings.

NOTES: This is an ideal summer salad–full of fresh ingredients, tons of grilled flavor, and yet light, sweet, and citrusy. You can substitute Zucchini or Broccoli or just add them to the lot. I do not recommend grilling the Tomatoes, as they tend to fall apart Halloumi is a Cypriot/Middle Eastern cheese that is very dense, mildly salty, and can be GRILLED! It is a great addition to this dish, and complements the Asparagus and Sesame Seeds amazingly.

Céleri Rémoulade – Celeriac Salad

Céleri Rémoulade

Ingredients:
1 Celeriac Bulb, cleaned
1 Carrot, cleaned
1 small Cucumber, seeded and Julianne cut.
3 Shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 – 1 cup Walnuts, crushed
1 cup Greek-Style Yoghurt
1 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Almond Oil
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp fresh Mint, minced
1 Tbsp fresh Dill, minced
2 tsp ground Ginger
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

Directions:

  • Clean the Celeriac root by removing any scraggly roots and outer surface. Cut into pieces small enough to be easy to grate. I prefer to use my Food Processor’s food grater, so I make the pieces big enough to fit through the feeder. If you shred by hand, you may want them a good size for holding. Do the same thing with the Carrot.
  • Shred both the Celeriac and Carrot.
  • In a large bowl, combine the Celeriac, Carrot, Shallots, Cucumber, and Walnuts, and toss with your hands to mix well.
  • In a separate bowl combine all remaining ingredients and whisk together into a dressing.
  • Pour the dressing over the dry ingredients and mix well.

NOTES: Celeriac is one of those under-used vegetables in my opinion. Honestly, I don’t know why–its not too difficult to prepare, and you can eat it raw or cooked in any way imaginable that most root vegetables are cooked. Now regarding the Rémoulade itself. Traditionally, this would be made with Mayonnaise, and would not have Ginger and maybe a different set of spices. I found that a little bland and had to add some kick to it, but not overpower the fresh-taste of the Celeriac itself. The Rémoulade can be served as a side dish, or in a similar fashion to Cole Slaw–though it is not as strong. Many folks serve it as a side to fish. I prefer to eat it by itself as a side salad.

Pantzaria Salata – Παντζάρια Σαλάτα – Beetroot Salad

Παντζάρια Σαλάτα

Ingredients:
4-6 Fresh Beets (more if they are small)
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp Parsley, fresh and chopped
1/2 Tbsp Mint, fresh and chopped
Salt to taste
Water for boiling

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Wash the Beets, removing the stems and any long taproots. Place in the boiling water and cook for 45 minutes to an hour–longer if the Beets are large. Beets are done when they are not only fork-tender, but the outer skin easily rubs off.
  • Remove from the heat, and run under cool water, rubbing off the outer skin. Let cool.
  • Chop the Beets into bite-size pieces. I prefer slicing them and then cutting the slices in half.
  • Toss with all the other ingredients, and place in a bowl in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Makes 3 servings.

NOTES: This is a traditional Greek recipe for Beets. Some folks will also suggest parboiling the Beet greens and chopping them up and mixing them in the salad, but I am not a fan of that. This recipe is a recipe for folks who don’t normally like Beets–like me. I have never been a big fan of beets, finding them too–I don’t know what the word is…. beety? Anyway, this recipe cuts the flavor of the Beets with the Vinegar, Garlic, and fresh Parsley. I highly recommend you use high-quality Vinegar and Olive Oil for this recipe–not the cheap one on sale–you’ll be much happier. Also, never ever, ever use canned Beets–seriously, do you like your food tasting like salt and tin?

Snap Peas and Black Beans

Snap Peas and Black Beans

Ingredients:
2 cups Black Beans, drained
1 cup Snap Peas, in pod
1 Shallot, chopped
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 tsp Ginger powder
1 tsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Sweat the Shallot in the Olive Oil with the Salt and Pepper in a Skillet on medium heat.
  • When the Shallots start to become translucent, add the other ingredients and mix well.
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often so that the Black Beans do not stick.

Makes 3 Servings.

NOTES: This was a quick and easy dish that I came up with this Spring. The sweetness of the Peas is a good contrast to the Black Beans which seem to absorb the flavors of the Cumin and Shallots. You don’t want to overcook this, as you do want the Snap Peas to be crunchy still.

Caribbean Chickpeas

Caribbean Chickpeas

Ingredients
4 cups reconstituted Chickpeas
1/2 cup Black Olives, sliced
2-4 cloves Garlic
1-2 Jalapeño Peppers
4 Green Onions, diced (just the lower 2 inches), reserve the Green part
1 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Curry Powder
2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp ground Coriander Seed
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions

  • Heat a Sauce Pan on medium heat, and add the Olive Oil, Garlic, Scallion, Jalapenos, and Salt. Sweat the mixture for 1 minute, not browning anything.
  • Add the Chickpeas, and mix well. Heat thoroughly, about 2 minutes.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, and mix well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • While it is cooking, take the reserved Green part of the Green Onion, and dice for garnish.
  • Plate the Chickpeas, and garnish with the fresh Green Onion.

Makes 4 servings.

Prickly-Pear Fruit Salad

Ingredients:
4 Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit
2 Kiwi
1 Mango
1 Orange
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1-2 tsp Granulated Sugar
Dash of Cinnamon
1 tsp Orange Zest
Fresh Mint for Garnish

Directions:

  • Prepare the Fruit.
    • Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit: Cut off the top and bottom, and cut a line across the flesh lengthwise, about 1 cm deep (at most). Carefully pull the Skin from the magenta flesh. Be careful, as there may still be spines on the skin. Slice in disks or dice into bite-size pieces. Be careful not to make them too small.
    • Kiwi: Peel the skin and then slice into disks. Discard the ends.
    • Mango: Peel the skin, and slice the flesh off the core. Dice the flesh into bite size pieces.
    • Orange: Using a knife, cut away the skin, exposing the orange slices. Use a sharp knife and cut out the segments.
  • In a Bowl, whip the Cream, Sugar, and Cinnamon until peaks form.
  • Plate the Fruit in small bowls, and add a dollop of the Whipped Cream.
  • Add Orange Zest and Mint as a Garnish.

Makes 3 servings.

NOTES: Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit are also known as “Indian Figs” or tuna in Spanish, and are the fruit of the Opuntia genus of cacti also known as Nopales. They come in a variety of colors, but I like the magenta ones.  The consistency is somewhat like watermelon, and the seeds are edible.  This fruit salad is great especially when chilled in the freezer for 20 minutes before serving (Obviously, you’d not put the Whipped Cream on till after you take it out and plate it).

Cál Ceannann – Colcannon – Mashed Potatoes with Kale

Ingredients:
8 Russet Potatoes, cleaned, chopped
10-12 oz Kale, stems removed
Water for Boiling
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
4 Tbsp Butter
4 Scallions, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste (be liberal)
1-2 Tbsp fresh Chives, minced

Directions:

  • Place the Potatoes in a large pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook till fork tender.
  • Strain and set to the side.
  • Using the same, fill half-way with water and bring to a boil. Add some salt.
  • Place the Kale in the boiling water, and let cook for 1 minute, until just tender.
  • Strain and run through cold water.
  • Roll out some paper towels and place the Kale on it, and let the water drain. You can cover the Kale with more paper towels–just make sure you get as much water out as possible.
  • Remove to a cutting board, and chop fine.
  • In a large bowl, mash the Potatoes with the Heavy Cream and Butter.
  • Mix in the Kale and Scallion to the Potatoes. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Garnish with the Chives

Makes 8 servings.

NOTES: Colcannon is a traditional Irish mashed potatoes that incorporates Kale or other types of Cabbage. It is very basic, and very easy to make, though you can add some additional flavor by adding some cubed Ham, or crumbled bacon. The use of Kale specifically rather than a head cabbage suggest it is best for the Winter months–though really you can make it all year.

Colcannon is also a traditional Halloween food in Ireland, wherein the host places a ring, coin, thimble, and/or button. This is similar to finding a “baby Jesus” in a three-kings cake, or a coin in Christmas pudding. The Ring means the person will get married in the year; the coin means the person will come into money; the thimble and button mean the person will be a spinster or bachelor.

Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Sesame Oil
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 Tbsp minced Ginger
1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1/2 cup Soy Sauce

Directions:

  • Whisk together all ingredients.

Makes a little over 1 cup

NOTES: If not served immediately, the dressing will separate. Just whisk together when ready to serve. To add an extra kick, you may choose to add some Wasabi to it…just be careful.

Purée de Carottes – Mashed Carrots

Purée de Carottes

Ingredients:
1 lbs. Baby Carrots
1/2 cup Orange Juice
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 slice Ginger
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
1 Bay Leaf
2 sprigs Thyme
1 sprig Rosemary
2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Water for boiling

Directions:

  • Place the Carrots in the a Sauce pan with the Orange Juice and enough additional Water to cover over the Carrots.
  • Tie the Bay Leaf, Rosemary, and Thyme into a bouquet garni, and place in the water with the Carrots.
  • Add the crushed Garlic, and the slice of Ginger.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
  • Drain, and remove the Bouquet Garni, and Ginger (keep the Garlic).
  • Place in a Food Processor and mix with the Cumin, Butter, and Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Place in a serving dish, and garnish with the Parsley.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Carrots are hard to manually mash because of their fibrous nature. Thus, I have employed the use of a Food Processor. You may also choose to cook it with a potato and mash it with it as well.

Variations
Ṽ›Ɣ – Replace the Butter with Margarine.

Brussels Sprouts in Pomegranate Butter Sauce

Ingredients
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, cleaned and quartered vertically.
1 Shallot, minced
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Honey
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
1/4 tsp Corn Starch
1/2 cup Pomegranate Seeds
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  • Melt the Butter in a medium skillet on a medium flame.
  • Saute the Shallots in the Butter, until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Toss in the Brussels Sprouts, and coat with the Butter and Shallots.
  • Drizzle in the Honey, and mix well.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the Chicken Stock and Corn Starch.
  • Add to the skillet, and bring to a simmer, stirring well.
  • Remove to a bowl, and toss in the Pomegranate seeds.
  • Season to taste.

Makes about 4 servings.

NOTES: So this was an experiment that went over well. The tender buttery Brussels Sprouts are a great contrast to the crisp sweet Pomegranate. The colors also are very pleasing–and Christmasy for those who want a little extra festive bunch of Sprouts! Though, I certainly will not be waiting till the Yuletide to eat mine. They’d be great as a side at any Valentine’s day dinner.

Chess Pie

Ingredients
1 Pâte Brisée for 9″ shell
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp Cornmeal
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
5 eggs
2/3 cup Buttermilk

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Cream the Sugars, Butter, Corn Meal, Cinnamon, and Vanilla Extract.
  • Slowly beat in each egg.
  • Finally, beat in the Buttermilk gradually.
  • Roll out your Pâte Brisée to 1/8 inch thick, and big enough for a 9″ pie. Place in pie pan and crimp the edges as you desire.
  • Pour filling into the shell.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until it has set. The edges may brown slightly.

Makes 1 pie.

NOTES: I cannot find any definitive reason why Chess Pie is called so. Some theories say it is because it came to the Americas from Chester, England. Other theories say it comes from a pie chest (or piece of furniture for pies). All I know, is it is very common in the South, and always made with buttermilk! I highly discourage making this with cream or milk, unless you add a little of vinegar.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, halved
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Steak Spice Rub
1-2 tsp Olive Oil
Water for Steaming

Directions

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Place the Sprouts in a steamer, and bring to a boil.
  • Cook until the Sprouts start to turn bright green, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Toss the Sprouts in a bowl with the Olive oil, Steak Spice Rub, and Salt.
  • Place on a baking sheet, and roast for 15 minutes.
  • Turn on the Broiler.
  • Move the baking sheet under the Broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until a desired brown is on the top.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables–looking at the various recipes on this blog can show you that. I loved them from a young age…probably due to the Jolly Green Giant’s buttery version. This, so far, has been Michael’s favorite version of Brussels Sprouts, as they are extremely healthy, but also very flavorful.

Though in general, I use Kosher Salt or Sea Salt, I have to really push the Sea Salt for this, because of its coarse nature–roasts amazingly.

Ratatouille Niçoise Rustique

Ratatouille Niçoise Rustique

Ingredients:
3-4 Tomatoes, ripe
1 lg Zucchini, diced
1 Japanese Eggplant, diced
1 – 2 Bell Peppers
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
5 cloves Garlic, sliced
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 sprig fresh Rosemary
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
2 tsp fresh Basil, chopped fine
2 tsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 cup Pinot Grigio or other Dry white wine.
1 Tbsp Salt
Pepper to taste
Water for Parboiling

Directions:

  • Bring a Pot of water to a boil. This will be used to help remove the skins from the Tomatoes.
  • While the water is being brought to a boil, prepare all the vegetables. When dicing, try to keep the sizes of the items the same.
  • When the water boils, use tongs, to place the Tomatoes into the water for 45 seconds. Remove them and peel the skins off. Be careful as they will be hot.
  • Slice the Tomatoes horizontally and scoop out the seeds. Remove the stem from the top half by cutting it out with a paring knife.
  • In a Dutch Oven, add the Onions, Garlic, and Bell Peppers to 1/2 the Olive Oil and 1/2 the Salt.
  • Saute on medium heat, sweating the onions, and cooking down the Peppers for 2-3 minutes.
  • In a separate skillet, add the Zucchini and Eggplant to the remaining Olive Oil and Salt.
  • Saute on medium-low heat, allowing the sides of the Zucchini and Eggplant to brown a little–about 3-6 minutes.
  • Stir both pots often so as to not allow anything to burn.
  • Add the Tomatoes and herbs to the Onion Pepper mixture and cook until the Zucchini and Eggplant in the other pot are lightly browned.
  • Add the Zucchini and Eggplant to the Tomato Mixture.
  • Add the Wine at this point, and mix well.
  • Let stew on the lowest setting, covered for 30-40 minutes, stirring often, to make sure nothing is sticking. Remove the Bay Leaf and Sprigs of Herbs before serving.

Makes 4 side-dish servings.

NOTES: Ratatouille is a Provencal dish–often called a peasant dish because of the simple ingredients. In the 1970s it became popular in America thanks to Julia Childs. There was a resurgence in the first decade of the 21st century with Disney’s Ratatouille, a film about a French rat who dreams of becoming a chef–and succeeds! I will admit, that my desire to make this came solely from the movie–yes I hold my head in shame. One aspect of the movie does ring true, and spoke to me, and that was the common mantra that “Anyone Can Cook”. And I think that is VERY important to remember.

Looking at the Ratatouille recipes that were out there, I noticed that their production suggested the individual cooking of each vegetable–something that just seems counter-intuitive to a “peasant” dish, but rather a chef’s way to keep individual flavors and deal with varying cooking times. My version uses two cooking dishes, dividing up the items based on how I thought it would be best to cook them.

This serves as a side dish but can also be served over Rice or Pasta as an entree.  I prefer it as a side dish with a good roast.

Brussels Sprouts in a Maple Butter Sauce

Brussels Sprouts in a Maple Butter Sauce

Ingredients:
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, cleaned, quartered
2 Tbsp Butter
4 Tbsp Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 clove Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a sauce pan on high heat, melt the Butter into the Chicken Broth with the Maple Syrup.
  • Add all other Ingredients, and coat the sprouts well.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes on high heat, stirring constantly, or until the sprouts are tender.

Makes 4 servings

NOTES: This is a super simple way of doing Sprouts with a nice Autumn flavor. The Butter and Maple Syrup cut the bitterness of the Sprouts amazingly. I love Brussels Sprouts and finding new ways to eat them is a treat.

Sautéed Spinach Parmesan

Sautéed Spinach Parmesan

Ingredients:
1 lb Baby Spinach, cleaned
6-8 cloves Garlic, sliced length-wise thinly
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
Juice of 1 Lemon
6-8 Tbsp grated Parmesan, or equivalent shaved Parmesan
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions

  • Heat the Oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  • Add the Crushed Red Pepper and Garlic, and saute for 30 seconds to let the oils infuse with the Olive Oil. Stir, and do not let it brown.
  • Add the Baby Spinach with tongs.
  • Let cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until it begins to wilt, using the tongs to stir so none burn.
  • Squeeze the Juice of the Lemon over the Spinach, and toss.
  • Plate the Spinach and top with the Parmesan.
  • Keeping in mind, the Parmesan can be salty, season to taste.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTE: I love sauteed spinach, but prefer to use Baby Spinach because it usually comes prepackaged, cleaned, and is easier to eat. I like mine Lemony, Garlicky, with a mix of Hot from the Crushed Red Pepper soothed by the nutty, salty Parmesan. This is also a very QUICK side dish to make, and can often be done with oil used for accompanying chicken dishes–so less mess!