Shameless self promotion with Turkey Day Pictures

And by turkey, we mean lamb. Because we don’t much like turkey. And really like lamb.

So first, the shameless self promotion:
As we have said before, we cook for Feastly. It’s a lot of fun and if you’re ever in DC, you should come to one. Preferably one of ours, but there’s quite a few good cooks on Feastly in the DC area. And right now, Feastly is trying to get more people to sign up. So, the first five people who sign up using this link will have a $10 credit in their account. Full disclaimer: we get $10 too, once you sign up to attend a meal.

On to the pictures!

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I’m failing to think of a clever title

Does it seem like I’m keeping most of the recipes I try to y’all? Does to me… Might be because most of the new ones I find are through TheKitchn.com – who knows where they get them, but presumably someone has tried it out before the post goes up (and the bad ones don’t get posted). I think they’ve got enough writers that all the published recipes get tested before hand – unlike cookbooks and magazines who are under a deadline… So at least one layer of filtering before I ever try the recipe.

I’m hoping it’s also that I’m developing a sense of what usually works together and don’t add the ones that won’t to the queue of things to try – it’s nice when your own actions/abilities are a factor in the outcome 🙂

So what’s the recipe I’m keeping this time?

Sweet potato, caramelized onions, sausage, and eggs hash. While that definitely sound like a breakfast type of food to me, Adam and I happily used the leftovers for lunches that week. Because when there’s only two people in the house and you make an 8 serving recipe, there’s gonna be leftovers. This is basically a meal-in-a-bowl (definitely not a one-pot recipe) that really does work for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Probably gonna be most impressive at brunch though – the partial cook ahead of the sweet potatoes, onions, and sausage can let you make a very pretty presentation with the eggs (and a cast-iron skillet if you got one).

For those of you who don’t eat pork, I see no reason this wouldn’t work with chicken, turkey, or other non-pork sausage. Vegetarians, I haven’t cooked with non-meat sausage enough to have a feel if it would work or not. Give it a try and let me know, would you? I’d like to know and think you might get to it before I can get back to this recipe. Thanks! 🙂

Sweet potato, onion, sausage, and egg hash

Original from TheKitchn
Makes 8 servings
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 19; Breakfasts: 1 recipe left

  • 2 lb onions (2 should do)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • table salt
  • 1 lb your favorite sausage (chorizo is rather good too), sliced
  • 3 lb sweet potatoes (about 3)
  • 8 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves or 2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

To serve:

  • large eggs
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil, parchment paper, or a Silpat.
  2. Peel the onions, slice in half lengthwise, cut into thin moons, then cut the moons in half. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter until it foams. When it starts foaming, add the onions and sprinkle with salt. Do not worry about cramming, everything will cook down. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are a very dark brown. If the onions appear to start burning, lower the heat. They will probably cook for 30-45 minutes before turning the very dark brown.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, chopping it into smaller pieces with a spatula. Cook until browned and beginning to crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain off excess fat.
  4. While the onions and sausage cook, chop the unpeeled sweet potatoes into about 1/2 inch to a side cubes. Finely mince the garlic and fresh rosemary, if using. In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, garlic and rosemary (fresh or dried) with the olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper.
  5. When the onions and sausage finish cooking, toss them in the sweet potato mix as well. Spread the mix out evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Roast in the 450°F oven until the potatoes are soft and browned, about 30-45 minutes.
  6. You can at this point, refrigerate the hash for up to 5 days and finish off (detailed below) the day of serving – Adam and I continued straight through and it worked fine. But! I think this would be an awesome way to prep during the weekend for guests during the week.
  7. Heat the oven to 425°F. Spread a relatively thin layer of the cooked hash in a baking dish, cast iron skillet, or individual ramkins. Make small wells in the potatoes and crack eggs into those wells. Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are hot and eggs are cooked through. If you like your eggs runnier, cook for less time – the sweet potatoes and everything are already cooked and safe to eat. Serve with Parmesan cheese on top, if you like.

All the weekend work for food ready for travel

These pockets too had all the moving parts. The difference here is that the end results are worth it (it may have something to do with doing this over the weekend, rather than a weeknight). I rather like making dough and this dough was just a pleasure to work with – neither too sticky nor too dry, easy to roll out into (almost) the shape I wanted, easy to handle, and cooked great. Both Adam and I liked the combination of mashed sweet potatoes, kale, and lentils. Which is good, for the purposes of expanding our food repertoire, lentils being new to us 🙂

And who doesn’t like caramelized onions? I seriously need to try out the caramelizing onions in a slow cooker thing though. Wha. Tasty tasty onions – take forever though. Well, it feels like forever while standing up.

Adam and I have been using these as dinners on the evenings we have classes (Adam grad school, me I’m taking an intro class in ASL [American Sign Language] after work). The pockets work great being frozen and then slowly defrosting over the day in our bags. Hurrah for reusable sandwich bags for catching the defrosting ice/water.

Whole Wheat Lentil Pockets

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes 6 pockets
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 25; Lunches: 2 recipes left

Dough

  • 1 cup warm (neither hot nor boiling) water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Filling

  • 3 small to medium sized sweet potatoes (not yams. As Adam would say “They’re entirely different SPECIES!”)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed & picked over (also known as French green lentils and Puy lentils)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch of kale, ribs and tough stems removed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Combine the water and yeast (I use the measuring cup for the water); let sit until yeast dissolves.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the whole wheat and all-purpose flour, plus the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer; mix on low speed with a dough hook. Add the olive oil and dissolved yeast; mix on low until a shaggy dough forms. Pull the dough out and knead on a clean board until the dough is smooth and elastic. Lightly grease the bowl with a little olive oil, butter, or spray; return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise until doubled in volume, about 1-2 hours.
  3. When the dough is set aside to rise, start preheating the oven to 400°F. Prick the sweet potatoes several times with a fork or other pointy object. Place on a baking sheet or wrap in aluminum foil and place directly on the oven rack. Bake until very soft to the touch, about 45 minutes to an hour. Set aside to cool.
  4. Once the sweet potatoes are in the oven, cut the onion in half. Thinly slice one half and set aside; dice the other half. Warm about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; sauté the diced onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the cumin, cinnamon, and allspice; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the lentils and water to the saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. While the lentils are simmering, cut the kale into bite-sized pieces. Add the kale and salt to the lentils then cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes more – the lentils should be soft but not mushy. Taste and adjust seasonings here. Transfer the kale and lentils mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving most of the cooking liquid in the pot.
  6. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. The thinner the slice, the sooner this will happen – thin enough and you might even hit the original recipe’s 20-25 minute estimate.
  7. Once the sweet potatoes are out of the oven, increase the heat to 450°F. Divide the dough into 6 balls and let rest, loosely covered (with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel), for 20 minutes. While the dough is resting, peel the sweet potatoes and mash in a bowl until smooth. Add a sprinkle of salt if necessary. If the potatoes are a bit underdone, cutting them into 1 inch chunks will make the mashing go faster.
  8. On a floured board, roll a ball of dough into an 8 or 9 inch circle. Spread 1/6 of the sweet potato mash (~1/4 cup) over one half of the dough, leaving a boarder around the edges – this is where the dough will seal together. Add 1/6 of the lentil mixture (~1/3 cup) over the sweet potatoes, and top with some of the caramelized onions. Fold the unused half of the dough over the filling, then pinch and fold the edges to seal the pocket shut. Transfer to a greased or parchment papered baking sheet, brush the top with olive oil, and cut 2-3 small slits in the top for steam to escape. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes (or until browned). If serving now, let cool for at least 5 minutes before hand. Otherwise, let cool on the baking sheet and then transfer the entire baking sheet to the freezer. Once completely frozen, wrap each pocket individually and store in a freezer safe container. To eat, thaw and reheat in a microwave (or oven), or eat at room temperature.

Whole Wheat Lentil Pockets

2nd time around for everything

So we got broken into. Again.

The thieves took my laptop. Again.

And my camera. Again.

I am a mite… annoyed by this, as you may guess. But the upshot is that there’s no pictures this time.

So these dumplings were the second dumpling recipe I’ve had sitting in my binder for a while. It is getting to be that time, when I dig in and just make the time to try these recipes. I admit though, I did look at the instructions on making the dough for these dumplings, go ‘Nope!’, and bought wonton wrappers. I do think that might have been part of the problem – I have yet to pan-fry OR steam dumplings such that they don’t stick to the pan. Maybe I needed to mash those sweet potatoes more, get out all the lumps. Not that I think that affected the cooking, just that they might have tasted better. Having to roast and mash potatoes before even starting the recipe is not one of those things that are going to endear a recipe to me either. Maybe y’all make mash potatoes or sweet potatoes on a semi-regular basis and just setting 1/2 cup aside to use later wouldn’t be a problem for you, but mashed potato types aren’t on regular rotation around here. Rice makes a more regular appearance around these parts.

At this point, I’m counting two things against this particular recipe, and I haven’t even gotten to the kicker – they just weren’t that interesting to eat. Not for me or Adam.

Yet another recipe I won’t be keeping. Maybe I should just acknowledge that the remaining three recipes should be skipped and move on with my life…. But I’ve already got the pears to poach this week, Adam really wants to try (taste) the bread pudding in the binder, and I really want to try making mozzarella. … That last one may end up in the next round of recipes regardless – I just don’t see having the time in the next couple of months to track down rennet and try this out. Darn it.

Any way! on with the recipe

Pan-Fried Steamed Sweet Potato and Pork Dumplings

More than I remembered to count
Original from Mission Food
Recipe Count – 3 left
Section Count – Black Binder:  1 more left, Subsection – Appetizers: 0! No More! (happy Laura)

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 3 tbsp sake
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers
  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F and wrap the sweet potatoes in aluminum foil. Place in the oven and roast until cooked through and soft-ish when squeezed (using a hot pad! Oh gods, don’t test squeeze aluminum wrapped potatoes with your bare hands), about 1 hour.
  2. Mean while, brown the ground pork and set aside
  3. Peel the potatoes, chop the flesh into chunks, and mash within a bowl until most of the lumps are gone. A potato masher makes this much easier, although fork(s) will work. Add the browned pork, sake, soy sauce, and five spice powder to the potatoes; mix well.
  4. Place between 1 and 2 tsp of filling into the center of each wrapper. Seal the wrapper closed, either with a press to smoosh the edges together or with a little bit of water run between the edges.
  5. Steam the dumplings in a wok or steamer basket until cooked – about 10 minutes. Remove, allow to cool, and eat.

In which I finally get back to trying out new (to me) recipes

So that was a thing, my missing Thursday for posting. I’m sorry y’all, there wasn’t any emergency or thing that made me miss, I just ran out of time and brain-space. And didn’t post that to the front page like I should have. Mea culpa.

After that un-planned break, I think I should be getting back to some basics around here and concentrate on posting some new-to-me recipes, trying them out for you. Let’s get started with Sweet Potato Leek Hashbrowns.

Unfortunately, this one wasn’t too interesting. Now, maybe I needed a blacktop or to have squeezed out more water from the russet potato or browned it more in the pan (although I think longer and it would have started burning rather than crisping like I wanted). But whatever it was, this one didn’t really turn into anything. Just kinda warmed separate ingredients – flavor blending – and it’s not like a russet potato and a sweet potato are that different from each other that the contrast is all kinds of interesting.  Also, texture – I would have liked there to be some texture contrasts please. On the other hand, it was a pretty fast recipe. And surprisingly, easily substituted for rice to accompany a stir-fry recipe. What can I say, I decided I needed to make a new recipe, picked this one, decided I needed something fast and in my cooking comfort zone so I wasn’t going crazy coordinating multiple recipes on a week-night, picked a stir-fry, looked at my proposed menu and then shrugged in a ‘whatever’ and continued onwards. ::shrugs:: Potatoes, rice, they’re both starches. It worked out okay. For a random week-night dinner – no worries, I wouldn’t serve a menu like that to anyone other than the very tolerant cook around here.

In conclusion – unless you really like hashbrowns and think you can make this work, don’t bother. Too much work grating potatoes for the end result.

To make up for the sadness of an unhappy recipe, there will be French Bread afterwards.

Sweet Potato Leek Hashbrowns

Recipe Count – 33 left
Section Count – Side dishes: 1 more left
Original from Tara’s Multicultural Table

Serves 4

  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a leek
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • salt, pepper to taste
  1. Peel both potatoes. Grate the russet potato; place the pieces on a dry kitchen towel and roll it up tightly. Grate the sweet potato. Slice the leek in half and clean between the layers. Thinly slice the white part.
  2. In a large pan over medium-high heat, drizzle the oil. Add the leeks to the heated pan. Cook until beginning to turn golden. Squeeze out any excess water from the russet potato filled towel. Unwrap and add to the leeks, along with the sweet potato and garlic.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring about every 2 minutes, until potatoes are tender, 9-10 minutes. Season to taste and serve immediately.

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And now, as promised, French Bread

French Bread

and before you ask how I got that the shape… I own a french loaf pan. This is what happens when you let me loose in Williams-Sonoma with a gift card and a stocked kitchen at home. I buy weird single use tools for bread.

In which I, once again, brave a whole chicken

I am what you might call a bit squeamish – I have never dealt with fish that wasn’t scaled and cut into usable chunks, their eyes freak me out at the fishmonger’s, the fetal pig in high school biology was interesting once it got opened up but I couldn’t force myself to do the opening up, I’ve never hunted any animals,  never watched an animal being slaughtered, plucked a chicken, and so on. In fact, the first time I dealt with a whole chicken, post slaughter and plucking thank you, was in grad school – 2011. I don’t even remember what the plan for it was – maybe Adam was going to roast it and then make stock out of the bones. But any rate, we got it home and Adam leaves it to me, because it’s good for me, gods curse it. So the chicken is still in it’s grocery given wrapper, sitting in the kitchen sink, butt up. I split the packaging open and get a good look at the gizzards in the chicken butt opening.

“Honey? How do I get the gizzards out?”
“Reach in and yank.”
“You mean… I just stick my hand up a chicken’s butt… and pull?”
“Well, twist then yank, but yeah.”

Commence staring at the chicken for about a minute.

Adam wanders in to see what I’m up to.

Continue staring at the chicken for 30 seconds.

Adam reaches around, sticks his hand in the chicken’s interior cavity, grabs the paper wrapped gizzards and pulls.

“I was getting there!”

….

So yeah, I’ve mostly left the roastings of chickens, soups, stews, and stocks to Adam. It’s kinda as much his thing as baking is mine. But it’s a sill area of cooking that I should have some skill in, right? Enter the Roast Chicken with Wasabi Chive Butter with a side dish of Sweet Potato Tots with Spicy Ketchup.

The Spice Bible, which is where the chicken recipe is originally from, is a) the most recent cookbook I did my block of copying recipes from and b) a gift from Adam. The photography is gorgeous, things are organized by type of spice then individual spice (so, all the recipes highlighting cardamom is under the cardamom subsection of the seeds and pods section), the intro to each spice gives you enough to go on with enough hooks to look in farther if you want, and there’s an index of topics and an index of recipes. Yes, I notice the indexes of cookbooks and use them as a selling point. If you think they don’t matter, contemplate trying to navigate the Joy of Cooking without a index for a second. We good here? Good.

Yeah, the cataloging librarian who’s on and off contemplating taking courses on book indexing for a second job (…third after the blog…) feels strongly about the organization of information/metadata. I do recognize though that if I do my job really well, you’ll never notice because it’s just seamlessly integrated into your life. And I think that’s a good thing. Up until it’s time to argue for funding the public library. [Expletive].

Where was I… Oh right, FOOD and RECIPES. So far, the recipes from the Spice Bible have been decent – interesting enough to get me thinking more about my cooking but not wowing me yet. Once again, I think any one with a working olfactory system is going to get more out of these recipes than I have been – a lot of spices are aromatic based, so recipes highlighting spices and combinations of spices on me might be like trying to teach a tone-deaf person the difference between middle C and upper C. Which I totally don’t hear the difference between either. Wharg, I’m depressing myself about my sensory system here. Pffrt. Back to food.

So, I may have accidentally chosen an advanced course chicken roasting recipe for my second go – this one includes the step of rubbing butter between the skin and breast meat. It was actually not as difficult as it sounds. Once you get over touching chicken skin (look, I’m prejudice, I think handling chicken skin and guts and stuff is grosser than beef, pork, and lamb – maybe I’ll change my mind if I ever deal with skin on any of those, but for now? Whole chicken is pretty gross. Tasty results, not fun prep) and assuming you have actually gotten your butter to room temperature, it’s just a wiggle to loosen the skin, shove some butter underneath, and smoosh it down the chicken breast by smoothing the skin. Kept the breast meat very moist and tender, even if this particular recipe is nowhere near spicy enough to something with ‘wasabi chive butter’ in the title.

All in all, I’d give it maybe a 5 out of 10. Good, solid working recipe but I’m more interested in the technique of flavored butter going between skin and meat than the particular flavored butter combo of the recipe – I think it should work with your flavored butter of choice.

Roast Chicken with Wasabi Chive Butter

Recipe Count – 38 left
Section Count – Poultry: 2 left
serves 4 with leftovers. Also bones for making stock.
Adapted from The Spice Bible

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened or room temperature
  • 2 tbsp wasabi paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • about 3 tbsp snipped chives
    • this is mostly to taste, but make sure there’s enough to be very visible in the butter
  • 1 whole chicken, 4-5 lb, rinsed well & patted dry
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • sea salt, to season
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine the butter, wasabi paste, garlic, and chives in a small bowl. Starting a the opening of the chicken, carefully loosen the skin over the whole breast of the chicken. This works best using your fingers. Place the butter under the skin and smooth over to evenly distribute.
    Buttered
  2. Combine the vegetable oil and sesame oil; paint over the chicken with a basting brush. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the chicken, then sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Place in a roasting pan and cook for 1 hour & 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced, or a meat thermometer says 165°F minimum (lightly cooked) up to 180°F.
  3. Rest for 10 minutes before carving and then drizzle the pan juices over the meat.

Roasted

And now for bonus recipe:

Sweet Potato Tots with Spicy Ketchup

Recipe count: 37 left
Section count:  Side dishes – 2 left
Makes about 20 tots
Adapted from the Ginger Bear Kitchen

This one was pretty good, but took too much time for my cost/benefit analysis. This one is going in the recycling but y’all may like sweet potatoes more, so I’m sharing. Don’t make the mistake I did and substitute whatever breadcrumbs you have on hand for the panko – the crunchiness from the panko will probably make this recipe.

Tots

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • salt, pepper to taste

Ketchup

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tbsp (1.5 tsp) Sriracha hot chili sauce, or to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Poke the sweet potato a few times with a fork, then place it straight on the oven rack of the heated oven. Bake for 50 minutes.
  2. Allow the potato to cool, then using your hands, peel the skin off. Mash with the butter, and season with the Parmesan, salt and Pepper.
  3. Place a wire rack on top of a foil-lined baking sheet and the panko in a shallow bowl. Form the mashed sweet potatoes into about 1/2 tbsp sized balls and roll them in the panko. Transfer to the wire rack and continue until no sweet potato remains.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the crumbs brown slightly. Meanwhile, mix the ketchup and Sriracha. Serve.