Dinner

Friday Instagram Round-Up 6

Oh, Friday. You know what that means…Instagram round-up! And weekend. Oh, I love me the weekend. The weather has been so beautiful lately here, I can’t wait to get out in the sunshine. Our yard is definitely in need of some de-winterizing (i.e., get rid off all the brown), but we already have blossoms on the plum tree and jasmine bushes. The jasmine smell in the morning is enchanting; great way to wake up. I also have a Prohibition-themed birthday party for some friends this weekend… Post to follow next week!

In the meantime, let’s get to Instagramming, shall we?

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Celeriac and artichoke heart soup with some crusty bread. Perfect winter to spring transition dinner.

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Working on my presentation: grilled chicken, sautéed Brussel sprouts on a baked polenta cake.

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Discovered in my make-up case: Jane brand cosmetics circa 1998. Hello my name is Jillian and I’m a hoarder.

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Reinventing the wheel, or rather, the rice bowl; broiled salmon and steamed asparagus over rainbow quinoa.

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Dinner at The Vine, a wine & tapas bar in San Leandro. Those beans are ridic.

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Avocado-chocolate mousse, recipe courtesy of A Cozy Kitchen. Super creamy and rich. You must make this.

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The little things in life: opening up my dictionary at work to the EXACT page I needed. I may have squealed in excitement.

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Fried brown rice, roasted pork tenderloin and soft boiled egg yolk. Delish.

Friday Instagram Round-Up 5

Hello! So, I missed last week’s round-up. But, I only had a couple of photos (what with a week of late work nights and eating out), so I thought I would roll last week’s into this week’s. So here we go!

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I am currently trying to grow out a pixie cut while trying to avoid that whole Justin Beiber/mullet look. I find dark red lipstick helps.

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Sunday movie night: Bernie with Jack Black and curried kobucha squash and quinoa and kale soup.

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Easy Dinner 1: chicken and sweet pepper stir fry over rice.

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Easy Dinner, The Sequel: penne and pork tenderloin in tomato sauce.

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Saturday night, couple’s dinner with Kat and Kris: veggies with hollandaise.

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Me. Instagramming Kat. Instagramming dinner. Meta.

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Pork and cucumber meatballs with yogurt sauce. The best.

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And, of course, boeuf bourguignon to finish us out.

Have a great weekend friends!

Follow me on Instagram @thehumblegourmet

Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes

Sunchokes & Golden Beets

Hi!  How are you?!  I’ve missed you!  How was your Christmas/New Years/Chanakah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice?  Are you hungry?

Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes
Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  I used to, until I figured out that I feel into a shame spiral the second I broke them.  Which I always did.  Usually around the 6th of January.  I suck at resolutions.

So, instead I make goals.  Goals, as opposed to resolutions, seem a little more flexible.  A little less rigid.  You can break a resolution, but you can’t really break a goal.  You just keep working towards them.  You can stumble, go a little off track, but it’s a constant process, which works better for me personally.  Resolutions are either on or off; goals are a journey.

Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes
One of my goals, really a goal I try continue and build on every year, is to maintain healthy eating.  What is my idea of healthy eating?  No processed food, vegetable heavy, lean proteins, not too much sugar, healthy fats.  Basically, more food from the earth than from the factory.  Foods that give me energy instead of zapping it.  I can tell throughout my whole body when I’ve been maintaining a healthy diet; my skin is clearer, my energy is higher and cleaner.  I have a fairly sensitive stomach and have had a lot of issues with digestion, so when my system feels very clean and on track, I know that I’ve been eating healthily.  So, healthy food goals are a constant in my life. 

Golden Beets & Sunchokes
  

These galettes feel good.  Nutty whole-wheat and brown butter crust, golden beets and sunchokes marinated in sherry vinegar and good olive oil, a little thyme and a handful of pea shoots on top.  Very simple preparation, to allow the delicious root veggies to shine. 

I like golden beets best; they don’t have as much of that super-earthy (read: dirt) flavoring that red beets have, which could really over-power the sunchokes in this dish.  The sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes), like a light buttery cross between an artichoke heart and a potato, are so subtle and lovely.  I made chips from them and soup this week, and have many more plans for this fantastic winter veggie.  This dish is perfectly filling without overwhelming.  A side salad of arugula, watermelon radishes and pomegranate seeds will round out this little dinner perfectly.

Stay tuned for some more healthy eating recipes this month, including my first ever giveaway at the end of the month!  I’m so excited!!!

What are your goals and resolutions for the new year?  THG

Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes
Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes

Pastry crust:

6 Tbsp.  unsalted butter, divided

1 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/8-1/4 cup ice water

Filling:

1 golden beet, sliced 1/16” thick

2 small sunchokes, sliced 1/16” thick

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

pea shoots for garnish

In a small saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat.  Let cook until butter begins to brown.  Remove from heat and let cool.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sea salt and black pepper.  Add remaining 4 Tbsp. butter, cubed and cold.  Using a pastry cutter or your hands, mix butter into the flour mixture until broken down and resembling coarse crumbs.  Add cooled brown butter and mix to combine.  Add ice water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until dough begins to come together.  Turn out onto a floured surface and shape into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

While dough is setting, mix golden beet and sunchoke  slices with olive oil, vinegar, thyme, sea salt and pepper in a small bowl until well coated.  Let marinate until ready for use.

Preheat oven to 375 °F.  On a well-floured surface, divide dough in half.  Roll one half into a rough circle, about 1/8” thick.  Place on a ungreased baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough.

In the center of each dough circle, place 5 beet slices, overlapping.  Place 5 sunchoke slices on top of the beets.  Fold in the sides of the dough over the veggies to form a crust, leaving a 2” or so opening.  Sprinkle pea shoots on top.  Bake in the center of oven until crust is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  Serve warm.

Serves 2

Quick Pumpkin Soup

Quick Pumpkin Soup

I have been actively trying to will autumn to start.  I love the fall.  The clothes, the food, the weather, the smells, the holidays.  In the Bay Area, we don’t really have the changing of the leaves like you do in New England, but the weather is just so cool and crisp and lovely.  And you have sweaters and boots.  And squash.  And stews.  And Halloween and crunchy leaves and cider.  It’s all just so cozy and comforting.  And I want it to start.  NOW.

So, in an attempt to kick start the season, I decided to make pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies.  The only problem with pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies?  The recipe calls for 1 cup of pumpkin puree, but canned pumpkin puree only comes in those enormous, pumpkin pie-sized cans.  You know, like this:

Canned Pumpkin Puree

It’s a mother can of pumpkin.  So, what do you do with the remaining 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin after you’re done with the cookies?  Make some soup!

Quick Pumpkin Soup

This is really a 20 minutes, start to finish soup.  And that finish is delicious.

I’ve had a lot of pumpkin soups that were on the sweeter side, with quince and butternut squash or sweet potato and cinnamon.  I really didn’t want to do a sweet pumpkin soup.  I wanted something hearty and definitely savory.  Ancho chile and crème fraiche and a sprinkling of pancetta really create that great, autumnal, savory comfort food flavor.  A drizzling of basil oil on top completely rounds out all the earthy flavors of this soup.

Come on in autumn!  Soup’s on!  THG

Quick Pumpkin Soup

Quick Pumpkin Soup

2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 garlic cloves, smashed

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder

1 tsp. ground paprika

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 cup crème fraiche

1 cup pancetta, fried until crunchy

Basil Oil (recipe follows)

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add crushed garlic to olive oil and brown without letting it burn.  Add chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Add pumpkin puree and mix well.  Add ancho chile powder, paprika and salt and mix.  Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add crème fraiche and using an immersion blender or a stand blender, puree soup until smooth.  Serve immediately garnished with basil oil and fried pancetta.

Serves 4

Basil Oil

2 cups fresh basil

1 cup olive oil

In a blender puree basil leaves and olive oil for 2-3 minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Will keep for 1 week.

Sautéed Mushrooms and Mashed Potatoes

Sauteed Mushrooms and Mashed Potatoes

I am definitely someone who enjoys their alone time.  I always have.  My mom tells this story about when I was around 4 years old and we were on a big snow trip with a group of family friends.  All the kids were together sledding and tubing and I was off by myself building a snowman, away from the group.  When my mom’s friend asked why I wasn’t joining in with the other kids, my mom said that I just needed to be by myself occasionally.  And it’s still true.  At work, I have to be very social, helping members with whatever they need and maintaining a friendly disposition.  So, by the end of the day and especially the end of the week, a little alone time is much needed.  Luckily, Shawn is someone who also likes his peace and quiet, so he understands my need to crack open a book or go online and just peace out.

Sauteed Mushroom Ingredients

Up until recently, Shawn had to work Sunday nights.  While I missed him (he’s my best bud; I always prefer to hang out with him rather than without!), I enjoyed my evening alone.  Why you ask?  Because I got to eat the things I can never make for him.  Roasted red peppers, tomato salad and sautéed mushrooms.

Mushrooms and Thyme

Oh Shawn, why can’t you like mushrooms?  Especially these mushrooms.  They are so delicious, so tender and flavorful and decadent without many ingredients and almost no effort.  Oh well, more for me.

I love to do a big pile of these buttery, wine soaked, herby mushrooms with a huge scoop of garlicy, creamy mashed potatoes.  Normally, I would make my own mashed potatoes, but for this particular dish, I did instant.  BLASPHEMY, you cry!  But these Idaho brand garlic mashed potatoes are completely yummy.  So buttons

Smile

Just a super quick, simple dinner for a night alone.  Warm, flavorful, delicious comfort food.

What do you like to eat on your nights alone?  THG

Sauteed Mushrooms and Mashed Potatoes

Sautéed Mushrooms

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 lb. button mushrooms, sliced

2/3 cup dry red wine

1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, minced

sea salt and pepper

In a medium sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add sliced mushrooms and toss to coat in the butter.  Cook until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.  Add half the wine.  Sauté, tossing frequently, until mushrooms absorb most of the wine.  Before the pan is completely dry, add the rest of the wine and cook down until thick and bubbling.  Remove from heat.  Add thyme, salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat.  Serve immediately over mashed potatoes.

Serves 2

Wasabi Crab Cakes

Wasabi Crab Cake Ingredients

I love Japanese food.

Seriously.  If I had to decide to eat only one type of food for the rest of my life, Japanese would be pretty high up there.  It’s all in the flavor profile: ginger, sesame, lemon, garlic, soy.  Lighter and more subtle than other Asian styles.  And of course, the wasabi.  Ahh, wasabi.

Japanese Cole Slaw

I am, self-admitted, a HUGE wimp when it comes to spice and heat levels.  Chilies completely overwhelm me, curry leaves me sweating, and don’t even get me started on cayenne pepper.  BUT, when out to sushi, I load my soy sauce with wasabi.  You know why I can handle wasabi?  Because it doesn’t linger.  It hits you, WHAM!, and then it’s gone.  No burned tongue, no water-gulping.  It comes and just as quick, it goes.  I think that’s why I can handle the heat of wasabi.  That, and it’s an excellent sinus clearer

Smile

Wasabi Crab Cakes

One of the best uses I’ve found for wasabi at home is in mashed potatoes.  I don’t want to undersell these: THEY ARE THE BEST MASHED POTATOES.  EVER.  Just like regular mashed potatoes, creamy and buttery, and then that hit of wasabi spice.  Just so, so good.  I eat these like whipped cream, fingerfuls at a time while making them.  It’s amazing that any of these potatoes actually make it to the table, so in love with them I am.  Yum, yum, yum.

I also love crab cakes with mashed potatoes as their base.  These could not be simpler: wasabi mashed potatoes, crab, little special soy sauce, all rolled in black sesame seeds and panko crumbs.  Bake until golden.  Just perfect.

Japanese Cole Slaw

The soy sauce I used for the crab cakes and the coleslaw is incredibly flavorful and incredibly simple.  Just a few slices of lemon, a few slices of peeled ginger, and a few crushed garlic cloves.  Pour soy sauce over them and let it all sit and marinate in the fridge for a day.  The lemon, ginger and garlic flavor the soy sauce in such a brilliant way, I swear you will never have soy sauce straight out of the bottle again.  Delish.

This coleslaw is also based on the coleslaw at a sushi restaurant near my work.  They top theirs with dried ginger and fish flakes, which really add something extra to it.  Not having these on hand, I just tossed in some sesame seeds and dried seaweed; different taste, but still delicious.

What’s your favorite flavor profile?  THG

Wasabi Crab Cakes

Wasabi Crab Cakes

For mashed potatoes:

1 1/2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

1/4 cup low-fat milk

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided

2 Tbsp. wasabi paste

salt and pepper

For cakes:

3 small cans crab meat, drained

2 Tbsp. lemon-garlic soy sauce

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds

In a large pot, bring potatoes and 1 Tbsp. butter to a boil in salted water.  Continue to boil, covered, until potatoes are fork-tender.  Drain.

Place potatoes in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium to break up potatoes.  While still hot, add milk and remaining 3 Tbsp. butter.  Beat on medium-high until potatoes are completely smooth and fluffy, without any lumps.  Mix in wasabi paste until combined.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Add crab meat and soy sauce to mashed potatoes and fold in gently.  Form potato mixture into 2” cakes, flattened slightly.  In a small bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs and sesame seeds.  Roll cakes in breadcrumb mixture until well-coated, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in center of oven until cakes are golden-brown, about 20-30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Serves 4-6

Japanese Coleslaw

3 cups shredded green cabbage

1/4 cup lemon-garlic soy sauce

2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. sesame seeds

In a measuring cup, whisk together soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil until smooth.  Toss with cabbage.  Top with sesame seeds.

Serves 4-6

The Best Roasted Chicken

The Best Roasted Chicken

You know what I love?  I love a meal that seems really fancy and involved and adult, but it really isn’t.  It’s really super simple, but delicious and grown-up and all kinds of impressive.  Roasted whole chicken, ahoy!

Roasted Chicken with Green Beans and Potatoes

Roasted chicken is the perfect meal for someone who is new to cooking and looking to impress.  You prep it, you stick it in the oven and you leave it.  And then you have juicy, crispy, aromatic deliciousness.  Some roasted potatoes and steamed green beans and you know what you have then?  Sunday dinner.  Good ol’ fashioned Sunday dinner.  Especially with this recipe.

The Best Roasted Chicken

There are a few specific but simple steps to get this extra crispy, extra juicy chicken just right.

First things first, wash the chicken really well, inside and out.  I know some people are a little squeamish dealing with a whole raw chicken; deep breaths, you can do this.  I’ve found it helps to sing the Super Chicken theme song.  You know, Super Chicken?  This guy?  Totally helps with the eww-factor.

Sidenote: Most chickens come with a bag of giblets, usually stuck in the cavity.  BE SURE TO REMOVE THIS BEFORE PREPARING YOUR BIRD.  The last thing you want is a plastic bag of giblets roasted into your chicken.  THAT would ruin Sunday dinner, trust me.

After you wash it, you’ll want to dry it thoroughly.  Bone dry.  Inside and out.  This is going to help the skin crisp up quicker without needing butter.  Just dry that bird out good.

I like to stuff the bird with a combination of fresh herbs and citruses.  Lemon and rosemary are a classic mix, though I usually toss an orange in for a little sweetness and fragrance.  Before stuffing the cavity, be sure to do a light salt and pepper rub.  I like to do a fresh, coarsely ground pepper and sea salt combo; it helps for a nice salty crust.  Grind a bit in a small bowl and combine for your rub.

After stuffing the bird, run your finger between the skin and meat to create a pocket on both sides of the breast.  There should be a small opening near the bottom of the breast on either side; just gently separate the skin from the tissue without puncturing the skin.  In a small bowl, combine lemon zest, salt, pepper, fresh chopped rosemary and thyme and a little bit of olive oil to a paste.  Rub this paste under the skin, on top of the meat.  You can massage the outside of the breast to get the herb rub to distribute evenly.  It’s amazing how flavorful the skin and breast will get from this rub; insane.

When dressing the bird, tie the legs together tightly with twine.  I do a figure 8 between the two legs with a couple of knots to make sure it stays tight throughout the roasting.  Tuck the wings in close to the body, sticking the ends between the thigh and body to keep them in place.  Keeping the body tightly packed will help it crisp up even more so. 

Before roasting the chicken, let it sit with the aromatics and citruses in it for about an hour.  This will allow the flavors to really seep into the chicken before baking; it will make all the difference in the flavor.  Bake it at a high heat for about 30 minutes to develop the crisp skin then lower the heat to continue roasting all the way through.  After lowering the heat, I like to baste the bird every 15 minutes or so to keep it juicy.  This is a really important step to keep it from drying out.  If you don’t have a baster, you can just spoon the juices on top of the bird.  Be sure to get all areas; the breast, wings and legs.    You’ll want to roast the bird until a meat thermometer reads 160º in the breast or 180º in the thigh or leg.  This is the minimum temperature to serve chicken safely at; be sure it roasts for long enough.

The Best Roasted Chicken

See that blackened rosemary?  After about 5 minutes, your entire house will smell like roasting rosemary.  It is the loveliest, most comforting scent, and it will leave you salivating for the next 90 minutes before you can actually dig into that bird.

Which, by the way, is delicious.  Super crisp skin, super juicy meat, with a lemony, herbal flavor laced in.  It is crazy delicious, and it will impress anyone you serve it to.  You don’t even have to tell them how easy it is; let them think you are an absolute culinary genius.  Mmm.  Sunday Super Chicken.  BUCK-ACK!  THG

The Best Roasted Chicken

The Best Roasted Chicken

1 4-5 lb. whole roasting chicken

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

2 medium lemons, 1 zested and both quartered

1 small orange

3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

3-4 stems fresh rosemary

2-3 stems fresh thyme

2 tsp. olive oil

Remove giblet bag from chicken cavity.  Wash bird thoroughly.  Dry completely inside and out.  Place in a roasting pan or large casserole dish.  In a small bowl, combine sea salt and cracked black pepper.  Rub a small amount to coat the inside of the cavity.  Stuff cavity with lemon and orange quarters, garlic, all but 1 stem of fresh thyme and all but two stem of rosemary.  Using your finger, gently separate the skin from the breast meat.  In a small bowl, combine lemon zest, finely chopped thyme leaves and rosemary leaves, sea salt and pepper, and 1 tsp. olive oil.  Mix well to make a paste.  Rub paste under skin on top of breast meat.  Massage outside of breast to evenly distribute the rub.  Rub the remaining 1 tsp. of olive oil on the outside of the bird.  Generously season with sea salt and pepper.  Tie legs together over breast with twine; tuck wings into the legs.  Place remaining rosemary stem between legs.  Let bird sit for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Roast bird in middle of the oven for 30 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375ºF and continue to roast, basting every 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the breast reads 160ºF or into the leg/thigh reads 180ºF, about 60-75 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Slice and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

Guinness Battered Fish N’ Chips

Guinness Battered Fish N' Chips

I eat a pretty healthy diet.

I’ve always eaten lots of fruits and veggies, drink water (mineral water, but water nonetheless), I don’t eat tons of processed foods. I had a bit of nutritional training with my massage certification, so I feel like I know not only what to eat but why.

Guinness Battered Fish N' Chips

This is healthy, right? It’s fish! Fish is good for you! There’s lemon in it. That’s a fruit! And potatoes! This meal is TOTALLY healthy.

Guinness Batter and Cod

Okay, I’m kidding, not delusional. I know that wet battered fish deep fried in oil isn’t TOTALLY healthy. But, I am a big believer in the balance in life. I eat healthy, I walk everyday, I take care of myself. So, if I want to indulge in fried food every now and then, I allow myself that pleasure. What’s the point in living if you’re not going to occasionally do the things you love?

One of my great loves in life is food. Not always the healthiest food either. But, I don’t eat fish n’ chips every day. I don’t smother everything in butter and cream and sugar. So, if I want Oreos for dessert one night, I have Oreos. If I want a cheeseburger for lunch, I have a cheeseburger. I know that the good food in my diet outweighs the bad. It’s about balance.

Guinness Battered Fish N' Chips
Guinness Battered Fish N' Chips

This is a good indulgence. Using Guinness in the batter instead of a lighter ale imparts a richer, deeper, more bitter flavor. Lemon pepper to compliment the fish and spicy Cajun seasoning to punch up the flavors just a bit really elevate this dish (I used Slap Yo Mamma! Seasoning that my brother and his wife got from New Orleans). Baking powder really gets the batter to fluff up nicely when being fried. Yummers.

I did a red wine vinegar aioli on the side for dipping. You guys, this aioli is insane. Creamy, vinegary, salty, such an incredible pairing with the fish and fries. I could seriously eat a pound of this aioli. The trick to getting it to an incredibly smooth and creamy consistency is to add the oil to the egg yolks very, very slowly, about 2 teaspoons at a time. It takes forever, but it’s worth it, trust me.

The fries are just Trader Joe’s frozen fries. I liked them a lot, especially for pre-made frozen fries. Not too soggy.

What’s your favorite indulgent meal? THG

Guinness Battered Fish N' Chips

Guinness Battered Fish N’ Chips

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ Tbsp. baking powder

1 Tbsp. lemon pepper

1 ½ tsp. sea salt, divided

1 tsp. Cajun seasoning

24 oz. Guinness stout

½ cup corn starch

½ tsp. black pepper

2 lbs. cod fillets, cut into 1” strips (as uniform as possible)

Canola oil

 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, lemon pepper, 1 tsp. sea salt and Cajun seasoning. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in Guinness, and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove batter and fish strips from refrigerator. In a small dish, mix together corn starch, ½ tsp. sea salt and black pepper. Dredge fish strips in corn starch mixture and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat 3 inches of canola oil to 350° over medium-high heat. Dip fish strips in batter and coat completely. Carefully lower battered fish strips into hot oil, about 3 at a time. Fry in oil until batter is set and golden-brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel. Repeat with all fish strips. Serve immediately with French fries.

Serves 6-8

Red Wine Vinegar Aioli

3 egg yolks, at room temperature

Juice of 1 small lemon

1 tsp. sea salt

¾ cup grapeseed oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice and sea salt until mixture is smooth and begins to thicken. Add in 2 tsp. of grapeseed oil and whisk vigorously until well combined and creamy. Repeat with remaining oil, 2 tsp. at a time (mixture should begin to resemble mayonnaise). When all oil has been incorporated, add 1/8 cup of red wine vinegar and whisk to combine. Add remaining vinegar and whisk until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes approximately 1 ½ cups

Mole Chicken Burritos

Mole Chicken Burrito Ingredients

I love slow cookers.

The idea that I can throw ingredients into a pot in the morning, simmer them all day, and in the evening have a ready-to-go dinner waiting for me is magical.  And with a schedule like mine, with club events and working until 8:00 some nights, not having to think about dinner is very handy.  And, if done right, what comes out of the pot is insane.  Super tender, super juicy, super flavorful.

Mole Chicken Burritos

This chicken is bursting with flavor.  Spicy, but not too hot, a rich bitterness courtesy of Guinness stout in place of chicken broth, and a smooth hint of chocolate.

Sidenote: I am loving using chocolate in a savory dish.  Seriously; it’s a pretty brilliant combination that I hadn’t tried up to this point.  Making this dinner, I was reminded of the scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s when she talks about making rice and chicken with chocolate sauce, which then proceeds to explode out of her pressure cooker.  Oh, Holly Golightly, you’re such a kook.

ANYHOO, mole chicken.  This chicken cooked in the stout and spice mixture for about 9 hours, low and slow.  It was so tender, it quite literally fell completely off of the bone.  This, my friends, is exactly what you’re looking for.  Tender, tender chicken.  Awesome.

Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado Sauce

I made a roasted tomatillo and avocado sauce to go with it.  Tomatillos roasted in the oven with a head of garlic, avocado, lime, yogurt and spices, all blended into a smooth, silky sauce.  Essentially, pureed guacamole; but the texture of this, with the creamy avocado and yogurt, is phenomenal.  I could eat gallons of this.  So good.

The idea that this meal cooked all day virtually unaccompanied is just the cherry on the pie of this dinner.  Or rather, queso fresca on the mole chicken burrito of this dinner.

What’s your favorite slow cooker meal?  THG

Mole Chicken Burritos

Mole Chicken

1 14 oz. can of Guinness stout

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 whole chicken, quartered

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large slow cooker, combine Guinness, water, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, sea salt and cayenne pepper.  Add chicken, flipping over once so that both sides are coated.  Cover and simmer on low for 8-10 hours until chicken is cooked through and tender.

Remove chicken from slow cooker.  Remove bones, skin and cartilage; discard.  Shred chicken meat.  In the slow cooker, add chocolate to the liquid.  Whisk until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  Add chicken back in to mixture and mix to coat.  Cook over low another hour.  Serve hot on warm flour tortillas with black beans, spanish rice, queso fresca and avocado sauce.

Serves 6-8

Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado Sauce

2 large tomatillos

1 medium head of garlic

2 medium avocados

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp. ground paprika

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Cut tomatillos and head of garlic in half across their equators.  Coat with olive oil.  Roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, turning tomatillos halfway through.  Once roasted, remove garlic from the skins.  In a blender, puree tomatillos and garlic until smooth.  Add avocado and puree.  Once smooth, add lime juice and yogurt and blend to a smooth consistency.  Pour into a bowl.  Add paprika, black pepper and sea salt and mix to combine.  Serve immediately.

Makes approximately 3 cups

Croque-Monsieur

Croque-Monsieur Ingredients

This week has been CRAZY.

Croque-Monsieur

Committee meetings, website tutorials, newsletter layouts.  Sushi with a good friend, beautiful musical performance by another good friend, quality documentary-watching time with my love.  In the middle of all the HTML code, raw fish and show tunes, I couldn’t find any time to post this recipe until now.

I’m sorry my friends.  Will you forgive me?

Green Salad with Creamy Balsamic

This week called for a quick, throw-it-together-in-30-minutes dinner.  Hearty.  Cheesy.  With a healthy dose of carbs (quick note: I never shy away from carbs.  They are one of the things that make life magical). 

Croque-Monsieur

Hello croque-monsieur.

Open-faced French sandwich.  Thick sliced sourdough bread, ham, Gruyere cheese, béchamel sauce.  Some mashed fingerling potatoes stacked on as well.  Cuz it wasn’t feeling quite filling enough as is.

Winking smile

I also added a little green leaf and creamy balsamic on the side.  For color.  And to pretend like this is a healthy and nutritious meal (spoiler alert: not so much

Smile
).  BUT, it’s delicious.  And easy.  And filling.  And if you have a completely insane week full of stage readings and inDesign files, this is going to hit the spot.  Yum.  THG

Croque-Monsieur

Croque-Monsieur

2 lbs. fingerling potatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

sea salt and pepper to taste

1 loaf day-old sourdough bread

1 garlic clove, smashed

1 cup béchamel sauce (recipe below)

1/2 lb. thin sliced ham

1/2 lb. Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced

Béchamel sauce:

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2 Tbsp. flour

1 cup milk, at room temperature

Sea salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  When melted, whisk in flour until a smooth paste develops.  Do not allow flour mixture to brown.  Whisk in milk, sea salt and pepper.  Whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

In a medium-size bowl, toss fingerling potatoes with olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast until fork-tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.  Lightly mash potatoes until just mixed but not completely smooth.  Set aside.

Cut sourdough into 8 1” slices.  Toast lightly in a toaster.  Rub each toasted slice with smashed garlic clove.  Spoon approximately 2 Tbsp. of béchamel sauce onto each slice of bread and spread to even consistency.  Top with ham slices.  Spoon about 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes on top of ham and smooth.  Top with Gruyere slices.  Arrange sandwiches on a baking sheet.

Turn on your oven broiler to low and place the rack directly below.  Place sandwiches underneath flame and broil until cheese is bubbly, about 8-10 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through.  Serve sandwiches immediately topped with Dijon mustard.

Makes 8 sandwiches

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. honey

1/4 cup olive oil

black pepper to taste

In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together yogurt, vinegar, honey and pepper.  While whisking, slowly pour in olive oil to emulsify.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes approximately 3/4 cup dressing