Sunday Supper: Sweet Potato Hash (and a new look!)

As you may have noticed, Sweet Falcon has undergone a bit of a makeover. I’ve been wanting to change things up for a while now and figured I might as well dive in and see what happens. It’s still a work in progress, but hopefully you like it and find it a little more user-friendly! (And fellow bloggers, check out this post to find some beautifully designed social media icons.)

And now for the good stuff– a long-awaited Sunday Supper post! It’s obvious I have a bit of a love affair with the fall season, and the vegetables that come with it are a big part of my infatuation. Okay, and I also have an affinity for eating breakfast for dinner, but I think this dish works beautifully for any meal. Sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, sausage, eggs, AND plenty of garlic and fresh rosemary make for one wonderfully hearty and satisfying supper. Or breakfast. Or lunch.

Find the recipe here, courtesy of The Kitchn. Enjoy!

Crispy, Crunchy… Kale Chips!

Whenever I have a recipe that uses kale, I always make sure to save a couple of large leaves to make kale chips. Simple to make, super good for you (especially compared to potato chips!), and not to mention delicious, they’re the perfect light summer snack. Also, they’re extremely addictive; J and I always end up eating all of them within an hour of taking them out of the oven… that is, if I don’t devour them all myself!

Kale Chips
(Slightly adapted from Giada at Home)
Makes 1-2 servings

3 large kale leaves
Olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the thick stem from the kale and discard. Cut or tear the leaves into 2 to 3-inch pieces. Place them in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss well. Arrange the kale in a single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until crispy and slightly dark on the edges. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Enjoy!

Sunday Supper: Gyeran Jjim

Eggs, is there anything you can’t do? Can I tell you how much I love you and can’t live without you? I love you fried, I love you poached, I love you scrambled, and yes, I love you boiled. I love you in frittatas, in my meringues, I love you for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and everything in between.

…and I love you in custard, yes I do. And in a velvety smooth, silky, savory custard? Yes. I. Do.

Gyeran Jjim– Korean-style eggs, steamed, and like many egg dishes, extremely versatile. On my first try, I made it with water and salt, and topped it with sesame seeds, green onions, and a dash of sesame oil. However, I would recommend using broth instead of water, and maybe fish sauce or salted shrimp sauce instead of salt for more flavor. Oh, and in this past season’s Top Chef finale, the adorably humble Paul Qui made a similar Japanese chawanmushi for the first course of his final meal. Eggs fit for a winner!


Gyeran Jjim
(Courtesy of The Kitchn)
Makes 1-2 servings

2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt, fish sauce, or salted shrimp sauce
1/2 cup water or broth, plus more water for filling pot
1/2 scallion, chopped
1/4 tsp toasted sesame seeds
Dash sesame oil, optional

*Note: For the recipe pictured above, I doubled the ingredient amounts, used these ramekins, and used one egg per dish– but this all depends on how many you’re feeding and the size of your dishes!

Combine the eggs, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a heat-safe ceramic bowl, such as a ramekin. Whisk until well combined and foamy.

Place the bowl in a pot. Fill the pot with hot (not boiling) water to come halfway up the sides of the bowl. Cover the pot, preferably with a clear glass lid so you can easily watch the water and eggs. Cook over low-medium heat for 12 minutes, making sure the water stays at a gentle simmer.

Sprinkle the scallions, sesame seeds, and sesame oil on top of the eggs and continue to cook for about 3 minutes or until the eggs are set. They should be firm but jiggly.

Carefully lift the bowl from the pot and serve. Enjoy!

 

Sunday Supper: Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie– creamy sauce, a buttery crust, chunks of chicken and veggies– it doesn’t really get any better than that on a (cold?) Sunday night in January. (What is with this weather? No complaints here.) Also, putting it together is easier than you think, especially if you use store-bought crust. Though if you have some extra time, I highly recommend making the crust from scratch. As luck would have it, last night I perfected my usual go-to recipe for crust and the result made this pot pie (and all the future pies I make) 100 times better. Then I went the extra extra mile and made the pies in individual gratins, but now that I think about it that probably made it easier; I perfected my crust recipe but I’ve yet to perfect my stay-together-in-one-piece-big-enough-to-cover-my-pie-dish technique. Practice makes perfect, right? Guess I’ll be in the kitchen making more pies– not such a bad thing.


Chicken Pot Pie
(Adapted from AllRecipes)
Makes 4-6 servings

1 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1 cup carrots, cut into small chunks
1 cup frozen green peas
1 small russet potato, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 cups chicken broth, plus more for boiling (usually an additional 5 cups or so)
1 cup milk
1 egg white, beaten
2 9-inch unbaked pie crusts (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and potatoes. Add 5 cups of chicken broth to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Slowly stir in the 2 cups of chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Add chicken and vegetable mixture and gently stir to combine.

Place one pie crust in the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan (or, divide crust into four 13 oz. oven-safe dishes.) Brush the crust with egg white and use a fork to prick it in several places. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and pour the sauce and chicken mixture into the baked crust.

Cover the pie with the other pie crust, seal edges, and cut away any excess dough. Brush with the remaining egg white, and make several small slits in the top of the crust to allow steam to escape. Place the pie dish on top of a baking sheet lined with foil to catch any sauce that may overflow. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the pie is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Pie Crust
Makes two 9-inch pie crusts

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
2/3 cup butter, chilled
Ice water

Whisk the flour and salt together in a large bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in the cold shortening and butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons of ice water over the flour. Toss the mixture with a fork to moisten, adding more water, a tablespoon or so at a time, until the dough comes together.

Gently gather the dough and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes to rest.

Divide the dough into two. Roll one piece out and press into a pie plate. If baking a bottom crust only, bake at 450 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Otherwise, follow the baking instructions in your pie recipe. Enjoy!

Sunday Supper: Roasted Tomato Soup

Wintertime is soup time! Yes, on these cold and dreary 70 degrees and sunny Los Angeles winter days, nothing will warm you up quite like a big bowl of soup. Okay, well… sometimes you still want a bowl of soup no matter what. ‘Tis the season, right? I’ve wanted to make this recipe for roasted tomato soup for a really long time, and since I received the immersion blender I asked Santa for this year, it was obvious what my next Sunday Supper would be. But this is no ordinary tomato soup! Tomatoes, garlic, red bell peppers, and onions are bathed in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and fresh thyme, and roasted together to give the final dish a really deep, rich flavor. Pair the soup with grilled cheese for a classic combo, or dip a crusty baguette or even your favorite crackers in it. I bet you already feel that winter chill just melting away… ahhhh….

Roasted Tomato Soup
(Courtesy of Cooking for Real)
Makes 6 servings

8 Roma tomatoes, halved and seeded
2 red bell peppers, quartered and seeded
1 medium onion, quartered
8 cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 oz can tomato paste
6 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup loosely packed chiffonade basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

On a sheet pan, gently toss together the tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, thyme, 2 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the tomatoes and red peppers, skin side up, and bake until lightly charred, 45 to 50 minutes.

In a soup pot, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the tomato paste and mix well. Add the tomato and pepper mixture, including the juices, and combine. Stir in the stock, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer the soup to a blender* (or use an immersion blender) and pulse in small batches that reach only about a third to halfway up the side of the jar. Be careful to start slow then increase the speed to blend the ingredients until smooth. Use a separate bowl to hold the blended soup and then return it all to the pot.

Heat the soup to warm through, then ladle into serving bowls and garnish with basil. Enjoy!

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

A New Year’s Eve Feast

Happy New Year!!! I hope you all had a fun and relaxing holiday weekend. I’m super excited to share the long list of recipes I have lined up for this year. But first thing’s first– what’s a New Year’s Eve without a delicious dinner? This year J and I opted to stay in and have a cozy meal, watch movies, and experiment with cocktails!

For our main course, I decided to give short ribs a try– because, let’s face it, I think I’ve always been impressed with any meal that involved short ribs. Braised for three hours in a thick veggie and red wine sauce, the meat transforms itself into tender beef heaven. Impressed is an understatement. I served the short ribs with roasted garlic mashed potatoes (one of the first dishes I ever cooked all by my teenage self!), but I’ll be honest with you, the flavor of these ribs outshines anything else on the plate. The best part? This is pretty darn easy to make. Yes, three hours in the oven is a long time, but it’s well worth the wait.

After such a heavy meal (and a cocktail or two… or three) and all our hefty holiday eating, I wanted to make something super light for dessert, so cranberry granita was the perfect thing. And also super easy to make (just takes a few hours with the freezing and scraping you need to do.) A perfect end to a great year, and I’m looking forward to all the new and exciting things 2012 has to offer!

Braised Short Ribs
(Courtesy of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef)
Makes 6-8 servings

6 bone-in short ribs (about 5 3/4 lb)
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 cups tomato paste (this is just under 3 6-oz cans)
2-3 cups hearty red wine
2 cups water
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
2 bay leaves

Season each short rib generously with salt. Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

While the short ribs are browning, purée all the vegetables and garlic in a food processor until it forms a coarse paste. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat if things start to burn. Reduce the mixture by half.

Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups water or until the water has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. When done the meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Serve with the braising liquid.

 

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Makes 4-6 servings

6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 lb red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 tbsp butter
3/4 to 1 cup milk
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Arrange garlic in one layer on a double thickness of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap tightly. Roast garlic for 30-35 minutes, or until very soft. Unwrap the foil and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy saucepan, simmer potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes, or until very tender. Drain.

In a large pan combine potatoes, butter, and milk. Mash potatoes with a potato masher until smooth, adding more milk if necessary. Peel garlic cloves and mash into potatoes.

Place pan over medium heat, stirring, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Cranberry Granita
(Courtesy of Everyday Italian)
Makes 6 servings

2 cups cranberry juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 1-2 limes)
1/4 cup vodka
Fresh cranberries or lime wedges, for garnish

Whisk the cranberry juice and sugar in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves. Pour the cranberry mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Cool completely.

Whisk in the lime juice and vodka. Freeze until the granita becomes slushy, about 2 hours. Using a fork, stir to blend.

Continue freezing the granita until frozen, stirring every hour to form crystals, at least 5 hours or overnight.

Divide the granita among 6 dessert glasses. Garnish with fresh cranberries or lime wedges, if desired, and serve.

Enjoy!

Sunday Supper: Thai-Style Fried Rice

I LOVE fried rice. In any way, shape, or form, Filipino fried rice, Chinese fried rice, you name it, I will eat it. Thai fried rice is no exception. This particular recipe calls for a good amount of fish sauce, which is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine. I myself have been eating it my whole life in my mom’s cooking (it’s known as patis to Filipinos), but it seems to be popping up more and more in modern recipes. Fish sauce gives food a salty bite the way soy sauce does, but I find that it has more depth of flavor and lends a touch of umami to a dish. Plus, one of the best things about almost any fried rice is how versatile it is. Love it topped with a fried egg? Add it. Leftover veggies? Throw those in too. Boom. Delicious.

Thai-Style Fried Rice
(Courtesy of Serious Eats)
Makes 4 servings

2 green chilies, minced (use Thai chilies if you can find them)
6 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp neutral oil, such as peanut or grapeseed
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
4 oz boneless pork, cut into 2-inch thin strips
3 cups cooked jasmine rice
2 cups bok choy, shredded
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
4 lime wedges, for garnish

*Note: I find that leftover rice, not hot and moist freshly made rice, makes the best fried rice. If it’s cold from the fridge, wet your hands with water and crush it to break up any clumps– a little trick my mama taught me. ;)

Combine 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) of the fish sauce and the green chiles in a small dipping bowl. In a well-seasoned wok or a large, non-stick skillet, heat the oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the garlic, ginger, and most of the scallions. Cook, stiring constantly, until fragrant, about 40 seconds. Be cautious not to burn.

Add the pork and continue cooking until no longer pink, about 3 minutes more.

Stir in the bok choy and cook until tender, 2-3 minutes, then add the rice and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the remaining fish sauce and stir to heat through.

Remove the rice to a platter and top with the cilantro, cucumber, and reserved scallions. Serve with the dipping sauce and wedges of lime. Enjoy!

Sunday Supper: Sweet Potato Cakes with Sour Cream and Chipotle Black Bean Salsa

Sometimes, I like to eat appetizers for dinner. Sometimes a lot. Nothing wrong with that, right? I recently stumbled upon this recipe and just had to try it right away. I knew it would be good. But I was surprised at how ridiculously good it actually was– there’s something about the sweetness of the potatoes, the crunchy spicy freshness of the salsa, and the cool, smooth bit of sour cream that just goes together so well. Try it, and I promise you won’t be disappointed!


Sweet Potato Cakes with Sour Cream and Chipotle Black Bean Salsa
(Courtesy of lisa is cooking)
Makes 34 small cakes

For the sweet potato cakes:
2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 green onions, both white and green parts, finely chopped
4-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4-6 tbsp butter

Steam the sweet potato chunks for 15-20 minutes until completely tender, and then transfer to a colander and allow to drain until dry. Once very dry, place sweet potato chunks in a large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher to break up chunks. Add flour and finely chopped green onions, and mix with your hands to form a smooth batter. Using your hands here is best so that it doesn’t become over mixed. In a food processor, the sweet potato mixture could quickly become gummy. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Once the mixture is smooth, and the flour and green onions are mixed in, you’re ready to fry. Note: the mixture should be sticky but not wet, so more flour may be needed.

In a non-stick skillet, heat two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and two tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Form round, flat cakes from about two tablespoons of batter per cake, and fry four or five at a time for three minutes per side until golden. Transfer finished cakes to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain and cool. Add more oil and butter to pan between batches as needed, and continue frying a few cakes at a time until all are ready for their toppings.

For the black bean salsa:
16 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped
1 small, yellow bell pepper, small diced
¼ cup finely minced red onion
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
¼ tsp salt

Combine all salsa ingredients, starting with one chipotle, in a small bowl and stir to combine. Taste for chipotle heat and add more if desired, and taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Salsa can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

To assemble for serving:
½ cup sour cream

Place sweet potato cakes on a serving platter and add a small dollop of sour cream to each. Top sour cream with a small spoonful of black bean salsa, and enjoy!

 

Sunday Supper: Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella

After a loooong weekend of Thanksgiving eating, eating, eating, I definitely needed some lighter fare for dinner on Sunday night. I wanted more than just a boring old salad. The solution? Panzanella! A mix of veggies and grilled bread (to satisfy the carb-ivore in me), and hello, fresh basil? And a simple homemade vinaigrette? (The best dressing ever, as far as I’m concerned.) I’m in!

Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella
(Courtesy of Everyday Italian)
Makes 4 servings

10 oz package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (I often find this at Trader Joe’s)
3 cups whole wheat bread, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 cup pitted black olives, halved (I omitted these)
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
Fresh Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the bread and artichoke hearts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the bread and artichokes until golden brown at the edges, about 6 minutes total, turning every 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the bread and artichokes from the grill and transfer to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, olives and basil to the bowl and toss to combine.

In a small bowl stir together the 2/3 cup olive oil, white wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss to combine and top with Parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Sunday Supper: Zuppa Toscana

Welcome to the first installment of weekly posts called Sunday Supper! Okay– so the title isn’t so original as many-a-blogger have used it before, but you’ve got to admit it’s catchy, and alliterations can do me no wrong. Besides, how else am I supposed to describe the dinners I make every Sunday night?

Yesterday’s Sunday Supper was Zuppa Toscana. This is a soup on the menu of a certain unnamed Italian-American restaurant chain. Is it authentic? Can’t say. But hey, J loves this soup and I managed to find a decent recipe for it many years ago. It’s hearty and filling, and potatoes and bacon and cream? Come on. Served with a crusty loaf of bread, it hits the spot on rainy autumn evenings like last night.

Zuppa Toscana
(Adapted from AllRecipes.com)
Makes 6 servings

6 slices bacon
16 oz smoked sausage, sliced (Italian sausage would work just as well, if not better)
3/4 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 tbsp chicken soup base or 2 tbsp chicken bouillon powder
4 cups water
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 cups kale, washed, dried, and shredded
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Crumble and set aside. Pour off excess fat (I like to save the fat in a glass jar in the fridge to use in place of butter or oil in other recipes), and add sausage to skillet. Cook sausage until browned, remove from heat, and set aside.

Place onions and garlic in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add chicken soup base, water, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Stir in bacon, sausage, kale, and cream. Continue to simmer for 4-5 minutes; taste broth and add salt and pepper as needed.  Ladle soup into bowls, serve hot, and enjoy!