Thursday, January 26, 2012

Garlic Sauteed Spinach

Easy and very tasty.

Garlic Sauteed Spinach
Courtesy of Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa)


1 1/2 pounds baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (6 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Sea or kosher salt, optional

Rinse the spinach well in cold water to make sure it's very clean. Spin it dry in a salad spinner, leaving just a little water clinging to the leaves.

In a very large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic over medium heat for about 1 minute, but not until it's browned. Add all the spinach, the salt, and pepper to the pot, toss it with the garlic and oil, cover the pot, and cook it for 2 minutes. Uncover the pot, turn the heat on high, and cook the spinach for another minute, stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the spinach is wilted. Using a slotted spoon, lift the spinach to a serving bowl and top with the butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkling of sea or kosher salt. Serve hot.

Crispy Potato Roast

Yum yum yum. These potatoes are deliciously crispy and buttery. I couldn't stop eating them.

The only thing I did differently was use garlic instead of shallots. I'm sure it would be good either way.

Crispy Potato Roast
A variation on this recipe from Martha Stewart


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
3 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
8 sprigs thyme

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, combine butter and oil. Brush bottom of a round 9-inch baking dish with some butter mixture. With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice potatoes very thinly crosswise.

Arrange potato slices vertically in dish. Wedge shallots throughout. Sprinkle with salt and red-pepper flakes (if using); brush with remaining butter mixture. Bake 1 1/4 hours. Add thyme and bake until potatoes are cooked through with a crisp top, about 35 minutes more.

Honey-Thyme Roasted Pork Loin

Delicious. And so easy!

Honey-Thyme Roasted Pork Loin
Courtesy of Serious Eats


1 1 1/4-pound pork tenderloin
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh thyme
1/4 cup thyme or lavender honey
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup low-sodium organic chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Take the pork out of the fridge 15 minutes before you want to use it. Pat it dry with a paper towel, and season the pork liberally on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, sear the pork until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per sides, or 12 minutes total. Take the pork out of the pan, and add the chicken stock. Scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and reserve the sauce.

While the pork is searing, whisk together the thyme, honey, and butter until completely incorporated. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Carefully rub the mixture all over the outside of the seared pork.

Place the honey-ed pork on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet that has been lightly oiled. Use a spoon to pour any of the honey mixture that runs off the meat back on top of the pork loin. Pour the chicken stock from the searing pan into the baking sheet. Roast the pork in the oven until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. Take the pork out of the oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice into medallions, and serve with the pan sauce and a few extra sprigs of fresh thyme.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

20-Ingredient Chili

Blech. I messed this one up, big time. I added way too much spice (I should have listened to the recipe and gone light on the spices the first time I made it), so it ended up being so spicy that I not only broke out in a sweat when I started eating it, but it upset my stomach and gave me a headache. Needless to say, I couldn't finish the bowl that I had served myself, and I didn't even bother serving it to the kids. Jonathan has yet to try it, but at least he'll have a fair warning before subjecting himself to it. Dinner fail.

I'm sharing this recipe anyway in case any of you know someone who really likes spicy food. Or if you know a woman who needs to go into labor. Or if you just want to go lighter on the spices and want to try a new chili recipe. The only things I did really differently were to leave out the chicken and use black beans instead of kidney beans.

20-Ingredient Chili
A variation on this recipe from


1 onion, diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can corn (drained and rinsed)
1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes (whole can)
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated
1/2 cup spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce (La Choy and Tamari Wheat Free are gluten free)
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder (this has heat, if you are sensitive, start with 1 teaspoon (3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon))
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2 cups chicken broth

Use a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Add the diced onion, canned beans, tomatoes, chiles, corn, and grated sweet potato to the pot. Now add the mustard, honey, and dried spices. Carefully stir well to distribute spices the best you can. Pour in the chicken broth.

Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Although you could cook this on high in 4 hours, the flavors will meld best when cooked low and slow. Stir very well and serve in a large bowl with your favorite chili toppings, such as shredded cheese and sour cream.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

These are lovely. The chocolate flavor is quite subtle, so I'm thinking I may actually add a bit more chocolate next time. But they are delightfully moist, and, if you can avoid scarfing them down as quickly as possible, they hold up well, even after they've been glazed.

Chocolate Cake Doughnuts
A variation on this recipe from Lara Ferroni


1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg

1 cup powdered sugar

Lightly grease a doughnut tin and preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda, and then whisk in the sugar, nutmeg and salt.

Add the butter, and using your fingers, rub it into the dry ingredients until it becomes coarse crumbs.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, yogurt, vanilla and egg. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix, or your doughnuts may be a bit rubbery.

Fill each cup 1/2 to 3/4 full. You can do this with a spoon, but I prefer using a piping bag to fill each cup more evenly and cleanly. It’s important not to overfill, or as the doughnuts rise, you’ll lose the hole.

Bake for 12 minutes, until the doughnuts spring back when touched. Let cool slightly on a wire rack.

To make glaze: Put powdered sugar in a bowl and slowly add enough buttermilk to make a glaze that is thin enough to drizzle easily. Generously coat cooled doughnuts.

Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

These are okay. They taste good, but they dry out very quickly. I tweaked the recipe too because I couldn't find whole wheat pastry flour (I used a combination of all-purpose and cake flours). I also used a buttermilk glaze rather than the called-for coating of butter and cinnamon-sugar. I wonder if that coating would have added a little moisture or if it just would have made them feel greasy. I'm not sure I'm going to try them again to find out.

Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts
A variation on this recipe from Naturally Ella


7/8 cup all-purpose flour
7/8 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoons ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk

1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and either butter or oil a doughnut pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients, except for the brown sugar, together and set aside. In a different bowl, whisk together the oil, egg whites, brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin, and milk. Pour into the dry mixture and stir until the mixture is just combined.

Pour mixture into a piping bag (or a gallon bag with the tip cut off) and pipe an even circle so that each doughnut fairly full.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the doughnut spring backs. Remove from oven and turn out onto a wire rack. Let the doughnuts cool slightly.

To make glaze: Put powdered sugar in a bowl and slowly add enough buttermilk to make a glaze that is thin enough to drizzle easily. Generously coat cooled doughnuts.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Baked French Fries

These are good. Though I definitely need to remember to spray the aluminum foil-lined pan before putting the potatoes on there and into the oven. It took getting the fries to pretty much room temperature before I could get them off. Which made me feel better that I hadn't ruined the whole pan, but also made for some cold fries. Lesson learned.

Baked French Fries
A variation on this recipe from


Baking potatoes
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Black pepper
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Cut potatoed into thin wedges and mix with olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. Place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes in preheated oven. Sprinkle with kosher salt and serve.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Winter Pasta

Yikes, this is garlicky. To the point where I don't feel like I should be around anyone after I eat it. Benjamin looked like he was going to run screaming from me and told me that I stunk when I tried to talk to him up close after eating it (ah, the honesty of 6-year-olds). I think it turned out this strong because I didn't boil the garlic, shallots, and kale before making the sauce. I'm sure boiling the garlic would have taken a bit of the bite out of it. But I'm not sure I'll be making this again... I added toasted pine nuts to give it a little more oomph, but it wasn't good enough to risk the garlic attack again.

Winter Pasta
Courtesy of 101 Cookbooks


4 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 small shallots, peeled
1 small bunch of kale - 1/2 pound / 8 ounces, stalks removed, washed well
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup / 2 ounces goat cheese, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons + hot pasta water
Fine grain sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Fresh lemon juice - optional
12 ounces dried penne pasta
Fresh thyme

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water generously, and add the garlic and shallots. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stir in the kale and cook for another ten seconds. Don't overcook. Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish the greens, garlic, and shallots from the water. Use a food processor to puree the ingredients along with the olive oil and goat cheese. Add a couple tablespoons of hot pasta water if needed to thin things out if needed. Then season with a touch of salt and plenty of black pepper. Taste. Depending on your goat cheese, you might need a little extra acidic oomph if your sauce is a bit flat. If so, add fresh lemon juice a bit at a time until you're happy with it the sauce. Set aside.

Reheat the pot of water and boil the pasta per package instructions. Drain and toss immediately with the green sauce. Serve topped with a few pinches of fresh thyme, and more crumbled goat cheese.