Sweet Potato Hash Browns with Ketchup Aioli

BRUNCH!

Easter absolutely screams brunch to me. Even though I don’t think I have ever done an Easter brunch. We are mostly ham and deviled eggs sorta people around here.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

Something that has eluded me (and continues to elude me) has been hash browns. I can’t count the number of times we have tried to make them. If you know the secret please share with me. I am at a total loss.

What possessed me then to try and make sweet potato hash browns is also a mystery. I do however know that they.turned.out. Stop the presses. I actually made crispy potatoes in a pan. Well sweet potatoes but crispy fried potatoes nonetheless.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

These were immediately devoured as soon as I was done taking pictures. The sauce really takes this one step further. I urge you to make it. And make it with craft ketchup. Remember Red Duck? We did a couple recipes with them recently and I am developing recipes for them on a monthly basis now.

Trust me- this sauce will only be as good as the quality of your ketchup so make it count.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

So make em for brunch. Or make in the afternoon and devour the evidence before anyone else gets home. Just make em!

Ps. I really think the reason this works so well is the rinsing then draining/squeezing in a towel of the shredded potatoes. At least that is what I am telling myself. So drain and squeeze well! Get those puppies as dry as you can.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

 

One year ago today: Flourless chocolate cake

Sweet Potato Hash Brown with Ketchup Aioli (makes 10-12 patties)
From High Heels to Hot Wheels

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled & shredded
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup safflower oil (if frying)

1/2 cup reduced fat or fat free sour cream
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
Dash salt & pepper

For the Sweet Potato Hash Browns
Place shredded potatoes in a colander and rinse until the water runs clear. Let drain for about 10 minutes. Wrap the potatoes in a clean dish towel and squeeze to pull out liquid. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onion, garlic, egg whites, olive oil, salt & pepper. Stir to coat and combine evenly. Heat safflower oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, place about 1/4 cup of potato mixture into pan (being careful of oil splashes). Fry for 4-5 minutes per side depending on thickness of potato cakes. Using a slotted spatula carefully remove cakes from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.

For the Ketchup Aioli
In a bowl, combine sour cream, ketchup, chives, salt & pepper. Stir to combine completely.

Serve the warm patties topped with sauce and extra chives.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with a delicious Ketchup Sauce

Pita Bread

Hummus and pita go hand in hand. Right? Thanks for agreeing with me.

A good mama friend of mine made these a few weeks ago with her littles. I have seen them all over Pinterest for months dying to try them.

Homemade pita bread

For some reason they simply haven’t surfaced on the list of things I needed or wanted to make. Now you can add them to the list of things I will NEVER buy from a store again.

Pitas to me have always been these overly dry tasteless things that you get at the store in a bag. Occasionally at a restaurant you get really good soft and fluffy ones but they aren’t the pocket type pitas. I didn’t even know that pocket pita could be synonymous with soft and fluffy. Delicious.

Homemade pita bread

Easy peasy bread that you kinda throw together and then leave on the counter. Want to know a secret? I forgot about mine and what was supposed to be 1 hour rise turned into I think three. I can’t remember. The recipe called for throwing it in the fridge- I did none of that. Who has the patience?!

And I baked mine in the oven for only three minutes on my pizza stone. All an absolute utter breeze. Have I stressed the fact enough yet that these were delicious? Often homemade things are pretty good but store bought can be passable. This is not one of them. Two different worlds. Go make your own!

Homemade pita bread

One year ago today: Apple Cupcakes with Vegan Buttercream Frosting

Pita Bread (makes 8-12)
From Smitten Kitchen

3 cups plus a scant 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the ingredients. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed just until all the flour is moistened, about 20 seconds. Change to the dough hook, raise the speed to medium and knead for 10 minutes. The dough should clean the bowl and be very soft and smooth and just a little sticky to the touch. Add a little flour or water if necessary.

Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough into a 2-quart or larger dough-rising container or bowl, lightly greased with cooking spray or oil. Press the dough down and lightly spray or oil the top of it. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. Let rise for about an hour and a half. Proceed to shaping or place in the fridge for 4 to 12 hours.

When ready to bake preheat the oven to 475°F one hour before. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone, cast-iron skillet, or baking sheet on it before preheating. Cut the dough into 8 or 12 pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the rest covered with a damp cloth. On a lightly floured counter, with lightly floured hands, shape each piece into a ball and then flatten it into a disk. Cover the dough with oiled plastic and allow it to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature. Roll each disk into a circle a little under 1/4 inch thick.

Quickly place 1 piece of dough directly on the stone or in the skillet or on the baking sheet, and bake for 3 minutes. The pita should be completely puffed but not beginning to brown. How well the pita will puff depends on how much moisture is in the dough. The more moist the better the puff. Allow to cool then enjoy.

Homemade pita bread

Hummus

WHy is it that the basics are elusive? How on earth do I know how to make my own butter but have never made my own hummus? We even keep a stash of dried garbanzo beans on hand at all times so would think it would be something that was n my repertoire.

Guess not.

However when requested I am more than happy to oblige. Particularly when it is something that has to be ridiculously simple and I just haven’t bothered to figure it out yet.

Which was the case here. A friend asked for it so I happily made it. And he happily ate over 2/3 of it in one sitting.

Homemade hummus in minutes

Who can blame him?

Also I thought I was going to take the cheater way out of this and use peanut butter instead of tahini. I had heard that you could do it and I didn’t want to bother with hunting some down (not like it is hard but I am L.A.Z.Y.). Nathan however was not amused so to acquiesce I got some. One of the local hippy stores (there are many) actually keeps tahini in bulk bins so I bought enough for two batches.

Totally worth it. Even better in pita sandwiches with tomatoes, shallots, and spinach. Seriously could make myself sick overeating on these. Oh and the pitas were homemade. Recipe to come. Also totally worth the effort.

Couple of notes- taste, taste, taste, and taste. Make sure you like the flavor! Also I had to add quite a bit of water to get it as loose as I wanted it to be. Don’t be afraid to keep adding water till it is right.

Homemade hummus in minutes

One year ago today: Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Scones and Ciabatta Bread

Hummus (makes about three cups)
From the Barefoot Contessa

4 garlic cloves
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas

Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it’s minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Add more water if necessary to thin it out. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Homemade hummus in minutes

Cooking Beans

It has astounded me how many vegetarians I have talked to of late who mentioned they don’t make/don’t know how to make their own beans. From scratch.

I too used to be in the canned bean buying club. With my budget concious ways making my own beans was just a matter of time. At first I found it frustrating and confusing between the soaking and the rinsing and the simmering. And I always seemed to have too many or not enough when I was done making a batch.

Cooking Dried Beans

Then I learned you can freeze them after cooking. Freeze.them. What?!

World turned upside down.

Cooking Dried Beans

Now this is the only way I make beans. I keep all sorts of dried beans on hand at all times because I buy them in bulk from my co op. A pantry full. Many of them from the local valley too. I’m a lucky girl. Also I tend to keep at least 3-4 different containers full of different kinds of cooked beans in my freezer.

Cooking Dried Beans

Pretty much a kitchen full of beans. Not really but you get the idea. But seriously since I learned that you can make and freeze beans I haven’t bought a single can from the store. Mostly because I can’t bring myself to buy a can of beans when I know I have so many at home. Sure if I have to make a batch from dried its going to take an hour and half ish or if I need to thaw them it will take a while but I am more than happy to go this route.

Or I’m neurotic and just love making everything from scratch.

Anyways. It’s easy. It’s cheaper. You should do it. Join me.

Cooking Dried Beans

One year ago today: Orange poppyseed scones

Cooking Dried Beans (makes as much as you want)
Mine (ish)

Dried beans
Water

It is not necessary to pre-soak most beans but you can if you want. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) must be soaked overnight however.

Place your beans in a large pot, pick them over for any rocks and broken beans. Rinse a couple of times in cold water to get off any residual dirt. Drain the dirty water. Cover the beans with 2-3 inches of water and place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Set a timer for one hour. Once the timer goes off taste test at least five beans from the pot (try to get them for different places) to see if they are done. Continue checking in 10 minute increments till they are perfect. Drain and allow to cool slightly. Use immediately or cover with fresh water, cover, and freeze till you want to use them. Enjoy!

Cooking Dried Beans

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

Dishes like this make me feel smug.

Every so slightly posh. Just a tad on the complicated side (not really but it does use two pots AND a bowl). Incidentally vegan. Chocked full of good for you stuff.

The day I saw it I couldn’t wait to make it.

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

Except it got bumped on our weekly menu I don’t know how many times. I had all these ingredients on hand for at least ten days before I finally forced myself to make.

Why on earth did I have to force myself to make something I was initially so excited about? Who knows. I am just as baffled as you are. Maybe it was all the dishes I knew it would dirty.

And yes in case you are putting two and two together I had ALL the ingredients on hand for ten days. Including the parsley. Did you know if you wrap things like parsley and cilantro in a paper towel and stash in a zip lock bag in the fridge they might last up to two weeks? A serious life saver for the “I really want to make this no wait I don’t” person that sometimes takes up residence in my house.

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

It also means I now just keep cilantro on hand since it can hang out in the fridge for some time before taking a trip to funky town. Seriously. Try it. Fresh cilantro on hand at all times is a win.

And I guess parsley too because when I made this Nathan paused from shoveling long enough to request this once a week. Delicious lentils meet buttery potatoes in an ever so slightly tangy dressing.

It made for a perfect light dinner. I can see this gracing the table at a fancy summer picnic too.

And probably our dinner table again in the very new future.

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

One year ago today: Artisan Bread

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad (serves 4 as mains)
From Smitten Kitchen

1/2 onion
4 sprigs of thyme
1 small bay leaf
1 cup dry small green lentils
1 small bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 pound yukon gold potatoes diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 large shallot finely diced
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced or smashed to a paste (I use less)
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1/4 cup of your favorite olive oil
2 tablespoons capers roughly chopped
1 to 2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Cook the lentils: Pick over and rinse lentils. Place them in a medium saucepan with the the 1/2 onion, thyme branches, bay leaf, some salt and 4 cups of water. Simmer the lentils over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until firm-tender. Drain (discarding shallot, thyme and bay leaf) and keep warm.

Cook the potatoes: In a separate saucepan, cover potatoes with 1 to 2 inches cold water. Set timer for 15 minutes, then bring potatoes to a simmer. When the timer rings, check for doneness with a fork. Cook longer if needed. Drain and keep warm.

Make the dressing: Place the chopped shallot and red wine vinegar in the bottom of a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in minced garlic, dijon, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and olive oil. Stir in chopped capers and scallions.

Assemble salad: Place the potatoes, lentils, dressing and all but 1 tablespoon parsley in a large bowl and combine gently. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Scatter salad with remaining parsley.

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Seriously people can we knock it off with the snow already?

This is what it looked like out my window this morning. Not.ok.with.me.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Ok ok ok I know it isn’t your fault but for the love of all that is holy who DID we piss off this year?

We already had an incredible amount of snow (for the Willamette Valley) in December. Snow, which because of sub zero temperatures, stuck around for a week.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Then it came again. Although this time it was out for blood. First four inches, then a nice layer of freezing rain turned that into an ice skating rink. As if that wasn’t enough we then got another 6-8 inches (what the ?!?) topped with off with more freezing rain. Everything was coated with an inch of ice. Lovely.

Mostly we have taken it in stride though. Cold weather always brings out the carb craver in me. We don’t usually have bread around the house unless I make it. We were short on white flour and even shorter on bread flour so attempting a whole loaf of bread wasn’t on my list of things I wanted to do.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Crackers though. Crackers rock. Or flatbread which is what this really is.

These were are breeze. A quick mix and knead and into the fridge. I totally followed the recipe to a T and used my pasta roller. If you have one this is absolutely the way to go. I can’t speak to how easy or hard it is to roll these out by hand since I didn’t even try.

photo-(1)

Also this is a great snowy day activity for your littles people. Painting activities at our house involve egg wash. I’m the best kind of mom. Really.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

One year ago today: Tuna Noodle Casserole and Peppermint Pattie Cookies

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers (make about 16)
From Martha Stewart Baking Handbook

1 cup warm water
3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and plastic wrap
15 ounces (about 3 cups) all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup freshly grated aged cheese (I used manchego and parmesan), plus more for sprinkling
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves (or 3 tablespoons caraway seeds)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir the water and yeast together. Attach your dough hook. Add olive oil, flour, salt, and honey and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Switch to medium speed and mix until dough is soft but not tacky, about 2 minutes. Add cheese and mix for 1 minute more.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface; knead four or five times, forming into a ball. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap; let rest for 10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour or overnight. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces. Flatten the dough with your hands into a disk. Using a pasta machine, run it through on either #3 or 4. If you don’t have a pasta roller, just roll out thinly with a rolling pin. Transfer pieces of dough to prepared baking sheets. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water; brush over dough. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and additional cheese and top with sprigs of rosemary (or with caraway seeds).

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Bread can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

Spaghetti squash and I have not been on the best of terms. Mostly I want to to like it. Mostly it disappoints me. Alot. Like the bad boyfriend you just KNOW is going to change but no… nope… same story.

I was bemoaning this to my brother in law as I was roasting the squash for this recipe and he agreed. In fact unprompted he mentioned that for him it seems like you can never get it quite cooked enough and is crunchy. E.X.A.C.T.L.Y. my issue. Does this happen to anyone else?

However, kale. Kale let me count the ways I love you. I love it in my juice, in a pot pie, sauteed with simply with olive oil and garlic then piled high with homemade mac and cheese. Kale was our bumper crop this past year in our garden. In fact it is still growing. After a week of snow and countless frosts the hardly buggers are still hanging on. Yum.

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

So why did I tackle a new recipe with spaghetti squash when I don’t like it? I was given two huge spaghetti squash and I hate wasting food. When I stumbled on this recipe I though it might, just might, be ok.

It is more than ok. It is lets make this twice in one week good. It is a we fought over leftovers good. Sure you could serve this as a side dish to chicken or steak but it also makes a lovely stand alone vegetarian dinner.

The other winning fact is this recipe is so forgiving. The second time I made it I eyeballed everything. I just threw things in bowls, sautéed estimations in a pan, and threw it in these cute individual dishes. It tasted just as good as the first time when I payed more attention to measurements.

Bravely I made this into two 8×8 pans and gave one to a mama friend of mine who recently started a new job. I hate gifting recipes I haven’t tested but thankfully they enjoyed it as much as we did.

Cooking the squash twice (one roasted in the shell and again in the pan) helps it not be as crunch. It actually tastes done. And the kale. The kale makes up for everything.

I will be making this again soon. My son wont eat it but my husband and I devour it. I made both recipes with just one of the two enourmous squash I had. Yeah you read that right. Twelve servings from one squash. That was one big squash.

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

One year ago today: Black Bean and Brown Rice Burgers and Stuffed Peppers

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin (serves 6-8)
Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

1 large spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 large onion, diced small
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5-6 cups chopped kale leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives or sliced green onion
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese plus about 1/4 cup more for topping the gratin
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup shredded mozarella

Preheat oven to 400 F. Prick the spaghetti squash all over with a fork. Place the whole, uncut squash on a baking tray and place in the oven. Bake for an hour or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut open, remove seeds with a spoon, then using a fork pull the strands of spaghetti squash out and into a bowl. Set aside (this can be done a day ahead).

Heat 1 tablesppon olive oil in heavy frying pan, add chopped onions, rosemary, and black pepper, and saute until onion is softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook about 1 minute more, then add chopped kale all at once. Cook kale about 1-2 minutes, turning a few times. until it’s wilted to about half the size it was. (The kale shouldn’t be completely cooked, since it will cook more in the gratin.) Salt well. Turn off heat.

Using a large fork, gently mix the chopped chives or green onion and shredded spaghetti squash into the onion/chard mixture. Combine the sour cream, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, and beaten egg in a seperate bowl and salt well. Mix into the chard/spaghetti squash mixture. Then put the combined ingredients into the gratin dish, and press down so it’s evenly distributed in the dish. Sprinkle top with about 1/4 cup more Parmesan cheese and with the mozarella cheese.

Bake about 30-35 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and cheese is browned on top. Serve hot.

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

Are you feeling the over indulgence from the holidays?

Both Nathan and I have certainly noticed it. Nothing irritates me quite as much as my pants not fitting the way they are supposed to. I mean come on. I bought them and they fit a certain way and continued to fit that way for EVER and a few too many holiday cookies and the suckers are out to make my day miserable.

Do.not.like.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

I put up with for exactly fourteen seconds before I resolved to do something about it. Sure I am a bit behind the rest of you with your new years resolutions but hey don’t judge. Some of us are born procrastinators.

For the record I did make resolutions. Two of them in fact. Firstly to move more. As in physically move. Second was to love myself more. I am winning at one of those but not so much at the other. I will let you sort that one out.

So. Back to what I decided to do about my rebellious pants. I decided first to concentrate on my first resolution to move more. Moving should help my pants fit better right? So thus began 30 days of yoga vinyasas every morning. Asthanga yoga is my personal favorite so I have been doing three surya namasakara a (sun salutation a) and three surya namasakara b (sun salutation b). It is tough. Mostly to motivate myself but man do I feel better.

Secondly I jumped started my body back into healthy eating with a three day juice fast and switching to vegetarian eating focusing on whole grains, beans, and veggies. It has been delicious and I feel so so so good.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

I am an all or nothing type of person. Making some drastic changes in how I was eating has helped me get on track and realize my body does better on less and on real food.

This was one of the many recipes I pinpointed when picking veggies and bean recipes. Nathan loves chickpeas so I knew right off the bat this would be a winner. And I was so right. He inhaled it. He told he would eat it every single day.

I would too.

We ate it just as is with no rice. It felt downright indulgent.

I love nothing more than a recipe that is delicious and nutritious and I can’t get enough of it. Also thankfully my pants have decided to get their act together and stop making me miserable.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

One year ago today: Graham crackers and Muesli 

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices
From Taste with the Eyes

2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
salt to taste
1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
5 oz. baby spinach

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, cumin, fennel, and cook for a minute or two. Add turmeric, chile powder, dry mustard and stir to combine. Add chickpeas and cook until heated through. Add spinach, cook until the spinach has wilted. Season with salt to taste.

Chickpeas with Bengali Mustard Spices

Spinach Pesto Risotto

I don’t think I have EVER made pesto the normal way.

You know- with basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, and olive oil. The only other pesto post I have is for pea pesto. Incidentally that is delicious stuff. Also wow. That post was so so so long ago it seems.

Spinach Pesto Risotto

Aaaanyways. For so many reasons I have not made traditional pesto. Chief of which is pine nuts. My husband and I are at complete odds about them. I’m pretty indifferent about them and for the price point I can’t justify them. Nathan on the other hand loves them and dislikes my attitude towards these spendy buggers. Until we win the lottery I will keep subbing walnuts in for the pine nuts.

Also I love veggies. The idea of pureeing veggies with tasty basil, garlic, cheese, and olive oil entices me. And then you can put it on things. Bread, pasta, more veggies, and yes even risotto.

As much as I love and have made risotto it has never occurred to me to stir in basil. Perusing Pinterest like you do one day I stumbled on spinach risotto. Done. Pinned and planned.

Spinach Pesto Risotto

Or maybe not. It took a few weeks for it make it on the menu. I happily had the privilege of making it for my family one Sunday. They all absolutely loved it. Even Little. He will scarf this stuff down like it is going out of style.

The very best part about this recipe? It makes a bunch of pesto. Enough for two batches of risotto for us. Plus it is a great way to get loads of veggies in a toddler. Because currently that is on the long list of things that keeps me up at night and watching him chow down on this warms my heart.

Hey you do what you gotta do sometimes.

IMG_1646Spinach Pesto Risotto

One year ago today: Beef with Barley Stew 

Spinach Pesto Risotto (
From Food Recipe HQ

For the pesto:
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, stemmed and washed
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Risotto
4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Make the pesto: Place all ingredients into you food processor and blend until you get the desired consistency.

Make the risotto: Place the stock in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Keep at a simmer while cooking the risotto. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, as much pesto as you want, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt and pepper to taste.

Spinach Pesto Risotto

Oven Baked Egg Rolls

Please don’t judge me.

I have an obsession.

When it comes to all things salty I have absolutely no self control. If it is salty and fried I am decidedly toast. (Speaking of which I have been known to salt my buttered toast. In my defense it is unsalted butter.)

Baked Egg Rolls

Popcorn (particularly with homemade butter), chips of any and all kind but particularly kettle type ones, delicious crackers, pretzels, salted caramel, you name it. As long as it is salty I am a FAN.

Consequently I have a small love for soy sauce. Just a smidge. Or alot. Don’t judge, remember?

I am totally on the fence about sushi but will still go out and eat it because you get to dip food in soy sauce. Again and again. My kind of party.

Chinese food is also where it is at. Most of it has soy sauce in the recipe at some point. Remember baby bok choi and mushrooms and beef with broccoli. Yeah. There is a reason I enjoyed those so much.

Baked Egg Rolls

Now there is a certain smugness that does come out in recreating Chinese take out at home. Food I would otherwise entrust someone else to make in a rather mediocre manner (at least in this town) I can make pretty decently here at home.

I have an inexplicable aversion to refined oils these days. I know some are ok ish and some are to be avoided at all costs but I just can’t muster the energy to do the research. So… when I stumbled on Chinese take out, no frying eggrolls in vats of oil, AND the chance to dip deliciousness into soy sauce I was sold.

Lordy these did not disappoint. Sweet and sour sauce is not on my list of favorite things but this recipe is easy and actually pretty good. Nathan’s response to the question of how he liked it was “mmmmmmhmmmm.” Sounds like a winner to me.

Baked Egg Rolls

It should be noted that the crispier you want your rolls the more oil you should brush on them. I was very stingy with the oil I was using and only the parts with generous amounts of oil crisped up.

Still. Delicious. The filling is absolutely spot on. I can’t wait to try these again with chicken or pork added. Maybe nooddles? Who knows….

Baked Egg Rolls

One year ago today: Juniper brined roasted turkey

Oven Baked Egg Rolls (makes about 14)
From Use Real Butter

For the filling:

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup green onions, julienned
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 cups cabbage, shredded
2 cups bean sprouts
1 cup carrots, julienned or shredded
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp soy sauce
dash cooking sherry
1 tsp salt
dash sesame oil
12-15 egg roll shells
1 egg, beaten
olive oil for brushing

For the sweet and sour dipping sauce:

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
4 tbsps brown sugar
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsps cornstarch
4 tbsps water

Make the sweet and sour sauce: Combine the rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl or cup and stir into the boiling sauce. Stir until thickened (should take 10 seconds) and remove from heat. Set aside to cool.

Make the filling: Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat and add the green onions, ginger, and garlic. Stir until fragrant. Add the cabbage, bean sprouts, and carrots to the pan and sauté until the cabbage begins to wilt. Stir in the mushrooms and stir fry for a minute. Combine the soy sauce, cooking sherry, salt, and sesame oil in a small bowl or cup and mix together until uniform. Pour the liquid mixture into the vegetables and stir together until the vegetables are evenly coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with more salt or soy sauce as needed. Turn off the heat and drain off any excess liquid from the vegetable filling.

Assemble the egg rolls: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment and brush some olive oil over the lining.

Place an egg roll wrapper on your work surface with one corner pointing at you. Pile 2-3 tablespoons of filling into a 2×4-inch rectangle just below the horizontal diagonal line that connects the right and left corners. Take the corner nearest you and fold it over the filling, rolling it away from you so that the filling is completely encased in wrapper. Fold the right and left corners in toward the center, keeping it snug, but not so tight that the wrapper breaks, and continue rolling until you have  two inches of the last corner left. Dip your finger or a brush into the egg wash and paint the edges of the last corner, then quickly roll up the egg roll.

Arrange the egg rolls on the lined sheet, leaving a little room between each one. Brush the tops of each egg roll with a little more oil. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the egg rolls over and bake another 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with sweet and sour sauce, hot mustard, or whatever you like. Makes 12-15

 Baked Egg Rolls