Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Dinner

Earlier today, I made sweet tea and lemonade. It's funny that my dinner is so fall-themed. In terms of fresh stuff, I had apples, kale and a sweet potato in the house.  Add packaged gnocchi. Sounds like a plan!

It all started with the sweet potato and apple. Cut 'em chunky. Season with salt,  pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and rosemary. Throw in a couple of pinches of sugar to help with the browning. I added about a teaspoon of unsalted butter.

Toss and throw everything into a screaming hot pan. Roast in a 400 oven.  I would have used cast iron, but there's no way I'm hand washing dishes on a Sunday night. Tri-ply All-Clad works nicely.

You're looking for some deep caramelizing. Turn the pieces over so they can brown on the other side.

Once done, transfer the food from the pan. Put the pan on the stove top. Drizzle in some olive oil and add a pat of butter.  Add the gnocchi and toss to coat.

 Don't forget to season. I used some ground sage this time.

Once these are done on one side, grab another pan for the brown butter. I use cold butter on heat.

Watch the butter carefully. See it's just starting to change color at the top of the pan. This happens after the foaming starts to subside.

Add the roasted stuff to the gnocchi to make sure everything is warm.

 Slowly. Slowly.

 When the solids turn the color of toast, you're good.

 Add some of the brown butter to the pan and toss.

Plate, drizzle with more brown butter and add a little cheese. The apply added surprisingly bright flavor -- very unexpected.

This is really missing some green. Fresh rosemary and sage would have been perfect. I also could have sauteed some kale. I was concerned about how kale, rosemary and sage would go together.

Tools of the Trade

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Thank You Food Network

I wote this on a cell phone; please forgive the errors. I'll fix the formatting one day.

I have been really late to jump on the kale salad bandwagon. I was there for butternut squash and cupcakes. (Collards and red velvet cake were already part of my existence.)

After one astronomical restaurant experience and one good one. I decided it was time. I purchased two bags of kale on a Friday night.

The next morning, salad karma proved itself true as I watched the Food Network. Damaris Phillips made her Kale "Caesar" Salad. People -- this has changed my life. (So much so, it made me blog.)

It starts with the most fabulous dressing. I really do mean fabulous. I double the recipe and store it in a 2 - cup Pyrex measuring cup.

Garlic, capers and kosher salt.
Making a paste is such a chef-y technique :-) I give the garlic a rough chop first. Sprinkle with the salt and smash away.
We have a paste!
Assemble and combine the unusual suspects. Missing from the pic are freshly-ground black pepper, cayenne and lemon juice (freshly-squeezed of course). Life is easier if you have ground cloves.
Introduce everyone ...
See how nicely they get along?
I love my lidded measuring cups!
Dress the kale and stash it in the fridge. It needs to hang out for at least 30 minutes or as my co-worker puts it, the kale will taste "all forest-y."
Here's where I leave the recipe. Toast some pine nuts. Chill a wine glass.
Don't know if you can see it, but the kale is less sturdy now. It still has some chew to it.
Toss everything, plate and find your wine! A note on cheese: I add grated Parmesan with the pine nuts for flavor. The shaved is to make it look pretty.

Tools of the Trade
  • Totally Bamboo Butcher Block 3 Prep Board Honey
  • Shun DM0706 Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife
  • 2-Cup Pyrex Measuring Cup