sage brown butter + cheddar skillet cornbread.

I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving sides. I mean, the holiday is less than two weeks away (what??), and aren’t we all hyped about the dinner for the sides? Don’t get me wrong, I love the turkey, smattered with cranberry sauce, but the sides always to tend to steal the show. If you serve this dressed-up-in-its-Sunday-best cornbread, you’ll steal the show, too!

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Cornbread is one of my favorite side dishes to make, and it’s so easy! It saddens me that it’s often regulated to buffets and as a throwaway to chili. Not so! There are so many ways to make it; Northern recipes often call for a bit of sugar, where Southerns would balk at such a thing. Or so I hear… you can find recipes with the inclusion of creamed corn, fresh corn kernels, jalapeños, peppers, you name it! And cheese. Mm. You do not need to ever reach for the boxed mix AGAIN.

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I took a decidedly autumn twist by the inclusion of sage butter (<– when is this ever a bad thing?), and cheddar cheese. Don’t like or have cheddar? Use anything you like! Parmesan? Fontina? Monterey Jack? Sure! I use a coarse ground cornmeal, I love the texture in the finished bread. If you prefer a smoother texture, use a fine ground cornmeal. Make sure to preheat your cast iron skillet – the sizzle and toasty/golden brown edges are not to be missed.

Serve this anytime you’d serve bread, and enjoy!

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sage brown butter + cheddar skillet cornbread.
adapted from Bobby Flay. 

ingredients
1.25 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup non-dairy milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-3 sage leaves
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put an 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes.

In a different skillet, combine the butter and sage leaves over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and begins to darken, and the sage leaves are dark and crinkly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, removing the sage leaves.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and melted and cooled sage butter. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined. Do not over mix.

Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven (carefully!), and spray with nonstick cooking spray or brush with additional butter. Scrape the batter into the hot pan (it will sizzle) and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and cooked through.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then serve.

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gluten free yukon gold potato latkes.

I know I am posting this way in advance of Hanukkah (the holiday in which latkes are served), but when faced with an oversupply of potatoes and leftover applesauce and sour cream, I knew I just HAD to make them. As a bonus, these are gluten free, too!

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I LOVE latkes. These are insanely simple, thanks to ingredients of just potatoes, a small onion, eggs, salt, pepper, and some rice flour. The most important part of making latkes is to squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the shredded potatoes. I like to rinse them in cold water while I whisk the eggs, flour, salt and pepper together. Then I pile all of the grated potatoes into a cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel and squeeze, adding the dried potatoes to the egg mixture and proceeding with the recipe.

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In a method similar to these fish cakes, I form the latkes and then pop the tray into the freezer for 10-15 minutes, while the oil heats up. I find this, along with using a metal fish spatula, really makes a difference in the latkes holding their shape.

Latkes can be served in any way your heart desires, but I like to serve them traditionally, with some applesauce and sour cream. Smoked salmon is divine also, if you’re feeling extra fancy!

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yukon gold potato latkes.

ingredients
2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, grated
1 small onion, grated
2 eggs
2 tablespoons white rice flour (or AP if not gluten free)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black or white pepper
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
applesauce, to serve
sour cream or creme fraiche, to serve

directions
Using a food processor fitted with the grating blade or a box grater, shred the potatoes and the onion. Add these to a strainer lined with cheesecloth and rinse with cold water (this will help remove some of the starch). Using your clean hands, press the potato mixture to release the moisture, and then twist the cheesecloth and squeeze, pulling out as much moisture as you can.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, rice flour, salt and pepper. Add the squeezed potatoes to the bowl, and mix together until well combined. Form into tablespoon sized balls, and then flatten slightly with the palm of your hand, setting them on a cutting board or tray. Put the tray in the freezer while you heat the oil.

Heat 1/3 cup oil into a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the oil reaches 375 degrees, add the latkes 3-4 at a time, depending on the size of your skillet (make sure not to crowd the pan). If you do not have a thermometer, use a toothpick or a cube of bread to gauge the heat of your oil — if bubbles form around the toothpick or the bread cube sizzles, it’s ready.

Cook the latkes for 2 minutes per side, or until lightly golden brown, flattening slightly with the spatula as they cook. Remove to a platter lined with paper towels, and sprinkle with sea salt.

Serve immediately with applesauce and sour cream.

Makes 15-18 latkes. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

NOTES: Although these are best served immediately after cooking, you can make ahead. To reheat, preheat an oven to 425 degrees and cook the latkes in the oven for 5-10 minutes. They will be darker from the oven, but they also become nice and crispy.

southern ham, greens + black eyed pea soup.

Hi there! I hope you’ve been enjoying the holiday season, and your Christmas and Hanukkah were (and are!) filled with joy, celebrations, relaxation, and of course, delicious food!

My dad and I cook Christmas dinner for our family, and this year we cooked a whole beef tenderloin, a grilled whole salmon, and I was responsible for everyone’s favorite hasselback potato gratin (probably everyone’s ‘favorite’, because it’s positively laden with cream and cheese, and I only make it once a year because it’s so unhealthy but OH-SO good. I use Kenji Lopez-Alt’s recipe, which can be found here). I also made these beans, which are simple and delicious. Everything was lovely and delicious, and I ate way too much. As you do for the holidays.

Speaking of holidays… let’s usher in the first holiday of 2017 with this soup.

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This recipe is one that I came up with a few years ago, when I was flipping through a cooking magazine and stopped on a warm ham, black eyed pea, and barley salad. I morphed that salad into a soup, surprised my boyfriend who loved black eyed peas with it, and it quickly became a favorite. Legend has it in the South that eating black eyed peas on New Years will bring you prosperity in the following year. So it’s the perfect time to bring you this recipe.

Starting this recipe by frying up a few pieces of bacon imparts a nice smokiness that will carry over to the finished soup. Because we’re using bacon and ham, go light on the salt and only use if needed; tasting often as you cook and develop the flavors. The collard greens and barley will cook for almost an hour, allowing the soup to develop a deep, complex flavor. At the very end, we’re going to add in a splash of hot sauce and cider vinegar, which adds a delectable bit of kick that finishes the soup beautifully.

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As it’s traditional in the Southern US to eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day, they’re traditionally made with fat back ham, bacon, ham hocks, or other smoky pork. They’re typically eaten with some type of slow cooked green, like collards, turnip or mustard greens. A lot of preparation goes into those dishes; so I love that this soup incorporates all those elements into a one pot dish.

I hope 2017 is a healthy and limitless one for you and all of your loved ones!

southern ham + black eyed pea soup. 

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ingredients
1 medium onion, large dice
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cans black eyed peas, rinsed/drained
1/2 bunch collard greens, thinly sliced
6 cups low sodium chicken broth (up to 2 additional cups to thin out, if needed)
2 pieces bacon, diced
2 cup diced ham
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cider vinegar
Tabasco
salt and pepper to taste

directions
Cook bacon in large pot until browned. Remove and drain. Dice onion, carrot and celery into a large dice. In large pot that bacon was cooked in, saute garlic, onion, carrot and celery in bacon drippings over moderate heat until onion is translucent.

While onion mixture is cooking, discard stems and ribs from collards and finely chop leaves. Set aside.

Add broth, oregano and barley to the onion mixture, add bacon. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium/medium low and let simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Add collard greens and chopped ham and let the whole mixture for about 20-25 minutes longer, until collards and barley are tender.

Mash half of the black eyed peas with a fork, and add the beans to the soup. Simmer 10 minutes longer, add pepper, salt, Tabasco and cider vinegar to taste. (Because the ham and bacon are salty, additional salt may not be needed). Serves 6.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible** 

spicy sweet potato latkes.

Hi there! Today we’re celebrating Hanukah here at PTL. For once I’m actually ahead of the game and posting this in ample time of the holiday. This year Hanukah falls on December 24th, and goes through the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. What a festive end to the year!

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The pinnacle food of Hanukah is the latke. If you’ve never had latkes, let me implore you to try them. They are incredibly simple to make, and mine are an easy twist on the classic. As latkes are cooked (pan fried, actually) in a whole mess of oil, I decided to up the nutrition profile slightly by using sweet potatoes. Now I could have very easily lessened the amount of oil here, but since Hanukah is about celebrating the miracle of the oil lasting eight days and nights (among other things!), we’re going full speed ahead here.

Because I like spicy with my sweet potatoes, I added in a healthy amount of hot sauce (about 1.5 teaspoons/20 dashes). It’s A LOT of potatoes, so these only ended up with a mild kick. Scale up and down to your preference.

It’s VERY important to not skip the salting and draining process of the shredded potatoes. We want crispy latkes, and removing excess moisture is paramount to that process. Once you’ve cooked the latkes, remove them to a paper-toweled plate to drain off any excess oil. Then place them in a warm oven (200 degrees) on a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Do not stack them — remember, crispness is the goal!

You can make these ahead, to reheat from refrigerated simply place them in a 450 degree oven for 5 minutes, turning once halfway through, checking to ensure they don’t burn. Serve.

Happy Hanukah!

spicy sweet potato latkes.
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ingredients
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
1 medium russet potato, peeled
5 scallions, thinly sliced
10-20 dashes hot sauce (use chile-garlic paste, Sriracha, Frank’s Red Hot, your favorite)
1 teaspoon sea salt + 1/2 teaspoon
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs, whisked
2/3 cup unbleached flour

directions

Shred the potatoes using a food processor fitted with the grating blade (alternatively, you can use the large hole side of a box grater for a real workout!). Add the shredded potatoes to a fine mesh strainer that it sitting a top a bowl. Sprinkle the potatoes with a teaspoon of sea salt and mix together. Let sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, use a wooden spoon to push the mixture down and to the sides of the strainer to push any moisture out. Less moisture will yield crispier latkes, which is what we’re going for.

In a large bowl, add the salted potatoes, scallions, hot sauce (to your preference, 10 dashes of Frank’s Red Hot was about 3/4 teaspoon), black pepper, sea salt and mix. Add in whisked eggs, and mix to combine, Finally, add in 2/3 cup flour, and mix gently to combine, ensuring no pockets of raw flour remain. With clean, damp hands, form into 2.5 inch patties (about 1/4-1/3 cup of mixture)

Heat about 1/2 inch of grapeseed or avocado oil over medium/medium high heat in a large, deep skillet. Fry the latkes in batches, cooking about 3 minutes per side, making sure that the oil isn’t too hot (above 350 degrees). If the oil is too hot, the latkes will burn before the middle is cooked.

Drain onto paper towels, and place into warmed oven until ready to serve. Serve with applesauce and sour cream.

Makes about 18-20 latkes.

**Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible** 

green beans with caramelized onions + toasted almonds.

I think green beans may be my favorite vegetable. They are so versatile, easy to prepare, and a real crowd pleaser. I don’t think I can think of anyone I know that doesn’t like them… can you?

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This recipe is time consuming, as caramelizing onions cannot be rushed! However, once the onions are done, this recipe couldn’t be simpler! Promise. Blanch the beans, toast the almonds, toss everything together, DONE. The onions provide a sweetness and richness, and the almonds add a crunchy, toasty note. I love recipes like this: just a few ingredients work synergistically to create a rich, complex dish.

I brought this to Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house, and one of the guests asked me for the recipe, as her 14 month old daughter kept asking for more beans. Baby approved? We’ve got a winner on our hands.

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green beans with caramelized onions.

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ingredients
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
2 sweet onion, sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted, grassfed butter
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1/2 cup sliced almonds
sea salt and black pepper

directions
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Slice the onions 1/4 inch thick, and add to the skillet along with 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook, stirring often for 40-50 minutes, or until often are soft and lightly golden, being careful to not burn/crisp them. Add the second two tablespoons of butter halfway through the cooking process. Add the thyme leaves during the last five minutes (35-40 minute mark).

While the onions are cooking, heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the sliced almonds and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of sea salt. Add beans and blanch for 4-5 minutes, until crisp tender. Remove and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and preserve the green color.

In a large bowl, add the onion mixture, toasted almonds, and green beans and toss together. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Serves 8.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

whole berry cranberry sauce with orange + ginger.

I know what you’re thinking. Who in their right mind posts a recipe for cranberry sauce the day AFTER Thanksgiving?? I’m a rebel. And I think cranberry sauce is the unsung hero of the Thanksgiving Day table, and its tartness shouldn’t regulated to just one day of the year. In fact, cranberry sauce is the perfect spread to slather on those leftover turkey and stuffing sandwiches, and the perfect thing to smear on your leftover biscuits or rolls.

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I actually really enjoy it because its tart and sometimes bitter flavor can be a welcome reprieve from the wonderfully rich and decadent food. I’ve never been a gravy girl (I know, I know), so I love it slathered on my turkey.

Speaking of turkey and Thanksgiving, how was your holiday? Did you eat early to rush out to the crazy sales? If so, you’re braver than I. I’ve only ever partaken in the Black Friday madness once, and I hesitate to even qualify my experience, as my mom and I went to a department store at 11:00am on Friday to purchase a chaise at a discounted price. But the middle of the night madness? No thank you. I have enough trouble in crowds as it is, so frantic shoppers who may be hungover (from the food or the cocktails!), makes me avoid the retailers like mad.

Anyway, back the sauce. I like a cranberry sauce with some body and texture, so I like to leave some of the berries whole or just burst. We’re using a scant one cup of coconut palm sugar and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to add in a depth of flavor, and the juice and zest of one orange from our liquid. Citrus and cranberries are best of friends, and using the juice allows for a bright finished sauce. I also added in a ½ inch piece of grated fresh ginger, because, well, why not? It’s spicy, plays well with both cranberries and orange, and adds a fragrance that cannot be beat. Simply cook over low heat until sugar is dissolved and berries have softened and burst. Let cool and serve. I highly recommend for all kinds of roasted meats – pork tenderloin, a roast chicken, duck… all very good candidates for this sauce. Me? I’ll be spooning mine on some puff pastry, topping with a bit of leftover brie, folding over and baking. Mmmmmmmmmm. A recipe for another time.

cranberry sauce with orange + ginger.

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12 oz. fresh cranberries, rinsed.
1 medium navel orange, zested and juiced
½ inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
scant one cup coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional, can use additional white or coconut sugar)
sea salt and pepper to taste

directions

Heat a small saucepan over low heat. Add sugar and orange juice and stir together until sugars have mostly dissolved. Add in cranberries, ginger and orange zest and stir together, making sure to coat the cranberries well. Let cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the berries soften and begin to burst, thickening the sauce.

Allow to cook until the sauce has reached your desired texture. I find that 15 minutes is the sweet spot for a thick sauce/relish that retains a good amount of burst berries that mostly retain their shape.

Makes about 3 cups worth.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible**