Monthly Archives

November 2010

Side: Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes

November 23, 2010
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Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 to 2 Tbsp. minced canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream

Put cubed potatoes and salted water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of water, and return potatoes to pot. Add butter, peppers cream, and mash with a potato masher. Add water if needed for desired consistency.

Main Course: Pork Tenderloin with Pumpkin Seed Sauce

November 23, 2010
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Pork Tenderloin with Pumpkin Seed Sauce

4  canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped, plus 2 tbsp. sauce
1/4  cup  orange juice
1  tablespoon  light brown sugar
2  lbs. pork tenderloin
3/4  cup  hulled pumpkin seeds
1  cup  heavy whipping cream
1  clove garlic, minced
1  teaspoon  chipotle chile powder
1/2  teaspoon  salt

Combine chiles, sauce, orange juice, and sugar in a bowl. Put pork in a baking dish and add marinade, turning pork to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Preheat oven to 375°. Toast pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet until they have popped and are just starting to brown, 7 to 11 minutes. Let cool. In a food processor, whirl 1/2 cup of seeds into a paste. Replace seeds with the pork in the oven. Bake uncovered 40-45 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium pan over medium heat, combine pumpkin seed paste, cream, garlic, chile powder, and salt. Cook, whisking until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Slice pork into 1/2-in. medallions. Drizzle with sauce and garnish with remaining 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds. Done.

This is really, really good.


*I took the above photo at Eataly in NYC. I think sometimes pork and first aid go hand-in-hand. But the other white meat can be so super worth it.

Starter: Ancho Chilies Stuffed with Sweet Potatoes, Pecans & Garlic

November 23, 2010
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Ancho Chilies Stuffed with Sweet Potatoes, Pecans & Garlic

6 Ancho or Poblano Chilies, prepared for stuffing
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
1 cup chopped Onion
1-1/2 cup Raisins
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 large Sweet Potatoes, peeled, steamed, and mashed
1/4 cup Roasted Garlic Puree (recipe below)
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Dried Thyme
1 cup Pecans, toasted and chopped
Coarse Salt

Garlic Puree:
3 Garlic Heads
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cold Water

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Stir in the chopped onions and sauté until softened. Stir in the raisins and brown sugar. Continue stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the mashed sweet potatoes. Add the sweet potatoes to the sauce pan. Stir in the garlic puree (To make this, put peeled garlic bulbs, EVOO and a bit of water in a food processor), ground cinnamon, dried thyme, chopped pecans, and season with coarse salt to taste. Carefully spoon the sweet potato mixture into each Ancho chili pepper. Place the peppers slit-side-up on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 5 to 7 minutes in preheated oven. Done.

Soup: Pumpkin, Barley, and Sage Soup

November 23, 2010
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Pumpkin, Barley, and Sage Soup

2-3 smoked sausage links, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh sage

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup quick cooking barley (or a mix that includes barley)

1 teaspoon instant bouillon granules or 1/4 cup reduced chicken stock

1 15-ounce can of organic pumpkin

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

4 cups water

1 Granny Smith or similar tart green apple

Extra sage, for garnish

Cook sausage, onion and sage in hot oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. (Or, I just bought sausage from the BBQ joint up the street and added it later). Add barley, water and bouillon or chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer with lid on for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.Stir in pumpkin, maple syrup and vinegar. Heat through.  Season with salt and pepper. Done. Ladle in bowls and add garnish with apples and sage (and toasted pumpkin seeds if you have them. Because that’s fun.)

Recipe from the October 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

Salad: Citrus-Walnut Salad

November 23, 2010
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Citrus-Walnut Salad

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1 package of spinach leaves

1/2 cup of fresh parsley leaves

2 red grapefruits, peeled and sectioned

Cumin-Dijon Vinaigrette

Bake walnuts in a single layer in a shallow pan for 6-8 minutes until brown.

Toss everything else together in a bowl.

The end.

Cumin-Dijon Vinaigrette

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/b tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. sugar

Whisk it all together. Done.

Adapted from a recipe by Maiya Keck, of Marfa, Texas. Published in the November 2010 issue of Southern Living

I Don’t Even Know What To Say About This.

November 9, 2010

So, it’s true. I’ve sorta become a farmer.

As I type this sentence, I have 22 different kinds of things growing in my backyard. You should also know that I am someone who cannot keep a plant alive.

I’m not sure how the two things live together. But maybe that will explain some things…

This is corn that I just pulled from my garden.

At first I was like, hey! There’s a little baby corn on there, like the kind from the movie Big, that grew with the regular corn.

And then I turned it to the side.

That’s just wrong, y’all.

It’s wrong.

Tacos: Go-To Recipe #5

November 9, 2010
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This isn’t really a recipe. And I feel silly even including it, because around here what I just typed would read like: I have this great new recipe for these fancy new things called “Sandwiches!” Because there’s no recipe for a taco, which is really just something, anything, put inside a tortilla. Crispy corn. Soft flour. Whatever. Tacos are what you make when you can’t think of anything to make and you just put random things in your refrigerator into a bread-like item. The key is the mix. And there are a few things I always have on-hand to make really good “on-purpose looking” tacos.




Peppers (green, red, and jalapeno)

Spinach or Iceberg Lettuce


New potatoes


Celery or carrots

Beans of any kind. Even Edamame. Whatever.

Squash or Pumpkin

Really, any vegetable on the Earth

Cilantro (some of you are opposed to this, some of you are wrong)

I’m terrible about buying produce, so I now grow 12 of these items in my yard. Honestly, it’s easier than buying them at the store. You really only need about two of these items at any time, although the more you have, the better you are as a human being. That’s the law of salad.


You can also go vegetarian, although I rarely do.


Beef of any kind


Fish of any kind


Pork of any kind

Eggs of any kind




Basically, any kind of protein is good.

My favorite is Venison. This is probably because we have a ridiculous amount of it in our freezer. Because half of the members of my immediate family kill lots of deer with bows and arrows. For real. And before you start to feel bad for the deer, you should really just feel bad for me because I had to spend most of my Thanksgiving Weekends at a hunting ranch, with a broken heart, after a variety of boyfriends broke up with me because I wasn’t a good enough Christian. True story. So don’t worry about the deer. The deer have it easy.

But back to the tacos.

I think the key is the seasoning. And here’s what I do.

Taco Seasoning

3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin

3 tablespoons granulated garlic

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

This is super simple. And I used to do it in a more complicated way, but I found this simple mixture in Matt Martinez’s Mex-Tex book (which is my very favorite Tex-Mex cookbook, and you’re into that, you should get it.) It makes anything taste Tex-Mex. I just quadruple the recipe and keep a bunch of it in my spice cabinet.

Also, you can add any kind if cheese (goat cheese is awesome on a taco) and/or sour cream.

And lime. Lime is always good.

The last step is the tortillas. Or the crispy corn taco shells. I can’t really speak to this, because they make them everyday at my local grocery grocery store, and I just buy them fresh. Although I’d love to know how to make them. Maybe I’ll put that on my life list. Until then, I’ll just buy them hot and fresh for 97 cents. I’m sure you can find some lovely store-bought options as well.

Remember, the key to the taco is to keep it easy. The taco is simple and the taco is sacred.

In fact, a taco is basically a metaphor for life:

Make it like you like it. Use what you have. Be creative.

And enjoy.