Spaghetti with Kale

spaghetti-aglio-e-olio-with-lots-of-kale

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt & black pepper
  • Olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 2-4 bunches kale, any type (about 1 to 1.5 pounds)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12-16 ounces (one box) spaghetti, linguine, bucatini, or other long strand pasta
  • Parmesan (for serving)

Method:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, strip washed kale leaves from ribs and stems, then tear leaves crosswise into 2″–3″ pieces. Whack garlic with the side of a chef’s knife to crush, peel off skins, and chop roughly.

Heat (approx) ¼ cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and kale to skillet. Stir kale often until tender, about 8 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper.

 

Meanwhile, cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente (1-2 minutes less than package directions).

 

Using tongs, add pasta to kale; splash in a little pasta cooking liquid. Cook, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce lightly coats pasta, about 2 minutes.

 

Serve pasta topped with lots of Parmesan, more red pepper flakes (if desired), sea salt, and more black pepper.  It would also be delicious to serve this dish with creamy burrata or grated salt cured egg yolks.

Serves 4-6

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Rice Pilaf

pilaf 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads (optional)
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley (optional)

Method:

Heat the butter in the pan over medium heat. Add the orzo, rice, and onion. Add garlic a few minutes later (you don’t want it to burn). Sautee until rice and pasta are toasted brown.

Add chicken broth and saffron threads (optional, but delicious). Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, and turn down to low. Cook, undisturbed, for 20 minutes.

Toast the almonds in a dry pan, and top the pilaf with them and (optional) the chopped parsley. Serve warm.

Mama Betty’s Sour Cream Pound Cake

A classic of the Thomas family, this is a traditional southern pound cake recipe, hallmarked by the almond-flavor and crunchy top. No one doesn’t like pound cake, and it’s always a welcome gift when visiting friends!

crunchy-top-pound-cake-recipe-sour-cream-pound-cake-recipe-is-a-simple-classic-and-always-a-vintage-wedding-cakes-550x600

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 eggs (large, x-large, or jumbo)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp almond extract

Method:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a large bowl/stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate cup/bowl, mix the baking soda into the sour cream, stirring to thoroughly combine.

With the mixer on low, add the flour and sour cream mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.

Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Mix well.

Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans (can also use a bundt pan, but you may need to adjust the cooking time).

Place pans in preheated oven and bake for approximately 1.5 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool 20 minutes before turning out cakes. Be sure to flip them back over so the crunchy part is on top.

Serve at room temperature plain or with toppings. Freezes beautifully.

pound cake recipe

 

 

 

Indian Butter Chicken

Highly flavored and highly comforting. This recipe is for the slow cooker, but you could easily adapt it to an oven casserole or stove-top method.

indian-butter-chicken-8

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs (can make by pulsing bread in a food processor) 
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced 
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems separated, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 6) 
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala (recipe HERE if you want to make your own mix) 
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Method:

Arrange the onion, jalapeno, and cilantro stems in a lightly greased slow cooker pot. Sprinkle bread crumbs over. Arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer over the vegetables and sprinkle with the garam masala, 3/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Dot with the butter and pour the tomatoes over the top. Cover and cook on low, 7 hours.

Uncover and switch to the warm setting or turn off. Gently stir in the heavy cream, breaking the chicken into large chunks; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro leaves and season with salt. Serve with the naan or basmati rice.

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

These truly are the easiest, most delicious chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. They walk the line nicely between crunchy and chewy: the edges are crisp, while the center is “bendy.”

As with all my baking, I defer to King Arthur Flour’s recipes. This one is verbatim from their website, and can be found here.

6-3-large

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
    In a large bowl, combine the sugars, butter, shortening, salt, vanilla and almond extracts, vinegar, and baking soda, beating until smooth and creamy.
    Beat in the egg, again beating till smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
  2. Mix in the flour, then the chips.
  3. Use a spoon (or a tablespoon cookie scoop) to scoop 1 1/4″ balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2″ between them on all sides; they’ll spread.
  4. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, till their edges are chestnut brown and their tops are light golden brown, almost blonde. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan till they’ve set enough to move without breaking. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Yield: about 36 cookies

Sausage Balls

sausage balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bulk pork sausage
  • 1 lb cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups bisquick (or make your own from THIS recipe)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine sausage, bisquick, and cheese. Form into walnut size balls and place on baking sheets.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and sausage is cooked through.

Note: Pre-cooked sausage balls may be frozen and then reheated at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Ultimate Chewy Brownies

This recipe is 100% King Arthur Flour‘s. Those guys know their stuff when it comes to baking, and I have nothing to add or amend! This wonderful recipe is just as easy as the box mixes, and twice as delicious. Feel free to add chocolate chips, nuts, or a peanut butter swirl…

classic-chewy-brownie-102727-1

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 9″ pan.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Spread the batter in the pan.
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with some moist crumbs clinging to it, but doesn’t show any trace of raw batter.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and cool the brownies before cutting and serving.
  6. Store, covered, for 5 days at room temperature, or freeze for up to a month.

*Grace’s note: if using an 8×8″ pan, adjust cooking time by adding an additional 15 minutes (about 50 minutes total).

 

Italian Meatballs

Makes a ton, but freezes beautifully!

Adapted from this recipe.

meatballs-ricotta-tomato-horiz-a-1800

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound stale country bread (such as ciabatta), crust removed and torn into small pieces (about 2 packed cups)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 medium garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 pounds ground beef (or can sub ground turkey for half)
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, minced
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley (from 1/2 bunch)
  • 6 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatos
  • 1 jar marinara sauce

Method:

Place torn bread in a small bowl and cover with milk. (Push bread down so it all gets moistened.) Let soak until most of the milk is absorbed and bread is broken down, about 20 minutes. (*Note: if your bread isn’t stale, you can toast it a bit before soaking)

Meanwhile, place garlic and fennel seeds on a cutting board and sprinkle all of the pepper and salt on top. Chop mixture until it is a rough paste.

Place meats in a large bowl and mix until evenly combined, about 3 minutes. Add bread and any remaining milk and mix until bread is fully incorporated (break up any bread chunks). Add onion and mix well. Add eggs and mix until just incorporated. Add garlic-fennel paste, parsley, oregano, and grated cheese and mix until very evenly combined.

Roll a handful of meat mixture between your hands until it’s smooth, compact, and round. (Each meatball should be about 2 inches in diameter.) Place meatball on a dish and repeat until you have used up the meat mixture. (You should have about 30 meatballs.)

Heat some olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Once heated, place meatballs in the pan, leaving about 1/4 inch between each one. (You may have to do this in several batches.) Let each meatball brown on one side, and then turn to brown the other side. Once well browned, remove to a separate plate/platter. Continue until all meatballs are browned.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Wipe oil out of the dutch oven, and return all meatballs. Cover with tomato sauces, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover, and place in the preheated oven for approx. 45 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through. (Alternatively, you can finish cooking the meatballs on the stovetop, stirring occasionally, for about 20-30 minutes.) The meatballs can be eaten immediately, though they improve in flavor if left to rest in the sauce for 10 to 20 minutes before serving.

Savory Dutch Baby

Endlessly adaptable and easy to make, this recipe makes a delicious brunch or light lunch recipe. Pair with a salad to make it a complete meal. Adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe here.

Herbed_parmesan_dutch_baby

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 large eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives, parsley or tarragon
  • tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gruyère
  •  Flaky sea salt, for garnish

Method:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the eggs in a bowl of hot tap water to warm them up (it’s very important to use room temp/warm ingredients). Warm the milk in the microwave slightly.

Add the warmed eggs and milk to a blender, and pulse until frothy. Add the salt and pepper, and blend to combine. Add the flour, and blend to combine. Add the herbs and quickly pulse to just combine.

Melt the butter in a heavy 12-inch ovenproof skillet (preferable non-stick) over medium-high heat. Let it cook until it smells nutty and browns, about 5 minutes, then swirl skillet so that butter coats bottom of pan.

Pour batter into pan and scatter cheese and flaky salt over the top. Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes.

Notes: flavors/ingredients can be easily adapted: jalapeno & corn, ham & cheddar, crab & curry…

Sweet Potato Casserole

sweet-potato-casserole-sl-x

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs sweet potatoes or yams
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (or less)
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows

Method:

First, bake the sweet potatoes: Don’t preheat the oven. Prick your sweet potatoes with a fork, then place them on a foil lined pan in the middle of the oven. Turn the oven on to 400. Bake for 1 hour, or until a knife easily slides through the potato. Do NOT under-cook. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and cool completely.

Scrape insides of cooked,cooled sweet potatoes into a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. Mix very well.

Pour into a greased 9″x13″ casserole dish and smooth out the top. Sprinkle with pecans and mini  marshmallows.

Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until marshmallows are puffed and brown.

Optional: substitute pecans for a brown-sugar/pecan streusel topping, and apply to the top with the marshmallows in alternating stripes.