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Vietnamese Meatball Sandwiches

January 13, 2013

If I had to name the best recipe I made since my last post, it would be this one. Hopefully it’s good enough to make up for lost time! No more words are necessary…just make e sandwich!

for carrot and daikon pickle:
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 large daikon, peeled and shredded
2 t kosher salt
1 T sugar
1/2 hot water
1/2 white vinegar
place carrot and daikon in a colandar and sprinkle with 2 t kosher salt. let drain for 30 minutes and then squeeze out all excessed moisture.

place in a jar with lid. dissolve sugar in the hot water, add the vinegar and pour the solution over the carrot and daikon. seal and store in the fridge.

for the sandwich you’ll need
carrot and dakion pickle

for the meatballs you’ll need:

1 lb ground chicken
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 t sriracha
1 T cornstarch
1/2 t sugar
1 T fish sauce
Black pepper
1 T chopped thai basil or basil OR 1 T chopped cilantro

mix all meatball ingredients and form into meatballs. cook in a little vegetable oil until browned on all sides and cooked through.

to assemble, spread toasted baguette with mayo and some srirach. place meatballs on sandwich and top with carrot and daikon pickle and cilantro leaves.


Potato and Kale Cakes with Spicy Rouille

February 29, 2012

These have the auspicious title of being one of the best recipes I made last year.  They

potato and kale cakes

were great on many levels- taste, versatility and veganability.  I made them for a dinner party and they were great to make ahead the night before, fry up that day, and keep warm in the oven.  Plus, I was able to adapt them for food allergies, and they ended up becoming vegan.  I think everyone had about 3 each they were so good.  These are a great vegetarian main, or a good side for a grilled or roasted meat dish.  This recipe comes from Bon Appetit and makes 12 cakes (make them smaller if you wish).


For the rouille:
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or veganaisse)

1 T extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, pressed

2 t tomato paste

1/8 t smoked paprika

Pinch of cayenne pepper

For the cakes:
1 1/2 pounds unpeeled russet potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1-inch cubes (leave skin on)

1/4 c milk (or soy or almond milk)

2  T unsalted butter (or olive oil)

1 t coarse kosher salt, divided

3 1/2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 lb. kale, center rib and stem cut from each leaf, leaves coarsely chopped

1 T chopped fresh thyme

1/8 t ground nutmeg

To make the rouille: Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. 

To make the cakes: Cook the potatoes in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 25 minutes.  Drain and return potatoes to same pot. Add the milk and butter and mash the potatoes (with peel) until smooth. Season with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Transfer 3 cups mashed potatoes to large bowl and cool (reserve remaining potatoes for another use or just use them all).

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in large deep skillet over medium heat and saute the garlic for 30 seconds.  Increase the heat to medium-high and add the kale and thyme. Toss until kale wilts, about 5 minutes. Add kale mixture, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg to potatoes and stir to blend well.  Cool the potato mixture for 30 minutes.

Shape potato mixture by 1/4 cupfuls into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Arrange on rimmed baking sheet. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cakes and cook, without moving, until cakes are brown and crispy on bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully turn cakes over. Cook until brown on bottom, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Top each cake with dollop of rouille and serve.

Roasted Fingerlings with Red and Yellow Pipérade

February 14, 2012

Roasted potatoes are sometimes lackluster to me.  They sometimes just taste like…well,

potatoes with champagne vinegar

roasted potatoes.  I knew these would be different because they have one of my favorite ingredients, champagne vinegar, and nothing perks up vegetables like vinegar.  This is a great dish to bring for a crowd, because it doesn’t have to be hot to taste great and makes a lot of food.  It’s also good for summer if you’re willing to crank up your oven.  The bright flavors work well with foods on the grill.  This recipe was adapted from from Bon Appetit and serves 8 to 10.


1/3-1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil

2 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/4-to-1/3-inch-wide strips

2 large yellow bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/4-to-1/3-inch-wide strips

1 large red onion, halved through core, thinly sliced across

3 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise

1/2 c chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/4 c chopped fresh basil

1 T chopped fresh thyme

1/4 c Champagne vinegar


Preheat oven to 425°F. Pour olive oil onto large rimmed baking sheet (or two sheets if they’re small).  Spread all peppers and sliced onion over, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.  Roast for 10 minutes.  Place the halved potatoes and 2 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Arrange the potatoes in single layer on top of the peppers.  Roast until potatoes are tender and beginning to turn golden, about 50 minutes.

Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the potatoes and toss to coat.  Roast the potatoes for 5 more minutes.  Transfer potatoes to large platter and sprinkle with the basil and thyme. Drizzle with Champagne vinegar and toss to coat and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Trofie Pasta with Clams, Chiles and Black Bean Sauce

February 7, 2012

I don’t know why I risk making recipes I’m unsure of for entertaining and birthdays, but I

pasta with clams and black beans

guess it’s just the sort of risky behavior I indulge in (wink).  This recipe was one of those times…pasta, black beans, clams- all in a sauce that’s pretty much just a full bottle of wine?   Well, maybe it’s not that risky, but I was worried the sauce wouldn’t be much of a sauce.  Or how well wine and Chinese black bean sauce really goes together.  As it turns out, it goes really well together.  I made this for Greg’s mom’s birthday and it was a fitting dish for a celebration, and came together in about 45  minutes, during which time I made the Balthazar salad and some French fudge cakes.  Not bad.  I have no idea what Trofie pasta looks like, so I bought some long, chewy hand-rolled pasta.  Substitute a similar shape.  This recipe comes from Food & Wine and serves 4.



12 thin asparagus spears, trimmed

4 T  unsalted butter

10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 large shallots, thinly sliced

One 750-milliliter bottle dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)

2 bay leaves

3 T Chinese black bean–garlic sauce

1 fresh red chile, seeded and minced

1 pound artisanal trofie or fusilli

4 dozen middleneck clams, scrubbed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 c chopped parsley


In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus until just tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to a work surface, let cool and cut into 1-inch lengths. Reserve the water for the pasta.

In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter. Add the garlic and shallots and cook over moderately low heat until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the wine and bay leaves and boil over high heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaves, stir in the black bean–garlic sauce and chile, cover and remove from the heat.

Return the water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente; drain and return to the pot.
Bring the black bean sauce to a boil. Add the cockles, cover and cook over high heat until they open, 2 minutes. Stir in the asparagus. Add the pasta and toss. Season with salt and pepper, add the parsley and serve.

Raw Tuscan Kale Salad

February 2, 2012

I’m late to the posting on this one…about a year late, seeing as kale was in season when I

raw kale salad

made this.  Raw kale salads popped up a lot last year, and after a friend raved about one she had, I decided to try this recipe.  The salad is addictive…perhaps that’s from all the cheese and garlicky breadcrumbs in it, but nevertheless, it’s good.  One thing to note, you really need to use Tuscan kale for this (also call lacinato or dinosaur kale), because run of the mill kale will be far to tough and bitter.  Tuscan kale has slightly softer and less bitter leaves, plus a beautiful texture.  This recipe comes from Melissa Clark via 101 Cookbooks.  It will make 2 large salads or 4 small.


1 bunch Tuscan kale (or lacinato or dinosaur)

2 thin slices country bread, or two handfuls good, homemade coarse breadcrumbs

1/2 garlic clove

1/4 t kosher salt, plus a pinch

1/4 c grated pecorino cheese, plus adiitional for garnish

3 T  extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon

1/8 t red pepper flakes

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Trim the bottom few inches off the kale stems and discard.  Slice the kale into 3/4-inch ribbons and place in a large bowl.

Toast the bread until golden brown on both sides and dry throughout. Tear into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.

Using a mortar and pestle or a knife, pound or mince the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into a paste. Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves).  Let the salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with the bread crumbs, additional cheese, and a drizzle of oil.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Dates, Manchego and Honey-Mustard Vineagrette

January 29, 2012

Being a Brussels sprouts convert for the past couple of years, this seems like a pretty

brussels sprouts salad

extreme way to enjoy them…raw and shredded.  But I guess that really means I love them, even when they aren’t braised in cream.  Maybe it’s a sign that my taste buds are about dead, but I really love this salad.  It’s so crisp and crunchy and delicious in the winter.  I based the components on a salad at at restaurant in Chicago, and found the perfect dressing from Food52.

Serves 4-6


For the salad:

20 young brussels sprouts

1/2 c sliced dates (or dried cherries)

1/2 c cubed Manchego cheese

1/2 c toasted almonds, chopped

For the dressing:

1/3 c olive oil

1/8 cup lemon juice

3 T mirin rice wine vinegar

1 1/2 T honey

1 1/2 T Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste


To make the salad: Trim the young brussels sprouts very well until you only have the very light green leaves. Using a mandolin or slicer, slice them paper thin leaving the stem.

To make the vinaigrette: In a bowl whisk together mustard, honey, rice vinegar, lemon juice and the salt. While whisking, slowly add the oil.  Taste and add more oil or honey as needed to get the balance you like.

In a bowl, toss the shaved Brussels sprouts with the dressing and let sit for 10-30 minutes.  When ready to serve, toss with the dates, cheese and almonds.

Allegra McEvedy’s Salmon (or Salmon with Sauce and Veggies)

January 24, 2012

This is one of those recipes where I was seduced by the photo but wasn’t quite sure how

salmon with vegetable sauce

the dish would turn out.  It called for a lot of vinegar…so much that I was a little leery and cut back on it, substituting some of it for white wine so the dish took on a more  traditional flavor.  Regardless of what the original recipe was supposed to taste like, I loved the end result.  It has a kind of Asian fusion flavor from the sweet chili sauce, and the wine and vinegar give it a slightly sour caponata flavor.  I played off that Italian component and served the dish over fettuccine and added lots of Parmesan on top at the table.   I definitely recommend this dish, adapted from Allegra McEvady’s recipe.  This recipe serves 4.


4 salmon fillets

4 T olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small eggplant, cut into 3/4″ dice

1 2″ piece fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks

1 red bell pepper, cut into 3/4″ dice

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 3/4″ dice

1/4 c white wine vinegar

1/2 c white wine

1/2-3/4 c vegetable or chicken stock

1 carrot, cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler

3 T sweet chili sauce

2 T chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 t lime juice

4 Lime wedges, to serve

1 Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fettuccine, cooked

Parmesan for serving


Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Rinse salmon, then pat dry and season with salt and pepper.

Put a wide frying pan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Allow to heat until smoking, then add the eggplant and cook, stirring so it won’t stick, until softened, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger, and once you can smell them, add the peppers and stir. Bring the vegetables to a sizzle, then add the white wine vinegar and wine, followed a minute later by the stock.  Cook on high heat and simmer, uncovered, until it reaches a saucey consistency, about 8-10 minutes.  The eggplant helps to thicken the sauce, so add more stock or water if needed.

Meanwhile, cook the fettuccine.  Then, heat a frying pan over high heat for the salmon.  Add the remaining olive oil into the pan and shake it around to coat the pan.  Lay the salmon pieces in the oil, skin side down, and press them against the bottom of the pan.  When you see the fish is just beginning to brown along the edge of the skin, move the pan into the oven for 8 minutes.

Add the carrot ribbons to the rest of the vegetables, then add the sweet chili sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Take off the heat once the carrots have softened.

Take the salmon out of the oven and transfer to warm plates over the fettuccine. Tip all the vegetables into the ex-salmon pan and stir, watching them sizzle while the liquid reduces. Add the parsley and lemon juice to the vegetables. Adjust the lemon if necessary. Serve the vegetables with the salmon and a wedge of lime, and top with Parmesan if desired.