Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Caviar

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Caviar 
Makes about 40 appetizer-sized portions

Are you looking for that perfect appetizer to bridge the rare convergence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah? Celebrate Thanksgivukah? This year they will coincide – and it will not repeat until 2070. The last time this occurred was 1918….in case you were curious. But, you do not have to wait for them to coincide to enjoy this fall twist on latkes.  We love it year round. You can form the sweet potato pancakes up to six hours ahead, leaving only a quick frying before serving.
  • 2 lbs. tan-skinned sweet potatoes
  • ¾ C chopped green onions
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ Tb all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3 Tb (or more) vegetable oil
  • 1 C sour cream or crème fraiche
  • 1 oz black caviar
  • Fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces

Cook sweet potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead; keep refrigerated)
Sweet Potatoes
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel potatoes and coarsely grate into a large bowl. Stir in green onions. Whisk eggs, flour, salt and pepper in small bowl. Gently mix into potato mixture. Form mixture into walnut-sized balls; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Can make this up to 6 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate.
Shredded taters

Walnut sized potato balls

Heat 3 Tb vegetable oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place 8 potato balls in skillet, pressing gently with spatula to flatten to 1½-inch diameter. Cook until pancakes are rich golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining potato balls, adding more oil to skillet if necessary. Transfer pancakes to platter. Top each with 1 tsp sour cream or crème fraiche and scant ¼ tsp caviar. Garnish with chives. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Fried to a golden brown
Give this a try soon – maybe at your Thanksgiving or Chanukah meal!!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash & Arugula Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Roasted Butternut Squash & Arugula Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Serves 4 

Roasted Butternut Squash & Arugula Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

This is a quintessential fall robust salad – the colors and the flavors could not be better. Serve it alone for lunch or as companion to your evening entrée. This one blends warm and cold ingredients, highlights butternut squash, which can perk up everything from soup to grains, lending a sweet nutty note.
Star of the show....cut butternut squash
Fall brings back a lot of awesome things (cute sweaters and boots, anyone?) and one of my favorites is the return of the roasted butternut squash! I could eat roasted butternut squash every day and be a very happy camper. It’s like candy to me.
  • 1 Medium butternut squash (1½ lb.), peeled and diced into ¾” pieces
  • ¼ C + 2 Tb Extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1 Tb pure maple syrup (Note: not brown corn syrup!!)
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 3 Tb dried cranberries
  • ¾ C apple juice or apple cider
  • 2 Tb cider vinegar
  • 2 Tb minced shallots
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 5 ounces mix of arugula & baby lettuce leaves (or substitute with Mache or arugula alone)
  • ½ C walnuts or pecans, toasted and roughly chopped  (see below for candied pepitas –another great option!)
  • ¾ C shaved Parmesan (or substitute with goat cheese or crumbled Gorgonzola)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan.  Add 2 Tb olive oil, maple syrup, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper and toss. Roast squash for 15-20 minutes, turning once, until tender and lightly browned. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

Squash cubes with cranberries
While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until cider is reduced to about ¼ C.  Off heat, whisk in the mustard, ¼ C olive oil, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.


Mix a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette over the roasted butternut squash.  Place the mix of lettuce & arugula in a large salad bowl. Add the roasted butternut squash mixture, the walnuts and the shaved Parmesan (see end of recipe for how to make candied pepitas as a substitute for walnuts).  Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

This is a great versatile salad that works for lunch or dinner. You can add protein in the form of sliced chicken, steak or cubed firm tofu, but on its own, it makes for a nice light dinner that's still comforting. The squash wilts the greens slightly, but there's plenty of texture in the nuts to keep the salad feeling crunchy and bright. Serve it with crusty bread and enjoy!


Candied Pepitas
  • ¼ C pepitas
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 2 Tb brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (or more to suit taste)
  • ¼ tsp salt

Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add nuts and remainder of ingredients.  Cook until sugar is bubbly and darkened.  Cool on parchment paper.  Sprinkle over this salad and any other or scoop up by the handful!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Curried Chicken Sandwich with Fennel-Celery Slaw

Curried Chicken Sandwich with Fennel-Celery Slaw

Serves: 4
Curried Chicken Sandwich with Fennel-Celery Slaw
A sandwich can be very satisfying – for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Burgers are not the only things improved on the grill. In this case, thanks to flavorful brine and a super short cook time, the sandwich-friendly boneless breast of chicken takes on a whole new satisfying and flavorful meal. This one is quick as well. But, please brine your chicken at least 4 hours, overnight is much better – two nights would work as well.
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, butterflied horizontally (about 1 – 1 ¼ lbs)
  • 2 C buttermilk
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste in slaw
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper, plus more to taste in slaw
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • ½ small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tb plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp celery seeds
  • 1 Tb mayonnaise plus more for serving
  • 4 large or 8 medium slices country bread
  • ¼C olive oil
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ C thickly chopped dill pickles of your choosing 

Combine 2 C buttermilk, 2 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, curry powder, cumin & turmeric in a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken and chill at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Prepare grill for medium-high heat.  Combine celery, fennel, yogurt, lemon juice, celery seeds, and 1 Tb Mayonnaise in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Set slaw aside.
Fixin's for the sandwich
Drain chicken from brine. Allow meat to come to room temperature. Grill chicken until cooked through, 5-7 minutes per side. Brush bread on both sides with oil and grill until toasted, about 2 minutes per side; spread with mayonnaise. 
On the grill
Grilled to perfection!
Ready for a juicy bite
Build sandwiches with bread, chicken, slaw, onion and dill pickles. Slice in half on the diagonal and serve to accolades.  You deserve it.  Do not tell them how really easy this is.