Monday, August 31, 2015

Kale Chips

The kale in the greenhouse has gotten massive! I had Justin bring me some tonight to make kale chips.  The kale bakes up so light and flaky/crunchy.  I can eat ridiculous amounts of these.  Super easy.  Super healthy.  Super cheap.  Pretty much, they're super.

Which made me think of Goldfinger's "Superman".  -jen

Time:  20 minutes
Difficulty:  Way Easy
Makes:  however much kale you want to use
  • one large bunch of kale
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • grated Parmesan, optional
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Remove kale leaves from stems and discard stems (or save in the freezer for soup stock!)  Tear larger leaves into big bite-size pieces.  Fill a Ziplock bag full of leaves.  Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil so that all the leaves are lightly coated (may need 3 tbsp if you really filled the bag).  Place in single layer on two baking sheets.  Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over the top.  Bake for 17 minutes.

I like to sprinkle a little grated Parmesan or Asiago over the kale chips immediately after removing them from the oven. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Basil Hollandaise Sauce

Justin and I aren't really breakfast eaters, but sometimes one of us will crave it, and then we'll go out somewhere and over pay for eggs and toast and poor service.  This morning, I really wanted breakfast, and we almost went out for it, but in the end, I was like, "Screw that!  I'll make us some eggs Benedict!"  Topped 'em with Asiago cheese.

I've heard trained chefs scoff at hollandaise made in the blender... but we've done it the traditional way plenty of times, and we both agree that in the blender is just as tasty and super easy.  My Benedicts were definitely not traditional.  I used some pastrami that we had and decided that I wanted to use up the egg whites, so I scrambled them with a few whole eggs and basil (instead of the traditional poached eggs).  So I decided to go with some basil hollandaise too, and it was great!

No idea why I was singing this in the kitchen this morning while making these, but I had a broken record in my head with this lyric, "'s already better than last time I ruined another girl's life..."  Lagwagon's "Dinner And A Movie".  -jen

Time: 3 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes: about 3/4 cup
  • 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons
  • 1 small garlic clove (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • dash of Sriracha 
  • 3-4 large basil leaves 
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a microwave safe container that you can pour easily out of (I use my glass measuring cup because it has a pour spout), melt butter for 30 seconds, then 15 additional seconds at a time as needed, until entirely melted.

In a blender combine egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, garlic and Sriracha.  Roughly tear up basil leaves and add them.  Begin blending on lowest speed.  While blending, slowly drizzle in melted butter then blend for 5 seconds more.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.  (If you use salted butter, you may not need to add additional salt.)

Tip:  Wondering what to do with those egg whites?  I add 2 whole eggs to them and scramble it up with some more torn up basil, which makes enough for 2-4 folks (depending on how much you can eat at breakfast, I guess!  It makes enough to top 4 English muffin halves.)

Pastrami and basil scrambled eggs with basil hollandaise sauce on English muffins topped with Asiago cheese.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits

When I moved to Northern California ten years ago, I noticed the biscuits here were different than what I'd grown up with in the midwest (which were southern style biscuits).  Here in NorCal, they make what I think of as "lumberjack" biscuits - they're dense and heavy, a little crumbly like cake.  Biscuits and gravy used to be one of my favourite things to order for breakfast, but I had to quit ordering it out here because I just couldn't dig on the cakey biscuits.

So... like everything else I'm dissatisfied with, I decided to make my own.  It took a couple of tries... but these are the perfect biscuit!  Better than most I've had in the midwest or south (someone's southern grandma is going to skin my hide for saying that).  Fluffy, flaky, buttery layers.  They're awesome.  Justin's been making them on a pretty regular basis... they're not difficult and they don't take much time at all.  The last couple of nights, we've been eating them as maple-sausage egg sandwiches, topped with our neighbour's homemade apple-jalepeƱo jelly.  (The neighbour guy gave us a bunch of canned jellies and jams when I took him and his dad some coconut-banana marshmallow squares!  Awesome neighbour bartering!)

I asked Justin what song we should use for this recipe... he said some Op Ivy sounded good to him.  I love "Unity", but I can't hear it without thinking of Dave Chappelle and the Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories with Rick James.... "UNITYYY!"  -jen


Time:  about 30 minutes
Difficulty:  Medium
Makes:  9 large biscuits
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (optional - we like them a little peppery)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cubed and cold + 2 tablespoons
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or whole milk)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and black pepper.  Cut butter into flour until pea-size (you can use a dough cutter or just work it in with your fingers, but you don't want to handle the butter too much so that it softens).  Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add milk.  Stir or mix with your hands just until the dough comes together.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Dust the top of the dough.  Fold dough over onto itself 3-5 times - this is what creates flaky layers.  Press out into 3/4"-1" square.  Cut evenly into 9 pieces.  Place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and brush over the tops.  Bake at 450 degrees F for 12-17 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown and done in the center.

Buttermilk Biscuit Chicken Pot Pies