Herbed Kale and Sundried Tomato Scramble

Herbed Kale and Sundried Tomato Scramble

Hello, upgraded breakfast! I tend to find myself getting into breakfast ruts a lot more than I used to. I’ve always been a sucker for toast, and even though this dish is best enjoyed on top of some gluten free multigrain bread, I’m always looking for ways to add both more nutrition and more variety into my breakfasts, especially when it comes to your standard toast-and-eggs fare. Paired with a little bit of breakfast for my omnivores out there, this is one of my favorite go-to breakfasts when I have a little extra time on my hands.

So what makes this breakfast so good? First of all, it’s definitely packed with nutrients. When combined, curly kale and sundried tomatoes provide a huge amount of vitamins A, C and E, iron, and magnesium. Adding some chives to the dish embolden the flavors and add a complexity and freshness that makes this feel like a superhouse springtime dish.

So how do you make it? It’s easy! Wash and de-rib your kale, then tear it into relatively small (bite-sized) pieces. If you have dry sundried tomatoes (ie, not packed in oil), reconstitute then in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Chop chives into small pieces, and then put your eggs in a bowl and combine with a splash of milk, salt and pepper. You could also add some ham to this dish if you’re really trying to get your protein in!

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Herbed Kale and Sundried Tomato Scramble
Serves 1 (double for 2-3 people)
Time Required: 10-15 minutes
Skill Level: 🔪 (Easy)

Ingredients:
2 whole eggs (I use organic/humane raised/free range eggs)
2-3 tbsp milk
1-2 large leaves of curly kale
1/8 cup julienned sundried tomatoes
1 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp chives, to taste
salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions:
1) If using dry-packaged sundried tomatoes, place into a small bowl and cover with olive oil for 5+ minutes, or as long as it takes to prepare other ingredients.
2) Prepare your kale. Wash thoroughly, then remove hard center core and tear into bite-sized pieces. Chop chive into small circlets.
3) Crack two eggs into a bowl and add milk, salt and pepper. Beat with a fork until combined.
4) Add butter to frying pan and heat over medium heat.
5) While butter is melting, add kale, sundried tomatoes and chives to the eggs and beat to coat.
6) Once butter has melted to coat the bottom of the pan, add eggs and use a spatula to stir. This is not an exact science, so have fun with it!
7) Once eggs begin to brown slightly and there’s no runny bits left, remove from heat and serve. I personally like it over some multigrain GF bread and with a side of bacon!

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Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Even though we’re stretching our claws into spring, Denver has had a few lingering, chilly days that remind me that it is still firmly winter for another few weeks. And what better way to take advantage of winter weather than to enjoy some oven-baked, mapley, gooey-in-a-good-way maple mashed sweet potatoes? There isn’t one, I promise.

These are one of my favorite go-to side dishes, partly because they taste and sound like they’re far more complex than they really are. These aren’t exactly healthy, but they are rich, buttery, creamy and delicate in spite of the fact that they could err on the side of heavy. The richness of the potatoes paired with the natural sweetness of the maple syrup and the balancing lipidity of the heavy cream and butter make this an incredibly satisfying side dish, and one that you’ll want to eat all year round.

I served these tonight to go with my figgy balsamic and rosemary pork tenderloin, but they really go well with most lighter meats, especially roasted chicken. I also love them all on their own — its like cheating and getting to eat dessert first, but also with vegetables. And heavy cream, butter and maple syrup, but who’s counting? Sometimes you need food that will nourish your soul rather than your trim waistline, and that’s OK. (This is also how I feel about poutine. I use this to justify probably too much in life, but do as I say, not as I do).

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Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4
Time Required: Approx 45 minutes
Skill Level: 🔪 (Easy)

Ingredients:
3-4 medium sweet potatoes or yams
4 tbsp maple syrup, preferably grade B (more to taste — I tend to like mine extra sweet)
1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
3 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Wash potatoes, then place on foil-covered baking sheet and bake for approximately 40 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and pierceable with a fork.
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2) Approximately 5 minutes before removing potatoes from oven, add butter and heavy whipping cream to a small saucepan and heat over low heat. Once mixture is heated through and all butter has melted, add the maple syrup.
3) Heat until bubbling and well-combined, stirring occasionally.
4) Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool for several minutes. Peel and add to a large mixing bowl. Mash very slightly with a fork until potatoes are flattened, but chunky and not totally mashed.
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5) Slowly add half & half/butter/maple syrup mixture to the potatoes, mashing as you go. Continue adding until potatoes become creamy, but not too liquid. (Hint: taste testing is the best route here. You won’t regret it).
6) If potatoes aren’t as sweet as you would like, add more maple syrup, a few teaspoons at a time. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and give a final, thorough mashing.
7) Serve with your favorite mains! This dish is great because it can be prepared in advance, and it keeps well in the fridge.

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Veggie-Packed Butternut Squash Risotto with Pancetta, Sage and Peas

Veggie-Packed Butternut Squash Risotto with Pancetta, Sage and Peas

Risotto is one of my all time favorite gluten free foods. It’s super satisfying, creamy, and easier to make than I had originally anticipated. When I first thought of making risotto I felt overwhelmed by all the nuances and the attention the dish would need. However, once you have the steps down, it can be surprisingly meditative; a good risotto takes a little more TLC than your standard rice and veggies dish, but in the end the payoff is always worth it. The trick to making a stress-free risotto is planning; having all of your ingredients on-hand and ready to go before you start cooking is essential.

So what do you absolutely need to do to make your risotto a success? Prepare your vegetables in advance, of course, but also make sure you have all your liquids in their proper proportions on-hand right next to the stovetop. For this recipe, you’ll need chicken stock (I reconstitute mine from bouillon, but packaged or fresh works just as well), a dry white wine (a perk of this recipe: use a little of the wine for cooking, and enjoy the rest while you cook!), and butter on hand for cooking.

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To retain some of the brightness of this dish, I opted to roast the vegetables and pancetta in the oven together, save for the peas, which I would typically stir into the risotto directly a few minutes before it was done. My dad, however, hates peas, so I cooked them separately and let people add them in as they wanted. This recipe would also support sauteed spinach if you wanted to substitute that for peas, and is flexible enough to accommodate other vegetables that you have on hand.

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Butternut Squash Risotto with Pancetta, Sage and Peas
Serves: 4
Time Required: Approx 55 minutes – 1 hour
Skill Level: 🔪🔪  (Medium)

Ingredients:
3 tbsp butter
2 cups Arborio rice
1-2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic (I use the Dorot frozen garlic pods)
1 small-medium butternut squash
1/2 lb pancetta
3/4 cup frozen peas (optional)
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
5-6 cups of chicken stock
1/2 cup of parmesan, more to taste or garnish
several small sage leaves

Instructions:
1) Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Prepare your vegetables and pancetta. Cut butternut squash into roughly 1/2 inch cubes, mince garlic, mince shallot and cut pancetta into approximately 1 inch squares.
3) Toss butternut squash in olive oil and place onto a greased baking sheet. Salt and pepper, then cook for approx 20 minutes, until squash begins to soften.
4) Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pan on the stove. Once melted and pan is warmed through, add shallots and cook for approximately three minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add in garlic and cook another 30 seconds, then add in rice and cook for another two minutes, stirring constantly to coat rice in butter.
5) Once rice begins to go translucent on the edges, add in white wine and stir often until all wine is absorbed.
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6) While rice is cooking, check on your butternut squash. If it has begun to soften, remove from oven and add pancetta, turning squash over to ensure even browning on all sides. Return to oven and continue to cook for another ~20 minutes, until pancetta begins to crisp.
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7) Once wine has absorbed into the rice, begin to add chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed. Once the first 1/2 cup is absorbed, add another 1/2 cup and so on, until all stock is absorbed and the rice is firm, but not crispy or crunchy. Add parmesan cheese and stir thoroughly. If adding peas, add them now and stir in, heating until no longer frozen.
8) In the last five minutes prior to serving, remove squash from oven and sprinkle with sage leaves. Return to oven and allow sage to bake until it just begins to crisp, then remove from oven and test that the squash is soft and the pancetta is crispy. Add squash, pancetta and sage to risotto and stir.
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9) Serve and top with additional parmesan and sage, if desired!

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Easy Gluten Free Poutine (That Tastes Like The Real Thing)

Easy Gluten Free Poutine (That Tastes Like The Real Thing)

One of Canada’s tastiest exports, poutine has been a favorite of mine since I was too young to safely use the stove by myself. I was first introduced to this simple-but-delicious combination of gravy, potatoes and cheese when I was at summer camp in Ontario, the savory, satisfying splendor of a hearty serving of poutine is something I haven’t been able to forget. Much to my disappointment, I learned the hard way that poutine was not served in all American restaurants. Over the years, I tried a few times to recreate the childhood comfort dish of my dreams on my own, to little avail. It seemed like I would be doomed to only enjoy poutine during those short summer months, and suffer for the other 10 months of the year without my starchy, cheesy favorite.

Every time I tried to make poutine it felt like something was just wrong. Most of my attempts were made in the early days of the internet, when food blogs weren’t quite as prolific, nor were they as prescriptive as they are today. When I first became gluten intolerant, I mourned the loss of the meal that was already all-too-absent from my life, and it took me a few long, hard years to realize that I didn’t have to be poutineless for the rest of my days. After doing some research, I decided I would try and find the best gluten-free poutine substitute, because sometimes you really just need a simple, comforting classic dish from your childhood to get through the week.

After many failed attempts at making the gravy to coat my coveted potato and cheese combination, I finally found a balance of ingredients that really tastes like it should. A base of butter, chicken stock, beef stock and pepper bring out the buttery, peppery flavors that make this recipe the delight that it is. This recipe can be made vegetarian with the substitution of vegetable stock for the meat-based stocks that I use below. A vegan version of this recipe can be made using a vegan cheese, like this one by the Minimalist Baker. Originally, I tried to round out my gravy after I’d made my roux with corn starch — I do not recommend this, as it will make the gravy clump in a way that’s really difficult to break up with a whisk.

Easy Gluten Free Poutine
Serves: 4
Time Required: Approx 20-25 minutes
Skill Level: 🔪 (Easy)

Ingredients:
Ore-Ida Shoestring Fries (gluten free, check package for labeling if you opt for a different variety)
8 oz cheese curds
3 tbsp sweet rice flour (can likely be substituted for corn starch in a pinch)
3 tbsp butter
1 cup beef broth (warmed)
1 cup chicken broth (warmed)
Pepper to taste

Instructions:
1) Heat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. Add fries in a single layer to the baking sheet, and put into oven while you prepare your gravy. Fries will take approximately 13-17 minutes to cook.
2) Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add 3 tbsp of rice flour and whisk until bubbly and browned.
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3) Once butter/flour roux begins to brown, add beef stock and whisk together. Whisk in chicken stock until well combined.
4) Continue to whisk together until gravy is smooth. Once gravy is thick, continue to heat through, stirring often to prevent clumping.
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5) When fries have reached desired doneness, remove from oven and serve on warmed plates. Top with cheese curds, then immediately with gravy. If a little green is desired, sprinkle with fresh parsley and eat immediately. It isn’t the most beautiful dish in the world, but it is one of the most delicious!

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Supergreen Spaghetti Squash with Pancetta, Shallot, and Goat Cheese

Supergreen Spaghetti Squash with Pancetta, Shallot, and Goat Cheese

Winter took its sweet time coming to Colorado this year. Only recently did temperatures really drop and stay dropped, and as such my family and I have been turning to those foods that tend to bring comfort as the weather gets colder. Thankfully, comfort food doesn’t always have to be heavy or make you more likely to pack on the pounds (yuck). Squash is one of my all-time favorite winter foods, because what’s cosier than seeing beautiful, earthy colors deepen as they brown in a hot oven on a cold, snowy day?

Even before I discovered that I was gluten intolerant, I was never really a huge fan of pasta. Squashes, even spaghetti squash, never felt like a direct substitute for me; instead, squash worked its way into my diet in a fairly organic way. Pasta purists out there will decry spaghetti squash and zoodles as poor substitutes, but I’ve never found much success in trying to replicate something you love with something that you don’t. I’ve gained an appreciation for squash in its own right, and know that the key to enjoying squash-based meals is in learning to work with their natural flavors and consistencies rather than trying to reinvent the spaghetti wheel.

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That said, this dish hits on a lot of the same feel-good properties that the right bowl of pasta can deliver. This easy dinnertime meal is super satisfying, and has quickly become one of my favorites out there. It’s rich but simple, with bold, complex and unexpected flavors that come together to make a truly tasty suppertime dish. This is a great way to warm up wintertime blues, and is an impressive and fulfilling dish all on its own.

Traditionally, I’ve cooked my spaghetti squash by slicing it in half, de-seeding it and coating lavishly with oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder until it’s easy to pull apart with a fork. This time around, I decided to do a little more research, and found that Buzzfeed (of all places) posed a solution to the sogginess of cooking squash in the traditional fashion. Instead, I ended up cutting the squash into rings (an imperfect art, to be sure, and not for the faint of heart or weak of hand). This allowed the water to bake out of the squash rather than absorb into it, and left me with longer strands that were less gooshy and more crisp. I wouldn’t quite call it al dente, but it’s close enough.

Without further ado: on to the recipe!

Supergreen Spaghetti Squash with Pancetta, Shallot and Goat Cheese
Serves: 3-4
Time Required: Approx 45 minutes
Skill Level: 🔪 (Easy)

Ingredients:
2 Medium Spaghetti Squashes
1/3 lb pancetta
1 box (~5 oz) mixed baby spinach and kale
3 oz goat cheese
1 small shallot, sliced thinly
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp red wine or champagne vinegar
Salt and pepper
Garlic powder (optional)
Pine nuts (optional)
Olive oil

Note: this recipe is flexible and totally adaptable! Other great add-ins include pine nuts and sundried tomatoes, which can be added just before serving. It can be made nut-free with the omission of pine nuts, though I wouldn’t advise making it dairy free as the tanginess of the goat’s cheese really elevates the other flavors of the dish.

Instructions:
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by covering with aluminum foil, then drizzle with olive oil.
2) Prepare your squash. Note: the squash may be a bit difficult to cut, and doesn’t need to be precise. Slice into approximately 1 – 1 1/2 inch rings, then use knife or spoon to de-seed the interior.

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3) Place squash on the baking sheet and slide around to coat with olive oil. Drizzle additional oil over the top of the squash, or use a basting brush to brush additional oil overtop.
4) Season squash with salt, pepper and garlic powder, then pop into the oven. Cook time will be approximately 25-30 minutes. Note that you may need more than one baking sheet to fit all rings.
5) While squash cooks, heat a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Roughly slice pancetta into strips and squares, approx 1 inch or as desired. Peel, halve and slice shallot into thin strips.

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6) Add pancetta strips and cook on low for about 15 minutes, until the fat begins to render and pancetta crisps up. If you substitute bacon, note that this will take much less time. Turn up heat for another 2-5 minutes, until pancetta starts to brown and get crispy. Add shallot and cook for another 2 minutes.
7) Add vinegar and stir to deglaze pan. Reduce heat to low, then add maple syrup and stir to coat, until combined. Begin adding supergreens mix, cooking until just wilted. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to add in installments. While waiting for greens to cook down, proceed to step #8.

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8) Remove squash from the oven and let cool slightly. Once cooled, slice the skin and peel off. I like to do this into a warmed serving bowl to prevent it from losing too much heat. Use fingers to separate squash strands and add to bowl. Once all squash bits are added, pour stovetop mixture over the squash and stir to combine.
9) Top with squash and stir to combine, adding a few more crumbles on top if desired. Serve immediately!

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Garlicky Roasted Potato Wedges

This is it. The perfect side dish. The potato to complete any meat-and-potato dish you could ever dream up. Why are these potatoes so perfect, you ask? They’re super simple to make, mess-free, and packed with a buttery, garlicky taste that’s impossible to discredit. They also satisfy every kind of potato person, from those who prefer their potatoes squishy to those who prefer them crispy and browned. Keep reading below for the best roasted potato recipe in town.

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So how do you make these delicious little nuggets of Yukon Gold? Start with the potatoes, a little olive oil, some salt and pepper and garlic powder. A sheet of aluminum foil will keep the potatoes from ruining your favorite baking sheet, and then all you need to do is decide what dish you want to serve it with! My personal recommendation is the Figgy Balsamic Pork dish that I made earlier this month, but it would really go well with any meat option.

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My personal favorite trick for cutting these potatoes ensures that they’re shaped like small wedges; the the potato and cut it in half lengthwise (along the longest point of the potato). Then place each half meat-side down to prevent slippage. Cut in half again, then slice into half-inch thick pieces. Your potatoes should look roughly triangular, unless you’ve had to cut off any bad bits.

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Ingredients: (serves 3-4)
Time Required: Approx 30 minutes (5-10 minutes prep, 25 minutes cook time)
Skill Level: 🔪 (Easy)

5-6 medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes
2.5 tbsp olive oil (more if your potatoes are on the large side)
1.5 tsp garlic salt (more if you prefer a strong garlic flavor)
salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Turn oven on to 425 degrees.
  2. Prepare potatoes. Cut into wedges by cutting the potato in half lengthwise, then in half again (also lengthwise). Slice halves into 1/2 inch thick pieces.
  3. Place potatoes in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to coat. If there is not enough olive oil to satisfactorily coat all potatoes, add more, 1 tsp at a time.
  4. Place a piece of aluminum foil over a baking tray and grease sheet with olive oil or cooking spray. Add potatoes, then sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place in oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes.
  5. After 10-15 minutes, remove from oven and turn potatoes over with a spatula. Return to oven for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and serve immediately!

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Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Sundried Tomatoes

Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Sundried Tomatoes

 

Brussel sprouts. I know, I know.  They’re the bane of every adolescent (and post-adolescent) traumatized by bitter bites, but the secret to great brussel sprouts is all about the preparation. A little salt, a little pepper, some olive oil and a solid roasting give them a softer, more delicate taste, and balsamic vinegar and meats like pancetta or bacon give them just tender and mouthwatering enough to convince any brussel-naysayer to join the dark side.

I’m here today to make brussel sprouts sexy again. You heard me. Sexy sprouts. An impossible mission, you say? I beg to differ. These brussel sprouts are, in short, amazing. Phenomenal. I never thought I would crave these little lumpy green not-cabbages, but this recipe has 100% changed my mind, and my dinner plate.

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So how do we make brussel sprouts great again? Cut them in half, toss them in olive oil, roast with some pancetta and then sprinkle with sundried tomatoes and drizzle them in balsamic vinegar. Boom. It’s that simple.

But really. This recipe is a favorite simply because it’s so easy, so delicious, and so flavorful. Its salty, crunchy, tangy — everything I love in a dish. The sundried tomatoes add just a touch of sweetness, and the right balsamic can make all the difference. These pair well with just about anything; I’ve made it with marinated flank steak, roasted chicken breasts, pork chops… the list goes on.

This is a great dish that traverses all seasons; its hearty enough to be enjoyed during the cold, dark winter nights, and boldly acidic enough to satisfy the desire for a tangy summer side dish.

 

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Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
Time Required: Approx 35 minutes (10 minutes prep, 25 minutes cook time)
Skill Level: 🔪 (Easy)

1 lb brussel sprouts (approx 1/3 lb per person)
1/3 lb pancetta
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare brussel sprouts! Wash, then cut the hard stems off the bottom and cut sprouts in half. Note: its ok if the outer layers peel off! Keep them to roast — they get super crunchy and delicious.
  3. Chop pancetta and set aside.
  4. Place sprouts in a large bowl and toss with olive oil. Spread over a baking sheet and salt and pepper. Add pancetta to baking sheet and roast for approximately 15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, if using dry-pack sundried tomatoes, add olive oil and allow to soak while the sprouts cook. If using oil-packed tomatoes, disregard this step.
  6. Remove from oven and add sundried tomatoes. Roast for an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven entirely and drizzle balsamic vinegar. Toss and serve immediately!

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