Swiss Chard and Potato Gratin

Thanksgiving is next week and I am heading to Georgia to spend it with my father! Every year my sisters and I like to come up with a fun menu and cook everything for the family. We try to jazz up traditional dishes to make them more modern and fun, but without being too wild that it doesn’t feel like good ol’ Thannksgiving food. I had wanted to try making a gratin with greens in it, so when I got a big amount of Swiss red chard I went for it. It was a really easy and fast dish to make- perfect for Thanksgiving!

Ingredients: (adapted from fiveandspice)
2 big bunches of Swiss chard
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
2 large red bliss potatoes, sliced 1/8 thin
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim the Swiss chard where the stem meets the leaf (you can save the stems and pickle them!) then wash the leaves well and julienne into ribbons. Place in a pot over medium heat with a tablespoon of water and cover. Let cook for about 5 minutes or until wilted and the water absorbed. Next add 2 tablespoons of butter to the greens and melt completely, followed by the 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix well and cook for another minute or two so that the flour cooks. Add the chicken broth and cook until it thickens, about 2 minutes, then add the cream, cheese, and salt/pepper to taste. Turn off the heat. You’ll notice it is pink from the red chard, but when you bake it the pink goes away. I was a little worried I was going to have pink gratin myself!

Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray or butter and layer the bottom with sliced potatoes. Top with half of the creamy greens, followed by another later of potato and the rest of the greens. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and add the bread crumbs, tossing together and toasting slightly. Sprinkle over the top of the gratin and into the oven it goes for 30 minutes. Toward the end I noticed my bread crumbs were perfectly browned, so I covered the gratin with tin foil for the last 5 minutes or so to make sure the top didn’t burn. Just keep and eye on it and cover if you feel like it needs it. Let cool for a few minutes before serving, then enjoy!

Potato Nest Benedict With Pancetta

Holy amazing breakfast decision. I’ve wanted to try making potato “nests” for a while and had a few leftover potatoes and eggs from this weeks CSA bag, so it was a good time to experiment. I decided to try making an eggs benedict type thing but put it inside the potato nest. It was so good, I wanted to knock on my neighbors door and make them take a bite, but thought that might be creepy seeing we’ve never met. I could have eaten a thousand of them, but I probably would have died of cardiac arrest, so I only had two. As for the hollandaise, it really isn’t that difficult to make, you just have to take your time to do it right so that it doesn’t “break” and have to get tossed in the trash. It was hard to take photos of myself making the hollandaise because you really need to whisk it at 100 mph, but I tried to explain it as best as I could below!

Ingredients: makes 4

Potato Nests:
2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and grate the potatoes, then place in a paper towel and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Toss in a bowl with the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Mix well. Next, spray 4 muffin tins with non-stick spray and divide the potato evenly among them, pushing the potato to cover the bottom and sides of each muffin cup. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, make the hollandaise. Add about two cups of water to a pot and bring to a simmer, keep on low. Melt the butter in the microwave and set aside. In a metal mixing bowl, add the egg yolk and lemon juice, whisking vigorously until it thickens and almost doubles in size. Next, place the metal bowl on top of the pot and turn off the heat. Immediately start whisking very fast, slowly pouring in a tablespoon or so of the melted butter. Don’t stop vigorously whisking the entire time! Add a little more butter and repeat until all the butter is added. Make sure to do just a little butter at a time. Set aside and add a little salt, pepper, and cayenne. To preserve before using, I always add some saran wrap to the hollandaise to keep it from getting a film.

When the potato nests have cooked the 15 minutes, remove from the oven and add the pancetta (you could also use spinach for a vegetarian option) then crack the egg into the nest as well. Place back in the oven and cook for another 12-15 minutes depending on how runny you like your eggs. I took mine out somewhere in the middle. Just gently poke the egg with your finger to check the temp of the yolk. Plate and top with a gallon of some hollandaise!

Sweet Potato and Kale Stuffed Shells

I really love stuffed shells and usually make them the popular way with ricotta and spinach, but this time I went for a fall version and used sweet potato, ricotta, and kale. They came out great and didn’t take a long time to make, which was a bonus. I was thinking of what type of sauce to use, and decided a simple brown butter would do the trick. The shells are already sweet from the potato, so I didn’t want to overdue it with a heavy or rich sauce. This is an easy comforting fall meal!

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 bunch of kale (about 2-3 cups roughly chopped)
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon powdered sage, halved
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 box large pasta shells
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the cubed sweet potato on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon dried sage, and salt/pepper. Bake for 30 minutes or until fork tender. When the potatoes are about half way done cooking, get a pot of boiling water going and cook the pasta shells as directed on the box. Next, sauté the garlic for about a minute in some olive oil over medium heat, then add the shallot and cook for another minute or until translucent. Toss in the kale and cook until wilted. Once the sweet potato is cooked, place it in a food processor with the ricotta cheese and pulse until smooth. Next, add the kale mixture and blend until the kale is chopped and incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly oil a baking dish to prevent the pasta from sticking. Fill the shells with the sweet potato mixture and place in a single layer in the baking dish. At this point you could sprinkle some freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top if you’d like (I forgot to buy the cheese so I skipped it) then cover with tin foil and bake for 15 minutes. While the shells are baking, make the brown butter sauce. Melt the butter over medium heat and cook until golden in color with a nutty fragrance, then turn down the heat to low. This only takes a minute or two, so watch the butter to make sure it doesn’t burn! Add the maple syrup, powdered sage, and cinnamon to the butter and cook for a minute then turn off the heat. When the shells have cooked for 15 minutes, remove them from the oven and pour the browned butter over the shells. Place back in the oven (without the foil) for 10 minutes, or until slightly golden.

Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Top with some extra Parmesan cheese and drizzle some of the butter from the bottom of the baking dish. Enjoy!

Potato, Carrot, and Parsnip Soup With Sausage

I’ve had a big craving lately for some homemade soup, so when I got a bunch of potatoes, carrots, and parsnips this week, I though it was a good opportunity to get my fix. Soups are great because they really don’t take very long to make, plus you can basically throw in whatever you like. I used sausage in this recipe but it could be substituted for any meat you like, or no meat!

1/2 shallot, finely chopped
2 red bliss potatoes, skin on and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
4 cups water (or enough to cover your veggies in the pot)
2 Italian sausage links
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar, optional

Add some oil to a heavy pot over medium heat and sauté the shallot until translucent, about one minute. Add the potatoes, carrot, and parsnips, then cover with water and bring to a boil. Once the potatoes are cooked through (about 10 minutes) turn off the heat. Take half of the soup and put it into a food processor, blending until smooth, then pour it back into the pot with the rest of the soup. Mix together to incorporate. Keep the soup on low heat while you cook the sausage in a separate pan. Once the sausage is browned, add to the pot of soup along with the fresh dill, paprika, and red wine vinegar. I added the vinegar because I felt like it needed a little acidity when I tasted it, but up to you if you add it! Ladle into bowls and top with a little more dill for garnish.


Leek, Mustard Greens, and Corn Pizza

I could probably eat homemade pizza every night. It might sound sort of intimidating to make, but it seriously could not be easier! Especially if you buy pre-made dough at the supermarket, or at your local pizza place for a buck or two, which is what I love to do because it’s super fresh.

1 ball of pizza dough
1 large leek
2 ears of corn, cut off the cob
3 cups mustard greens, cut into 1/2 inch ribbons
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small can of tomato sauce
3 ounces St. Andre cheese
All-purpose flour
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees. To trim the leeks, cut it where the light part meets the dark part, then toss the dark stuff. Cut them lengthwise then run the leeks under the water to remove any dirt. They can be pretty dirty sometimes so really make sure to rinse them well. Cut them crosswise in 1/4 inch slices. Next, remove the stems of the mustard greens and layer the leaves on top one another, roll them up together then slice 1/2 inch ribbons. Lastly, cut the corn off the cob.

Add some olive oil to a pan and saute the garlic for a minute. Add the leeks and cook for about 7 minutes until slightly browned. Next add the mustard greens and cook about 4 minutes until wilted, then toss in the corn, salt and pepper to taste, and cook everything together for another 10 minutes. While that is cooking, roll out your pizza dough. Make sure to flour the surface and rolling pin, and continue to sprinkle the dough with flour as you go. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Add the toppings to the dough starting with the tomato sauce, then the leek mixture, and lastly the cheese. Bake for 25 minutes until everything is golden! Let cool for a few minutes before cutting.