5.28.2015

One Pan Chorizo Pasta with Greens

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Dear Readers,
There's another post from the husband! Back-to-back. Now I just need to teach him how to use his iphone and I'll be pushed out of this blog and my housewife fantasy for sure.

A few weeks ago, the husband made some chorizo with our friend. And we've been using chorizo weekly in everything from tacos to nachos to chili (photos of that deliciousness at the end). But, this pasta and chorizo dish is really the star and takes minimum effort. 

I want to mention that this particular dish featured both swiss chard AND beet greens. I also want to point out, that I don't think the husband has ever cooked this recipe, although he's definitely been around while I prepared it, and claims to have stirred, A LOT, during one of those times.

Enjoy,
KK

Chef John, I think I found you and this pasta recipe of yours at the perfect time.  One day, I was idly scrolling for Netflix films (this was before they started releasing some excellent name brand shows), when I grew frustrated with it's paltry offerings.  Normally in such cases, I back out of Netflix and navigate through my Roku channels and find This Old House on PBS (I never thought I'd be this person, but technology and home-ownership have conspired against me).  But this time, I saw the All Recipes channel and thought I'd give it a try.

Aside from Julia Child and Jacques Pepin and a handful of other chefs, I mostly avoid food TV.  Particularly the tripe served up on the Food Channel because there's so very little to learn from it.  Anyway, without much thought I clicked on a recipe entitled "one pan orrechiette pasta." Immediately, I was won over by the simplicity of this recipe and its rich flavors.  I was also won over by Chef John's non-pretentious approach to food and skewed humor. I've since watched many, many of his videos and learned a host of interesting tips from Chef John.  But me and the blog-lady always come back to this one and keep improvising on it. Here's the original:


The addition of the greens is what balances the richness of the broth-infused pasta.  Do not skip it this part!  Arugula, kale, spinach, whatever.  Lately, I've had a garden surplus of swiss chard that I'm trying to keep up with.  I also have whole lot of chorizo that my good friend helped me make a week ago. After making a bean soup with the chard (recipe coming soon), I still had tons of greens left over.  The one pan pasta recipe seemed like a perfect way to use everything we had on hand.  Better yet, it allowed us to plan a simple, delicious dinner while still hanging out with the little guy during the evening.

Start with the original recipe, master it (the hardest part is the stirring), and then start messing around with the recipe however you'd like.  And don't forget, as Chef John likes to kindly remind, to "En-joy."
I cannot believe this dude will be turning eight months old tomorrow!

5.20.2015

Mother's Day: Lessons and French Toast

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Dear Readers,
It's been so long since there was a guest blog, so I'm not even sure what to say here. But the husband promises (again) to write posts more frequently, starting with this Mother's Day overview. Photos and captions are still 100% KK. 
                                                                                                                                                         
Enjoy,
KK

A cautionary Mother’s Day story is told in my family that goes like this: my dad, in May 1978, at some point decided that the best way to honor his wife for her first year as a new mom would be to buy her a jar of olives.  Simply, a jar of olives.  Traditionally when chided over this, he offers his defense that it was a premium jar and that my mom expressed much interest in the brand at an earlier time.    

Although I didn’t recognize it, this story had burrowed down deep into my psyche and then violently surfaced as I approached my first Mother’s Day for the blog-lady.  At first, I thought, well, you can’t do worse than a jar of olives!  But, then I thought I had to go the reverse route, ensuring this first year was commemorated in as grand a style as possible.  In the end, I pushed these thoughts all away and just asked myself: what would make for a nice day with Karine?

My first thought went to Sunday morning breakfast, nice and quiet-like with just her, me and the little guy.  Karine has a special place in her heart for French Toast (see earlier blog posts), and I thought I could finally make her the toast she’s been waiting for (since, admittedly, there’s always something just a bit off with my recipe in the last decade I’ve tried).  I’d always used old French bread for French toast, which has its merits, but it doesn’t deliver that light, custardy interior I needed.  So, I went to another French kind of bread, brioche, that luckily Pasadena’s Europane bakery offers.  I snuck out at 6:30 am before the family wakes up, purchased the bread, and immediately knew from its lightweight loaf this would do perfectly. From there, it was just a mix of cream, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.  And berries with powdered sugar, of course.    

To accompany this meal, there was my dwindling supply of homemade bacon and hash browns and Mexican coffee.  Adorning the table were a few other things, namely a selection of pastel macaroons, salted caramels (artisan caramels!), and another pop-up card.
I’m not sure where this fixation popped up from, but I have really grown to appreciate the art form. I’ve even studied the tricks of the trade. Let’s just say a good homemade pop-up card has few rivals on a table.  My ambition is still tempered by my skill, but I thought I hit the right mark with this daffodil growing in the spring sun. 

Maybe there’s something realistic about olives, that it playfully deflated the commercialism of the holiday.  Maybe my dad had a surprise gift after, or really brought it the next year.  I just hope that once the olives were gifted in 1978, my mom and dad spent as lovely a day together with their son as we did.  A shaded afternoon at the nearby park, dim sum for dinner, and some Game of Thrones to end the evening.  It might not have been a perfect day, but it was a very nice one.
 I woke up next to this funny face. Sign of a good day to come.
Park life.
  The French Toast was so good, we had it again, for dinner!


Brioche French Toast
Serves 3

6 eggs
½ cup heavy cream  
1 cup whole milk
1/8 cup of sugar
1/8 cup of maple syrup
½ tsp of vanilla extract
3 shakes of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
6 1-inch slices of brioche
Vegetable oil and butter
Maple syrup, berries, and powdered sugar

Whisk eggs, cream, and milk well to make a well incorporated custard.  To custard, whisk in sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt.  Dip brioche slices for a minimum of 8 minutes up to 15. 

Heat griddle pan and add a pat of butter and 1tsp or so of vegetable oil.  Add French toast to pan and cook 3-4 minutes per side.  Serve warm and with favorite accompaniments.  Enjoy!