The other day I was in Los Angeles for work, and decided to go for a walk. The first thing you notice when you are walking in Los Angeles is that no one else is. Then you start to notice how pretty the side streets are, with rust-free vintage cars parked here and there and lovely succulent gardens in front of cute little bungalows. Of course, I was in West Hollywood, one of its prettiest neighborhoods. Wondering around in search of place to eat, I stumbled upon Leomonade, hidden behind a tall green flowering hedge on Beverly. It was the answer to all my cravings. Surprisingly tasty, healthy food served without attitude at great prices. I ordered a three dish sampler for about $8 and loved it so much I went back again. My favorite dish was sweet potato with parsley and pistachio vinaigrette. I could have eaten an entire bowl.
Exiting the city from LAX, I discovered the Lemonade cookbook, which not only had the recipe for my sweet potato dish, but a whole lot more. I’ve got a long list of things I want to try from it, but this was on the top of my list. I made it on Monday and have been enjoying all week. Now it’s your turn.
Lemonade’s Sweet Potato With Parsley and Pistachio Vinaigrette
What You Need:
1 lb of sweet potatoes (I amped this up and used about four medium sized ones) – sliced and then cut into one inch cubes
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 pistachio vinaigrette (more on that below)
1/2 cup shelled, toasted and crushed pistachios (I put them in the toaster oven for about 4 minutes)
1/2 chopped parsley
salt and pepper
For the Vinaigrette:
2 tbls sherry vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange juice
1 tbls honey or agave
1/2 shallot chopped
1/2 tsp course sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
3/4 pistachio oil (see below_
For Pistachio Oil
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, toasted
1/2 cup canola oil
How To Make
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Cup up potatoes and then place them on a baking sheet in a single layer.
3. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss.
4. Place in oven and bake until tender, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
5. Meanwhile, toast and crush your pistachios. Enough for tossing in the salad and for the oil.
6. Take a 1/4 cup of those pistachios and put them in a blender with canola oil. Blend at high speed for about a minute. Pour that into a glass or jar and set aside.
7. Mix vinegar, honey, lemon and orange juices, shallot, salt and pepper in large bowl. Pour pistachio oil on top. Include the goop that may have settled. I used about half of my pistachio oil. Taste the dressing and test to your liking.
8. Take the sweet potatoes out of the oven and let them cool.
9. Then add sweet potatoes to the dressing in the bowl, toss in the rest of the toasted, crushed pistachios and fresh parsley.
10. Toss and eat!
I like to wait until last week before Christmas to make cookies for the holidays. I have a few that I insist on making, like pizzelles, and always throw in a new recipe just for kicks. Here’s a round up of some of the ones that I use again and again.
Aunt Jean’s famous Pizzelle cookies – time to dust off the waffle pan!
Wendy Gaynor’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe – still the best ever!
Oatmeal Maple Cream cookies — a new kind of sandwich via my neighbor Jane
Salty Sweet Peanut Butter Cookies — just typing their name makes me crave them
This is the week! The week where we celebrate our favorite culinary holiday, Thanksgiving. We love it so much we celebrate it twice! First, we go to a dear friend’s house on Thursday. This year our plan is to contribute a dessert and a salad. We know the host will have a pumpkin pie handy, so we’re adding a something non traditional to the mix this year. I’m going to attempt to make Crack Pie, made famous by Momofuku Milk Bar. More soon on how that goes. Then, on Saturday we will have our own mini Thanksgiving, because we cannot survive a winter without turkey soup, and turkey soup cannot be made without roasted remains. Though we usually opt for a simple, dry brine, this year we’re going to do something new. We are going to spatchcock our turkey — which means to remove its backbone and splay it out flatly in the pan. We’ve had great success doing this with whole chickens, so I have confidence this will be great. It’s fast (45 minutes!) and the skin is super crispy.
Now you know our plans for this week, here’s a handy link list of learnings from year’s past. Good luck with your feasts this year. Tell us what you’re cooking up!
The most yummy Brussels sprouts, ever.
And, don’t forget to polish grandma’s silverware
The other night we were at a friend’s house for dinner, and the two-six year-olds decided to “make” some candy. The patient mom allowed them to pour some sugar in a bowl, toss in some honey, a few drops of fruit juice and a pinch of cinnamon. They heated it on the stove until it was gooey mess, spread it out on a piece of parchment paper and stuck it in the fridge. About an hour later it was thick enough that they could roll into a ball and pop it into their mouths. Without a doubt, this was one of the happiest moments of Isadora’s life thus far. A big light bulb went off in her head. You can make candy!
Her new discovered passion bubbling, the next day we looked up candy recipes. Many of them call for thermometers and double boilers, so they were off the list. Then we spotted this one for gummys at Goodie Goodie. Brightly colored squares of goodness that barely required anything special. The only thing we had to buy was some unflavored gelatin and flavored extract. Luckily, we had a few silicone ice-cube trays that worked nicely as the molds. I sprayed them with a non-stick spray first, which helped when it came time to wiggle them out the next day. The hardest part of this recipe? Waiting! You have to leave the gummys in the fridge overnight to solidify.
Homemade Gummy candies – adapted from Goodie Goodie who has many gorgeous photos of the process.
What You Need:
4 Tbsp gelatin (get two boxes)
1 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups boiling water
4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp flavored extract – we used orange, lemon and peppermint
1-2 drops food coloring
sugar for coating
How To Make:
1. In a large pot, soften gelatin in cold water for about five minutes. Meanwhile, but the kettle on to boil water.
2. Stir in the boiling water until gelatin dissolves. Add sugar.
3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 25 minutes. Stir constantly.
4. Divide evenly into bowls, one for each flavor and color you want to use. I used three.
5. Add 1/4 tsp extract and 1-2 drops food color to each bowl. Stir to combine.
6. Pour into spray-coated pans, cover with plastic wrap. Chill overnight in the fridge.
7. The next day, remove gelatin cubes from trays. I did them one at time and it took a bit of wrestling, but they all came out perfectly. If you’re not using a cube tray, cut gelatin mixture into 3/4 inch cubes using a knife dipped in hot water.
8. Roll cubes in sugar and let them sit at room temperature for a day or two to crystallize.
9. Store in an airtight container.
Isadora was so proud of her homemade gummys that she brought them to school as a snack. We actually ended up cutting the cubes in half because no one really wanted to eat a big cube. They are lovely, super sweet, and very chewy.
Apple pie is one of those things I never thought I would make myself. It seemed like something that would require a great deal of skill and patience, not to mention equipment — none of which I have! But then a couple of years ago I stumbled across Jamie Oliver’s Apple Pie recipe. It’s one of his “top ten” favourites in this book Jamie’s Dinners. I don’t know if it was the lovely photo or the casual way the recipe was written, but it seemed like something I could handle with my limited baking skills — and it was! I have since made it three or four times. The secret to the recipe is lemon rind — added to both the crust and apples, which you saute on the stove for a bit with brown sugar and cranberries. Also, because it is “rustic” style, the crust doesn’t have to be perfect. Just patch up those holes.
What You Need
for the pastry
2 cups of flour
10 tbs butter
1 lemon rind grated
• 2 egg yolks
2/12 tbs sugar
for The filling
1 large Bramley cooking apple
4 eating apples
3 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
a handful raisins
1/2 lemon’s zest
1 egg yolk with splash of milk.
How To Make.
1. Preheat the oven 300.
2. Make the pastry in a food processor by mixing up the flour, sugar, a pinch of salt, lemon zest and the butter into cubes. Add egg yolk and tiny splash of water. Mix until it resembles bread crumbs. Then use your hands to mix together into a dough.
3. Divide your pastry in half. Roll out half onto a flour dusted surface until it’s about a 1/4 inch thick. If it tears, just patch it up. Lay the pastry into a butter metal pie pan.
4. Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap and put both in the fridge for a while.
Make the Filling:
1. Quarter and peel the apples and cut them into small slices.
2. Add them to a pan with sugar, lemon zest and raisins. Add a tbs spoon of water.
3. Simmer for about 5 minutes until apples are just tender.
4. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Finish the pie:
1. Take the pan and dough out of the fridge.
2. Pour the cooled down apple filling into the pan.
3. Roll out the remaining half of the dough and place on top of the filling.
4. Brush the top of the pie with egg and milk wash, then using a small sharp knife, make a couple of small incisions in the center.
5. Bank for 45 minutes or so.
6. Serve hot with ice cream!