Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sweet Potato, Green Onion & Herb Pommes Anna

I love this recipe. Traditionally, Pommes Anna is made with potatoes, butter, salt, and pepper.  Four perfect ingredients resulting in a delicious dish to serve alongside roast chicken or beef and sauteed greens. Or, as a breakfast or brunch item topped with a poached egg. Sometimes I make a large green salad and serve with a wedge of the Pommes Anna sprinkled with a nice handful of shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano. Perfect for brunch, lunch or a light supper.

Today I used sweet potatoes in place of the more typical potatoes, and the results were delicious. I combined chile-infused olive oil with the butter for a bit of heat and added green onions, rosemary, and fresh thyme. I used Japanese sweet potatoes which have a deep purple skin and creamy white flesh. The more typical variety will result in a golden orange color. Both so very beautiful. The sweetness of these potatoes combined with the spice from the chile oil and the caramelized onions makes this a dish I will serve all fall and winter. Is it too early to begin planning Thanksgiving dinner?

The skillet is flipped after cooking, so the bottom becomes the top. This results in a beautiful dark caramelized top with crispy sweet potatoes and a soft, melt-in-your-mouth center. Try these sweet potatoes. You will be very happy.

Sweet Potato, Green Onion & Herb Pommes Anna
(serves 6)

3 sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds total) scrubbed and unpeeled.
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons chile infused extra virgin olive oil (or 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 tsp dried red chili flakes)
1 tablespoon flour
2 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. 

Slice the sweet potatoes thinly (about 1/8 inch thick) using a sharp knife, slicing blade of a food processor, or a mandoline. (I do not have a mandoline, so I used my Cuisinart.)

Add 1 tablespoon butter, the olive oil, flour, a teaspoon each sea salt and pepper (and chili flakes if using) into a large bowl. Microwave for 60 seconds or until butter is melted. Add sliced sweet potatoes and stir until all potatoes are coated with the butter/olive oil mixture.

Add 2 tablespoons butter into a 9 inch cast iron skillet. Place skillet in preheated oven for 2-3 minutes, or until butter is melted. Place the potatoes in overlapping, concentric circles until the bottom of the skillet is covered. Sprinkle some of the onion and herbs over the top. Repeat these two steps until all of the ingredients are used.

Cover skillet with foil and place an oven safe plate on top of the foil to weigh down the potatoes. *Note, the plate must be smaller than the diameter of the skillet, so it rests directly on top of the potatoes...not as a cover for the pan. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove plate and foil and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes in the center of the skillet can be easily pierced with a sharp knife and the top is golden brown and crispy.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Place a plate over the skillet, flip and remove the skillet. The galette should be resting on the plate. If not, run a sharp knife around the edge of the skillet and try again.

To serve, you can cut the galette into wedges or, do what I do and use a spoon to scoop out each portion. I like this technique because the potato rounds are emphasized, and I think it looks prettier. Either way works.

Serve immediately.

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It is Sweet Potato week at Food Network's Fall Fest roundup. Do you have a favorite sweet potato recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

Creative Culinary: Twice-Baked Jalapeno Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Streusel Topping
Homemade Delish: 
Jacked Sweet Potato Quesadilla
Healthy Eats: 
How Sweet It Is: 7 Sweet Potato Dishes for Every Palate
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Sweet Potato, Green Onion & Herb Pommes Anna
Red or Green: 
Sweet Potato "Nacho" Dip
Taste with the Eyes: 
Caramelized Upside-Down French Sweet Potato Pie {Tarte Tatin}
Dishin & Dishes: 
Bacon Poblano Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash
The Mom 100: 
Sweet Potato Pie
The Wimpy Vegetarian: 
Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
FN Dish: 
Five 5-Star Ways to Get Your Sweet Potato Fix


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

"Grownup" Caramel Apples

I am part of a group hosting a "scotch tasting party" in November. This was a silent auction item at a fundraiser for our local food pantry. The other hosts are contributing the scotch. I have the task of creating an appetizer menu to pair with each scotch offering. Yikes!  Food and scotch?  This should be interesting. I am still working on the savory items...but dessert? That one is in the bag.

I loved caramel apples as a kid. Still do. It is my guilty fall snack. I make a big batch of caramel and then dip sliced apples into the deliciousness. Not very healthy, I admit. But, once in a while, a very welcome treat. There is something so magical about combining apples and caramel sauce. For the party, I decided that a bit of spice and a shot of the aforementioned scotch would add a grownup component to my childhood treat. So... "Grownup Caramel Apples" were born.

I baked apples filled with coconut sugar, honey, spices and extra virgin olive oil and then drizzled lots of warm dulce de leche sauce spiked with a bit of scotch. My husband and I did a taste test in preparation for the party. I won't admit to how fast we devoured every bite. A shot of scotch with the apples was the perfect finish to the day. This recipe is a keeper and will be a welcome addition to our Thanksgiving dessert table. Enjoy!

Grownup Caramel Apples
(makes 6)

6 Granny Smith or Fuji apples
extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 tbsp allspice
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups dulce de leche sauce (homemade) or best quality purchased. I use this brand.
2-3 tablespoons Scotch
pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease rimmed baking pan with olive oil.

Core apples and place in prepared pan. Drizzle olive oil in the center of each apple and along the tops. Drizzle honey equally in the center of each apple. (Heat honey in microwave for a few seconds if necessary to make it pourable).
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, allspice, cinnamon and sea salt. Sprinkle equally in the center of each apple.

Cover the pan with foil and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until the apples just easily pierce with a sharp knife. Do not overcook the apples, you want a bit of texture.

Remove from oven and place apples on serving plates. Drizzle some of the pan juices over each apple.

Place dulce de leche in a microwave safe bowl and heat, in 10-second increments, until soft and very pourable. Quickly stir in the Scotch and salt. Drizzle into the center of apples and along the top. Serve immediately. could serve this with vanilla ice cream, but I don't think it works for the scotch tasting party. I love it as is.

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It is Apple week at Food Network's Fall Fest roundup. Do you have a favorite apple recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

The Lemon Bowl: Sparkling Apple Cider Punch
Creative Culinary: 
Boozy Apple Crisp
Homemade Delish: 
Apple Chips
Healthy Eats: 
6 Healthy Treats to Make After Apple Picking
Daisy at Home: 
Fall Farmer's Market Salad
Virtually Homemade: 
Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Apple Bars
Caramel Baked Apples with Cinnamon-Oat Crumble
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
"Grownup" Caramel Apples
Red or Green: 
Caramel Apple Spiced Shortcakes
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: 
Whole Grain Oat & Millet Pancakes with Shaved Apples
Domesticate Me: 
Roast Chicken, Apple and Brie Grilled Cheese
Taste with the Eyes: 
Classic Apple Tarte Tatin with Cognac and Crème Fraîche
FN Dish: 
Quickest, Easiest Apple Dessert Recipes


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Chilled Spiced Peach Soup

I had such a hard time naming this soup. Peach needs to be in the title, of course, but Chilled? Spiced? Boozey? Sweet? Dessert? Appetizer?  I narrowed it down, but it really should include all of the previous descriptions. Bottom line, just call the soup delicious.

My friend Elizabeth's peach tree was loaded this year. She gave me a huge bag last week, and I have been making peach dishes well as eating fresh peaches whenever I can. I am a fan of chilled fruit soup and thought a blend of peaches, spices, and bourbon would be a good combo. I loved the finished result and everyone who tasted gave the soup high marks. We agreed that the recipe would be perfect as an appetizer OR dessert. Without the bourbon, delicious for breakfast (booze in for brunch...yes?) Welcome to fall, everyone!

So, yes, fall is almost here. This means the weekly summer posts with Food Network have ended for the year but, never fear, Fall Fest has arrived. Each week a number of bloggers receive an assignment from Food Network. We all create a recipe using the same item or theme and then we share all the recipes with you. The 2015 lineup is as follows:

FN Dish Fall Fest 2015 Themes

17: Soup
24: Apples

1: Sweet potatoes
8: Pumpkin 
15: Cauliflower
22: Squash 
29: Halloween 

5: Brussels sprouts
12: Carrots
19: Favorite Thanksgiving side dish

3: Holiday appetizer 
10: Holiday cookies
17: Favorite holiday side dish

Chilled Spiced Peach Soup
(serves 4-6)

6 large peaches (3 peeled, all pitted and chopped)
1 cup coconut milk (from the dairy case, not canned)
2 cups water
2 tbsp honey (additional if needed)
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup bourbon, whiskey or scotch
2 tsp fresh mint leaves (chopped) plus whole leaves for garnish

Place peaches, coconut milk, water, 2 tbsp honey, allspice and sea salt in a medium sized saucepan. Heat to high-simmer (do not let boil), reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until peaches are very soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Carefully add peach mixture to a blender. Add the bourbon and chopped mint leaves. Blend until the soup is very smooth. Pour into a large bowl and refrigerate until very cold.

When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator, taste and adjust seasonings (honey, salt, allspice and/or bourbon if desired.) Serve in small bowls garnished with fresh mint leaves.

It is Soup week at Food Network's Fall Fest roundup. Do you have a favorite soup recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network.

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Chilled Spiced Peach Soup
Red or Green? Spiced Vegetable Soup with Lentils & Garbanzo Beans
Feed Me Phoebe: Portuguese Kale Soup with Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes
The Mom 100: Avgolemono Soup
The Lemon Bowl: Red Lentil Turkish Soup
The Heritage Cook: Soul-Warming Tomato Soup with Peppers and Onions (Gluten-Free)
Healthy Eats: 6 Healthy Soups for the First Tailgate of the Season
Domesticate Me: Five Spice Sweet Potato Soup
Taste with the Eyes: Chicken Soup with Exotic Saffron Matzoh Balls
FN Dish: It's Almost Spoon Season: Top Classic Soups to Simmer Now


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Grilled Shrimp & Peaches with Arugula Pesto

I was watching a cooking show on Food Network last weekend and saw Bobby Flay create a dish of grilled peaches with arugula pesto. It looked and sounded so delicious that I decided to create my own version and serve with grilled shrimp. The verdict?  A  MAZ  ING.

The shrimp is marinated in a mixture of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and spices then grilled until just cooked through. The peaches grill alongside the shrimp creating a caramelized top crust. My pesto is different from Bobby Flay's. Mine follows the steps of the classic but uses the spicy green arugula, a bit of basil, almonds, spices, Parmigiano-Reggiano and I added a touch of balsamic vinegar to sweeten and smooth the arugula's bite. Really good with the peaches and shrimp, the leftover pesto can be spread on roast beef or chicken sandwiches, topping pizza, stirred into steamed or grilled vegetables or thinned with additional olive oil and vinegar and used as a salad dressing. Enjoy for your Labor Day BBQ or anytime fresh peaches are in season.

Grilled Shrimp & Peaches with Arugula Pesto
(2 servings)

8 oz medium shrimp, peel & deveined (tails on)
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
sea salt
black pepper
2 medium ripe peaches (do not peel)
arugula pesto (recipe follows)

Place shrimp in medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, red pepper flakes and a pinch each salt and pepper. Pour over shrimp and allow to marinate a minimum of 1 hour.

Heat grill. Cut peaches in half and remove the pits. Drizzle olive oil over peaches. Thread shrimp on wooden or metal skewers. (If using wood, soak in water for 15 minutes prior to using to avoid burning)

Place peaches flesh side down on the grill. Place shrimp skewers on grill. Cook for 1 minute and flip skewers. Cook for another minute or two removing as soon as shrimp turn from gray to pink. Remove peaches and shrimp from the grill. 

To serve, Place 2 grilled peach halves on each plate. Divide shrimp equally and fill peach centers with a scoop of arugula pesto. Serve additional pesto on the side.

Arugula Pesto
1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
5 oz baby arugula 
1 cup fresh basil 
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup sliced almonds (toasted)
3/4 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Place cheese in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until grated. Add arugula, basil, garlic and almonds and pulse for 30 seconds. With machine running, slowly pour in 1/2 cup olive oil and process until smooth. Add the balsamic vinegar, pepper flakes and a pinch each salt & pepper. With machine running, slowly add additional olive oil until you reach your desired consistency.

Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. To store, pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top of the pesto. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it into the top of the pesto. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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Summer means easy, breezy dishes made from fresh, just-picked produce and this week at Food Network's Summer Soiree we are celebrating Labor DayDo you have a favorite Labor Day recipe? Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. And be sure to check out the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

The Lemon Bowl: Lemon Garlic Chicken Kabobs
Bacon and Souffle: 
Roasted Shrimp Orzo
The Hungry Traveler: 
Ginger Vanilla Fruit Salad
Homemade Delish: 
Festive Champagne Punch
Dishin & Dishes: 
Savory Tomato, Roasted Garlic and Mozzarella Tart
Creative Culinary: 
Zucchini and Cream Cheese Casserole
Apple-Pecan Chicken Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Batter Fried Pepper with Tzatziki Sauce
Healthy Eats: 
6 Fall-Forward Recipes for Your Labor Day Celebration
Domesticate Me: 
Lobster Avocado Toast
Taste with the Eyes: 
"Margarita" Salmon Burger with Tequila, Lime, and Hatch Chiles
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Grilled Shrimp & Peaches with Arugula Pesto
Red or Green: 
Spicy Greek Chickpea Spread
The Heritage Cook: 
Smoked Chicken Salad (Gluten-Free)
The Mom 100: 
Yogurt Berry Pops
FN Dish: 
The Last Hurrah: Grill Absolutely Everything on Labor Day


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.