Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Balsamic Kale Chips

When I hopped on the Kale bandwagon a while ago, I meant to try making Kale Chips. But then every time I had Kale in the house I couldn't resist making my Creamy Avocado and Kale dip which I love oh so very very much.

I'm a snacker. I've said it before. I love to snack. It's not really a big part of my diet plan, though, so I have to resist the urge all the time. I rotate weekly through different responsibilities at work. I do a different thing every week on a 5-week rotation. So this week I'm on the one task that always makes me want to snack. It seems like a good time to have healthy snacks on hand.

I stayed the night at my friend Dani's house last night. We had curry and cocktails and watched Casablanca. It was a really nice night and on my drive home today I realized that I had enough time, finally, to whip up a quick batch of Kale Chips and see what all the fuss was about. So I swung by the store, grabbed supplies, came home and whipped up a batch. I've had to lock these away in tupperware because I kept eating them off the pan. I'll snack on them at work today for sure.

Balsamic Kale Chips

I can't tell you how easy these are to whip up. You need hardly any ingredients or time. Enjoy!

1 Bunch Kale
1 1/2 Teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 350F. Rinse the kale and tear it off the ribs so it's in small pieces. You don't want the stems, they won't crisp up.

Put the kale in a bowl and drizzle over the oil and vinegar. Toss the kale to coat it and lay it down on a baking sheet. Grind some salt over and bake for 15 minutes or until crispy.

Eat at your desk while figuring out what 63 people are going to do onstage at the Circus tonight.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sausage and Pepper Cornmeal Breakfast Muffins

Yesterday was the first normal day I feel like I've had in a while. I got up, went for a run, played in my kitchen, went to work. Just like the 3-2-1 punch of the last couple of months never was. It was nice, but it was also strange and conjured up lots of emotionally feelingy type things. I'm working through those.

I'm also working through what I made in the kitchen. I've had these in my brain for a while and am very happy with how they turned out. I've had sausage in the freezer for a while and I wanted to repurpose it into something else that I could keep in the freezer and then defrost overnight and eat in the morning. I'm still mostly working on pantry-busting but it certainly got put on hold for the last month or two.

So, these muffins were born. They taste really great and have an interesting texture. The buttermilk makes them incredibly moist. They are hearty and filling and very easy to grab and go. They would be great for brunch with some scrambled eggs and orange juice.

Sausage and Pepper Cornmeal Breakfast Muffins

8oz Sausage
1 Green Pepper
3/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
3/4 Cup Grated Cheddar
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk (I used Lowfat)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Cook the sausage and drain off as much of the grease as you can. Dice the pepper and add it in to the sausage and cook for another three minutes or so until the peppers start to soften. Set aside.

Sift the flour in a bowl and add in the cornmeal, baking powder, cheddar and salt. Add in the egg and buttermilk and stir until combined. Add in the sausage and pepper mix.

Either line a 12 space muffin pan with cupcake liners, or grease each individual space. Fill each cup with batter. It should make every cup pretty full and even.

Bake for 20 minutes until set all the way and just starting to brown a little. If you want, you can also grate more cheese on the top of the muffins.

Eat while figuring out the rest of your day and listening to Imagine Dragons.

These freeze really well.

Makes 12.

Friday, September 21, 2012

What I've Been Eating

I've had the weirdest eating habits recently. I haven't been cooking. I haven't had any groceries in the house other than my Spinach Salad fixings. I've got a couple of ideas for things, but I haven't had the time to make them. I've been traveling, working, spending time with friends, basically trying to center myself. I've been succeeding at that.

I ate Scallop Risotto at an Italian restaurant in Long Beach. The risotto was so-so, but the scallop placed lovingly on top was delicious with the perfect sear.

Yesterday I ate half a red velvet whoopie pie that was so sweet my teeth hurt.

I've started putting cinnamon in my coffee.

I had mango pancakes with passionfruit syrup.

I've been eating a lot of grapes and cantaloupes.

On Tuesday I had mac and cheese out of a box, with the powdered sauce mix... not even the creamy liquidy good stuff. 

I'm boring. Really boring right now. What are you eating? Please let it be more interesting than me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Red Wine Reduction

It's hard to explain this sauce. It's really unusual and quite delicious. It's one of those things that pops into your brain when you're randomly up at night, reading Kafka on the Shore and processing your day.

I've not been sleeping regularly. Yesterday I woke up at 7am. Which sounds fine until I tell you that I work 3pm-12am, I didn't get to sleep until 3am, and yesterday was my day off.

I gave up trying to sleep at 8am and decided to just go ahead and get up and make this sauce since it was in my brain and I had nothing else to then. Yesterday I then proceeded to clean and rearrange almost my entire house. It was a very weird and productive day.

Anyway, the sauce. I wanted to do a red wine reduction that packed a punch and stood up to strong flavors. I had a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, dense and purple and grapey, and that was what I went with.

I had this for dinner over some slow cooked pork rubs, mashed potatoes and peas. The flavor in the ribs that I was going for didn't work out too well but the sauce more than made up for it. It's tart and sweet and dense and rich and delicious all at the same time. Try it on steak, or ribs, or just on mashed potatoes if you're into that kind of thing (which I am, mashed potatoes peas and gravy is still my number one comfort food).

Red Wine Reduction

1 Cup Red Wine (Such as Cabernet Sauvignon)
1/4 Onion, diced (or two shallots)
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
5 Peppercorns
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add in the onion. Cook until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the wine, peppercorns, and sugar. Grind in a little salt.

Simmer for about 30 minutes until reduced down to 1/3rd of the original liquid. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Take off the heat and strain. Add in the butter and stir to melt.

Pour over a plate of meat and potatoes. Feel snazzy. Relish in the deep purple color.

Makes 2 servings.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lemon Paprika Chicken Thighs

Sometimes, things get really complicated and you just need something simple.

I'm coming off a really rough trip back East where I had to take care of a lot of personal stuff and attend a funeral. I'm really over cross country flights, so I'm taking a break from them for a while.

It's been a hard couple of months for me, but I think I'm finally getting myself into a good place. I'm trying not to be too whiny here, but the universe really did smack me around a little and I've decided that I'm done with that. I'm ready for things to start going my way and to start feeling happy again. With that will surely come more food and a stronger presence here on Salted Spoon. Thanks for your patience with me. It's appreciated.
Right now, all I want these days is simple food. I'm eating salads and cantaloupes, multigrain cheerios and poached eggs, sweet potato fries and quick and easy chicken dishes. When the going gets tough, the tough raids the freezer for simple cuts of meat.

These chicken thighs are super easy. You could mix everything together and marinade the chicken if you like and it'll be yummy, but for me I used sprinkle everything over because I'm usually in a hurry.

Lemon Paprika Chicken Thighs

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Olive Oil for Cooking

In a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan, heat up a drizzle of olive oil. Trim any excess fat off the chicken thighs. Cover each chicken thigh with a little lemon juice. Mix together the paprika, peppers and salt and then sprinkle those over both sides too.

When the pan is really hot, lay the chicken thighs down and let cook well on one side to get a sear, then flip. Cook and flip until the chicken thighs are cooked all the way through, about ten minutes.

Serve with rice and peas, or anything else you can find in your freezer.

Eat at the dining room table while watching the last episode of Newsroom and being stared at by your adorable cat.

Serves two.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Eggworks and the Rare and Awesome Server

It's been a while, but I figured I should talk about one of my favorite Las Vegas Brunch Spots. Eggworks is pretty near the airport and handy to hit up on your way in and out of town. It's always busy and the food is consistently good. The last time I was there we were also lucky enough to have a really incredible server. Though we didn't order one, she brought us one of their yummy bran muffins, just so we could try it.

The muffin was super tasty and I was happy I got to give it a go.

It was definitely a morning where healthier options were the preference. My Stunt Guy went for an Egg White Omelet packed with veggies and topped with tomatoes and feta cheese.With a side of fruit. Really yummy.

I went for a Spinach Eggs Benedict with the hollandaise on the side. I like hollandaise a lot, but I've only recently become accustomed to ordering it, and I always get it on the side now... I don't like my eggs to drown. My plate was pretty darn perfect. The eggs had a great poach on them, the spinach was nice and fresh, the hollandaise well balanced. All in all, I was a happy camper.

I have to say, I get super happy when I'm at a restaurant and the wait staff is actually fun and nice and attentive and good at their jobs but not too overly hovery. I wish I knew the name of the lady so I could give her a proper shout out. She was really great, and that is a rare thing.

So yeah, definitely give Eggworks a shot if you're looking for something yummy one morning!

Egg Works on Urbanspoon