Monday, December 27, 2010

Black Eyed Pea Fritters with Habanero and Red Pepper Relish

Trevor's friend, Joe, gave me a few bright colored Habaneros from his Father's garden. Joe's father, Kevin, grows a bunch of vegetables in his garden and I am lucky to try one of them!

 These delicious and very hot little peppers pack a lot of punch to almost any dish!

Most of us are used to eating Habaneros in salsa, especially fresh salsas in Mexican restaurants.  However, I wanted to make something a little different...

I stumbled across Black Eyed Pea Fritters with Habanero and Red Pepper Relish and there was no looking back.

This was surprisingly light and refreshing, despite being fried.  The fritter was not too spicy, however the relish did pack some heat, so be careful!  Also, try not to touch cut habaneros with bare hands.  Use latex gloves or pick the peppers up with a napkin.  

This dish is a keeper.  Fairly simple, showcases habaneros, and the colors are beautiful!

Soak the black eyed peas overnight for at least 8 hours or do a quick soak!

Quick Soak:  Place peas in a pan with a good amount of water (about double the amount of peas).  Bring to a rapid boil and boil for about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and let the peas sit in hot water for about 1 hour.  Drain and rinse.

The beautiful and bright Habaneros.  Thank you Joe!

Chop all your veggies for the relish and toss into a food processor.

Blend and transfer to a pan with a small amount of oil.  Bring to a simmer until all excess moisture had boiled off.

Chop all your veggies for the fritters and toss into a food processor with the black eyed peas.

Blend with water and egg until light and fluffy.

Fry heaping tablespoons of the fritter mixture at about 360˚F until very golden brown.

Flip those fritters!

 Serve this beautiful dish however you see fit.  I thought it looked pretty with the relish beneath the fritters.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Merry Christmas

Every year on Christmas morning my Dad makes an Egg, Ham, and Cheese Casserole.

Its warm, easy, savory, cheesy, and fills you up!  The perfect beginning to Christmas morning!

Merry Christmas!

More Christmas recipes to follow....

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to Peel Hazelnuts

A couple of weekends ago I saw Giada De Laurentiis make Struffoli on her Holiday show and the dish looked perfect for the Holidays.  I have to make this dessert! 

Struffoli is made with balls of fried dough and hazelnuts.  The dough and hazelnuts are tossed in a honey sugar mixture, shaped into a wreath, and cooled to keep its' shape.  The goal of the recipe is to fry the dough until the color of the dough matches the color of the toasted hazelnuts.  Sounds easy right?

My first goal is to peel and toast hazelnuts...

I perused the internet a bit because the thought of peeling 1 1/2 cups of hazelnuts was unappealing.  I stumbled across Joe Pastry's Blog and found an informative post about Peeling Hazelnuts.

Joe bakes the hazelnuts for 1/2 hour at 250˚F and then wraps the still hot hazelnuts in a kitchen towel.

The hot hazelnuts create steam in the kitchen towel pocket, which loosens the skins.

Unwrap the towel so that there is one layer below and above the hazelnuts and apply firm pressure while rolling the hazelnuts back and forth.

Not all of the hazelnut skin will come off, so plan ahead and use extra hazelnuts.  Eat the hazelnuts with the skin still on as a snack and use the hazelnuts without skin in your recipe.

Join me soon to check out my first attempt at Struffoli!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Baked Eggs over a Vegetable Ragout

It has been raining a lot in San Francisco, which means snow in Tahoe :)   Trevor and I LOVE to ski (yes, ski not snowboard) and we are always pumped to see rain!  We planned a trip to Jackson Hole in February and are excited to go to Wyoming for the first time!

Trevor and I at Copper Mountain in Colorado...

 And my sister, Sarah, and I at Mt. Rose in Nevada!

When it's dark and stormy outside I crave comfort food and what is more comforting than breakfast?

Breakfast is generally inexpensive and fast!

The other night for dinner I made Baked Eggs over a Vegetable Ragout.

It was stocked full of vegetables, filling, and delicious. It was easy too!

The perfect little dish for weeknight dinner:)

Saute chopped vegetables with garlic, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, and olive oil.  Whatever you have left in your fridge will work!  I used red onion, tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplant, and mushrooms.

Add a can of tomato sauce and let it simmer for about ten minutes until the mixture gets really thick.  Add chopped basil at the last possible minute.

Try to always use organic cage free eggs.  It is worth every dime :)

Place vegetable ragout in a medium size ramekin and make a indentation in the middle.  Crack two eggs into the indentation and top with grated parmesan cheese.

Cook at 400˚F for about 12 minutes.  Continue to check on eggs for your preferred doneness.

And of course enjoy :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Curried Chicken Salad with Spiced Chickpeas and Raita

I went to La Mediterranee in Pac Heights with Trevor, Nick, and Liz for dinner last night.  Nick is one of Trevor's best friends and Liz is his girlfriend!

Instead of bread, the restaurant brought out roasted spiced chickpeas for a snack.  All four of us were raving about the unique, crunchy, and savory treat!  

Today I of poked around on the internet searching for roasted chickpea recipes.  Along the way I stumbled upon this recipe that incorporates spiced chickpeas and I didn't even think twice about making it.  I ran to the store and found these adorable jars to showcase the layered salad. 

Despite all the steps and ingredients this salad was easy and delicious!  The recipe calls for a pre-made rotisserie chicken which is such a good idea!  Rotisserie chickens taste great and are inexpensive.  

I can't wait for Spring, so I can bring these cute jars full of chicken salad, veggies, and yogurt to a picnic.

This salad is surprisingly healthy.  Instead of mayonnaise, this recipe is stocked full of healthy plain yogurt.  The grapes add just the right amount of sweetness to offset the spice of the chickpeas.  

Saute onions, garlic, and ginger until soft.

Add spices and let mixture saute for a couple of minutes.  The mixture will look quite dry.

Add the chopped tomatoes and saute until thickened.

Shred rotisserie chicken.  I used all white meat!

Mix yogurt, shredded chicken, mint, and sauteed veggies

Saute chickpeas in oil and spices until they are toasty with a slight crunch.

Mix yogurt with mint, cucumber, and salt to make the raita.

Ready to assemble!