Masa Cakes with Kale & Sweet Potato Salad with Over-Easy Egg

Masa Cake with Kale/Sweet Potato Salad

This was easy and delicious. I have been experimenting with masa harina to figure out ways to cook with it since I got a huge bag from Harvest Share. I’m not fond of cornbread  so I wanted to go in a different direction. I made the salad first and made more than I needed for the masa cakes.

For the salad, this makes enough for 8 masa cakes, but is also good on grilled cheese and with sandwiches. So I don’t mind.

  • 1/2 bunch of kale, cleaned, stripped off the stem, and finely chopped. This is about 3 cups of kale.
  • 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • Juice from 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt.
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced.
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled,  cut into small pieces, and parboiled in salted water.

Mix these first four ingredients together and rub the oil, salt, and lemon into the kale to soften it. Add the sliced onions. Drain the sweet potatoes and add to the kale. Let rest for an hour or more in the fridge.

For the Masa Cakes, this makes four masa cakes.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1½ tablespoons  butter, sliced
  • 1 cup masa harina corn flour
  • Dash of Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup grated cheese (I used pepper jack)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Mix together the masa, salt, sugar, use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter, add milk and stir together until smooth, add the cheese and mix it in.  Divide into 4 balls.

Using a piece of wax paper, but one ball of dough between two layers of wax paper. Press flat to about 1/4 inc. I used a small bowl and pressed down to make the edges smooth, tossing remaining dough back in the bowl to use. This will make 4 masa cakes.

Heat a griddle on medium and put about 1/2 tbsp of olive oil on it. When it’s heated, put two on the griddle to cook, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

When you’re ready to serve, fry an egg over-easy. You could poach them instead.

Assemble by putting a torta cake on your plate. Then put a handful of kale salad on top of the cake. Add the over-easy egg so when you eat it, the egg dresses the salad.

Makes four servings.

 

Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry

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My best friend makes this for Thanksgiving every year, but this year she was deep in roasting lamb, making brioche, and baking pies and brought the ingredients over with her recipe and said, “Here.” Well, not quite so peremptorily, but you get the idea. Knowing that her lamb is the most delicious dish that has ever existed on the planet, I was happy to help. Besides, my contribution was two pickled salads that I had made the day before so the brine could work its magic. This is a recipe that originates with Nigella Lawson and was printed in The New York Times years ago. It has been a tradition ever since.

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  • 2 med red onions, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 serrano pepper – don’t remove the seeds, you want the heat.
  • 2-3 inches of ginger, peeled
  • 3 TBSP canola oil

Chop onions, garlic, serrano pepper, and ginger. Sauté in canola oil over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until softened.

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  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 2/3 tsp turmeric
  • 3 cardamon pods, crushed
  • salt to taste

Add spices, stir and mix. Let bloom by heating so the aroma fills the room. This releases the aromatic oils so they infuse more flavor.

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  • 3 med sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 3/4 cup coconut milk (light) (1 can)

Add sweet potatoes and stir until covered by spices. Add coconut milk. Raise heat to medium and simmer.

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  • 1 TBSP tamarind paste
  • 2 1/4 cup vegetable broth (can use water if you don’t have broth)

Heat broth and stir tamarind paste in hot liquid until dissolved (You can use a microwave). Tamarin paste is super sticky, so you want to be sure it is completely dissoved in the hot liquid before you add it to you pan of simmering sweet potatoes. Keep simmering, partially covered for about 25 minutes. You want the sweet potatoes to be tender, but not soft.

  • 4 to 5 cups cooked chickpeas

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Add the chickpeas, stirring them into the sweet potatoes and making sure they heat through. Then remove.

  • 2 TBSP chopped cilantro

Top with cilantro when serving.

This is a warm, slightly spicy dish rich in the hearty, warm flavors of fall with the beautiful browns and oranges of fall as well. It is delicious, hearty, and a great substitute for the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy.  It is a huge meal, serving 12, or great for leftovers. It just tastes even richer the next day.

 

Lamb Neck Braised with Turnip and Sweet Potato

Lamb Neck Braised

Groceries are becoming incredibly expensive, especially meat. When I saw Safeway had lamb neck for only $3.49 a pound i decided to try it. I love the flavor of lamb but have mainly cooked shoulder roasts, shanks or chops. Being neck bones, I knew the meat would probably be tough, the more connective tissue there is, the tougher the meat tends to be. Neck bones are considered offal – the cheap cuts that are often neglected. Sometimes for good reason, but in this case, it turned out to be wonderful. So with tough meat, the trick is to cook low and slow, so I decided to braise it.

I preheated the oven to 300° Fahrenheit.

I put this big skillet on the stove with about 2 TBSP of olive oil and heated the oil. I added 2 pinches of cardamom and a pinch of cumin, 1 small chopped yellow onion and 2 diced gloves of garlic with a bit of salt and pepper.. When the onion was tender, I added the neck bones – about 2/3rds of a pound, added salt and pepper and browned them.

Meanwhile I scrubbed 2 carrots and cut them into big pieces (the more you chop up your carrots, the more nutrients leach out.) Then I chopped up 2 celery stalks. I peeled 1 turnip and 1 sweet potato and cut them into chunks as well. I added to the mix with some salt and pepper and stirred. Then I added 1 can of diced tomatoes and then filled the can with water and added that as well.

Then I popped in the oven and let cook slowly for what seemed like days but was only 2 hours. My apartment was redolent of the aroma of lamb, tomatoes, cardamom and all this goodness that the time passed slowly. But it was so worth the wait!

The turnip and cardamom really make this recipe, the tart sweetness of turnip was exactly what was needed to add a grace note to this hearty meal. The tomatoes and carrots added sweetness, the celery gave it an earthy base and the sweet potato added flavorful substance. It was so delicious I actually used my finger to clean the broth from the pan.

Please note that I added salt and pepper with each new step. The reason is that you should always season what you are cooking in the moment, adding the season again with new ingredients. Not only will it taste better, you are less likely to overseason it.

This made four servings of stew – and with just $2.09 worth of meat. Definitely a rich meal that is not costly. In fact, it’s only $1.42 per serving – excluding the cost of spices.

  • $2.09 Lamb
  • $1.69 Sweet Potato
  • $0.45 Turnip
  • $0.10 Carrot
  • $0.21 Celery
  • $0.32 Onion
  • $0.12 Garlic
  • $0.69 Diced Tomatoes

Chicken and Kale Soup

Chicken & Kale Soup

Normally I would use olive oil to start my soup, but I had some bacon fat from breakfast. I have to count that fat for my diabetes management, so you know darn well, I am going to use the rendered fat for something else. I heated it up and poured it in the stock pot and turned the burner to medium. I chopped up a large yellow onion (about 2 cups of chopped onion) and minced 4 large cloves of garlic and let them cook until the onions were transparent. Meanwhile I rinsed a whole fryer in water under the faucet and removed the organ meat and neck from the insides. I use rinse to make it clear that you do not use soap – which one of the Real Housewives used for her roast chicken.

I put the chicken in the pot and added enough water to cover it completely, turned the heat up to med. high to bring it to a boil. I tossed in two bay leaves and added salt and pepper. One it began to boil, I turned it down to a simmer (4 on my stove) and let it cook until the meat fell off the bone. I then put it in a colander inside of a bowl to cool off enough for me to remove the meat from the bones. I reserved all the white meat to use in salad and sandwiches and returned the dark meat to the soup. All the meat from an entire chicken is just too much meat relative to veggies and this way I get more meals from it. At this point, the soup can go in any direction. I decided to go for a kale-chicken soup because I saw one of the kale leaves had turned yellow and I wanted to use the rest of the kale before it turned.

Kale likes a certain heartiness and needs some acid so that it does not become bitter. So, I added a can of diced cooked tomatoes for the acid. I used canned only because I had already used the fresh tomatoes I bought. Otherwise I would have added two tomatoes, chopped. I added some sweet potatoes julienned on the mandoline and then cut into smaller thirds. I rinsed, removed the stems and cut the kale in narrow strips. I tossed this all in at the same time and grated about 1 tsp of fresh nutmeg over the pot. The aroma was heavenly.

In about 20 minutes it was done and ready to serve. On day two, the aroma and heady flavor is even more intense.

This makes about 12 servings, so you will have to store it in containers.

BBQ Pork, Jamaica Jerk Yams with Curry Yogurt & Salad

I wish I could get my cat with a head cold to eat these Jamaica Jerk Yams. It would clear his head right out. This is a very easy meal to make and takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish.

Start with the yams. Turn oven to 450°. Take one yam and peel it. Slice it into 1/8 inch chips. In a baggie, put 1 TBSP of peanut or vegetable oil. Put the chips in the bag and shake it. In another baggie, put a couple tablespoons of Jamaica Jerk seasoning blend. Toss the chips in there and shake.  Lay out on a cookie sheet so they don’t overlap. The oven should be hot enough now to put them in to cook.

Now, slice off some pork from that roast from last night and toss in a nonstick saute pan with 2 TBSP of barbecue sauce. Reheat on medium low, stirring occasionally.

Now, Put about 3 TBSP or so of plain yogurt in a bowl and add curry powder to suit your taste. Start with 1/2 tsp and stir and taste test. Add another 1/4 tsp and so on. You could make up one small package of plain yogurt and store it. It keeps well and is good on cold macaroni in a salad.

Clean and cut up 2 leaves of romaine, cut 5 olives in half and toss on top with a bit of Greek Feta dressing. Put the BBQ pork on the plate, add the curry yogurt and pull the hot and done sweet potatoes out of the oven. Serve while nice and hot.