Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Makes about 18 donuts

For those fans of watermelon sprinkled with flaky sea salt, this upgraded version of our favorite summer treat is for you! The salty cheese enhances the sweetness of watermelon, while the lime juice and cilantro brighten it and the jalapeño and paprika add complexity and heat. We also love this vinaigrette tossed with salads and even served with grilled chicken.

INGREDIENTS

For Donuts:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (260g)
½ cup whole wheat flour (75 g)
¾ cups granulated sugar (170 g)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
1 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 Tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled

For the Coating:
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray donut pans with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and salt; set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and melted butter. Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture with a rubber spatula and stir until just combined. Fill a piping bag or ziplock bag with batter and snip the corner of the bag. Fill each donut cup about half full, just to the top of the raised center. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the donuts spring back when touched.

Transfer to a wire rack and let rest for 5 minutes. Whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and pour into a shallow bowl. When donuts are cool enough to handle, but still warm, roll them in the cinnamon sugar to coat well. Serve warm.

Watermelon with Jalapeño-Lime Vinaigrette

Serves 6-8

For those fans of watermelon sprinkled with flaky sea salt, this upgraded version of our favorite summer treat is for you! The salty cheese enhances the sweetness of watermelon, while the lime juice and cilantro brighten it and the jalapeño and paprika add complexity and heat. We also love this vinaigrette tossed with salads and even served with grilled chicken.

INGREDIENTS

1 small watermelon, sliced into wedges
3 oz cotija cheese
Fresh cilantro leaves
Jalapeño-Lime Vinaigrette

For the Jalapeño-Lime Vinaigrette:
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon minced jalapeño, plus more for garnishing
Fine sea salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sweet, smoked paprika
½ teaspoon chili powder

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DIRECTIONS

Make the vinaigrette:
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, jalapeño, salt, pepper and paprika. While continuously whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and continue whisking until an emulsion has formed and vinaigrette is thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning.

This makes about ½ cup of the vinaigrette. You likely won’t need all of it for the watermelon, so reserve the rest for another dish. It will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days in an air-tight container.

Prepare the watermelon:

Place watermelon slices on a platter and drizzle vinaigrette evenly on top. Sprinkle the cotija cheese on top and garnish with cilantro and more jalapeño.


Chicken Tacos with Toasted Cumin Seed Sour Cream

Serves 6-8

We love these tacos because they are so easy to make and such crowd pleasers! We really like making the chicken filling in an Instapot, our new kitchen gadget obsession...but if you don’t have one, no worries! We’ve got you covered with a stove top method too! 

Either way these will certainly become a family favorite. 

INGREDIENTS

For the Toasted Cumin Seed Sour Cream:
(Inspired by Smitten Kitchen)
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds, toasted and partially ground in a mortar & pestle or spice grinder
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


For the Chicken Tacos:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno, plus more for garnishing
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried crushed oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon sweet, smoked paprika
¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
½ chicken stock
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken parts (we used white and dark meat)
For serving: black beans, radishes, jalapeño, lime wedges, avocado, cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

Make the Toasted Cumin Sour Cream:

Whisk all ingredients together. Adjust seasoning as needed. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Make the Tacos:

Stove top Method
In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot and shimmering, add the onion and cook until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeños and cook another minute. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the spices, lime juice, orange juice, chicken stock and crushed tomatoes and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. Bring mixture to a simmer and then add the chicken. Toss to combine. Chicken should just be covered by liquid. Place a tight fitting lid on top and reduce heat to low. Cook 35-40 minutes until chicken is fully cooked.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a sheet tray and evenly spread out. Place the sheet tray under your oven’s broiler for about 3 minutes to get crispy bits on the chicken. Meanwhile, bring the tomato sauce to a heavy simmer and cook until it has reduced by half and is very thick, about 5 minutes. Toss chicken with the sauce. Spread a spoonful of the toasted cumin seed sour cream on tortillas followed by shredded chicken, black beans and garnishes of choice.

Instant Pot Method:
Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot and press “sauté” button. Once oil is hot and shimmering, add the onion and cook until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeños and cook another minute. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the spices, lime juice, orange juice, chicken stock and crushed tomatoes and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. Bring mixture to a simmer and then add the chicken. Toss to combine. Chicken should just be covered by liquid. Secure the Instant Pot lid, press “manual” and set to 9 minutes. Release steam valve and then remove lid.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a sheet tray and evenly spread out. Place the sheet tray under your oven’s broiler for about 3 minutes to get crispy bits on the chicken. Meanwhile, press the “saute” button again on your Instant Pot and cook until tomato sauce is reduced by half and very thick, about 5 minutes. Toss chicken with the sauce. Spread a spoonful of the toasted cumin seed sour cream on tortillas followed by shredded chicken, black beans and garnishes of choice.

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Pan-Fried Lamb Chops with Sumac Yogurt Sauce

Serves 4

This lamb chop recipe is so simple and quick. It’s one of our go-to weeknight meals and also one of our favorite Easter dinners because it allows us more time to hunt easter eggs. You can get fancy with lamb chops and coat them in a pistachio crust like we did, but they’re also good simply seasoned with salt and pepper. And to balance the richness of the lamb, we paired the chops with a tangy sumac yogurt sauce and served alongside some arugula and shaved radishes tossed with olive oil and lemon juice.

INGREDIENTS

For the Lamb:
1 lamb rack (1 ¾ - 2 pounds), French trimmed and cut into 8 individual chops
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


For Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. sumac
1 Tbsp. good quality olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 TB lemon juice
¼ teaspoon cayenne, plus more for spice
Salt & pepper

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Allow lamb chops to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Pat them dry and then season both sides of the lamb chops with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmery (but not smoking), add the lamb chops and sear for about 3 minutes on each side until they are a deep golden brown and caramelized. Transfer the pan to preheated oven and finish cooking the lamb chops - about 4 minutes for medium rare. Transfer to a platter or board to rest while you make the yogurt.

Make the yogurt sauce by whisking together all ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve with warm lamb chops.

Sugar Snap Peas with Turmeric & Crispy Shallots

Serves 4-6

Is it ter-meric or too-meric? We don’t know, but what we do know is that we LOVE it. Earthy, peppery and sort of mustardy, fresh turmeric is brighter and bolder than dried turmeric. Don’t let it (or the pronunciation) intimidate you. Treat fresh turmeric like you would ginger - peeled and then chopped, minced or grated. And because turmeric is less fibrous than ginger, it’s slightly easier to grate.

It also stains (Julie accidentally turned Jesse’s blender a beautiful shade of chartreuse once) so be sure to wear gloves or use a plastic bag when handling it and wash cutting boards… and blenders. immediately. Sugar snap peas - or any green bean for that matter - sometimes begs for loads of salt and butter. In order to satisfy our taste buds, we blanched sugar snap peas and tossed them with fragrant garlic and turmeric and then topped with crispy shallots.

For crispy shallots, make sure you’ve got enough oil in the saucepan to cover them. Otherwise, you’ll just end up caramelizing the shallots, which is also delicious but not crunchy.

INGREDIENTS

For the Shallots:
2 shallots, thinly sliced
Canola oil for frying

For the Peas:
1 pound sugar snap peas, stem and strings removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (1-inch) piece turmeric, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Fry the Shallots

In a small saucepan or skillet, heat ½ inch oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they gradually become brown, 10-15 minutes. Turn down the heat if they begin browning too quickly. Place a fine-meshed sieve over a bowl. Transfer shallots to sieve and let drain, then scatter them on a paper towel-lined plate to cool and get crispy; set aside.

Cook the Peas

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Set up an ice bath (stainless steel bowl of ice water). Carefully lower the snap peas in boiling water and blanch until they are cooked but still crunchy and bright green, 2-3 minutes. Using a sieve or slotted spoon, immediately transfer the peas into the ice water and leave for a minute to stop the cooking process. Remove peas from the ice water, pat dry with a towel and set aside.


Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add turmeric and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas to the pan with the turmeric and garlic, toss to combine. Season the peas with a pinch of salt and sauté until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve warm with crispy shallots.

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Grits with Sautéed Kale, Chili Oil & Breadcrumbs

Serves 2-3


Grits aren’t just for breakfast! This simple bowl is a great dish that can be prepped in advance for a quick weeknight dinner or side dish. Toasted breadcrumbs add a nice texture, while chili oil brings some heat to the party. There are no rules here. Build this satisfying bowl however you want.

INGREDIENTS

For the Grits:
3 ½ cups chicken stock or water
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup stone-ground white corn grits
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for finishing

For the Kale:
1 large bunch Lacinato kale (dark green kale), stems removed and leaves roughly chopped  
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

For Breadcrumbs:
5-6 slices bread, preferably from a rustic white loaf
1 tbsp. olive oil or melted unsalted butter
Pinch of kosher salt

2-3 tbsp. chili oil, store bought or homemade, for finishing

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DIRECTIONS

Make the Grits: Bring chicken stock or water and salt to a boil. Stir in the grits and butter and reduce heat to low, gentle simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until grits are thick and creamy. Remove from heat, stir in more butter, salt and pepper to taste. Store grits in an air tight container in the fridge for 3 days.

Make the Kale: In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped kale, chicken stock and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the kale, stirring occasionally, until it is soft and tender and liquid has evaporated, 7-10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside and keep warm.

Make Breadcrumbs: Roughly tear bread and place in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse into coarse crumbs and then toss the breadcrumbs with olive oil or butter and salt. Set a skillet over medium heat, add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and toasty, 5-7 minutes.

Build your Bowl: Spoon warm grits into a shallow bowl, top with sautéed kale and garnish with breadcrumbs and chili oil.

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Chili Oil

INGREDIENTS

½ cup crushed red pepper flakes (we prefer Sichuan chili flakes)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns, divided
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, unpeeled, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds and smashed
2 bay leaves
Cinnamon stick
2 star anise pods

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DIRECTIONS

Place the red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, 1 Tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns and salt in a heatproof bowl.

In a small saucepan, combine the vegetable oil, the remaining 2 Tablespoons peppercorns, ginger, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and star anise.

Turn burner to low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spices have darkened and mixture is very fragrant, 20-25 minutes. Strain the oil mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, peppercorns and salt. Discard the solids in the strainer. Stir well to combine and cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.

Allow oil to stand at least 12 hours before using. Oil will keep in the fridge for about 3 months.

Pineapple Teriyaki Pork Kebabs

Makes about 8 skewers

INGREDIENTS

Special Equipment Needed:
Skewers
Grill or grill pan

For the Marinade & Dipping Sauce:

1 ½ cups pineapple juice
⅓ cup soy sauce
½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
⅓ cup mirin
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. sriracha, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tbsp. coconut palm sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ cup water

For the Kebabs:

1 ½ lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
½ pineapple (about 12 oz.), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
Vegetable oil for grill
Thinly sliced scallions, to garnish

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DIRECTIONS

For the Pork Kebabs:

Whisk together pineapple juice, soy sauce, lime juice, mirin, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, sriracha, cumin, and coconut palm sugar. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Measure out 1 cup of the marinade and set aside. Pour remaining marinade over the pork and marinate in the fridge for 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Thread skewers with 3 pieces of pork, 2-3 pieces of pineapple and 2-3 pieces of onion, alternating between the three.

Prepare a grill to medium-hot or place a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the skewers, flipping every 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly charred all around, 8 to 10 minutes total. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving dish.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with dipping sauce.

For Dipping Sauce:

Pour the reserved 1 cup of marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Pour the slurry into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick, about 3 minutes. If mixture gets too thick, add more pineapple juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon.

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Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

Serves 6-8 People

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INGREDIENTS

Special Equipment needed:
9-inch deep dish pie plate
Rolling pin

For the Crust:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
½ cup whole milk, cold

For the Filling (makes 4-5 cups):
1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded and meat shredded
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 lb. carrots, chopped
2 tsp. fresh minced garlic
1 tbsp. finely chopped thyme leaves
1 tsp. finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp. finely chopped sage
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ cup dry sherry
2 cups whole milk
8 oz. frozen peas
4 oz frozen corn

DIRECTIONS

Make the Crust:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter and using your fingers or a pastry cutter, mix the butter into the flour until it resembles parmesan cheese or wet sand. It’s ok if there are some larger butter pieces in there. Pour in the milk and stir the mixture together using a fork until dough forms. Do not overwork the dough. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two equal pieces. Shape each into a 6-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use (at least an hour). If you’re in a hurry, place them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.

Make the Filling:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and then add the onions and carrots. Season with half of the salt and cook until onions are translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add in the garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage and lemon zest and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Sprinkle 3 Tbsp. flour over vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, until flour begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 30 seconds. Add the sherry and lemon juice and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add the milk, shredded chicken, peas, corn, and remaining salt and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until everything is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer mixture to a shallow platter to cool completely before filling the pie crust.

Assemble the pie:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the dough discs into a 12 inch round and place in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Pour the chicken filling inside the pie plate and place in fridge while you roll out the other dough disc into a 12 inch round. Place the second pie crust on top of the chicken filling, pinch the edges of the two doughs together to seal and then crimp the edge. Brush the entire top with egg wash (egg + 1 tsp. water) and make a few slits in the pie dough for ventilation. Place the pie plate on a sheet tray (this catches any juices) and bake for about 55-65 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the crust is golden brown. If your crust seems to be browning too quickly before the pie is done, simply cover it with aluminum foil.

Allow pie to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

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Cajun Fried Okra with Spicy Aioli

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the Okra:
1 pound fresh okra, rinsed and dried and tops trimmed
1 ½ cups all purpose flour, divided
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup cornmeal, divided
2 teaspoons creole seasoning, plus more for finishing
Canola oil
Kosher salt

For Creole Seasoning:
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
½ tablespoon white pepper
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
1 ½ tablespoon kosher salt

For Aioli:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon creole seasoning
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
2 teaspoons hot sauce, plus more to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Make the creole seasoning by whisking all ingredients together in a bowl. Make the aioli by whisking together all ingredients.

Pour oil (3-4 inches) into a large heavy bottomed pot and heat to 350 degrees.

In one large shallow bowl, whisk together half of the flour (3/4 cup) and a pinch of salt. In a separate large shallow bowl, pour in buttermilk. In a third large shallow bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, cornmeal, and 2 teaspoons creole seasoning.

Working in batches, add okra to flour and toss to coat. Transfer okra to bowl of buttermilk, shaking off excess flour as you do. Coat the okra in buttermilk. Finally, transfer the okra to the flour-cornmeal mixture and toss well to coat. Carefully lower the battered okra into the oil and fry for 5-7 minutes, until dark golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove okra from oil and transfer to a wire rack set over a sheet tray. While okra is hot, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and more creole seasoning.

Serve warm with aioli.

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Spicy Kale & Coriander Margarita

Makes 2 Cocktails

INGREDIENTS

For Kale Juice
1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno
¾ cup water

For Cocktails
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno
½ teaspoon ground coriander, divided
4 oz. blanco tequila
2 oz. lime juice
1 ½ oz. agave nectar
1 oz. kale juice
Flaky sea salt
Lime and jalapeno slices for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Make the kale juice: Combine kale, 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeño and water in a blender or food processor and pulse until thoroughly blended. Strain through fine mesh sieve.

Make the Coriander-Salt Rim: In a small plate, stir together ¼ teaspoon ground coriander with flaky sea salt. Rub the rim of two cocktail glasses with a lime wedge and then dip glasses in the coriander-flaky sea salt mixture; set aside.

Make the Cocktails: Muddle the jalapeno, ginger and remaining ¼ teaspoon ground coriander with a few ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Add the tequila, lime juice, agave nectar and kale juice. Shake and strain into prepared margarita glasses.

Add more ice if desired and garnish with lime wedges and jalapeño. Cheers!

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I ❤️ Snack Cakes

Makes 12 Heart Cakes

There is a very special place in our hearts for snack cakes and these little treats take us back to our 3rd grade class Valentine's party.

Take your favorite cake recipe (or use ours below), bake it in a sheet tray, stamp out hearts with a cookie cutter, glaze and voila! You’re basically Little Debbie now.

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake:
2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted but cooled slightly
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cubed
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 cups powdered sugar
Pink food coloring
Sprinkles, optional

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DIRECTIONS

For the Cakes:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the bottom of a 15x10x1-inch sheet pan with butter and line with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugar until thoroughly combined and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add half of the flour mixture, then the milk and finally the remaining flour, whisking between each addition until smooth. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared sheet pan and then tap the pan on the counter a few times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before stamping out the hearts with a cookie cutter.

Once the cake is cooled, stamp out heart cakes with a heart cookie cutter. You should be able to get 12 heart cakes (3 rows of 4). Remove cake border and reserve for another use… or snack on it as you bake.

For the Glaze:

This glaze hardens slightly (to create a delicious crackly crunchy icing) as it comes to room temperature, so you’ll need to work fairly quickly.

In a medium saucepan, bring the butter and milk to a simmer and whisk to combine. Turn off the burner and whisk in the vanilla extract, sea salt, pink food coloring and powdered sugar — 1 cup at a time — until smooth. Using a small ladle or 1/4 measuring cup, pour icing over one heart cake and spread using an offset spatula. It’s ok if the sides of the cakes aren’t completely covered.

Decorate with sprinkles. Repeat with remaining heart cakes. Allow to cool before serving.

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Bucatini with Creamy Kale Pesto

Serves 4-6


We love traditional pesto and we love making it the true Italian way - chopping all of the ingredients by hand or blending with a mortar and pestle - but sometimes throwing everything in a food processor is… well, easier. Especially if you have hangry people staring you down. Plus, this isn’t a traditional pesto so we’re breaking a few rules and we promise it’s worth it. Hearty kale gets blanched quickly to tenderize the leaves and a dollop of plain yogurt adds extra creaminess to this multipurpose sauce. There’s so much more you can do with pesto besides tossing it with pasta - drag a toasty baguette through it, smear it on some grilled chicken or steak, spoon it on your favorite veggies or stir it into risotto.

INGREDIENTS

1 bunch Tuscan kale (lacinato kale), stems removed
½ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup parsley leaves
¼ cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
½ cup walnuts, toasted
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, plus more for garnish
¼ cup plain yogurt
8 oz bucatini (or your favorite pasta)

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DIRECTIONS

For the Pesto:

Bring a pot of water to a boil.

Place the kale leaves in the boiling water and cook until bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, then place the kale on a kitchen towel to dry.

To the bowl of a food processor or blender, add the garlic, parsley, parmesan, toasted walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, red chili flakes, salt and pepper. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add in the kale and yogurt and pulse a few more times.

With motor running, add the oil in a steady stream and pulse to a coarse purée. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days. Pesto yields approximately 1 ½ cups.

For Pasta:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook 8 oz of pasta until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Drain pasta and return to pot. Toss with ½ to ¾ cup pesto and the reserved pasta water.

Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve warm.

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Favorite Roast Chicken

SERVES 3-4

The perfect roast chicken is golden brown and crispy on the outside while tender and juicy on the inside and to achieve that (we’ve roasted and tested a whole lotta chicken over the years) we’ve found these steps to be super duper important: First, let your chicken sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to roasting. This ensures even cooking all over. Second, let that bird rest for at least 10-15 minutes once it’s done roasting. This allows the juices to redistribute for the juiciest meat ever. And last but not least, BUTTER! Good quality, unsalted, high-fat butter from happy cows. Butter is what’s gonna give you that crispy skin and flavor.

Oh and let’s discuss the veggies for a second. Yes it’s easier (and totally works) to throw the veggies and chicken in the pan and cook at the same time, but we often find that the veggies get too charred or overcooked. Our favorite method is tossing in the veggies midway through cooking. They still get all the flavor from the bird’s buttery juices and they’ll be fully roasted at 45 minutes. And while your chicken is resting, deglaze the pan of veggies with some white wine. Mmmm… Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS


1 (4-5 pound) chicken, giblets removed
Kosher salt (approximately 3 teaspoons for the chicken)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
3 garlic cloves, smashed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 yellow onion, quartered
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 small Yukon gold potatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

DIRECTIONS

Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast iron pan and place the pan on the lower rack of oven. Preheat the oven (and cast iron pan) to 400ºF. While the oven preheats, prepare chicken and vegetables.

If needed, rinse the chicken and then pat dry with paper towels. Allow chicken to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to roasting. Sprinkle half of the kosher salt and fresh ground pepper all over and inside the chicken. Place the thyme, lemon and garlic cloves inside the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken (this helps the chicken cook more evenly). Brush the chicken all over with butter and then sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper all over. Carefully remove the cast iron skillet and place the chicken inside; roast for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss veggies with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. At 45 minutes, carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and scatter the veggies around the chicken. Continue roasting for another 45 minutes or until the chicken juices are running clear. A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read 165ºF.

Transfer the chicken to a platter to rest for 10-15 minutes. While the chicken rests, place the pan of veggies on top of stove burner over medium-high heat. Drizzle in 1/4 cup of white wine and cook, scraping up any brown bits from the pan, for about 5 minutes.

Carve the chicken and serve with veggies.

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Thai Coconut Soup

SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS


3 cups vegetable stock
4 cups coconut milk
2 stalks of lemongrass, smashed with knife or mortar and pestle
1 (3-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
4 kaffir lime leaves, bend and scrunch in hand to release the flavor
1 white onion, cut into ¼-inch half moon slices
7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, larger ones chopped
1 bird’s eye chili, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
½ Tbsp. coconut palm sugar

Garnish:
cilantro, basil, lime wedges
Jasmine rice, to serve

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DIRECTIONS

Pour stock into a saucepan, add the lemongrass, ginger, kaffir leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, place lid on the saucepan and cook for 15 minutes.

Strain the soup, discard solids, and pour soup back into the saucepan.

Whisk in the coconut milk and bring back to a simmer. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, or until the onions are soft.

Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and chili.

Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Serve over rice if desired.

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Hatch Green Chile & Cheese Empanadas

MAKES 18-20 SMALL EMPANADAS

We used a 4 ½-inch round cookie cutter, but you could also use a mason jar lid or water glass. How much filling you spoon on each dough round will depend on the size of your cookie cutter, so adjust accordingly. Spoon 1 ½ Tbsp. to 2 Tbsp. filling on each round.

INGREDIENTS

For the Filling (yield: approximately 2 ¾ cup):
12 ounces diced hatch green chiles, mild or medium (drained if from can)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 teaspoon paprika
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper for more heat (optional)
1 ½ tablespoons AP flour
1/3 cup whole milk
4 ounces Oaxaca cheese, crumbled

For the Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and placed in freezer for 20 minutes.
1 egg
6-8 tablespoons Whole milk

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DIRECTIONS

For the Filling:

Heat olive oil, add onions and cook until soft and translucent about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in the hatch green chiles, salt, cumin, oregano, paprika, pepper and cayenne (if using) and cook over medium-high heat for another 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook until toasty, about 2 minutes. Pour in the milk and cook until mixture thickens and just begins to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn off the burner and stir in the cheese until melted. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer mixture to a bowl and allow filling to cool completely before filling dough rounds. Mixture can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days in advance of making empanadas.

For the Dough:

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and salt until combined.

Add in the butter and pulse about 15 pulses. Add in the egg and then the milk—2 tablespoons at a time—and pulse until dough just begins to come together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pack it into a ball. Cut the dough in half and shape into two (6-inch) rounds. Wrap each round in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large sheet tray with parchment paper.

Roll out one of the discs to ¼-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter (we used a 4 ½-inch) to cut out smaller round discs. Place empanada discs on a parchment-lined sheet tray and place in fridge while you roll out the other disc of dough.

Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each round. Moisten the outer edge of each round with water and fold the dough in half to form a half moon. Pinch the edges together to seal and then fold the sealed edge slightly over itself. Crimp dough with a fork. Brush each empanada with egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tsp. water) and bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.

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Black Eyed Peas & Greens

Serves 6-8

Smokey, spicy and comforting, this traditional Southern dish is served on New Year’s Day to bring you good luck and fortune throughout the year.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound dried black eyed peas, rinse and picked through
4-5 thick slices of bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons creole seasoning
4-6 cups chicken or beef stock
2 bunches collard greens or lacinato kale, stems removed and shredded
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Cooked rice, green onion and hot sauce for serving

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DIRECTIONS

For Creole Seasoning: whisk together 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, ½ tablespoon white pepper, ½ tablespoon cayenne pepper, 3 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika and 1 ½ tablespoons fine sea salt.

Rinse dry black-eyed peas, place in a large pot and pour in enough cold water to cover peas by 2 inches. Place a lid on the stockpot and let the peas soak overnight. Alternatively, you can quick soak the peas by bringing the peas and water to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover the pot and soak the peas for 1 hour. Drain and rinse peas.

In a large heavy bottomed pan, cook the bacon until brown and crispy, about 4-5 minutes, then set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. To the pan of bacon grease, stir in the onions, celery and jalapeños and cook over medium heat until just beginning to soften, 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic and bay leaf and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the creole seasoning and then pour in 4 cups of chicken or beef stock and the drained peas. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.

Add in the chopped kale, bacon, salt and pepper and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender and the mixture is thick. If the mixture becomes too dry, add more stock or water. Taste and adjust seasoning and remove bay leaf before serving.

Serve over cooked rice if desired and garnish with green onion and hot sauce.

Spicy Sorghum Syrup Cookies

Makes about 24 cookies

These chewy sorghum syrup cookies are perfect for the holidays. Fresh ginger and ground pepper give the cookies a subtle spicy bite while the rich sorghum syrup sweetens them. We like to roll the cookies in turbinado sugar before baking to add a bit of sparkle and crunch. Santa will thank you if you leave these out for him on Christmas Eve.

INGREDIENTS

2 ¼ cups AP flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ + 2 tablespoons cup sorghum syrup
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
Flaky sea salt for topping
Pinch more cayenne for topping (optional)
¼ cup turbinado sugar for rolling

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, fine sea salt, pepper and cayenne; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, brown sugar, sorghum syrup, fresh ginger and vanilla extract until well combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and beat another 1 minute, until fluffy. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Spoon out about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into 1 ½ inch balls. Roll the dough balls in the turbinado sugar and place on prepared baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each cookie round with flaky sea salt and a tiny pinch of cayenne if desired. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

Sweet Potato Latkes & Smoked Salmon Platter

makes 6-8 cakes

Latkes—aka potato pancakes—are one of our favorite holiday comfort foods. They’re easy to make and beautiful when served on a platter with creme fraiche (or yogurt) and smoked salmon. We love the sweetness from sweet potatoes and the crispy, crunchy bits around the edge.

INGREDIENTS

½ pound sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
1 scallion, finely chopped
2 ½ tablespoons AP flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or bacon grease
Crème fraiche, chives, capers, tomatoes to serve.

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DIRECTIONS

Press the grated sweet potato between paper towels to get as much moisture out as possible. Stir together the grated sweet potatoes, scallions, flour, egg, salt, and pepper.

Heat oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Scoop out the potato mixture (a little less than ¼ cup) and work/shape into a ball and then mash gently to form a patty. Place in skillet and using a spatula, flatten the latke.

Reduce heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Serve with smoked salmon, crème fraiche, chives, capers,

Hummus with Spiced Lamb

Serves 6-8

There’s a lot you could do with these dish components. You could spoon the hummus inside of a pita pocket and stuff it with ground lamb to create a lunch that’ll make all of your coworkers jealous. You could serve both the lamb and hummus over crunchy lettuce for a slammin’ salad. Or, serve it our favorite way as a hearty appetizer. Actually, sometimes it’s our main dinner course. The cumin, cinnamon & cardamom permeate the lamb giving it a warm fragrance and flavor and the addition of pomegranate seeds add a nice crunch and beautiful color. 

INGREDIENTS

For the Lamb:
1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
1 ¼ pounds ground lamb
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. cayenne, plus more to taste if you want it spicier
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. tomato paste

For the Hummus:
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1/3 cup tahini
4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-3 Tbsp. water

Pita bread for serving
Pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, parsley and olive oil for garnish

Gorund Lamb

DIRECTIONS

For the Lamb:

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and stir to coat in oil. Spread the onions evenly in the pan and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. If the onions start cooking too quickly or seem dry, reduce the heat and add a splash of water. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the ground lamb and season with salt and pepper.Cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the lamb is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the spices, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar, stir to combine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook another 3-5 minutes until lamb is cooked all the way through and beginning to look caramelized. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep the lamb warm.

For the Hummus:

In the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic, chickpeas, salt, tahini and lemon juice. Pulse until thoroughly combined. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Spoon the hummus onto a large platter. Sprinkle the lamb on top and garnish with pomegranate seeds, parsley, toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of more olive oil. Serve with pita bread.