Thursday, December 9, 2010

roasted sweet potatoes, chorizo, greens and garlic

sweet potato roasted with kale, chorizo and garlic, served with manchego cheese

This dish was a very serendipitous creation that Laura and I came up with. I think we were both very surprised just how much we liked it.

We had, (and still have, for that matter), tons of sweet potatoes from the food co-op, as well as garlic and your garden variety leafy greens. I think it was kale, but I could be wrong and in any event I'm sure that spinach, chard or even collard greens would work just as well. As I was peeling my sweet potatoes, Laura came home bearing a package of chorizo. I looked the in The Flavor Bible, and it told me that chorizo and sweet potatoes were secret lovers. Laura and I quickly decided to join culinary forces.

Laura sliced up the chorizo and fried it. I boiled the sweet potatoes and sliced up some garlic. Once the potatoes were cooked through, I cut them into centimeter thick disks and spread them out in a pyrex baking dish. I sprinkled the potatoes with garlic and drizzled on some olive oil. This method is from Mark Bittman, whose sweet potatoes have been a family Thanksgiving favorite for eleven years now thanks to my Aunt Cathy.

From there I decided to improvise by tossing in a bunch of leafy greens. Of course, when I put this all in the oven to roast, the greens were on top, exposed to the worst of the oven's heat, and soon started to get singed. I had to do a lot of stirring to make sure they didn't completely burn. If were to make this again, (which I totally would, because it was awesome), I would definitely sautee the greens with the chorizo before adding them to the baking dish.

When it became clear that all the stirring in the world wasn't going to save my kale from burning, Laura suggested that we mix in the chorizo. This was a brilliant idea. The grease from the pan moistened the kale so that it cooked down nicely, and infused the whole pan with meaty Spanish flavor. Somehow, the meat and slightly bitter greens perfectly complimented the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. In short, this just came together perfectly.

This is a complete meal unto itself, which I love. All we had with it was a little of the giant wheel of manchego cheese that our Spanish friend Katia had brought Laura from Spain. Anyway. Next time I make this, this is the recipe I plan on following:

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chorizo, Greens and Garlic

1 lb chorizo, chopped
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled
1 large bunch leafy greens, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tbs olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 400˚. Boil sweet potatoes for ten minutes. Run under cold water to cool, and slice into rounds. While potatoes are boiling, cook chorizo in frying pan on medium heat. Once the chorizo is cooked, set it aside, leaving the drippings in the pan. Saute your greens in the chorizo grease until they begin to wilt. Remove from heat.

Toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the sweet potato rounds in a large baking dish and sprinkle with chopped garlic. Bake for ten minutes, then add the chorizo and leafy greens and bake for five more minutes, or until sweet potatoes are cooked all the way through and the greens are soft.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Crab Cakes

We had almost a pound of crab left after making the Udon Carbonara, and my mom suggested that we use it to make crab cakes. So we did.

crab cakes

I followed this recipe and it was very easy. Apparently it's based on a Frugal Gourmet recipe so it's probably a good dish to eat before you touch lil boys. Mix egg, parsley, some mayo, lemon juice, dry mustard, and salt/pepper in a bowl. Then you add in the crab and a bunch of bread crumbs, a little bit at a time so that it mixes in well. At this point in the process some naysaying emerged - my deft and dexterous mixing of the ingredients was mistaken for "smashing" by Sarah, who kept insisting that the crab cakes would end up like hockey pucks, would be hard and heavy, etc. She was being a bit... ... ...crabby.

Once the patties were formed I refrigerated them for like 20 or 30 minutes. Meanwhile Sarah made and toasted some bread crumbs, in which I dredged the crab patties before frying them to a golden brown. In the end they came out crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, really good stuff - even Sarah agreed!

To go with this, I made a remoulade sauce, which is basically what you call tartar sauce if you're too cool for tartar sauce. It's very Euro. Two parts mayo, one part mustard, some chopped anchovies and capers, and about ⅔ of a red pepper that I had roasted while I was doing all of this. The pepper gave it a nice sweetness that balanced well with the sourness and saltiness of the rest of the sauce.

garlic mashed potatoes and crab cakes with red pepper remolade

A pound of chunk crab meat costs $15, but the other ingredients are all negligible in terms of cost and this made enough for two people to have as a main course, provided that there is a good-sized side; (garlic mashed potatoes worked for us). You could also make numerous smaller patties and do some sort of hors d'oeuvre thing.