Easy Homemade Hollandaise [video]

I’ve got a super easy recipe for you today.  Homemade Hollandaise.

Easy Hollandaise Sauce Normally, when one thinks of hollandaise (the sauce on eggs Benedict), easy is not the first word that comes to mind.  To make traditional hollandaise, you need to whisk egg yolks with lemon juice until thick.  You then place the bowl of yolks over simmering water, and stream in hot butter, whisking all the while.  The butter will eventually emulsify with the egg, forming a silky, rich sauce.  If the mixture gets too hot, the eggs will scramble, and the sauce will break.  If the butter is not hot enough, the sauce will never thicken up.  What I’m getting at here, is that the traditional way of making hollandaise is both tedious and prone to failure.

So how do we make this process easier and more foolproof?  First, forget the whisk and double boiler.  Second, get yourself and immersion blender, and a tall, narrow container. Similar to my recipe for Homemade Olive Mayonnaise, this process uses an immersion blender to emulsify the sauce in a matter of moments. The resulting hollandaise is just as creamy as one made using the traditional method. Without all the hassle of course. Continue reading for the recipe plus a video!

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Beet and Turnip Gratin

Beets and turnips for Valentine’s Day?  Who would have thought?

Beet and Turnip Gratin To be honest, not me.  I had originally tested this recipe out as a new side dish for my Thanksgiving extravaganza.  It didn’t make the cut, because I already had so many other side dishes in the works, and there wasn’t enough space in the oven to prepare this blushing beauty.

My Beet and Turnip Gratin sat dormant in my photo archives until this past weekend when I was menu planning for Valentine’s Day.  Sitting at my computer struggling to find a VDay side dish, I suddenly remembered.  A vibrant mix of red, pink and yellow, this Beet and Turnip Gratin is equally tasty and beautiful.  Rich and earthy, the gratin is made with a variety of beets, turnips, shallots, garlic, thyme and chicken stock.  The skillet cooks covered until the vegetables start to soften, then uncovered until the top is just crisp and golden.  Finished with a flurry of chopped chive, my Beet and Turnip Gratin would pair nicely with beef, chicken, pork or fish.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Meyer Lemon Chia Pudding

Meyer Lemon Chia Pudding If you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve been obsessed with chia pudding recently.  Some of you may be unfamiliar with chia pudding, so let me explain the basics first.  Chia pudding is made by hydrating chia seeds in a liquid.  Yes, that’s right.  The same ch-ch-ch-chia seeds from that commercial in the 80′s.  After an overnight soak, the chia seeds thicken the liquid and take on a tapioca-like consistency.

So here’s why I am obsessed:

  • This recipe doesn’t require any actual cooking.  You simply need to whisk the seeds into some sort of liquid (almond milk here), and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.  The next morning – BOOM – chia pudding.
  • Chia seeds are incredibly healthy.  They are rich in fiber, omega-3s, and antioxidants.  One serving of chia pudding keeps me full for most of the morning.
  • Chia pudding is a perfect paleo breakfast.  Yes, I am still doing that paleo thing part-time ;).
  • Flavor variations are limitless.  You can switch up the soaking liquid (almond milk, coconut milk, blend fruit), the sweetener (maple syrup, honey, stevia) and the toppings (fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, coconut, chocolate).
  • You can easily scale up the ingredients to make chia pudding for a crowd!

Today, I am sharing one of my favorite flavor combinations.  Chia seeds are soaked in almond milk flavored with honey, vanilla and Meyer lemon zest, then topped with flaked coconut, crystallized ginger, and toasted pistachios.  Sweet, spicy, creamy, and crunchy, this breakfast will surely start your day off with a smile.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Chile Lime Pepitas

Chile Lime Pepitas I’m going to keep this brief, because Jorge and I are on vacation in MEXICO!!!  These Chile Lime Pepitas are made with just 4 ingredients, and they can be prepared in a matter of moments.  Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are toasted in a dry pan, then hit with fresh lime juice, kosher salt, and chile powder.  The resulting snack is spicy, salty and incredibly tangy.  The type of tang the tickles the sides of your tongue as you chew.  I love to eat these spiced seeds by the handful with an ice cold beer in the other hand.  So tasty.  Just be sure to have some napkins around, because your hands can get a little messy ;)

If you are interested in following Jorge and me as we adventure around Chiapas, Mexico, you can check us out on Instagram.  This is me.  And here’s Jorge.  Continue reading for the recipe!

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What Is Your Favorite Salad Recipe?

Salad with Pickled Vegetables It’s salad season.  You know that time of the year when everyone’s got the “I really want to lose 3 pounds” New Year’s resolution, resulting in a diet of juices, smoothies and (most of all) healthy salads.  Working in the retail industry, I am constantly keeping up with sales trends and consumer behavior.  I can confidently confirm that January is the most popular month for kale, spinach and all other manner of leafy green vegetables.

During my work week, I like to prepare a more simple salad for lunch (similar to the one pictured above).  This salad is made with tender greens, something crunchy (nuts or seeds), something pickled, and an acidic vinaigrette.  I’ll often serve a protein on the side (chicken breast, shrimp, pork chop).  A tart vinaigrette is one that I almost always like the most.  Usually made with sherry vinegar (recipe below).  There’s just something about a salad with big, bright flavors that fills me up and keeps me satisfied while at work.

On the weekends, I like to prepare salads that are a bit more involved.  These salads can include roasted vegetables, homemade croutons, broiled meats and/or various shaved or crumbled cheeses.  Sometimes I’ll let loose, and make a creamy salad dressing.  I mean it’s the weekend, so it’s totally allowed ;)

Since salad is going to be on my daily menu for the next 3 months, I am on the hunt for some new inspiration, so please share your favorite salad recipe in the comment section below.  Continue reading for some of my favorite salad recipes plus a recipe for my Sherry Vinaigrette.

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Rustic Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Rustic Gnocchi

Tender potato dumplings flecked with bits of browned butter, red pepper confetti, Parmesan cheese and crispy fried sage leaves.  My Rustic Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce is pure comfort food.

Growing up, I used to love to eat gnocchi tossed with melted butter and grated Parmesan.  The light, squishy texture is what I remember most.  Fueled by nostalgia, I’ve attempted to make gnocchi at home many times over the years.  Sometimes with fantastic results.  Other times, not so much.  The deceivingly simply ingredient list (potato, flour, egg, salt) may lead you to believe that this is an easy recipe.  But this is not an easy recipe.  Nor is it a hard one.  Mastering the art of gnocchi-making simply takes practice.  You may fail on your first attempt, but I urge you to keep trying.  It’s all worth it once you take that first bite of pillowy potato deliciousness.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Quick Fennel and Cabbage Kimchi

Quick Fennel and Cabbage Kimchi

Growing up in a family that was half Italian and half Eastern European (Polish, Czech and Hungarian), never would I have thought that kimchi, Korean fermented cabbage, would become such a widely-used ingredient in my kitchen.  But it is.  There’s something about kimchi’s salty, sour and spicy notes that can transform the flavors of a dish into something so unique.  For example, when you add it to pizza, the sour notes of the cabbage cut through the richness of the mozzarella cheese while the salt and spice amp up the tomato sauce.  I also love mixing chopped kimchi into my morning scramble, adding it to deviled eggs, or stirring it into a hot bowl of broth.

The key to really enjoying kimchi is to find a particular brand that suits your taste.  There are many varieties of kimchi available for purchase, and not all of them taste good.  Some can be too mushy.  Others overly funky or fishy.  Don’t give up on your kimchi hunt after your first bite of bad kimchi!  Keep searching.  Here in San Diego, my boyfriend discovered a suuuuuper tasty kimchi sold at our local farmer’s markets called Happy Pantry Kimchi.  It’s got a nice spicy fermented flavor without the fishiness that can be found in traditional varieties.  I also enjoy the kimchi available at Trader Joe’s.

The other option is to make a kimchi recipe at home.  This will allow you to control each flavor, adding more or less of something to taste.  Which brings us to this Quick Fennel and Cabbage Kimchi.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Zinfandel Short Ribs with Goat Cheese Polenta and Mixed Herb Gremolata

Zinfandel Short Ribs Can you even believe that Christmas is just 3 days away?  Where did the Holiday season go?  Well, I’ve managed to get most of my gift shopping done; however, I have yet to bake a single cookie or prepare any edible gifts for my coworkers.  AND I’m just finishing up all of my cards today.  Luckily they say “Happy Holidays”, so they are still relevant if they show up some time between Christmas and New Years ;).  I know you’re probably thinking: #firstworldproblems, but I have certain traditions I like to do each year, and it makes me a little sad if I don’t get to all of them.

This year, Jorge and I will be going up to LA on Christmas Eve to have dinner with his family, and then we’ll be driving back to SD on Christmas day.  Christmas dinner will be for just the two us.  Even though I’m not hosting a blowout party (like Thanksgiving), I still want to make our Christmas dinner special.

It’s during times like these when I need to prepare a standout meal with minimal effort, that I’m glad I have this Zinfandel Short Ribs recipe in my back pocket.  Zinfandel Short Ribs are fairly easy to prepare, the ingredients aren’t fussy, and the beef can be cooked a day in advance.  Goat Cheese Polenta and Mixed Herb Gremolata, the all-star accompaniments, come together easily an hour before dinner.  And really, who doesn’t love a good braised short rib?  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Brussels Sprout Slaw

Brussels Sprout Slaw Often, my Thanksgiving side dishes can be quite involved.  And to be honest, I like them that way.  There’s just something about an over-the-top casserole packed with layers and layers of flavor that makes me swoon each and every time.  Maybe it’s the butter.  Maybe it’s the cream.  Or maybe it’s the cheese.  I don’t know.  I just love them :)

But sometimes, I do crave a simple and healthy side dish during the holiday season.  When one of these cravings comes along, I make this easy Brussels Sprout Slaw.  A colorful mix of shredded brussels sprout and radicchio is tossed with a sweet-tart dressing made of apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, lemon juice, and whole grain mustard.  The slaw is then finished with homemade spiced pecans.  Bitter yet balanced, this seasonal salad can be prepared in advance and requires minimal cook time.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Kale and Bacon Frittata

Kale and Bacon Frittata

It’s around this time each year that I’m usually super busy with my full time job.  It’s event season and I’ve got a major one coming up next Saturday.  Amidst extensive planning and preparations, I find myself yearning for a lazy Sunday morning with the boyfriend.  The type of morning where we brew an extra-large pot of coffee.  The Food Network is on in the background, and I’m puttering around in the kitchen cooking up some waffles, pancakes, or scones (Instagramming along the way of course).  A morning with no commitments, and a shower is my most ambitious plan.

Unfortunately, this Sunday morning looks nothing like that.  Even though my schedule is packed, I still try to make time for a delicious, home-cooked breakfast.  Today, I’ve made this Kale and Bacon Frittata.  Rich and smokey, this egg-based dish is make with thin shreds of kale sautéed in bacon fat with shallot and crushed red pepper flake.  A golden-hued mix of egg, smoked gouda and parsley is then poured over the tangle of spicy bitter greens.  Crispy bits of bacon are tossed in at the end.  The finished frittata is luscious and hearty.  With each bite you’ll enjoy a satisfying balance of spicy, salty, fatty, fresh and bitter.  And the crisp bacon provides savory pops of smoke and salt.  I may not be able to enjoy a lazy Sunday morning right now, but at least I can get a small bite of it before diving into my next project.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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