Baked Sweet Potato “Fries” Ina Garten

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in one layer. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot.

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Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas

16 oz small diced sweet potatoes (from about two average size sweet potatoes)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch of chipotle pepper
2 tsp oil
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
chopped onion
crushed garlic

2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
salsa/hot sauce for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place cubed sweet potatoes in a bowl and sprinkle over with spices and salt. Drizzle oil over as well and toss well to combine. Spread sweet potatoes out on a lined baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until very tender. Drain black beans, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add black beans and salsa cook until warm.

Heat up a large skillet over high heat. Place one tortilla at the bottom and spread roasted sweet potatoes over top. Then, add about 1/2 cup black beans and a large handful of cheese. Place another tortilla on top. Press another heavy skillet over top of the quesadilla while cooking (I like to cook my quesadillas in a grill pan and then press a cast iron skillet on top).

Serve quesadilla with hot sauce and/or salsa and sour creams with a glass of wine ’round snacktime.

Creamy Mushroom and Kale Quesadillas

10 oz sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp butter
2 green onions, chopped
2 cups chopped lacinato kale (about 1 bunch)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
4 “burrito-size” flour tortillas
pinch of salt

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Once melted, add the mushrooms, green onions and a pinch of salt and saute for six minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and kale and continue sauteing for another three-five minutes, until kale as wilted.

Reduce heat to low and stir in cream cheese to mushroom and kale mixture. Mix well. Remove from heat.

Heat a cast iron (or another large skillet) over medium heat. Place one tortilla on the skillet and add about a quarter cup of the mushroom mixture. Top with a sprinkle of grated cheese and then place other tortilla on top.

Cook quesadillas for about three minutes per side, until golden and cheese is hot and bubbly

Salt-and-Vinegar Potatoes From “Cooks Country” Magazine


Use small red potatoes, measuring 1 to 2 inches in diameter.

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 pound small red potatoes
14 ounces kosher salt
3 tablespoons malt vinegar

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees F. Set wire rack inside rimmed baking sheet. Brush second rimmed baking sheet evenly with oil. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in potatoes and salt, and cook until just tender and paring knife slips easily in and out of potatoes, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to wire rack; let dry for 10 minutes.

2. Transfer potatoes to oiled baking sheet. Flatten each potato with underside of measuring cup until 1/2 inch thick. Brush potatoes with half of vinegar and season with pepper. Roast until potatoes are well browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Brush with remaining vinegar. Transfer potatoes to platter, smashed side up. Serve.

Spiced Pecans, Alton Brown

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried ground orange peel
1 pound pecan halves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons water

Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Mix the salt, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and orange peel together in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the nuts in a 10-inch cast iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes until they just start to brown and smell toasted. Wait a few minutes to allow the pan to cool so you don’t burn the spices then add the butter and stir until it melts. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine. Once combined, add both sugars and water, stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the nuts, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the nuts to the prepared sheetpan and separate them with a fork or spatula. Allow the nuts to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for storage. Can be stored up to 3 weeks.

Emeril’s Spiced Nuts



2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups mixed nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds

Mix spices and reserve.

Heat nuts in a dry skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until begin to toast, about 4 minutes.

Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Add the butter, sugar, water and spices to the hot skillet and cook, stirring, until a glaze forms, about 1 minute.

Return the nuts to the skillet and toss to combine with the glaze.
Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until the nuts are glazed and golden brown.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, separating with a fork.

Let rest until cooled and the sugar has hardened, about 10 minutes.
Store in an airtight container.

NOTES from Kathryn:  I let the pan cool a little after toasting the nuts – it is easy to burn the glaze.

We use chipotle rather than cayenne. And push it up the heat scale quite a bit – we like our spice spicey


Kimchi Pickled Eggs,


Hard boil a few eggs and halve them. Then add a large splash of rice vinegar and half a teaspoon of sugar to the two or so inches of juice left in the kimchi jar and shake it up to combine. Drop the egg halves in the jar, shake it again and let it sit in the fridge for the rest of the weekend.  The whites took on an orange tint, the yolks became creamier and more flavorful thanks to the acid and the whole thing just reeked SO GOOD

Guaca-chi The Washington Post, August 7, 2013

This marriage of kimchi and guacamole isn’t anything close to traditional, but it’s what happened when Food editor Joe Yonan was called upon to make a quick appetizer for a group of hungry people while he was staying in an unfamiliar house.

Don’t mash the avocados the way you would when making guacamole; they’re best left in chunks. The dish is best served just after it has been made.

Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.  Makes 1 3/4 cups (4 appetizer servings)

  • Flesh of 1 ripe avocado, cut into large chunks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1/2 cup homemade or store-bought kimchi, preferably spicy, with its liquid
  • Sea salt (optional)

Toss the avocado chunks with the lime juice in a serving bowl.

Chop the kimchi if the pieces are bigger than bite-size, then gently toss it and all of its liquid with the avocado. Taste, add salt if necessary, and serve.

Homemade Cheez-Its










1 8-oz. block extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons ice water

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cheddar, butter, and salt until soft and homogenous. Add the flour and mix on low speed; the dough will be dry and pebbly. Slowly add the water and continue to mix as the dough coalesces into a mass.

Pat the dough into a disk, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375˚. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.

Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each into a very thin (1/8 inch or less) 10×12-inch rectangle. Using a fluted pastry cutter, cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer to the baking sheets. Use the tip of a chopstick to punch a hole into the center of each square.

Bake for 17 minutes or until puffed and browning at the edges. Watch carefully, as the high fat content of the crackers makes it a fine line between golden delicious and burnt. Immediately move the crackers to racks to cool. Makes approximately 15 dozen crackers