Yukon Gold Potato and Sunchoke Latkes

Would you like to know the key to making really good latkes? Like most things, the devil is in the details. Here’s a quick breakdown of what I think makes my latkes taste so damn good:

  • I squeeze out as much moisture as I possibly can. We want crispy latkes!
  • I don’t use traditional flour, I use cornstarch or arrowroot. Just like with my fried chicken, I’ve discovered that using a pure starch instead of flour results in a crispier product.
  • Make sure the size of the latkes is consistent and your pan is at the right temperature. The potatoes should sizzle loudly when they hit the pan, but there shouldn’t be smoke.
  • Always make your latkes as close as you can to when you are going to serve them. Chefs refer to the process of waiting til the very last possible minute to do something as “a la minuté”. Just remember though, it’s a fine line between “a la minuté” and procrastination, so have all your supplies ready to go so you can knock this project out when the time is right.

Yukon Gold and Sunchoke Latkes

Yukon Gold and Sunchoke Latkes

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Yukon Gold and Sunchoke Latkes

Ingredients

12 latkes
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, minced
  • 6 tbsp ghee
  • 2 lb yukon gold potatoes
  • To Serve:
  • ½ lb Jerusalem artichokes
  • ½ lb cured salmon
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • Sea salt to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Grate the potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes in a food processor, using the course shredder attachment. Alternately you can use a cheese grater. Once they are shredded, place them in a large bowl of water, agitating them to rinse off the extra starch. Drain the potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes from the water (I’ve started using a salad spinner to get my potatoes even dryer), and working in fistfull sized batches, place the shredded veggies in a clean kitchen towel and twist to squeeze out all excess moisture. Water and latkes do not get along.
  • Once the veggies are dry, place them in a medium sized bowl and add the egg whites and cornstarch. Mince a quarter cup of onion and add it to the mix. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Divide into 12 balls and place on a sheet tray.
  • Heat a griddle or skillet and add a small amount of ghee. Once the ghee has melted start individually pressing the balls between your hands to flatten. I give them another squeeze here over an empty bowl to catch any extra moisture, as the potatoes will continue to leech water. Add the patties to the hot pan, you should hear a sizzle if your pan is at the right temperature. Work in batches so as not to overcrowd your pan. Cook the patties for about 4 minutes then flip and continue to cook on the other side. Adjust the heat if needed, and cook for about 4 more minutes. Both sides should be golden brown. Remove from the pan and lightly blot on a paper towel.
  • Serve on a platter with cured salmon, creme fraiche, chopped hard boiled eggs and chives.

Nutrition information

Thanksgiving Turkey Tamales with Cranberry-Guajillo Mole

Tamales are often made at a family gathering called a tamalada. It’s a party where the women of the family get together to prepare a massive amount of tamales and spend some quality time together. It’s a great chance for multiple generations of one family to gather, the elders passing down a lot more than just the family recipe. They also get to share their family history and heritage.

We had an excellent teacher for our tamalada. Marvella showed us everything from preparing the banana leaves to steaming the tamales. She makes about 400 tamales a week at el Ponce, so she definitely knows what she’s doing. TheAnna was super helpful with translating. My sister Rosa got the place looking snazzy and a whole lot more, her business partner Jarina came up with some awesome cocktails, and Kaitlyn and Kellyi provided a whole lot of swag from Milagro tequila and Hendrick’s gin. I developed the recipe for the filling, which you can find below. Here’s a picture of our team, right before all the magic happened.

And if you are going to be a total badass and wrap your tamales in banana leaves, here’s how you get them soft enough to work with. Can you see the color changing in the second picture?

 

Thanksgiving Turkey Tamales

Thanksgiving Turkey Tamales

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1 ratings
Category: Appetizer
Thanksgiving Turkey Tamales

Ingredients

3 hours, 30 minutes
24
  • Mole Ingredients:
  • 4 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Ibarra unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup canned tomatoes, drained
  • 1 stale corn tortilla
  • 2 cups turkey or chicken broth
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Masa Ingredients:
  • 3 cups maseca brand masa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup duck fat or nuetral oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Tamale Ingredients:
  • 4 cups shredded turkey
  • 24 banana leaves, corn husks or parchment paper

Instructions

2 hours
1 hour, 30 minutes
Ready in
3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Start by making the mole. Heat a kettle with water and bring to a boil while you preheat a dry cast iron skillet on high heat. Remove the stems from the chiles and add the guajillo and ancho peppers to the skillet. Toast for a few moments on each side, until they start to become pliable. Place the peppers in a heat proof bowl and pour the water on top of the peppers until they are covered. Let them soak for about 45 minutes until they are completely soft, then strain them from the water.
  • In the meantime, process your banana leaves by heating them on the stove as shown in the pictures above. Cut your banana leaves about 10 inches wide and remove the thin, woody seam that runs along the bottom of the leaf. Place the rough side of the banana leaf down directly on the flame and move it as it changes color to a bright green. If you are using corn husks soak them in water instead. Toast your pecans and sesame seeds in a 325˚ oven for 15 minutes if they are not already toasted.
  • Preheat a saucepan on medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic. Cook them until they start to become tender, about 8 minutes. Next add the cranberries, cooking until they begin to burst, about 4 minutes.
  • Place all the mole ingredients in the blender and blend until well combined.
  • Preheat a saucepot to medium heat and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the sauce to the pot and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Make sure to really scrape the bottom and sides of the pan so the mole doesn't burn.
  • To make the masa, place the cornmeal and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the water in batches, mixing to form a dough with your hands, getting it to a consistency where it feels moist but doesn't stick to your hands. Next knead in the oil. Once the dough is formed you are ready to build your tamales.
  • Start by placing the cooked banana leaf in front of you. Make sure you cut off the hard edge. The lines should be running vertically, up and down. If there is a brown edge it should be facing you and the smoother surface of the tamale should be facing you. If there are any rips in your banana leaf, double it up or else the masa will seep through.
  • Grab a ball of masa about the size of a lime. Roll it into a ball and then place it in the center of the banana leaf. Slowly press it out from the center, creating a thin, round layer of masa. There should be no holes and the dough should be of even thickness, slightly more than a quarter inch.
  • Add about a quarter cup of shredded turkey and place in the center of the masa circle. Next spoon a couple tablespoons of mole onto the turkey.
  • Working quickly, fold the banana leaf to seal the filling inside the masa. Fold the banana leaf again, then tuck the sides in. Rest the tamale with the creased side down so it stays folded. Repeat with the rest of the tamales.
  • At this point you can freeze your tamales in a ziploc bag for about a month. When you are ready to cook your tamales, create a steam bath with a pot that has a lid. A broccoli steamer works pretty well for this. Just make sure your tamales aren't touching the water, but are elevated above it with a lid on top. Steam the tamales for about an hour and a half, you can check after 45 minutes to see if the masa is cooked. You'll know the masa is done when it pulls cleanly away from the banana leaf.
  • Serve hot. To enjoy, unwrap and discard the banana leaf. Eat with extra mole if desired.

Nutrition information

Here’s Marvella spreading the masa and adding the turkey.

If this post got you all hot and bothered for some tamales and you just don’t have the time to make them, Marvella has you covered! Stop on in at El Ponce and get you some.  El Ponce is located in Atlanta, Georgia at 939 Ponce de Leon Ave NE. They are open from 11 to 11 on weekdays. They open at noon on the weekends.

And be sure to follow my blog for more fun recipes. Thanks so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post!

 

Photo cred @visualrebel

Curried Chickpea Cakes

 

Curried Chickpea Cakes

These aren’t just a perfect vegetarian and gluten free weeknight dinner. They also work great on a party buffet!

Yield: 5 servings

1 can chickpeas (15 oz), drained and rinsed

1/2 cup zucchini, grated

1/2 cup squash, grated

1/2 cup carrots, grated

1/2 cup green peas, cooked

1/4 cup chickpea flour

1 tbsp ground flaxseed

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp curry powder

1 tbsp garlic, grated on a microplane (about 3 cloves)

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp ghee or neutral oil

Sauce:

1 cup greek yogurt

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves and some stem

1 tbsp fresh mint leaves

1 tbsp green onion

1 clove garlic, grated

Sea salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

To make the sauce add the greek yogurt, cilantro, mint, green onion, grated garlic and buttermilk into a blender. Season with salt and pepper and puree until smooth.

To make the curry chickpea cakes assemble your food processor with your grater attachment, or using a hand held grater, grate the squash and zucchini. Set the grated veggies in a large bowl. Don’t worry about cleaning the bowl of the food processor.

After draining and rinsing the chickpeas, add them to your food processor and pulse it on and off for about 45 seconds. You want a lot of texture, the chickpeas should be starting to stick together, but you still want to see chunks of unsmashed chickpeas. You could also use a potato smasher as well as a mortar and pestle.

Add the chickpeas to the large bowl with the veggies, along with the shredded carrots, peas, chickpea flour, flaxseed, turmeric, curry powder, grated garlic, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well until combined.

Divide the mixture into 10 patties, or 20 if you would like to serve them as a small appetizer. Use your hands to shape them into cakes.

Heat a cast iron grill pan or a large sauté pan on high heat. Add enough ghee to coat the pan, and then lay the cakes in the pan in a single layer. Cook on both sides, about 5 minutes each, letting a nice golden crust form. Serve the hot cakes on a platter with the sauce in a small bowl on the side.

Hickory Hill Farm Interview

 

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Who’s growing your food?

Hickory Hill Farm is run by Garry and Susan Shaw. They have a 204 acre farm located in Oglethorpe County. I never miss an opportunity to pop in and say hello to them on a Saturday morning at Freedom Park Farmers Market. Many of you have enjoyed their produce when I’ve cooked for you.

How did you meet?

Garry and I met in high school around 1975. We fell in love 38 years ago and we’ve been married 34 years. He’s the love of my life!

What was it that lead you to farming?

We live on my family farm. I lived here with my grandparents until my parents moved us to Atlanta in 1972. I loved this place, it was my home and I wanted to grow up and live here. I promised my grandmother when the time came I’d move here and take care of her. Just so happened that Garry always wanted to live on a farm also! So, in 1998 the time came and we gathered our girls and moved to the farm. We took care of my grandmother until she passed away in 2001. We live in the home my great-grandfather built in 1912 and our grandchildren are the seventh generation of our family to work the farm and they are here every week with their mom and dad who are in business with us!

You got your organic certification in 2011. Was there a moment of clarity where you realized that you wanted to get into organic farming? What was the genesis of that decision, and why did you feel compelled to go the organic route?

Garry and I have been self-employed and have worked together since 1989. We home schooled our children together as well. When we first moved to the farm we immediately bought a herd of cattle and began cattle farming. At the time though, we owned a small mom and pop cafe’ in Stockbridge, GA and Garry was traveling 200 miles a day round trip running the restaurant until we were able to sell it in 2003. Once it sold we immediately went into the construction business because of the housing boom, we built pre-cast septic tanks. In 2008 when the economy crashed the housing market came to a screeching halt. We sold our equipment and left that business in 2009.

At that time, we looked around at our land and decided we needed to see if we could make a living on the farm. In 2008 the Athens Farmers Market opened and we visited the market and decided we could grow veggies organically. We had always had a garden, so why not! Let’s just say it was a huge learning curve getting our minds around the amount of veggies and the variety you need to grow to supply markets. We broke ground in 2009 and grew a small garden (because as I said we had no idea what the scale needed to be) for the market and two acres of grape tomatoes for Whole Foods. We went to market our first Saturday in 2010 with a meager $60 worth of veggies! Just for perspective last Friday we carried $8300 worth of veggies to Athens and Freedom combined. At that time we were Certified Naturally Grown but the venture with Whole Foods led us to get our USDA Certification due to price point differences between CNG and USDA. We no longer sell to WF but we are thankful for the experience and the fact that it did lead us to our certification. We still grow a couple of acres of tomatoes each year and what started out as maybe a half-acre vegetable garden is now an 8 acre garden!

We’ve gone from literally not being able to afford to eat our own veggies and just me and Garry working the garden by ourselves to supporting two families (Garry, me and our daughter Jennifer and her husband Josh and their children) to eleven people working in the summer.

We branched out in 2014 and helped start the Freedom Market and we are so thankful we were invited to do so. We have met so many wonderful people in Atlanta and we truly feel appreciated and we certainly are humbled and have a great appreciation for every customer that chooses to try our veggies.

It has been a long up hill climb from truly living below poverty and a lot of hard work but it is rewarding and we love providing people with healthy, local, farm fresh organic veggies! It is most definitely a lifestyle and we do believe we are trying to recover a way of life for our family. Needless to say, we’ll never get rich (which is not our goal) but we will be happy living a busy full life together with our children and grand children.

I remember speaking with the two of you about your love for traveling, especially in South America. Do you find ways to intertwine your love of traveling with your work on the farm? What does your ideal trip look like? Well, I wish we could but the farm demands too much time! But maybe one day we’ll get to go again who knows. We have been truly blessed to be able to travel with our children throughout our home school years!

Is there a vegetable you feel the most proud to grow? Something you think really shines on your farm, or maybe something you struggled to cultivate, but finally mastered?

That’s a tough question. I really believe in eating in season so with every season I have a favorite veggie. I love tomatoes, green garlic and strawberries. Strawberries and green garlic come in together and strangely enough I love the smell of the two together I suppose because I’ve packaged them at the same time for so long the smell has many memories!

There is nothing better than a ripe field grown tomato in the summer! It makes me want to throw my Paleo diet to the curb pull out the white bread and dukes mayo and eat an old fashioned southern tomato sandwich, but I do not do that I restrain myself, at least so far!

What is your Saturday morning market routine?

Depending on how many vegetables have to be loaded Garry and I get up between 2:30 and 3:30. He loads two trucks one headed to Athens to the Athens Farmers Market at Bishop Park and one headed to Freedom in Atlanta. We hit the road at 5 am and we arrive at the market between 7 and 7:30 to a group of smiling people standing in our space waiting for us to arrive!

What’s the best way for people to find out what’s going on down on the farm? Do you have a facebook or instagram account that people can follow?

We are on FB and Instagram. I must admit I’m not great with social media but Jennifer tries to make sure she post on Friday’s what we’re bringing to market. www.facebook.com/hickoryhillfarmga/ www.instagram.com/hickoryhillfarmga/

 

 

Gluten Free Jambalaya

One of the things I love the most about traveling is learning different cultures through their culinary traditions. And when you think of cultures filled with vibrant life and joyful traditions I bet New Orleans comes to mind. Full of flavor and love, New Orleans cuisine satisfies the tummy and the soul!

I remember the moment I found out about sweet rice flour being a substitute for flour in a traditional roux (butter and flour cooked together to thicken a sauce). I felt like the heavens had just opened back up for me! Jambalaya was attainable! Gravy was once again possible! Just make sure you use sweet rice flour and not regular rice flour. They are not interchangeable!

Jambalaya

Yield: 8 servings

1 pound large shrimp (26-30’s), peeled and deveined, shells reserved

4 tbs + 1 tbs butter

4 tbs sweet rice flour

2 andouille sausages, cut in ½ inch thick coins

1  cup tasso, small diced (about 6 oz)

1 cup yellow onion, small diced

½ cup celery

½ cup green pepper

1 tbs tomato paste

1 tbs creole seasoning

2 qts chicken stock

1 ½ cups arborio rice

½ pound crawfish tails

½ pound crab meat, picked

salt and pepper to taste

2 lemons, zested

Place 1 quart of water in a small saucepot. Add the shrimp shells, bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Let the shells steep for 4 minutes, then strain, reserving only the liquid.

In the meantime, make the roux by placing 4 tbs of butter and 4 tbs of sweet rice flour in a small saucepan, and cook on medium heat, stirring every 2 minutes or so, until it takes on a dark color, about the shade of roasted peanut butter.

Take a large enameled dutch oven and heat up the remaining tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the andouille sausages. Cook until golden brown and then remove from the pan. Reserve.

Cook the tasso in the same pan on medium heat until the fat is rendered out, about 8 minutes. Next add the celery, green peppers and onions, stirring occasionally.. Sauté for another 8 minutes, then add the tomato paste and creole seasoning. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.

Add the chicken stock, shrimp stock and the rice. Bring to a simmer, then turn down to low heat and cover the pot with a lid, stirring occasionally. Allow to cook for about 25 minutes, or until rice is just tender. Add more liquid if desired.

To finish the jambalaya turn the heat up to medium and add the shrimp, andouille and the roux. Stir them in and allow to cook for about 3 minutes, until the shrimp are starting to turn from translucent to pink and opaque. Add the andouille, crawfish and crab meat. Season with salt, pepper and lemon zest. Serve hot or cool and refrigerate. Jambalaya will be good stored up to 3 days.