Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cooking at Home

I'm back from Providence! It's nice to be at home, in the kitchen, cooking up whatever my heart desires. I certainly had a great time at school and am already missing many of my classmates and chefs, but I really do love cooking in my own kitchen, on my own terms. start off my summer of fantastic cooking (and hopefully plenty of recipe posting), I have two recipes to share that I made for my family and a few friends recently!

Sautéed Swiss Chard with Raisins and Almonds
At the farmer's market last weekend I found some gorgeous rainbow swiss chard (that I wish I took a picture of!) and immediately remembered about a combination I've been wanting to try for a while--sautéed greens with raisins and nuts of some sort. This seemed like the perfect opportunity, so I grabbed the swiss chard, sautéed some onions, apples, and raisins, and ended up with a delicious side dish. All the sweet ingredients, as well as the sharpness from vinegar, help to cut some of the bitterness from the dark greens. Feel free to substitute any greens for the chard, and get creative with different dried fruits and nuts.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
1 large granny smith apple, finely diced
1/3 cup raisins
1 large bunch rainbow swiss chard, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup toasted, sliced almonds
salt and pepper

1. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add the onion and sauté until golden brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the apple and raisins and continue to sauté until the apple is cooked and lightly caramelized.
4. Add the swiss chard and toss until wilted. I used tongs to turn the swiss chard, continuing until it was all wilted.
5. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Remove from the heat and top with sliced almonds just before serving.

Poached Apricots with Vanilla and Cardamom
Another thing I've been wanting to try: poached apricots! I'm not sure how I get these ideas of recipes I want to create, but poached apricots have just been sounding really good to me for a while. If you prefer the skins off, you can either peel the fresh apricots with a sharp peeler or you can score an X in the bottom of them and boil them for just about 15-20 seconds. Then the skin should peel off easily with a knife. I left the skins on simply because it was easier, but I'll probably try peeling them first next time. Either way, these apricots made a great light dessert served hot or cold over frozen yogurt.

1 lb fresh apricots, peeled if desired, halved & pitted
1/4 cup apricot jam
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
toasted, sliced almonds for topping

1. Combine the apricot jam, water, extracts, and cardamom in a large, shallow saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and add the apricots in a single layer, cut side down.
3. Cover the pan and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the apricots are fork-tender.
4. Serve immediately or chill and serve cold over frozen yogurt, regular yogurt, French toast, pancakes, etc. with the toasted almonds.

I'm excited to be back in the kitchen again. Keep checking in for more of my creations and for internship and San Francisco updates throughout the summer!

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