Basil Miso Aioli

by Kailey Kramer in

This is certainly not the first time I'm on the record declaring the utmost importance of good dipping sauces and condiments. In my book, essentially anything and everything is rendered a snack with a smear of some good french mustard. 

While at-home mustard is fairly ambitious, aioli is not. Otherwise known as mayonnaise, aioli is one of the simplest and most versatile sauces you can make. Alongside the belief that aioli is difficult to make, it also has a terrible reputation for being unhealthy, which simply isn't true.  Perhaps we have Hellman's gelatinous, bland substance, resembling actual lard, to blame for this?  Probably. In defense of aioli, this smooth sauce isn't bad for you at all in moderation. Being egg-yolk based, aioli isn't exactly a fat-free food, but a few dips or a light spread on your sandwich won't ever compromise your spring break bod or well-being -- unless you're vegan. But that's an entirely different story all together.

Contrary to popular myth, it's actually quite good for you as the egg yolks and oil (such as walnut, olive or grapeseed) are full of lots of good omega-3 fats, largely responsible for helping you process bad fats more efficiently and maintaining heart health.  Moreover, adding fresh herbs, spices or nutrient packed miso to flavor the mix only increase its potential benefits. 

The basic recipe is more than worth learning. Once you've got it down, adjusting the flavors to suit your mood for or appropriate pairings is as easy as pushing pulse on the food processor. I guarantee you'll never need or want to buy another jar of Hellman's or Miracle Whip again after seeing how easy it is to make at home and keep in the fridge for future uses. But more importantly, the flavor the fresh stuff packs can't be beat. Add it into homemade tuna or chicken salad, on sandwiches, burgers, serve with ceviches or with Provençal mussels. And of course, alongside frites

miso_aioli_fries_0001_aioli mason jar .jpg

When I made this one, I bought thai basil that week so I decided to give it some Asian flare with garlic, miso and siracha add-ins. I paired it with some sweet potato fries and used half Garnet yams and half Japanese oriental yams, which are actually even a sweeter than basic sweet potatoes. Click here my fool-proof recipe for Sweet Potato Oven Fries. 

Enjoy experimenting and endeavors in good dipping,

KK xx

Basil Miso Aioli

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of aioli and will keep for 2 -3 weeks in air tight container in the refrigerator.

1 garlic clove

3 large egg yolks, room temperature

2 T. miso paste

Just under 1 C. walnut oil + 2 T. toasted sesame oil

3 T. fresh thai basil leaves

2 T. siracha (add more if desired)

Salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the garlic in a food processor (Image 2) . Add the egg yolks and pulse until they are creamy, thick and a pale yellow in color (3). With the food processor running, stream in the oil slowly until the mixture becomes even thicker and creamier (3). If you don't have a food processor that allows for you to stream in the ingredients, just add the oil in 1/4 c. increments. It will work all the same! Add the thai basil and pulse (5). Add the Siracha and pulse (6 + 7). Add another round of the hot stuff, if you dare. (I always dare.) Transfer it all to a mason jar or air tight container and keep it on hand for the upcoming weeks. 

Basic Aioli Recipe

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of aioli

3 large egg yolks, room temperature

1 t. good white wine vinegar (note, any good infused or flavored vinegar is an easy one-step way to change up the aioli!)

1 C. grapeseed, olive, walnut or almond oil

1 T. water (optional, if it looks like too thick)

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Herb Aioli: Add 2 T. good dijon mustard and 3 T. of any combination of flat leaf parsley, sage, tarragon dill and chives. 

Garlic Aioli:  Pulse one 1 clove of garlic before adding the egg yolks. 1 T. Rosemary would also be a nice herb addition to his. 

Sesame Aioli: Add 2 t. of tahini instead of dijon mustard and sub 1/4 of the oil for toasted sesame oil. Use 2 T. rice vinegar. Add 1 T. of fresh basil or parsley if desired. 

Basil Lime Aioli: Add fresh lime juice instead of vinegar. Add 1 T. of basil. a T. of parmesan also works really well in this recipe (especially with Ken Oringer-inspired grilled corn in the summer!)

Saffron Aioli: Soak 1 t. of saffron threads in 2 T. warm water until the color of the water is bright yellow. Add this after the vinegar.  Finish off with fresh parsley. 2. t. of curry power could also be a nice addition to this. 

Horseradish Aioli: Pulse 1/2 T. of fresh horseradish before adding the egg yolk or Add 1/2 T. horseradish with the vinegar. Finish with celery salt. 

Provençal Aioli: Add 2 T. Dijon mustard, or better yet, good whole grain french mustard, 2 cloves of garlic and fresh squeezed lemon juice instead of the vinegar. 

Olive and Anchovy Aioli: Pulse 2 anchovies, 2 garlic cloves and 5 pitted black olives together before adding the egg yolks. Substitute fresh squeezed lemon juice for the vinegar. Finish with lots of fresh flat leaf parsley. 

Belgian Beer Aioli: Great for moules frites! Add 2 T. good dijon and 2 T. good belgian ale, like La Chouffe or Duvel.  

Sorrel Aioli: Add 2 T. good dijon, substitute 2 T. rice vinegar, and 2 T. sorrel leaves. 

Kimchi Aioli:  Pulse 2 T. garlic, 1 t. fresh ginger, 1 t. Szechuan pepper corns soaked in 2 T. warm water. Add 1 T. fish sauce, 1 T. light soy sauce or tamari, substitute rice wine vinegar. Finish with 3T. scallions tops (green parts only.)

You get the picture. Combinations are infinite. Have fun with it!

Perfect Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

by Kailey Kramer in

Both my stomach and my heart have a soft spot and a love for french fries that will never subside. They make me weak in the knees and thus, in need of barstool.  Some people love ice cream, some people love chocolate chip cookies, I adore fries. Greasy, crispy-on-the-outside-pillowy-on-the-inside-fries  -- well, actually, frites from my favorite haunt for fries that happens to be a Belgian pub.  After a week of eating healthy, an order of fries is my routine rebellion and indulgence that is just essential as the greens in my lunch salads. After all, the only way to thwart binging is to avoid deprivation of the things we crave most. For me, that thing is fries -- double points if they're sweet potato.

While one or two days a week, usually between the hours of Friday dinner and Sunday brunch, I am a self-proclaimed connoisseur of the Boston fried potato scene (Publick House and Lineage have the best, trust me), I simply can't go 6 days without a fry.  So, I satiate my desires with a healthy substitute on my off days. 

And so, I give you my techniques and recipe for getting crispy oven fries.  Being quite picky when it comes my fries, I've experimented with the oven method quite a bit.  Honestly, none of the results ever come out with the same consistency as that of a deep frier; however, these are as close as you're going to get for using scant oil and ultimately the price you're not paying in calories. Save those up for the real thing and a Chimay tripel on the side.  

The tricks to these are in distributing the oil, heating the baking sheet before you put the taters on it, and a really hot oven. Pre-heating the baking sheet mimics something of a sear, similar to the one you would get from adding something to a hot skillet.  Cutting the fries precisely all the same thickness also makes for even cooking and crisping. 

I used both Garnet yams and Japanese Oriental yams, here.  Garnet are your basic sweet potatoes and have vibrant orange flesh that can't be mistaken for anything but beta-carotene fighting free-radical crime (aging, cancer, general ugliness). The Oriental variety are lighter in color and have a purple skin (which I leave on for the extra nutrients and crisp) . They also have a sweeter flavor than the basic sweet potato that I even tend to prefer, but mixing them up together keeps things interesting.

Ketchup is obviously the go-to dipping sauce for fries, but I challenge you to get more creative. You're better than that.  Tzatziki yogurt or tahini sauce, a scallion pesto, a few drops of truffle oil in the ketchup, or a good aioli (like the Basil Miso one pictured) a good grainy mustard or simply dusted with some aged manchego or salty pecorino would make great accoutrements -- although, sometimes good old Heinz just hits the spot. 

Fry on and tell me what you think, 

KK xx


Perfect Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Serves Two.

Recipe can be doubled for as many fries as you need or however many baking sheets you plan to fill but you might have to extend the cook time a bit. 

2 large sweet potatoes (I like garnet and oriental yams)

2 T. Walnut Oil (Olive oil or any neutral oil will do) 

Salt and Pepper to taste

Chopped basil or fresh herbs, chiffonaded

Preheat the oven to 450F. Place a large baking sheet lined with parchment in the oven while the oven pre-heats. Don't skip this step! Slice the potatoes into planks and then into sticks -- generally about a 1/4 inch thick each. Try to keep the thickness consistent so they all cook evenly.  Toss the fries in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and arrange one even layer of the fries, making sure they all have a spot on the pan's surface.  Cook the fries for 8 minutes. 

Remove the pan from the oven and drizzle all the fries on the baking sheet with the remaining tablespoon of oil.  Toss lightly with a spatula to make sure all the fries get a second coating. Flip the fries and return the pan to the oven for another 8 minutes or until brown and crisp on the outside. Remove from the oven and transfer the parchment to a cutting board, wire rack or cool surface. Allow the fries to cool off the cool for a 2 minutes  -- this will also allow them to crisp up a bit more as they cool down.  Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs, serve with desired dipping sauces ( eg. like homemade aioli) and enjoy. 

Pumpkin and Honey Soup

by Kailey Kramer in

So it's the day after a very widely anticipated holiday. You're essentially pregnant with a small holiday roast beast and growing a small tree of peppermint bark in your belly. Not to mention all those cocktails... 

"Hypothetically" speaking, you made Audrey Griswald in European Vacation look like a chump. Hypothetically.

But, no regrets. By definition, a holiday is an opportunity to shatter the normal routine -- a day set aside to let the mind rest, be with the people you care about and collectively indulge in good company over equally as good food. 

 The downtime before New Years presents an ideal opportunity to give your stomach a quick break; however, it can be done without dropping the holiday cheer that is inevitably tied to the happiness of digging into peaks of homemade mashed potatoes or finishing that third glass of egg nog -- only after dunking an army of ginger men in said nog. There's no need to subsist on celery sticks and raw crudite today when you could be cooking up something so much more satisfying, and equally, if not more so, healthy and nutrient dense.

So, whether you're reading this during an intermission before New Year's or after the New Year's celebratory debauchery has come and gone, consider this a very viable solution for 'the morning after' mistress of indulgent dining and extravagant celebrations with flowing libations. Lazy late December days never looked better with a bowl of this stuff. It's sweet and spicy notes provide those classic holiday flavors you're still craving while the squash keeps things hearty and quite filling. Although, I guarantee you'll be going back for a guilt-free second bowlful.


And yes, the recipe can be doubled. I also highly recommend you do. Saving some in the fridge or freezer will most certainly make New Year's resolutions that much easier to uphold. 

If you're in the Midwest trapped inside amidst a blizzard at the moment as I am -- this is the perfect soup if you've any kind of squash or canned pumpkin on hand. Cozy up next to the fire with a bowl tonight or tomorrow. 

Stay warm, 
KK xx

Pumpkin and Honey Soup
Serves between 4-6
I love this with a few green on top and even with a scoop of brown rice or quinoa for some extra fiber.

1/2 medium size kabocha squash or sugar pumpkin, roasted 
1 T. olive oil 
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
3 T. good honey, extra for drizzling
A Splash of dry white wine
4 C. vegetable or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 T. pumpkin pie spice*
1/2 T. cumin
2 t. nutmeg
1 t. ground cloves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1 C. almond milk
1/4 C. plain greek yogurt (I like Siggi's), optional
Greens for toppping (arugula, spinach, mache), optional
Other topping like pepitas, pomegranate seeds, sliced almonds, plain greek yogurt, etc. 

Pre-heat a 400F oven and roast the squash in large pieces in skins for about 20 - 30 minutes, or just until tender. This can be done ahead and kept in the fridge for a few days. Before preparing the soup, remove the skins and scoop out the flesh into a bowl and cut roughly into large chunks . Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in medium size pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and add onion. Add a pinch of salt to sweat the onion and cook until translucent. At this point, add the honey and allow the onions to caramelize. The pan should also be on high heat. Deglaze the pot with the splash of white wine (one quick circle around the pan) half of the stock and scape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining stock. Add the almond milk, pumpkin and spices. Stir, cover and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes to allow flavors to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a blender -- work in batches if need be. Blend until smooth, adding additional stock or almond milk if you feel the consistency is too thick. 

Transfer back to pot and heat through on the stove and whisk briefly. Add a 1/4 C. of plain greek yogurt if you're looking for even more more creaminess. Top with desired garnishes and serve. 

A final note: If you find the the soup is too thick after blending, feel free to make adjustments and add more water, stock or milk, as you find fit. On a similar subject, give or take on the spices to your taste. I often find i add extra cumin and nutmeg, but do as your please and eat what you like -- that's what cooking is about anyway!

Fig and Arugula Almond Tarte

by Kailey Kramer in

As a result of being insanely busy with work, Thanksgiving travels and bad lighting in my kitchen due to the sun's lazy 3:30 PM retirement, I've been seriously slacking in the recipe department -- the grounds upon which this very blog predicates itself. 

That being said, I've been turning the content of my external hard drive inside searching for some kind of leftover, unused and didn't meet with much success. Then, alas, last night in a final round of searching random folders, I came across a series of cooking experiments I photographed last Christmas and forgot about all together. I also poorly labeled the folder in a way that was entirely not indicative of its contents. Particularly upsetting, as I generally pride myself on my digital organization skills. 

Luckily for the well being and holiday cheer of this blog, I have a few seasonal somethings for you to nibble on while I am in the midst of the my finals. Thus, sparing you the pictures of my re-heated soups while I mindlessly watch a cursor blink on my screen in attempts to contrast the styles of Gissing and Dickens. #highereducation Jealous? ......

Onto the good stuff. I made this tart last year for my mother before she headed off to a holiday party at which she was expected to bring a side dish. Tarts and quiches always make for crowd pleasers and pretty presentation for a bit of wow factor; however, it's actually a lot easier done than one might think. I put this one together a mere hour or so and handed it to my mother immediately before she left. I actually never even got a piece for myself, now that I think of it.... I did receive compliments in the following days so I trust it was tasty enough to relay to you. 

The rosemary and nutty crust of this one makes for a warm and hearty bite while the contents are light and slightly sweet from the figs and balsamic...and a tad spicy from the arugula. The crust is actually adapted from Roost Blog, who happens to cook entirely gluten -free. While I'm not gluten-free, I'm certainly not opposed and the almond flavor the crust is made with gives it great flavor in this case. It's also packed with all the good fats of almonds and thus, you won't need to use any butter -- only a bit of good flavored oil. 

Unfortunately I also didn't get a picture of the fresh arugula and fig garnsih on top because my mother was in such a rush to leave with the thing, but you can only imagine how pretty right?

Again, apologies I didn't make this yesterday, but rather something like a year ago, almost to date. I think it's still rather relevant, don't you? 

Here's to hoping so. Enjoy and happy baking! More holiday recipes to come soon! 

KK xx 

For the Crust:

(As adapted from Roost Blog)

1 1/2 C. almond flour (Bob's Red Mill can be found at Whole Foods)
1T. minced fresh rosemary
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 C. almond oil (or your preferred mild flavored oil)
1 T. water

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Combine all the dry ingredient in a bowl. Mix in the remaining two wet ingredients. Grease a 9 inch tarte pan or 5 minis ones with butter, oil or nonstick spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes and let allow to cool in the fridge for another 20 minutes while you make the filling. This will make it easier to pop them out of the pan later. 

For the Filling: 

1 medium shallot
3 cups of arugula + 1 C. for garnish
3 eggs, beaten 
1/4 c. almond milk 
1/4 t. salt 
1 t. pepper 
2 -3 T. fig spread
1/2 C. chopped fresh or dried turkish figs
3 T. Aged balsamic vinegar or reduction

Preheat the oven to 375F. 

Saute the shallot in a pan with a bit of olive oil until caramelized. Combine with arugula in a mixing bowl and toss together. Add beaten eggs, season with salt and pepper and lightly stir the mixture. Set aside. 

Remove tart shells from the fridge and carfully pop them out of their pans. Place it onto a baking sheet with parchment. Line the inside of the tarte shell with the fig spread. Pour in the egg and arugula mixture. 

Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until the egg sets in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Drizzle the top with balsamic, top with a few handfuls of arugula and drizzle a bit more balsamic. Sprinkle dried figs as final garnish and serve.

Triple Green Wheatberry Almond Salad

by Kailey Kramer in

Triple might actually be an inaccurate count of how much "green" is in this salad. Facing the indecsion that plagues every facet of my life, I got a little carried away with the vegetables of my fridge and couldn't bear to exclude any. I blame Veggie Tales. So, if it was green and tasted good, it probably went into this dish. Although, a craving for wheatberries on a Sunday afternoon originally prompted the making of this one.

Wheat berries, very similar to farro, are a fantastic alternative to rice. The texture lends hearty and chewy bite to dishes and the flavor, a nice nutty and toasted taste similar to that of barley. As whole-grain option, they not only bring more taste to the party via the punch-turned-salad-bowl, but also 6g of protein, 4g of fiber, and tons of cancer and heart disease fighting phytochemicals.

Make them ahead, freeze these little guys in a mason jar and summon then for all your salad, soup, or pilaf needs. Or just reheat and eat under a poached egg for a lazy dinner. 

So after my field trip down the street to Whole Foods to obtain a small satchel of my berries for less than a whopping dollar at the bulk bar, I went home and essentially emptied the contents of my crisper drawer atop my counter and started slicing and dicing. 

On this mid-summer's eve, I invited my friend, neighbor and talented artist, Liz Moy, to come over for dinner. One-bowl grain salads simplify entertaining for a number of reasons. They're cheap and easy to make in large amounts so whether you're having one other person or five for dinner, everyone will get a hearty, fiber packed filling serving (or two) and leave satisfied. And if you're lucky, there might just be leftovers for lunch the next day.

This particular grain salad is especially simplified as it can be made in all of one skillet so there's no demand to make all the components and a dressing separately. Simply squeeze of a bit lemon over everything, toss with some mint and let the combined and heat of the just-barely-cooked vegetables dress each other. Throw some toasted almonds in for extra nutty flavor and crunch amidst the wheat berries and head to the roof, if you've got one.

Serve with just-barely hard-boiled egg and over some more fresh arugula --which might be my "quint" green in this dish but who's keeping track? 

After all, there's no such thing as too much of a green thing.......well, debateable. But let's not spoil out appetites. 

Ciao Ciao, 

KK xx

Triple Green Wheatberry Almond Salad

1 C. wheat berries
2 1/2 C. water or low sodium vegetable stock
2 shallots, finely diced
4 C. fresh or frozen peas (thawed if frozen)
1 zuccnini, thinly sliced
3C. fresh arugula 
1/2 C. chopped toasted almonds, reserve a few for garnsih
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 C. fresh mint, chiffonade
1 lemon, juice and zest

Combine the wheat berries with the water or vegetable stock in a pan. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and berries are chewy and al dente. Set aside and allow to cool. 

In a separate skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet to medium high heat. Add shallots and sauté until translucent and nearly caramelized. Add the peas, zucchini, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Sauté on low heat until ingredients are just heated through. All the vegetables should still vibrant green in color. Remove the pan from heat and add the wheat berries. Stir. Finish by tossing entire salad with arugula, almonds and the rest of the juice of a lemon. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with sliced cucumbers, lemon zest, more mint and almonds. Serve over more arugula, if desired, and with a hard-boiled egg.

On The Art of The Simple Salad

by Kailey Kramer in

Even the simplest idea still require some thoughtfulness. Just because a concept is deemed "basic" doesn't doom it to a lowly, plain and puritan existence.

For instance, a simple salad need not be synonymous with that of a buffet side and by nature including some sort watery, nutritionally devoid and pesticide ridden lettuces. Or worse: pre-packaged in "kit" bag at a grocery store. 

For the same $6.00 price tag, only a few ingredients and pulls of a blade, something much more beautiful and nutrient-dense can tossed in a salad bowl. In my experiences, a good green salad is at its best when done minimally, allowing a one or two key ingredients to stand out. Especially when served as a side salad, you don't want to bring an entirely new dish to the table and distract from the main entrée or protein. 

Here's my formula for an everyday simple salad that's great alone eaten in dinner salad sized portions or served humbly as a side: 

Let's put it into action. This night alongside Toro's grilled corn, I used: 

Arugula + dill + shaved apples + shaved cucumbers + simple lemon vinagrette

All the ingredients in one frame, even! 

Simple, cohesive, crisp, light and satisfying. 

Make it easy, take it easy, 

KK xx

Simple Summer Fennel Apple Salad
Serves 1-2, depending on how much you like your ruffage.

1/4 C. The Simple Vinaigrette (see below)
4 C. Arugula
1 C. Fresh dill, reserve some for garnish
1 Apple, shaved
1 Cucumber, shaved

Using mandolin or chefs knife, shave or cut the apple and cucumber into paper think slices. Make the viniagrette in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Add arugula,dill, apples, and cucumbers. Toss with hands and combine until dressing evenly coats. Garnish with more dill and serve with avocado toasts. 

The Simple Vinaigrette

I call it the simple vinaigrette because this is my go-to dressing for 80% of the salad I make. It's light and flavorful but not in an overwhelming way and marries well with just about any ingredients or herbs you decide to craft your simple salad with. Occasionally, if I know I'm cooking for an adventurous eater, I'll throw in some anchovies for some omega-3's or chili oil for heat.

4 T. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1/2 C. good, fruity extra-virgin olive oil, walnut, almond or flavorful oil of your choice
1 T. quailty Dijon mustard
Salt + Pepper to taste

Watermelon and Truffle Tremor

by Kailey Kramer in

Most accept fruit and cheese as a widely as 2+2=4. Pears and brie, peaches and burrata, dates and manchego, etc, yada, yada. So why all the fuss when watermelon steps onto the proverbial cheese board? 

Trust me on this one. The tangy, sweetness of a good creamy, potent goat cheese is comparable to that of an extremely elevated conventional cream cheese. Truffle tremor chevre happens to be one of my favorites. A soft ripened goat cheese a la California's Cypress Grove, this bad boy offers a salty and earthy bite which pairs insanely well with the sweetness of the super-ripe watermelon. I'm also hugely in support of the theory that a truffle is like the beer goggles for dining: its addition to anything just about doubles, if not triples, its initial appeal.

The two together make for a crisp and light summer dessert. Not to mention, no heat involved. Slice your melon, grab a plate and go.

And for those who want to argue that creamy chevre for dessert is anything but "light," I have some words for you. Have you seen the size of the slice of that cheese above? It measures about two inches at it's very widest point. And when split between two people while sharing a massive plate of a fruit vastly comprised of water, the calorie count on that slice of cheese adds up to but a fraction of the Ben and Jerry's you definitely reached for otherwise. (Though, no shame there - those guys make a mean batch.)

Everything in moderation, people. And that, alongside a steady stream of espresso, is precisely why French women don't get fat. 

The earthy-sweetness of the Honey Lavender Whiskey Fizz my friend Lessa and I sipped on with this also made for a nice polygamous marriage amongst the three, in case you were interested.


KK xx

Summer Pea and Sorrel Fritatta

by Kailey Kramer in

Sometimes the most best evenings when you're building a blog all summer start with a icy glass of rose, a few castlevano olives, the company of Serge Gainsbourg. And a fritatta in the oven. I grew up eating a quiche a week as my mom's go-to easy dinner dish but on some nights, even the crust seems an excoriating effort. So fritatta it is. Or, tortilla if you've got potatoes on hand for the Spanish-taps variety. But regardless, quiche, fritatta, tortilla, tomato, tahmato, at the end of the day, it's a variation on the same thing -- an egg tart. The art of the egg tart is really quite a simple one to master as it requires only a few ingredients, requires no skill other than beating an egg and can be made inexpensively . My formula for the makings a good egg tart is as follows: 

a. an onion base b. beaten eggs c. greens and/or fresh herb d. choice of vegetable. 
E to the Z -- but rather in this case, a to the d. 

Not only are these easy to cook, but appropriately edible at any time of day. Make it for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner and wow guests with how pretty it is -- or just marvel at it by your lonesome, relaxed self in the company of French rock stars. The choice is yours, either way it'll be a good time. 

Leftovers, you might ask? Easily refrigereated for a few days after cut into slices. If longer than a few days, then easily frozen, too. When the time is right, simply reheat in 400 degree oven or a hot non-stick skillet to re-crisp the surface. Or pop in the microwave at work oven eat oven some fresh arugula.


For this one, I used the sorrel I found at the farmer's market. A lot of quiche or fritatta call for spinach so the sorrel is an easy texture alternative. Talking flavor, it's got a pleasantly lemony sweet bite to the point where you almost could mistake it for an herb instead of a lettuce. In fact, while making this, I couldn't stop snacking on leaves set aside for a garnish while I impatiently awaited my fritatta to exit the broiler. I digress, but raw sorrel would also be it would also be fantastic in a dessert -- perhaps chiffoned atop or wrapped in a long embrace around some summer melons with a bit of marscapone or good goat cheese. 

In addition to the sorrel, I decided to fatten up my fritatta with some green peas. I've always got a bag of frozen peas on my freezer so I threw some in for good measure, because I like 'em. And that's what cooking is about -- improvising and tossing in whatever the hell your freaky self feels like. 

In due time, the broler spit out a perfectly browned fritatta at me. I subsequently topped it with some garlic aoili, what remained of my sorrel, put back three or four slices and did the twist in my underwear for the remainder of the evening. 

So, in summation, enjoy your evening alone and eat more eggs, 

KK xx

Summer Sorrel and Pea Fritatta

3 T. olive oil
2 thinly sliced shallots
1 bunch (roughly 2 C.) of fresh sorrel greens, roughly chopped. (reserve some for garnish) 
1 C. fresh or defrosted green peas
8 eggs, beaten 
salt + pepper to taste
garlic aoili (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Crack eggs in a bowl and beat until yolks and whites are combined. Mix in peas and chopped sorrel. Season with a good dash of pepper. Set aside. 

Add 2 T. olive oil to pan and move around so to coat the entire bottom and up the sides to the pan so the fritatta does not stick later. Add remaining tablespoon of oil with the sliced shallots and a pinch of salt. Salt sweats the onions and draws the moisture out -- imperative for proper carmelizaiton. Don't skip this step; however, don't overdo it. You only need a pinch! Allow the shallots to cook on medium low heat until carmelized or about 5-8 minutes. 

Make sure onions are arranged so to evenly cover the bottom of the pan. Keep stove at a medium heat and pour over the egg and sorrel mixture. Resist the urge to stir and scramble! Let the mixture stand for 5-10 minutes until it starts to cook through the center while the top still remains runny. At this point, transfer the skiller into the oven and allow to finish cooking for about ten minutes. While cooking, chiffonade the reserved sorrel for a garnish. Finish fritatta under the broiler fr 2-3 minutes, if you desire an extra crispy and golden top (optional)

Remove fritatta from oven, cut into 6 slices. Garnish with sorrel and garlic aoili.

Nice Niçoise

by Kailey Kramer in

Nothing says summer like Provençal. And nothing says Provençal quite like niçoise. The French just know how to do it when it comes to things rustic, fresh et jolie. Takng that into consideration, it’s funny that dish's original ingredients are still so hotly debated by niçoise enthusiasts. I like to imagine these people are members of some sort of formal club that hold secret bi-annual meetings in the style of the English PMQ’s at the airport Hilton in Las Vegas. Obviously, everything always devolves into a new potato food fight. Niçoise-ies, am on onto something? And if so...can I get an invite? 

Odds are the first famer who threw one together one night with the fresh summer picks from his field is 6-feet under a lush vineyard and the world will never know the answer. The Julia Childs popularized version is loosely defined by a general arrangement of greens, nicoise olives, tomato, green beans, potato, anchovy, tuna, and hard-boiled egg. 

But really, if these niçoise-ies themselves (now they sound like an army) can’t even agree on a set recipe, that’s a serious cue for to get creative with the season, namely summer at this point. 

I recently spent a few days in South Carolina visiting my family outside of Charleston and simply can’t be any luckier with the quality of produce at every farm stand, rarely less than a few miles apart from each other. The locavore thing has been a way of life in the south before the term even existed and some of America’s best restaurants have blossomed in Charleston because of it. But that’s for another post all together. 

Rosebank Farms neighbors my home on Johns Island and will always be my number one. The produce never disappoints and I usually find myself eating the bulk of it raw before a knife or grill come anywhere near. Cooking and removing it from its state of nirvana seems sacrilege and hence renders the prefect building blocks for simple salad composee, such as our friend niçoise. It’s the perfect summer dish as it permits the flavor of each ingredient to keep its identity. Not to mention, there’s very little effort cooking effort – always appreciated during warm months and feeding multiple mouths. 

So when I made my daily trip to Rosebank the other week, I found crisp green beans and heirloom german buterball potatoes that morning. Nicoise was on my mind all day as I kept returning to the fridge all day to munch and crunch on green beans. When it came time to make my family dinner I knew this had to be a beefy salad as there’s six of us total, all grown-up and with equally voracious appetites. Thus, I ditched the composée and went for a much more rustic approach by using the potatoes and beans as my base while the arugula tossed in took a back seat as it wilted from the mild heat of the vegetables. The vinaigrette carried the remaining niçoise flavors as I loaded it with fresh herbs, olives, capers and anchovy. Anytime a grill is available to me in the summer, all other cooking methods and devices render inferior. Here, cooking en papiollte, or in small foil packages, on the allows for easy prep, cook and lack of clean-up while imparting great flavor to the vegetables.

A few thin slices of raw or seared tuna over top would have made this an uber-niçoise. Usually, I can find fresh-caught steaks chilling out in a large igloo-cooler under the Rosebank tent, but unfortunately I didn’t have such luck that morning. ‘Tis the nature of seasonal and local shopping. Instead, their eggs lent a great pop of color atop of the salad. 

A crisp glass of Côtes de Provence hanging out at the 11 o’clock of a plate and summer dinner is served. 

Oh yeah, and my mom made some grilled chicken.

Cheers to her and the rest of ya french fools, 

KK xx

Niçoise Potato Salad

Adjust and play wi

th ingredient at will or depending on what's looking good and seasonal. The summertime is a great fixture and any opportunity to make use of it should be taken advantage of. But for the city-swelling folk, myself included, can prepare one both the green beans and potatoes en papillote in the oven or simply by blanching. 

Anchovy Lemon Vinaigrette 

2-3 lemons, depending on size
2 tbs. Red wine vinegar
1 heaping tbs. good Dijon mustard
¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
3 chopped anchovy fillets, preferably in olive oil
handful of roughly chopped nicoise olives 
2 tbs chopped capers
handful of each, roughly chopped dill and parsley 

Salad Sort-Of Composée

½ lb. green beans 
½ lb (8-12) halved petite potatoes, any seasonal variety
2 tbs olive oil 
lemon juice
handful of dill 
handful of parsley
salt + pepper to taste
3 boiled eggs, halved

Juice lemons and combine with the remaining dressing ingredients. Reserve a few whole olives to garnish later. Whisky gently in the bottom of the large bowl you’ll be using to serve to assemble and/or serve the rest salad in. Set aside, forget about it like a frenchie and take a sip of your Côtes de Provençe. You earned it, kid. 

Tear two large foil sheets, about 1½ feet each. Fold the sheets in half and cut a heart shape and unfold. In one of the hearts, arrange potatoes on one side. Add thyme, 1 tbs olive oil, salt, pepper and a big squeeze of lemon and combine with hands. Add 1 tbs of water to the package for steaming. Then fold the other side of the foil heart and cinch all the edges, making sure there are no opening. Repeat with the green beans, but without thyme. Transfer the papillotes to the grill. Allows about 30 minutes for the potatoes and 10 for the beans. The beans should still be just cook, crisp and a very vibrant green. Hard-boil eggs. Allow potatoes and beans to cool for a few minutes. Add arugula and vegetables to the bowl with the dressing (which might need another slight whisk by now) and mix to coat. Finish with lots of torn parsley, chopped dill, olives, halved hard boiled eggs and another sip of that Cotes de Provence. 

Broccoli Rabe Pesto

by Kailey Kramer in

Cravings. Everyone's got 'em, but obviously subject to varying circumstance and taste. For me, I crave veggies harder than Mr.Mark Bittman, himself. Rabid, rabbit like veggie cravings, I tell you -- not to be confused for cravings of a rabid rabbit, because I think that might entail meat of some kind. Anyway, so all the local boroccli rabe piled on a cart on the Whole Foods produce section the other Sunday had me quite preoccupied until a whopping....Tuesday night. For whatever reason, all I wanted was a skillet of it with some carmelized shallots. So, I did. I gave into the cravings and boy was it a deliciously green bowl of a dinner. 

That's not quite "the end" although my short story does conclude with a happy ending. See, produce is a fragile thing and must be consumed timely. Even just the day after my crunchy broccoili rabe already began letting itself go -- nonchalantly wiltin and growing less appealing in my crisper drawer by the minute. Cooking it with any method that might further subtract from it's vibrant shades seemed to do it a great injustice. And I'm all about justice. So what's a veggie s̶n̶o̶b̶ super hero to do with an overflow of precious left over greens? 

You obviously need to make pesto. 

Lovingly bitter, mustard green pesto with pungent garlic and creamy walnuts to balance everything out. Then, proceed to eat plain with crudite, toss as a dressing for grain salads or top it on a flatbread or pizza over the course of the week. If it had a middle name it would have two: "versatile" and "spreadable." So, basically, what I'm trying to say is, forget birds and just put some pesto on it. I used it the following day over cous cous, steamed kale and fava beans in my lunch the next day -- something to look forward to at the desk job. 

And if you have too much leftover pesto from all your leftover broccoli rabe, freeze indefinitely in muffin tins and defrost for future dipping and saucing needs. Although, I doubt it will last you so long. Trust me, this shit is good. I guarantee you'll be scooping it out of the jar on a spoon. 

Or maybe that's just me. But seriously, it's the new peanut butter, I swear. 

Ciao ciao ciao, 

KK xx

Broccoli Rabe and Walnut Pesto
Feel free to also throw in any other wilting greens in combination with the broccoli rabe. I had a few big swiss chard leaves I threw into this so they wouldn't go to waste. 

3 C. broccoli rabe, about one bunch
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c. walnuts
1/4 c. of extra virgin olive oil 
2 tbs. water, if needed. 
salt + pepper to taste

Add broccoli rabe, garlic, walnut , salt and pepper into a food processor. Pour half of the olive oil then proceed to pulse and purée until the mixture is blended to something of a paste. Stream in or pour the remainder of the olive oil. Add water a tbs. at a time if the mixture needs to be loosened for the processor to work through.