Posts Tagged ‘Dish Jess’

From Dish Jess:

Well, dishes, the holiday season is here whether we like it or not. Personally, I love holiday food and drink, but can sometimes be a scrooge when it comes to bringing in the warm fuzzy cheer (that’s what eggnog is for). Still, the goodness of holiday eats cannot be denied, so I thought I’d share a new favorite that I’ve been perfecting.

I researched cornbread recipes, both traditional and cutting-edge(ish) to formulate this one. I found that true southern cornbread shouldn’t have added sweetness, and that you can substitute yogurt for buttermilk. Also, that truly authentic crumbly cornbread crust is attained only by baking in an iron skillet which I, sadly, do not possess.

So here’s my not-quite-authentic version – a crusty whole wheat cornbread. One could also substitute white flour here with great results. Makes 6-8 servings.

For the cornbread:

Dry ingredients
1 ½ cups medium-grind corn meal
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients
1 egg
½ c milk
½ c yogurt
4 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp melted honey

1 tbsp oil (I used olive)

Pour olive oil into skillet or baking pan and set aside.

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, beat egg and add the rest of the wet ingredients, whisking together. Pour the wet ingredient mixture into the dry bowl, adding a teaspoon or two of milk if the mixture is too dry. Whisk to combine. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375-400°F – depending on whether your oven is hotter or cooler. Place the skillet or baking pan into the oven and let the oil heat while the batter is resting.

In the meantime, make your honey butter:

4 tbsp room temperature butter
1 tbsp honey

Beat honey into the butter with a fork. If the butter is a little cold or the honey is crystallized, warm the honey slightly. I don’t like super-sweetened spreads, but you can feel free to adjust the ratio to your tastebuds.

When it’s time to pour the batter into the pan, carefully spread it into the hot pan, smoothing the top so that the batter evenly fills the space. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sides begin to darken and a toothpick comes out dry.

Feel free to experiment with mix-ins; for this go-around, I had recently made a plain batch, so I added some chopped scallion, jalapeño and grated cheddar. Bacon would be a great addition, or cilantro, or creamed butternut squash. I haven’t made muffins yet but would welcome any baking tips for a muffin tin.

Let the bread cool and cut into squares. Spread the honey butter lavishly onto a still-warm piece… but don’t blame me if the one becomes two or three – or an entire meal!

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From Dish Jess:

Butternut Squash Gratin

This recipe was conceived as a much richer incarnation of itself for a dinner party a couple years ago, in celebration of Dish Rachelle’s Saucy Little Boyfriend’s birthday. It was thick with cream and butter, and a delightful addition to a very indulgent foodie-filled potluck.

For this version, I scaled down the fat in hopes that these vegetables, fresh from the farmer’s market, would lend enough flavor to pack a punch on their own.


Sliced squashJulienned vegetables

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, halved and cut into ¼” slices
3 leeks, julienned
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
4 oz fresh goat cheese
¼ cup whole milk
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp dried thyme
½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped coarse
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°. Toss squash with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a cookie sheet and roast 15-20 minutes, until edges begin browning.

In the meantime, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, oregano and thyme and sauté until tender, around 15 minutes.

Ready to bakeWhen the squash is finished, turn the oven to 375°. Use the rest of the olive oil to grease a square baking dish – I used a CorningWare dish about 2½“ deep.

Layer 1/3 of the squash, 1/3 leeks, and 1/3 goat cheese (crumbled or sliced thin) and repeat until all ingredients are used.

Pour the milk over the top and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Bake at 375° for half an hour, or until internal temperature reaches 140° and your kitchen is fragrant with leeks and hazelnuts.

Served with leftover vegetable barley soup, this was a healthy vegetarian meal that satisfied even my unapologetic inner carnivore. Viva vegetables!

Dish Jess goes veg

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From Dish Jess:

Lebanese-style roast chicken with eggplant

I’ve been craving comfort food recently, and often find myself bringing together the flavors from both sides of my family. My mom learned to cook by having to make dinner for her working-class Jewish family in high school, but once she married my dad, she also learned to make the rich, spicy Lebanese food that’s an intimate part of his family’s life, and would often make those dishes for our family.

Roasted chicken was a staple dinner for us, and my mom’s recipe is a classic – seasoning beneath the skin, surrounding with potatoes & onions, sometimes carrots, and then baking & basting along the way. I was looking to make something with a bit more zest and spice than the average roasted chicken, so I incorporated some classic Lebanese flavors into this dish.

Seasoned chickenFor the chicken:
2 chicken legs with thighs, skinless or with skin
1 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp crushed mint
½ tsp cinnamon

Preheat over to 350°F. Mix all ingredients with a fork until they form a thick paste. Spread the paste in a thin layer over the meat. If you leave the skin on, separate the skin from the meat down to the leg bone, and spread the paste beneath the skin. I seasoned the skin with za’atar, a lebanese spice mixture that includes sumac, oregano & sesame seeds, but salt & pepper would also work well. Place into a roasting pan and surround with vegetables.

For the vegetables:
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup chopped walnuts
2 small eggplant, sliced into rounds
1 onion, cut into thin wedges

Toss the vegetables and walnuts with the olive oil and lemon juice. Spread them around the chicken in the roasting pan, and drizzle the yogurt over the top.

Chicken and veggies ready to roast

Roast all together for 45 minutes, basting the chicken once halfway through. Savor the fragrance of roasting onions, spices and chicken that fill your kitchen. Serve with rice and enjoy, making sure to eat some sweet carmelized onions scraped right off the pan!

Roasted and all set to serve

Dish Jess snacking

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