Miso Sweet Potatoes

I love sweet potatoes and yams but I’ve never understood the need to make them any sweeter than they already are.  The traditional candied yams during the holidays are lost on me, as is the casserole topped with marshmallows, though I’m sure many of you reading this think I’m crazy for feeling this way.  I like my sweet potatoes savory so what better way than adding a bit of miso?  Sweet, salty, buttery and slightly spicy are these and I’ve yet to meet a person that didn’t love them.  I make them in hobo packs for the grill but they can also be made in the oven in a covered baking dish.  Take them camping or live on the edge and add them to your Thanksgiving spread.  They taste great with cranberry relish.

Serves: 6-8


½ cup butter, room temperature
3 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp. miso (white or red)
2 tbsp sriracha
4 large sweet potatoes, sliced
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, quartered
Herbs such as chives, cilantro or parsley for garnish
Sesame seeds, for garnish


Heat the grill medium over medium heat.

In a large bowl, mix the first 6 ingredients into a smooth paste. Add the potatoes and onions and using your hands mix until coated well.

Tear off as many sheets of foil as there are guests to make hobo packs (a nifty name for anything cooked inside foil on the grill or over a fire pit!). Divide the potato mixture amongst the foil sheets and close them tightly. Place the hobo packs on the grill and close the lid. Cook until the potatoes are soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Make sure to flip the hobo packs halfway through cooking and rotate them so they cook evenly.

After the sweet potatoes are done, open up the foil and garnish with a squeeze of lemon, some chopped herbs and sesame seeds. Guests can either eat right out of the foil or scoop them onto their plate.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

I once saw a grown man push over a small child to get the last of one of these poppers.  He may or may not have been my husband and I couldn’t have been more proud of someone wanting something so badly at that very moment.  This recipe is not rocket science and that’s what makes these such great party food.  Bring them out for the Superbowl, 4th of July or a random Sunday Funday and you’ll see what I mean.  I should also note that if you have some friends or family that are wimps when it comes to chilis, most supermarkets sell baby bell peppers that are a non-fiery alternative.  Fire up the grill, crack open a beer and get poppin’ on these Poppers!



Serves: 8-12


For the filling:

1 lb. cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup sharp cheddar, grated

¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

6 scallions, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

¼ cup fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil and parsley

1 lime, zest and juice

1 tbsp ground cumin

Salt, to taste


20-24 jalapenos

2 lbs. bacon

Limes for garnish

Cilantro for garnish


Put all the ingredients for the filling in the food processor and pulse to combine.  Scrape down the sides and pulse again until all the herbs and scallions are broken up.  Scrape the contents into a pastry bag or ziplock bag and set aside for the flavors to marry.  This step can be done up to 3 days ahead of time.

To prep the jalapeños, cut the tops off and using a pairing knife or small spoon, scrape out the insides.  If there are a few seeds kicking around inside, it is fine and will just add some extra heat to the popper.

Fill each pepper with some of the cheese mixture and line on a baking sheet.  After all of the peppers are filled, wrap them with bacon.  Start by covering the top of the pepper where the cheese is exposed and then proceed to wrap the length of the pepper.  Turn the pepper and continue around the width of the pepper until you’ve used the entire piece of bacon.  Secure the bacon by inserting a toothpick through the pepper and place back on the baking sheet.  At this point the peppers can be refrigerated for up to a day or used right away.

Heat the grill to medium heat.  Spray the poppers on all sides with cooking spray and place on the grill.  Cook until the bacon is crispy and the jalapeños have softened, about 20 minutes, rotating them while cooking.

Serve the jalapeño poppers garnished with some fresh lime, cilantro and of course, ice cold beer.








Tostones with Mojo Sauce

I recently had an epic night of hanging out with my friends Madeline and Julio at their apartment in Crown Heights drinking beer, dancing to Prince and drunkenly finishing up the night watching Key and Peele.  Julio and I were discussing the glory of eating fried Puerto Rican specialties, such as cuchifritos, empanadas and tostones while drinking beer and maybe had we made these, the following morning would have been far less painful.  These tostones are also an awesome accompaniment to Cuban roast pork or black beans and rice for non-flesh eaters.

Serves 4-6


For the Spicy Mojo Sauce:

4 cloves garlic

1 sour orange*

¼ cup sour orange juice*

¼ cup olive oil

A few sprigs cilantro, chopped

Pinch ground cumin


Black pepper

For the Tostones:

3 green plantains

Canola oil, for frying



To make the Mojo, start by making a paste with the garlic by mincing it very fine with salt.  Using the blade of a knife, press down on top of the garlic/salt mixture and mush it around on the cutting board.  Follow this by scraping the mixture into a mound, running the knife over it a few times, then mushing again.  Continue until a paste forms and put it in a bowl.

To chop the sour orange, slice each end off and peel the orange from top to bottom using a knife to remove all the white pith.  Then, working over a bowl, carefully remove the sour orange segments by making an incision on both sides of the flesh and cut out the segment.  This method of removing the citrus segments while leaving behind the skin and connective tissue is called “supreming” or “to supreme” an orange.  Squeeze any excess juice into the bowl with the garlic paste.  Roughly chop the segments into small pieces and add to the bowl.  Squeeze another sour orange into the bowl if more juice is needed and add the olive oil, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside.

To peel the plantains, make a lengthwise incision just through the skin of the fruit, making sure not to score the flesh.  Peel back the skin and discard.

Cut the plantains into 1 inch-thick rounds.

Add enough oil to a deep skillet to come halfway up the sides of the plantains.  Heat to about 300 degrees or until the plantains lightly sizzle when in the pan.

Working in batches, cook the plantains for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they are lightly golden brown.  Remove from the skillet and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Using a tostonera or the bottom of a can or glass, press the plantain into a craggy disc.

Increase the heat of the oil in the skillet to about 350 degrees, adding more oil if necessary.  Fry the plantains again until crispy and golden brown, about 2 or 3 minutes.  Remove them from the oil and drain on fresh paper towels.  Season liberally with salt and enjoy with the Mojo sauce.

*Note:  Sour oranges, also known as Sevillle oranges are commonly found in Latin markets.  Practice up on your Spanish skills and ask for “naranja agria”.  If, unlike me, you don’t enjoy spending an afternoon hunting down crazy ingredients, you may substitute equal parts orange and lime.  However, while on the search for a sour orange, you might find new and exciting ingredients that will inspire you for your next culinary adventure.

Buenos Dias Bitches!

Julio the next morning.  Buenos Días Bitches!






Crispy Pork Chops with Rosemary Roasted Cabbage and Warm Sherry Vinaigrette

Pork, it’s what’s for dinner!  This is one of my favorite recipes because it is simple enough for a random Tuesday but cool enough for a family-style dinner party.  Throw in some mashed potatoes or wild rice to bulk it up and no one is going to bed hungry.  The cabbage wedges are a hit with vegetarians and are delicious right out of the oven or at room temp., making them a great side dish that can be done ahead of time.  I’d recommend drinking an Alsatian white such as a Gewürztraminer or a nice malty Belgian-style ale like Ommegang Abbey to go with this meal.  You want a wine or beer with a bit of sweetness to pair with the cabbage since our cruciferous friend has a tendency to be farty with an over-acidic beverage.  On that note, happy cooking!

Serves 4


For the Cabbage:

5 cloves garlic

3 sprigs rosemary, leaves only and roughly chopped

¼ cup olive oil

1 head red cabbage


For the Pork Chops:

½ cup AP flour

4 eggs

½ cup panko

¼ cup parmesan reggiano

A few sprigs parsley, chopped

Vegetable oil


4 bone-in pork chops, pounded thin

For the Warm Sherry Vinaigrette:

¼ cup golden raisins

1 shallot, minced

¼ cup cooking sherry

2 lemons, juiced

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp honey


Black pepper


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a mortar and pestle, add the garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Mash until everything is macerated and well combined.

Cut the cabbage into 8 wedges and place on a sheet tray.  Brush them with the garlic/oil mixture and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.  Flip the cabbage wedges over and cook another 10 minutes or until the edges start to brown.  Remove from the oven and cover with foil to keep warm.

While the cabbage is cooking, move onto the pork chops.

Set up 3 bowls for coating the pork chops.  In the first bowl add the flour and season with salt and pepper.  In the second bowl add the eggs.  In the third bowl add the panko, parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper.  Working in batches, dredge the pork chops first in the flour, then the egg and finally the panko mixture and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the oil and butter.  Add the pork chops, one or two at a time, making sure not to crowd the pan.  Cook until a nice crust forms, about 2-3 minutes.  Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes.  This might not seem like that much cooking time, but because the pork chops are so thin, they will cook quite quickly.  Remove from the skillet and hold on a plate under some foil to keep warm.

After the pork chops are done, strain the grease and add it back to the pan.  Add the raisins and shallots and cook for a few minutes.  Then deglaze the pan with some cooking sherry, making sure to scrape up any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Turn the heat down to medium and add the lemon juice, mustard and honey and whisk to combine.

Place one or two cabbage wedges on a plate and rest a pork chop up next to them.  Spoon some of the warm vinaigrette and raisins over the cabbage and serve.