In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you. –Deepak Chopra
- Lemon and Garlic Green Beans with Mushrooms
- Honey Roasted Carrots with Balsamic Dressing and Arugula
- Browned Butter Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Pancetta and Pecorino
A quote to keep in mind year-round, yet for me it always seems like the final fleeting months of the year are the craziest. The holidays, family gatherings, endless stream of cooking and recipe testing, dwindling daylight—all these things come together with a frenetic sense of urgency. Obligations, engagements, projects seem to pile up where I could have sworn there was nothing moments before. Suddenly no day has enough hours, no nights find me with any energy, and I have to meticulously plan out every moment in order to get anything done. This last point is fine, I adore making lists (don’t judge). Why is it that this time of year that seems sped up? Hastened? Rushed?
Chaos is the only way to describe it. Albeit a delightful chaos. I don’t mind the fast pace, and busy days and spending time with good food and family and friends. It just always catches me a bit by surprise, leaves me a bit breathless. So I try to pencil in moments to breathe, be calm, unearthing that inner stillness. Then I take a deep breath and dive back into the thick of it. How are you handling the bedlam this holiday season?
As usual I’m never fully prepared, but I beseech the fall/winter gods can you every really be? I think most of us just somersault through the days and weeks, grasping at what we can along the way, landing where fate decrees. It may not always be where you would expect or like. For example, this year I wanted to do a wonderful Thanksgiving spread, one big shoot with several dishes, a dramatic table-scape etc etc. But reality looked me right in the eye and laughed in my face. There aren’t enough daylight hours for me to cook a full meal solo and style and photograph it. I don’t actually own a dining table (have I mentioned how small my apartment is) or surface on which to photograph more than a few dishes at a time. Plus time and money and so on…
So I decided to shoot my dishes one by one, cook what sounded good, blog when I could. But I severely underestimated how well these dishes would go over! So rather than devote a lengthy blog to each and every dish, I’m picking the top requests and compiling them into one post, adding as I go so you can head to one place find the dish you’re interested in and make it. A little unorthodox for my style, but hey, it’s how I deal I’m choosing to deal with the chaos. No unnecessary self-imposed pressure or stress.
So far we have a lemony green bean and mushroom side dish, a honey roasted carrot dish, and the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever made! I’ll keep adding as I go. I wish you the best of luck this holiday season as what has been a long year comes to a close. Don’t forget to breathe amidst the chaos, find moments to be still, do what you can and make no apologies.
Here are some links to older recipes that you might want to check out!
Lemon and Garlic Green Beans with Mushrooms
- 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. green beans, trimmed
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced (or less if you have issues)
- 10 oz. mushrooms, sliced (I used crimini and shiitake)
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 2 Tbsp. Lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup smoked almonds, chopped
- Pre heat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange green beans, shallots, and garlic on baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tender.
- While the green beans are baking make the mushrooms.
- Melt butter over medium high heat in a skillet.
- Add in mushrooms and cook down until golden and a little crispy, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place finished green beans in a bowl and toss with lemon zest and juice.
- Serve topped with mushrooms and almonds.
Honey Roasted Carrots with Balsamic Dressing and Arugula
- 1.5 lbs. carrots, tops trimmed and peeled
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. Honey
- A couple slices of bread of your choice (I used ciabatta)
- Olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
- Balsamic Dressing of your choice (My favorite is Stonewall Kitchen’s Balsamic Fig Dressing)
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange carrots on baking sheet and drizzle with honey, olive oil, and a bit of salt. Make sure to toss them (I just used my hands) to coat everything evenly.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until tender.
- On a separate baking sheet place bread slices and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the same oven with the carrots for about 6-8 minutes until golden brown, flipping once halfway through.
- Remove the toast and use a food processor to blend into crumbs, or crush inside a zip lock bag.
- When carrots are finished place arugula on your serving platter and arrange carrots on top.
- Drizzle with balsamic and top with fresh parsley and toasted bread crumbs.
Browned Butter Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Pancetta and Pecorino
- 5 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed in 2 inch chunks
- 8 oz. of pancetta, cubed, diced, whatever
- 2 Tbsp. minced sage leaves
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 2 cups pepper pecorino, grated (or any cheese you’d prefer)
- 1 blub of roasted garlic, recipe follows (make ahead!)
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- Salt and pepper
- Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cooking until tender (the slide easily off a knife) about 15-20 minutes depending on the size.
- While potatoes are cooking do the following:
- Cook pancetta in a skillet and cook until crispy. Add in sage for the last few minutes of cooking. Drain on a paper towel until ready to add into potatoes. Reserve 2 Tbsp. for topping.
- Melt butter over medium heat and stir continually until golden brown bits form in the bottom of the pan. Immediately transfer to a heat-poof bowl to prevent burning. Reserve 2 Tbsp. for top of potatoes.
- Warm milk and buttermilk in a small pan over medium-low heat, until hot but not boiling.
- Drain cooked potatoes and return to the pot they cooked in.
- Mash potatoes in the pot with roasted garlic.
- Add in butter, milk, cheese, lemon zest, pepper, and about ¼ tsp salt.* I go easy on the salt because of the saltiness of the cheese. Add more if necessary.
- Stir in the pancetta and sage mixture.
- Place potatoes in serving dish and top with reserved pancetta and browned butter.
- To roast garlic, trim the end of a bulb so cloves are exposed. Top with a pat of butter or a little olive oil and wrap tightly in foil. Place in a small baking dish and roast at 350°F for about 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and soft. Be sure to check a few times through out so it doesn’t burn. Time may vary depending on the size of your bulb.
Note: To make my potatoes extra creamy I used my immersion blender for a few minutes before adding in the pancetta. This is not necessary.