Orecchiette with Greens and Radishes

If you're anything like me, you've spent the last couple weeks indulging in some holiday meals and drinks and sweet treats. It's okay. We all do it. You might be feeling about ready to start your January diet. Well, why don't you wait an extra couple of days? 2011 isn't over yet. There's still time to sneak in one last not-so-healthy dinner of cheesy pasta topped with crunchy breadcrumbs. Would it help if I told you it had some vegetables in it (sauteed in butter, but still)? I promise, it's crazy delicious. Your New Year's resolutions can wait.

Orecchiette with Greens and Radishes
From Bon Appetit
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs made from whole wheat bread
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch radishes (about 6-8), sliced into 1/4" rounds
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 bunches greens, such as escarole or chard, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and toast, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain, reserving 2 cups of pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add radishes; cook, stirring often, until browned in spots but still crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and garlic to skillet; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add greens and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid and cook, stirring often, until greens start to wilt. Add pasta and cheese; stir until cheese melts and sauce is slightly thickened, adding more pasta cooking liquid by 1/4-cupfuls if too dry. Stir in radishes, lemon juice, and pepper. Season with salt. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture.


yes, truffles. Easy peasy way to enjoy a fancy treat or a great gift for a friend.


The list of ingredients is so long, you had better print this page out:

1/3 cup whipping cream
8 oz semi sweet baking chocolate
1/3 cup butter
cocoa and powdered sugar

Directions that are complicated but worth every difficult step:

In a medium sized pan over low heat, melt the chocolate into the cream. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until it melts and the mixture is creamy. Refrigerate for an hour or two until it is firm enough to handle but not overly hard - if it gets hard, just let it come to room temperature.

Dust the palms of your hands with either powdered sugar or cocoa. Work fast and scoop small blobs of truffle mix and roll into balls. Roll them in more powdered sugar and cocoa.

Now wasn't that hard? Nope! My son used to make these for his teachers in elementary school for his annual gift. All I had to do was help with the stove part. It turned out his hands were the perfect temperature for rolling. Some people have too high a body temperature which makes the truffles melt instead of roll. If your hands are too hot, try rinsing them in cold water before rolling (dry thoroughly).

Refrigerate the pretty things until you want to eat them. Before serving, let them come to room temp (doesn't take as long this time because the little balls warm up fast).

They will be incredibly creamy and wonderful. Put them in pretty containers for gifting.

Eating one of these is the most incredibly mindful experience. Take your time. Do not rush. Let the chocolate melt in your mouth until the goodness spreads completely throughout you. Repeat. Enjoy.

Horseradish Cream

Make this early in the day and refrigerate to be served with a standing rib roast. One of my nieces actually prefers the cream to the roast itself, it's that good.

Now, when I eat this I don't worry about the calories as this is an annual treat. But if you just gotta know, you can find the nutrition facts here.

Horseradish Cream


½ c  heavy whippingcream
1/8 c  mayo
1/3 c  horseradish,drained
1 T  mustard, Dijon
1/8 t  sugar
1/8 t  salt
¼ t  pepper


Whip the cream in a cold bowl with cold beaters until softpeaks form. In a separate bowl, combine mayo, horseradish, and mustard. Usingrubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream. Add sugar, salt, and pepper totaste. Stir well and transfer to serving bowl.

Easy to alter to taste - more or less horseradish, mayocream etc. I used more horseradish and a little more mayo tonight and a littleless cream. 

Yum is an understatement for this dish. It is impossible to eat without going through a remarkably mindful moment. Enjoy.

Warm Farro Pilaf with Kale and Cranberries

This is basically the perfect fall/winter dish. Yeah, I said it. I just don't see how you can improve upon it. It has such a great combination of textures and flavors -- chewy, crunchy, savory, sweet, spicy -- it's a total party in your mouth. It's good enough to stand on its own, but it would also be a great paired with roasted root vegetables or roast chicken (for all my carnivorous friends in the audience).

Warm Farro Pilaf with Kale and Cranberries
From Vegetarian Times

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot, cut in half
  • 1 celery rib, cut in half
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 1/4 cups pearled farro
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 pound kale, center stem removed, chopped (about 4 packed cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper or 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
To make farro: Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add carrot, celery, and onion. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until vegetables start to brown. Add farro, and stir to coat grains with oil. Pour in broth and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 20 minutes, or until just tender; drain. Discard carrot, celery, and onion. Cool farro. (This step can be done ahead.)

To make pilaf: Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute diced onion 5 to 7 minutes. Add kale and cook another 5 to 7 minutes, or until just wilted. Reduce heat to medium, and stir in garlic and pepper. Cook 1 minute, then add farro. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, or until warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in dried cranberries and pine nuts.