Latkes

Ever since I was little Hanukkah was always my favorite holiday. While all the kids I went to school with (I was the only Jew) thought I loved it because they assumed it meant eight days of presents. One, no way that was happening. Two, presents are cool, but honestly my favorite thing about Hanukkah was getting to shove my mom’s latkes into my face as fast as possible.

For those who have never had a latke picture this: The ultimate hash browns that are crispy all the way around, but with a slight fluffiness like a pancake. They’re perfection. Like almost all of my mom’s cooking she didn’t really have a set recipe for me, but she gave me her advice and I have done my best to create a working recipe. I’ll always think my mom’s can’t be beat, but at the same time these are really damn tasty! Traditionally they’re topped with either ketchup, sour cream or apple sauce.

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French Onion Soup with Garlic Bread Croutons

On my list of ultimate comfort foods French onion soup is preeeeetty high up. Every time I see it on a menu I have to get it. If it were possible to be a French onion soup sommelier you could expect to see a blue checkmark next to my name.

While time consuming, making a good broth is simple enough, so to step my game up I went to the most often overlooked part of the preparation, the bread. While a baguette does a marvelous job of soaking up the soup I thought homemade garlic bread croutons would be the perfect opportunity to inject a little more flavor into the soup. And between the gruyere on top, the sweet and savory onion soup, and buttery garlic bread the soup almost has a, and bear with me here, juicy mouthfeel. Yes I’m aware soup is liquid and so is juice, and yes I used the term mouthfeel. It’s just so many things bursting at once you can’t help but want more.

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Turkey Burgers with Cranberry Barbecue Sauce and Fried Sage Leaves

Growing up the main things I remember about Thanksgiving dinner were my brother and me going hard in our grandma’s macaroni pie, and my mom getting maybe a little too hyped about making leftover sandwiches. The Thanksgiving leftover sandwich has become a huge part of the holiday and inspired me to create this burger.

What’s great about this recipe is you can go ahead and make it, or doctor your own leftovers to get the same similar effect. This also makes a great alternative for anyone who either doesn’t have the kitchen to make a full Thanksgiving dinner, or just can’t be bothered but still wants that Thanksgiving flavor.

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Spinach Pesto Pasta Bake

Lately I have been trying to be more health conscious. To be honest I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. However there are times I just don’t want to force myself to eat a spinach salad with dinner. That’s where spinach pesto comes in.

You add one part spinach to three parts basil to your pesto and you would never know it’s there. Consider this an ultimate weapon against extra picky eaters. Toss it with mozzarella pearls for a huge cheesy hit, sundried tomatoes, and grilled chicken and you’ll have a meal no one can resist. In all honesty I could eat like this everyday.

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Black Magic Risotto

There’s something so magical about Halloween. From watching Hocus Pocus, to gorging on sweets it really is one of my favorite times of year. For this Halloween I wanted to come up with a dark and spooky dish to fit the season.

One ingredient came to mind, squid ink. Squid ink has become a really exciting ingredient for me. I’ve had it in nicer restaurants and enjoyed it. And of course we can’t forget my pasta for goths recipe that stars squid ink pasta. Squid ink gives a beautiful briny, ocean-like flavor to whatever you add it to. Squid ink used to be a hard to find luxury ingredient, but we live in the age of the internet and you can easily find it online.

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Cheesy Baked Bacon and Cauliflower

Anyone who has attempted to be halfway healthy has learned that cauliflower is a miracle vegetable. Floating around the internet you can find recipes for cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower bread, and other types of witchcraft. But did you know that you can use cauliflower as a thickening agent in sauces and gravys instead of a roux? Because you totally can!

That’s the magic to this recipe. You get all the warmth and gooiness of a bacon mac and cheese (cooking the cauliflower in bacon grease doesn’t hurt), but you’re also doubling down on the veggie goodness. Is it the healthiest thing on the planet? Not quite. But can you feel relatively guilt free about this? Of course! It makes an awesome side or main dish.

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Pumpkin Gnocchi with Pancetta and Sage Brown Butter

The month of October, like the Walmart seasonal aisle, has two sides. First you have the spooky Halloween side with all the fake blood and skeleton decor your heart could desire. Then you have the warm, autumnal items. Think burlap wreathes and pillows with stitching that reads “thankful” or “blessed.” I made it a goal this month on fancy redneck to capture the duality of October with my recipes. After all, it is Libra season and balance is critical.

First up to capture warmth and fall flavors I have pumpkin gnocchi. Usually when I make gnocchi at home I use sweet potato, but really wanted to stretch myself with an ingredient I never use, pumpkin. The combination of the fried sage, pancetta, brown butter, and pumpkin together really create a symphony on the tongue with the only component missing being the crunch of leaves on the ground.

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Mom’s Spaghetti

All Eminem refrences and memes aside, my mom’s spaghetti was always the pinnacle of comfort food. What beats a warm, hearty bowl of spaghetti? As an added bonus my mom’s recipe is simple, cheap, and jumbo-sized enough to feed a family of four for days. For a recipe that will keep you feeling warm and fuzzy and won’t fail you even when your palms are sweaty look no further.

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