Kale, Potato and Cheese Pop Tarts

Pop Tart Stack

I love Kale, who doesn’t? In fact, I’ve already featured a recipe using kale on this blog. Sautéed Kale over rice has been part of my dinner rotation for quite some time. But lately, I’ve wanted to mix things up and try something different with kale. So I took to the internet and found inspiration from a recipe for Savory Kale, Garlic and Cauliflower Purée Pop Tarts posted on the lovely blog, Reclaiming Provincial. For this recipe, I used store-bought filo dough instead of making dough from scratch, added toasted pine nuts to the kale filling for crunch and opted for a potato puree instead of cauliflower. The crunchiness of the pine nuts combined with the buttery crispiness of the filo dough makes for a most indulgent snack.

Kale, Potato and Cheese Pop Tarts

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Happy New Year!

I hope this message finds you all well and settling into this new year.

Yikes! Has it really been over a month since I published a post? Indeed it has, but rest assured the Thirteen Plums kitchen has been cranking out some tasty bites such as, Cheesy Saffron Croquettes known in my family as, Persian Poppers, and some not so tasty bites – Chocolate Chip Cookies. How I messed up chocolate chip cookies is beyond me. I’m embarrassed to even say it, but it happened, and I’m humbled. Even something as simple as a chocolate chip cookie can be a teacher in the kitchen.

Over the holidays, I bought René Redzepi’s newest book A Work in Progress.  This three-volume book is more than a cookbook, A Work in Progress includes a book of snapshots, a recipe book and most important of all a personal journal that Redzepi wrote over the course of a year while running his famous restaurant Noma. Ironically, in his journal Redzepi celebrates his failures almost more than his successes.  For Redzepi the courage to take risks is necessary in the kitchen, because to him, “successes are just drops” along the line of failure. In a talk at The Castro Theater in San Francisco, Redzepi said, “If we’re not failing than we are not pushing hard enough… we have to play like we have nothing to lose.” We’ve all heard something along these lines before, but something about this book and that talk resonates with me more than ever. And I reflect on Thirteen Plums, and I think to myself, what has inhibited me from posting? Why have I neglected something I love?  The answer is simply, fear of failure.  And I realize I’m going about this all wrong and what actually NEEDS to happen ARE some failures, some mishaps, some not so perfect posts, a bad batch of cookies, because that’s where the genius lies… in making mistakes. We learn from our mistakes, and that knowledge makes up the fabric of who we are.  So what I’m saying to you and myself is go ahead make mistakes, do something outrageous, fail, learn something new, and trust that you’re on your way to greatness. 

Happy 2014 folks! Let’s make it great!!!

Sweet Potato Latte

Sweet Potato Latte

This makes perfect sense! That was my first thought when I tasted the Sweet Potato Latte served at Yakini Q Cafe in San Francisco’s Japantown. Sweet Potato puree mixed with steamed milk, and on that day I opted to get a shot of espresso added in. Yes! Yes! I was so excited when ordering my beverage that I proceeded to do a happy dance right then and there. Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spiced Latte has nothing, I mean not… a… thing on Yakini Q’s Sweet Potato Latte. Once I got my drink, I found a chair in the back of the cafe and slowly enjoyed every single sip with eyes closed. It was like tasting happiness in a cup – I kid you not. Naturally, I had to figure out how to replicate this amazingness, so I asked the barista some questions. To my surprise the Sweet Potato Latte is a not a signature drink unique to the cafe, rather it’s a traditional Korean beverage served without espresso. Upon asking other friends about my new found discovery most were well aware of said beverage, which begged me to ask, “Why have you been holding out on me?” I had to take a minute to explain that if we were to go on being friends all amazing food experiences must be shared regularly. Thankfully we now have an agreement. Glad that’s settled.

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Quince Preserves

Quince toast for breakfast

quince preserves on buttered toast

quince toast

Welcome to what I plan to be a regular feature on Thirteen Plums called, Sundays with Little Mom. And it’s just that, spending a Sunday with my mom, cooking, learning and laughing together. My mom is one of my favorite people on the planet she’s hilarious, smart, an amazing cook and loves me unconditionally even though I was a jerk to her while going through my teen angst phase. Trust me, I apologized later in life for that.

These days for whatever reason, life seems to be going by too fast and unless I make time for the ones I love, I just end up filling my schedule with other stuff. So in my attempt to slow things down and create lasting memories, I’ll be spending more Sundays with my Little Mom. I call her Little Mom because it baffles me that all sorts of amazing can exist in just one person. She has a heart of gold and a smile that makes you feel like anything is possible.

What we usually do...laugh and be silly

Smile for the camera

And that’s Little Mom and I!

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Apple Cider Caramels with Saffron and Rose water

apple cider caramels with saffron and rose water

ingredients

Yes I went there and added Saffron and Rose water to this already perfect Apple Cider Caramel recipe. Why mess with something that’s been tested and approved? Simply because I believe that cooking is all about experimentation. Recipes serve as the framework to your process, but heck if you feel inspired in that moment? I say go ahead and freestyle- add your own flavor to the final dish and make it your own, you might start a new family recipe. On the other hand, you may decide that you’d never try that ingredient combination again, but in the end you tried and that’s what matters most. The more you experiment in the kitchen, the more practice you’ll get and ultimately the more comfortable you’ll feel. It’s win, win!

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Roasted Acorn Squash and Kale Rice Bowl

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The other morning I woke attempted to wake up at 5:15am so that I could get to a 6am yoga class. Yes you heard right I take a 6am class 4x/week. And while that does sound like an ungodly hour to dress and get to a yoga class, it actually works for me. After hitting the snooze bar way too many times I roll out of bed, stumble into the kitchen (usually stubbing my toe on some furniture along the way) to make some tea or coffee. Once the caffeine gets into my system I’m ready to go.  What motivates me most about attending class is the feeling I get right after, it feels like I’ve won the day.

I digress. I promise this is actually a recipe post.

Although I didn’t go to yoga that day I did do something great, I made greens!! Cause what else does an aspiring food blogger do with an extra morning hour?  You make greens, obviously. Lying in bed I thought about how I would prepare the greens, but remembered I had an acorn squash that I’d been neglecting. And then I had a “light bulb” moment. “Why not add roasted squash to the cooked kale? When mixed with a some water, the squash could make a nice gravy and a different element to the final dish.” This early morning stroke of genius wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for this recipe posted by one of my favorite bloggers, Heidi Swanson.

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