Baked Sweet Potato

A couple weeks ago, I discovered that chubby coins of sweet potato baked at a high temperature turned into these sweet and chewy discs of sweet potato… and I kept promising that I would post this super easy way to make sweet potato even more delicious. So a couple days ago I was in the kitchen peeling sweet potatoes to take photographs, but then I had a little bit of inspiration and made this instead.

It’s nothing like those sticky sweet sweet potato dishes that grace holiday tables… instead it’s spiced with cumin and mashed with a bit of swiss chard. It’s delicious right out of the oven, but just as good cold out of the fridge. If anything, it tastes even better after an overnight stay in the fridge and the flavors have had some time to meld.

Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Casserole (Kaprise Kitchen original)

  • 3 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 1 bunch of swiss chard (I used red swiss chard, but any would suffice)
  • 1 chicken sausage, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 3/4 cup of full fat greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of finely shredded parmesan cheese
  1. Peel and cube sweet potatoes. In a large pot of salted water, boil cubed potato until tender. About 20 minutes. Drain and cool.
  2. Cut swiss chard into 1/2 inch ribbons. In a large pot of salter water, blanch the ribbons until just wilted. About 2 minutes. Drain and squeeze excess water out of swiss chard
  3. In a small sauce pan, brown crumbled sausage. About 5 minutes
  4. In a large bowl, mash the cooked sweet potato, swiss chard, and sausage together. Add yogurt and cumin and stir until combined.
  5. Spread mixture into casserole dish, top with cheese, and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until heated through.

Smoked Gouda Pork Chop

I’ve been making serious effort to make every single one of my meals at home. Not only is it healthier and cheaper – but the few minutes it takes me to prepare my own meal is a good way to unwind at the end of the day. But, there are those days that you get home late and you have to walk the dog and by the time you get to the kitchen the clock is reading closer to bedtime than dinner time. So a simple and quick recipe is in order… and when you are trying to reduce your wheat intake – toasting a slice of bread is not an option. This recipe is easy. In the time it takes your chops to sizzle, you can get a salad together and silverware on the table and pour a glass of wine.

Smoked Gouda Pork Chop (Kaprise Kitchen original)

  • 2 boneless pork chops
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of shredded smoked gouda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
  1. Set your broiler to high
  2. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cheese, and mustard until smooth
  3. Rinse and pat your pork chops dry. Sprinkle both sides of pepper.
  4. Place the pork chops on the baking sheet
  5. Smooth the cheese mixture evenly over the two pork chops.
  6. Place the baking sheet on the lower shelf of your oven for about 30 minutes, or until the pork has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees F (see notes).
  7. Once the minimum internal temperature has been reached, place the sheet on the higher shelf and allow the chops to brown just a bit more.
  8. Serve over salad with a good white wine. I had mine with spinach salad and a glass of dry pinot gris.




  • Connie at OuiChefCook has an excellent post about mayonnaise and instructions on how to make your own here.
  • You can substitute the cheese for other variations – I’ve only tried this with aged white cheddar and parmesan. Both work well, but if you try other cheese variations – let me know how it turns out!!
  • Suggested internal temperature for meats can be be found here on the USDA website. They say “Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.”

Jalapeño Spiced Beef Stew

I have never been one to diet or one to restrict anything I eat or drink. I truly believe that I should enjoy every single thing that I want to, and so I have never curtailed my consumption of food or drink. I scorn diets and I scorn the calorie counters… because it turns the ethereal and wonderful experience of food into a mathematical equation that makes you miserable. However, recently, I have found that the tremendous stress I deal with has negatively impacted my eating habits. I used to eat all I wanted – but I ate fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein – and  because I ate good and clean foods… I felt good and maintained a trim figure. However, I am in law school and I live in a city where fried chicken is an institution and fries accompany every meal. And when you cook for one, it’s easier to snag a pizza and it’s easy to justify ordering in because the 40 minutes it takes for delivery to arrive is a precious 40 minutes you could be reading for school.

Anyway, this semester winds down, and finals scare the living sense out of me – I have made some small dietary changes to take my focus off being scared (I always start projects when I’m stressed out so I can distribute my nervous energy and handle my neurotic insomnia). My sister and mother recently transitioned to a paleo/primal eating pattern and both have felt they are vastly improved. Both have slimmed down and enjoy eating paleo/primal. While I have not made the drastic switch that they have, I have eliminated nearly all processed foods (with the exception of my candy stash for finals studying) and have drastically cut down my wheat intake. I’ve cleaned out my pantry, and just in time for donating to charities for the holiday season.

This December has been unseasonably warm, but with the drippy rain I felt the need for some stew. Instead of dusting the beef in flour, I seared the beef chunks in olive oil and then gently muddled a baked yam into the stew to thicken it up and for some added flavor. And since it is stew, I allowed myself a small handful of egg noodles to round out my dinner.

Jalapeño Spiced Beef Stew (Kaprise Kitchen)

  • 16 oz ribeye steak, cubed (you can use any other cut of beef, but I prefer ribeye in mine)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 small seeded jalapeños, diced (be wary of those teeny ones that pack a punch. Mine were the small ones that positively emanated heat, so I seeded and rinsed mine with great care)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 portabella mushroom, diced
  • 1 cup of red wine (I used a good Malbec, but anything on the drier side will be fine)
  • 1 orange yam, steamed until soft
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 2 cups of filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • salt/pepper to taste
  1. Cube meat and dust with black pepper and salt
  2. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil and sear the cubed ribeye, flipping cubes as the sides brown.
  3. Once the meat has browned, stir in the jalapeño and onion, until both have softened slightly.
  4. Stir in wine and allow the wine to reduce by half before adding filtered water
  5. In the broth, muddle the yam until it dissolves into the liquid. I steamed my yam for about 15 minutes until it was soft to touch.
  6. Add the remaining ingredient and simmer for 1 hour.
  7. Serve over noodles or on it’s own.




This summer has been really weird. I started working immediately after finals… and if you have ever talked to a law student after finals after over you understand how mentally weird law people can get by sitting alone in the dark reading statutes. My job, as a research assistant, was literally to sit in the library (again) all summer reading random things and taking notes. And to top it off, all of my friends have been out of town, or working crazy hours at law firms. But, that’s all good because I really needed time to train for the marathon (the first one for me!)… but then I got some really strange arch injury, and then I tripped and scraped/bruised both legs, hips and elbows. And then when I finally started hitting the groove again, I fell during my long run (my fault for running at 10pm). And, because I didn’t want anyone to discourage me, I didn’t really tell anyone I was training for a marathon and I ran most of my runs alone. You know what that does to someone? It makes you a little weird. I mean. I’m weird to begin with… but I’ve never spent so much time staring out my window in lala land. Then my friend said he was trying to get his 5K time to under 20 minutes, so I immediately volunteered to run with him. It’s awesome because it switches up my routine, but when we’re done with the 3 miles, I feel like my legs should keep going. And then last week, on my eight mile run I felt my foot start to hurt, so I proactively stopped. And then I have all sorts of creepy dreams about running.

So, short story, I’ve been really distracted and forgetful. I haven’t really cooked all summer because I crave things like cold bread and pounds of steak. And I really think that you guys know how to sear steak 5 minutes on each side for a perfect medium rare.

Anyway – I made this pasta salad a couple weeks ago, and much to my delight, the beets that I tossed into the pasta turned the noodles hot pink!

Hot Pink Beet Pasta Salad (a Kaprise Kitchen original)

  • 14 crabs, meticulously picked apart – about 2 cups of crab meat
  • 1 pound of pasta suitable for pasta salad. I used the twirly kind because I like the orange and green ones
  • 2 beet roots, roasted in a foil packet at 400 F for 30-40 minutes until tender, cooled, peeled, and cubed
  • The leafy stalks of the beet roots, washed and blanched in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, cooled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup of chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup of chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup of toasted flaked almond
  • 16 oz of black olives, sliced
  • Salad dressing of your choice, or balsamic vinegar reduction
  1. I discussed the crabs and the ridiculous amount of time I spent picking at them, so see that post please.
  2. For roasted beets – please reference Funnyeater‘s commentary on roasted beets.
  3. While the beets are roasting, assemble the remainder of the ingredients – boil a large, salted pot of water and cook the pasta until very al-dente. My pasta’s suggested cooking time was 10 minutes, so I cooked for 8 before draining well and rinsing with cold water.
  4. For blanched beet greens – simply wash the greens thoroughly before plunging into boiling water until the greens wilt. Drain the greens well and chiffonade.
  5. For chopped peppers, celery, and olives – feel free to chop as small or large as you like, and feel free to use any other type of vegetable that keeps well in pasta salad.
  6. Once all of the ingredients are assembled, toss all the ingredients in a large bowl with a touch of olive oil (to keep things from sticking too much). I left the crab meat out so I could top the salad with the crab meat and almonds… it looks prettier
  7. Drizzle the salad with salad dressing or balsamic vinegar reduction (which I find a little lighter since a teensy dab of it goes a long way).

Alone Time

I came to law school in the fall of 2009. I was thrilled to be in a new city and starting law school. I met Jason the first day of law school, and we dated until the following August. Then in September, I serendipitously met Chris, which then turned into the raging catastrophe of my law school career. We parted ways at the beginning of 2011, and I felt as if I was suddenly free. I felt wonderfully alone. I reveled in the silence and the complete lack of commitment to a single needy individual. Instead, I was suddenly free to do whatever I wanted. I thoroughly enjoyed my spring semester free of any romantic attachments and threw myself into my studies.

Then, a couple days ago, I met with some law school friends who were recounting hysterical stories about how these parties they had attended, or a dinner party someone had hosted. At first, I was indignant that I hadn’t been invited… but then I remembered all of the times that the men in my life demanded more of my time. And as the obliging girlfriend, I would put my friends second. I was usurped by the boyfriends, and whatever they wanted. I didn’t understand or know how to say no. I just followed. I’ve since learned better. I have learned to tell people to leave me be. I need my alone time.

The other day, I commented that I felt lonely to a friend and he was so shocked he dropped his phone. He wanted to know how I managed to feel anything… between the running, the baking/cooking, the social events, work, and painting – how did I feel anything? And you know what? He’s right… there is no time for pity or loneliness. We only live once, and we should live it fully.

I truly believe that in life, we make mistakes and then we move on and learn from them. So, despite feeling bereft because I missed out on all of these things because I stupidly over-prioritized my boyfriends, I decided never to let moments pass me by. I know that in this life, I am not a follower. I am a force to be reckoned with… I just forgot for a small blip because I was enthralled by relationships and the “we” instead of the “me.”

However, even though we should all strive to be a force to be reckoned with, a tidal wave of greatness… we do need to eat. As my training for the SF Marathon intensifies (before I start to taper in July), I need meals that are quick and delicious. Carbs, vegetables, and protein are important in replenishing my body when I fleet footedly run 30+miles a week.

This pasta is something that takes 30 minutes from start to finishing the bowl. This time I didn’t add protein, but occasionally I’ll throw some clams, chicken, or strip steak in to make it stick to my ribs a bit more. The pasta is simple, and probably can be made from whatever is in your kitchen right now. I used whole wheat pasta and salted butter.

Pasta for the Runner In You (Kaprise Kitchen style)

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup of frozen corn, spinach, or other vegetable you want to include
  • 4 tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • parsley, chopped
  • 2 servings of pasta
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil, add pasta and cook to al dente
  2. Since my pasta only took 9 minutes to cook, I started my sauce a couple minutes before I added the pasta to the water
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan until foamy
  4. Stir in garlic and saute until translucent
  5. Add white wine and stir in tomatoes
  6. Simmer gently, adding the vegetables you desire to the sauce
  7. Salt and pepper sauce as needed
  8. Once the pasta has been drained, toss the pasta with the sauce and parsley.
  9. Sprinkle a bit of cheese over the top and enjoy!!

Easy right??



Soft Shell Crabs, and questions

So, as I mentioned yesterday, I bought soft shell crabs. The gentleman that sold them to me was very sweet and explained how to clean them properly. Once I got home, and re-stocked my refrigerator with all my new little purchases, I decided to just double check his instructions. I consulted Connie’s guide on how to clean soft shell crabs at ouichefcook before diving into my endeavor. She also has some great tips of cooking, so I followed her instructions on that also.

I never thought of myself as squeamish, until yesterday. Those little buggers didn’t move a single floppy appendage when the man at the stand explained how to clean them, but the minute I put them on my demi-sheet they were wiggling around everywhere.  I couldn’t bear the feel of them wiggling under my fingers, so I copped out and used tongs and a pair of kitchen shears to make the appropriate cuts. Even after I cut major sections of their bodies away, they continued to wiggle. I felt like a villain leaving them wiggling around in a dish until I got around to cooking them for dinner at 7, so I fried them almost immediately. Even though it was 10:00am, I just had to finish cooking the soft shell crabs before I lost my nerve. Plus, I knew I’d be obsessing about it all day if I didn’t cook them immediately.

I lightly coated both soft shell crabs in a dusting of flour, salt, and pepper. Then in a shallow pan with about a cup of Canola oil, I fried them for 3 1/2 minutes per side until they were red and golden brown.

These were, hands down, the best soft shell crabs I have ever eaten. Maybe because I had to go through all of the effort of cleaning them to eat it, but they were so good! If I knew better, I’d be embarrassed to admit that I ate both of them in a single sitting. I ate them with just a bit of salad and strawberries.

However, (BIG however) after cleaning these crabs, I was still not feeling great about it. There is something about personally being responsible for these little live creatures while you rip off their face and rip out their gills so you can devour them with a bit of lemon. I felt a bit villainous cutting into their bodies while they were clearly alive. I don’t know how much better I would feel if I were to kill them first… but I just didn’t like the feeling that I was torturing something, even if it is just shellfish. Regardless, it was a good culinary experience. It made me really consider what I do consume and the way we consume live things for sustenance.

Simple and beautiful

I know I promised to share by project last week, but after making two dozen spanikopita triangles and a huge crowd of stuffed cabbage in spicy red sauce, I was pooped. Not to mention the week I spent stressing about school and staying up all night…. so the minute I roasted my last ribeye stuffed cabbage, I was out like a light on the floor…. My puppy woke me up when she came over with her prickly little whiskers to sniff my face and check for doneness.

Clearly, in such an incapacitated mental state of frenzied studying and frenzied cooking for stress relief…. I took 1 picture. 1. Out of 4 hours of cooking… 1 single picture. So it works wonderfully, that I didn’t love either recipes I concocted. So, until they are perfect? I will withhold!

I do have tons of new recipes that I’m playing with…. port reduced portabellas, perfect ribeye steaks, pilaf, wheatberry salads, and RICOTTA GNOCCI! but, until I get my law school brain sorted out and my pictures uploaded and edited, you’re stuck with….. broccoli.

Now, this is not rocket science, nor is it the most brilliant recipe. However, this is a wonderful way to get a full serving of greens and have a healthy lunch that uses up some leftovers!

Butter Braised Broccoli

  • 1 bunch of fresh green broccoli, washed and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced thinly in half moons
  • 1 left over boiled potato
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (or if you are like my boyfriend and think butter will kill you, that fake stuff in the tub or olive oil with a sprinkle of salt is fine)
  • 1/4 cup of wheatberries, bulgar, or any other whole grain that you have easily on hand *
  • options: any other left over vegetables, or a poached egg
  1. Heat a fry pan, toss the broccoli in with a few tablespoons of water and cover until the broccoli is bright and tender.
  2. Once the water has evaporated, add the butter over high heat until the broccoli is toasted
  3. Lower the heat and add onions and other vegetables and whole grains (as you use) and stir until hot
  4. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan, cracked black pepper and salt to taste
  5. Enjoy!

My last version – I omitted the wheatberries and used a small potato I had knocking around in my fridge with the onion. I ate this with a little wedge of toasted bread.