Hello, friends! We come to you today on the heels of a quick family vacation to Las Vegas: 10 adults + 2 toddlers + 3 days of fun. I’d never been to the city, and it blew my mind. People of all sorts, casinos for miles, and the unsettling feeling that things aren’t quite as they seem (is that really Mickey Mouse or some kind of creepy impostor?!). More on that later — or see Alex’s or my Instagram feeds for some snapshots.
On the way back from the airport today, we heard renowned cookbook author Nigella Lawson on the radio talking about her new cooking show where she is a judge along with three male celebrity chefs. She strongly identified herself as a “home cook”, something altogether different from her celebrity chef cohorts.
Which made me think about our recent trip, where we dined at restaurants of our favorite celebrity chefs (Jose Andres and Mario Batalli to name a few). It was certainly a thrill, but no matter how delicious the food is at a restaurant, Alex and I are passionate about home cooking. We have the utmost respect for restaurant chefs and love eating out to be inspired, but some of the best food we’ve ever tasted have been in people’s homes — friends, family, or our own (if we’re lucky!).
As a couple who cooks, we identify with Nigella. At our core, we are, you guessed it: home cooks. There is a heart to home-cookery that brings joy to our lives. (And the restaurants we love the most attempt to recreate that heart as much as possible in a public setting.) So no matter how delicious the tuna ceviche and truffle pizza were, we’re excited to get back in our kitchen for meals like these — sweet roasted potatoes stuffed with creamy cheesy broccoli. We’ll take that over fancy food — any day.
Note 1 Tuna ceviche and truffle pizza are actually possible at home as well, and would be quite delicious. They’re not really that fancy, they just sound it. We did a scallop ceviche recipe a few years ago that is incredibly and quite easy.
Note 2 We subbed white beans for extra cheese in this recipe, making for a healthy broccoli cheese sauce. It worked so well we may want to try it for other uses.
Note 3 Sweet potatoes are really hard to photograph. This was the best we could do.
- 4 sweet potatoes
- 15-ounce can white beans (or 1½ cups cooked)
- ¾ cup water
- ½ to 1 cup Mexican blend cheese
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 bunch broccoli
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Poke the sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Place them in the oven and roast them around 45 to 50 minutes, until tender (the time will vary based on the size of the potatoes).
- Meanwhile, cut the broccoli into florets. Mince or press the garlic cloves. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, then add the garlic. Wait until the garlic sizzles, after about 30 seconds add one pinch red pepper flakes and the broccoli. Saute the broccoli until bright green and tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Drain and rinse the beans. In the bowl of a food processor, mix together the beans, ¾ cup water, ½ cup Mexican blend cheese, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Taste, and add additional seasonings if necessary, or additional water to make the sauce more creamy.
- When the sweet potatoes are done, cut out the centers and remove some sweet potato (this can be saved and eaten later). In each potato, add the bean mixture, then top with broccoli and a bit of cheese on top. (Or, mix the broccoli in with the cheese mixture and fill it into the sweet potatoes.) Place the potatoes back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve warm