Chef Yolanda Banks

Epicurean, Culinary Instructor & Cookbook Author

Acquire a taste for Fresh Fabulous

Bringing seasonal, healthy, global cuisine to your kitchen.

Fresh is Fabulous

I make delicious food that happens to be healthy... moderation over deprivation!

Side Dishes

Black-Eyed Peas  
This dish harkens back to West Africa, where black-eyed peas were eaten prior to European arrival. In the South, they turn up with rice in a dish called Hoppin’ John. Hoppin’ John is traditionally served on New Year’s Day and is said to bring good luck.

Ingredients

1 pound dried black-eyed peas, sorted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 smoked turkey wings, legs or necks
1 whole bay leaf
low-sodium chicken broth
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
cooked rice

Method

1. Place peas in a large pot and cover with water; soak overnight. Once soaked, rinse and     drain; set peas aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a the same large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic; cook     about 5 minutes or until soft.
3. Add turkey necks, bay leaf, and peas to the pot. Cover with broth; bring to a boil. Partially     cover and reduce heat to low.
4. Cook peas, stirring occasionally, for about and hour or until peas are very tender and broth     has thickened.
5. Remove turkey from pot. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Discard     bones and return meat to the pot; mix thoroughly.
6. Peas should absorb all the broth when done and be soft and creamy. If broth is too thick,     add more chicken broth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve over rice.

Servings
6

Source
Yolanda Banks

 


Brussels Sprouts “Cleo”  
Cleo is an amazing tapas restaurant in LA. This is my version of their signature and most popular dish.

Ingredients

2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup capers packed in salt, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Method

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place brussels sprouts on a sheet pan; add oil, salt and pepper and toss well to coat. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until very golden and tender.
2. When sprouts are done, toss with remaining ingredients. Serve hot.

Servings
8

Source
Yolanda Banks

 


Cauliflower Couscous  
To extract the corn “milk”, scrape cobs up and down using the back of a chef’s knife. It will release a creamy, white-ish pulp from the corn.

Ingredients

1 large head of cauliflower, leaves and tough core removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Method

1. Cut the florets off the head of the cauliflower; transfer to a food processor. Pulse until they resemble coarse couscous.
2. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat; add oil. Once hot, add “couscous”, red pepper, salt and pepper. Stirring to heat. Cook for about 5 minutes or until cauliflower is hot, but still has some texture.
3. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Add cilantro; keep warm over low heat.

Source
Yolanda Banks


Chile Orange Acorn Squash  
Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted Butter, melted
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
4 medium acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine all ingredients except squash in a casserole dish; stir well to combine.
3. Place squash cut side down in the casserole dish; bake for about 40-45 minutes or until     tender.
4. (The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.) If not, remove squash and     set aside Continue to cook the sauce in the oven until it has reduced.
5. Drizzle the squash with the sauce; serve warm.

Servings
8

Source
Yolanda Banks

 


“Creamed” Corn  
To extract the corn “milk”, scrape cobs up and down using the back of a chef’s knife. It will release a creamy, white-ish pulp from the corn.

Ingredients

4 ears corn, husked, kernels removed from the cob, along with corn “milk”
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Place corn, corn “milk”, water, salt and pepper into a blender; reserving 1 cup of corn kernels. Puree corn until smooth. If puree is too thick for your liking, thin it out with more water.
2. Transfer corn puree and reserved kernels to a skillet over medium heat. Stir well and cook for 3-4 minutes or until kernels are just tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
3. If you’d like, you can finish with fresh herbs of your choice. In the summer, I prefer my corn prepared simply with the fewest ingredients possible.

Notes

Bonus: To turn this into corn soup, add more water or broth to reach desired consistency. Adjust seasoning to taste. If you’d like to enrich this dish, feel free to add a couple tablespoons of heavy cream.
Servings: 4

Source
Yolanda Banks

 


Creamy Polenta  
 

Ingredients

2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup quick cooking polenta
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream, optional

Method

1. Bring broth and salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and gradually whisk in polenta, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring until thickened, 5 minutes. Stir in the butter to combine; add heavy cream, if using. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot. (If polenta becomes too thick, whisk in more broth.)

Source
Yolanda Banks


Cumin-Cinnamon Roasted Carrots  
Ingredients

2 pounds baby carrots
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, pounded
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place carrots onto a large rimmed baking sheet.  Toss with remaining ingredients; stirring well to coat.
2.  Roast for 40-45 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes.  Cook carrots until lightly browned and very tender.

Servings
8

Source
Yolanda Banks

 


Edamame & Pea Puree  
 

Ingredients

bag frozen edamame
frozen peas
cup, vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chiffonade

Method

1. Place edamame and peas in a microwave safe bowl; cover and allow to steam for 5-6 minutes.
2. Place steamed edamame and peas into a food processor along with broth, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and mint. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If puree is too thin, add more broth to achieve desired consistency.
3. Puree may be made up to 3 days in advance. Store in an airtight container, refrigerated. Reheat, covered, over low heat until hot. Source: Yolanda Banks

Source
Yolanda Banks

 


Grandaddy’s Buttermilk Biscuits  
Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons cold shortening, cut into pieces
1 cup cold buttermilk

Method

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a heavy-duty baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk. Using a fork, stir the mixture until just combined. (DO NOT OVER MIX!)
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over itself 5 times. Pat the dough into a disk about 1 1/2 inches thick. Using a floured biscuit cutter or glass, cut the dough into the desired size. Repeat until dough is gone. Bake until biscuits have risen and are a light golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.

Servings
6

Source
Yolanda Banks

 


Grilled Corn on the Cob with Cilantro Lime Butter  
 

Ingredients

6 large corn on the cob, husks and silks removed
Cilantro Lime Butter
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Method

1. Heat a grill to medium-high. Once hot, place corn onto grill. (I like my corn a little charred in spots. If you prefer, you can soak the corn in cold water for 10 minutes. This will prevent the corn from charring.).
2. Cook corn for about 3 minutes per side. Remove corn from grill. Brush immediately with Cilantro Lime Butter.
3. For the Cilantro Lime Butter: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; stirring well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. (Reserve leftover butter for another use.).
Servings: 6

Source
Yolanda Banks

 


Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges with Honey Glaze  
Potatoes can be par-cooked up to two days in advance. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Use can substitute butternut or kabocha squash for the sweet potatoes.

Ingredients

3 large sweet potatoes, unpeeled
2 tablespoons canola oil
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

Method

1. Place the potatoes in a large pot of water; boil until just tender. Cool completely. Slice each potato lengthwise into eighths.
2. Heat grill to high. Brush wedges with oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill until lightly golden on all sides; about 1 minutes per side.
3. In a small bowl, combine honey, vinegar, and thyme; mix well. Brush honey glaze onto potatoes, grilling until caramelized; about 1 minute. Turn, brush with glaze and grill for another minute.

Source
Yolanda Banks

 


Haricot Verts Mediterranean Style  
Haricot Verts is French for green beans. They are a more tender, longer, thinner counterpart to the common green bean seen in America, thus they take half the time to cook.

Ingredients

4 cups haricot vert, stem ends removed, blanched
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water; set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans, cook until crisp-tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain beans and transfer to water bath to stop the cooking. Once beans are cold, shake off excess water. The blanched beans can be refrigerated for a couple days until ready to use.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; once hot add oil. Add tomatoes, olives, and oregano; saute for 3 minutes. Add beans, vinegar, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until beans are warm. Add mint; stir to combine.
4. Beans may be served hot or room temperature.
Servings: 8

Source
Yolanda Banks


Hominy Puree  
Puree can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store, refrigerated, in an airtight container. Re-heat over low heat until hot.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 14.5 ounce cans hominy, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 small lime, juiced
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Method

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add hominy, saute for about 3-5 minutes, stirring until light golden.
2. Add broth, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste; reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes, or until hominy has softened.
3. Using an immersion blender, pulse hominy and puree to desired consistency. (I like it pretty smooth, but you can do it however you’d prefer.) Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary; stir in cilantro.

Servings
4

Source
Yolanda Banks


Mashed Potatoes  
If you want extra creamy potatoes, use a ricer instead of a masher then add butter and milk. For a really rich mashed potato, use cream instead of milk.

Ingredients

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeles and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup 2 % milk

Method

1. Place potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan; add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork; about 20 minutes.
2. Drain potatoes, and return to pan. Place over low heat, add butter; using a potato masher, mash well. Add milk, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Continue to mash until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.

Source
Yolanda Banks

 


Mashed Sweet Potatoes  
Ingredients

2 pounds sweet potatoes, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons unsalted Butter, optional
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pierce potatoes with a fork; place whole, unpeeled potatoes     in a single layer onto a piece of foil.
2. Bake potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size. (You want the potatoes to     be very soft.)
3. When potatoes are done, cool for about 15 minutes or just until cool enough to handle.
4. Using a knife, remove the skin from the potatoes, and place into a food processor or mixer.     Add butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Process or mash potatoes until smooth and     creamy; serve hot.

Servings
6

Source
Yolanda Banks

 


Mexican Rice  
Ingredients

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup long grain rice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth

Method

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring until translucent; about 2 minutes. Add rice, cook for another 2 minutes to toast the rice.
2. Add tomato paste, salt, pepper, and broth; bring to a boil. Stir once, reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the broth has absorbed.
3. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; serve.

Servings
6

Source
Yolanda Banks


Mexican Slaw  
Haricot Verts is French for green beans. They are a more tender, longer, thinner counterpart to the common green bean seen in America, thus they take half the time to cook.

Ingredients

Lime Ancho Vinaigrette
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
kosher salt, to taste
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 head Napa cabbage, cored and shredded
1 2-pound jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 large red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Method

1. In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, vinegar, honey, chile powder, and salt. Slowly drizzle in the oil; whisking constantly to emulsify. Vinaigrette can be made up to 2 days in advance, store, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before using.
2. Combine cabbage, jicama, bell pepper, and cilantro in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Pour half of the vinaigrette over the slaw; toss well. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning or add more vinaigrette if needed. Slaw can be made up to 1 day in advance; store, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Source
Yolanda Banks


Mexican Street Corn  
On the streets of Mexico, you can find fresh ears of corn grilling over an open flame. Instead of just spreading butter on it, they take it a step further and spread a thick layer of crema (a thick, rich Mexican cream), cheese, chile, and a squeeze of lime. I like to sprinkle a bit of cilantro to add a bright, lemony finish.

Ingredients

4 ears corn on the cob, grilled
1/4 cup crema, mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
1/4 cup cotija or feta cheese
2 teaspoons chipotle powder
2 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
4 lime wedges

Method

1. Spread each ear of grilled corn with about 1 tablespoon of crema, if using. (This allows the cheese and other ingredients to stick to the corn.). You can use butter, but the crema gives the corn and extra tangy, richness that takes this simple dish to another level.
2. Sprinkle each ear with cheese, chile powder, and cilantro. Squeeze one lime wedge over each ear of corn. Serve immediately.

Notes

This makes a terrific side dish with any grilled meat or fish.

Servings
4

Source
Yolanda Banks


Oven Roasted Potatoes  
Ingredients

1 pound small red skinned potatoes, halved
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves only
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place potatoes, rosemary, and olive oil onto a large baking sheet. Season liberally with salt and pepper; mix well.
2. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and cooked all the way through.

Servings
4

Source
Yolanda Banks


Roasted Butternut Squash  
Ingredients

1 2-3 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place peeled and diced squash in a single layer, onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
2. Drizzle oil over squash and season with salt and pepper, mix well so that all the squash is seasoned and coated with oil. Put squash in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Notes

If you can’t find butternut squash, you may use Kabocha, acorn, or pumpkin instead.

Servings
6

Source
Yolanda Banks


Sauteed Greens  
You can substitute any leafy greens for the collards. Mustards, turnip, swiss chard, and escarole, all work well.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
3 pounds collard greens, stems removed, leaves halved lengthwise
kosher salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey

Method

1. Stack several leaves on top of each other, roll tightly like a cigar. Cut into thin strips; repeat with remaining greens and set aside.
2. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot add oil, onions, and garlic, cook for about 3 minutes or until onions are translucent.
3. Add greens, season liberally with salt; mix well to coat. Add crushed red pepper, vinegar, and honey.
4. Saute for about 5 minutes or until greens have become wilted and tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Servings
8

Source
Yolanda Banks


Southern-Style Collard Greens  
Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper lakes
2 whole bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 smoked turkey wings, legs or necks
32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
5 bunces collard greens, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Lawry’s seasoned salt, to taste
onions, finely chopped
tomatoes, diced

Method

1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat; add oil and onion. Cook for about 3 minutes or     until translucent.
2. Add garlic, red pepper, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook stirring for about 2 minutes.
3. Add the turkey wings and broth; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for     about 20-30 minutes or until the meat is beginning to fall off the bone.
4. Add greens, vinegar, and sugar to the pot. Cook for about 45 minutes to an hour or until     greens are very tender. Taste and add more seasoned salt to taste.
5. Remove turkey wings from pot. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from the bones.     Discard bones and add meat back to the pot, mixing thoroughly.

Servings
8

Source
Yolanda Banks


Sweet Corn Pudding  
Ingredients

4 cups frozen corn, thawed
4 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons all purpose white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a square baking dish; set aside.  Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor until almost smooth.
2.  Pour pudding into prepared baking dish.  Bake pudding until golden brown and center is just set, about 40 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes; serve hot or at room temperature.

Servings
6

Source
Yolanda Banks


Turkey Meatballs  
You can substitute beef or pork for the turkey or use a combination of both.

Ingredients

16 ounces ground turkey thighs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 large egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrots, grated
1/2 large onion, grated
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups homemade or good quality store bought marinara

Method

1. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey through red pepper. Mix until just combined. (DO NOT overmix or meatballs will be heavy.)
2. Using a level 1/4 cup measure, form mixture into 12 meatballs. Place meatballs onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
3. Meatballs can be made up to 3 weeks in advance if freezing. To freeze: Place tray with meatballs into the freezer and freeze until firm. Transfer meatballs to a large Ziplock bag and freeze until using.
4. To cook: Preheat oven to 450 degrees if not frozen and cook for about 12-15 minutes or until juices run clear and meatballs are nicely browned. If frozen: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and cook for 15-20 minutes.
5. Transfer cooked meatballs into sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Notes

Serve with your favorite pasta or make a meatball slider by serving it in a roll topped with fresh mozzarella.

Servings
4

Source
Yolanda Banks


Wild Mushroom Risotto  
Risotto is an Italian rice dish made with short-grain rice such as Arborio or Carnaroli. It is cooked slowly in a broth so it releases the starch and results in a creamy consistency. It is typically served as a primi or first course.

Ingredients

1 cup dried pocini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup shallots, finely chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 cups arborio rice, or Carnaroli rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups low sodium chicken broth, hot
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
(null) white truffle oil

Method

1. In a small bowl, soak porcini and hot water until softened, about 15 minutes. Lift porcini out, rinse, dry and coarsely chop; set aside. Pour soaking liquid through a sieve to remove any grit; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add shallots, cook, stirring, until shallots become translucent; about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add rice, stirring to coat, cook for 1 minute.
3. Add wine and reserved mushroom liquid; stir until almost all liquid has absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer until almost all broth has been absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Repeat, adding remaining broth 1 cup at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next.
4. Cook, stirring frequently until rice is tender and creamy; about 20 minutes. Stir in reserved porcini, cheese and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve risotto in shallow bowls. Drizzle truffle oil onto each serving.

Notes

The perfect risotto, spreads out a little when placed into the bowl. The risotto is too dry if it forms a mass in the bowl. If it’s too dry, add more broth.

Servings
6

Source
Yolanda Banks

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Chef Yolanda's Latest Creations

 

 
 
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