Kat Stewart grew up reading a sign her mother had placed in the kitchen: “Good food is the life of the family.” Her homegrown education in all-things-delicious began early, on her family’s California avocado farm, and nowadays she shares her love of seasonal, unfussy cooking with the Roaring Fork Valley as a private chef, recipe developer, and food blogger.
“I moved to the valley in spring 2016, after college, just figuring out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go,” says the 25-year-old, an agricultural business graduate of Cal Poly who now resides in Missouri Heights. “I started posting recipes on Instagram about three years ago, made a website, and blogging has kind of evolved organically from there as my followers grew. Then about two years ago I began doing local catering of my own, doing private events and dinners around the valley.”
Stewart’s blog, “Hungry Twenties,” is based around a theme of ease and enjoyment in the kitchen. She feels strongly that fresh cooking should be a fun experience shared with others. Her sights are set on growing her online following and, once Covid-19 is less of a threat, building her business through in-home cooking workshops.
“I’m really passionate about sharing the love of cooking with people, and showing them that cooking at home can be much more simple than they think,” Stewart says. “It shouldn’t be stressful or complicated. My dream is to be able to lead interactive cooking classes and events where the guests are involved in the process of preparing a meal. Whether it’s a family gathering or a group of girlfriends together on a Friday night, or any other type of occasion, my goal is to help my clients expand their horizons and feel confident preparing a meal from scratch in their own kitchen.”
This season, Stewart knows that most families will be staying in together for the holidays. Her Christmas brunch menu is hearty, festive, and easy—leaving plenty of time for home cooks to enjoy the morning gift exchange with family before the meal is served. Head to HungryTwenties.com or follow on social media at @hungrytwenties to see more of her inspired recipes.
Christmas Morning Spritz
3 oz prosecco
1/2 oz elderflower liqueur
In a cocktail glass, add chilled prosecco, elderflower liqueur, and a splash of pomegranate juice. Garnish with pomegranate arils.
Sheet Pan Hash Browns
2-3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400℉. Coat sheet pan lined with parchment paper with a thin layer of olive oil. Shred the potatoes, immediately placing them into a medium size bowl filled with cold water. (Pro Tip: You can skip the cold water step, but the potatoes will oxidize and turn a greyish-brown due to the starches being exposed to the air. They are still edible, just not as appealing; to avoid this, place them in the water until time to use.) Grabbing a handful of shredded potatoes at a time, squeeze all of the excess liquid out and spread the potato mixture evenly over the baking sheet. Remove any excess water by pressing with a kitchen towel. Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Place in the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375℉ and cook for an additional 30 minutes (place the Croissant French Toast in the oven at this time, too!). Rotate the sheet pan halfway through. When hash browns are golden and crispy, remove from the pan and serve. Add toppings if desired.
Veggie Topping: Sautée one green bell pepper, one Fresno chili, and a finely diced shallot in olive oil until softened. Sprinkle over plated hash browns.
Ham & Cheese Topping: During the last five minutes of cooking, add 1/2 cup diced ham and 1/2 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese.
Winter Fruit Salad
1 dragon fruit
1 lb strawberries
4 oz pomegranate arils
Rinse and dry all fruit. Peel kiwis and dragon fruit. Cut kiwis in half and then in quarter-inch slices; cut dragon fruit into half-inch cubes; cut the tops off the strawberries and then into quarters. Combine the cut fruits with the pomegranate arils in a large bowl. Garnish with a few sprigs of mint.
Croissant French Toast
4 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 oz croissants, cut into two-inch pieces
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons water
Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Arrange the croissants in the prepared baking dish and the pour egg mixture over the top, covering all the croissants. Cover with foil and place in the fridge for one hour or up to overnight. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375℉. Bake, with the foil still covering the croissants, for 35 minutes. Remove the foil, continuing to bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the croissants appear golden. In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and water until smooth. Drizzle over the Croissant French Toast and serve.