Recipe for The Daring Kitchen
Maranda of Jolts & Jollies
was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!
Spreading Your Masa All Over the Damn Town
Back when I was little, my grandmother used to have a friend at her work who’s family would make tamales en masse at Christmas. She’d give her a few dozen and we got to feast on the little parcels of majesty for what I’d love to say was weeks after, but they barely lasted a few days. We had them steamed plain with nothing else to slow us down except for maybe some pinto beans or fluffy Spanish rice. I’ve long been searching for a killer tamale recipe in the same way as I’ve wanted the PERFECT enchilada sauce recipe. I’ve gone through MANY iterations and variations of ones that come close, but I’ve yet to hit perfection. So of course, when I found out that this month’s Daring Kitchen competition was to make tamales, I was so excited to have the opportunity to get back in the lab and start tinkering again. Continue reading Red Chile Tamales
I am consistently wowed and humbled by all of the ridiculously cool culinary folk that I have had the pleasure of meeting via Spice or Die (formerly Adesina’s Kitchen). It all started as a complete and total guilty pleasure – rather than jot down my successes in the kitchen in my little notebook, I’d shoot them, post them and share the process online for the few friends that might be interested. Well, the friends were a lot more than a few and the definition of friend quickly expanded to include folks from around the globe. It was an exciting connection that was made without my anticipation that it would turn out as such. Continue reading The Seven Links Project
The Consortium for Making Yogurt Dangerously Delicious
Yes, it’s an actual consortium. I started it as an excuse to convince myself that anything that I put greek yogurt on is immediately transformed into food that is healthy and restorative. I’m about to test my theory on a gyro platter with extra french fries.
This recipe is for days when tzatziki is far too great a challenge for you. Not that tzatziki is all that hard to make, but when I have even less in the fridge than I need for that, I turn to this shallot yogurt. Worst case scenario, I’ll used dried mint and *cringe* dried parsley to make it happen and never look back. If you DO have fresh mint and parsley, though, this one is beyond a delight, providing refreshing coolness to whatever you deign to serve with it. Continue reading Shallot Yogurt Dip
Cooler Than a Fucking…Well, You Know
This salad is too cool for school – it just stares you down like it’s the reason that your life is spectacular and you should adore it as such. The recipe is wicked simple – just a little chopping and a light vinaigrette of olive oil and lemon juice to hold it all together. It’s versatility, though, is the selling point – meaning that you can serve it with any and all things grilled or top it with feta or mix in some orzo and BAM BOOM, you’ve got yourself a new dish and a new recipe to save for the treasure trove. Don’t thank me – thank the Olive Tree Cafe for the inspiration. They hooked me on the stuff and I had to craft a similar recipe for myself. Continue reading Israeli Cucumber Salad
Grind It Out
I’ve long been in love with kefta kebabs – the addictive combination of ground lamb or beef seasoned with aromatics such as onion, garlic, parsley and mint. I first truly fell in love with them at one of my most beloved spots in NYC, The Olive Tree Cafe. Aside from being the place where I went on my very first date with my now husband, it was a haunt that my friends and I would hit up back in college. The food was cheap and plentiful, the drinks strong, and if you couldn’t score a reservation to the Comedy Cellar below the restaurant for one of the stand-up shows, you could sit at a table right next to the same comedians working that night. The place has been in my life for years and years, and crazily enough, their charcoal-grilled kefta kebabs are a huge part of my love of the place. Continue reading Kefta Kebabs
Redder Than Your Cheeks…No, Your Other Cheeks…
This is one of those recipes that I adore on a weeknight when I want to spend a modicum of time in the kitchen, and a maximum amount of time lounging on the couch with the hubs. The kind of meal that is effortless, filling and won’t have me mucking up a ton of dishes in the process. Paprikash is like sweet nectar from the gods on evenings where the only other dinner alternative is a bag of LiveSavers Sour Gummies eaten directly in bed with a bottle of water for a side dish.
Paprikash is a nourishing Hungarian stew that leverages sour cream to coax chicken (and often veal) into tenderness. Finding good paprika is key to this recipe to keep the flavors bright, so toss that old jar that’s been sitting in your pantry for ages and spring for some that’s new and vibrant red. You’ll thank me when you take your first bite and see the entire evening brighten before your eyes 🙂 Continue reading Chicken Paprikash
Sexy Ass Spinach…For Lovers Only
I know that this is one of those recipes that you think of from 90s potlucks and progressive dinners. Pop it in a bread bowl and you are completely with the era. But I still go back to this recipe for the winning combination of flavors and the lack of pre-processed ingredients used to make it. This is no TGIF Frozen Spinach Dip in the freezer aisle of the grocery store. This one is for lovers only. Shallots and garlic flavor the creamy dip and bring out the sweetness of the spinach and artichokes. Best of all, the ingredient list is simple enough that you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already. So if you need a calorie splurge to go with a little junk TV, this’ll do the trick. Bravo, here I come… Continue reading Spinach Artichoke Dip
Turkey dinner has to be one of my favorite ways to get my comfort on and eat my feelings. I know, that’s probably an uber-unhealthy confession, but in this life you love what you love. And for me, I pledge my adoration to the restorative properties of turkey and stuffing.
This particular recipe, though, is extra special in that it utilizes some of my beloved ingredients in the pantry to create a flavor profile that is so refined, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t prepared turkey this way earlier. Fragrant fennel pollen turns bland turkey into a fantastic bite, wild rice adds texture and nuttiness to ordinary stuffing, and the saltiness of the pancetta “wrapping” plays off the sweetness of roasted pear. This fetching combination of comfort and refinement is well worth tucking into your recipe book for days when you are looking for a little magic on your dinner plate. Continue reading Turkey Breast Roulade with Wild Rice Pear Stuffing
Despite the fact that turkey gets a bad name in the way of ease of cooking, it’s really not all that bad. I still don’t understand why the cooking of the Thanksgiving turkey is the litmus test for a new chef’s mettle. Screw up the turkey and you’re in deep doo-doo. Craft a stunning bird with crisp skin and moist white meat, you can cook anything.
Well, in actuality, whether you can cook or not, if you follow a couple of simple steps, you can create an expertly seasoned and prepped turkey that will fool people into thinking that you are a vet in the kitchen. Take the praise. You deserve it for being wise enough to know you can fake it ’til you make it. Continue reading Simple Herb Roasted Turkey
I never cared much for cranberry sauce until I tried out my grandmother’s suggestion to make a recipe with fresh cranberries. Aside from the brightness of flavors and use of a whole orange for zest, the star of the show was the crystalized ginger. I was an instant convert.
Many years later, upon reading through Amanda Hesser’s NYT Cookbook, I came across a chutney recipe that seemed to contain all of my favorite fall flavors. I decided to tweak it a bit and again make crystalized ginger the star of the show. The result was a lush, bright sauce that served the perfect stand-in for that canned cranberry nonsense. Continue reading Ginger Cranberry Chutney