I Think It’s Rad(icchio) When You Shake Your Couscous
Hi, my name is Angela and I am addicted to high drama. And not the Bravo-flavored, housewife sassin’, backstabbing kind. I’m talking about the cinematic moments where your life blurs into a movie and you get to pen the script and set the soundtrack all by yourself. So it’s no surprise that I live for instances that make my heart ache from their sheer beauty, typically created by a bit of music, an inspiring ingredient, or a splash of design. And sometimes, when I am disgustingly lucky, I’ll get all of the above in one fell swoop. My friends know that in these moments, I’ll tend to gush and grow a little manic trying to cram in my fill, but I chalk it up as a response that makes me inherently me. The moments between these fits is merely life pausing for me, only to resume when my next blissful obsession hits. Continue reading Couscous Salad with Grilled Radicchio, Grapes and Goat Cheese
Is That Phallic-Looking Potato a Dictator?
I’ve been wistful this week, thinking about my fam and the kinds of laughter that would only appear when all of us were together. The kind that makes you cry like a fool and wheeze, you can’t even get it out. Around the time that my little sister was first getting to know my then boyfriend-now husband, she laid some strict rules on him to be accepted into the family (all of this according to her alone, by the way). The most important one of the three (which I remember also included him doing a jump kick and possibly joining Facebook?) was to say something so ridiculously funny to her, she’d break out into silent laughter. It turned out this wasn’t much of a challenge given that my husband tends to be fucking hilarious the majority of the time, but I loved that my sister’s request was so telling of what was so very prized to her and to all of us in the fam. My husband completed a crew that has always (and will always) appreciate the times where we all get to do nothing but chill – I’m talking a backyard feast with plenty of grey goose, barbecue or blue crabs, farmer’s market produce gifted to my dad for playing music for the vendors, and an inordinate amount of stupid puns. Continue reading Potato Salad with Lemon Tarragon Aioli and Haricots Verts
Your Aioli is Showing
Call me crazy, but could aioli be one of the sexiest substances of all time? Is it because Teddy Pendegrass is playing in the background that I am feel the love for humble eggs and oil coaxed into lusciousness? Because as far as I am concerned, aioli, when I look at you, it’s time for love (so baby, get ready)! Continue reading Fried Plantains and Cilantro Aioli
The Colonel never did anything for me growing up – to this day, I am wedded to the addictive blend of herbs and spices that form a layer of lipsmacking goodness around the crisp skinned chickens roasted at the Peruvian joints in Northern Virginia (or for us OGs, two up – two down*) And I’m lying when I say joints, for there is only one location that has my heart, and that’s El Pollo Rico. The exterior of the restaurant looks like a nondescript warehouse with bumping fluorescent lighting and a steady clip of customers zipping in and emerging with styrofoam containers and brown paper bags almost translucent from the french fry grease. Like a speakeasy for chicken, my dad would always run in, broker the deal and grab the bounty, returning with parcels that perfumed the car with the scent of cumin, garlic and majesty. When we finally got home and tucked into the feast, it was scandalously good – the chicken was served with fat steak fries, and both items would receive a ceremonial dip in a mustard/mayo sauce and then a dollop of fresh minced jalapenos before making it to my greedy mouth. And if I was lucky (really lucky), they’d still have fried yucca in stock, which we’d bring home in lieu of the fries. Cracklingly golden on the outside and tender in the center, this was the first preparation I’d ever had for yucca and I was sold for life. In fact, I loved it so much that I had to find a way to prepare it at home – I couldn’t wait for trips to the right coast to get my yucca fix. Continue reading Fried Yucca with Mojo Criollo
Smother Me with Deliciousness
Sweet corn tomalito, do you want to go steady? Can I wear your letter jacket? Wanna go to prom together? Because I think you’re the bees knees. I fell in love the first time I tasted you at Chevy’s, tipsy from bathtub sized margaritas with plenty o’ salt, sneaking nibbles of you in an effort to extend the fun. I had to find a recipe hack on the web in order to bring you home with me, and it turned out that I had to dedicate a full-on hour to get you hot and ready before I could eat you up. You were a corn souffle of out and out perfection, and it meant that you needed time to rise to the occasion. But wait! How could I make things a little more dangerous? I know – I’d smother you with spicy chorizo, tri-colored sweet peppers, onions and garlic and then devour you with no hesitation and every last bit of my love. And yes, I’m willing to share you with everyone who wants you, just as long as I can still get a taste. Sound like a plan? Continue reading Sweet Corn Tomalito with Chorizo and Peppers
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
Although this is barely a recipe, it can be construed as a damn good feast all by its lonesome. String beans honestly don’t need a whole lot of dressing up in order to be brilliant, and this recipe is the perfect proof of that. Garlic, butter and olive oil form a dressing for the tender crisp beans, showcasing their sweetness. Why mess with perfection?
If you like a little bit of added texture, feel free to toss in a smattering of slivered almonds. Or add dried cherries or cranberries for tartness. Whatever you choose to do, make it your own and don’t expend a lot of effort. The green beans are the stars of the show here. Continue reading Sauteed String Beans with Garlic
Not that I haven’t always been an odd duck, but as a child, I didn’t eat any sort of seafood except for oysters. Fish was assumed to taste the way it smelled, crabs looked like spidery ocean monsters, and shrimp had to have been the grossest looking things I’d ever seen. But oysters! How I loved them so! My favorite preparation was fried with lots of lemon and ketchup, and I would adore the nights our family and extended family would pile into the car to go to the Chesapeake Bay Seafood House for their All-You-Can-Eat extravaganza. I’ve grown to become EEO about seafood (I’m sorry for judging you guys!) and adore just about every fresh catch I can get my hands on, but oysters hold a special place in my heart. Continue reading Oyster Rockefeller Dressing
I’ve never loved candied yams with their cloyingly sweet topper of marshmallow goo. Given all of the glory on the Thanksgiving table, I’ve always felt that they sullied the experience. My husband would adamantly disagree, of course, given that the marshmallow travesty happens to be his favorite item at Thanksgiving. What to do other than craft him a recipe that might convince him that the candied yam business isn’t the be all end all of sweet potato majesty. Continue reading Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Grand Marnier Pecan Crumble
This recipe is the kind of trouble that you want to get into. It takes the comfort that is a warm bowl of fluffy mashed potatoes, keeps the butter and cream quotient high, but then flings it into the stratosphere or mischief with the addition of white truffle oil. Oh man, is this where it’s at.
For those that don’t keep a bottle of white truffle oil handy, go out and get some. You know that I am a fan of recipes to wow the unexpected dinner guest, and truffle oil is like a trusty friend that is there to turn a soup, canapé or side dish into something exotic and glorious. You don’t need a whole lot of the stuff to go a long way, and a few drops bring this earthy richness to a dish that is complex and worth savoring. Case in point with this dish – mashed potatoes go from being the foundation for pools of gravy to a star in their own right. And you have to admit, mashed potatoes have deserved a little glory all along, haven’t they? Continue reading Truffled Mashed Potatoes