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
Recipe for The Daring Kitchen
Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles
! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!
Grab Your Buns and Go to Town
I’ll admit that this is not my first time to the pork bun rodeo. From my sister’s obsession with the steamed version on Sunday’s at the dim sum parlor, to my husband’s cravings for the baked variety fresh from the Chinatown Roast Pork Bun Factory in NYC, I had a clear and compelling reason to learn how to make them for myself. I found a recipe by cookbook author Andrea Nguyen for the perfect little snacky bites and thought that I would try her recipe. But the idea of making that dough from scratch made me sleepy. Especially after cooking the pork for the buns not once but twice before stuffing. I saved myself a step and used Pillsbury dinner rolls to get the job done. The results were less than perfection in terms of the dough, but still so freakin’ delicious. Continue reading Baked Roast Pork Buns
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