String Cheese for G-Strings
The weather’s getting warmer and you want to fill your tummy without working on that muffin top. If stripper aerobics classes don’t put the sparkle in your crystal heels, you might want to shave off some calories another way.
When I first saw the shockingly seductive pics of baked treats using wonton and eggroll wrappers on Pinterest, I was skeptical. Could some cooking spray and a quick trip in the oven beget lacy, crunchy appetizer happiness? I ran the first test on my classic crab rangoon recipe and was literally floored – each light and crispy bite was greaseless and guilt-free. Plus, my kitchen wasn’t covered with a sheen of oil from manning a deep fryer. Continue reading Baked Mozzarella Sticks with Butternut Squash Marinara
Your Cans Totally Rock
Let me teach you guys a magic trick. How’d you like to learn how to take some old cans in your pantry and elevate the contents to heavenly bites of goodness? This white bean bruschetta is downright dirty in its simplicity – crack open a can of white beans, toss with a fresh vinaigrette of lemon, rosemary and garlic, and slather the deliciousness on toasted crostini. Continue reading White Bean Bruschetta with Rosemary and Lemon
Recipes for a Cure
This saucy dish is part of a collection of recipes written to benefit the National MS Society. In 2008, my sister Lexi (then 21 years old) was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. We formed a team of friends and family called MS is BS (Mind Strong is Body Strong), and each year we raise thousands of dollars for MS research. This recipe was written in tribute to a generous donation towards my $1500 fundraising minimum for the 2013 Capital Challenge Walk, a two-day 50K walk through Maryland, Virginia and DC. Learn more about team MS is BS on our website at http://msisbs.org
Shrooms and Dinosaurs. For Real.
In crafting this recipe, I was reminded of the fact that the reason I love to cook is because it is one of the few tasks that allows me to both obsess over ingredients and elevate them at the same time. The creation of this recipe started with a memory – I was in Italy for the summer on a study abroad (aka. the photography boondoggle in Europe) with my good friend Lauren. There were easily a hundred of us living in Orvieto, all crammed into the same little hotel, each with our favorite spots in the town that we had claimed as our own. Lauren was in love with this one haunt for lunch, and not only did she try to eat there just about every day, but she informed me over a bottle (or two) of white wine that she tended to always order the same thing – the simply dressed green salad and tagliatelle with fresh porcini mushrooms. I loved the town already, but that lunch made me weep with joy at how lucky we were to be there. Continue reading Wild Mushroom Cannelloni with Kale Pesto and Bechamel
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
Let Me Take You Down, Cuz I’m Going to…
Today I want to talk about straddling in the kitchen. You know, working the line between flavors, textures and temperatures to your own advantage. Juxtaposing ingredients to ensure that every bite is both sassy and class. It’s similar to the way that a chocolate-covered pretzel or a good and salty margarita scratch some primordial itch that occasionally pops up and leaves you clawing the walls for the smallest taste of the intoxicating combination. And if you don’t scratch said itch, you feel a need to indiscriminately throat chop everyone around you, until someone plies your greedy mouth with a salted caramel cupcake. I totally approve – desperate times call for desperate throat chops, and I’d kill a man for salted caramel. Continue reading Strawberry and Goat Cheese Crostini with Chocolate Olive Oil
Once You Go Black…
Black beans and rice are soul mates as far as I’m concerned, and it has nothing to do with the fact that I am Brazilian and my peeps national dish consists of the aforementioned babies. Nah, it’s far more than simple genetics that accounts for my adoration. Black beans, glistening and gorgeous from a slow-simmer with a ham hock in the bath with them, are a treat that gets exponentially better the longer you let them hang out. Serve ’em up the next day and they’re gloriously fat from soaking up all the juices from the onions, garlic and spices. Inky and complex, I crave them fortnightly and will grow frantic (nay, manic) if I don’t make a pot to quell the storm that is my craving. Continue reading Cuban Black Beans and White Rice
Recipe for the Daring Kitchen
This month, The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax
& Lis and they chose to present patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness. We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties.
I Want a Taste of You, Baby Cakes
This recipe was all the doing of my buddy Karen – you see, this month has been banana cakes and not in the good way. My schedule’s relentless and although I’ll never cop to biting off more than I can chew, my mouth is as full as my plate and work is looking like an endless buffet. Karen and I are cooking buddies, seeking out new techniques in the kitchen and regularly participating in the monthly challenges proffered up by the online foodie club, The Daring Kitchen.
Karen immediately dug through her mental rolodex of recipe majesty, a good thing because my brain was more fried than a bucket of chicken from the Colonel. She remembered a fabulous black bean cake recipe from Emeril Lagasse would be perfect to make. I was relieved for her quick wit and paired the cakes with a fresh pineapple salsa enlivened with piquant red jalapenos and a simple avocado crema made with greek yogurt and lime. The final result was ridiculously good – a composed plate that looked like it should be served at a fancy pants restaurant rather than the picnic table in my backyard. Plus, the time we spent cooking was a welcome respite from the piles of work in front of me. Good times! Continue reading Black Bean Cakes with Pineapple Salsa and Avocado Crema