Jul 012013
Spicy Bourbon Shrimp, and how to formulate a pan sauce

I had a plate of spicy, boozy glazed shrimp substantially similar to these in a restaurant a few years ago; after using bread to sop up every last remainder of the sauce, I thought, “I must reverse-engineer these.” (The restaurant is now closed, else I’d link them here; I guess word about these shrimp never got out.) I don’t know how similar my final formulation is to the erstwhile restaurant’s, but I’ve grown inordinately fond of this dish and I’m  done revising the sauce– this is a winner. The sauce is created following general, popular steps for a modern-day pan […]

Jun 212013
Frozen Bananas Dipped in Mexican Chocolate Ganache and Spicy Honeyed Peanuts

  These bananas were the result of yet another Food52 contest– the theme of this one was “Your Best Frozen Dessert.” I batted around ideas for a while… I wanted to create something that wasn’t overly sweet, and that might even be a tad healthy. Then I thought– fruit, nuts, dark chocolate– do a variation on that old-time treat the “dipped banana,” and I think we have a winner. Plus Season 4 of Arrested Development just came out, and there’s always money in the banana stand. Here’s my write-up from Food52, (the recipe ended up being a Community Pick over […]

Jun 102013
Braised Peanut Curry Chicken with Thai Gremolata

I used to make my Thai curry paste from scratch; it was an afternoon-long affair, (longer, if you count the time I spent running down all the ingredients), but I was smug in my commitment to authentic flavor. I had learned to make green, red, and Panang curry pastes at the Somphet Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from the wonderful chef who runs the school out of a six-station kitchen attached to her home. She was adamant that using a food processor ruined the taste and soul of the curry paste, and that it must be done with […]

Jun 032013
Chocolate Ganache is Deceptively Simple to Make

Have a bowl, a whisk, some chocolate, some heavy cream, and a few minutes to spare? Good. Let’s make ganache. Your ratio of chocolate to cream determines the consistency of your ganache. But the ratio for a good, all-purpose ganache– pourable when warm, firm enough for truffles when chilled– is simple: 1 part cream to 2 parts chocolate. This recipe makes about 2 cups of rich, dark chocolate ganache– enough to pour over a cake for an elegant frosting, chill and then roll tablespoonfuls into balls dusted with cocoa for dozens of truffles or, say, dip a bunch of frozen bananas […]

May 272013
Banana Coconut Pancakes

I’ve been on a pancake kick lately. (See Building the Better (For You) Flapjack.) It’s a holiday Monday– time for another variation. I had some extra shredded coconut in the pantry following a misadventure last week in developing a recipe for a sweet and savory Thai macaroon, and a subsequent success with a Toasted Coconut and Tamarind Cocktail. I also had a couple of ripe bananas– past the point where we’d like to eat them out of hand, but perfect for baking.   I spent a little time in Thailand in the summer of 2001, (hard to believe that’s been […]

May 272013
Cuban-Style Black Bean Tostadas with Crispy Kale, Cotija, Avocado, and Lime

Years ago, a friend came home from an educational trip to Cuba with a basic recipe for Cuban black beans. She made them for me once; I took note of the flavor profile, and they’ve been a staple in my kitchen ever since.  The method she brought back seasoned the beans with cumin, garlic, Cubanelle peppers, and of course, salt.  Cubanelles can be hard to find here in the States, but Anaheims are a decent substitute. I take some creative license and often incorporate– depending on the season– spicier peppers (usually jalapenos or serranos),  sauteed kale, mushrooms, or summer squash, […]

May 242013
The Coco Tamarindo - A Summer Cocktail

Just in time for the start of summer, I give you– The Coco Tamarindo. I developed this recipe for a Food52 contest, too– the theme was coconut. It didn’t make it into the finals over there, but it sure made its way into our hearts around the indieculinary household. It spawned a joke– “when marital projects collide.” My wife came home from work– intending an entire evening of more work– only to find that I was in the middle of a cocktail photo shoot on the deck. My project won. My write-up from Food52, below: The journey to my new […]

May 182013
Strawberry Balsamic and Olive Oil Breakfast Cake

Every so often I step out on this site and develop a recipe for Food52.com instead. (There are contests! It’s fun!) But I’m thinking about my main site, this one, the whole time… really, I am. Don’t be like that. Anyhow, I came up with this cake for Food52 last month. Now that the whole contest it was involved in is over, I figured I’d post it here too.  They took some gorgeous shots of the cake while they were testing it. (Check them out.) The recipe ended up being a “Community Pick” on the site. Read up on the genesis of […]

Apr 082013
Building the Better (For You) Flapjack

  I love a good pancake/flapjack for Sunday morning breakfast as much as the next girl, but unless I want to lose a whole weekend day to lethargy, napping, and regret, I tend to avoid them. Simple carbs soaked in maple syrup are no way to start a productive day. Yesterday, I was at the Westside Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market and discovered that the strawberry crop has arrived! I bought 3 baskets of local, organic, peak-of-red-ripeness strawberries and happily carted them home. I then became fixated on the idea of serving them over pancakes with whipped cream for Sunday morning […]

Mar 252013
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders with Honey Butter-Glazed Spring Vegetables over Goat Cheese Polenta

  Turning out a crunchy and delicious fried chicken tender is easier than popular mythology would have you believe. The chicken tender is a small, oblong piece of white meat connected to each breast, which is usually separated during the butchering process– almost like a breast in miniature. These 4-6 inch long, thin, boneless pieces will fry up quickly in the pan, and you’ll get a favorable ratio of crispy batter to meat, if you’re into that sort of thing– and who isn’t? Here’s what you do: marinate 12 chicken tenders in a mixture of buttermilk and your favorite hot […]