Apr 152014
 
Eat More Greens: Reasonably Quick Saag Paneer

If there is a more flavorful way to eat greens than as Saag Paneer, I’m not sure what it is.  While it’s a must-have dish every time we go out for Indian food, I’ve also been whipping it up at home– with various degrees of success– for at least a decade. I’ve settled on the recipe below– it’s a good compromise for me between authenticity, flavor, ease of prep, and preservation of all those vitamins in the greens. (That’s why, though it’s more common to blanch the greens and discard their cooking water, along with all the vitamins in it, […]

Oct 032013
 
Three Bean Chorizo Chili, and Some Tips on Building and Layering Flavor in Your Own Recipe

I understand from my Facebook feed that something called “football season” has begun. My interest in the sport starts and stops with the prospect of making something yummy to be eaten during a Super Bowl party in January. To this end, I am aware that chili (robust, spicy, pairs well with beer, can be made in advance) is a popular food to accompany football viewing. There are those who say beans have no place in chili. These people are wrong. Beans add contrasting texture, body, flavor, and color. And they go spectacularly well with cheese. You want to cover your […]

Sep 152013
 
Spicy Stacked Enchiladas Verdes with Roasted Pumpkin and Cheese

I’ve been making these enchiladas for years and years, but seeing the Food52 contest for “Your Best Spicy Recipe” was my impetus to finally write them up. They’re currently a potential finalist in that contest over there– wish me luck. My write-up from Food 52:  It was hard to know where to start with this contest, since I love spicy food and probably 80% of the entrees that come out of my kitchen would qualify for this contest. I settled on submitting a long-time favorite, though. I’m not sure when I decided to refine and combine elements of the ingredients and […]

Aug 222013
 
Irish Artisanal Cheese

Ireland is currently undergoing a resurgence of artisanal cheesemaking, as cheesemakers pop up across the country. I was lucky enough to encounter one of them, Silke Cropp of Corelggy Cheeses, at the Dublin Temple Bar Food Market last Saturday. Silke explained that 30 years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find any good cheese in Ireland. Now, however, artisanal cheesemakers like her are springing up around the country. Not that she’s new to the field– she began making cheese from her own animals 27 years ago. Her initial foray into cheesemaking was a solution for using up the excess […]

Jul 082013
 
A Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Shortbread Tart

This recipe was developed for Slow Food Santa Cruz. We are flush with berries here on the Central Coast, and it’s been strawberry season for well over a month now. If you’re a local, you’ve eaten them fresh, out of hand. You’ve had them over yogurt, and in salads. Now, it’s time to get indulgent. With our local strawberries still at the peak of ripeness, make a Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Shortbread Tart. In this formulation, you will crown crisp, buttery shortbread with glistening strawberries, nestling them into a rich, dark chocolate ganache. The strawberries used in developing this recipe are […]

Feb 102013
 
Fideo: A Spin through Mexican Culinary History Takes Us to the Ultimate Comfort Food

The Mexican dish “Fideo” first came to my attention several years ago, when my grandmother spoke of it while reminiscing about the dishes her mother used to make for her as a child. I’d never had it, but recently my grandma reported that she’d tried making it for herself and her youngest grandchild, and that it had been a hit with both of them. I filed it away in the “things to cook one of these days” section of my brain. (It’s right behind the amygdala.)   I’m not sure what brought fideo back to the forefront of my consciousness […]

Jan 132013
 
Good Luck Gumbo and a Guide to Developing the Right Roux

  A couple of weeks ago, I was walking around the house, preparing a grocery list and plotting some upcoming meals, including for New Year’s Day. I asked my wife what she wanted for New Year’s dinner, and she said, “Black-Eyed Peas, and Greens, of course!” Now she’s from the North and I’m from the West, but an aunt from the South has gotten us firmly entrenched in this New Year’s Day tradition. Those dishes are meant to be good luck, and to foretell a prosperous year, (the greens represent paper money; the black-eyed peas represent safety from hunger, dating […]