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, […]

Dec 102013
 
Cranberry Cardamom Bread with Satsuma Caramel Glaze

  So– Thanksgiving, aka High Holy Day for Cooks, has come and gone. And you are left with, shall we say, an imbalance of leftovers. The guests fell upon the remains of the Maple Jalapeno Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts like vultures; the turkey and mashed potatoes were swiftly packaged up for later; the sweet potato crisp was claimed in the spirit of a conquering nation setting flags upon distant shores. But the remainders of the cranberry sauce, of which you admittedly make too much each year, sit alone and unclaimed upon the table, despite the tart and citrus-infused deliciousness. It’s […]

Nov 192013
 
Persimmon Pumpkin Hazelnut Bread, with tips on choosing persimmons and peeling hazelnuts

I’ve adapted this recipe from one my mom made for years when I was a kid– she followed it faithfully every autumn.  The house filled with wonderful aromas while it baked. My dad still has her recipe card from the 70’s; true to the era, it calls for canned pineapple. (I feel like half the recipes of my childhood involved canned pineapple.) I love the design on this recipe card. In this updated recipe, I use this pumpkin bread palette to highlight seasonal ingredients, so I drop the canned pineapple, raisins, and walnuts and swap in diced Fuyu persimmon, pureed Hachiya persimmon, […]

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 […]

Jul 062013
 
Muhammara Popcorn Crunch

Sometimes you just need to mix up your home popcorn flavors. We’re hardly popcorn traditionalists in the indieculinary household. Butter and salt are nice, but they’re usually pushed aside in favor of some manner of hot sauce. This new popcorn recipe is one of my favorite flavor combinations in a while. I came up with it for yet another Food52 contest, (Your Best Roadtrip Snack), and here’s how it came about, from my write-up for their site: When I think back on the best road trip snack I’ve ever had, I remember driving through wine country with good friends. We […]

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 […]

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 […]

Dec 222012
 
The Christmas Tamale. Yes, It Is Time.

I grew up in California, one side of my family is Mexican, and let me be the first to tell you that it simply is not Christmas without tamales.   Some people will tell you that the proper Christmas tamale is sweet; the masa infused with cinnamon and raisins, or for the even more wayward, pineapple or strawberry. These people are wrong. The tamale you really want, this time of year, is one of savory meat in a spice-inflected red chile sauce, encased in flavorful, airy masa (treated ground cornmeal mixed with liquid and fat– more on that below), and […]

Nov 182012
 
Break Out of the Cranberry Mold With a Complex Chutney

  Fresh Cranberries Are Ready for Their Close-Up This week I found myself with a beautiful basket full of Meyer lemons, cayenne peppers, and other delights, courtesy of our landlords/neighbors/friends, who grow a veritable Garden (and orchard) of Eden. Meyer lemons are less acidic than standard lemons, (in fact, they’re thought to be a botanical cross between a lemon and an orange), and bring an engaging floral note to dishes. I also found myself with a need to roast a turkey this weekend.  We’ll be travelling to see family for Thanksgiving this year and they will make a delicious feast, […]