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 212013
Sriracha Honey-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  I’ve read some rumblings of pumpkin fatigue on the web, this past week or so, but I’m nowhere near there yet myself. Whenever I roast a pumpkin, I try to do something interesting with the seeds. They make a great snack and it always seems a waste to throw them out. This afternoon, I wanted something sweet and spicy, and I knew a snack would be well-received in the indieculinary household.  So I cleaned the pumpkin goo off my seeds, rinsed them, and tossed them with olive oil, sriracha, honey, and crunchy Maldon sea salt. Then I stuck them […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Mar 112013
Thomas Jefferson's Contributions to American Cuisine

The next time you bite into some quintessentially American food– peach pie, mac ‘n cheese, a fried artichoke heart– you probably have Thomas Jefferson to thank. I’d had an inkling that he was responsible for bringing a lot of culinary concepts back over from France, (and thanks to a visit to Monticello, I’d known he was an avid gardener), but I didn’t know the depth of it until I was assigned a paper on the topic in “American Regional Cuisine.” Jefferson’s contributions span not only the introduction to the United States of foods and techniques popular in Europe, (particularly France, […]

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 […]

Nov 212012
Maple Jalapeno-Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

  Maple Jalapeno-Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts: this spicy, New World flavor-filled Thanksgiving offering can be Vegan. Or– it can have bacon! Adjust accordingly. I came up with this recipe years ago when I was asked to bring a vegetable side to my uncle and aunt’s Thanksgiving dinner. My uncle grills his turkey over charcoal and his spice rub is heavy on the paprika. (The resulting gravy, produced from drippings caught in a pan over the coals, is a bit of smoky heaven.) I wanted to bring a side that would complement the southwestern flavors of the main dish. And I […]

Oct 042012
Formulating a Salsa Recipe; Roasted Heirloom Tomato Salsa

  Salsa is my go-to project whenever tomatoes are so abundant I’m not sure what to do with them all. (Which isn’t to say you must be navigating an overabundance of tomatoes in order to make it– it’s delicious even when not strictly necessary.) I’ve made Roasted Heirloom Tomato Salsa twice recently, due to a profusion of tomatoes on offer from our landlords/neighbors’ beautiful and extensive vegetable garden. This morning my inbox held a last-minute request from friends in Portland looking for a good salsa recipe. (Always a happy occurrence.) The friend that wrote said her husband needs to whip […]

Jun 252012
Summer Breakfast Bread: The Quick Bread, Reconsidered.

  Quick breads are a category of baked goods which walk a line between bread and cake; they’re called “quick” because the use of chemical leaveners (baking powder, baking soda) negates any need to add yeast, or undergo the kneading, rising, and waiting that go along with it. Holiday favorites such as pumpkin bread and zucchini bread are quick breads. Squash, native to the Americas, has been a common component in American baking since colonial times. Quick breads date back to the 1800’s, when leaveners became commercially available. I studied some classic zucchini bread recipes and then took the concepts for a new spin […]