Friday, January 28, 2011

Tuscan Ribollita

Photo Credit: Stephen Lewis
I was lucky enough to have studied at a small cooking school in Florence. Our "text" was a hodge podge of documents comprised of basically an old Italian grandma telling some stories and doing her best to not be vague about cooking processes that are second nature to her. And from her lips, then translated by someone who is about a 3rd grade English level.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beef Negimaki

I served this wonderful party food on New Year's Eve, for a small gathering of family and some visiting friends from London. The presentation was lovely and interesting, and the dish proved a real crowd-pleaser. If you've ever had one of those fouffy faux rolls of beef tenderloin at a sushi restaurant, it was likely a version of negi maki.

As finger foods go, this is straightforward and healthy, with a deep flavor. Too often hors d'oeuvres depend on puff pastry, butter, or loads of cheese. The greasy bits are bad for fancy clothes, and the goo just weighs you down too much prior to the meal. Leave it to the Japanese to simplify and beautify the humble hors d'oeuvres.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Meatless Mondays: Veggie Burgers

Veggie burgers don't need much of an introduction, but they are in need of some revitalization. They've left their nutritionalist roots for $greener pastures - you can get them at a lot of fast food restaurants and their cowardly commercially available cousins are only a bit less plastic. They have no tofu, no nuts, and no soul.

These, however, are a laundry list of the whole foods you want to crowbar into your diet, and here somehow (cumin and mustard, amen!) they taste fantastic when combined.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

I've been on a soup kick lately, especially soups that taste way more decadent than they actually are. I've made 5 different butternut squash soups in the last 2 months, but the flavor profile here is the deepest and most balanced.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meatless Monday: Curried Brassicae, Pt. I

The family's got everything. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, radishes; they're all in there. Curry is exotic, hot and attainable. Cue the moody lighting ... shorvedar subzi is the love-child of Brassica oleracea and all my favorite spices.

I made it this week and ate it for three meals a day 'til it was gone. It takes the chill right off of January.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Curried Tuna Salad

My future mother-in-law has a talent. Regardless of when we arrive at their gorgeous lake cabin in Northern Minnesota, there is always food ready. Flights can be delayed, or early, we can drive in, we can get a ride doesn't matter. There's always good food in the fridge, just waiting for our (hungry) arrival.

Her trick is make-ahead dishes that can be refrigerated and not loose any tastiness. This recipe is actually tastier if you make it ahead, she taught me. Like any mayo-based salad, it can be served on lettuce wraps, toast, crackers, whatever your heart desires. I happen to hate diesel mayo, aka full fat, so this uses just enough of the light stuff to keep the salad together.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What To Do With Bacon Jam

Bacon Jam and 15-spice Ketchup, ready for application.
A few weeks ago, I posted about Bacon Jam as I was making it for Christmas gifting. I enjoy project cooking, so the actual making of the jam was a great time. But the applications of this spread are far better and varied than I realized. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Meatless Monday: Country-Fried Seitan

Vegan-friendly crowd-pleasing kid food exists, in this case mostly due to mustard. My friend Jess makes this recipe at home and it was always my answer to her "do you want me to bring anything?"  I love the mustardy flavor, but it also has two other ingredients that will get your vegetarian friends to offer to do the dishes if you use them together: seitan and nutritional yeast.