Archive for the ‘recipe’ Category

Chili-glazed pork and sweet potato hash

In recipe on February 16, 2011 at 7:31 am

Mad‘s back with another guest post! Don’t forget to head over to her blog for the whole Dinner & an Album feature!

I consider myself a fan and connoisseur of pork in just about any formation, be it loins, ribs, roast, chops, or the king of pork products, BACON, so it’s always fun to try out a new approach to cooking this most appetizing of meats. This recipe for chili-glazed pork was relatively simple, and goes exceedingly well with the side dish of savory sweet potato hash.

You can do a lot of things with pork tenderloin since its shape gives it a propensity for being stuffed with any number of hearty delectables, but in this case we’re taking the easy route by simply coating the outside with salt, pepper, olive oil, chili powder and maple syrup. (Who wants to bother with kitchen twine anyway?) Admittedly, I did go a bit heavier on the “glazed” part of this recipe than the “chili” part, but the proportions are pretty malleable depending on your preference for spiciness/sweetness. The end result is an aromatic, mouthwatering main course that is also quick and filling.

If the pork was the famous, high-paid star of this dinner production, the hash was the underrated character actor who ultimately stole the show. Deepak Chopra has this thing about “the flavors of life,” which describes the benefits of a diet that includes a wide range of color and texture. This idea appeals to both the artist and foodie in me, and the dark oranges and greens of the potato hash are definitely as attractive as they delicious. Though the ingredients may seem sparse (it’s literally sweet potatoes, shallots and spinach), the mélange is comforting and savory and packs a nutritional punch to boot. Let’s hear it for unintentionally eating healthy!

Chili-glazed pork & sweet potato hash Read the rest of this entry »

Perfect chocolate chip cookies

In recipe on February 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I adore superlative titles in recipes. The BEST BBQ sauce? There! MOST creamy mashed potatoes? I’ll try it! PERFECT chocolate chip cookies? Huzzah!

If anyone deserves to use ultimate adjectives, it’s the good folks over at Cook’s Illustrated. They will try every iteration of a recipe in order to provide you with its Platonic ideal.

Now, I usually cut corners in the kitchen. For this recipe, though, I followed every step (okay, almost every step). I’d advise you to do the same if you want these expert results.

Because you know what? THESE ARE PERFECT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. And it’s worth it.

I defy you to think otherwise.

Oh – and Happy Valentine’s!

Perfect chocolate chip cookies
Adapted respectfully from Cook’s Illustrated

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Bacon shallot dip

In recipe on February 9, 2011 at 6:02 am

So I mentioned this recipe in my last round-up, I tweeted about it, and now I’m writing about it. How could one dip recipe capture my heart and mind so completely?!

Oh yes. I will tell you. Four words: brandy, bacon, caramelized shallots. I made it for the Superbowl, and lemme say, this little dip packs a touchdown of flavor!

Good thing I had practiced my caramelizing skills last week. It’s like I was in training to make this dip (lame sports metaphors now complete).

A side tip: you will smell like smoky bacon for the rest of the day. Not, you know, that is ever a bad thing. Some people even pay to smell like that.

Bacon shallot dip, adapted from Thrillist SF Read the rest of this entry »

High rise pancake

In recipe on February 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I live in an apartment with two girls and a fat lady-cat. We have a subscription to GQ here, which ends up on our coffee table. The magazines always seem to shock people. “You get GQ?!” they (usually a guy) will ask. Yes, yes we do. And here’s why: 1. the reporting is a lot stronger than a lot of ladymags, 2. better cultural pieces, 3. it’s funny, 4. there are are always pictures of good looking men jumping in suits.

They also have a pretty darn good food and drink section. Their recipes tend to reinforce the readers’ masculinity (the most intense mac and cheese! master your barbeque! eat more steak!) but there are deviations. To wit: this lovely egg pancake recipe.

I have a theory that GQ hoped their reader would serve this to a really hot yoga teacher as a late-night, post-coital snack in their futuristic-yet-inviting apartment. INSTEAD I served it for brunch on a sunny day to my roommates. And we dug it hardcore.

(It’s also a great excuse to use your cast-iron skillet if you, like me, tend to ignore that versatile little pan).

High rise pancake

Honey balsamic dressing

In recipe on January 31, 2011 at 8:00 am

I don’t know about you, but I hate cleaning gadgets. I love salad dressings with fresh shallots (like this creamy basil dressing) but I hate, hate, HATE washing a blender or food processor. They always end up needing hand-washing, and then nobody wants to dry them or put them away so they languish on the drying rack for about a week after use.


So I always get very excited when I find an easy and tasty salad dressing that doesn’t require use of a gadget. This dressing fits the bill. I served it most recently on a mixed greens-chicken-pine nut-grapefruit salad and it was delish.


Honey balsamic dressing

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

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Gyoza & edamame soup

In recipe on January 26, 2011 at 7:00 am

You may have noticed an influx in the number of soups I’ve been posting recently. That would be directly related to the cleanse, which I will stop talking about (after this post).

But! Before then, I’d like to reflect on What I gleaned from doing a 2 week cleanse (if you want to skip and scroll down to a delicious and easy gyoza soup recipe, feel free!).

Drumroll, please:

What I learned.

  • Drink more. Hah! Not fun cocktails. I mean water, or herbal tea, or hot water with ginger and/or lemon. It’s true; I was running to pee every half an hour. But I definitely felt refreshed.
  • Bring on the soups. How many did we make? So many. How big of troopers were my roommates? Very big. But soups are filling and delicious, and I found that I would keep full from warm, broth-based meals, even without a side of delicious bread-and-butter.
  • Be open. Open to going non-soy, non-dairy yogurt (coconut milk, yo!). Open to adding healthy things like flax seed and hemp seed on top of oatmeal and discovering, yes, this does make it more delicious as well as better for you.
  • Snack. Nothing new here! I dig snacks, especially if they are yellow and shaped like fish. Fish fiend! But I ate more NUTS and DRIED FRUIT and even treated myself to DRIED STRAWBERRIES and realized that it’s totally possible to be in a snack rut.
  • Experiment. While you could OD on chard and miso, try those things that you wouldn’t. It might be that Arctic char is your new best friend.
  • Two weeks of anything won’t kill you. Fact.

End cleanse talk. Back to recipes.

Gyoza & edamame soup*

From Real Simple

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Minestrone soup

In most recommended, recipe on January 24, 2011 at 8:17 am

Alice Waters is the undisputed reigning queen of California cuisine (read: fresh, local, and seasonal). In fact, she’s pretty much the face of healthy eating everywhere. I swear I read her name in every article about Ways to Eat Now. Maybe there’s just an Alice Waters robot out there who provides quotes automatically and the real Alice Waters is actually off questing delicious produce.

I have been lucky enough to eat at her Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse (the cafe, though, not downstairs), and what sings through her cooking is that freshness. Everything has a zest to it, even when ingredients are prepared very simply.

For whatever reason, I’ve never really been drawn to her recipes in my own kitchen. Mad has her book The Art of Simple Food, and I’m going to blame the fact that the hardcover copy is just too darn pretty to cook with (I get nervous about pretty cookbooks. How will they look when they’ve had close encounters of the oil kind?!). But during cleanse week, I was looking to branch out, soup-wise, and came across her minestrone recipe.

Wow. Wow wow wow. I didn’t expect that it would be that good, especially when you are used to eating Campbell’s very tomato-y kind. This is a fresh, almost tangy minestrone.

Despite having consciously made a grocery list that same day, I didn’t have some of the ingredients she used, so I’m writing mine up with how I did it.

Minestrone soup
Adapted from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food

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Hungarian sour cherry cake

In recipe on January 19, 2011 at 8:00 am

I have written before about my fear(slash)lack of interest in baking. This should not be interpreted that I do not enjoy cakes and other baked goodies. Far from it; I have a sweet tooth that has earned me many hours in a dentist’s chair.

So I always get excited when someone is going to bake for me! I was recently at my dad’s house. He is 1. Hungarian and 2. eating gluten-free, and so was baking a traditional Hungarian sour cherry cake with gluten-free flour.

I got to sous-chef for this experiment, and I can attest that, even with gluten-free flour, this cake comes out light and fluffy and perfectly delicious for an afternoon coffee break.
(He also has a FOOD SCALE which is why you are seeing gram measurements on AFCB for the first time ever. Don’t get used to it.)
Hungarian sour cherry cake

From: my dad. Thanks Dad!!  Read the rest of this entry »

Chickpea Bajane

In recipe on January 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Aren’t you digging these fantastic guest posts from Mad?

If you ever get “voluntold” to make dinner, and the recipe at hand looks like something Clarissa’s mom would have made, just go with it. Appearances can be deceiving.

Chickpea Bajane did not pique my interest at first glance. By that I mean, upon looking at the ingredients list, my face dissolved into gaping maw. A fennel bulb… and leeks? With quinoa? Uh-huh. Maybe I’ll just have cereal for dinner instead. However, as I continued reading, things started to look up. A CUP of wine. Indeed. 5 cloves of garlic. Go on. Thyme and chickpeas. Maybe this will work.

Sometimes you just need a little faith that everything will come together in the end. Despite a very healthy ingredient list, this dish is incredibly flavorful and filling! Shocking, I know. The combination of fennel, garlic, wine and thyme creates a very unusual flavor and consistency that is buttery, moist and, well, fennel-y. Although “Bajane” is a Provençal word for “midday meal”, it’s perfectly suited for a weeknight dinner as it is light and reheats well for lunch the next day.

On an effort scale of 1 to 10 (1 being dinner through a feeding tube and 10 being a nice Coq au Vin or Baked Alaska), I’d give this a 4.5, due to all the chopping. Otherwise it is a very straightforward, bullet-proof dish.

Adapted from a recipe from Cooking Light.

Chickpea Bajane

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In recipe on January 12, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Usually I gravitate toward weeknight dishes – not too fussy, with minimal mess and relatively healthy.

Sometimes you don’t need a weeknight dish though. You need a special occasion dish.

This is one of my mom’s special occasion dishes. I confess – we had these scallops AND this potato dish on Christmas Eve. (Any wonder I needed to take a cleanse?)

And now I am just torturing myself. Because I’m going to share with you one of the most decadent and scrumptious dishes I’ve ever had.


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