Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Scalloped potatoes

In recipe on December 27, 2010 at 9:30 am

Christmas is over!

It was a pretty mellow couple of days (just the way I like ’em, I daresay). It has been raining in LA, which is front page news down here. (Just kidding. I know it’s been record rainfall landslides etc).

The food we ate was delicious. My mom is quite the cook, and I, despite complaining about the decadence of the holidays, requested this potato dish for Christmas Eve.

It definitely merits a warning label for sheer fattiness. No skimping here on the cream… or the cheese… or the butter.

But. It is phenomenally tasty.

Scalloped potatoes

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Tofu with braised carrots

In recipe on September 10, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Fancy tofu

Some foods come with baggage. I’ll never be able to eat fava beans (even if they are growing like weeds in my garden) because of THIS.

Although not associated with a psychopathic murderer, tofu comes with its own baggage. If I were to anthropomorphize tofu, the words “self-righteous,” “earnest,” and “bland” come to mind. Tofu tries hard but always comes off a bit judge-y.

Here are things that tofu is not (usually): edgy, sophisticated, flavorful. It’s not a show-off dish, it’s a trusty sidekick that can’t help but being the straight guy.

Then Vegetarian Times goes and proves me wrong! This tofu dish, with braised carrots and tomatoes, is tasty and, dare I say, quite refined. Serve it to impress and do away with all those nasty tofu misconceptions.

Tofu with braised carrots

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Spaghetti sauce with meat

In recipe on September 10, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Spaghetti sauce with meat

I went on vacation recently! It was absolutely splendid – Greece and Turkey (well, Istanbul) for a little over 2 weeks. The food was pretty good – while I can certainly wait to have another Greek salad, I did eat some excellent Cretan snails, fish, and a zucchini pie that I will dream about for the rest of my life.

When I came back, I definitely had a hankering to cook again (hurray! said my roommates). And what I had been craving most was some sort of Americanized Italian food, something that comes in big servings with easy, tasty flavors.

So I made spaghetti sauce.

NOTE. This recipe CANNOT be made vegetarian. The meat fat was an essential part of the sauce, and, while you could forego and just do onions and tomatoes, I can’t speak to the richness and equivalent deliciousness.

Those who enjoy dead animal flesh (like me!), ENJOY. Invite friends, it makes a lot (or freezes well!)

Spaghetti sauce with meat

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In recipe on July 25, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Vinete on bread

I don’t usually get to say this, but I don’t know where else you would find this recipe. I’ve never seen it anywhere else but my house. And I refuse to google and relieve my ignorance.

Little background – my dad is Hungarian, by way of a region nestled in Romania’s Carpathian mountains. You know it as Transylvania (ominous cackle). The dishes I love that he makes include chicken paprikash (and its vegetarian version,mushroom paprikash), sour cherry soup (this site has a recipe – I haven’t tried it, but the illustration is especially lovely), and vinete.

Vinete (I say “veenahtah”) is the Eastern European equivalent of baba ganoush. I LOVED this dish growing up (still do!). My dad would barbeque eggplants and make the dip, and I would eat it warm (though it is even more delicious cold).

A word of caution for readers nervous of being mocked: In 4th grade I moved to a new school in Los Angeles. My mom packed me a lunch including vinete and bread. The other kids cruelly made fun of my food, saying it looked like vomit. So watch out if you bring this to lunch around 9 year olds. They are cruel!

Vinete recipe Read the rest of this entry »

Cinnamon chicken

In recipe on April 13, 2010 at 7:08 am

Cooking chicken freaks me out. My mom falls very much on the paranoid side of raw chicken preparation. After she prepared it, the kitchen would get cordoned off by lines of Comet or Ajax sprinkled liberally. “Don’t touch the sink,” she would hiss. “RAW chicken.”

Being vegetarian for a few years did nothing to soothe my fear of uncooked poultry. This Thanksgiving was the first time that I tackled a big ole bird by myself. I actually managed to focus less on the germ-factor…probably because I was giving a naked chicken a gynocological exam.

In short, I’m improving. But I still really appreciate chicken recipes that can be done without totally disinfecting the kitchen…or requiring me to provide interior massages.

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Grilled cheese with fig jam & pear

In recipe on April 3, 2010 at 8:04 am

There are few things that even the most basic cook can make with confidence. Usually, microwaveable meals from Trader Joe’s top that list, but there would typically be toast. MAYBE scrambled eggs. And definitely a grilled cheese.

Grilled cheese is fast and delicious, and beloved by (most) fussy children. I know I made a lot when I was baby-sitting (that and mac & cheese. Are picky eaters soothed by the color orange? Discuss).

But a grilled cheese sandwich may also become a more sophisticated version of itself. (Like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman? Maybe.) I love the sweet of the fig and pear with the savory of the cheese and ham.

I found this recipe in Fitness magazine, which assured me that it was “guilt free” and, no matter how much I veer off from their recipe, I’m going to promote it as such. Here it is! Your classy, adult, wine-drinking, New Yorker reading, grilled cheese. Read the rest of this entry »

Black bean hummus

In recipe on March 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm

So Mark Bittman (author of 1 of my favorite cookbooks, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian), writes for the NY Food Section. His way of cooking is always always 5 steps longer than I want it to be, but I’ve come to trust his judgment. Homemade veggie stock? Worth it. DIY salad dressing? Hands down, amazing.

But BEANS. How I have struggled with beans. This blog originally started “semi-veg,” and I still try to cook mostly meat-free, so I use beans pretty frequently. Mr. Bittman insists that cooking beans the long way (i.e. not open-and-dump) is worth it. I have cooked beans at home: black, kidney, and Great Northern.

I remain unconvinced. IF I manage to remember to soak the beans before I leave for work, then let them cook for approximately an hour and a half – yes, it works out really well. But if you’re already home, staring at a pack of dry, feelingless legumes, let’s just say that a can looks a lot more friendly.

Last Friday, I was golden: remembered to soak the beans all day, then came home, drained and cooked them for a delicious veggie taco recipe (which I should totally write about). But now I have half a pot of black beans sitting in the fridge, and I am determined to use them. But what?

How about some black bean hummus?

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Kill Devil Punch

In recipe on March 19, 2010 at 2:19 pm
Spring is in the air, it’s Friday, it’s payday. These are all glorious things. So is this punch recipe.

A note about punch bowls: I had one on my holiday wishlist from the ages eleven to fourteen. Looking back, I can’t really say what sort of entertaining I pictured (casual study group cotillions? sleepover soirees?) but I was determined, in the way that young ladies who read too much Jane Austen can be. It was probably for the best that I wasn’t encouraged in this tyrannical hostess phase; I’d probably be wearing white gloves and pearls by now.

Today I can face punch bowls with the wisdom of experience and the sobriety of age. I can be trusted. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Fact: people love punch bowls at parties. It makes drinking more interactive (if a little spilly).

Fact: you can find crystal bowls pretty consistently at thrift stores, usually for $10 or less.

Fact: punch takes the stress out of hosting. Make two or three batches before the party, store in pitchers. Refill when the bowl looks dry. It’s a lot better than planning drinks that involve muddling and fuss.

Without further ado, I bring you the Kill Devil Punch, found tucked in the pages of GQ. Read the rest of this entry »

Beef empanadas

In recipe on December 31, 2009 at 10:58 am

I believe I mentioned that I was taking a trip to Argentina. The trip was awesome—Buenos Aires was intense and magical, Iguaçu Falls was marvelous, and the beef was good enough to coax me from part-time to full-time carnivore (more on that later).

Whenever I travel I always marvel at how, across cultures, humanity has found culinary common ground in the form of the dumpling–be it pierogis in Eastern Europe, potstickers in China, Hot Pockets in America, and, as I discovered, the empanada in Argentina.

Far be it from me to deny the pleasures of any fried dough, but the empanadas I had there were like scrumptious little hamburgers. My friend and I especially like how easy they were to order to those who speak  minimal Spanish (“Uno, con carne por favor!”).

So last night I attempted to whip up some empanadas of my own. Read the rest of this entry »

Green Bean & Blood Orange Salad

In recipe on December 30, 2009 at 11:35 am

My family came for the holidays this year, which meant I got to scuttle about and try to find new and exciting side dishes that do not take away from the staples (“You have to have mashed potatoes!” says my little brother, in quite real horror).

I sent my mom with the grocery list to our local produce behemoth, Berkeley Bowl. She came back frazzled and more than a little suspicious about her daughter’s tendencies towards gourmet “foodie-ism.”

“Three blood oranges? What on earth do you need blood oranges for?”

When I told her they were for the green bean dish, she rolled her eyes.

And yet! Come Christmas Day, when the food was all on the table, the green beans were the biggest hit. And I had my mom, the traditional cook admit, yes, in this case, zest was a good idea.

Green Bean & Blood Orange Salad Read the rest of this entry »