Cool Contrasts Salad

January 29, 2015

Cool Contrasts Salad

It’s not a secret that I’m a big fan of salads that have a warm component to them. Whether it is a warm blackberry vinaigrette or adding freshly made buffalo strips, having something warm with my greens makes a salad feel substantial, like a real meal for me. So when I was raiding my refrigerator the other night for things to pair with my baby spinach, it’s no surprise that my first instinct was to sauté or roast the pears I found. But then, I noticed the cucumber sitting next to it, and I decided to go a different route.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy cucumber is with a Japanese bent – soak the cucumber slices, strips, or cubes with onion in a dressing of rice wine vinegar, salt, and sugar. (more…)

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Comfort Food Mashup: Rasam Mac-n-Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes

December 28, 2014

Rasam Mac-n-Cheese

This is one of those recipes born from a mixture of comfort foods. Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorites, and it’s not really mac-n-cheese to me unless I make it like I had it as a kid – with Velveeta. A few weeks ago I had a leftover hunk of Velveeta in the refrigerator, and I decided why not try this new recipe I saw on America’s Test Kitchen – a macaroni with tomatoes – with Velveeta cheese.

I’ve had other macaronis with tomatoes, most notably a lightened version from Martha Stewart eons ago, which is where the idea came from to top this dish with roasted tomatoes. It was good, even though truth be told, I’m not a huge tomato fan. I assume the darkened color the red lended the cheesy dish on ATK is what hooked me into wanting to try this dish. At the last minute, as I was about to pour the macaroni into a baking dish, I looked up and saw a vial of rasam powder in my spice rack. That’s when inspiration hit. I added a couple of spoonfuls of masala to my dish and stuck it into the oven. (more…)

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Sunday Supper: Palomilla Steak with Black Beans and Plantains

June 8, 2014

Cuban Palomilla Steak

Many moons ago, I attempted to make this steak for my now-husband (back then new-ish boyfriend). I was just out of college, in my first “real job”, and while I had cooked quite a bit in my days, I hadn’t made up recipes on the fly much. Maybe I should back peddle a bit and explain why I was attempting to cook a palomilla steak…

Cuban food was not something that was easy to come by growing up in northeast Tennessee. Black beans and plantains weren’t in the grocery. I had never even heard of a Cuban sandwich. This all changed on a trip to Tampa. My mom and I ate at Columbia restaurant. I had my first taste of black beans and rice and plantains, served on the side of this magical, flavorful thin steak which I’ve for years referred to as Cuban steak, but I’ve learned after many Google searches is actually called a palomilla steak. Initially I always slid the onions to the side, preferring the light flavoring left behind. But as I grew up, I learned to love onions, and the green stuff they mixed in with them, and this became my go-to dish at any Cuban restaurant.

Back to the attempt to recreate this dish in the early 2000s. (more…)

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Quick & Easy: Curried salmon in parchment

May 9, 2014

Curried Salmon in Parchment Paper

Thai curries might be one of my favorite quick meals to pull together. While one can make their own curry paste, I find the pre-made Thai Kitchen curry pastes to be pretty good. When making a bowl of curry I will usually add some extra Thai peppers and ginger to the pan, but for a quick, weeknight meal like this salmon, I keep the extra flavors minimal. This is about being quick and easy after all!

If you haven’t baked in parchment before, it might look at first glance to be complicated, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Simply make up your packets of meat, add some sort of liquid and seasoning, crimp the edges, and bake! The crimping is simply folding edges of paper over on top of each other to hold. Or in my case, not so much folding as cramming paper together quickly and hoping it holds (it always does, knock on wood!). (more…)

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Sunday suppers: Veal meatballs with artichokes & carrots

April 13, 2014

Veal Meatballs with Artichoke and Carrot

When I saw this recipe, it just screamed “Spring!!!” at me. Fresh artichokes, veal, carrots, citrus, and a bit of cream. Just heavy enough to break the chill of a spring evening, but light enough to not weigh you down as you’re moving into the warmer months. With Easter just around the corner, I thought it would be the perfect time to post this special meal that takes a little bit of time, but shines so beautifully on the dinner table and is the perfect meal to serve family style that it is worth it! (more…)

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