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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An adapted Madd Hatter recipe: Orecchiette with Portobellos and Arugula

October 17, 2013

Portobello and Arugula Pasta

One of my favorite quick go-to pastas has been a beef and arugula pasta with a dijon vinaigrette dressing that I posted a few years back. The first time I made this pasta, I remember my husband saying, “This would be really good with portobellos!”. I was so sure it would that, at the time, I wrote the recipe up with that suggestion for vegetarian-izing (and, incidentally, veganizing) the recipe. A week ago, I had some leftover arugula, so I decided to give this version a go, and what do you know, it was a hit! Still as quick and easy as the original, and still as flavorful. (more…)

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Philly cheesesteak stuffed peppers

October 10, 2013

Philly cheesesteak stuffed peppers

While perusing Pinterest not long ago, I noticed a photo of this brilliant idea, an idea so brilliant that I couldn’t believe no one had ever thought of it before. It was labeled “Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers”. And from that moment on I knew I had to have them.

Of course, my idea of the perfect Philly cheesesteak is a little different. My favorite version is from a little shop in a strip mall near Lenox Square in Atlanta. Actually, I have no idea if the strip mall or the shop is even there anymore. I remember being in middle school and going down for back to school shopping. One of the highlights of the trip was going to this cheesesteak shop for their Pizza Cheesesteak. Layers of yummy beef, onions, peppers, provolone, with a bit of marinara mixed in.

In college, when I was still able to find Steak Ums, this is the way I would always make my cheesesteak sandwich. So I knew my recipe would have to include the marinara, and I’m glad it did. (more…)

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