Mushroom Risotto

March 30, 2018

Mushroom Risotto

Many moons ago my uncle made a mushroom extravaganza for Christmas dinner. There was mushroom soup, mushroom loaf, and a mushroom risotto. At the time, mushrooms were something I couldn’t stand to eat, yet I didn’t want to hurt his feelings since he had made such a wonderful meal. So I ate the soup. I ate some of the loaf. And I ate the risotto. I’m not certain if by the time I got to the risotto I was just so inundated by the mushrooms that I didn’t notice them as much, but I really liked the risotto. I remember somewhat picking at the mushrooms, looking at them in wonderment by this portion of the meal, thinking, “Well, this isn’t too bad!”

Shiitakes ended up being my gateway mushroom. Fast forward many years later, and I enjoy most types of mushrooms (still not a fan of the white button, however). This past week my CSA had quite a few varieties of mushrooms available, so I decided I would try my hand at recreating the risotto that was the first way I ever enjoyed mushrooms. (more…)

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Avocado, Spinach, Gorgonzola Pasta with Walnuts

February 25, 2018

Avocado, Spinach, Gorgonzola Pasta with Walnuts

When you have an avocado tree, at some point you start wondering what else you can do with avocados beyond guacamole and garnishes for Latin American foods, though that’s a GREAT use for avocado. After branching out into smoothies with avocado (it gives them a wonderful creaminess), avocado truffles, avocado egg salad, I thought, “Hmmm, what about avocado and pasta?” I have no earthly idea what prompted this line of thought from me, given that I have an aversion to avocados being too warm (that baked avocado and egg thing that went around a few years back was gross!), but the thought popped into my mind and to the google I went, searching recipes.

I came upon a few recipes that combined avocado and spinach, though many of them used lime juice and seemed a little too close to what I was trying to stray from. So I started down the route of another classic pairing – spinach, blue cheese, and walnuts. How would these flavors play out with each other? (more…)

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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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