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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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos

March 30, 2014

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos with Pickled Red Onions

I’m not much of a slow cooker girl. It’s rare that I get my act together early enough in the day to plan ahead for dinner, having all the ingredients I need on hand, readying them for that slow cooking pot. However, this recipe, only needing to cook for 6 hours, means I can be my procrastinative self and put this on later in the day if need be. It’s the perfect meal to cook on a lazy Sunday.

Most of the ingredients in this list are pantry items for me, which lessens the need to go to the store. I kept this recipe simple, with just two flavorful items going into my tortilla – pork and pickled onions. The pork is juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender, with a nice heat, while the pickled red onions bring a little sharpness and crispness to the meal, cutting through the fat while adding a gorgeous jewel-like color to each bite.

Since I kept the ingredients on the tacos minimal, I decided to get my traditional taco toppings (read: veggies!) via a salad on the side. (more…)

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Hoppin’ into the New Year

December 28, 2013

Hoppin John

Hoppin’ John is one of my favorite dishes, and it’s something that really shouldn’t be confined just to the first day of the year. For those of you who have never heard of Hoppin’ John, it’s a traditional Southern dish made with rice and black eyed peas, and when eaten on New Year’s Day, it is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity for the year. It is generally served with greens. The black eyed peas are supposed to resemble coins, and the greens add to the year’s prosperity and wealth due to their green color (you know, the color of money). Sometimes cornbread also gets into the action, given its golden color (again, the color of a different kind of money). While I’m not sure about all that, I am sure that creamy black eyed peas mixed with the saltiness of bacon and spiced up with some andouille and pepper makes taste buds happy and fills up bellies. (more…)

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Broccoli and cheddar, a match made in heaven

December 13, 2013

Broccoli Soup

This is one of those recipes that upon first making it, I was surprised it could be so good. Maybe it’s because I grew up with a disdain for almost every vegetable, and the thought of broccoli was at the tip top of the list. Maybe it’s because as I branched out and started eating broccoli, I leaned heavily on dairy products to make it palatable. So when I first looked at this soup, while it seemed simple enough, I wasn’t sure 1 cup of skim milk and a lot of vegetable stock was going to be enough to distract me from the fact that I was eating half a pound of broccoli in a single sitting. Okay, so maybe I load up a bit on the cheese at the end, but even without the cheese, this soup will warm you up and put a smile on your face with its subtle flavors and creamy consistency. (more…)

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Perfect pumpkin: Pumpkin and green lentil tagine

November 6, 2013

Pumpkin Tagine

A couple of weeks ago when I walked by a huge pile of sugar pumpkins at the grocery, I couldn’t help myself. I picked one up. In the back of my mind I had this tagine on my mind – green lentils, chunks of pumpkin, spicy harissa paste. Luckily these little pumpkins keep for a while, so it was my sole Halloween decoration for a week or so, before I gutted it and made it dinner.

Sugar pumpkins have a similar texture to butternut squash, which would work just as well for this recipe. I expected the recipe to turn out super spicy due to the harissa, but when I started cooking I realized only a minuscule amount was called for. Of course, I fixed that! (more…)

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