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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Picnic time: Spanish style

August 2, 2013

Gazpacho

Heeeeyy Boo-boo! Whadya think they got in that pic-a-nic basket?

I’m guessing Yogi never expected to get a basket full of Spanish goodies such as gazpacho, zucchini cake, lima bean salad, and piquillo peppers, but had he stumbled upon our party, that’s certainly what he would have found. Along with a pitcher or two of sangria!

A couple of weekends ago we decided to head out to a new park for a picnic and some light hiking. I was a little perplexed as to what to make, because at the time my husband and I were doing a gluten-free diet, and a friend of ours that was going is also gluten-free. So gone was the usual pressed sandwich meal, but I needed something that would not go off in the sun (no mayo or raw anything) but also wouldn’t be too heavy since it promised to be a warm day, and I knew the alcohol we would consume would already drain our energy a bit. Then it hit me – a Spanish-themed meal. Sangria is the perfect summer time drink, and with foods like gazpacho and stuffed peppers, we would be filled up and satisfied, but definitely not stuffed. And all the items could be served either room temperature or cold. And almost everything was vegetarian. While no one in the group was vegetarian, it’s always good to have some go to recipes that are meat-free for friends that don’t eat meat. (more…)

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From the garden: A summer antipasti platter

July 5, 2013

Summer Antipasti Plate

One of the grand things about summer is grazing on the fresh fruits and veggies that pop up in our gardens, farmers markets, and local groceries. Tomatoes, squash, beans, berries – they’re all at their peak in flavor, and that means you don’t have to do too much to them to make them scrum-diddly-uptious!

Last week I showed you a slightly more involved way to enjoy your summer squash. This week I’ll show you all the other super-simple antipasto I made to fill up my antipasti platter. Caprese, melon e prosciutto, and roasted shishito peppers made it to my platter this time, and their preparation couldn’t be simpler. (more…)

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Travels: Moroccan Meatballs

February 6, 2013

Meatball Tagine with Egg

I just got back from visiting the lands of one of my favorite cuisines, Morocco. I love the wealth of spices nearly every Moroccan dish contains, so of course I fell in love with my Food of Morocco cookbook long ago. I was very excited to find that the foods I ate there proved the recipes I had cooked over the years true to the cuisine. Of course, it was a bit better there (an understatement!), with the super-fresh spices abounding from shop after shop after shop.

Moroccan meatballs are something I had cooked previous to owning my cookbook, however, and have long been a favorite of mine. I’ve tried the addition of egg on occasion, and it makes for an über-rich and decadent dinner. This was hands down my favorite meal the entire time we were in Morocco. (more…)

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Cool weather comfort foods: Chicken cacciatore

January 9, 2013

Chicken Cacciatore

Back when the weather started to turn cool, I made a list of the various cool-weather foods I couldn’t wait to make, my comfort foods for winter 2012-2013. I promised to post a few new recipes this season, and finally, I’ve gotten around to making a few of my favorites and documenting them. The first is this terribly simple chicken cacciatore served over a creamy, parmesan-cheese-laced polenta that screams comfort food.

Cacciatore is Italian for hunter, thus this is the hunter’s chicken. The preparation is simple, with just a few items that need chopping and sauteing before you let the chicken braise in a tomato-wine sauce. (more…)

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