Everyone has their signature recipe, right? Your go-to in case of guests or a potluck. The one that makes really good leftovers and takes a little while to prepare but comes out great every time. That’s this recipe for me.
Jambalaya is best with really good andouille sausage. I can find only OK andouille here in DC, but in Austin it was everywhere. If you can’t find andouille, I’ve used kielbasa with good results, but make sure it’s a smoked sausage, preferably with pork. I like to start mine on the stovetop and finish it in the oven as I find that the rice turns out perfectly every time that way.
We always have arugula in our refrigerator because, as my husband will happily do with spinach, I have begun to eat it by the handful right out of the bag. I don’t think I can ever get to the point where I eat spinach like potato chips (and good on you if you love it that much) but I feel pretty good about my sincere love for something green, whether plain or dressed.
Another reason I always buy a big box of arugula is so that I can make this salad, which I eat for lunch at least once a week. It is easy to prepare so I don’t have to feel bad for taking a long lunch (an easy thing to do when you work from home!) and the dressing keeps in the fridge for a few days if you want a redux.
Wow! It’s been a month since I last posted. I had a lot of life happen in rapid succession — my new FODMAP diet, another momentarily-worrisome-but-probably-nothing health scare (phew!) and really digging in to my dissertation. (That is, after all, half of this blog’s title.)
No matter. I am back with one of my all-time favorite recipes to share. Not only is it bomb dot com delicious, but it’s also a real crowd pleaser. The lentil salad makes a fantastic potluck dish that is sure to delight vegetarians/vegans and carnivores alike. And this is one of my favorite ways to cook salmon. I did a little combination of two trustworthy chef’s recipes, Carla Hall of Top Chef fame and Mark Bittman, to create something that doesn’t take a ton of time but tastes like it does.
Tarragon gets top billing in these recipes, making them perfect to serve side-by-side. Not to mention the nuttiness of the lentils compliment salmon perfectly. I suggest downing the lentils with the salmon all in one bite!
My husband’s birthday is the day before Christmas, which means that Christmastime is basically a celebration of him in our household as neither of us are religious. We put up a tree and give gifts and celebrate the season — that is, the tilt of the Earth’s axis and the solstice. My husband’s favorite dessert is cheesecake. He loves it so much that we almost had it at our wedding. He grew up eating Snicker’s pie on his birthday made lovingly by his mother, and while it’s delicious I find that I can’t stomach much more than about a half a slice simply because it’s so rich. I was also eager to start creating our own Christmas/birthday traditions. I had never made a cheesecake before, so I went to Alton Brown for his recipe as they are fool-proof although sometimes complicated.
This is the simplest, best way to cook pork. Those in the Caribbean have got cooking pig down to an art, whether it’s lechón (a whole pig roasted on a spit) or a pernil, a cheap cut of meat that’s often enjoyed around the holidays and easily found here in the States. If you like savory, tender, one-pot dishes and want something to impress your guests, this is it.
My mom is Puerto Rican, so we grew up looking forward to a pernil around Christmas or New Years. I’ve only just started making them myself and they are my husband’s new favorite food. (This, and cheesecake.) It’s garlicky, salty, crunchy on the outside and fall-off-the-bone tender on the inside. Some recipes call for brining it (like this one) which, knowing the benefits of brining having just also made a turkey, sounds like an excellent idea if you have the foresight. I’m going to stick with the original recipe from the stalwart known as Cocina Criolla, the definitive cookbook for Puerto Rican food, available in both English and Spanish.
My obsession with pumpkin necessarily extends to butternut squash as well. I mentioned in a previous post that they continue to be $1.50 at Trader Joe’s, so I always buy the biggest one they have. They freeze very well, so in just a few minutes you can have the centerpiece to a meal prepped and ready to go.
Ever since visiting Morocco in 2007 I have become completely enamored with the flavors of North African cooking–cumin, cinnamon, lots of turmeric, and a bit of sweet & spicy. This recipe combines all of my great food loves, is easy and incredibly flavorful. It can easily be made vegan, too, if you use water instead of chicken broth like the original recipe (from The Perfect Pantry, my absolute favorite site for all Middle Eastern/North African recipes).
Here I am with my 307th post (or so it feels) featuring butternut squash. This is adapted from one of my favorite new cookbooks, Anupy Singla’s The Indian Slow Cooker. The flavors are so authentic, it’s deceptively easy and keeps well, too. It only takes about four hours in the slow cooker and honestly the worst part about this is chopping up the squash, a task which once sent me to the emergency room for stitches!
Despite their ease and convenience, slow cooker meals aren’t always the tastiest. (Surprise! You can’t just dump a bunch of stuff into a pot, turn it on and expect greatness.) This recipe is an absolute exception: It’s restaurant-quality delicious, like everything else I’ve made from this book thus far.
I had a hard time finding the methi (fenugreek seeds) and after ordering an absurd amount from Amazon.com I found it at my local organic market. (In case you were feeling duped by this ingredient, check there or just omit it altogether.)
Enjoy the aromas as this cooks and get ready for some serious cold-weather comfort food!
P.S. Is it spring yet? Yeesh!
This morning I had an appointment with a gastroenterologist to address my almost constant gastrointestinal discomfort. In the past I’d been diagnosed with IBS after an inconclusive endoscopy when I was about 10 years old. IBS is such an odd disorder, it seems to be a catch-all for those with stomach pains that aren’t patently caused by something in specific.
The doctor ordered a Celiac panel to make sure I don’t have it (don’t think I do, but I’ve heard that most everyone is slightly sensitive to gluten) and sent me home with a new dietary plan. I don’t have stomach pain just when I eat certain things, but rather ALL THE TIME, no matter what, sometimes even if I don’t eat! Which makes me think it’s not just gluten, or just dairy, or just spicy food, etc. I have sharp pains due to gas and bloating, and I can feel my stomach gurgling around all day sometimes.
A new dietary intervention is called FODMAPs, which has you eliminate (or reduce, at least) a group of carbohydrates and sugars that may be poorly absorbed and cause gas and bloat. FODMAPs is an acronym for “Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, and Monosaccharides and Polyols.” Essentially, it refers to foods that contain easily fermentable, short-chain sugars that increase fluid delivery into your large bowel, causing pain in certain individuals.*
My friend Amanda over at Rooster & Wheat posted her own version of baked eggs & kale a while back, inspiring me to do something with my greens other than blend it into a fruit smoothie. I tried her recipe the very day she posted it. (I LOVE eggs.) It was delicious, but I did something wrong. I mustn’t have the deft hand that she did, or perhaps my cheap gas oven (ah, the joys of renting) was creating a wonky result. Either way, I couldn’t get my egg whites to cook properly and my kale, on the other hand, was much too undercooked.
Then came my September 2012 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. In it: Perfect Baked Eggs Florentine. Taking a page out of Cook’s Illustrated, and using kale instead of spinach, emerged my own version, so delicious that it’s a weekend go-to although it requires a bit of patience, something I’m often lacking after “accidentally” sleeping in.
Not gonna lie, this recipe resembles something you’d find on that drunk, blonde woman’s show “Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee.” It’s a combination of lots of store-bought products that come together to make something super delicious. I’m also not going to pretend that it’s super healthy or nutritious. But, it IS good. Like, make-again good.