Parmesan-Pureed Broccoli

Submissions close for the first-ever Ugliest Gourmet blogging contest in about ten minutes, and I scramble to bring you this humble entry. I contemplated plenty of visually off-putting dishes in the past weeks, but in the end, this simple vegetable side seemed to be the most to-the-point: Butter, broccoli and Parmiggiano-Reggiano — what’s not to love? Oh yeah, that gross green muck that it turns out looking like.

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Candied Orange Peel and Mint

Don’t be swayed by the length of this rather unwieldy-sounding recipe’s name; the latter two ingredients, candied orange peels and fresh mint, are almost inessential to the sparkling culinary gemstone that is roasted beets and fresh orange slices. “Wow” hardly nips at the issue I’m talking about here. Okay, so it’s only food — two foods to be precise. But sometimes, all’s it takes, as they say, is two to tango.

Baba Ghanoush: Eggplant Mush

I find it no coincidence that so many cultures like to tame eggplant by beating them to a pulp. My run-in with not-so-well-cooked eggplant earlier this summer has put me off the poisonous plants for a little while, but I’m not calling it quits just yet. Baba ghanoush, eggplant “caviar,” so to speak, has been enjoyed throughout Middle Eastern, North African and Eastern European cuisines for many centuries before peasant food became chic. They must know what they’re doing.

Lamb Vindaloo Curry

Vinda-who? Has it been this long since I’ve dined in an Indian restaurant? I suppose so. You see, I’ve been spoiled by always having plenty of Indian friends while growing up that the taste of authentic curry was never too hard to come by. Nowadays though, things have gotten a bit dicey. I’ve long forgotten what many of my favorite types of dishes were called, or what they consisted of. But perhaps the most tragic thing I managed to forget … Read More

Braised Beef Braciole with Sundried Tomatoes & Basil and Roasted Potatoes & Okra

Braciole, or roulade? Such different-sounding words for such similar spirals of meat and filling. The former, I’ve just learned, is merely an Italian American variety of the latter French creation. Because the ingredients I’ve chosen for this one’s filling are more typically Italian than French, though, I’ll go with naming it a braciole.

Sundried Tomato-Braised Green Beans

This side is: a) 100% vegetables b) 100% hearty c) oddly Christmasy-looking d) all of the above If you guessed “d,” then you hate these kinds of questions because you always know whoever’s posing it is trying to get you to say that. And I don’t blame you. But you’ve got to try these green beans to believe how true it is.

Bloody Mary Salsa

As you can see, I’m drinking to the end of summer. Stirred (not shaken) up as a last-minute idea for the Salsa Takedown at Mo Pitkins, this salsa is my sloppy toast to another warm season of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, many of which I feel much closer to in the wake of their departure for the fall.

Cucumber Melon Salad

I made this dish twice to get it right. The first time, I was going for salsa. It had hot peppers in it, vinegar, oil and sea salt. The second incarnation was more of a fresh fruit salad. Both were mellow, juicy and crisp little concoctions, like a summer cocktail. When I finally decided on the right balance of flavors, I hit a wall on what to name it. Salsa, or salad? Then again, what is the difference — really … Read More

Mango Frozen Yogurt (and a discussion on theory vs. practice)

A week or so ago, I bought a pint of thick, full-fat Greek-style plain yogurt. I planned on making the most mouthwatering, yet-undiscovered frozen yogurt flavor, but had no idea what it would be. A week of contemplation went by. What about a fresh, spicy ginger flavor with brown sugar? Maybe those sour cherries can be cooked down to a syrup and swirled in. What if I threw blueberry cobbler pieces into it with mascarpone cheese?

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