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Archive for the ‘side dishes’ Category

Hey! So I’ve been cooking up a storm lately, but nothing really blog worthy. More so, just some old favorites, many that I’ve already posted. With Easter coming up, there are some good things in the archives for your holiday brunches and dinners so let’s recap today.

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When I started this exploration of the foods of recently maligned countries a few weeks ago, the only real familiarity I had with African foods were those from Ethiopia. When I first moved to Chicago, there were three Ethiopian restaurants within walking distance of my apartment. I’d go frequently on the weekends when they had a cheap and plentiful buffet and load up on all sorts of delicious things – the spongy sour bread that sops up all the delicious flavors, the deeply flavored, subtly spicy stews and the tender, flavorful greens. Oh man, those greens. Right off the bat, I knew I had to make those greens.

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To my great delight this little experiment of mine, the exploration of some recently disparaged countries, has been very warmly received. Thank you. Through our collective horror and disbelief, there’s an awful lot of us who want to fix things, to learn, to better understand. So it might be a small step, but let’s do that through some food. Today, continuing in the African direction, I’m taking a crack at a West African favorite – Jollof Rice.

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For the first time, in all my years of community gardening, my rosemary was popping this summer. Much to my surprise, it had grown into a large, vibrant bush. This had never happened before. Last year it flat out died on me in the middle of the summer and in other years it was small, stringy and unimpressive. I have no idea what I did differently this year. Maybe it liked that I went to France for most of the summer and left it alone. The good news is I can easily replicate that situation next year. Whatever happened, I was delighted to see it upon my return.

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If there’s one thing I love about the Midwest, it is sweet corn. Holy hell. I never experienced this growing up in Arizona. Fresh picked, it is crazy good and I buy several ears multiple times a week from the farmers markets during August and September. Can’t stop, won’t stop. I’ve been known to skid off the road, doing a messy gravel filled u-turn rather than pass a roadside stand deep in farm country. My new favorite way to cook an ear or two at a time is with this microwave method – perfectly steamed every time with little fuss and muss. A good slather of butter, a bit of salt then watch out. During these late summer days, I’ve been known to eat a few for dinner with maybe some watermelon because that’s really good right now too. Heavenly.

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Need a quick dish for your Labor Day BBQ today? How about these slow stewed pinto beans? Surely you have a few cans of beans, some bacon, a beer and an onion laying about. Chipotle in adobo? Maybe not. That might require a run to the store but you should because the spicy smokiness it adds to the beans is key. You need it, so go. Now.

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A few weeks ago David Lebovitz, the Paris based American born pastry chef and cookbook author, wrote a post about pork rillettes. I’m never sure how I feel about rillettes. They are essentially shredded meat of some kind, often pork or duck, slowly cooked in their own fat and pressed into a dish or ramekin to be enjoyed on a crispy baguette. I’ve encountered them countless times on my travels through France, brought home a zillion tins from the local market and I want to like them. I really do. But something about them doesn’t quite do it for me.

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