Risotto is one of my favorite foods, in particular, risotto with mushrooms and peas. And lots of Parmesan cheese. But risotto has its pitfalls. First, arborio rice is starchy and not particularly healthy. Second, all of that Parmesan cheese isn’t so waist-friendly either. Finally, and possibly most important, it’s tedious and extremely time-consuming. So I save real risotto for special occasions… dinner parties, birthdays, etc. When I want to make a nice dinner just for me, I go for ‘fake’ risotto… or as I once got laughed at for calling it, ‘farrotto.’ (It was deserved, I realize.) Making risotto with whole grains and minimal cheese just makes me feel better about things! Continue reading
As I mentioned the other day, I have been on a chipotle kick. I’ve been thinking about new creative ways to include chipotle-flavors in my meals for a while now, and while planning a side dish for tacos the other day, I realized that it would be the perfect flavor to add to a black bean and corn salad. This Southwestern themed salad made a great side dish for tacos, but with the quinoa and black beans it was also substantial enough for a healthy lunch the next day. That makes it a double winner in my book. Continue reading
Chipotle peppers are a gift to mankind. Be it a chipotle pepper, chipotle seasoning, chipotles in adobo sauce. Smoky and spicy, the flavor known as chipotle can be subtle heat or in-your-face hot. Whether it’s the leading flavor (like in this recipe for today) or a supporting character, it’s always delicious. I’ve been on a chipotle kick (not the restaurant… except for dinner last night, but that’s neither here nor there), so stay tuned for another chipotle-based recipe later this week.
I thought I hated Brussels sprouts. Possibly because the only ones that I had been served had been taken from the freezer and thrown directly into a pot of boiling water, where they proceeded to become an unappealing glob of wilted leaves that smelled worse than any cooked cabbage that I had ever encountered, and which were then ruinously over-salted in an attempt to make them palatable. Imagine my surprise when, less than two years ago, I was served a vegetable dish that looked like Brussels sprouts, but had a wonderful crisp texture and were covered in a sauce made of red wine vinaigrette which had reduced and cooked into the sprouts in the most wonderful way. I was shocked at how delicious they were, and I was hooked.
Dead serious. Replace pasta with squash. I know it sounds strange, but when you’re in the mood to try something new, make it this bright yellow squash. It’s light, tender and unique, not to mention far less guilt-inducing than real pasta.
Now in case you couldn’t tell from the banner on the homepage, I really like squash and pumpkin. I think that they are some of the most versatile vegetables out there (I know they are technically fruits, really I do… it just doesn’t seem right to call them fruits); they are hearty enough to be made into a vegetarian main course, light enough to be roasted and added to a winter salad, and smooth enough in flavor and texture to be blended right into a soup.
Eggs are not just for breakfast. On cool winter evenings, one of my favorite meals is quiche. Served with a green salad topped with a zesty vinaigrette, it makes a light and tasty dinner. Or lunch. It also makes a nice and hearty breakfast, chock full of veggies, protein and dairy. I’m partial to eating the leftovers for breakfast.
Chocolate. Dried cherries and blueberries. Toasted walnuts.
These blondies incorporate some of my favorite flavors… even when my sweet tooth is fully under wraps I find it quite hard to resist them. I was quite proud that as I made these, I managed to just eat this one!
While many cookie and brownie recipes can be a bit tedious, I love the ‘infinitely adaptable’ blondie recipe used by Smitten Kitchen, which only uses one bowl and one baking pan- it makes these the perfect baking project for a night when you don’t have a lot of time or energy, but still want to enjoy a freshly baked treat.
It’s funny to think of how long I went without hearing about beer bread, especially since I enjoy beer and have long cooked with it: beer brats, beer can chicken, beer braised brisket. When I finally did hear about it, I have to admit that I turned my nose up- while cooking with beer seemed like a great idea, baking with it? My reaction was probably similar to the boyfriend’s last night, when he simply said, “Say what??”
And then I tried it. All fears about bread that would taste like beer or have a funny aftertaste went out the window. It was fantastic! There may be a slight beer taste which remains, at least in the plain version, but it’s a welcome flavor, not the unpleasant interloper that I had expected. Then, after a period of making it fairly frequently, I went for a while without making beer bread. I still can’t explain that decision, but it’s back! And just as delicious as I remembered- now it’s also gained the approval of the boyfriend and Jazz, the latter of whom enjoyed vacuuming up a couple of crumbs that fell as I sliced it.
Let me preface this post by admitting that I am not a soup person. Soups are frequently too… well… soupy. Canned chicken noodle or tomato soup? Not really. I know that when most people are sick they look forward to soup and the person who brings it to them. I on the other hand, face a sore throat with dread, knowing that soup may be the only thing that I’ll be capable of eating, but that the ubiquitous chicken noodle soup is literally the last thing that I will want.
I’m sure that now you’re wondering, “if that’s the case, then why on earth would you choose soup as the very first thing that you post on this blog?” Because things started to change a couple of years ago, when I first tried fresh butternut squash soup. I found out that, instead of being a hands down soup-hater, I LOVE soup that is thick, comforting, viscous, creamy – think the kind of soup that toppings can sit on top of, without sinking straight to the bottom and dissolving in the watery broth. Typically these are purées or cream based soups, and I particularly like soups that take advantage of the rich flavors of fall and winter.