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COMFORT FOODS

THE MODEST CABBAGE – THE UNSUNG HERO AMONG ALL VEG

braised red cabbage

THE MODEST CABBAGE – THE UNSUNG HERO AMONG ALL VEG And yes, we are still cooking. Let’s be honest – some of the “oh crap” kitchen mistakes have turned out (for the most part) to be something outstanding. With the cost of food skyrocketing, most of us are trying to incorporate affordable ingredients. So why not make something altogether different for dinner? Consider the humble yet stalwart cabbage, which is one of the unsung heroes in the veggie arsenal. It…

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SELF ISOLATION, REFLECTION, PRAYERS AND MAYBE SOME GOOD COOKING

BOLOGNESE

By Nanette Hebdige “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times”. In this case it is the worst of times. This corona virus pandemic has brought the world to its knees halting everything to a standstill. Every roll of TP is a goner and hand-sanitizer disappeared a while back. Billions are in self-isolation or decreed quarantine and all of us are trying to keep panic at bay. It’s at times like this when our Faith…

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NOT YOUR AVERAGE MEATBALL

The old adage holds true for just about everything – unquestionable nothing is created equal. That couldn’t be more evident that in the realm of the culinary “ball’. They are participants in stews, soups and that fall back classic – spaghetti and meatballs. Neophytes may think “elementary my dear Watson” when it comes to their preparation. NOT. There’s always a method to the madness and it’s no different here. Be sure to follow these techniques on Balls 101 to ensure…

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SHRIMP IS KING

By Nanette Hebdige SHRIMP IS KING  This crustacean has been subtly strutting along, gaining notoriety with every cuisine piling it high. It’s got its very own star on the culinary walk of fame due to its global obsession! Resonating in every culture – shrimp is king. In Italy, Fra Diavolo is served at almost every locale and the Americanized-Italian version of shrimp scampi is prepared in many households. Spanish Gambas al Ajillo marries shrimp with a boat load of garlic,…

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HOW ABOUT SOME SAUSAGE AND VEG STEW?

Sausage Stew

April 2, 2020 By Nanette Hebdige April’s fool 2020 brought no horseplay or tomfoolery. None of us where goofing around. This are somber times and we’re all plagued with worry When we’re stricken by something of cataclysmic proportions, just as with the attacks of 9/11, it makes us come together in solidary with Hope and Faith. Unable to socialize, isolated to ward off this invisible killer, the lack of human contact preys on our fears, as we’re social animals and need…

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OSSO BUCO WITH CITRUS GREMOLATA

OSSO BUCO

So, what are you going to cook this weekend? Why not make this Italian classic originating from the Lombardy region? Osso Buco is an outrageously sumptuous and hearty dish that literately means “hollow bones or bones with holes”. The meaning is rather incongruous considering it’s famously known and mostly consumed for the velvety rich marrow in the bones, which is the dish’s crowning glory. With these veal shanks, try to have the butcher leave the skin on, as the long…

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SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT- POTATOES BOULANGÈRE, DAUPHINOISE AND AU GRATIN

boulangere potatoes

Let’s get one thing out of the way – these are full-on decadent so be sure to hurl any lame excuses or lamentations for a carb-free of fat-free dish out the proverbial window. We have already established that these are decidedly not good for your waistline, but if you partake of a small amount, a wee bit of decadence and living on the edge is always a good thing! Everything that is 60’s is making a herculean comeback, so it…

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THE SEXY CHIC THIGH

coconut curry thighs

A lot has been said when it comes to chicken. Endless discussions about its lackluster qualities. Who ever said chicken was boring, must still be pondering how can it get to the other side? Considering the million preparations and techniques, with deep-rooted dishes going through a much-needed revival and new imaginative takes thrown in for good measure, chicken is the 13thwonder of the gastronomic world when given some TLC, because it’s a blank canvas. Sure, you can slap it on…

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WHITE BEAN HAM SOUP WITH CHORIZO

WHITE BEANS WITH HAM AND CHORIZO STEW

The holidays are formally over with the ringing of the new year.   After vast consumptions of high caloric foods, which were officially launched at Thanksgiving, a mountain of sweets later and the invariable intake of more than our fair share of cocktails, wine and bubbly, we’re riddled with usual post-festivities-guilt over the number of calories ingested.  The typical diet favored resolutions come into play, along with that extra hour at the gym.  Yet some of us need some hearty fare to counter…

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MEATBALLS NEAPOLITAN STYLE – POLPETTE ALLA NAPOLETANA

NEOPOLITAN MEATBALLS

In Italy, the likelihood of finding spaghetti and meatballs on a restaurant menu is slim and none.  The American palate believes that it’s inherently Italian fare, since every Italian locale in the US presents a heaping dose of spaghetti in tomato sauce co-piloted with the proverbial balls on top. Only in the Southern Italian city of Naples, their meatballs, polpette al sugo, are paired with a rich tomato sauce, but never on top of pasta. And Italians are chronically in love…

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BEEF STEWING 101

SPANISH BEEF STEW

Let’s face it, a good stew isn’t just what you throw into a pot.  True, stews for the most part are left alone after the initial preparation to do their thing as they braise.  However, here are some necessary tips to avoid some pitfalls to hone your stew-making-skills and deliver a sublime, lip-smacking and unadulterated stew every time. ANY OL’ MEAT WILL DO? – Nope.  Please do everyone a favor and don’t even consider anything other than chuck.  Why? Because chuck has…

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JAMBALAYA, GUMBO AND ÉTOUFFÉE – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

CREOLE JAMBALAYA

Southerners rave and boast about their shrimp and grits.  Together with their jambalayas, gumbos and éttoufées, they are all the hallmarks of Creole cuisine, traditional dishes personifying the very essence of New Orleans cuisine.  All have colorful heritages, a touch of Creole influences and some disparities, which gets them oftentimes confused, unless of course you’re from N’Oleans and they’ve been your childhood staple. Jambalaya – is a distant relative of the Spanish Paella, the origins come from the Provençal word “jambalaia”which…

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MEATLOAF WITH BACON AND ALMOST BBQ SAUCE

MEATLOAF WITH BACON

This loaf has no glaze but a kicking sauce to go with it.  The method of wrapping the load into a round loaf with the foil allows for the bacon to cook atop the meat and easy slicing.  As with any loaf it’s a white canvas for a cacophony of ingredients.  It can be prepared the day before but allow it to loss some its chill from the fridge for about 1 hour at room temperature before baking.  You’ll want…

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TAGINE OF CHICKPEAS, SPINACH AND MINT

chickpeas and cauliflower tagine

Tagine is a Middle Eastern method of cooking (mostly stews) in an earthenware pot.  The technique dates to the 9thCentury and was even mentioned in “A Thousand and One Nights”.  The desert dwellers, Bedouins and nomadic tribes in North Africa, are well known for their addition of dried fruits and mint to their tagines. The conical shape ensures that the food inside is kept exceptionally moist while cooking.  Since the base is wide and shallow, the pointed lid on top…

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Pantry Rat