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COMFORT FOODS

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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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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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EGYTIAN STUFFED PEPPER – MAHSHI

Stuffed yellow bell peppers

During the Ramadan, these stuffed peppers are almost a staple served in restaurants and almost every local Egyptian household.  They are typically served alongside roasted lamb skewers as a complete meal.  Some ground lamb can be added, but they are robust enough with aromatics and rice.  If you choose to add some ground lamb, sauté it first with some onions, cilantro, pinch of allspice salt and pepper and then mix with the cooked rice prior to stuffing the peppers.  …

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THE COMFORTING CABBAGE ROLL

stuffed cabbage rolls

The good ol’ cabbage roll.  They may not look all that sexy on a plate, but the are the ultimate comfort classic.  Its origins are somewhat nebulous since it’s a dish prevalent over most of Europe.  From Poland to Sweden, Russia and the Balkans, Greece all the way to Egypt.  Oh yes, the Egyptians create and serve divine cabbage rolls, stuffed only with rice, spices and herbs – mostly mint, sometimes nuts and have no meat filling.  Put that in…

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SPANISH STUFFED PEPPERS WITH COD

Spanish stuffed peppers

Fish stuffed peppers are the rage in Spain and there are quite a few renditions.  Here the use of small Piquillo peppers is best, cut in half, stuffed and served as part of the Tapas repast.  However, there is nothing amiss if you select to stuff the normal sized peppers and serve as a main course, as Piquillo peppers are hard to come by.  This recipe is rich and delectable, one I’m sure you probably haven’t sampled before, unless you…

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