Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fish Meatballs in Tomato Saffron Cream Sauce for the January 5 Star Meatball Makeover

The theme for the first 5 Star Makeover of the year - hosted as always by the lovely and talented Natasha of 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! - is meatballs. But how to create a gourmet dish centered around a classic - downright messy, even -  comfort food?

So rather than attempt to create something neat and pretty and dainty and perfect, I decided I would work with the meatball's essential nature and present something simultaneously rustic and elegant; unstructured, yet refined. I think I've done that with this dish, a simple fish meatball flavored with shallots, parsley, garlic, and lemon zest, bathed in a rich saffron tomato cream scented with fennel, leeks, white wine, and thyme.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gruyere Stuffed Purple Potato Dumplings with a Walnut Parsley Pesto

Recently I was invited to submit an original recipe to the Idaho Potato Commission as part of their "February is Potato Lovers Month" campaign.  I happily accepted; after all, this challenge involved two things that are close to my heart: potatoes and money. Not only would I (full disclosure) be paid for my time and trouble in creating the recipe, my dish would be featured (along with those of other participants) on the Idaho Potato homepage for the whole month of February. As an added bonus, prize money was up for grabs, as the commission would choose several winners, including best dish, most original recipe, and best photo.

Well guess what kids? I am very proud to announce that the image at the top of this post won in the "Best Photo" category! Many thanks to the Idaho Potato Commission for this award.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Asiago Baked Hummus with Caramelized Onions, Black Garlic & Rosemary for the Better Homes and Gardens Recipe Insiders Group

When a batch of recipes for the Better Homes and Gardens Recipe Insiders Group showed up in my inbox recently, this baked hummus number piqued my curiosity. While I have had warm hummus on wraps or in sandwiches, I've never had it baked - and with cheese! I like those words: "with cheese." Don't you?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Of Gumbo, Oysters, & Head-On Shrimp: Essential, Classic New Orleans Eats

Juicy plump barbecue shrimp at Mr. B's Bistro
I have heard people who don't know any better claim that all New Orleans food is the same. "It's all just heavy, saucy stuff," they say. As you may imagine, this generally precipitates a rather stern lecture from me. Yes of course, some, but certainly not all, Creole (and Cajun) food is heavy - but since when is heaviness necessarily a bad thing? Besides, just as with with cocktails, it's all about pacing.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tales of Many New Orleans Cocktails: 4 Days, 40-plus Drinks, 2 People, 0 Hangovers

Riding the streetcar to lunch at Commander's Palace!
I realize that I may not exactly have my pulse on the zeitgeist, culinarily speaking, with this post. After all, the Internet is currently abuzz with hopeful New Year's food resolutions:  solemn oaths to observe every single Meatless Monday, exuberant promises to lead a low fat lifestyle ... and, of course, many well-intentioned vows to drink less.

Not me! Don't get me wrong: I don't plan to eat nearly as much duck fat as I did in the last week of 2011 - it is unsustainable! - but I'm not kidding myself. Enjoying a good cocktail is one of the profound pleasures of life, one I never intend to give up. And on my recent four-day trip to New Orleans with Poppa Trix I indulged this passion with abandon. No, I don't mean that I guzzled disgusting grenade drinks or sugary, artless, booze filled cups of crap on Bourbon Street. That is a New Orleans drinking experience for people who don't enjoy drinking, but rather crave being drunk. And annoying.