Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Curry Leaf-Infused Lime Curd Tartlets with Cardamom Rose Whipped Cream and Candied Curry Leaves, in a Coconut Almond Crust

"Yes, that's it," said the Hatter with a sigh. "It's always tea time . . . "
                                                        --Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

As soon as I found out that the theme for this month's Five Star Makeover - hosted as ever by our fearless leaders Natasha of 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks - was to be a variation on a dish one might find at high tea, I knew that I wanted to incorporate Indian flavors somehow. After all, Indian cuisine has become an integral part of food culture in England, and I thought it would be fun to reference it in such an old British tradition as high tea.

My regular readers are no doubt aware that I almost always choose to make (and eat) savory over sweet, so I though I'd play against type and do something sweet for high tea. And so these curry leaf-infused lime curd tartlets with cardamom rose whipped cream and candied curry leaves were born.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A South African Wine Journey: Five Course Pairing Dinner at the Explorer's Lounge at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court

The Explorer's Lounge
When you write about food for a living, many of the tastings and multi-course pairing dinners and cocktails and nibbles - even the best ones -  eventually blend into one another. The nuances and intensity of the flavors gradually fade from sense memory.

I love the rare exceptions to this phenomenon.

As Poppa Trix (who took all of these lovely shots) and I ate and drank our way through a recent five-course wine pairing dinner at the Explorer's Lounge at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court in Baltimore, I knew that this was one of those special meals that would stick with me for a very long time.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Potent Pairings: Seared Duck Breast and Blueberry Sage Sauce with Mezcal Anejo

Pairing liquor with food can be tricky: high-test alcohol has the potential to overwhelm the palate and obliterate the flavors of the food. But it can be done, as long as the dish is bold enough to stand up to the boozy beverage while simultaneously harmonizing with it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fresh October Bean Chili with Bacon & Booze

Okay, Texans, I already know what you're thinking: This chili contains beans and tomatoes. Therefore, according to Texas chili orthodoxy, it is not actually chili at all, but rather an abomination. I don't want to hear it. I have, in fact, made a proper Texas Red right here on this very blog. It had beef and chiles and spices and that's about it. It was thick and smoky and stick-to-your-ribs fabulous. But this bean-packed chili is fabulous in its own way as well. If it offends you, however, I suggest thinking of it as a really, really thick bean soup.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Summer Tomato, Eggplant, & Herb Gratin

There are plenty of summer gratin recipes out there, all fighting for your attention. So what makes this one so special? Well, for one thing, it's pretty. (If I do say so myself.) For another, unlike some of its heavier cousins, it's not a cheese-laden calorie bomb. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's not what I want on a hot day.