Monday, August 31, 2009

Luscious Jalapeno Cornbread

Until making this dish, I hadn't baked for years. I had given up on it. At best, everything I made  turned out crooked, deformed, or messy-looking. But recently I got hit hard with a hankering for jalapeno cornbread, and I figured I might as well give baking another shot. 

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kitchen Sink Salads & Yummy Veggie Sandwiches; or, How I Survived Life without a Stove

I can't believe that mere days after I  abused my electric stove in print, it decided it had had enough and quit working.  And blew a fuse in the process. What a drama queen!

While I was thrilled to finally have an excuse to get a gas stove, I still had to figure out what to eat for a few days. I toyed with the idea of testing out some real hardcore raw food recipes - you know, things with kelp powder, nutritional yeast,  and  Celtic salt. Maybe I'd make mock mashed potatoes, refried beans made from sunflowers,  or some uncooked lasagne. But after looking up some recipes, I temporarily lost my appetite.  

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mmmm, Mmmm, M'Baazi: Kenyan Black-Eyed Peas in Coconut Milk

You may have figured out by now that I'm a huge fan of African food. While I'm often cooking up spicy West African style dishes, I also love to make meals inspired by the flavors of East Africa.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cheese Stuffed Poblano Chiles with Chipotle Sauce, Guacamole, and Salsa Verde

While  watching - and rooting for - Rick Bayless on Top Chef Masters, I developed a serious case of the hungries for some Mexican food. And when we got these adorable tomatillos from our CSA, I took it as a sign that I needed to make some salsa verde, pronto.  I wanted to try to make my salsa as authentic as possible, so it made sense to go with a Bayless recipe. I only made a couple of changes, as you'll see  - not because I thought I could improve on his recipe, but rather because of equipment failure and an ingredient confusion. But it still came out with a very distinctive, smoky taste. Delicious.

I more or less made up the chipotle sauce as I went along, and my husband made his always-yummy, simple, fresh guacamole. I'll admit there are a fair number of steps to this dish, but you can make the salsa verde and chipotle sauce ahead of time, and the results are more than worth a little extra effort!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fried Green Tomatoes, Two Ways

A few days ago my husband and I decided to take a little break and check out an area known as the "Redneck Riviera." Our plan was to get a crab cake, sit by the water, drink some cold beer, and eavesdrop on conversations held entirely in strange Mid-Atlantic accents.  It was a huge success.

Tooling around afterwards, we spotted a sign that read "This way to the baby goats." Now, when it comes to the possibility of petting baby animals, you don't have to ask us twice. We followed a series of such signs, and after several twists and turns on country roads - and only a tiny, nagging worry that we were about to be abducted and perhaps even eaten - we arrived at a small family farm.  The goats, naturally, were adorable. But we found something even more exciting, something we had all but given up on.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Simple Summer Beet Salad

More beets! We've been getting them non-stop from the farm this year. Not that I'm complaining - I'm a huge  fan of a perfectly roasted beet.

So far this season, I've made beet burgers,  beets with a butter horseradish sauce, and beet pasta.  So I figured it was high time for a simple, classic beet salad - one in which all the ingredients harmonize and shine.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Crunchy Asian Slaw

Like the hungry walrus said, the time has come to talk of many things. But I'm just going to talk about  cabbages. As in, what to do with them when you keep getting them from your CSA and the last thing you want to do is stand in a boiling hot kitchen assembling mammoth amounts of stuffed cabbage (which I've done, by the way. In July. Never again.).

Cole slaw is an obvious choice, but as much as I love it sweet, gloppy, and Southern-style, my hips do not need a vat of that sitting around. Who do I look like, Paula Deen? 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spicy West African Style Greens & Peanut Stew with Fufu

My first exposure to African food was Ethiopian cuisine, and I was hooked from the first bite. This was many years ago, at the now-defunct Blue Nile Restaurant  in Baltimore. At the time, I could barely boil spaghetti and had certainly never heard of anything as "exotic" as ghee or injera.  The rich heady flavors and brand new smells, spices, and textures were entirely mysterious and magical to me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Beets & Bowties

We got beets for the 4th (or 5th?)  time in just over a month  from our CSA last week. I'm not complaining, mind you - I love beets. But I've done beet salad (future post), beet burgers, and roasted beets with horseradish  butter (oops, forgot to take a picture!), and I didn't feel like doing any of that again.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Southwestern-Style Corn and Black Bean Salad with Avocados

The other day around dinner time, I was feeling noshy, but not starving. I wanted something healthy and light, but also satisfying. Well, lucky me - I just happened to have  all the fixings for an old favorite of mine on hand. I used to make a version of this salad all the time, but somewhere along the way I completely forgot about it. I'm so glad it's back in the rotation!