Monday, September 28, 2009

Arroz con Gandules: Rice and Peas with Homemade Sofrito and Sazon

In my fantasy, this is the sort of dish my Puerto Rican grandmother would have made for me growing up. She would have that is, if I were Puerto Rican and had been lucky enough to grow up with a grandma who actually liked to cook (my grandmother liked to drink her dinner, if you catch my drift). 

In fact, when I think about it, many of my dishes are attempts to create a culture of food that simply never existed in my family. Sure, my Mom made some killer casseroles at holidays, and since her death I lovingly re-create them, in all their fattening cheesy glory, every year. But if you're talking about tradition, slow cooking, a real love for and relationship with food ... well, that's something I've had to discover on my own. Hence my Liberian bean soups and African stews and Indian curries and fried green tomatoes and what I imagine to be comfort food from all over the world. 

Friday, September 25, 2009

Shrimp and Red Snapper a la Veracuzana de la Trix, with Crispy Grilled Polenta Cakes

When friend and fellow blogger Drick dedicated a post to me recently, "A Tasty Treat for Tasty Trix, " naturally I was thrilled. Not only has no one ever done that before, but I couldn't wait to make the dish, Red Snapper a la Varacruzana. After, all, the recipe has so many of my favorite things in it: capers, chipotle, jalapenos, olives, garlic, tomatoes, wine (!)  ... just reading it, I could already taste the smoky, tangy heat of the sauce and how it would work with the mild, buttery fish. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

The (Slightly) Lighter Side of Brabant Potatoes

I first tasted brabant potatoes -  garlicky, buttery, bite-sized bits of glorious, crunchy starch -  a little over a year ago at Galatoire's in New Orleans. As addictive as they were,  I tragically wasn't able to manage more than a few bites of this classic Creole side dish, as I was already full by the time they arrived at the table. Between the Louisiana seafood festival, the Creole tomato festival, lunch at Commander's Palace, several gumbos, and a (meatless) muffaletta, I had, truth be told, been full for days.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Heart Savory Tarts!

I must have suffered some sort of carbohydrate-related trauma as a child.  Did an evil babysitter wrap me up in a puff pastry and stick me in the oven? Was I left in the woods with only bread crumbs to guide me home? Or perhaps I was frightened by the premature exploding of a can of Pillsbury breakfast rolls. I can't really say for sure.

But I do know that after years of shying away from working with dough - "I'll mess it up! I'll ruin it!" was my panicked refrain -  I have suddenly - and incurably - become absolutely tart-y for making savory tarts.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Eggplant Rogan Josh, By Gosh

Indian food is one of those cuisines that I really like - and sometimes even crave - but rarely make at home. That's probably due to the fact that I have always lived in places with a ton of convenient, cheap and tasty Indian restaurants. Me + all-you-can-eat Indian buffet = full, happy, and sleepy.  But a recent spate of disappointing lunches reminded me that if you want something dependably yummy, you really need to learn how to make it yourself.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Post-Feast Repast: A Simple Mediterranean White Bean Salad

The morning after my husband cooked a delicious three course feast for my birthday, we both woke up with sore, tired, and still-full bellies.  Our stomachs were not happy that we had stuffed them past capacity, and our bodies were punishing us for being gluttons. (Having said that, I'd eat that meal again in a heartbeat.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fit for a Queen: Tomato Salad, New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp, and Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream Sauce

It seems only fitting that my husband should be the author of my very first guest post, considering he takes all of the amazing photographs on my blog.  And shortly after tucking into this scrumptious birthday feast he concocted for me, I realized we had found the perfect subject for him to write about! 

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I've had a lifelong love affair with the city of New Orleans. One of the luckiest things about my adult life is being able to share this love with Trix. The first bunch of times I visited the Crescent City my palate was more in the po boys / beignets realm of New Orleans cuisine, but as Trix and I explored the city together we were able to share many culinary firsts: Commander's Palace, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, Mr. B's Bistro, Galatoire's, and many more. Eating the food of New Orleans has played a large part in our own growing enthusiasm over cooking at home.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fiery Liberian Bean Soup

This is another one of those West African dishes that is so much more than the sum of its relatively few parts. The order in which the ingredients are added to the pot helps create layers of flavor and a very pleasing slow build of spicy heat.  

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Brunch of Champions: Scrambled Egg Stuffed Poblano Chiles with Spicy Cheese Sauce

Each Sunday, my husband makes a delicious frittata using the week's leftover vegetables. It's definitely one of my favorite brunch dishes, and part of the fun is that I just sit back and sip a mimosa or pomegranate & prosecco while Poppa chops, preps, and cooks it up.