Monday, August 26, 2013

The Mezze Cristo: Fried Ham & Cheese Sandwich with Creamy Horseradish, Garlic & Capers and a Sweet & Hot Dipping Relish

In general, I am not a huge fan of recipe contests.  All too often lately these things seem to revolve around how adept one is at badgering friends and family for multiple votes rather than actually determining a winner based on quality. I'm not saying the two things can't intersect and result in a deserving winner, but it's certainly not a foregone conclusion. And begging people for votes is pretty high up on my long list of Things I Cannot Stand To Do.

But the  Mezzetta "Make That Sandwich" competition is different from these tedious personality contests. It is actually curated. By people who aren't related to me. Because of this, and because I love sandwiches in a big way, I've decided to enter.

Oh, and also because the grand prize is $25,000. So there's that.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Nopales (Cactus Paddles) Three Ways: Pickled, In Cheesy Quesadillas, & In Spicy Salsa Verde

Use one fruit or vegetable in three different ways - that's the theme of this month's Creative Cooking Crew challenge, hosted as always by the lovely Joan of Foodalogue and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks.

This is both a deliciously intriguing and a perplexingly open-ended challenge. Any fruit. Any vegetable. Any three ways. To narrow down the endless choices, I decided I'd make three things that would form a part of one dish. The trick would be to manipulate one ingredient into three components with different, yet complementary, tastes and textures.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mental for Lentils: Berbere-Spiced Red Lentils with Yogurt {Another 5:2 Fast Day Dinner}

Just when I start to get smug about how well my 5:2 Diet is going, I go and make a pig's breakfast of it. Indeed, my last "fast day" was nothing short of disastrous.

I don't know what ravenous beast got into me, but before the day was over I had cheated with the following foods: many nibbles of Cotswold cheese, handfuls of wasabi peas, and no fewer than 3 glasses of rose. I had broken my 500 calorie limit before dinner.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

White Beans with Rosemary, Tomato Candy, & Roasted Garlic {A 5:2 Diet Dinner}

I generally cannot stand the idea of diets. There's always something you're supposed to cut out forever and ever. Going Paleo? Buh-bye pasta and grains. Doing the Eat to Live thing? No more steak or cheese for you, and I hope you really - and  I mean really  - love beans.

Sorry, dieters, but a life without cheesy pizza and the occasional burger and fries is not what I would consider truly living.

However. One of my many freelance jobs is recipe development. Sometimes these recipes are incredibly fattening, like the feature I am working on right now involving not one but five baked pasta and cheese dishes. Given that I am no Olympic athlete and I don't believe in wasting food, there is no way I could ever do enough exercise to burn off all those carbs without breaking something.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Romesco Sauce with Charred Onions: an Authentic Catalonian Recipe

One of the things I love most about travel is - surprise! - eating, drinking, and tasting a variety of new dishes and flavors. I am especially happy when I get the opportunity to chat with chefs and restaurant owners and, if possible, come away with an authentic recipe or two, as I did with Chef Mike's gnocchi in pumpkin cream in Vienna. 

This recipe for Romesco sauce comes courtesy of Hugo, co-owner of the adorable Gastromaquia in Madrid.