Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Panacea (Greens & Beans Chicken Soup)

There's something particularly unproductive about having a wracking, productive cough. This was not the piece I planned to write, this month, but as my cough and fever worsened over the weekend and into midweek, drastic measures were required. With a tiny apartment kitchen, I don't keep a lot of food in the house, so feeling too sick to run to the grocery can quickly take the food situation to critical levels. Luckily, Aaron came to my rescue with a vat of homemade chicken soup. This vegetable-forward recipe is one we've made for years and is perfect for days when you're sick or just suffering some late April chill (it is the cruelest month, after all).

Save us from this cruel month

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Give Caesar His Due (Caesar Salad)

As a lifelong iconoclast, I'm usually looking for unusual recipes (or looking for ways to make recipes unusual), so picking something as ubiquitous as Caesar salad may seem a tad incongruous. Sometimes making your own riff on an old standard can be a fun learning experience, and this certainly was. While a relatively new entry into the culinary milieux, Caesar salad has exploded in popularity with copious variations. This one is inspired by favorite fast-food salad place, substituting crunchy bits of crisp-baked parmesan cheese for the standard croutons (which means it can be advertised as both low-carb and gluten free).

Hail, Caesar!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hippie Fuel ("Ultimate" granola)

Granola ranks among my very favorite foods, to the degree that (like Biscoff cookie spread) I'm better off not even keeping any in the house lest I simply devour it by the bagful. Crunchy-sweet-salty is totally my jam, and the typical inclusion of nuts & berries is also right up my alley. It shouldn't be overlooked, however, that while granola has a significant history as healthy "hippie" food, some granolas' claims to "health" may be somewhat...questionable.

Healthy ...ish

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Fruit of the Underworld (Pomegranate lime vanilla cake)

Pretty in pink can be difficult to achieve without food dye. Unfortunately, taking an all-natural approach might not always turn out as you expected. This was the case with a batch of blood orange cinnamon rolls Aaron prepared one day. While delicious, the attempt to stain the icing ruby red with blood orange juice instead yielded a deeply unappetizing mauve-taupe. My attempts to correct with the trusty dropper of food dye resulted in nuclear pink. Ultimately, the project was abandoned for photographic purposes. This pomegranate lime vanilla yogurt cake, on the other hand, is perfectly calibrated to yield a beautiful finish using only the most natural of ingredients.

Au naturale

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Complicated History (Honey pistachio rose baklava)

From my first taste as a child, I was absolutely obsessed with baklava. Something about the crispy, honey-and-butter-soaked layers always called out to me, much to the dismay of my mother (who categorically refused to prepare it, saying it was too labor-intensive). This relegated its status to that of a rare holiday treat, which was probably better for my health and certainly in keeping with the dessert's history as something precious and celebratory.

My precious

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Gingerbread Man (Honey stout gingerbread cake, honey glaze)

As the Thanksgiving dust settles, baking cakes may be the last thing on your mind, but as winter drags on, I expect that you (like me) will come creeping back into the kitchen. Call it culinary therapy. Winter demands sturdier, more substantial, more warming foods, and this month's honey stout gingerbread cake fits the bill, perfectly.    A bundt cake, this takes advantage of the pretty, fluted mold and uses a simple glaze you can just pour over the top, rather than fussing with layers and smoothing icing. Triple-spiked with fresh, ground, and crystallized ginger, it's an easy pick-me-up with just the right amount of not-to-sweet gingery fire.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Autumnal Appetite (Winter squash hummus, Baharat)

I love slipping into autumn for a number of reasons. On the culinary side, Fall brings the warmth of richer, heartier flavors. It's a joy to roast and stew things, again, and the amount of butter and baked goods also spikes, precipitously. With the oncoming onslaught of holidays, it can at times be a bit much to each so much heavy food.  That's why it's important to find autumnal foods that are full on flavor (and fill you up) but be on the lighter side. Julia Child is absolutely right that more butter can solve almost anything, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially if one is predisposed to counting calories. As such, I present to you "winter squash hummus", which makes an appealing snack or appetizer that's pleasingly sentimental in its embrace of fall flavors while pleasantly lighter than most holiday fare.

Snack happy