Batter Licker

November 29, 2010

slow-cooked garlic butter and parmesan mashed potato trio

If you hosted Thanksgiving like I did this year, you’re probably over the leftovers by now. And if you didn’t host, you’re probably wishing you had snuck some tupperware in so you could still be enjoying the fruits of several days’ worth of cooking.

But either way, I hope that, like me, you will be making and eating mashed potatoes again this winter. And maybe you’ll want something new – a mashed potato recipe that isn’t just a blob of white fluffy potatoes, but rather is a colorful, festive pile of regular and sweet potatoes mashed together to create a creamy-but-not-gloppy texture and flavored with sweet garlic cooked slowly in butter, a bit of salty nutty parmesan, and some fresh lemony parsley.

I won’t say it will be a hit with everyone, although I have had a 99% success rate over three years’ worth of large multi-family Thanksgivings, multi-friends Fakesgivings, and intimate mashed potato-worthy dinners throughout the rest of the year. (more…)

November 22, 2010

apple crumble with cinnamon, brown sugar and pretzel topping

Filed under: dessert,fruit,pies, tarts, crumbles,vegan — Tags: , , , , , , , — Kristen @ 7:55 pm

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and after 3 straight years of late November and early December law school exams putting a celebratory restraint on this national holiday of excessive cooking, drinking, and feasting, I’m making the most of it this year.

This weekend, I attended my second Friendsgiving dinner for the month and celebrated even more jubilantly thanks to receiving the very relieving news that I passed the California bar exam (little yay; BIG SIGH). And now, mere days before actual Turkey Day, I broke my usual week-of-Thanksgiving rule of not eating any remotely American food before the big day.

I have no defense. I’ve been sick, sitting in pajamas and slurping on soup and sipping up tea all day for six days straight. I needed a change. I needed some crunch. I needed to use up the rest of the 1-pound bag of pretzel sticks I’ve been munching on since last Wednesday. And, because I’ve been almost entirely without energy, I needed a super easy, slap-it-together, stick-it-in-the-oven-and-let-it-do-its-thing answer.

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So after 5 minutes of prep and 12 minutes of lounging on the couch while it baked, my spoon dove through the crunchy, crumbly, cinnamony brown sugar and pretzel topping into a ramekin full of warm, gooey apples, and I forgot all about that silly little pre-Thanksgiving rule of mine. (more…)

November 21, 2010

summer squash gratin with cheesy herb bechamel

Consider this an ode to the other squash. The quickly forgotten summer squash, often left behind at this time of year as people, including me, find themselves lured toward the oranger, more festive squashes of autumn. But these bright green and yellow varieties want you to know that they, too, can make delicious fall and winter food fare.

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Unlike the dishes of summers past, where these bright baby squash were grilled, sauteed or roasted with salt, pepper, a little butter, and a sprinkling of lemon juice, this summer squash gratin is anything but summery. It’s hearty, rich, and creamy, but, despite the cream sauce, it doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down. (more…)

November 16, 2010

mexican rice and fajita-spiced steak, poblano peppers, and onions

I grew up eating Mexican rice of the Rice-a-Roni quality. In other words, boxed rice and unknown spices + canned tomatoes + butter + water. It was delicious. But it was not Mexican. And I clearly didn’t know any better. But even if I had known better, I have forgiven the follies of my foodie-less youth.

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Fast forward a few years, and I’ve figured out that this Mexican rice wonder of my childhood can not only be made at home, but (not surprisingly) tastes way better than the romanticized Rice-a-Roni of yore. Plus, this rice can be made without any canned vegetables and with discernible spices that I always have on hand anyway, making it fresher and cheaper than the boxed stuff.

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Because rice was always the highlight of Mexican feasts growing up, whether in my super plain bean-cheese-rice burrito or as a side dish to any number of restaurant main courses, I like to say that I “know” Mexican rice. That may or may not be true, but I have been exposed to a wide variety served everywhere from fancy Mexican joints to chintzy taco shops. (more…)

pico de gallo

Filed under: appetizer,mexican,salad,vegan,veggies — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Kristen @ 12:17 pm

As a teenager, I was fortunate to attend one of the few high schools that still had an open-campus lunch. When the bell sounded to announce the beginning of the break, we would pile into someone’s hand-me-down vehicle and dash off to Golden Spoon for a pile of gummy bear-studded, fro yo heaven, or roll on down to the beach for amazing, cheap Mexican fare at Cessy’s. And I’ll be honest: sometimes we didn’t return to campus after that. Needless to say, it wasn’t much of a surprise when, during senior year, there was talk of closing the campus during lunch, perhaps because even the honors students weren’t inclined to head back to class after lunchtime burrito-beach trips.

It was during those trips to Cessy’s that I really fell for pico de gallo. So fresh and flavorful, it was the perfect condiment to brighten up my then-favorite bean, cheese, and rice burrito. While Cessy’s version wasn’t the freshest ever, as it used canned tomatoes, they were on to something by skipping bad tomatoes and going straight for the canned, flavor-packed ones; and at least they were being realistic. (more…)

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