Sometimes, in my kitchen, at our friends’ home using their grill, and in the food blogging world, things just don’t go as planned. Recipes go horribly awry; pictures turn out blurry; fluorescent lighting makes food appear greenish, blueish or just plain blah.
Or the incredibly simple but WOW shrimp recipe I’ve loved and made for years – with Beautiful Grill Marks Every Single Time – ends up having Zero Grill Marks, Whatsoever the one time I finally remembered to take photographs.
Thankfully, despite a few snafus during the cooking process, the shrimp still tasted pretty freakin’ great.
Snafus?? Well, let’s just say that, if a man walking around in an Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat offers to grill the shrimp you’ve so carefully and beautifully marinated … (more…)
File this under “best lasagna you almost never tried because there’s no meat in it, no ricotta, no tomato sauce, and the main veggie featured is … squash?!?!?” It sounds crazy, I know.
And I’m sure the meat lover in your life will balk just as fervently as Jay did … and Adam … and Joe (okay, Joe kept the balking internal, but eventually admitted to it). Heaven forbid you ever make lasagna without sausage or ground beef! Have you forgotten the most basic tenets of lasagna-making?!? Surely you’ve gone a little too far down foodie alley; you’re trying too hard to come up with innovative, blog-worthy recipes; you’re completely off your rocker.
But then said meat lover will scoop up a slab of cheesy, squashy, creamy, basily baked noodles. And his carnivorous, quick-to-hate vegetarian food mouth will chew and gulp and chomp and swallow as he devours his portion (more…)
Whenever I go out to an Italian restaurant, I avoid pasta like the plague. And it’s not a no-carbs diet thing; it’s an I-shouldn’t-order-restaurant-food-that-I-can-make-at-home thing.
However, I sometimes permit an exception where the pasta is homemade and there is something intriguing or unique about the ingredients or sauce. Those are the only things that make me feel justified slightly better about paying $15 to $25 for a dish that would only cost $5 for me to make at home.
But now that I’ve learned how easy and cheap it is to make your own pasta, I’m not sure I can order pasta at a restaurant ever again.
When I was a kid, I loved cabbage – roasted or boiled, slathered in melty butter, and sprinkled with salt. (I still enjoy that sort of cabbage now, but reserve it for St. Patrick’s Day.) However, as much as I liked cabbage itself, I never understood slaw.
Most of the slaws I’ve tasted over the years have been more or less drowned in mayonnaise, and you see, mayonnaise and I aren’t quite best friends. I’m a mustard gal at heart, though I’ve learned to enjoy artichoke leaves dipped in a bit of mayo. But I never acquired that same taste for mayo when it came to cabbage salads. Peanut butter, on the other hand, I have always been able to eat by the spoonful (maybe even dipped in a little raspberry jam for some tart sweetness – yum! and yes, that is a “dessert” that I’ve eaten on multiple occasions.).
So when I first dipped chicken (and lamb!) satay – or even grilled sweet potatoes (seriously delicious with this sauce) – into spicy-sweet Thai peanut sauce, it was basically a dream come true. And at some point, probably after I dumped the leftover mango salsa and a dollop of pink chipotle mayonnaise on the extra cabbage from fish tacos, I had one of those light bulb moments where everything in the background fades out and a bright idea emerges: (more…)
Way back in college, I was introduced to creamy pesto sauce, and promptly adopted it as my in-a-pinch go-to pasta sauce. Creamy pesto sauce had the fresh zing of pesto with the comforting creaminess of an Alfredo sauce, and could transform a simple, inexpensive penne and broccoli dish into something magical.
Except that, at $3+ per packet at Safeway (before I realized the amazing $1.61 per packet offered by Amazon), the price was less than magic. And, as a lowly sauce-in-a-packet, it contained quite a few of those mysterious -ate ingredients and was not, actually, very fresh at all. In other words, it was a perfect candidate for the 2010 Creamy Pesto Makeover Edition.
Pesto is such a fresh and easy-to-make sauce – just pop the ingredients in a food processor, blend until smooth, and Tah-Dah! Fresh pesto. Whip up a quick bechamel or other cream sauce, add a little of that (more or less, to your preference) to the pesto, and Tah-Dah Numero Dos! Fresh creamy pesto sauce. (more…)