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Archive for July, 2009

Tilapia Ceviche

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I’ve found the perfect summer meal. You may recall me raving several months ago about the benefit dinner I attended at a local Peruvian restaurant where my very first encounter with ceviche took place. It looked easy, it tasted delicious, and best of all it was not going to make my kitchen a sauna. Now that summer is finally here in Boston (drat, I was hoping to avoid that whole hot weather thing this year), ceviche was at the top of my list for a prime potluck offering last weekend.

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As promised, I’ve been experimenting this week with sweet potato orzo and am here to present the results. The first recipe was created by scanning some basic recipes I have found for roasted sweet potatoes and a need to use red onions. People who roast sweet potatoes apparently like to do so with a lot of rosemary and thyme, so I figured why not flavor my dish that way?

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Okay I know I keep crying wolf with “THIS is the best place ever”, “No, actually it’s THIS”, or “I think THIS is tops”, but I do seriously think I’ve found heaven. On Route 6 in Truro. The Atlantic Spice Company is a wood-framed  warehouse nestled on the side of the road on one of the thinnest and most remote parts of Cape Cod. Thus, you have to make an effort to get there, and believe me it’s well worth it. It is all because of Atlantic Spice that I have a relationship with smoked paprika, Saigon cinnamon, and Gumbo File. I’m telling you, a girl could spend many happy hours wandering this place and it’s probably only 1000 square feet. In my next life I’m going to own a spice shop…maybe even in this one.

Anyway, my most recent trip to Mecca unveiled a previously unexplored region of this store’s inventory, the grains. Uh oh, my wallet was not pleased. I’m just warning you now, I’ve stocked up on about six months worth of every kind of quinoa, cous cous and barley you can imagine so get ready for some heavy blogging. This week’s feature is actually a pasta (gasp!), right? Isn’t orzo a pasta? In any case, the sweet potato flavor caught my eye and after an extensive discussion with the store owner I learned that when he sampled this flavor he was surprised by the bold taste that can often be lacking from flavored pastas. Sold! Sweet potatoes aren’t typically a summer ingredient, so I used the pasta instead to get the flavor without the oven roasting. I’m going to tell you about the two versions I made this week and I think at some point my roommate is helping me to plan how to incorporate the orzo into a true sweet dish/dessert type thing.Versatility is the name of the game.

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My ice cream maker and I made up. The last time out might not have worked out so well, but this sure did.

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I’m sugary and caffeinated, try to resist me.

On this hallowed day, in the year 1984, our fearless leader Ronald Reagan did solemnly decree today National Ice Cream Day. In honor of this day, I am posting nothing but ice cream: the good, the bad, and the lightly creamed. Today I had to reconcile with my new ice cream maker (see post below) and I chose another delicious concoction straight from Bi-Rite Creamery, coffee toffee. When one spends 48 hours straight in her house relentlessly memorizing and integrating the genotypic consequence of hemoglobin disorders it becomes very important to reward oneself with things that make her happy. Like ice cream.

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This did not work.

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In the interest of full disclosure, here was a very good idea gone very wrong in practice. My lovely friends, Whitney and Bruno (of Brasilian food fame), have once again enhanced my food-eating life and got me an ice cream maker for my birthday. This is incredibly dangerous given the complete and utter lack of will power I have for this particular dessert, but sadly our inaugural efforts with the machine were painfully bad. And yes, it is painful when ice cream is bad. That just shouldn’t happen.

When we went to the corner store to pick up some last minute items, it was clear that someone else in the neighborhood was trying to start an ice cream parlor and had gone and cleaned the place out of heavy cream. Please everyone, don’t make the mistake we did: LIGHT CREAM DOES NOT WORK. If the recipe says heavy cream, listen to it. Your dessert will thank you.

I will try this again because I love ginger and blueberries and they shouldn’t be given up on so quickly. But next time the instructions will be adhered to with more care.

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Well, I waited and I waited until I could wait no more. The salmon (“THE salmon”) has finally made it to these pages. I don’t know what it is exactly about this dish, but it’s pretty much my favorite thing to cook and to eat. I guess it’s appealing because it’s light and rich at the same time making it appropriate for any season. It’s a serious crowd pleaser too: there are but two people I’ve encountered in a long line of salmon-loving folks who did not dig on this dish, and both of them are men with exceptionally bizarre food preferences (Hi Dad! Sorry, I’m calling you out but you know it’s true.).

I haven’t cooked this off of a recipe for years. If you have been enjoying this blog for the past several months then please thank this dish, because the demand for this recipe was certainly a motivating factor for committing my meals to an online and accessible format. I think the origin of this recipe was back in my early days of cooking adventures and was inspired by one I saw on allrecipes.com. A couple of modifications and you have my pièce de résistance. Heady talk, I know, but it’s just so delicious.

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Okay, I think that maybe the title of this blog post came from some random commercial I was watching in the 80s in California, because every time I belt out this jingle (which is strangely quite a bit) most people in the near vicinity look at me like I’ve grown an extra ear. Whatevs, it’s true, I do love eggs. Although my preference is a tried and true plate of over medium with toast, I think I especially love eggs because like quinoa or pasta you can pretty much throw anything you have in the fridge in a dish and know it won’t suck.

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