Stir-frying requires a bit more from the cook than your average culinary technique. It demands organization and a hefty amount of prep work. Dinner happens in a flash with lots of sizzle and steam. The aftermath, lots of prep bowls, mere minutes ago filled with a little bit of this and some of that, need a bit more attention.
My husband cringes when it’s Asian night in our home. The dishwasher of our partnership, he dutifully cleans up after every meal, and I, in gratitude, try to clean as much as I can as I go. On Asian night however, it’s all saved for the end. My bowls of ingredients, carefully lined up in the order in which they will go into the dish, are quickly emptied into a blistering wok and then stacked haphazardly by the sink as the house fills with the aroma of ginger, garlic, and soy.
Posted in Asian, Dinner, Vegetarian
Tagged Baked tofu, dinner, dirty dishes, firm tofu, Food, ginger garlic, International, Pad Thai, Recipe, Rice Stick Noodles, Tamarind, Vegetarian
Last week, when spring was supposed to arrive, but didn’t, I made this recipe. It would be perfect eaten with a cold margarita in hand in the fading light of a warm spring day. Instead, I enjoyed the brightly colored slaw atop smoky grilled mahi-mahi inside my home where the thermostat remains set on heat. No matter. It’s a dish I’ll make again.
This dish is a fine illustration of the point that delicious food isn’t complicated food. Good ingredients, combined with the proper seasoning, make this Mexican-inspired slaw refreshing and the perfect accompaniment to the mahi-mahi’s earthy rub that brings just the right amount of spicy kick. Store-bought flour tortillas will bring dinner together that much more quickly, although I urge you to make your own. Far from complicated and assembled from ingredients you are sure to have on hand, flour tortillas take this meal from satisfying weeknight dinner to something that demands a little more celebration.
Posted in Dinner, Fish, How-To, Mexican, Uncategorized
Tagged dinner, Fish, flour tortillas, Food, grill, grilled mahi mahi, mahi-mahi, mango, Mexican, pineapple, Recipe, red cabbage, ripe mango
In honor of election day, I thought I would present a recipe for the one ingredient that might be more divisive and polarizing than politics: beets. There are no undecideds when it comes to this earthy, root vegetable. You either love them or abhor them and those that recoil at the mere mention of this jeweled vegetable have all sorts of techniques for not eating them.
I’ve seen beets be carefully hidden under lettuce leaves, meticulously picked out of vegetable medleys, and scooted, neurotically, back and forth until the plate and its offending contents are cleared. Think I’m exaggerating? Serve beets at your next dinner party and watch half your guests regress back to their 7-year old selves.
Peeled grapes for eyeballs and cold noodles for brains are what I think of when it comes to food at Halloween. I’ll never forget helping to carefully peel dozens of grapes for the haunted garage that was painstakingly created by my parents for my brother’s October birthday years ago.
Visitors to our haunted garage would insert their hands through holes cut into black fabric and find themselves touching eyeballs (the grapes) and brains (the slippery noodles). This combined with a creepy soundtrack, lots of cobwebs, and my father dressed up as the Devil made for an unforgettable party that was perhaps a bit too intense for my brother and his first grade friends, many of whom emerged from the haunted garage in tears.
If you’ve planned a wedding, you know what it takes. Guests lists, linen choices, the juggling of families and friends, invitations, attire, and a plethora of other decisions about details big and small. Managing it all without turning into a raging bridezilla (or groomzilla in the name of gender equality) requires finesse and more than a little patience. It’s a wonderfully exciting time, but it’s also exhausting.
So could you imagine adding a cooking challenge to your engagement? This recipe for jeweled rice is a traditional part of a Persian wedding banquet. The rice, studded with dried fruits and sprinkled with pistachios, is said to bring good luck to the newly married couple. I’ve also read that a bride’s cooking prowess is judged by her ability to execute this dish.
Autumn is a couple of days away on the calendar, but it’s already arrived in my kitchen. I’ve roasted chickens, baked pumpkin-apple muffins, and made soups like this one.
Soups, as simple as they are to make, still need a bit of finesse, or rather, dedication on the part of the cook. I’ve made soups in a rush where I’ve simply dumped in ingredients and the product reflects this lack of attention. Bland and watery these dashed-together soups are exactly the opposite of what a good soup should be. With that being said, a good soup doesn’t require hours to make and when treated properly, ingredients from even the most basic pantries can yield steaming bowls of goodness.
My fridge is rocking a feng shui vibe this week. Despite a quick trip to the store for staples since arriving home from a week-long vacation I’ve been relishing the joys of an empty refrigerator. Accustomed to Tetris-style pondering every time I take something in or out of my fridge, it’s been glorious to have clean and mostly empty shelves staring back at me. Glorious until I have to whip up a meal that is.
This morning I demonstrated how to cook a healthy and budget-friendly version of New Orleans-style Red Beans and Rice on WCNC’s Charlotte Today show. It was an exercise in resistance. Typically my preparation of red beans and rice involves some serious cooking using an obscene amount of bacon and andouille sausage. Today’s recipe involved a shorter cooking time and the substitution of turkey sausage for the pork. Surprisingly, it was just as delicious.
For those of you who choose to watch the video you’re in for a few laughs. Paul Schadt hosts a morning show for a country radio station here in Charlotte. This week he is a guest host on Charlotte Today. Paul seems like a great guy, but he’s not an adventurous eater. Imagine my surprise when I realized that he had never tried beans or sausage before!
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Beans, budget-friendly, dinner, dried beans, Food, Healthy, New Orleans, Recipe, red beans and rice, rice, turkey sausage
I’ve had serious recipe block recently. Everything is so gosh-darn perfect at the farmer’s market that it needs no help. Take corn. It only needs to be roasted and then rubbed with a little butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Tomatoes don’t even need vinegar. Simply splash thick slices with a little olive oil and some sliced basil and you have a delicious side. I don’t even want to talk about the peaches which I’ve bought every week this summer with the goal of making peach pie, but instead have eaten fresh as anything else would be gilding the lily.
Perhaps all this perfection was what made me scoop up a couple of green tomatoes yesterday. Tangy and firm to the touch, those unripe tomatoes were something that required my attention; something that for all their goodness could be improved upon.
Salad as a main course is a tricky thing. The thought of it immediately conjures up visions of dressing-soaked lettuce, sad chicken, and limp toppings. Slapped together haphazardly with little love, it’s never my first choice when eating out.
At home, it’s a different thing altogether. A little care and good ingredients can make a side dish that steals the show or a main course that satiates even the hungriest diners. This recipe for salade niçoise makes one of those salads.