Sometimes, after a long day at work, when I’m watching TV (most likely Food Network or The Real Housewives of somewhere), I like to pick a cookbook off my bookshelf and just flip through it. I do this, one, because I find it immensely relaxing, and, two, because it often inspires me to come up with new recipes of my own.
A few nights ago, I was looking through Ina Garten’s newest cookbook, Make it Ahead. All of her recipes look absolutely mouth watering, but I found I kept flipping back to one in particular, her Moroccan lamb tagine. This recipe stuck out to me because I love Moroccan food and tagines (although I don’t actually have a tagine), and also because it looked simple to make. As I thought about it more, I wondered if I could make it even simpler by making a slow cooker version. Ina’s Moroccan lamb tagine is definitely a party dish. It’s a show stopper, and although the recipe is easy enough to follow, it takes a bit of time to assemble and 3 hours to cook in the oven. It happened to be the middle of the week, I hadn’t planned on having company over, and I didn’t want to wait 3 hours after work for dinner to be ready. So, I brainstormed a bit and came up with my own slow cooker version of her recipe. I swapped out a few ingredients and traded lamb shanks for beef stew meat, but it still resembles her recipe and it definitely is reminiscent of those famous Moroccan tagines I love so much. Think of it as the weeknight version of Moroccan lamb tagine. It’s just as delicious, just a little less fancy. (more…)
I know I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again, I love my slow cooker. I broke mine out this week, after neglecting it for several months, to make spicy slow cooker pulled pork with salsa verde. I was watching an old episode of Mexican Made Easy, and Marcela Valladolid was making cochinita pibil, a slow roasted pork dish that combines onions, citrus flavors, achiote paste and pork shoulder. She made it in the slow cooker and it looked absolutely delicious when it was finished. It inspired me to make my own version of slow cooked pulled pork.
Cooking confession: Sometimes, giant cuts of meat are intimidating to me. But I promise you, this is so easy and delicious and it makes a ton. We had pulled pork tacos the first night and bbq pork sandwiches the second night and I still have enough for a 3rd meal. Not sure what I’ll do with the leftovers yet. Maybe some tostados or nachos. Anyway, don’t let the big cut of pork shoulder intimidate you. By the way, a pork “butt” is actually the same thing as a pork shoulder. Another cooking confession: For years I did not know this. I’m still not sure why they call a shoulder a butt, but whatever, it’s the same thing. A nice, fatty piece of pork that is perfect for slow cooking and pulled pork dishes.
I figured January called for a healthy recipe. After all, it is the month of resolutions and new starts. The problem is, because it’s cold, dreary and dark here in January, I never really feel like eating salad, or anything cold for that matter. Granted, there are so many things you can do with vegetables besides make a salad, but I’ve been lazy on the food front lately. But this weekend I felt inspired and on Sunday, I spent a good portion of the evening cooking. This healthy vegetable curry was, by far, the best thing I made that night. I also made a delicious beef and asparagus stir-fry for Matt, but it doesn’t really count as my recipe because I used Trader Joe’s Soyaki Sauce for the marinade. Guys, that sauce is so delicious. I rarely buy bottled sauces, because I like to make my own but, as I already mentioned, I’ve been lazy on the food front this month. If you ever need a quick dinner, marinate some meat or tofu in this sauce and stir-fry it with some veggies. It is so versatile and so delicious. But, back to the veggie curry, the star of this blog post. (more…)
I love Ina Garten and am often inspired by her recipes. I was watching Food Network the other day, as I often do, and an episode of Barefoot Contessa came on. Ina was making all kinds of delicious things, including tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons, which I quickly added to my “to make” list. She also made lemon chicken with broccoli and bow ties which was the inspiration behind this recipe. Tonight I needed to make a quick, satisfying dinner and her recipe came to mind. Only, I didn’t have time to marinate the chicken and I don’t have an outdoor grill. Even if I did, it’s way too cold to be outside. So, I came up with this quick version and called it lemon chicken pasta with broccoli. It combines many of the same flavors and ingredients but it cuts out a lot of the steps in Ina’s original recipe. I’d venture to say that it’s probably just as good as Ina’s, although, I can’t say for sure, because I’ve never tried hers. (more…)
I’m not a huge fan of traditional Thanksgiving sweet potato side dishes. You know the ones I mean. Those super sweet dishes where the potatoes are mashed and topped with brown sugar or marshmallows or some other sugary topping. They have their place but they just don’t do much for me and, in my opinion, they don’t go with all the other savory items on the plate like the turkey, stuffing and gravy. Maybe I’m in the minority but I generally don’t like to mix savory and sweet things. Which is also why I usually skip over the cranberry sauce as well. It’s not that I truly dislike “sweet” sweet potatoes, but I definitely prefer the savory side dishes. (more…)
If you know me at all, you know I have a long standing love affair with Indian food. And although I tend to gravitate more towards the vegetarian Indian dishes (like palak paneer) I enjoy the meat dishes as well. And I love me a good chicken tikka masala. Between the mildly spiced tomato cream sauce and the tender pieces of juicy chicken, what’s not to love? Seriously, if you think you don’t like Indian food, give chicken tikka masala a try. I’ve never met anyone who tried it and didn’t like it, and I’m not sure I want to. (more…)
Sometimes it amazes me how simple recipes turn out to be the best ones. Most people often think that complicated cooking techniques, a slew of exotic ingredients, and a lot of time make a good recipe, and sometimes they do. But many times it’s just the opposite. Dishes that utilize only a few, good quality, local ingredients can turn out just as well as the fancy, complicated ones. Sometimes, they turn out even better. And that’s what happened when I made this simple eggplant, corn and feta salad. When I took my first bite, I was honestly surprised at how good it turned out because it’s too easy! (more…)
This is my new favorite vegetable dish. When I started making this I really didn’t think it would turn out as well as it did. I kind of just needed to use up half a bag of Trader Joe’s kale and a spaghetti squash that had been sitting in my fridge for some time. I like vegetables. In fact, I love them, but I literally could not stop eating this. I ate it the same way I usually eat fried rice or pasta. I almost finished the entire pan in one sitting, which is okay because it’s relatively healthy. It’s salty from the crispy bacon pieces and the parmesan cheese and a little bit spicy from the red pepper flakes. It’s a veggie dish I’ll be making again and again. I know spaghetti squash is not a substitute for actual pasta but it’s still delicious in its own right. (more…)
I’m so sorry for my absence on the blog, as of late. I realize it’s been almost a month since I last posted but it’s been an incredibly hectic few weeks for me. Between the day to day grind of work and social obligations, as well as participating in my friend’s wedding and a recent trip to Saint Lucia (which I will be sharing about on the blog soon), September just flew by. BUT I have a delicious, healthy crab pasta to share with you today to make up for my lack of posts this past month. You guys, this pasta is DELICIOUS. (more…)
Gnocchi reminds me of my childhood in Bangkok. Isn’t that weird? Small, potato dumplings, native to Italy, remind me of my childhood growing up in Thailand, the land of chili peppers and fish sauce. But, believe it or not, the first time I ever tried these incredible, pillowy dumplings of deliciousness was in Bangkok. My family used to eat at this little Italian restaurant and, although I hardly remember any details about the restaurant itself, I remember the happy times with family and friends and I remember the amazing gnocchi. The important stuff. (more…)