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January 2011 Archives

Chicken Vindaloo Arepa

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As I mentioned Friday, I had a party at my apartment this past weekend. The party was actually related to TFIMB, but we can talk more about that later this week. For the food, I wanted to cook some of my favorite things from over the years, but put a spin on them. One of my favorite cooking moments in the past few years was the first time I opened a cardamom pod. It was like opening the door to a whole new world of cooking! I made a spicy lamb vindaloo that night. For this app, I wanted a chicken version, but something that would be a little more portable and hand friendly. Enter the arepa, another one of my favorite things to cook! Stuffing the vindaloo into the arepa was a match made in heaven. Indian and Latin food actually have a lot in common(lots of cumin, cilantro, rice) so they mesh well.





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Hot Italian Sausage

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I decided last minute to host a dinner this weekend, and the day after I planned it, a huge order came in at work. Worried about getting everything finished, I started immedietly thinking of shortcuts to make my weekend cooking easier. One of the first things was buy a nice sausage from a local butcher instead of making my own. This decision weighed on me heavily the next few days, but thanks to a bit of snow yesterday, and a van that was fully iced in my driveway, I had a chance to make the sausage after all. The one shortcut I still made, was that I asked the butcher to grind the pork shoulder for me to save me a bunch of time at home. Doing that made the sausage making process quick and easy!





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Turmeric Chicken and Broccoli

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Turmeric rarely gets to play a leading role. Let it be the star of your spice cabinet tonight with this Turmeric Chicken and Broccoli I posted on Tablespoon

Thai Chicken Tacos

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Korean style tacos are all the rage these days, and yes they are no doubt awesome, but why stick to Korean? I say lets give other Asian countries some tortilla wrapped love! I got this idea when commenter "Kate" asked me if she could use my Thai Larb Gai recipe as taco meat. The answer Kate (10 days later...) is YES! That would taste awesome in tacos. Today I took it one step further with a delicious shredded chicken filling that had a thick and sticky sweet red curry flavor, and topped it with a Thai cucumber tomato mint salad. These thaicos were awesome!





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A Vegetarian take on Moussaka

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Occasionally I take catering jobs for my friends family's special occasions. Normally I don't take pictures of these events, but this most recent one, I snuck the camera in because some of the dishes I was making were really unique. I was asked to cook a Greek feast for 20 people, from apps to dessert! In the past, other people have brought some dishes, but this time I had to do everything. One request was that there would be plenty of vegetarian options. I cooked this vegetarian take on moussaka using bulgur wheat instead of ground beef as the center layer. I also put a creamy mashed potato layer on top instead of the standard bechamel.





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Summer Dreamin' Soup

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A few weeks ago I asked for some cooking suggestions, and some people said summer food to take their minds off the cold and snowy winter we have been having. Others said comfort foods like soup. I took these 2 ideas and ran with it, combining them into one meal! I was thinking about this for a couple days and bouncing a few ideas around with a blogger friend at a recent event finalized the dish in my head. 4 classic summer BBQ dishes in one soup. Pulled Pork, Baked Beans, Corn, and Cole Slaw. The results were awesome! We are forcasted 6-8 inches for today, so hopefully this soup helps some of your summer dreams flow.





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Total Spice Makeover

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I got a bunch of mini glass jars as a Christmas gift, and I thought that they would be perfect for my spices! I have been holding on to my spices in various bags and boxes for the past year, and I couldn't wait to get them into some more convenient packaging. I now LOVE my spice situation, and with my grinder nearby, I can make any spice blend at the drop of a hat!





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Creamy Tuna Avocado Salad

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This is one of my favorite healthy dinners this time of year. Tuna salad + guacamole = yum. Check out the recipe for Creamy Tuna Avocado Salad I posted on Tablespoon

Crunchy Burrito

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No matter how deeply embedded I become in the gourmet food world, how many uni paninis or quail egg and truffle pizzas I eat, or how many times I read Pollan, Schlosser, or Kingsolver, there are some things that I will never give up. One example is boxed mac and cheese. Something about that powdered orange cheese calls me back every time. Is it food? ehh, not really. Is it delicious? YES. Another one is Taco Bell. I really love taco bell. It is a true guilty pleasure of mine. I mean, yea we all get a taco from the drive thru at 3:30 in the morning here and there, but I actually like Taco Bell so much that I eat it sober. They recently came out with a cheesy crunchy burrito. I love the cheesy crunchy gordita, so I knew I was in for a treat with this new buritto. I tried it, but I actually didn't like it that much. For the crunch they use fritos, which I have always thought taste kinda funny. My friend John is a fellow Taco Bell addict (he is less in the closet about it than I am) so I decided to remake this burrito at his house and improve a few things.





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Fish Ravioli in a Thai Red Curry

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"Fish rav in a thai sauce" has been a note in my phone for over a year. I have always skipped it over for some reason, waiting for the perfect time to make it. I got a pasta maker for christmas, so I decided this was the dish to restart my pasta making habit. I jumped right back on that train with ease and busted out these ravioli in no time. Probably because I have been making pasta with a rolling pin for the past year! The flavor in this dish was amazing, the juxtaposition of these 2 familiar flavors created something entirely new and unique on the palate. A little bit of work? Maybe, but you could really impress people with this one.





Tacone

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The way the tacone came about is that I happened to acquire a pizzelle maker a few months back and I have been trying to figure out something to make in it other than a pizzelle. Then I realized that I could squish AND cook a tortilla in there and cut out the middle man of a tortilla press. I hoped that if I modded the tortilla recipe, I could have a pliable tortilla out of the machine that would harden as it cooled, the way a pizzelle does. If I worked this right, I could make taco shell cones! Well, it did work, but not perfectly. There was a very thin line between soft and rock hard tortillas coming out of the machine. Also, the soft ones never fully hardened, so it was kind of a limp cone. However, the taste was really awesome. A perfect mix of corn tortilla flavor with a hint of waffle. I served some flat as tostatas, and some rolled up in cone shapes, and my roommate and I devoured them.





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How to Build a SoftBox Photography Light

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Once upon a time, I was a blogger on a tropical island. The sun seemed to shine at all hours of the day through my beautiful french doors that lead from my palm laden patio right into my kitchen. My kitchen that had 3 windows, and 3 doors, all always wide open. I prided myself on the fact that I didn't need to worry about setting up food shots. I would have some people over, cook a great meal, snap a few pics, and see what amazingness was on my camera the next day. The camera bouncing around from hand to hand with ease. I literally thought that my SLR was magic because it seemed that whoever touched it instantly turned into Margaret Bourke-White.

Flash forward to my Boston apartment with 1 small window when it's getting dark at 4pm. My pics are seriously slacking these days. I try to keep my cool mentality of casual blogging, but I want people to crave my food when they see the images. I looked into a few common food blogger options and wasn't really happy with them. Most were upwards of 90 bucks (NOT including a 20 dollar lightbulb) and would be obnoxious in the middle of my kitchen. I don't want to sit cooped up all day Sunday testing recipes and photographing, I want to have a party, make a few things, and blog about it. I doubt a 10 foot umbrella light would go over well at my next get together! "It collapses down" was the last ditch attempt to make a sale from the camera store salesman. No thanks, not to mention I don't have $120 to spend right now. Time to take matters into my own hands.

I made this light for about 45 dollars, and so far, I am extremely happy with the results! I haven't even gotten too far playing with my camera settings to perfect the pics, but they are coming out awesome already. Here are the pictures of the process, and the supplies list is down below.





Thai Larb Gai

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Bring on the spice!  Larb Gai is a spicy Thai dish often served as an appetizer here in the states. This was about a 5.9 on my chile scale (no graphic today cause the post is on tablespoon) but I think I put a few more chiles in than I said to in the recipe. Really tasty, and really easy, I highly suggest everyone to try the Thai Larb Gai recipe I posted on Tablespoon.

Potato Rosemary and Sausage Soup

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I'm feeling much better after that little break! I really made things happen this weekend, but more on that later this week. Oh and just to be clear, I took a few days off because I couldn't WRITE, not because I couldn't cook. I have tons of food ideas bouncing around. A head full of ideas, Lemme tell ya, that you wouldn't believe! This one is a hearty soup with sausage, broccoli rabe, and beans, floating in a potato rosemary broth. I went to the gigantic new whole foods on my way home from work just to check the place out, and figured I would make something with whatever looked good. They had a really nice taleggio cheese on sale, so I started with that. I was set on making a tart with potato, rosemary, sausage, and taleggio, and even left the store with that in mind! Half way home I decided I wanted soup instead(maybe it was just a cold day?) So I made a quick stop at another grocery store to grab some boxes of stock and a nice crusty bread.





Mushy

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For some reason, my brain is mush this week and every time I try and write anything it takes me way too long and I just end up deleting it all and starting over.(for example this terrible paragraph (terrigraph) took me like 25 minutes) Normally I write posts really fast and without hesitation, and not being able to articulate what I want to say drives me crazy. I suppose you could just call it a brain hangover from going at 150% for the past 2 months. Anyways, I tried to have a normal blog week, but it isn't going so well, so I'm gonna call it a week. I have some awesome food ideas kicking around, so I am pumped to get back to regularly scheduled programming next week, and hopefully I can play some catch-up in the kitchen this weekend. If there are any food ideas you guys have that you want me to tackle, let me know in the comments.

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Quinoa Squash and Black Bean Salad

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It's that time of the year again. Time for me to get back on track with eating well, and living a healthy lifestyle. This is a nice and easy warm salad you can make one night this week to feel full and satisfied, without meat or excess fats. Check out the Quinoa Squash and Black Bean Salad today on tablespoon. Oh and don't worry, I don't go on strict diets so there is going to plenty of my normal dishes on here in the coming weeks.

Mac and Cheese with Broccolini and Pork Meatballs

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Some friends invited me to their rental cabin at Okemo for New Years Eve this year. It was the first time I got a chance to snowboard this season, so I was really excited to go! I wanted to cook at his place, but I knew I would be exhausted after a long day on the mountain, so I prepared this dish the night before at home and just threw it in the oven when we were ready to eat. The ingredients in this came from the fact that pork and cooked greens are good luck to eat on New Years Eve, but the broccolini was actually supposed to be broccoli rabe. I'm not a superstitious person, so I didn't care. I don't need good luck, I make things happen!





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