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Showing posts from February, 2016

Spaghetti with Chunky Tomato Sauce

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When the tomato sauce stands on its own, it's time to make your own simple sauce. And since, as of late, I have been on some kind of inexplicable pastakick, I present to you one of the simplest tomato sauces.

Sure, if it were summer, one would pluck tomatoes from the vine, snag a few pounds from the farmers market, or procure some at the local grocery store. However, we're fully ensconced in February, and I am aching for the acidic sweetness of tomatoes. Canned it is. Do obtain the best canned tomatoes you can find. Cook's Illustrated, in its wonderfully geeky way, has taken all the guess-work out of selecting your canned tomatoes. In this breathlessly empirical article, they conclude that San Marzano tomatoes are not actually worth all the hype. Instead, they recommend good old Muir Glenn whole tomatoes. 

Composed of ingredients probably found in your pantry (maybe you'll need to substitute some dried oregano and basil), this sauce is a snap. But these two questions …

Lamb Stew with Apples (Estofado de Cordero Con Manzana)

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About six years ago, I bemoaned the fact that one of my fathers-in-law owned a cookbook I wanted. Through the modern miracle of amazon and the generosity of my husband, he snapped up a used copy for me as my Christmas present. And oh, how I love it. 
And the question must be asked: why did he wait so long?

I decided to begin with one of the simplest recipes in the book: a lamb stew. And oh, how I love lamb stew, and it has shown up on this blog twice before. 
About two years ago, I made a lamb and fruit stew out of the Middle East that was quite tasty, for I am a huge fan of quince and of saffron--that stew married lamb with those two delicacies, and I was hooked. 
And then, as you know, in December, I made what I declared to be the best lamb stew I have ever had. I'll still stand by that declaration--that Tunisian lamb stew was better than this one, but only because I preferred that spice palate. Seriously--coriander, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne--all are spices right up my alley.

Banana Tonic Smoothie

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I have some issues with all the hype around smoothies. Some people out there suggest that the smoothie is what will cure the nutritional ails of the 21st century. Such is the case with my latest in smoothie cookbooks, Green Smoothies, by improbably named Fern Green, a food stylist who apparently writes cookbooks while managing a boutique hotel in central Italy. According to this cookbook, the smoothie will cleanse and detox the body, provide alkaline and acidic balance, and help prevent disease. It will replace your caffeine fix (what!?), benefit kids who don't like veggies, give you energy, and purify the blood. That's a lot of promise in a jar.

My love of the smoothie almost guarantees that I have one almost every weekday for breakfast. Portable and easily made the night before, most of my smoothies taste remarkably the same, given that I hardly vary my recipe: yogurt, fruit, spinach, flax seed, and maybe celery. They're fast. They're easy. They're definitely no…

Cauliflower Gratin

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One dish meals are the ultimate in comfort food. And cauliflower mixed with rice and a cheese sauce and then topped with more cheese and bread crumbs screams mid-winter simple preparation and high carbohydrates. Which, let's face it, is exactly what we all crave come February.

The husband was away with his friend up in Fort Bragg, so I had license to cook what I liked and to eat it whenever I pleased. I'll admit, popcorn featured as a dinnertime meal one night. Another night I had a smoothie. 
I am not ashamed.

However, I made this little recipe from The Sprouted Kitchen's sophomore cookbook Bowl and Spoon. Admittedly I halved it so I would have only one night of leftovers, and I make that statement with a great deal of regret. I should have made the whole recipe and then indulged in this one dish meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

I will also admit I intended to make a lovely, crisp salad to accompany this dish. I did not. That, I do not regret. 
Thusly, my dinner w…