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Showing posts from March, 2016

Vegetarian Harira

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Winter is officially over, but there are gray days still happening. We all know I love gray days, and gray days call for soup.

Enter harira.

Harira is a Northwest African soup generally served during Ramadan as way to break the daily fast. Typically made with small chunks or strands of lamb, this stew erupts with fragrant herbs and spices--including ginger, saffron, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, and red pepper--and thickens late in its cooking with a swirl flour and water. It bursts with complex flavor, satisfying chickpeas and lentils, and unexpected pasta.
And, Heidi Swanson, in her latest cookbook, Near and Far, makes this hearty dish into a flavorful vegetarian option that doesn't make you miss the lamb at all.

There is no doubt Swanson has a huge following of devoted home cooks (or take-out orderers who happen to read blogs for fun). Her blog certainly paved the way for those, like me, who have too many cookbooks, perhaps too little time, and a penchant for writing and photograp…

Cacio e Pepe

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Let's talk pasta. 
Let's talk pasta eaten in a tiny Roman restaurant down an alley that you can never seem to find on return visits. Let's talk pasta that boasts simplicity and requires a quick hand. Let's talk pasta made from a cheese that has its own Roman dialect-ed name. 

Sounds like we're talking Spaghetti with Cacio e Pepe, my favorite pasta ever, especially if eaten while snuggled up with family at Osteria del Gallo in Rome, and more easily found in Katie Parla and Kristina Gill's delightful new cookbook Tasting Rome.

With lovely little essays that span the history of Roman cuisine (not surprising since Parla's graduate degree is in Italian gastronomic culture), the book has stunning photography (not surprising given that Gill is a Rome-based freelance photographer) and definitive travelogues through different areas of Rome, including Testaccio, the historic Jewish quarter, and the some 120 mercati rionali. 
A small requirement for this cookbook: you sho…

Dal with Crispy Sweet Potato and Quick Coconut Chutney

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Oh, what a lovely meal for a late, rainy Sunday afternoon. Coconut milk, curry leaves, sweet potatoes, red lentils, all mixed up with the warm cinnamon and ginger, red chiles and turmeric. Anna Jones, you are welcome to recommend a recipe to me any day of the week.

Back in July, I got Anna Jones' cookbook, A Modern Way to Eat, and immediately fell in love with her sensible cooking that embraces a simple mantra that we are merely stewards of the land. Our maximalist lifestyles often forget the simple pleasures and become the catalyst for some pretty destructive tendencies. The cookbook calms us down, gives us sustainable food, and guarantees we won't want for anything, even as we let go of unhealthy eating.

This beautiful dal (dhal) recipe seems to have a long list of ingredients, but most of them are spices; everything else you just might have on hand, including the lentils. Back in 2015, I wrote about the different types of lentils, and this recipe calls for red lentils, whic…

Two Tapas: Black Sausage with Raisins and Pine Nuts Canape and Roasted Vegetable Canape

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Sometimes you just need a snack. A canape. A tapa. A morsel. 
And sometimes the husband makes a request that said snack include blood sausage.  He's like that. 
And when someone makes a special request that I make a blood sausage tapa, I pretend that I selflessly do this for said someone. But we all know, I have just been waiting for an excuse.

You see, blood sausage is not something frequently in our dinner rotation, and for good reason. While protein and iron are high, so is fat; thus, blood sausage appears only on special occasions.
We were invited to an Oscars Night dinner at the in-laws and instructed to bring appetizers. Enter blood sausage request. I couldn't, however, serve only the blood sausage canapes, as they are not to everyone's liking--plus I have an ill-placed anxiety about showing up without enough food. So in a gesture of good will, I coupled this hearty bread-forward tapa with a lighter, solely vegetable one.
(For the record, the blood sausage ones were…