Category Archives: Cooking

Featured Cookbook Friday: Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin

It’s undoubtedly been such a rough week for many, myself included, but I really don’t want to wallow in it. Grieve – yes; wallow – no. Getting back to one of the more fun aspects of my blog, my Featured Cookbook Fridays, seems right. Today we have Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin!

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So yes, I’m well aware that this book was published over ten years ago, but I just got it a few months ago. In my defense, when this book came out, I had *just* started cooking on my own, and frankly Allrecipes and Sandra Lee were much more my speed then. An acclaimed restaurant chef like Goin would have likely been overwhelming to the point of fainting spells. Now, I’m more experienced, confident, and have no problems with books like these. It’s actually perfect for experienced, adventurous home cooks, and if that describes you, I really want this book to be in your collection!

This cookbook is divided by the four textbook seasons – spring, summer, fall, winter – so naturally I focused on fall. First up I made Sauteed Skate with Parsnip Puree, Brussels Sprouts, Pancetta and Balsamic Brown Butter. Yes, almost every recipe in the book has a long name. No matter! This was FANTASTIC. A lot of steps, yes, but none of them were difficult. I adore skate, but it can be very hard to find, and actually finding it spurred me to make this particular recipe more than anything. Absolutely no regrets though, as it was incredible. So many fall flavors made light, but not inappropriately so by a flaky fish. Amazing!

Sauteed Skate with Parsnip Puree, Brussels Sprouts, Pancetta, and Balsamic Brown Butter

Next up I made a dinner salad: Warm Squid Salad with Spinach, Chorizo, and Black Olives. This could easily serve an army. I halved the recipe and still wound up with way more than we could eat. But, we happily devoured what we could, and filled up on it. Quite delicious! The squid was cooked perfectly according to her instructions, and it almost melted in your mouth. The salty flavors of the chorizo and olives punctuated the spinach and squid for a perfect balance of flavors.

Warm Squid Salad with Spinach, Chorizo, and Black Olives

After that, I made… another salad. This one was a Warm Kabocha Squash Salad with Dandelion, Bacon, Manchego, and Pecans. After halving this recipe, it was the perfect amount to feed two people a good dinner. We raved for days after this one. You’ve got sweet squash balanced with bitter greens, salty bacon, and then the cheese shards and crunchy toasted pecans garnish it perfectly. I can’t believe how delicious this was.

Warm Kabocha Salad with Dandelion, Bacon, Manchego and Pecans

And lastly, I made dessert: Cranberry-Walnut Clafoutis with Bourbon Whipped Cream. I changed this one up a little (I know, I know!), but the recipe called for dried cranberries, which made no sense to me. In my mind, dried cranberries are always a side component of a dish, like in granola, or part of a salad, but they are never the main ingredient. So I gambled on using a pound of fresh cranberries, and I think it worked just fine. I’ll say no one complained at all!

Cranberry-Walnut Clafoutis with Bourbon Whipped Cream

And in conclusion, I’m very, VERY impressed with this work of genius. This book will be in the regular rotation for me. The recipes have long titles and some have many components, but the difficultly level is much lower than I expected. Her flavor combinations are spot-on, and perhaps more importantly, you get that satisfaction of having turned out a restaurant-worthy meal in your little home kitchen – and often on a weekday! Can’t beat that.

Obama Family Chili

Obama Family Chili

Like so many of us, I got up early on Tuesday to vote (but was not given a sticker!!!), then awaited election returns with a sense of calm, feeling like I knew what to expect – our first woman president. I called it quits around 11 pm with a feeling of acute anxiety, not liking where this was going, and then woke up completely heartbroken the next morning. This is the closest I have ever come to crying over a presidential election. My heart is heavy with fear, embarrassment, and mostly sadness. I feel sick every time I read another story of someone’s young daughter bursting into tears upon finding out that a bully won instead of the first woman to ever run for the office, or worrying about what will happen to their Muslim or Mexican friends at school.

Obama Family Chili

I’d planned on sharing this recipe yesterday, thinking it would be a celebration of a major glass ceiling being shattered – whatever my admittedly not always positive opinions of Hillary Clinton were, I was incredibly excited at the thought of our first female president – but instead I’m sharing it in a spirit of mourning, really.

Apparently the only thing President Obama really cooks is this pot of chili, which he’s been making since college, according to food historian Robb Walsh. He (Walsh) published it in his latest cookbook, and I thought if there was ever an appropriate time to make it myself, well, here we are.

I will miss President Obama and his family terribly. Whatever one may think of his politics, no one can deny he’s a man of class, grace, dignity, and integrity. He is loved and respected the world over. He genuinely appears to be extremely devoted to his family, with eight years going by without one whiff of sex scandal. Class, grace, and a thick-skinned, measured temperament in the White House will be abruptly ending come January 20th. It hurts.

Obama Family Chili

This chili, as well as being a tribute to someone I greatly admire and will sorely miss, is also just plain delicious and easy to pull off. It’s quite “Midwest” in style, a lovely meaty carb-fest since you’re instructed to serve it over rice and with cornbread on the side, and not nearly as spicy as most Texas bowls-o-red tend to be. Whatever your personal politics, I’d highly recommend giving this a go next time you need a simple, hearty bowl of chili in your life. Enjoy!

Obama Family Chili

Source: slightly adapted from The Chili Cookbook by Robb Walsh

Ingredients:
1 tbs olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey or lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped (I used a large poblano, a bell pepper would be fine too)
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
¼ – 1 tsp ground cumin, to taste
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp dried basil
1 heaping tbs chili powder
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
3 tbs red wine vinegar
1 (28 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices; tomatoes should be chopped or broken up with a potato masher or snipped into chunks with kitchen shears
Water, as needed
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained
White or brown rice, for serving
Cornbread, for serving
Garnishes: sour cream, shredded cheddar, and diced raw white onion are the President’s preferences, but you can adapt as you like, obviously

Directions:
Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the ground turkey. Crumble and cook until no traces of pink remain. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic and cook until softened. Now add the cumin, oregano, turmeric, basil, and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the vinegar and tomatoes, including juices. Stir together until combined, then fill up most of the now-empty tomato can with water. Add it about a half cup at a time, just to give the chili somewhere to go while you simmer it for at least 1 hour. You want the tomatoes to cook down and the flavors to marry. Add more water, a little at a time, if it’s getting too thick. You want the final product to be nicely thickened, but with a little bit of liquid. Add the kidney beans and cook a few more minutes. Once it’s ready, taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
Serve over steamed white or brown rice and garnish as instructed or as desired. Enjoy!

Shishito Dogs

Shishito Dogs

Shishito peppers are somewhat annoying – there I said it. Their growing season is quite short – I mean, not sour cherry short, but much shorter than I’d prefer seeing as I’ve completely fallen in love with them. Also, they can be hard to find. I have relatively easy access to about seven or eight grocery stores plus a few farmer’s markets, and I can never count on them being there, even during their height of seasonality. Like I said – annoying!

Shishito Dogs

But, their irritating qualities are quite forgivable for being so unique and delicious. The heat level can vary with these guys. Some batches I’ve made have barely registered on the spice scale where others have blown our heads off.

Shishito Dogs

If you can get your hands on a batch, you should totally put them on hot dogs. It’s probably my favorite shishito preparation yet, and I don’t anticipate being able to top it anytime soon.

Shishito Dogs

Everything about this hot dog is perfect. Highly recommend! Enjoy!

Shishito Dogs

Source: Bon Appetit Magazine, July 2016

Ingredients:

SPICY MAYO:
½ cup mayonnaise
3 tbs sambal oelek
1 tbs unseasoned rice vinegar
Salt to taste

BLISTERED SHISHITO PEPPERS:
6 oz. shishito peppers
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbs unseasoned rice vinegar

8 hot dogs, warmed/charred
8 hot dog buns, toasted if desired
Toasted nori sheets
Sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Directions:
To make the SPICY MAYO: Mix the mayo, sambal, rice vinegar and salt until smooth. Set aside.
To make the BLISTERED SHISHITO PEPPERS: preheat a grill or indoor grill pan over medium-high heat. Toss the peppers with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until tender and blistered all over, about 3 minutes. Toss in a bowl with the rice vinegar. Let cool, then remove the stems.
You can use the grill to char/warm your hot dogs and toast the buns for convenience.
To assemble: spread one or both sides of the bun with spicy mayo – your preference there. Add a hot dog to each bun, then line one side of the bun with toasted nori sheets. Top the dog with the peppers, then sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve immediately.

Featured Cookbook Friday: Asian-American by Dale Talde

It’s Friday again, which means, among other things like oh-thank-god-it’s-the-weekend-finally, that I’m writing up my cookbook of the week! Asian American: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from the Philippines to Brooklyn by Dale Talde.

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The general public first became aware of Chef Dale Talde on his first of two stints on the popular reality show Top Chef. Lots of people, myself included, thought he was a bit of a hot-headed jerk with his first appearance. He redeemed himself on Top Chef All-Stars, and has gone on to open one of Brooklyn, NY’s most popular fusion restaurants. I don’t get to Brooklyn much, as that place is a real logistical pain – I think of it as the Hotel California (you can check out any time you like but you can never leave – seriously, it takes forever to get out of there!); but I digress. Apparently Talde’s restaurant is quite wonderful. Fortunately for anyone who lives far away from Brooklyn or who just hates messing with its parking and insane traffic problems, Chef Dale gave us the recipes in cookbook form so we can make them at home.

Talde combines his Filipino heritage with his American upbringing to make the most insane, irreverent yet delicious fusion cuisine. This cookbook is a must-have if that notion appeals to you at all.

I began the week with his Nachos, which are pretty American, except that he adds Sriracha to the cheese sauce, and once you taste it you will wonder why you haven’t been adding Sriracha to nachos your whole life. I think I messed this one up a little though? Either the ratio of milk to cheese is a little off, or I didn’t thicken my sauce enough before adding the cheese (highly likely) because it was way too thin for nachos. I know nachos can be messy, but this was really pushing it. But, incredible tasting, so I will definitely try this one again with either less milk or more patience.

Dale Talde's Nachos

Next up I was feeling something healthy, so Grilled Sweet Potato Skewers with Maple, Soy and Bacon came to be, much to the consternation of my smoke alarms. These are so delicious, and sweet potatoes after my own heart, in that they are given many savory complements like soy sauce, bacon and scallions. So freakin’ good! I’ll probably have to give these their own blog post.

Sweet Potato Skewers with Maple, Soy and Bacon

Pepperoni Marinara. Need I say more? Very spicy, acidic tomato sauce punctuated by earthy, salty pepperoni, tossed with spaghetti. Amazing.

Spaghetti with Pepperoni Marinara

Lastly, I chose one from the (somewhat short) dessert chapter – Chocolate-Caramel Bars with a Pretzel-Potato Chip Crust. These are crack. After sneaking a taste (or two!) I sent them to work with Matt, and he was literally getting compliments all day. Like, people stopping by his office out of their way to rave about them. It’s an incredibly thoughtful recipe that works beautifully.

Chocolate-Caramel Bars with Pretzel-Potato Chip Crust

I can’t say enough good things about this book. The recipes look way more involved than they actually are – it’s perfect for home cooks with zany palates.

Featured Cookbook Friday: Fresh Mexico by Marcela Valladolid

I picked this week’s cookbook, Fresh Mexico by Food Network’s Marcela Valladolid, on something of a lark – I needed a salsa for some tacos I was making, Marcela’s first book has a beautiful recipe for yellow tomato pico de gallo; once I made that one, I decided to keep going! It was a good week. 🙂

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The Yellow Tomato Pico de Gallo was delicious – a very classic Mexican pico but with a twist of yellow tomatoes instead, which makes it slightly sweeter. Good on tacos, good on tortilla chips!

Yellow Tomato Pico de Gallo

Next up I decided to do some baking – another Mexican classic, Polvorones! These are fabulous little cookies, coming to the blog in their own post soon!

Polvorones

Since fresh sweet corn will be leaving us soon, I made this extremely tasty Mexican version of a classic potato salad: Grilled Corn and Poblano Potato Salad. Baby potatoes are boiled then halved, corn is grilled on the cob, poblanos are roasted and peeled, then the whole thing gets tossed together in a mayonnaise and sour cream dressing with plenty of scallions and cilantro. Very nice!

Grilled Corn and Poblano Potato Salad

Lastly, I’ve long since been intrigued by one of her dinner salad recipes: White Bean and Octopus Salad, so this provided as good a time as any! The recipe calls for baby octopus, which I couldn’t find, so I (nervously!) ordered already cooked octopus legs from Fresh Direct, praying they wouldn’t be overcooked, (they weren’t, yea!) and just warmed them in some garlicky olive oil, which became the base for the dressing. Beyond that, I made the salad as written, and we both absolutely loved it!

White Bean and Octopus Salad

I really like this book. So far everything I’ve tried has turned out delicious!

Roasted Jalapeno and Chorizo Queso #SundaySupper

Roasted Jalapeno and Chorizo Queso

Welcome to #SundaySupper, where our wonderful theme this week is… Football Food!!! Very near and dear to my heart – in fact, I happily watched Houston beat OU yesterday, woohoo! (I hate OU. It’s a Texas thing).

Anywho, when I think of football food, a spicy, Tex-Mex-y, cheesy dip is pretty much the ONLY thing that comes to mind. Growing up in Texas, obviously football was huge, there was always a game on every weekend, and to my young, impressionable mind, it was like queso = watching football in the den. Period. So, of course I have to make a queso for today’s Sunday Supper, right?

Roasted Jalapeno and Chorizo Queso

This particular queso is amazing, addictive, awesome, and incredibly spicy as written. You start by roasting jalapenos at a very high oven heat (recipe instructs roasting at 500 F, but if that makes your smoke alarm go off too, you can totally roast them at 450 F with no problems). Then you brown lovely, fatty, flavorful chorizo in a cast-iron skillet, add some onion, then you add the roasted jalapenos, some canned diced tomatoes and melty processed cheese product (no real cheese here, people. It just won’t do.) Once the “cheese” is melted (ha! Sorry!) you dice up an entire fresh jalapeno, seeds, ribs and all, and add it to the queso once you’ve turned off the heat. Yeah, it’s freakin’ spicy! But sooooo delicious. And if you want, you can totally leave off that last step with the fresh chile to tame the spice level. It’ll still be amazing!

Roasted Jalapeno and Chorizo Queso

Enjoy this perfect football-watching queso dip! And be sure you check out the rest of my Sunday Supper crew!

Source: slightly adapted from Cravings by Chrissy Teigen

Ingredients:
6 large jalapenos, divided
1 tbs olive oil
½ lb. fresh Mexican chorizo, casings removed
¾ cup diced onion
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, with juices
1 lb. processed cheese product, such as Velveeta
Tortilla chips, for serving

Directions:
Preheat your oven as high as it will go without angering your smoke detector – up to 500 F but 450 F is fine too.
Halve and seed 5 of the jalapenos. Toss with olive oil in a bowl to coat, then arrange on a small, foil-lined baking sheet, skin-side up. Roast until blistering and getting dark, about 15 minutes. Cool until you can handle them, then thinly slice or chop, discarding the stems. Set aside. Finely mince the remaining raw jalapeno, seeds, ribs and all. Set aside.
In a 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet* cook the chorizo over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until browned and no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and cook until softened. Stir in the tomatoes, with their juices, and the roasted jalapenos. Then add the Velveeta. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir until the “cheese” melts, 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the raw jalapeno and stir until mixture is perfectly smooth. Serve with tortilla chips.
*I made this twice, once using a 12” skillet and the other time using a 10” skillet. It really doesn’t matter which one you use. The 12” is easier during the cooking process (more room) but the queso cools much faster this way after you serve it. With the 10” you have to be more careful while you stir during cooking (less space) but it’s better for serving. Your choice.

Appetizers

Main Dishes

Side Dishes

Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Confession: I lived in New York City (Queens) for almost nine years and visited the major Union Square farmer’s market so few times as to be able to count them on two hands. Please don’t judge too harshly. It’s not that it isn’t a fantastic farmer’s market – it definitely is! – but I lived just far away enough to make getting there a serious pain, and there’s a huge Barnes & Noble a stone’s throw away, so I always got really distracted anyway. (We’re here for sour cherries. We’re here for sour cherr-BOOOOKKKKKSSSSS!!!!)

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Living in Hoboken is different, in that several different small farmer’s markets are readily accessible during summer and early fall months (since the entire city is a tad over 1 square mile), and aside from days I’ve been out of town, I don’t think I’ve missed a day yet. Which brings us to rainbow carrots.

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

I keep seeing them, week after week, worming their way into my subconscious like the cleverest of ad campaigns. I caved a few weeks ago, made this superlative side dish with my purchase, and here we are.

Both times I made this, I know I made some kind of protein for the main dish, but I cannot remotely remember, as it was royally upstaged. Lamb chops, maybe? That does sound good…

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Anywho! This is incredible. Sweetness of the carrots, playing off the creamy, spicy aioli, all punctuated by the crunch of the dukkah. Such a beautiful dish. Enjoy!

Source: Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

Ingredients:
3 tbs whole hazelnuts, skin on
1 tbs sesame seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Kosher salt and black pepper
12 skinny carrots or 6 thin rainbow carrots sliced in half lengthwise, tops trimmed and scrubbed clean
Olive oil
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 tsp harissa

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 F and place a rack in the upper third of the oven.
First make the dukkah: in a small skillet over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts until lightly golden and aromatic, shaking the pan often, about 2 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a small bowl and set aside. Repeat the process with the sesame seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds, toasting each separately, then adding each to the bowl with the hazelnuts. Set aside to cool completely.
In a mortar and pestle or small food processor, pound or process the hazelnut mixture into an unevenly textured mix. You want some little chunks, not a fine powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
On a sheet pan, toss the carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the carrots, turning once, about 15-20 minutes, until cooked through but not mushy.
While the carrots are roasting, make the aioli by whisking the mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, harissa, plus salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl until smooth. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
To serve, arrange the carrots on a serving platter. Sprinkle with as much dukkah as you like (you’ll likely have leftovers), then drizzle with aioli. Pass extra aioli at the table.

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Sunflower Seed “Croutons”

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Sunflower Seed "Croutons"

I love salads all year round, but dear lord they just have to be lighter in the summer – otherwise, what’s the point? This is my personal example of the ideal summer salad.

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Sunflower Seed "Croutons"

Butter lettuce, with which I am more than a tad bit obsessed; sweet, juicy, peak-season strawberries; a tangy cheese to offset the sweetness; a light vinaigrette with just the right balance of heft and tartness; and a good crunch at the end.

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Sunflower Seed "Croutons"

We should discuss this crunch. I should tell you how delicious it is, how it could probably adorn a bowl of ice cream so beautifully, and how as written it will yield about twice what you need – which means you can make another batch of this salad if you didn’t inhale them all. Big if, by the way. Enjoy this one on a very hot day, seeing as those seem to be afflicting almost everyone right now.

Butter Lettuce and Strawberry Salad with Candied Sunflower Seed "Croutons"

Source: ever so slightly adapted from Home by Bryan Voltaggio

Ingredients:

DRESSING:
2-3 oz. dried strawberries
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup white grape juice
Pinch of salt

SUNFLOWER SEED “CROUTONS”:
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 tbs honey
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cups unsalted raw sunflower seeds
¼ tsp sweet paprika

SALAD:
4 heads butter lettuce
8 oz. fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tbs olive oil
4 oz. Gorgonzola

Directions:
The night before you want to serve, start the DRESSING: place all the dressing ingredients in a bowl, mix well, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, put the mixture into the blender. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and reserve.
To make the “CROUTONS”: put the sugar, honey, and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium pot. Over medium heat, cook the sugar and honey together until the sugar melts, then add the sunflower seeds. Cook and stir until the sugars caramelize and the seeds become evenly roasted, about 10 minutes. Stir in the paprika. Remove the sunflower seeds from the pan and cool them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. When the seeds cool, break them up into bite-size croutons.
Assemble the SALAD: put the lettuce leaves in a large bowl. Add the fresh strawberries and olive oil. Dress the salad with the dressing, taking care not to overdress it. Toss to combine, then add the sunflower seed croutons and chunk the Gorgonzola on top. Serve immediately.

Zucchini Tacos with Corn Salsa and Chipotle Crema

Zucchini Tacos with Corn Salsa and Chipotle Crema

Years ago, when I finally decided to start eating from the produce aisle on a voluntary basis, I’ve been searching for a vegetable-based taco that meets with my admittedly high and exacting taco standards. Which are the following: they must be filling and hefty, no matter what the contents; flavor must be extremely bold and in your face; there must be a touch of heat and spice from chiles of some kind; there must be multiple components that complement each other.

Zucchini Tacos with Corn Salsa and Chipotle Crema

Vegetarian tacos generally fail at most of these criteria, particularly the last one. It often feels like people, more specifically restaurants and food trucks, think that if the filling is vegetable or bean based, then it might be overkill to top it with a vegetable or bean-based salsa. No!! Not at all! In fact it’s quite necessary to provide that contrast of textures, and that is a bit tougher on a vegetable-based taco.

Zucchini Tacos with Corn Salsa and Chipotle Crema

But with this blog post, I’m proving beyond any doubt that it is entirely possible. The key is choosing different textures between the main event filling and the garnish. This taco is, thus far, my hands down favorite meat-free taco ever, and it’s not a stretch to say it’s going in my top ten tacos eaten ever. The zucchini here is chopped and sautéed, so a chopped tomato salsa really wouldn’t work. The textures and shapes would be too similar. Corn kernels are a perfect solution. Then the chipotle crema adds a creamy note that this taco just begs for, plus that heat and spice that I personally require on all tacos.

Zucchini Tacos with Corn Salsa and Chipotle Crema

Carnivore or vegetarian, I don’t care, just try these. Whatever your eating habits/philosophy, it doesn’t matter – you will NOT be disappointed. Enjoy!

Source: Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant

Ingredients:

TACOS:
2 tbs olive oil
2 shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cubed zucchini
Salt and black pepper, to taste
8 corn tortillas, warmed

CORN SALSA:
2 ears grilled corn on the cob, kernels cut from cob
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and black pepper, to taste

CHIPOTLE CREMA:
3 tbs plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles in adobo
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch each of salt and black pepper

Directions:
For the TACOS: heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring, until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the zucchini, salt, and pepper and stir. Cook, stirring, until the zucchini becomes slightly tender, 5-6 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
For the CORN SALSA, combine the corn kernels, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl and toss together.
For the CREMA, whisk together yogurt, adobo sauce, lime juice, salt and pepper.
To assemble the tacos, add some zucchini mixture to each warm tortilla and cover it with corn salsa. Drizzle some crema on top. Serve immediately.

Vietnamese Spareribs with Chile and Lemongrass

Vietnamese Spareribs with Chile and Lemongrass

I think that in addition to having a lot going on this summer, one of my other lame excuses for not blogging much has been writer’s block. Like I said, lame. Every professional writer (of which I am certainly not) seems to give the same advice for curing writer’s block: just sit down and write. So, I shall finally take that long-overdue advice to make this post happen at long last!

Vietnamese Spareribs with Chile and Lemongrass

Vietnamese Spareribs with Chile and Lemongrass

The words aren’t coming to me in any entertaining or sophisticated fashion, but you really need these spareribs in your life. They’re so cute and little! Summers are for pool parties, and these would be perfect to set out at an adults-only one, particularly if said shindig involves copious amounts of bourbon and/or a quasi-legal inhalable substance. Strong Asian flavors and a touch of heat, and it’s really tough to stop eating them. Tender with just the right amount of chew. Utterly delicious. I’ll let the recipe speak for itself. Enjoy!

Vietnamese Spareribs with Chile and Lemongrass

Source: ever so slightly adapted from Pure Pork Awesomeness by Kevin Gillespie

Ingredients:
3 ½ lbs. Asian-style (flanken) pork spareribs*
2 tsp kosher salt
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 stalk lemongrass, sliced
3 Thai bird chiles
¼ red onion, stem and roots trimmed, cut into chunks
2 tbs sugar
2-inch pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and rough-chopped
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs soy sauce
1 lime
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

*Basically flanken spareribs are cut horizontally into thirds; have your butcher do it

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Place a broiler pan or cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet (it must be rimmed). Grease the cooling rack with cooking spray. Season the ribs with 1 tsp salt and place on the cooling rack. Add a ¼-inch depth of boiling water to the baking pan, then wrap the ribs with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and cook until the ribs are pull-apart tender, 1 ½ to 2 hours. Basically, yes, you’re steaming the ribs.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the garlic, lemongrass, chiles, onions, and ginger, and process 30 seconds, until well chopped. Add the sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, and the remaining 1 tsp salt. Continue to process until a coarse paste is formed, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times.

Adjust the rack in the oven to the highest setting and preheat the broiler to HIGH.
Remove the ribs temporarily and pour off the water in the baking sheet. If you don’t do this, the ribs won’t crisp up properly. Arrange the ribs, meat side up, on the rack and smear with some of the paste. Broil the ribs until nicely caramelized, 5 minutes. Flip them, smear the other side with some paste and broil on the bone side for 3 minutes. Flip them again, smear with the remaining paste, and broil a final time to get them nice and crispy on the meat side, about 2 more minutes.

Using tongs, transfer the ribs to a cutting board and cut into single-bone pieces. Squeeze the lime onto the ribs and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve immediately.