I first learned to make guacamole at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, where one of the activities was a cooking demonstration. Ever since, guacamole has been a regular party staple in our household. Who doesn’t like guacamole? Fresh and flavorful, guacamole is excellent all year round.
There’s room to play in making guacamole. Normally, I use a habañero pepper (about 1/2, deseeded), but you can also use serrano or jalapeño peppers, depending on your preference. Recently, we like using serrano peppers because they have a good balance of heat and flavor (David calls it “umami”). A few of my friends don’t like cilantro, in which case I’ll swap out cilantro for basil and make what I call “Mediterranean” guacamole. Although traditional guacamole uses yellow onions, sometimes I like to use red onions, which are sweeter. You can use heirloom tomatoes or cherry tomatoes or beefsteak tomatoes, depending of what looks best at the market. I like my guacamole crunchy, so you can definitely play with the ingredient ratios.
Here’s the basic mix as a guideline:
Radishes are not something we normally buy or eat. I tend to think of them as a slightly bitter “garnish-y” type of vegetable, eaten raw, not particularly exciting. But I recently came across a picture of roasted radishes on a food-related website, and it piqued my interest — I’d never thought of roasting radishes before! I am a big fan of roasted vegetables of all variety. And so with haste I picked up 2 bunches of radishes and tried roasting them. The result? I LOVED them. Who knew radishes would turn deliciously juicy and sweet when roasted? I think roasted radishes will make more appearances at our dinner table from now on. I kept the leaves and added them near the end, which cook up nice and crispy to provide some texture to the radishes. All in all, I am impressed with this new, simple way of eating radishes.
Here’s how I roasted the radishes:
Brussels sprouts and bacon pair perfectly together, and we love them roasted to crispy perfection in the oven! My favorite bacon to use for this dish is the Whole Food’s brand of uncured applewood smoked bacon — it is thick cut with a good meat to fat ratio, and has a slight but not overwhelming smoke quality to it.
The key to roasting Brussels sprouts is to get the crispy exterior without overcooking the sprouts on the inside — mushy Brussels sprouts are no fun. Here’s how to roast your Brussels sprouts to crispy bacon-y perfection (caution: you will be hooked!):
Seven years go, David and I lived for a couple years in the Upper Eastside. A time long before our gluten-free days, our favorite neighborhood place for Chinese food delivery was Café Evergreen (which, it seems, has now closed). One dish in particular remains in my mind, mostly because it was so simple yet surprisingly satisfying: sauteed enoki mushrooms with spinach. I recently had 2 bunches of enoki mushrooms and spinach sitting in my fridge that I needed to use, so I decided to make my own interpretation of the Café Evergreen dish. This veggie dish is very simple, quick, and delicious. The enoki mushrooms almost feel like “noodles.” I didn’t have any fresh ginger on hand, so I used ground ginger, which worked fine — but next time, I’ll probably use fresh grated ginger instead. Continue reading
‘Tis the season for winter greens! I recently found on sale these these little bunches of black Tuscan kale, locally produced by Satur Farms. They are smaller than your more typical kale, and have a bumpy, crinkly surface. In the past, David hasn’t been the biggest fan of kale — he finds kale bitter and its stems too tough. I thought I’d give the black Tuscan kale a try anyway, mostly because they looked pretty. Surprisingly, David LOVED the black Tucan kale and couldn’t get enough of it! The black Tuscan kale has an earthier, almost sweeter flavor than the large type of kale, and the texture is lovely — the leaves are soft but not mushy . After blanching the kale, I cooked the leaves very simply with sauteed red onions and garlic — a perfect pairing with a pork chop.
Here’s how: Continue reading
I love grilled shishito peppers, and am able to eat great quantities of them in one sitting. Grilled shishito peppers appear to be trending at restaurants these days, which is understandable as they make for great bar snacks. If you come across good looking shishito peppers (I found some at Fresh Direct recently), it’s super easy to make them at home.
Here’s how I grill them:
Duck-fat-fried anything is delicious. Rich, yes. Probably not ideal for your waistline, yes. But occasionally? Fabulous. Often, when I sear duck breasts, I strain out the fat and keep it refrigerated in a glass jar. Recently, I came across organic garnet yams AND organic Japanese sweet potatoes on Fresh Direct. David had wanted to have more sweet potatoes available for snacking purposes, and so I thought this was a good time to try…yams and sweet potatoes cooked in duck fat.
Here’s how I went about cooking the gorgeous yams and sweet potatoes in duck fat:
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Peel the yams and sweet potatoes — I used 2 yams and 3 sweet potatoes. Chop them into pieces, about 1 inch cubes. Finely chop one onion.
In a skillet on medium-high heat, heat about 2 tablespoons of duck fat. Once it melts, stir in the potatoes, making sure to coat them in the fat. Salt and pepper. After a few minutes, add the onions. Stirring frequently, cook the potatoes until the sides begin to sear and turn brown.
Put the skillet in the oven to finish cooking. (Note: I discovered that the Japanese sweet potatoes cook faster than the yams, which I didn’t expect.) Stirring occasionally, cook until the yams are cooked and a fork goes easily through it. You might want put it under broil it for a few minutes to brown the potatoes a little more. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
The result was more like a chunky hash than “fried” potato pieces — which suits us fine. The caramelized onions go nicely with the sweet potatoes. The duck fat definitely adds the flavor, but the potatoes do not come out greasy at all. Savory and sweet at the same time, this yam/sweet potato concoction turned out delicious!
We’ve found gorgeous organic, heirloom mini-tomatoes here in Stockholm — perfect for making my “Mediterranean salsa” even more colorful! This “salsa” is great alongside meats (pork chops, steaks), as a dip (with gluten-free crackers, for instance), or with eggs (fried or scrambled). Very simple to make, and tasty. In a large bowl, mix together: chopped up the tomatoes; a small red onion, minced; finely mince jalapeno pepper (less or more depending on your tolerance for heat); a big handful of basil, chiffonade; and 2 tablespoons or so of capers (depending on how much you like capers). Squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Drizzle some olive oil, and season with salt to taste.
P.S.> No need to use heirloom mini-tomatoes, of course. Any delicious, preferably organic tomatoes would make a great Mediterranean-style salsa!
Roasted parsnips are a new vegetable dish in our home. I’d never cooked parsnips before, but turns out they are quite easy to roast. A little sweeter and nuttier than carrots, parsnips pair very nicely with slow-roasted lamb — and together, they make a great Sunday dinner! My favorite recipe for a slow-roasted lamb is Jamie Oliver’s “Incredible Roasted Shoulder of Lamb” — although the recipe calls for the shoulder, you could also apply the roasting method on a leg, which is what I did.
As for the parsnips, here’s how I cooked them:
Preheat the oven to 400F (or about 200C). Peel the parsnips and cut them into approx. 1/2 inch slices; lay them out in a baking dish. Chop up a red onion (or 2, if you like red onions); peel and halve 6 or so cloves of garlic. Add some sprigs of thyme or rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and mix. Add about 3 tablespoons of water.
Cover tightly with foil, and put in the oven. After about 20 minutes, take off the foil. Toss the parsnips/onions/garlic, and continue to roast for another 20 minutes or so, until tender. I like to keep moving the vegetables, so that they brown evenly. If you want to crisp up the edges, broil for 5 minutes at the end.
The turnips keep for several days and make for a delicious sweet-ish veggie snack!