Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: The Whole Enchilada

I’ve mentioned before that this is a year of change for my wife and I. One of those changes is my wife’s graduation from medical school. We’ve had a somewhat infrequent tradition with some of her friends from school where we’d have them over and I’d go to town fussing over a nice meal. Before everyone heads in different directions to the next step of their careers (side note: we’ll be headed to the Raleigh/Durham region of North Carolina and I’m looking for new opportunities), we thought it would be nice to have one more of these nice meals so everyone could enjoy good food, good company, and just spend some time relaxing and catching up in ways that just aren’t so possible in the day-to-day hustle and bustle.

Enchilada dinner spread

So for this meal, given my newish interest in Mexican food, I decided to center this dinner around a Mexican… click to read more…

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Beef Short Ribs Marsala Pasta

This dish came out of an odd craving. I wanted something like chicken marsala, but a lot fuller and richer. I also wanted beef. After far too long an amount of time transpired before these two cravings merged into one, the idea for this dish was born. I took one of my favorite cuts of beef (shortribs), and prepared them with all of the marsala flavors I was craving, and turned it into a pasta dish.

Beef Short Ribs Marsala Pasta

This really nailed the craving for me: a hearty, stewy version of marsala. It tasted rich, earthy, nutty, and slightly sweet. The sauce was simple: a reduction of the liquid used to braise the beef in. As such, it was really full flavored: beefy and clearly marsala. The pasta was a great body for the dish and since I think nothing goes with mushrooms like beef, I tossed in some sautéed shitakes to go with it.… click to read more…

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Blood Orange and Fig Braised Lamb Shanks

My love for lamb is no secret. Aside from being delicious on its own, it also pairs quite nicely with fruit, and if I tend to do anything, it’s to fall back on fruit (what’s your signature? We all have one). In this case, I saw a lamb shank that used blood oranges, and since I’ve been hoarding those, this seemed like a must try. So today, a lamb shank braised in blood orange, dried figs, and a variety of spices.

Blood Orange and Fig Braised Lamb Shanks

I had a hard time quite pinning down what corner of the world this dish would represent, but given the strong blend of spices (star anise, cardamom, cloves) mixed with figs, it seemed somewhat middle eastern (you be the judge). Whatever is a suitable origin for this, it was delicious. I love lamb shank because there pretty much… click to read more…

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Banoffee

I recently mentioned beef as one of the go-to pregnancy ingredients lately. Another one: bananas. Of course, this was during the winter when not much other fruit was in season, and I really overdid the oranges to the point where my wife didn’t want to see another orange, so maybe I’m to blame for that one. I could have worse habits! 😮 Anyways, in honor of this, I decided to focus today’s dessert on bananas. It also seemed strange that in all the desserts I’ve posted up until now, there’s not a single banana dessert. I know, blasphemy! So to fix this at once, I decided to make a classic British dessert: Banoffee (also spelled Banoffi or Banoffy).

Banoffee

If you’ve never had this before, you’re probably wondering what’s up with the name? Its simple really: bananas + toffee = banoffee. Knowing that, you should be drooling now. I was click to read more…

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Seco de Carne con Tamarindo (South American Tamarind Beef Stew)

During the later parts of pregnancy, my wife has had a thing for beef. Being the spectacular husband that I am, I happily catered to this craving. I kept getting stuck on stewy/braise kind of dishes, so in looking for something new and interesting to try, I came across something that fed my stew craze while bringing something new and interesting to the party. In this case, this beef stew (called a “seco”) has Ecuadorian/South American roots, flavored in a big way with tamarind.

Seco de Carne con Tamarindo

My initial concern was that this would just greatly resemble chili and be nothing super exciting (and don’t me wrong–I am nuts about chili…its just not what I was aiming for this go around). Not so. This was very distinct and simply awesome. I am a lover of all beef stews, and this one really stood… click to read more…

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Spatchcocked Dijon and Anise Roast Chicken

Chicken is a protein that most people seem pretty comfortable with, and given that, its dressed up and enjoyed in countless ways. Given all of the variety, some times, returning to the basics almost seems like something new and indulgent. Kind of like having that perfectly roasted chicken. Well even then–that one simple, back to basics kind of dish–there’s a twist to try. And not only is it fun to do, but its also fun to say (if you’re as mature as I am): spatchcocking.

Spatchcocked Dijon and Anise Roast Chicken

Some of you might be wondering, what on earth does spatchcocking mean? Its a simple technique that basically amounts to flattening a whole bird. Essentially, you remove the major structural bones (backbone, breast plate), and with care, you can then, still keeping the bird entirely in one piece, press it out flat and cook it that way however you see fit (e.g. on a spit, roasted, on the grill, etc).

Since my time seems… click to read more…

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