Butternut Squash Gumbo

Creole cooking is a wonderful thing–you’ve got traditional Mediterranean influences (e.g. French, Spanish, Italian) strong, zesty southern elements (e.g. Carribean, American), and even African flavors. Its one of those styles of cooking that brings a whole lot of great stuff together to make something truly amazing. I wanted to take a classic Creole dish (gumbo) and see if I could spin it in a way that would fit my Thanksgiving menu by adding a bit of autumn to the mix (via butternut squash) as I thought it would be fun change from butternut squash soup.

Now for those of you haven’t had gumbo before, the first thing you need to do is correct this immediately. Seriously! Gumbo is almost stew like–thick, hearty, smoky, spicy, and full of a wide variety of things that’ll warm your bones. Some like to load their gumbo up… click to read more…

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Chili Molé

I absolutely love chili. Honestly though, who doesn’t? A meaty meal with lively south-western/Mexican inspired flavors are sure to please anyone. Winter brings out the chili cravings in me, but I’ve already shown you a fiery chili once before, so I thought I’d try to mix things up a bit and bring you a new twist on this favorite meal of mine. Rather than the usual approach to chili where the focus is on a variety of dried peppers, I opted to work with a large variety of fresh peppers (so be calm Texans, I know this isn’t an authentic chili!), and to make things a bit more interesting, I also chose to steer this to have decidedly Mexican flavors by working in the major components for a strong set of molé flavors. And so Chili Molé was born.

Now like I’ve said,… click to read more…

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Ragù alla Bolognese (Bolognese Sauce)

When I was young, pasta came with one of two sauces: tomato or meat. Now, I can appreciate that there’s a lot more to “meat sauce” than I used to think there was, and anybody who has ever tried to pursue that perfect Bolognese sauce knows just what I mean. For instance, despite its appearance, tomato should not be a huge part of the sauce–a variety of meats, slowly braised and simmered, is the true star, giving this sauce a full body and an incredible complexity. Of course, no matter how you make it, it won’t be hard to find somebody else who does it completely differently. Ragù alla Bolognese is one of those personal, family tradition kind of sauces that has as many recipes as there are people on the planet at any given moment.

I was inspired by the insightsclick to read more…

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Pork Chops with Honey Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

I’ve wanted to experiment a bit more with cranberries since these tart little fruits are too good to relegate solely to Thanksgiving dinner, never to be seen again until next year. I’ve gotten a lot of suspicious reactions to all of my cranberry endeavors thus far (since its not traditional cranberry sauce), but the versatility of these berries continues to impress me. So today, I wanted to see how they’d fare with a bit of a stronger, South-western style kick to them by making a honey chipotle cranberry sauce to go with some pork chops.

The sauce itself was surprisingly potent: tart, dark, acidic, spicy (in both heat and flavor), sweet, and smoky. Simply put, the sauce was tasty, a fun change, and a very… click to read more…

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Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: A Southern Inspired Thanksgiving

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving–I certainly did. I hosted again this year with a small gathering of friends and family, serving enough food for a…much larger gathering, lol. Normally, I’m just cooking for my wife and me, but Thanksgiving is an entirely different animal what with the wide variety of dishes to coordinate–you don’t want redundant flavors, too few pans, too little oven space, too much to do at once–its a lot of work, stress, and trouble…and I love it. As I had promised you, I wanted to share the outcome of my Thanksgiving this year with you as this holiday is obviously about giving thanks, and for me, its also very much about the food.

Also, something worth mentioning: Foodbuzz. I’ve been a member with Foodbuzz for a while now, and they have… click to read more…

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Roasted Duck with Spiced Ginger Cranberry Sauce

Duck is a rare treat for me. I’m not sure why, but given how infrequently I have it, it just always stays in a special place for me. I had been craving the roast duck with orange sauce I’d prepared a few months ago, so I thought I’d revisit it with a seasonal twist and get started on working with one of those autumn-only fruits: cranberries! So today, Roasted Duck with Spiced Ginger Cranberry Sauce.

And just like my memories of the duck with orange sauce, this was simply amazing. The duck was incredibly rich and the sauce was had a deceptively simple appearance while packing a very, full, well-rounded flavor–fruity, spicy (the cloves and anise give a great finish), and acidic–the perfect compliment to cut through the duck. The tartness of the cranberries was balanced by the sweetness of the wine caramel (yeah, you read it right)… click to read more…

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