Chili con Carne

Chili is one of those dishes that can incite some passionate arguments, because when it comes to opinions on what should/shouldn’t be in a chili recipe, like ass holes, everybody has one (as the saying goes). Should it include beans? Meat? Tomato? Pasta (the answer to that, of course, is no and I don’t care where you come from 😉 )? These are life or death decisions in the chili world. So given that, here’s my take on a good and hearty bowl of chili.

Chili con Carne

While this chili has a lot of familiar flavors, it does nonetheless include one very special ingredient. I’ve been hanging on to this item for a few weeks now, keeping it near and dear until the right dish came along and beckoned for it as I only had one handy. See, if I like anything in my chili, its some punch–chili is a dish that simply should (must!) have some heat to it. I’ve… click to read more…

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Moroccan Lemon & Olive Chicken

This is my second venture into the world of Moroccan flavored food (the other part: a delicious side of tagine veggies) and was the original dish that prompted me to start preserving lemons. A whole chicken is braised and simmered in an herby, lemon-olive sauce, and is then cooked in a tagine for a delicious, savory meal.

Lemon & Olive Chicken (breast meat)

The dish sounds pretty simple and the name, also, simple–simple enough that you might doubt the flavors. I mean, yeah, lemons are good and olives are good, its a curious pair, but will it really go anywhere?

Well, I really can’t do the chicken justice–the combination of lemons and olives simmering in a slow heat, somehow, some way, brings out the best of those two to create something new and exciting. They just sort of merge into one harmonious taste. The chicken itself is spiced in a… click to read more…

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Vegetable Tagine

Tagines are a special kind of cookware, but they also refer to a class of food slow-cooked in a tagine. I chose to go with a Moroccan styled dish: a medley of vegetables cooked in a tagine style (a proper tagine would be cooked in, well, a tagine, but seeing how I don’t actually have one, a Dutch oven will have to do. Doh!).

Vegetable Tagine, topped with feta crumbles

This dish is easy to make, the only real killer being prepping the vegetables. I had seen a version of this dish which looked awfully appealing, so I figured I’d try my hand at it with a few twists. I chose to use this as a healthy side dish to get my veggies (main course coming up next!), but you could also tailor it to be more of a main course… click to read more…

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Macaroni & Cheese, Cheese, …and more Cheese

Macaroni and cheese, like many “common” sounding dishes, has been misrepresented on many an occasion, whether it be powdered stuff from a box or some slop from a cafeteria. But if you show it just a little bit of love, it will love you back with some incredibly rich flavors.

Macaroni & Cheese

So despite the many bad macaroni experiences we’ve all had, mac & cheese should not be banned from your kitchen as if it were gruel. This is not that undesirable junk that shows up on your plate at some backdoor BBQ you’d rather not be at–this is the good stuff! Plus, preparing this is actually quite simple and lends itself to experimentation. The end result is a fantastic dish with a variety of flavors going on.

If you look around for macaroni and cheese recipes, there’s really not a lot of consistency when it comes to what kind of cheese you should use–all cheddar, fontina, asiago, american (no!), etc.… click to read more…

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Apple Chicken Curry

I know this one sounds like an odd combination, but somehow, innocent, autumnal kind of ingredients (apple, apple cider, cinnamon, white wine, dijon, golden raisins) come together to produce a curry that could stand up next to any other traditional chicken curry flavor-wise. And so today, we have apple chicken curry.

Apple Chicken Curry

I wanted to make chicken that somehow went with apples, but I had a tough time coming up with something that appealed to me. I wrote down a long list of things that I thought would go well with apple and then started whittling it down until there was a collection of things that seemed harmonious together. From there, I just took all of those ingredients out and just sort of went with it–since ginger and cardamom were involved, why not try to do something with some Indian flare to it? And so I started working in other Asian flavors, such as kasoori methi (a.k.a. fenugreek), and that… click to read more…

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Trio of Ravioli–veal, mushrooms, and goat cheese

I was very excited about making pasta from scratch and had grand visions for making ravioli. But what kind of filling should I make? Beef? Chicken? Veal? Cheese? I kept tossing ideas around and decided to be reasonable and just choose: I’d make three different fillings (veal & olive, mascarpone mushroom, and herb & lemon goat cheese). Decisiveness is one of my strong points.

Ravioli

So knowing that the fillings would be the slow part, I hurried to work, preparing far too much of each, telling myself no problem, I’ll just freeze the excess ravioli and have an easy back-up dinner for weeks to come. I was in a good mood and in no real hurry at all–I was hungry, but the fillings were coming along great and making/stuffing the pasta would be a really quick process. There was nothing to worry about. I could just snap my fingers, and dinner would be ready. So I casually pour the flour… click to read more…

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