Penne with Seared Chicken Breast and Green Garlic Pesto

I’m a little late on posting this recipe since green garlic season may have already come and gone (some of you might still find it), but that brings us right over into garlic scape season, so its an easy substitution to make! If all of that flew over your head, you’re missing out on something great and need to try it as soon as possible (more on that in a moment). So what did I do with this bit of tasty spring produce? I made a simple green garlic pesto to highlight green garlic as the star of the show in this pasta dish.

If you’ve never heard of green garlic before (or scapes, which are kind of similar but are in fact, different), they’re actually pretty interesting. Unfortunately, you probably won’t find them at your grocery store, but you should have better luck at a farmer’s market. Simply put, green garlic is garlic before it has fully matured… click to read more…

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Asparagus Risotto with Poached Eggs

After the doldrums of winter, each new week of spring is like a food reawakening for me. In the past few weeks, a number of my favorites have started popping up again at the farmer’s market, and as I always do, I tend to overindulge as if these vegetables won’t make a reappearance at the same time again next year. Today’s meal focuses on one such vegetable: asparagus.

Risotto has become something of a go-to meal for me (and if you’re afraid of making it, don’t be–trust me, its easy. Try this. Now). Its fairly easy to make and provides a rich, makes-you-feel-so-good canvas to work with, no matter what the goal. I thought creamy, cheesy goodness was the perfect place to highlight asparagus.

The risotto packs a double punch of asparagus: a lightly boiled asparagus puree is mixed into the rice (also adding a nice… click to read more…

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Sriracha Chicken Wings

Wings are the kind of comfort food I don’t eat often enough, but when I crave them, I can pack them away. They don’t require much of an introduction–all the wing lovers out there know just what I mean. This is the kind of food where you want to plop yourself down for awhile, make a sloppy mess of yourself, and just indulge. They’re (to use a terrible cliche) finger-licking good and incredibly easy to make.

While the traditional tabasco (or Frank’s red hot)-based buffalo sauce is good, I prefer what I consider a more interesting sauce. For this recipe, I opted for a tangy, sweet heat in the sauce with one of my favorite ingredients: sriracha. Combined with some other Asian flavors (ponzu–a citric soy sauce–and a dab of hoisin), you’ve got something just as easy to make and far more interesting than straight tabasco/cayenne pepper and vinegar (my… click to read more…

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Chicken in Tarragon Mustard Cream Sauce

I don’t use mustard very often, but absolutely love it in sauces. Something about a well done mustard sauce is intriguing to me as it can take on many forms–sharp and tangy, rich and hearty, or just downright elegant. This was another such delightful experience for me: a simple chicken breast sauté, coated with a light, sumptuous mustard cream sauce with tarragon.

Don’t let the simplicity in preparing this dish fool you–the flavor is fantastic and it would fare well if you’re cooking for guests. The chicken is simple–nicely browned, tender on the inside–and the sauce has a rich tang, accentuated by the anisey, spicy notes you get from tarragon (a great foil to completing this sauce). Heck, I could enjoy the sauce straight and could definitely see using it in pasta dishes (if thinned out with… click to read more…

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Fried Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

When Mardi Gras rolls around, I think of three dishes: King Cake, Jambalaya, and today’s meal: gumbo. If you’ve never had a good gumbo, you’re missing out–it is one of those quintessential Cajun/Creole stews that every chef can put their own personal touch on. The one commonality across them all is that it will keep you going during the winter months being so rich and hearty.

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

In this particular rendition, I chose a classic combo: chicken and andouille sausage (compared to a lighter, butternut squash-centric version I did in the past).

A whole chicken is poached to make a fresh batch of stock, then shredded, strongly spiced, fried, and combined with fried, smoky andouille sausage. The stew is thickened with both okra and a nutty, smoky, milk chocolate colored roux. Simmered with a mix of some classic… click to read more…

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Dal Makhani (Indian Butter Lentils)

If you like Indian food and you haven’t heard of this dish before, you may not have been paying attention. You’re likely to see this on the menu at many Indian restaurants and you also might recognize a close cousin (also very popular)–murgh makhani, a.k.a. butter chicken. This a vegetarian take on the same general dish–slowly simmered lentils (a.k.a. dal) and beans in a spiced, tomato curry enriched with a generous helping of cream and butter.

While this Punjab curry is strongly spiced, like its chicken counterpart, the richness of the dish counteracts the heat a good bit, making it a good candidate even for those who might be timid around Indian cuisine. There’s a classically spiced backbone with notes of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves, and yet the slowly simmered lentils combined with the generous cream/butter combo yields a final product that has an almost contradictory sumptuous, smooth,… click to read more…

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