Chicken Biryani

Biryani is probably one of my wife’s favorite Indian dishes. For the longest time, I didn’t really understand biryani. To me, it just seemed like somewhat spiced, brown rice with dry bits of meat thrown in. If that’s been your experience, I promise, there’s much better biryani out there–deep, complex, tangy flavors, tender chicken, and enough mixed in so it doesn’t feel like your plate is 95% rice. Biryani is a classic for a reason, and I thought I’d spread the good word now that I’ve been won over.

Chicken Biryani

So in case you never have had biryani (or good biryani, for that matter), this is a popular dish in many countries with many different styles of preparation. I only know it through Indian cuisine, so that’s the perspective I bring to this. You have long grain basmati rice, cooked like any other rice with a handful of spices infusing the grains for flavor. But this is merely a foundation–not… click to read more…

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Sweet Potato Beef & Peanut Soup

I was intrigued when I first read of an African Sweet Potato Peanut Soup. Firstly, I know close to nothing of African cuisine, secondly, I love peanuts, and thirdly, I hardly ever use peanuts outside of breakfast/dessert applications (usually as peanut butter, yum!), so really, there was a lot to this that caught my eye. Of course, tinkering with the soup a bit here and there, I’m not sure if its quite the same African peanut soup any more, but its definitely a keeper.

Sweet Potato Beef & Peanut Soup

Somewhat to my surprise, this soup reminded me of red Thai curries I’ve had before. The sweet potato base of the soup gave a great heartiness while the mix of ginger, peppers, peanut, and coconut added that creamy/tangy/spicy blend of flavors that so strongly evoked thoughts of Thai for me. Was it precisely what I intended? No. Was I disappointed? Definitely not. I would describe… click to read more…

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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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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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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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