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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Preserved Lemons

I was in the mood for something Moroccan (can you guess what kind of recipes will be posted in the coming days? Oh the suspense!), and if there is any recurring ingredients in Moroccan recipes, it is preserved lemons.

Jar of preserved lemons

I’ve never had preserved lemons before and it seems two methods are popular: one is just lemons and salt and the other is generally the same but with various savory spices added into the mix. Being both a fan of lemons and as decisive as ever, I decided to make two jars: one spiced and one “plain.” Now that I’d finally made that tough call, I got all ready only to find that I only had one clean jar handy (doh!).

The basic idea is that you take some lemons (tis the season for Meyer… 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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Risotto alla Milanese (Saffron Risotto)

Risotto is a quick and easy dish to make–it just requires that you pay it some attention. As long as you stick around to keep stirring, you should be in good shape–this isn’t a dish that you just set on heat and come back to in 20 minutes. Your reward is an amazingly creamy and rich side dish.

Finished saffron risotto

Risotto is traditionally an Italian dish made from a special kind of rice. When you treat risotto the way its meant to be treated, you tease the creaminess out of the rice without cooking the entire dish down into mush–each grain will still have its own individual, slightly firm and distinct shape. The result is a side dish that is always a pleasure to eat–bursting with flavor, creaminess, and the familiarity of rice. This particular version (and oh are there many!) enhances the flavor of the risotto in a very traditional fashion: with broth as the cooking liquid and both saffron… click to read more…

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Chicken Saltimbocca

If I have sage on hand, this is one of my favorite dishes to put it to good use: chicken saltimbocca.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Saltimbocca is Italian for “jumps in the mouth” as all of the core flavors to this dish are really vibrant when they come together. Surprisingly though, there are countless variantions on saltimbocca as it is apparently popular in Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Greece where the featured meat, sauce, and garnish can all differ greatly (e.g. chicken, veal, pork, wine, salt water, oil, etc). The one commonality across all of these interpretations of the dish though: roulades stuffed with that mentholy, peppery flavor of sage and the richness of prosciutto. In this version, I stuffed chicken breast roulades with fresh sage, basil, goat cheese, and prosciutto and then top it off with some Marsala and mushrooms. This dish is also my entry for this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by click to read more…

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Pizza

I love pizza. My wife and I don’t eat out much, but pizza is our one regular splurge. But as routine as pizza is, there’s always something special about home-made:

Pizza fresh out of the oven

Slice of pizza

I had a lot of fun making this one. Its amazing how much better something as simple as pizza is compared to ordering in. Usually, pizza is a gut-bomb…delicious, but way too filling (or when its not so delicious, its a good excuse to try out one of my new hot sauces, another regular splurge). This was pretty easy to prepare at a leisurely pace and tasted vibrant, fresh, and light, which is a nice change from greasy and heavy. Plus, it gave my pizza stone, an oft negelected tool in the kitchen, some much needed TLC. 😉 Also, a nice side benefit to making this dish: you’ll have extra dough leftover which you can store in the fridge/freezer so that… click to read more…

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