Indian Spiced Pear & Butternut Squash Soup

Every time of year brings memories of a few dishes with it that we all quietly pine for. Autumn and butternut squash is that mystical combo for my wife and I. In general, butternut squash soup is a pretty simple and straightforward thing, but to keep this from becoming something we grow tired of, I like to change it up every time I make it. In this case, I wanted a light starter as a prelude to a bigger dinner, but still something big and bold on flavor.

Indian Spiced Pear & Butternut Squash Soup

This soup was a delicious way to start a meal. It looks deceptively simple (like any other butternut squash soup), but has a surprisingly complex flavor. The pear added an almost unnameable but distinct tangy sweetness while the peppers and assortment of spices lent an incredibly full flavored back drop to the whole experience. I didn’t want to stick with the usual assortment of “pumpkin pie spices”… click to read more…

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Falafel Salad with Zesty Tahini Sauce

My wife had asked that I make falafel for the longest time. I seem to be in the minority–I’d never had or even seen them before. With an abundance of fresh produce, this was the perfect excuse to make a salad, satisfy my deep fried food craving, and try something new for me.

Falafel Salad with Zesty Tahini Sauce

If you’re like I was and have never had falafel, they’re actually pretty simple: a ball/patty of coarsely ground, dried chickpeas with a mix of herbs, vegetables, and spices, all mixed and deep-fried to form a crisp, richly browned nugget with a tender, deliciously mealy interior. Falafel are typically served in a pita with a mix of vegetables, but having a ton of vegetables, I chose to turn this inside out and have a salad with falafel and a few pieces of pita. The falafel themselves were incredibly delicious (where have you been all my life!) with a great, herby/earthy flavor and a nice delicate, but… click to read more…

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Pomegranate Braised Lamb Shank with Apricots

My starting point for this dish was simple: I wanted something kind of middle eastern in flavor, and I wanted lamb. Armed with pomegranate, apricot, and a bunch of spices, I figured I would be off to a great start for something that would be different from the usual dinner. I was thrilled with the results as this was a really tasty, full-bodied, seductively spiced stew, but not at all like how I originally envisioned it.

Pomegranate Braised Lamb Shank with Apricots

I was disappointed that, despite using 3 cups of pomegranate juice, the pomegranate flavor was nowhere to be found in the final dish. On the other end of the spectrum, I was also a bit dissatisfied with the apricots–they tasted great, but were too sharp and loud flavor-wise relative to the rest of the stew and seemed out of place. On my next attempt, I would try to incorporate a few other changes: add pomegranate molasses to the stew roughly 20 minutes before… click to read more…

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Pomegranate Glazed Stuffed Leg of Lamb Roast

I love roasts–there’s something homey and comforting but classy about a nice roast. Plus, you get a bunch of food with minimal effort! I especially love roasting a leg of lamb–its simple and an opportunity to really appreciate what lamb has to offer as far as texture and flavor. This is one such dish that really lets you appreciate the unique flavor of lamb.

Pomegranate Glazed Stuffed Leg of Lamb Roast

For this version, I made a simple fig, apricot, and mint stuffing, rolling the leg roast tightly around it. Then, after giving the leg a good sear, the roast is basted with pomegranate juice to yield a delicious, tacky glaze. The tartness of the glaze is a great foil to the surprisingly complex, sweet stuffing. Plus, it just looks plain sexy.

The only downer was that the drippings from the roast weren’t suitable for sauce-making (the pomegranate juice takes on a burnt taste).

  • ~4.5 lb boned leg of lamb
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ground

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Spiced Port & Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt

I’ve never actually had pomegranate ice cream or frozen yogurt before, but always had it in the back of my mind. As I’d read about it though, it seems to be quite popular with some upper-scale ice cream/frozen yogurt joints like Pinkberry and Red Mango. However, nearly everything I’ve read about pomegranate frozen treats (both commercial and home-made) all had the same review: too subtle and almost indistinguishable pomegranate flavor. This was a downer, but I was still determined to try my hand at it, so I thought I’d try to pump up the pomegranate flavor by focusing on supporting flavors to enhance it (sort of like balsamic and strawberry, chocolate and chili, etc) rather than just throwing more pomegranate at it.

Spiced Port & Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt

Much to my delight, my gambit worked out better than I had expected. I infused the pomegranate juice with both fresh mint and green cardamom–enough to add a flavor of intrigue,… 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 isn’t a slow cooked piece of meat that doesn’t feel homey and comforting.… click to read more…

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