Soutzoukakia Smyrneika with Olives (Greek Lamb Meatballs)

I discovered this dish at one of my favorite Greek food blogs and knew I had to try them one day. Until I can pony up the cash for a trip to Greece, cooking more Greek food at home will have to do. The dish is charming, rustic, and man does it hit the spot: lamb meatballs in a sauce of tomato and olives.

Soutzoukakia Smyrneika with Olives

I was very tempted to add a little more here and there to pump things up a bit, but resisted the urge and am glad for it. The ingredients make this sound simple in flavor, but it is really to the benefit of the final product–the sharp flavor of cumin cuts through the distinct, delightful lamb flavor, which all just sings in a mellow, but perfectly complementary sauce focused on tomato and olive (lamb and olive is a combo that… click to read more…

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Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Bucatini all’Amatriciana is one of those pasta dishes with an enticing name that doesn’t get enough attention. A quick glance at the ingredients tends to paint it as a simple, almost ordinary pasta dish…and don’t get me started on the many “alternative” versions of this dish out there that include things like bacon or prosciutto (a dead giveaway that you should be looking for a different recipe). The humble appearance of this dish aside though, it is really incredibly flavorful and one of the most uniquely flavored pasta dishes I’ve had the pleasure of eating. The success of this dish is pretty much entirely dependent on one magical ingredient: guanciale.

Bucatini all'Amatriciana

As I’ve discussed before, guanciale is a dry-aged, cured pork jowl that is mind-blowingly simple to do at home (and probably easier to do yourself compared to finding it stocked in any grocery stores). The stuff packs a punch and delivers a… click to read more…

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Butternut Squash and Sausage Lasagna

I’m not sure what it is about baked pasta dishes, but I can’t think of one that isn’t comfort food. Rich, creamy dishes like macaroni & cheese and pastitsio readily pop into my head. Another common craving: lasagna. I didn’t feel like putting in the time to make a good bolognese sauce to make that lasagna happen, so instead I opted for a lasagna with a bit of an autumny twist. The usual pasta, Bechamel, and cheese remain, but in place of a meaty, tomatoey sauce, I cooked up a butternut squash-centric sauce with a bit of Italian sausage.

Butternut Squash and Sausage Lasagna

The sauce reminded me a bit of a hearty squash soup I had made last season. It had sweet, smoky, spicy notes that warm… click to read more…

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Grilled Beer Bratwurst with Tangy Apple Slaw

While I try to have a lot of variety in my cooking, there’s still a ton I haven’t tried. For some reason, German food has been stuck in this category for a long time and I’ve been meaning to remedy this for…just as long a time. Finally though, after hearing mention of beer brats at work, I couldn’t take it any more and decided to try to dress up this comfort food to be more than what most view it as: a glorified hot dog (so don’t go putting bratwurst in hotdog buns! Its better than that!).

Grilled Beer Brats with Tangy Apple Slaw

This is a simple meal to prepare, and its really big on flavor. The brats are parboiled in a mixture of beer, shallots, and spices (think the sweet but savory, clean flavors of juniper and caraway) before they get crisped up with the smoky flavor of the grill, leaving the beer mixture to reduce to a thick sauce. These are served alongside… click to read more…

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Grilled Pork Chops with Chipotle Mustard and Swiss Cheese Sauce…and a giveaway!

A while back, I was contacted by the folks behind Saucy Mama, a purveyor of sauces, marinades, and the like. They very generously sent a sizable package of goodies my way, and while I am always happy to have free food sent my way, I tend to approach it with a bit of skepticism. I curiously popped open the jar of chipotle mustard since that caught my eye and quickly had visions of pork chops dancing in my head (ever since trying the chops and more offered by my new favorite pig farmer, it seems that many things prompt me to think about pork chops, lol). After a quick trip to the farmer’s market, I had everything I needed for an amazingly delicious and fast meal.

Grilled Pork Chops with Chipotle Mustard and Swiss Cheese Sauce

The pork chops were massaged with… click to read more…

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Carne Asada Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Elote

A while back, I had tried a playful twist on carne asada in the interest of trying something different, so I thought it would only make sense to simplify, satisfy my craving, and try the real deal: carne asada.

Carne Asada Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Elote

Honestly, the actual inspiration for this came from another direction. The side dish was what planted the seed for this in my head. I had seen a curious recipe for something called elote, that I had to try. Honestly, the idea of mayo + corn sounded….bizarre…to say the least, but I’d heard of it on more than one occasion (and for those who are skeptical, I have to say, this is probably one of the most incredible ways to eat corn. I will preach the gospel of elote to anyone… click to read more…

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