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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Crown Roast of Pork with Tart Tomato Stuffing and Juniper Pan Gravy

Normally, a crown roast is a holiday sort of dish–its an impressive presentation for a glorious cut of meat, shaped to resemble a crown. You have a tender, succulent cut of both the loin and ribs, loaded with (typically) a very flavorful stuffing. Pork, lamb, and veal are the common options. Whatever meat you go with, a crown roast is easy to cook, looks awesome, and serves a good number of people–hence the holiday popularity. I had no special occasion for this though beyond stumbling across a nice cut of pork that I decided I must eat, lol. So eager to take on a more butchery-centric project, I focused on more summery flavors to make this pork shine.

Crown Roast of Pork with Tart Tomato Stuffing and Juniper Pan Gravy

This was an incredible dinner. You have the tenderloin–meaty and soft–mixed with the juicy, unctuous, richly porky flavored rib meat. Its like having a super pork chop. I’d compare it to eating chicken thighs/drum sticks cooked separately compared to when you… click to read more…

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Sea Bass with Lemongrass and Coconut Cream Sauce

Since my wife first discovered she was pregnant, we hadn’t had a whole lot of fish, and since Ramya was born, I’ve been vowing to fix that and get fish back into our regular line-up. I’ve had Asian sorts of flavors on my mind lately and armed with an ample supply of lemongrass, thought this was the perfect opportunity for a good, simple sauce that would go perfectly with a simply prepared white fish, in this case, Chilean Sea Bass.

Sea Bass with Lemongrass and Coconut Cream Sauce

The sauce was excellent–not a lot of it, but intensely flavored. The lemongrass-ginger-lemon combo was a great foil to the anisey flavor of the tarragon and the highly reduced wine and coconut syrup gave the sauce a great, full flavored back-bone. This, of course, is all a complement to the star: the fish. Since that is so simply prepared (sautéed… click to read more…

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Thai Green Curry with Beef

I love Thai food, but I’ve always shied away from it. I’m not sure why really–something about it just scared me. It seems like a cuisine where the preparation is fairly simple, so the quality of ingredients and attention to detail becomes that much more important if you’re to have a convincingly good result (like sushi). I don’t really base this on anything in particular, but I finally decided to take the plunge. Does it have anything to do with a recent meal of green curry I had? Or the fact that I finally encountered lemongrass at the grocery store? Whatever the case, I’ve tried my hand at a Thai green curry with plenty of veggies and beef, and I’m very glad I did.

Thai Green Curry with Beef

The outcome was excellent–the curry had an intense and intriguing flavor. It was close, but not 100% authentic since I had to make… click to read more…

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Indian-Inspired Barbecue Chicken

Every now and then, I have odd cravings that don’t jive with one another, so something new is born. In this case, I wanted Indian and barbecue. There just isn’t much cross-over in that realm (as far as I know). My compromise? A whole chicken, halved, marinated tandor style, smoked, and then slathered with a tangy, strongly spiced sauce that borrows from both barbecue and Indian cuisine for style and flavor.

In reality, this is quite simple and that’s why it’s so darn good (but such is barbecue). The chicken is slowly smoked–richly flavorful, crispy skin, and surprisingly tangy from a simple marinade. Plus, whole chicken is the best (I always love a good roast chicken).

What made this different was the sauce glazed on at the end. It’s a simple barbecue sauce, but tinged with a generous helping of Indian flavors–cinnamon, cardamom, tamarind, fenugreek, cilantro, etc. The total combination worked wonderfully and had me licking my fingers clean.… click to read more…

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Mushroom Agnolotti with Peas, Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Cream Sauce

I’ve come to realize that I tend to be most inspired by seasonal food, but not all of it. Winter and summer really get my creative juices flowing–rich, hearty braises or light, fruity, delicate sources of refreshment seem to come to mind without difficulty. Spring though gets me stuck in the mud. I’m not sure why–I don’t have access to the full range of produce, but I know its right around the corner. This dish is me trying to break out of that rut by enjoying some of the best of what spring has to offer.

Mushroom Agnolotti with Peas, Asparagus, Prosciutto, and a Goat Cheese Cream Sauce

The foundation of this dish is wild mushroom agnolotti (think criminis, portabello, and cheese stuffed ravioli), tossed with butter sautéed asparagus, peas, and prosciutto, all topped with a goat cheese cream sauce to bring everyone together. The total combination was excellent and very “springy” (yay, just what I wanted). A forkful of everything yielded a complex set of flavors I would best describe… click to read more…

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