Pear and Avocado Salad with Blue Cheese and Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette

Growing up, I didn’t eat salads. I avoided them like the plague and only after years of my stalwart resistance did I finally cave and make the concession that I would eat other family member’s croutons. Now that I enjoy a very hearty salad before dinner nearly every night, I look back and can’t help but chuckle (especially when I compare myself a a child to my three year-old daughter who also enjoys her salad nearly every night…with not a crouton in sight).

As summer ramps up, I can’t help but feel inclined to mix up the salads a bit more to keep things interesting. In this case, the salad itself was light but the flavors were sharp, crisp, and creamy with bits of acidity all from the like of avocado, pear, and blue cheese. It was all brought together by a surprisingly lively dressing that would be very versatile on many a salad and sure to delight: lemon… click to read more…

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Pomegranate BBQ Sauced Lamb Meatballs over Apricot Cous Cous with Chickpeas

I love meatballs in pretty much any form. There’s something homey and inviting about them just conceptually, no matter how dressed up they are (and yes, I recognize how pretentious the title of this dish sounds right next to my “homey” statement). For this dish, I returned to one of my favorite meats: lamb. Ground lamb always seems to wow me where I least expect it, and these meatballs kept the trend going.

For the meatballs, I wanted them to be relatively simple with all of the appropriate spices and aromatics that would make the lamb sing without masking it–such as touches of cumin, allspice, garlic, and parsley. A bit of creme fraiche helped to enrich them and keep the texture light and delicate.

With that out of the way, onto the sauce. I have always thought that lamb pairs wonderfully with fruit, so the idea of a pomegranate-centric barbecue sauce seemed… click to read more…

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Pickled Chili Peppers

While I tend to go all out with dinner, my weekday lunches tend to be fairly simple. I usually roast either a turkey or a chicken on the weekend, shred the meat, and portion it out appropriately for sandwiches. To keep this from being boring, I make small changes to each, whether it be the cheeses, sauces, or toppings–anything to trick myself into thinking I’m not eating the same thing everyday. There’s one thing that is constant though on every such variation of this sandwich though: pickled peppers. I used to think the jarred stuff from the grocery store was fine, but after seeing how simple home-made pickled peppers appeared, I couldn’t help but try it. Now, I can’t have enough of them. These are simply amazing.

Pickled Chili Peppers

Before summer is over and you can’t find good, fresh peppers, you seriously need to try these. Note, this is a fridge pickle and not a leave-it-in-your-pantry-for-months pickle–the salt &… 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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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 who will listen from now on. Its tangy, bright, zippy, and somehow, cornier than plain corn). So with elote on the menu, I figured Mexican was… 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 this as a sweet potato version of… click to read more…

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