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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Macaroni & Cheese, Cheese, …and more Cheese

Macaroni and cheese, like many “common” sounding dishes, has been misrepresented on many an occasion, whether it be powdered stuff from a box or some slop from a cafeteria. But if you show it just a little bit of love, it will love you back with some incredibly rich flavors.

Macaroni & Cheese

So despite the many bad macaroni experiences we’ve all had, mac & cheese should not be banned from your kitchen as if it were gruel. This is not that undesirable junk that shows up on your plate at some backdoor BBQ you’d rather not be at–this is the good stuff! Plus, preparing this is actually quite simple and lends itself to experimentation. The end result is a fantastic dish with a variety of flavors going on.

If you look around for macaroni and cheese recipes, there’s really not a lot of consistency when it comes to what kind of cheese you should use–all cheddar, fontina, asiago, american (no!), etc.… 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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Cream of Sweet Potato Soup

This soup is a great autumn/winter dish to warm your kishkas: somewhat sweet, slightly savory (in that familiar, autumny pumpkin pie kind of way), and creamy. And does anybody not like sweet potatoes?

Bowl of Cream of Sweet Potato Soup

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now. I had actually made this on Thanksgiving–I had planned my entire dinner and dessert course, but all of my guests were from out of town, so there was still breakfast and lunch to deal with. Seeing how I couldn’t be troubled with more cooking, I instead decided to whip up a hearty soup mid-day with the promise of an early dinner that would be worth the wait. This soup fit the bill–not heavy enough to keep them from enjoying an early dinner, but not so light that you don’t feel like you ate anything. And hey, you’re getting your vegetables (sure its a vegetable that you can haveclick to read more…

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Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a really easy side dish that always please a crowd and hit the spot with so many dishes. Everybody brings certain expectations to the table, and this is an easy way to finish a meal strong.

Garlic mashed potatoes

This recipe is really rich as I like to work a lot of dairy ingredients into the mash. I also like to add a small amount of goat cheese to give a very subtle tang to the potatoes that you can’t quite put your finger on, but it just adds that little something extra. That and I am also a sucker for goat cheese. Richness aside, the potatoes also have that distinct roasted garlic taste which is sweet, garlicky (shocker!), and kind of nutty and is complemented by the parmesan and the notes of chives that pair so wonderfully with potatoes (my reason for entering Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Briciole).… click to read more…

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Creamy Sausage Mushroom Stuffing

Stuffing is one of my (and probably everybody else’s) favorite side dishes that you only have once a year with your Thanksgiving turkey. For such a rare treat, you might as well spoil yourself a little:

Stuffing, fresh out of the oven

There seem to be an endless variety of ways you can prepare stuffing–from a bag, from inside the turkey, from fresh cornbread, apples, raisins, celery, squash, chestnut, oyster, cranberry–anything in season is pretty much fair game. This particular recipe was inspired by one that I saw online a while back that sounded delicious and slightly different from what I had grown up on. The end result was amazing: rather than the traditional cornbread croutons, you have the tang of sourdough bread, the heartiness of sausage, the earthy flavor of mushrooms, and the creaminess of leeks and goat cheese. There are a lot of really rich, heavy flavors at play in… click to read more…

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