Honey Granola with Cranberries and Figs

I was never one to eat just yogurt. Yogurt itself just seemed weird to me. Don’t get me wrong–I was happy to cook with it or churn up a batch of frozen yogurt, but just eat it straight? Well, Stephanie showed me what I was missing all this time: a good granola recipe.

A good, tangy, sticky-with-honey, nutty, granola that chews back when you crunch into it was that special something I needed to turn me on to yogurt. Or to just eating fistfuls of granola for that matter. Its stupid easy to make, way better than the myriad of choices you can grab at the grocery store (for an arm and a leg), and a fantastic way to start your day (or just to snack on). I like to work a little bit of dried fruit in there, but the nice thing about granola: it is very forgiving and very open to experimentation. For… click to read more…

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Arancini di Riso (deep-fried balls of risotto)

Deep frying things just has a way of making all sorts of simple things more interesting, and well, downright incredible. So imagine if you took something that was already pretty incredible to start with, and then deep fried that…well that would just have to yield something all the more incredible, right? Yes, yes it does.

Arancini di Riso is the proper Italian name for deep-fried balls of leftover risotto. If you haven’t noticed by now, I like to make risotto–lots of different kinds depending on what’s in season. Its creamy, luxurious, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. The one downer with risotto though is that the leftovers are just never the same as when you serve it fresh–the flavor is just as good, but the texture is forever gone and that’s a part of what makes risotto so special.

Arancini is the answer to that problem. You simply scoop… click to read more…

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Chilaquiles

If I had to pick a favorite class of food as of late, I’d have to go with Mexican.
The flavors are always big, bold, and exciting, the food looks rustic and mouth-wateringly good, and it never fails to hit the spot. So you might discount me some given my predisposition when I say that this dish is absolutely incredible comfort food: chilaquiles.

So what are chilaquiles? They’re like nachos but far more awesome and actually authentic rather than some over-priced pub appetizer. I think the best way to describe it is a casserole of stale/fried corn tortillas, a sauce of your choosing (red, verde, molĂ©–whatever), and a whole bunch of whatever else you have handy (chicken, eggs, avocado, radish, cheese, crema, etc). This dish is meant to be relatively simple to prepare, a great way to make the most of leftovers/random odds and ends, and most of all, is said to be great hangover food. Chilaquiles… click to read more…

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Pimento Cheese

Have you ever had pimento cheese? An important caveat: have you ever had home-made pimento cheese? That neon colored sludge from the supermarket absolutely doesn’t count–that’s the stuff that gives pimento cheese a bad name. That junk forces anyone who doesn’t live in the south to think pimento cheese is somehow vile stuff. The real deal is not even close. Its nothing short of incredible really. Its a mix of sweet, sour, tart, rich, creamy cheeseiness.

Pimento cheese is actually very simple to make and uses a mix of other cheeses as a base (so don’t worry, you don’t have to make cheese from scratch for this). The end result is a cheese that is easily used as a dip or a spread. I like to fill omelettes with it and to use it as a topping on both burgers and sandwiches. Other common uses are on crackers and as the filling for grilled cheese sandwiches. Its works well… click to read more…

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Sriracha Chicken Wings

Wings are the kind of comfort food I don’t eat often enough, but when I crave them, I can pack them away. They don’t require much of an introduction–all the wing lovers out there know just what I mean. This is the kind of food where you want to plop yourself down for awhile, make a sloppy mess of yourself, and just indulge. They’re (to use a terrible cliche) finger-licking good and incredibly easy to make.

While the traditional tabasco (or Frank’s red hot)-based buffalo sauce is good, I prefer what I consider a more interesting sauce. For this recipe, I opted for a tangy, sweet heat in the sauce with one of my favorite ingredients: sriracha. Combined with some other Asian flavors (ponzu–a citric soy sauce–and a dab of hoisin), you’ve got something just as easy to make and far more interesting than straight tabasco/cayenne pepper and vinegar (my two inspirations 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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