Chocolate and Maple Nut Tart

The idea for this tart began with me wanting something just a little bit different from one of my favorite desserts: pecan pie. I’ll spare you the loose set of ideas that led to this final product and just get to the food–rather than a topping of exclusively pecans, through complete indecisiveness sheer brilliance, I used a mix of pecans, hazelnuts, and almonds. Then, in place of the usual corn syrup-based custard, I instead made a maple syrup and chocolate based custard.

Chocolate and Maple Nut Tart

Taste and texture-wise, the pecan pie heritage of this tart is very clear. All the tweaks add to what is still very much a pecan pie flavor foundation, and I loved it. You pick up the flavor of almond and hazelnut with deeper, dark sweet notes of chocolate and maple which I found was a great foil to the touch of cinnamon you get from the graham cracker crust. You still get that gooey custard filling with… click to read more…

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Lamb Steak over Israeli Cous Cous with Cranberry Sherry Mint Sauce

When I found myself with a cut of lamb known for having an incredibly tender texture (the top round roast–it comes from the upper hind leg), for some reason, steak was on my mind rather than the usual roast. I’d never had lamb steak before, so I thought that this could be a fun change–I’d just give them a quick, buttery pan sear (since its not grilling weather at the moment) and top it off with a simple sauce. Being autumn and all, cranberry seemed like a great thing to focus on sauce-wise–and like pork, lamb with fruit always makes me happy.

Lamb Steak over Israeli Cous Cous with Cranberry Sherry Mint Sauce

The lamb was indeed very tender. The resulting steaks had a crisp, buttery, exterior with a juicy and just-a-little-pink interior (random aside: why aren’t lamb steaks more common?!)–very tasty. The cranberry sauce I made to go with this was very similar in style to click to read more…

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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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Indian Spiced Pear & Butternut Squash Soup

Every time of year brings memories of a few dishes with it that we all quietly pine for. Autumn and butternut squash is that mystical combo for my wife and I. In general, butternut squash soup is a pretty simple and straightforward thing, but to keep this from becoming something we grow tired of, I like to change it up every time I make it. In this case, I wanted a light starter as a prelude to a bigger dinner, but still something big and bold on flavor.

Indian Spiced Pear & Butternut Squash Soup

This soup was a delicious way to start a meal. It looks deceptively simple (like any other butternut squash soup), but has a surprisingly complex flavor. The pear added an almost unnameable but distinct tangy sweetness while the peppers and assortment of spices lent an incredibly full flavored back drop to the whole experience. I didn’t want to… click to read more…

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Lemon and Ricotta Pound Cake

Pound cake is a rare treat for me, and given how easy it is to make, I’m not sure why I don’t have it more often. Its delicious, rich, crumbly, and buttery on its own but is also easily tweaked to highlight other flavors.

Lemon and Ricotta Pound Cake

In this case, I chose to go with a more Italian inspired flavor profile: creamy and tangy ricotta with the bright flavor of lemon. The cake was delicious, and I topped it off with a simple, sweet, lemony glaze to further the lemon flavor. The final result was delicious with a sweet, crispy crust around the edges and a tender, crumbly, delicious cake inside. My only regret was using too small of a loaf pan (so I also had some free-form pound cakelet blobs to enjoy on the side, lol).

  • Cake
    • 1.5 cups flour
    • 2.5 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 3/4 cup/6 oz

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