One of things I dislike about traditional lasagna is that all the ingredients sink to the middle when you cut into it, so generally I avoid it. I don’t mind the time it takes to chop and assemble all the ingredients, but I do mind not getting every ingredient in one bite.
So I decided to make lasagna…with a twist. I admit that I was going to brave another attempt until I got to the store and could only find the pre-cooked lasagna noodles. I don’t really care for those flat sheets, which is all they had, so the decision was made for me. But what I did find was whole wheat medium shells that were tri-color. Mmmmmm.
Since I already had ALL the lasagna ingredients in my shopping cart I decided I would make Shell-sagna and keep my fingers crossed that it was slightly more than edible.
Whenever I’m in the mood for something that is quick to make but tastes like it took hours, I turn to risotto. Ever since I watched Rachel Ray make it on 30-Minute Meals years ago and saw how easy it was to make, I’ve been hooked.
The best thing about risotto is that you can make it with tons of different things—for herbivores and carnivores—for meal variety. Add shrimp or chicken for meat eaters, or cheese and herbs or even peas for an easy vegetarian meal.
I got a good deal on a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano and my plan was to just make some creamy risotto until I spotted a nice batch of shitake mushrooms. It would’ve been nice to find Portobello mushrooms or even crimini, but I do love shitake and I was happy to snap up a few hundred grams.
I recently had a bad craving for strawberry shortcake, probably because it is strawberry season here and about every few kilometers you can find a stand selling them. The air is filled with the almost sickeningly sweet scent of strawberries and I just had to have them.
So I bought some with the plan to make a shortcake soon.
I pride myself on being a fairly health-conscious eater, but being from Chicago the craving for pizza sometimes is just…unbearable. Rather than suffer the cardboard greasiness found in the big pizza giants, I always choose to do it myself. If I have yeast on hand I’ll even make my own dough using this recipe by Tyler Florence, but it’s a fairly time consuming process so sometimes I buy the already made dough.
The good news is that most bakeries—even those inside the grocery store—will sell you pizza dough for less than $2 so if you don’t really want to get it from the store hit up your local bakery. But make sure you don’t buy the bakery dough too many days in advance or it will dry out.
When I was a child my granny used to make beans a lot, especially dry beans. Maybe it was the beginning of my mild OCD but I used to love helping her sift through the beans, discarding the gross ones. That was my introduction into dry beans; before then I only knew of canned beans.
As I got older and began to learn more about food and the processes that allow certain products to sit on supermarket shelves for months and years on end. Particularly the things that go into foods that would normally be refrigerated but have been magically made to sit on the shelf indefinitely.
Often canned beans are salty, which can be remedied with a thorough washing, to remove most of the salt. But the other problems include that they are stored in potentially dangerous cans and who knows how many of the nutrients have been cooked out of them, which you will worsen by cooking them yet again to your desired tastes.
Since the weather here in Stuttgart doesn’t seem to be anywhere near Spring-like figured it was time to revisit a soup that I’ve only grown to love as an adult.
A few years ago I lived in Boston and enjoyed many of the best things the city has to offer, including lunch and Shakespeare in the Commons. But one of my favorite things was French onion soup at the Beantown Pub. It wasn’t an everyday menu special but if you got there on the right day you’d get a delicious soup with caramelized onions and a hearty broth. Maybe I enjoyed it so much because we’d wash it down with a few cold glasses of Guinness Extra Stout, but whatever the reason it was a great way to kill a few hours during lunchtime.
When it comes to making food I find that the most difficult meal to be creative with is lunch. As a kid I would be content with a grilled cheese or a bologna (YUCK) sandwich with Miracle Whip.
As an adult however, my tastes have improved…a lot. And now that I no longer suck down cigarettes like they’re going out of style, I have nearly all of my sense of taste back and I like flavorful food that isn’t made that way because of chemicals and food coloring. I prefer fresh ingredients that are as whole as possible.
So when I saw these gorgeous Comice pears at the market I grabbed a few and I went in search of Fontina cheese. Since it was apparently hiding from me, I decided on a cow’s milk cheese similar in taste. I grabbed a small wedge of Maasdam, a Dutch cheese that’s made like Swiss cheese (holes and all). It’s delicious and flavorful and goes great with clean flavors like pears.
Growing up I wasn’t really introduced to many cuisines around the world. In my town there was Mexican-tons of Mexican—and there were plenty of Chinese restaurants. Not Thai or Vietnamese or Japanese, just plain egg rolls and fried rice Chinese food. But a few months ago I ate bulgur for the first time as part of a yummy Middle Eastern dish.
I was hooked.
The bulgur was fluffy with the perfect amount of salt and it was made with just a little bit of turmeric to give it a nice smoky flavor. Served with some succulent chicken and beef soaked with coconut milk and seasoned with cumin and curry and a variety of spices. Needless to say I have spent the last few months trying to perfect the taste of the bulgur to no avail. Although bulgur requires the same 2 to 1 ratio as rice, it requires much less time to become too soggy to eat.
I used to live in Southern California and now that I’m living in Germany I constantly have a hankering for Mexican food. Not just your standard corner dive serving up plain ol’ burritos and tacos, but authentically delicious slow cooked, make me lick my fingers it’s so good, Mexican food.
Of course your standard German supermarket doesn’t have the same authentic ingredients (not even your standard soft shell corn tortillas!) as let’s say Jon’s, but I don’t mind because it forces me to be creative. Since my main man is a vegetarian, this means I actually have to be really creative because honestly, how many bean tacos can one household consume? Too many.
I have recently re-discovered my love of whole fish after a traumatic experience in high school that involved me gutting my own recently caught Blue Northern. But my taste buds reminded me that whole fish is succulent and the flavors are so clean that even frozen fish tastes (almost) as good as the freshly caught variety.
Even though my hubs is a vegetarian and I have severely reduced my meat intake, I just can’t shake the fish. Maybe it’s because it’s so fresh and so delicious that I simply can’t resist but also because I need my brain food to pound away on a keyboard all day long.
I’ve been experimenting with different types of seasonings—ginger, mint, limes & blood oranges, nutmeg, jalapenos, shallots and cocktail onions—and this time I thought I’d go with simple Mediterranean flavors.