I really struggled on if I wanted to post today, or even post a blog this week. Yesterday my grandma Margaret passed away and it’s left me with a lot of thoughts and emotions. I thought a lot about how delicious her cakes were, and how her macaroni and cheese pie was so phenomenal it set my brother on his own personal quest to make the perfect macaroni.
The more reality set in and I thought about it, the more I felt a need to cook the things she cooked. Maybe it was a way to honor her. Or maybe it was a way to feel close to her again after that privilege was taken from me.
Part of me even thought maybe it would be too hard to create something based in memories that come with a sepia-toned glow when all you’re facing in the present is a stark sense of grief. But as I spent the day making her rum cake recipe and doing my best to figure out hpw to make her macaroni pie I felt a sense of therapy.
Even though I never got the chance to know her exact macaroni recipe, as soon as I tasted the fruits of my guess work I had that moment in Ratatouille where the food critic immediately is warped to his childhood, and without realizing it, I smiled.
Continue reading “Macaroni for Margaret”
In an almost Garfield level consistency my boyfriend and I crave lasagna. Do I really need to explain why??? I’m no stranger in trying to find slight ways to “health up” lasagna. But I wanted to take it even farther. So I came up with this version that promises no carb bombs or meat sweats.
Instead of a classic bolognese I made a mushroom ragu to give that meaty texture and flavor, and swapped out noodles with layers of roasted eggplant. The end result is kind of like eggplant parm meets lasagna. And. Im. Am. Into. It. And the best part? Despite eating a bowlful I still feel ready to take on the world, or in this case my house cleaning.
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Growing up my dad would take my brother and me fishing during the summer. He always had these grand ideas of catching a huge catfish and us eating it for dinner. Every time he would bring a cooler with this goal in mind, and every single time we didn’t catch a catfish to cook. A couple of times someone downriver had more than enough and gave us some, but we as a family weren’t looking so hot.
I like to imagine these tacos are the dream scenario of what we would have cooked if our family fishing skills were worth a damn.
They consist of cornmeal crusted catfish, tartar sauce made with southern chow chow relish, and a honey mustard lemon pepper slaw on a yellow corn tortilla. All these flavors are so classic summer in the deep south, and the harmony between spicy and crispy fish, creamy and tangy tartar sauce, and the little bit of sweet from the crunchy slaw gets more R-rated noises out of me than any dish I know.
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A trip to Charleston, South Carolina had the power to turn anyone into a shrimp and grits eating fool. Most traditional shrimp and grits recipes use a kind of tomato-y peppery sauce on top of the shrimp. I wanted to take that idea and cheesy grits and kick it into overdrive.
Shrimp fra diavlo keeps the kind of spicy tomato goodness on a classic shrimp and grits, but amps up the garlic and herb content to make it sing. And the cacio e pepe grits? Ohhhhh those grits. Cacio e pepe is a Roman pasta dish that is essentially the real Italian version of an Alfredo. Cacio e pepe translates into cheese and pepper. So think parmesan cheesy grits with a huge black pepper punch. Even my friend Mike who lived in Charleston called them the best grits he’s ever had. Put simply, this shrimp and grits goes beyond classic Charleston into nirvana.
Continue reading “Shrimp Fra Diavlo with Cacio E Pepe Grits”
I feel like this dish was one of those when the planets and stars align situations. The recipe I originally intended to post tonight failed me so I had to think on my feet fast. I needed something fast, so I thought stirfry. Then I remembered we just entered Chinese year of the pig, so I had hoped and prayed the Walmart next to my work would have a good cut of pork I could create a Chinese inspired dish with. I thought the best case scenario would be hacking up dome pork chops. But then the clouds parted and the angels sang because I saw the crown jewel, pork belly. In that moment I knew this dish was meant to be.
My main inspiration for the flavors of this dish was one of my favorite things, char siu pork, which is a preparation utilizing hoisin sauce. Hoisin is almost like the bbq sauce of China. It’s sweet, a little funky, and sticky. I can’t get enough. The sweet and fatty pork belly with the massive bounty of veggies make this dish an excellent start to the new year!
Continue reading “Hoisin Pork Belly and Vegetable Stir Fry”
I think my ultimate food happy place is any kind of pasta and shellfish. Something about the sweet, briny flavors on top of a bowl of noodles gets me going every time. A particular favorite of mine is spaghetti vongole. This os a dish that clasically consists of clam and chili. What’s not to love??
Like my pasta puttanesca this dish uses the classic aglio olio consisting of anchovy and garlic as the flavor base for the sauce. The anchovy not onoy enhances the ocean flavor of the clams, but also adds a huge savory kick as well. So all in all we have sweet, salty, briny, spicy, savory, and bright. Just talking about it I wish I had a bowl in front of me.
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Brunch rules. It gives you an excuse to day drink, and it’s a time where people get creative in food combinations. Hi chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and biscuits and gravy. One by one I’m on a mission to provide the best brunch recipes, and this here is a special one.
My brother Sean, aka The Biscuit Queen, is the most incredible baker. He provided the extra fluffy, extremely layered, and above all; inordinately buttery recipe for the biscuits. I could wax poetic about how beautiful and artisinal these biscuits are with their subtle honey flavor and golden glow.
And to pair with them is my sausage gravy that’s packed with fresh sage and some crushed red pepper for your nerve. The salty gravy with attitude absorbs so beautifully into the sweet and buttery biscuits.
In short, this dish tastes like warmth and family because that’s where it comes from. You also get to read the recipe as my brother wrote it which is fun.
Continue reading “Honey Butter Biscuits and Sausage Gravy”
Ever since I was little Hanukkah was always my favorite holiday. While all the kids I went to school with (I was the only Jew) thought I loved it because they assumed it meant eight days of presents. One, no way that was happening. Two, presents are cool, but honestly my favorite thing about Hanukkah was getting to shove my mom’s latkes into my face as fast as possible.
For those who have never had a latke picture this: The ultimate hash browns that are crispy all the way around, but with a slight fluffiness like a pancake. They’re perfection. Like almost all of my mom’s cooking she didn’t really have a set recipe for me, but she gave me her advice and I have done my best to create a working recipe. I’ll always think my mom’s can’t be beat, but at the same time these are really damn tasty! Traditionally they’re topped with either ketchup, sour cream or apple sauce.
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On my list of ultimate comfort foods French onion soup is preeeeetty high up. Every time I see it on a menu I have to get it. If it were possible to be a French onion soup sommelier you could expect to see a blue checkmark next to my name.
While time consuming, making a good broth is simple enough, so to step my game up I went to the most often overlooked part of the preparation, the bread. While a baguette does a marvelous job of soaking up the soup I thought homemade garlic bread croutons would be the perfect opportunity to inject a little more flavor into the soup. And between the gruyere on top, the sweet and savory onion soup, and buttery garlic bread the soup almost has a, and bear with me here, juicy mouthfeel. Yes I’m aware soup is liquid and so is juice, and yes I used the term mouthfeel. It’s just so many things bursting at once you can’t help but want more.
Continue reading “French Onion Soup with Garlic Bread Croutons”
Growing up the main things I remember about Thanksgiving dinner were my brother and me going hard in our grandma’s macaroni pie, and my mom getting maybe a little too hyped about making leftover sandwiches. The Thanksgiving leftover sandwich has become a huge part of the holiday and inspired me to create this burger.
What’s great about this recipe is you can go ahead and make it, or doctor your own leftovers to get the same similar effect. This also makes a great alternative for anyone who either doesn’t have the kitchen to make a full Thanksgiving dinner, or just can’t be bothered but still wants that Thanksgiving flavor.
Continue reading “Turkey Burgers with Cranberry Barbecue Sauce and Fried Sage Leaves”