Wednesday, December 26, 2012

crostini with whipped ricotta, persimmon, and prosciutto

crostini with whipped ricotta, persimmon, and prosciutto

I could tell you that I’m bringing these crostini with me to a New Year’s party this year, but alas, I can’t lie to you, good people, I just can’t. It’s not that these aren’t party-worthy (they are) or are difficult to make (they take minutes and are practically no-cook perfect cocktail snack), or don’t go with cocktails (they go perfectly with a nicely-chilled Manhattan or a glass of your finest bubbly). It’s just that our friends who are throwing this amazing New Year’s bash are, much to my chagrin, a piggy-free household. Personally, I think a little cured pork makes any party that much more delicious, but rules are rules.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

navy bean soup with kale, preserved lemon, and harissa

navy bean and kale soup with preserved lemon and harissa

While most of you are busying yourselves with making delicious homemade gifts (I’m assuming because the interwebs are teeming with deliciousness): orangettes and spiced nuts; caramels and hazelnut crinkles; gingerbread and lemon sandwich cookies, just to name a few, here I am making soup.

I couldn’t help myself: Ever since we returned from San Francisco, I’ve been plotting to recreate a soup we had at the Zuni Café; the soup that totally stole their famed chicken’s thunder. The chicken, don’t get me wrong, was delicious (it’s famous for a reason), but the soup, oh, the soup—took my breath away. The name, Navy Beans with Swiss Chard, Preserved Lemon and Harissa, immediately caught my eye because preserved lemon and harissa happen to be two of my favorite ingredients. And putting the two together, in a soup no less, seemed to be an act of divine providence. Andrew and I made the mistake of sharing it. As soon as I tasted it, I thought to myself, I hope he hates it. I could have eaten several bowls of just that soup for dinner, and it would have been a fine night. Unfortunately for me, Andrew loved it as much as I did.

When we finally came home from all our wintry travels (DC, SF, Boston – oof), I immediately tried to find the soup in the Zuni Café Cookbook. But it wasn’t there. There wasn’t anything even close to resembling it. I was on my own.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

curried sweet potato, carrot, and parsnip latkes with harissa yogurt

curried sweet potato, carrot, and parsnip latkesAnd on the fourth night of Hannukah, there was a loud groan, “We’re all potato-latke’d-out! Let there be another fritter to delight our palates!”

And so it happened. A different latke was made – and everyone was pleased.

While I might be the last person to turn down potato latkes, especially of the hand-grated variety, especially those where extra care has been applied to preserve the starch and decrease the amount of moisture; even I get to a point when a potato latke, while wonderful in its concept, needs a sexier, worldlier cousin. The kind of cousin that will teach a potato latke (generally thought of as a homebody) to wear red lipstick, listen to 80s Prince, and sneak out to go dancing all night.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

kimchi chili

The remains of the pretzel croissant is always a very sad sight.

Hi, friends. I have a chili recipe for you today* — and then I’m off to San Francisco. Andrew is attending the biggest earth science conference and I’m tagging along with my own list of to do’s. I hope to come back with a full report of new, awesome things I’ve discovered. And I’m taking not one but two cameras with me.

The chili today is slightly different: it’s kimchi chili. Some of you might have gasped in horror, and some of you might have gotten really excited. Chili purists will probably give me a wag of the finger. I’m not sorry.

You might have heard on the interwebs or Twitters or Facebooks that a book that I co-authored came out last Tuesday. It’s funny to have to tell people about a book you wrote that’s on a subject that still requires plenty of explanation.

“You wrote a book on what?? Kim-what??”

“Kimchi.”

“Oh, what is that?”

“Well, it’s a Korean way of fermenting produce to preserve it.”

“Is it spicy?”

“It can be but it doesn’t have to be. It’s very flavorful.”

“Well, I’m probably not going to like it then. I don’t like anything spicy. Or anything that smells funny.”

Yes, folks, those are actual conversations I’ve had (as in many conversations). And it always delights me when, on a rare chance, I hear, “I looooove kimchi. I’ve been playing around with making it at home.”

Honestly, just having to not explain what kimchi is, is a joy in and of itself.

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