Recently in Dressings, Sauces, Dips and Spreads
Thursday, January 10, 2013

citrus salad with creamy poppy seed dressing

citrus salad with creamy poppyseed dressing

I know: a salad in January is so cliché, but I promise, I’m not here to sell you some diet plan, or urge you to eat healthier, or stop baking cookies and cake. It’s winter after all, and turning my oven on keeps the house warmer. Besides, I like cookies and cake so much, I’ve never been one to stop eating sweets once the New Year turns up. My mantra is the same as it’s always been: eat what you want to eat and be happy. Life is too short otherwise.

We tend to eat a lot of citrus this time of year. I suspect you do too because there’s not that much other fruit around that excites. It feels warmer, sunnier just eating an orange segment; it’s a good antidote to puffy coats, hats, and scarves. We stockpile our citrus: oranges, clementines, grapefruit all sitting in the crisper at the same time. I like having options; who knows what I’ll feel like eating for a snack? And oftentimes we cut up citrus into this salad to give this one and that one a break.

Continue reading citrus salad with creamy poppy seed dressing.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

fresh cranberry relish

fresh cranberry relish

As most people’s thoughts turn to Thanksgiving (now that the election is over – we voted; did you?), I’m about to say something unpopular: I’m a little tired of traditional cranberry sauce. This might sound strange coming from someone who stuffs cranberries into snacking cakes and tucks them into banana bread. It’s not the cranberries themselves—it’s cooking them that I am objecting to.

Something changed about my palate this year. For one, I can’t get enough Spanish food (and in fact, I think about it all the time). We’ve a neighborhood restaurant that makes tapas-style Spanish dishes with Moroccan and Jewish influences and I might as well carve my name in one of their seats, I’m there so often.

Continue reading fresh cranberry relish.

Monday, September 17, 2012

tomato sauce with onion and butter + tomato sauce techniques

tomato sauce with butter and onion

I think that many things have been said about this tomato sauce that it feels almost redundant to jump in at this point. Enough praises have been sung*.

But as I was thinking about this sauce and why it’s so great, and why it’s just so great to make your own tomato sauce for dinner rather than reach for a jar of it, it got me thinking about the technique of making a proper tomato sauce. The tomato sauce is a simple, humble thing, and yet it too has a few rules that need to be followed in order to wind up with a sauce that will take your breath away each and every time. The most important one is to cook your tomato sauce uncovered.

Continue reading tomato sauce with onion and butter + tomato sauce techniques.

Friday, February 18, 2011

pesto

manually chopping

Pesto and I had a bit of a rough start. I first tried it on a pizza and I didn’t like it. We were sitting in a North End pizzeria in Boston, on a middle-school trip, and a girl I thought was amazingly cool and knew all things worth knowing, ordered a pizza with pesto. I had no idea what it was, and was too shy to ask, not wanting to seem even less cool than I already was.

A few minutes later it arrived, golden and bubbling, studded with green, oily blobs of pesto. It was potent and garlicky-smelling, but it wasn’t calling out to me. My suspicions proved right – aside from not looking good, it also wasn’t very good. It tasted stale, rancid, and too oily. Looking back, I realize it wasn’t very good pesto, but back then I just thought pesto wasn’t for me. I didn’t know the difference between good and bad.

Continue reading pesto.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

spring garlic and dill pesto

dill pesto

There comes a time, in every pantry’s life, when you have to manage your resources. It’s almost shameful to be a cook and let your food spoil. KS, at heart, is a functional, practical, resource-allocating cook. I, on the other hand, have my head in the clouds, dreaming of dinners in the afternoon and compiling a mental check list of food stuffs to pick up en route home. It mostly works out well, as we balance each other out, me with my flights of fancy, and him with a practical approach to our crisper. The Swiss chard, among other vegetables thanks him for it.

But sometimes, I too exhibit practical, creative thoughts when it comes to resource management with our perishables. I look at our ingredients in need of attention et voilà, a dish is born. This time, I think I did quite well – not to pat myself on the back!

little bowties

From my farmers market trip on Saturday, our fridge still held among other things, half a bunch of dill, some green onions and the spring garlic that I simply cannot get enough of. The spring garlic came with long, exotic looking greens that looked beautiful enough to use as flowers in a large vase, if only I didn’t have plans for them of the kitchen variety. I stared at these ingredients long enough to realize I had half a cup of pine nuts sitting around. And suddenly it all came together – a dill pesto with green onions and spring garlic greens!

verdant

Growing up, I used to joke that if my mother could make cupcakes out of dill, she would. Of course, that which we mock when we’re young comes to afflict us when we grow up. Surely enough, I am as much of a dill fanatic, if not more so, than my mother, and I bet she’s having the last laugh now. The pesto, a summery twist on a classic, came out beautifully, with a delicate summer flavor and a pungent garlic bite that gave the perfect dressing for our bow-tie pasta, which, I am ashamed to admit; we bought, and did not make. And I am certain that as I ate my bow-ties by the spoonfuls, I heard the pasta machine whimper in the pantry.

Continue reading spring garlic and dill pesto.