The Super Bowl, oddly enough, seems to be one of the biggest food holidays of the year. I don’t know why it’s more food-centric than the Fourth of July, or Easter, or Cinco de Mayo, but there you have it. I myself am not a huge fan of professional football (LA hasn’t had an NFL team since I was in elementary school, which lessens the thrill somewhat) but I can always get behind a party. Especially a party that involves those semi-junky foods that you always want to eat but usually don’t because they are not good for you. Foods like buffalo wings, potato chips with onion dip, and jalapeno poppers.
This year, however, I am trying to eat more vegetables, and last time I checked, buffalo wings are not vegetables. In the past, I have scoffed at “healthy” Superbowl recipes. The whole point of Superbowl food is that it’s unhealthy. Nobody wants to eat kale chips while watching men pummel each other in freezing cold weather. This year, though, I saw my vegetable challenge as a Super bowl challenge too – could I come up with a healthi-ER recipe that doesn’t feel like a compromise? Something that’s so delicious you want to eat it MORE than the meaty alternative?
I don’t mean to brag, but I think I’ve accomplished just that. Little sliders (fun to eat!, finger food that one can eat on the couch while watching the TV), made from mushroom caps (We’ll ignore the fact that for purposes of the challenge, mushrooms aren’t exactly Vegetables. They are like vegetables.) oozing with garlic butter and melted cheese. Forget the Super Bowl. I want to eat these EVERY day. (And I could, too- they do contain butter and cheese, but it’s not excessive.) They’re so good that nobody will notice they’re eating healthi(er) food because they’ll be too busy licking their fingers and asking for more.
Continue reading Garlic Butter Mushroom Sliders
Part of my focus on vegetables for this year is going to involve salads and side dishes – things to add to my standard meat and potatoes fare (though in actuality, we rarely eat potatoes). But I’m also looking for main dishes in which vegetables play a starring role. Ideally I’m looking for something which won’t cause my five year old to reject it out of hand. I’ve tried to tell her that nothing mommy makes is yucky, and I don’t ever want her to say yuck, though she may politely express that this is not her favorite dish. Of course, only dessert is her favorite dish, not for any lack of trying on my part. And ham sandwiches. And since I refuse to subsist on a diet of ham sandwiches and ice cream, we are at something of an impasse. Bacon helps.
This recipe, which is adapted from Dorie Greenspan, may not pass the five year old test (until she TRIES it) but it is one of my favorites. Dorie calls it “Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good” and it really is stuffed with, if not everything good, many good things. Things like bread and cheese and bacon and cream and garlic, and just to up the vegetal quotient, I added red chard, which only added instead of detracted. Since it’s nearly impossible to find an edible pumpkin outside the months of October and November, I make it with Kabocha Squash, which I prefer to pumpkin anyway. This dish also looks better in person than it does in photographs, and tastes better than it looks (I must convince the five year old of this). (As an aside – raw vegetables are BEAUTIFUL to photograph, but the second they’re cooked they look far less appealing. C’est la vie.) You can also omit the bacon the make it vegetarian, but please don’t leave out the cheese.
Continue reading Squash Stuffed with Delicious Things
Halloween is over, and we’ve all recovered from our sugar highs (theoretically). Now is the home stretch for home cooks – less than three weeks until Thanksgiving, and then the sprint through the December holidays into New Year, when we all collapse in a faint of exhaustion. I know you’re already planning your Thanksgiving menu, so to make it easy, I collected the Savour Fare Thanksgiving recipes into one easy place. The best, most foolproof, most delicious, juicy, crisp-skinned roast turkey? We’ve got that. Instructions on making your own pie crust (with a bonus recipe for silky smooth, perfectly spiced pumpkin pie)? You’ll find that here. In the next few weeks I’ve got a few exciting new recipes coming up — another savory sweet potato dish, a refreshing fall salad, and new twists on old favorites like stuffing and cranberry sauce, but in the meantime, here’s the roundup of Thanksgiving recipes for your inspiration:
Easy, Dry-Brined Roast Turkey
You’re serving vegetarians?
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Kale and Cabbage Gratin
Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Gratin
Onion Tarte Tatin
Your favorite thing is, of course, stuffing:
Old School Sage Stuffing
What vegetable side should you make this year? (see also, cooking for vegetarians, above)
Bacon Braised Brussels Sprouts with Cream
Creamed Spinach with Jalapenos
Slow Cooked Green Beans
Creamy, Spicy Sweet Potato Gratin
It’s not Thanksgiving without pie:
Maple Walnut Pie
Vegetarian Mincemeat Pie
Perfect Pumpkin Pie, and a tutorial on homemade pie crust
Rice Pudding Pie
You don’t like Pie:
Cranberry Pecan Upside Down Cake
You’re stuck with the cranberry sauce but you still want a chance to shine:
Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Oranges and Pecans
You’re on Salad Duty:
Arugula Salad with Persimmons and Gouda
Homemade Salad Dressing
You’re keeping the relatives happy (aka mixing drinks):
The Perfect Manhattan
Aunt Helen won’t let you set foot in the kitchen, but you still want to help:
Five Easy DIY Holiday Centerpieces
Last Minute Tips on Hosting Thanksgiving
It’s far too cold in Los Angeles this week to even think of having a picnic, or eating a salad. We’ve had rain and fog and nighttime temperatures in the 40′s. I’ve been digging out my thick sweaters and my boots and thinking of building a fire in the fireplace. It’s MAY, people! I live in Los Angeles! Apparently Mother Nature didn’t get the message.
Regardless of the weather, Memorial Day is around the corner! Which means PICNICS! And POTLUCKS! Or mayonnaise slowly congealing in the hot sun until it becomes liquid death, and “I’m a vegetarian/lactose intolerant/in a neurotic relationship with pasta.” Well, given these parameters, have I got the dish for you. I got it from my friend Corrine (of the apparently departed casavillecooking) who deals with dairy and egg allergies in her family, and is therefore a great source of vegan and dairy-free recipes. This dish is a perfect potluck dish — it’s vegan (or not, depending on your additions), dairy-free, egg-free, and not too starchy. You can make it gluten-free by replacing the ramen noodles with rice noodles fried in a little oil. It’s also easy and quick to make, can be scaled up or down, and can be adapted to suit your tastes and your audience. With no mayonnaise, it will hold for a few hours without refrigeration (it also makes a great brown bag lunch dish). And did I mention it’s delicious? Flavorful, kid friendly — it even features healthy vegetables!
Continue reading Japanese Ramen Salad
Somehow I blinked and it’s mid August. Labor Day is in sniffing distance, the days are getting shorter, the stores are full of sweaters, and I seem to have missed summer. Every year I have a mental list of things that I will do in the summer. Swimming in a cold pool, then lying in the sun until my swimsuit is dry, then jumping back in. Going on the ferris wheel at the pier. Sitting in my garden as the sun gets low, drinking Pimm’s Cups and chatting with good friends. And here it is nearly September and there are so many things still on my list.
But one thing I have done is enjoyed the summer produce. I love the berries and the peaches, the watermelon and the plums. But nothing screams summer quite like corn and tomatoes. These vegetables, so anemic and disappointing if you venture to eat them fresh during any other time of the year, bust out into full, sweet glory in the summertime. More than anything else, summer is eating corn, spread with butter, each sweet juicy kernel bursting in your mouth. And summer is the smell of red, ripe tomatoes, the juices dripping down your chin.
This pie is summer. I saw the recipe last year, when it was printed in the dear, departed pages of Gourmet, and filed it for later. Later is now, because this pie is phenomenal. Sweet crisp corn and juicy tomatoes, bound together with creaminess and cheddar cheese, and if that wasn’t enough to tempt you, the pie crust here isn’t a regular old pie crust, but buttermilk biscuit dough, rolled thin. This pie is the taste of summer camp, of fireflies, of jumping in a cold lake and sweet months of vacation. This pie is the summer I’ve been missing.
Continue reading Corn and Tomato Pie — Summer in a Crust