Bombay Cheese Dip

Usually when I do one of these posts, I think of a cute little story to tell you, or an amusing tale of how I came upon the recipe, blah, blah, blah.  But, this dip needs so such story.  Because I could fill pages and pages telling you about how, why, and in what sense this is one of the best, most unexpected things I’ve ever had.  Apart from that, I’ve been promising you a recipe to use some of that homemade chutney from the other day, and now I’m delivering.

Ok, Ok, so quick background.  This recipe came to me, as so many do, from my mom.  Aren’t moms great?  I mean, my mom is great for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggies is that she is fearless in the kitchen and is always willing to try recipes that a lot of people wouldn’t.  This recipe, for example.  I would never in a million years have given this a second look.  Because, well… it looks weird.  But my mom, kitchen wonder that she is, gave it a chance.  And thank goodness she did.  Because now I can share it with all of you, and we can all enjoy the amazingness that is this dip.  [Read more...]

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Mango and Red Onion Chutney

Every time I try a recipe from the now-defunct Gourmet, I get a little sad.  It was such a lovely magazine, and I have so many all-time favorite recipes that came from it’s colorful, inspiring pages.  Sigh.  What is the world coming to when there isn’t enough room for both Bon Appetit and Gourmet in our hearts and newstands?  One of my only consolations on this issue is that still has all of the best Gourmet recipes online, so all is not lost.

That is exactly where I came across this recipe for chutney.  For those of you who are wondering, a chutney is a Indian/Pakistani concoction, basically a spread or paste, which is made (generally) with a combination of fruit, vegetables, spices, vinegar, etc.  Basically a spicy relish.  For the history of chutney (for those of you who care to know), check this out.  Now, I’m not pretending that this chutney is even in the slightest bit authentic.  For some reason, I have the feeling that in India, they don’t make their chutney with “curry powder” from McCormicks.  So while I doubt that they’re slathering crackers with Mango and Red Onion Chutney in New Delhi, that doesn’t make it any less delicious for me, in Chicago. [Read more...]

Beer-Braised BBQ Pork

I made this barbecued pork on Sunday, and I have spent the past two days trying to think of how I can possibly tell you how delicious it is.  Truth is, I can’t.  My writing skills are failing me, and every time I try to speak a single descriptive word about this pork, I start salivating and drool starts to come out of my mouth.  It is just that good.  But for you all, I will try.
The funny part is, the fact that I made this at all happened sort of by accident.  I was at the store, and there was this pork on sale, and it looked like a pork roast and it was a good deal, so… I bought it.  And then I came home and read the label and it said, “Pork butt roast.”  And to be honest, I giggled a little bit.  I guess I’m not as mature as I’d like to think I am sometimes.  So basically I had no idea how to prepare a butt roast (hehe).  Google to the rescue.  I found out from my search that a pork butt roast is actually a piece of meat taken from the shoulder, and that it is the perfect candidate for slow-cooking in liquid, or braising.  This recipe caught my eye, and the rest is history. 

Green Herb Dip

Summer is almost here. I can officially wear flip-flops without my toes turning to ice, and I barely need a jacket to sit outside in the evening. The trees and flowers are green and gorgeous and hopeful, and I swear the smell of cut grass through my car window almost brought tears of joy to my eyes yesterday. Summer. It’s not just the weather that gets me excited about summer every year, but the change in the pace of life that comes with it. Whereas in the winter, when the sun goes down around 4, I can barely stay up until 9 pm, in the summer, I never want to go to sleep- I just want to sit outside and soak in all of the warm breezes and late-evening neighborhood sounds. We’re not quite there yet; it’s still raining pretty much every other day around here, and there has been some sad back-sliding in the sunshine department… but we’re so close. [Read more...]

Finocchio al Forno (Fennel Baked in Cream)

I feel it’s only fair after subjecting you all to Brussels sprouts, and urging you to give them another try, that I give something a second try, too.  The tough part about that is… there are so few foods that I don’t like.  I will eat pretty much anything.  Not eggs shells or raw potatoes like someone we know, but….

The reason I’m so big on giving not-so-favored foods a second shot is because in the past, when I’ve done it, I’ve always been rewarded.  Over the years, our tastes change, and if we don’t keep trying something, how will we know that we still don’t like it?  I know this all sounds very reasonable, but I can acknowledge that some foods are just… not for me.  And I’m sad to say that fennel has always been that food for me. [Read more...]

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

So, I was super excited to tell you about this amazing, simple recipe for one of the best tomato sauces I’ve ever had.  And then I googled it, to make it easier for me to include here, instead of typing it out from the cookbook.  Turns out I’m kind of late to the party.  Everyone and their mother has been talking about how awesome this sauce is, since, like, before I was born.  Ok, then.  [Read more...]

Baked Kale Chips


So, I’ve been hearing this crazy rumor going around about kale chips.  To hear some people tell it, you can toss kale with a little olive oil, bake it for a few minutes, and the result is something very similar in taste and texture to a… get this… potato chip.  The whole thing sounds a little too good to be true, but… what if it is true? [Read more...]

Shaved Asparagus with Parmesan Vinaigrette

As it turns out, last week, while I was whining about making potatoes instead of pretty little spring asparagus, I should have just been at the store buying some pretty little spring asparagus. Because last week they were front and center in the produce department, but when I went yesterday, they were nowhere to be found.  The horror!  Had I really missed asparagus season after all my excitement about spring vegetables?  [Read more...]

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Sage and Shallots


After a weekend of lime tarts and the like, Monday night dinners can be pretty rough.  Just look at what I have to work with:

These poor, earnest little potatoes are doing the best they can.  They are nutritious, can be very tasty, and are incredibly hardy and shelf stable, which means in the winter, they are pretty much always in my pantry. 

Which also happens to be the reason why I hate these little buggers so much right now.  I don’t want potatoes, darn it!  I want tender, sweet, fresh stalks of asparagus and tiny green peas like candy and… oh yeah, limes[Read more...]