Luscious Lemon-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

lemon-glazed-brussels-sprouts

Raise your hand if you love Brussels sprouts but only cook them once a year? That used to be me. For one, I was the only sprouts eater in the house. Then there’s the prep – what a pain it can be trimming the dried ends off all those little cabbage balls! Finally, there’s the issue of getting the texture just right. To me, Brussels sprouts should be soft, no matter what your method of cooking. So many times I’ll see them on a “Harvest Specials” menu in a restaurant and order them thinking they sound good (i.e. “crispy roasted with bacon”). Then they arrive at the table all hard and unappealing – often tasting of nothing but bacon grease. One day I was rooting around the freezer case at the store, looking for frozen bags of brown rice, when I discovered the answer to all my Brussels sprouts issues: Continue reading

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing

 

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with ArugulaTrue story: Back in my Didn’t Know Better days, I used to whip up cauliflower tempura in my tiny studio kitchen on a near-weekly basis. It was always a huge mess – cornstarch dusting every inch of formica and vinyl, Wesson oil splattered all over the white Hotpoint stove. It was indulgent, and totally worth it. I especially loved the browned bits of cauliflower that would sometimes show up, having slipped out of their batter blanket and been allowed to sizzle directly in the oil. If only I had known about roasting cauliflower! I could’ve had that same caramelized delicacy with much less mess and many fewer calories.

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Cauliflower “candy”

Roasted cauliflower is the star of my new favorite salad, which I adapted from a recipe in Fine Cooking. It’s full of contrasting-yet-harmonious flavors and textures, and is dressed with my super-versatile lemon garlic vinaigrette. I use this same dressing for Caesar salad, and even as a marinade for chicken and shrimp. But back to the main event: Even if you don’t make this salad (though you should!), you owe it to yourself to try the roasted cauliflower. Now we all know better. (And yes, the same can be said about perms, blue eye shadow and shoulder pads.)

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Smoky Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghannouj)

Baba ghanouj

Love this dip! Easy, healthful and exotic. (My food trifecta!)

If you can find any late-season eggplants at the market, grab’em. Throw them on the grill with whatever else you’re cooking. Let the eggplants get nice and charred, and then wrap them up until you feel like making this irresistible dip. (Even mid-winter, you can make this in the oven with grocery store eggplants.)  Continue reading

Fideyos (Comfort Noodles)

Fidellos

Living thousands of miles away from family is hard. I can’t just pop over to Mom’s with a basket of fresh-baked scones on Mother’s Day, grab a quick latte with my little sister, or be there to support aunts, uncles and cousins in times of need.

What I can do to feel connected to family is cook foods that remind me of home – of childhood memories, family traditions and happy times. The perfect comfort food candidate? Fideyos, or toasted angel hair pasta cooked in chicken broth. My grandma Margaret used to make this ages-old Sephardic noodle recipe for us when I was little, and it was always one of my favorite dishes. (Meant to be a side dish, but for me it was the meal.)

Grandpa Joe and Grandma Margaret

Grandpa Joe and Grandma Margaret

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Time for Fiesta!

¡Hola! In honor of Cinco de Mayo tomorrow, I’m reposting links to some of my favorite Mexican recipes. While the outnumbered Mexican army’s defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 is certainly worth celebrating (unless you’re French, I suppose), any sunny day is good for a Mexican food fiesta. I also included a recipe for my cheater margaritas. They’re not the traditional recipe, but they’re easy to make by the pitcher. (Careful: they’re easy to drink by the pitcher as well!)

Black Bean and Corn Salsa Best black bean salad

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The Best Black Bean Salsa

Best black bean salad

Well – at least I think it’s the best. Love yourself, love your salsa. This salad/salsa/dip/side is in heavy rotation in our house from Cinco de Mayo to the end of tomato season.  If using as a salsa/dip, we like Tostitos Scoops for obvious “scoopability” reasons.

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Mini Pumpkins with Farro Pilaf and Crispy Sage

Farro-stuffed mini pumpkins

Looking for a Thanksgiving side dish that’s traditional yet a “little” different? These stuffed mini pumpkins deliver big autumn flavors in an adorable little package. Even better? They’re highly nutritious (thanks to the whole grain farro), easy to prepare, and can be made a few days ahead.  Continue reading