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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mangu with onions and salami (Dominican Republic)

This is a basic dish from the Dominican cuisine, consisting of boiled and pureed plantains, served with fried onions, garlic and salami. You can serve it with any other combination of toppings, as long as you make sure it's something salty and flavorful. 
Overall it's a pretty heavy-tasting dish, but truly delicious from the sweet and salty combination. And it will definitely hit an interesting note for the Western palate, which is used to associate the banana flavor only with desserts. 
Recipe source: here

Last year: Carrot, raisin and olive oil cake bars with eggnog and almond icing.
Two years ago: Minty crème brûlée.
Three years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Classic blondies (with white chocolate chunks) (American)

As much as everyone is familiar with brownies and loved them, they should also be familiar with their non-cocoa counterpart, the blondies. They are basically chewy cake squares, a bit sweeter than the brownies but made in a similar fashion, and dubbed "blonde" for the obvious reason of coloring. They can contain various nuts or chips in the batter, but for starters I decided to share with you the classic version of blondies before we move on to variations. :)
Recipe source: Saveur.

Last year: King Bao Ji Ding (Kung Pao Chicken) (Chinese).
Two years ago: Spaghetti nests with dill cream and caviar.
Three years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Black bean chili tostadas with avocado salsa (Mexican) (vegan)

Warm tortillas topped with a black bean spicy chili and then with a tangy avocado salsa. :) Perfect for snacking, or a lovely light meal in itself. 
Recipe source: mostly here.

Last year: Mojito (cocktail) (Cuban) (vegan).
Two years ago: Tomato-basil creamy soup with caprese toast.
Three years ago: baby making and no cooking. :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sopa de Habas (Mexican Fava Bean Soup) (vegan)

A lovely and delicious soup with is ready without much fuss. It's also quite light and healthy; not as spicy as most other Mexican foods but lovely nonetheless. Its more subtle flavors come from saffron, garlic and cumin. All in all I really enjoyed it and would make it again.
Recipe source: Saveur.

Last year: Spaghetti with broccoli cream pesto.
Two years ago: Spanish tomato bread with jamon serrano.
Three years ago: Baby making and no cooking. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cherry tomato and spinach bread

A nice bread to have around when you plan on serving your favorite soup with something crusty and warm and delicious. It's also great on its own, just with a little butter and a pinch of salt. I like it because it's a lovely change from plain bread, especially when you feel like incorporating more fresh goodies into your diet (and baked stuff). Enjoy.
Recipe slightly adapted from James Tanner.

Last year: Tiny German pancakes with strawberry filling.
Two years ago: Strawberry, banana and flax seed muffins.
Three years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Monday, August 18, 2014

Spicy artichoke and cheese pasta souffle

This is the type of meal you can make when you have absolutely no time for cooking (or eating for that matter) and suddenly hunger strikes and you have to throw something together really fast. It tastes hearty and warming enough to put you back on your feet so you can go back to writing for that project :). Ready in no time and full of delicious flavors, reasonably light and quite healthy (if made with wholewheat pasta). Not to mention that preparing pasta "al forno" (in the oven) the good old Italian gives a very special taste to almost any dish. At least to me, it's one of my favorite ways of making pasta. Probably because it's so easy, too :)

Last year: Avocado and green leaf salad (vegan).
Two years ago: Mushroom and broccoli filled omelet
Three years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Friday, August 15, 2014

Peanut butter, cauliflower and pea curry

I like using peanut butter in curries for the way it coats everything and makes a simple vegetable meal taste festive and scrumptious. Adding other spices (as I added chilies, garlic, fresh ginger and so on) makes the peanut butter turn into a lovely Indonesian-style sauce, thus leaving you with one hell of a flavorful curry. Enjoy :)

Last year: White bread croutons (vegan).
Two years ago: Chicken with light gorgonzola and mushroom sauce.
Three years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

East 62nd Street Lemon Cake (American)

This is a historically-famous pound cake that takes its name from the address of the establishment where it was created.
According to Saveur, "Toni Evins, Maida Heatter's late daughter, who lived on East 62nd Street in Manhattan, created this tart, sweet cake. It became a favorite of the chic set after Craig Claiborne printed the recipe in the New York Times. "I hear that Bill Blass and Nancy Reagan asked for it," Heatter notes."
It tastes very buttery-lemony, not overly sweet and has a lovely puffy consistency. The tart sugar glaze practically screams lemon. It's nice for enjoying next to tea or coffee in the morning and lasts for almost a week of breakfasts (for two people at least).

Last year: Ciorbă de gulii (Romanian kohlrabi soup) (vegan).
Two years ago:  Smoked salmon carpaccio with sun-dried tomatoes (raw) (Swedish "Najad Lax").
Three years ago: Baby making and no cooking. :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tortellini tomato salad with pesto dressing + possible improvisations

This is a very easy and convenient to make comfort food for when you're too busy or lazy to actually cook or even shop for ingredients. It's all made with pantry basics, and what's even best is that the recipe is an ideal canvas for multiple extra ideas of improvisation (I will detail a short list of such variations below).
To me, this is one of the recipes that proves comfort lazy food doesn't necessarily need to be junk food. Enjoy. :)

Last year: Pink raspberry lemonade (raw vegan).
Two years ago: Pain aux herbes de Provence (French) (vegan).
Three years ago: Baby making and no cooking :) .

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Café con leche (Spanish strong coffee with milk)

The classic combination of coffee and milk in the Spanish style. Their proportion of milk to coffee is way more generous than the one practiced by most other cuisines and the steaming little cups of café con leche are a well-established presence next to almost every meal and dessert in Spain. It has become so much a part of the everyday Spanish culture that it's hard to imagine a day there without a glorious cup of this. Enjoy. :)

Last year: Peach and vanilla cream pie.
Two years ago: Lemon and artichoke spaghetti (vegan).
Three years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Pa amb tomàquet (Spanish/Catalan tomato bread) (vegan)

This is the Catalan version of the Spanish "pan con tomate", closely related to the Italian bruschetta. It's light, simple and fast to make and quite delicious. The bread used is peasant-style bread, not too stale (but sometimes toasted), which is rubbed with olive oil, salt and sometimes garlic. Then, a very ripe tomato is squeezed and rubbed on the bread until most of the tomato flesh is transferred to the bread base. It's served right away. Try it at least once.
More information on the cultural background of the dish here.

Last year: Field salad with parsley and breaded Camembert.
Two years ago: Gyeran-Jim (Korean fritata with green onion).
Three years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Monday, August 4, 2014

Banana brownie cake

A super-delicious moist brownie cake with melted chocolate and creamy mashed bananas inside, with a chocolate-butter glaze and some spices to make it all wonderful :). 
The textures and flavors all work together perfectly. If you like chocolate and bananas and a moist rich cake, then this is the thing for you.

Recipe adapted from here.

Last year: Chickpea and ras-el-hanout cous cous (Moroccan-style) (vegan).
Two years ago: Raspberry-chocolate brownies.
Three years ago: baby making and no cooking :)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Drunken spaghetti (Italian-American) (vegan)

A classic recipe of spaghetti based on a red-wine sauce. From my point of view, this way of making them is basically a aglia e olio preparation enriched with wine. Both ways are delicious and so simple to make when you're out of anything else to eat :). I made them the night before leaving to an impromptu little trip to the seaside, and the memory of the pasta is intertwined with the anticipation of leaving in a few hours. :)
Recipe source: many; an example here.

Last year: Moules frites (Belgian and French).
Two years ago: Turmeric-fried chicken with three chili marinade and tomato raita.
Three years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

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