Some of our best meals are the result of zero planning, rabid hunger, and whatever happens to be in the fridge. I was flagging after a Saturday cruising and photographing Portland Farmers Market. I had bought a pile of winter root vegetables but wasn’t prepared to put them to use for dinner. Instead, there was a […]
Recipes for Cajun Spice are all over the place, but paprika is always the star, with black and white pepper, and chile pepper playing strong supporting roles. Most versions include onion and garlic powder, but I’m not partial to either. Much better to add fresh garlic and onion to the dish if and when it […]
You know the old saying: What grows together goes together? It’s usually true. Take this fall for instance. I was perusing the rows of produce at Portland Farmers Market one decidedly cool Saturday morning and spotted a large basket loaded with small pumpkins. Nestled next to the basket was a heap of green tomatoes. Voila! […]
I love Peach Pie. There’s probably no pie I love more—when prepared with good technique and the right local peaches. But alas, not every peach makes a great pie. The right pie peach has full peach flavor, firm texture that doesn’t turn to mush when baked, and a balance between sweet and tart. I recently […]
I love almost everything about Mushroom Soup, except one glaring thing—the color. The color displeases me so much that it almost deterred me from this post. How in heavens name was I going to get mouthwatering photos of a soup the color of beach sand? Also, I didn’t want to make just another Cream of […]
Garam Masala in a fragrant, utterly appealing spice blend used predominantly in Northern Indian cuisine. The spices used in this blend vary from region to region and cook to cook. Regardless of the specific spices used, they are always toasted to bring out their flavor before grinding to a powder. LunaCafe Garam Masala Garam Masala, the […]
I am very fortunate that the newest member of our family, Christopher Weaver, LOVES cheesecake. Because I love to create endless variations, and can’t afford all those calories hanging out in the fridge taunting me. Chris is a workout machine, so he doesn’t worry a fig about calories. If there are a few slices of cheesecake left after a family dinner, he saves me by taking them home.
Every fall about this time, I am sitting cross-legged on the flour, surrounded by stacks of dessert cookbooks and culinary magazines. I’m looking for a cranberry tart for Thanksgiving. A UNIQUE, MEMORABLE, WOW-INDUCING tart worthy of the most spectacular meal of the year. And I’m willing (okay, eager) to try (okay, eat) several cranberry tart contenders before making the final cut.
Can you say NYOK-ee? Luckily, gnocchi are more difficult to pronounce than to actually make. And unlike the pronunciation, you have lots of latitude on how to make, shape, and sauce these delectable little dumplings. Beyond the standard ingredients of ricotta, eggs, flour, and cheese, you can go wild with additional flavors. It’s almost Halloween, so of course I added pumpkin to my time-tested gnocchi recipe. And I’m glad I did. These may be my favorite gnocchi of all time.
Never heard of sweet corn ice cream? Well then, you’re in for an ice cream flavor revelation. As my collection of American Southwest and Mexican cookbooks grew over the years, I occasionally encountered this “oddity” in one or another of the dessert chapters. Finally, I searched the web and lo and behold, the word is out.
You know the flavor contrast you get when you bite into a perfect caramel apple—first rich, creamy, sweet caramel, and then bracingly tart, juicy apple? Add half a dozen spices and that’s what this caramel sauce tastes like. At first, you think, “Oh yeah, luxuriously rich, wonderfully spiced caramel,” and then POW, the acidity of the reduced apple cider kicks in and your mouth goes, “Hey, whoa, what’s happening here?” I love this double-punch effect.
Northwest farmers markets were overflowing with fresh peaches this past weekend. And the selection is just beginning.
So far, I’ve seen Red Rose, Suncrest, Angelus, August Lady, Blushing Star, Snow Giant, Hale, Red Gold, Regina, September Snow, Summer Lady, and Yukon varieties. There are so many choices that making a decision is difficult. I sampled peaches at the Portland Farmers Market on Saturday and then again at the Hillsdale Farmers Market on Sunday.
After last week’s post, I had a fridge full of Perfect Homemade Mayonnaise, and the super-delicious variation, Chipotle & Roasted Red Pepper Rouille, demanded attention.
Of course, I could have just slathered it on a heap of grilled vegetables or corn on the cob, but there was also a ½ pound of cold-smoked salmon staring at me every time I opened the fridge door. I imagined the two would taste great together but nothing came immediately to mind.
I know, I know! Molten Chocolate Cake, or Lava Cake, as it is sometimes called, is so YESTERDAY. I am almost perturbed today when I see one on a dessert menu.
I mean, really, can’t the pastry chef think of SOMETHING ELSE? Haven’t we moved beyond warm, fragrant, oozing, fudgy chocolate soufflé cakes and their requisite ice cream accompaniments?
It’s All Chocolate! All Month! in the LunaCafe OtherWorldly Kitchen. As usual during the Month of Love, I am covered in chocolate: milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate, and unsweetened cocoa powder. All in an effort to come up with the most delectable, memorable Valentine’s Day dessert ever.
I was walking through the Portland Farmers Market a couple of weeks ago and did a double take on a stack of orange cauliflower. I adore cauliflower (the earthy flavor, the crunchy or creamy texture), and the only nit I can pick with this lovely vegetable is its color. It gets lost on a white plate and looks pallid and unimaginative next to other basic ingredients I love, such as potatoes, rice, pasta, and poultry.
This concept should have been a cinch. After all, I developed White Chocolate, Cardamom & Coconut Beignet and they’re wonderful—ethereally light, tender, moist, and beautifully flavored.
But I made a classic mistake at the onset. I tried to pattern the new beignets after the earlier success. And that, my friends, was a disaster. I threw batch after batch of beignets in the trash after just one taste.
Something different went wrong with each batch: too dry, too wet, not sweet enough, not pumpkin enough, not spicy enough, and finally, just okay but nothing special. I almost gave up. Where was I going wrong?
A “tian” refers to a large number of French layered vegetable dishes, some of which include rice and a binder of some sort (as typified by Julia Child’s Tian de Courgettes au Riz, featured in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 2).
I enjoy both styles but admit a particular fondness for the rich creaminess of the latter. It’s simple home cooking at its delicious best, and it lends itself to endless seasonal variation.
Suddenly, Green Goddess Dressing is showing up everywhere. I’ve encountered it on four menus in the past month. And I can’t stop ordering it, even though restaurant versions pale by comparison to what you can make in your own kitchen. Restaurants invariably hold back on the herbs, perhaps to control cost or to appeal to the less adventurous diner. This is a mistake, because this dressing is supposed to be all about the herbs and bold rather than timid.
If there is an easier, quicker, more elegant, more economical, more versatile, more satisfying dish in the world than risotto, I can’t think of what it might be.
As long as you keep a premium-quality risotto rice on hand, you will almost certainly have something in the frig to complete the dish. That something can be any thoughtful combination of fresh or cooked vegetables, meats, seafood, fresh herbs, and cheese.
I used to make ratatouille (an aromatic vegetable mélange of eggplant, zucchini, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs) the classic way (AKA the Julia Child way), sautéing each vegetable separately in copious amounts of olive oil. Julia says that her recipe is the only one she knows in which each vegetable retains its own shape and character.