Pan-roasted parsnips – Pastinaco al forno

December 26, 2010 § 6 Comments

A few weeks ago the latest expansion for my favorite game was released, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Blizzard is known for its witty quests and NPC names, and this expansion is no exception, with the awesome introduction of Bario Matalli, a vendor for cooking recipes.

But let us backtrack a bit: a few weeks before Cataclysm, I finally bought a copy of the fabulous Molto Italiano (I got it on sale in that box set at the bookstore – hooray for Black Friday!), for which I admittedly had high hopes, since so many chefs and cookbook authors credit him as both expert and inspiration.

Unfortunately, thanks to the combination of finals and the game release, I hit a bit of a backlog on not only posting recipes but also even on reading all my new cookbooks, but I think this one is worthy of the title of “last post in 2010” and definitely rewards both my, and your, patience!

Once I finally cracked open the new cookbook after finals though, “Pan-roasted turnips – Rape al forno” immediately captured my interest. I love turnips and parsnips, but I think many have never tried or are intimidated by them, but with this recipe simply yet stunningly prepared seasonal root vegetables really shine. An excellent foil for rich braises, these parsnips would also be quite at home served alongside plain roasted chicken to brighten it up, and is perfect for cold winter nights spent by the glow of the computer screen.

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Great Lakes cherry bars

December 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

In fairness the last post might have painted the Midwest in a less-than-flattering light. However, I must admit I do love how well winter is done here. I mean, we get snow, regularly and reliably, and it’s fluffy and gorgeous. While I’m sure Hawaii is lovely and all, really, winter is more my speed. Besides, here we have all the agricultural bounty of the farmland, which naturally includes cherries. My mom spent some of her childhood in Michigan and she always talks about how great the cherries are, so now that I’m in a more charitable mood towards the region in general (it helps that the snowplow brigade came out in full force and my car isn’t frozen into the world’s largest icecube), here’s my tribute to one of the mitten state’s great agricultural triumphs.

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Honolulu date bars

December 17, 2010 § 2 Comments

For Thanksgiving my parents drove up here to visit me and some of our other relatives who live nearby, and we of course spent a lot of time talking about food. As one of my sister’s friends put it, at my family’s holiday meals, we talk about what we’ve eaten before, what we’re currently eating, and of course what we’re going to eat in the future!

Anyways, so one of the food items that came up was these date bars (check off “food we’ve eaten in the past”), which led to me asking for the recipe for Honolulu date bars (check off “food to be eaten in the future”), which of course is back at home in my mom’s recipe box. Basically, they’re sweet and sticky dates sandwiched between an oaty crumble base and then a light crumble topping of more oats, and thoroughly delicious and nutritious.

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Two pigs in blankets

December 7, 2010 § 7 Comments

I may be alone in this, but I love food that reminds me of past happy holidays, and bonus points if it’s rather kitschy; I am equally pleased to ignore any dictum that declares a scrumptious dish verboten simply because it’s no longer in fashion – though perhaps it helps that I never lived through the first incarnation of the offering in question. However, if I like it, I want to eat it, and pigs in blankets deserve continued enjoyment, or at least furtive munching after one has declared them passé: after all, it’s sausages in puff pastry! How could that not be enjoyable?

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Red lentil dip

December 2, 2010 § 28 Comments

After experiencing some mishaps in the kitchen and with my computer, it’s a relief to finally be able to post, and additionally to post something that’s quick and easy to make. On top of the computer problems that have thankfully now been resolved, it’s finals time. Basically, I want delicious, nutritional food that I can prepare with minimal effort because otherwise I tend to just snack on random things from the kitchen – and that plus a wonky sleep schedule is basically a recipe for crabbiness. So, this red lentil dip I whipped up is great for anyone in search of cheap, filling, and easy dishes because it’s filled with protein, uses ingredients that are easy to find (possibly even as close as the cupboards), and can be made in under twenty-five minutes, with very little hands-on time. Plus, you can make it in advance and stash it in the refrigerator for dipping at your leisure, since it’s great at any temperature.

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