Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

Sweet on Sweet Potatoes — All Year-Round (Sponsored Post)

Sweet potato roasted in ash.

Sweet potato roasted in ash.

If you think sweet potatoes are only for Thanksgiving, think again.

This Easter, make sweet potatoes the centerpiece of your spring holiday with this easy, dramatic and mesmerizing dish: whole sweet potatoes buried in ash, and roasted until blackened on the outside, and sweet, smoky and luscious within. Forget the colored eggs; all eyes will be on this beauty when it comes to the table.

Spread the flesh on warm tortillas with a dollop of creamy chipotle sauce enlivened with fresh orange zest, because we all know just how wonderfully sweet potatoes marry with sweet citrus.

This simple, sublime dish will make you look at sweet potatoes in a whole different light. It’s sure to become a year-round indulgence, whenever it’s grilling weather outside. It’s even vegetarian and gluten-free, to boot.

After all, California’s envious climate allows for sweet potatoes to be available year-round, according to the California Sweetpotato Council. They are grown in the San Joaquin Valley’s naturally sandy loam, cured in the ground first, before being harvested and cured in sheds.

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Cuban Pork Chops with Warm Grapefruit Vinaigrette

A taste of Cuba in an easy dish.

A taste of Cuba in an easy dish.

 

These days, Cuba is on everybody’s mind and itinerary, now that travel restrictions have been loosened, allowing Americans to travel to the island nation more easily.

For those of us who haven’t yet jetted there, we can at least take our palates there, thanks to “Cuba!: Recipes and Stories From the Cuban Kitchen” (Ten Speed Press), a new cookbook by photographer Dan Goldberg, art director Andrea Kuhn, and food writer Jody Eddy.

The timely cookbook offers an inside look at the everyday food and culture of this mesmerizing country. Included are 75 recipes for classic Cuban dishes such as “Crispy Pork with Mango Salsa,” “Fresh Corn Tamales with Poblano Sauce,” and “Cuban Coffee Flan.”

CubaCookbook

Because Cuba has been isolated for so long, food shortages have been a regular occurrence. In particular, chicken, beef, and pork are still considered luxuries. Beef is especially scarce because all cows are considered state property.

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First Day of Spring Means Asparagus

Weeknight dinners were never so easy and tasty as this.

Weeknight dinners were never so easy and tasty as this.

 

I get giddy for asparagus in spring.

There are many things I look forward to with each season, but there is something special about asparagus because its local season is so short. Because of that, I gorge myself on the spears until they disappear all too quickly from the markets. I always hunt down the really fat ones if possible, too, because I think they taste sweeter.

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Andrea Nguyen’s Pho Of A Different Sort

Crispy on the outside, and chewy-custardy soft inside.

Crispy on the outside, and chewy-custardy soft inside.

 

There is pho. And then there is pho pancake.

Yes, my friends, get ready for something all together different and delicious.

Leave it to my friend and cookbook author extraordinaire Andrea Nguyen to come up with this novel version of everyone’s favorite soup noodles.

“Pan Fried Pho Noodles” is from her newest tome, “The Pho Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press), which already went into its second printing before it was even officially released in February.

You may have enjoyed steaming huge bowls of brothy noodles countless times at neighborhood Vietnamese restaurants. But with this book, you’ll learn how to make your own — from preparing the broth from scratch to choosing noodles and assembling garnishes and toppings.

PhoCookbook

Depending upon how labor-intensive you’re feeling, you can choose among quick versions of pho (which calls for doctoring purchased low-sodium broth or buying a rotisserie chicken) to pressure-cooker recipes that speed up the process to non-traditional riffs such as seafood pho.

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Can’t Get Enough of Lamb Meatloaf with Mushroom Pan Gravy

The meatloaf of your dreams.

The meatloaf of your dreams.

 

After making and eating plenty of meatloaf over the years, I can unequivocally declare that this is definitely one of the very best.

“Lamb Meatloaf with Mushroom Pan Gravy” is from the new cookbook, “Poole’s: Recipes and Stories From A Modern Diner” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, by Chef Ashley Christensen.

Her Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, NC is all about comfort food — done with craft and skill. This is the kind of food you never tire of because it’s delicious and just makes you feel better — inside and out.

PoolesBook

Of course, being a James Beard Award-winning chef, Christensen’s dishes often redefine diner food, stretching the boundaries, but still in keeping with its inherent warm soulfulness. There’s everything from “Cornbread Crab Cakes” to “Grits with Roasted Pumpkin, Aged Maple Syrup and Crispy Peptias” to “Jacked Up Devil’s Food Trifle.”

What makes her meatloaf so spectacular?

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