“We are the Borg. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”
I don’t tend to follow food trends. No culinary groupthink for me. For instance, bone luging. It may be the new rave but I’m gonna pass (Google it. That’s just odd. Right?).
So, earlier this year when cooked kale salads started parking themselves on the menus of all of my favorite restaurants, I was more than a bit skeptical. But I was drawn to this dish. In particular, versions that contrasted the earthy, deep flavors of the kale with lighter, sweeter ingredients. And just as I was diving in, exploring as many cooked kale salads as I could find, kale season ended. So I started making my own “seasonally inappropriate” versions at home. This has now become my “go to” salad on days when I want to cook something light. Occasionally, I’ll add grill chicken breast for a little protein.
Roasting the kale intensifies its earthy, peppery flavors. As a matter of fact, the salad is layered with varying levels of peppery spice: the kale; the fresh, slightly peppery flavor of the arugula and; the sweet spice of the parsnip. This is contrasted with a tangy Asian Vinaigrette. It adds just enough sweetness to soften the kale’s bold flavor but not enough to steal the show.
This salad also stands out for its contrasting textures: the light crunchy, potato chip like crispness of the kale and the delicate baby arugula. Click here for the recipe & step-by-step photos…
It’s inexcusable. It’s just plain ole’ food-blogging malpractice. I came across this recipe for Moroccan Brick Chicken about fours years ago. I have cooked it countless times. And while I don’t like to play favorites among my favorite recipes, between you and me, this is my mostest favoritest dish to come out of my kitchen. So, it’s indefensible that it’s just making it onto this site.
As the cover photo implies, this chicken is full of deep, bold flavors: spicy cayenne, smoky paprika and cumin and, earthy and sweet cinnamon. And while the spices combine to create a beautiful, warm and fragrant rub, it’s the lemon that gives the chicken that little something extra by adding a touch of tang and brightness – bringing the dish to life. It’s a very juicy and succulent dish. I always serve it with the Mint Yogurt Dressing to add a little sweetness, coolness and cream to the plate.
NOTES: For best results, you should butterfly, and remove breast plate of chicken. Here’s an “How To” video). Also, I made a few tweaks to the original recipe: increasing the lemon juice to better round out the spices and using ground spices instead of toasting whole spices (the amounts were adjusted to reflect the change). click here for the recipe & step-by-step photos
You couldn’t pay me a gazillion bucks to eat this! Well, that would have been my response to coleslaw as a kid. First, I hated Brussels sprouts (what kid doesn’t). Secondly, I had a visceral dislike of coleslaw. The cabbage. The gloppy-thick mayo dressing. No thanks.
But recipes like this make me thankful that I’ve let go of many of my childhood food prejudices. This salad has instantly become one of my favorite, “make to impress,” dishes. It’s light, refreshing and full of flavor. Unlike the mayo-soup that you find in many coleslaw recipes, the flavors of each component really shine through: the slightly peppery Brussels sprouts, the extra peppery radicchio, the spicy Dijon, the honey’s sweetness, the brightness of the lemon juice and the toasted flavor and textural crunch of the candied almonds. It’s an amazing balance.
Served ice-cold, it’s a refreshing side paired with a hearty meat dish. I served it with a Roasted-Brined Chicken and Root Veggies. Know someone who professes a dislike for coleslaw? Spring this dish on them – like me, they’ll be converted. click here for the recipe & step-by-step photos
CAUTION: Construction Zone Ahead. As you can see, we’re crafting a new look for CeramicCanvas: larger photos (much larger), reader friendly graphics (estimated cook time, flavor profile, recipe rating system) and a lot less copy. Over the next few weeks the design will be tweaked more until it’s just right. Let me know what you think. And stay tuned. Now on to the recipe…
What’s not to love about Brussels Sprouts? They have an earthy, slightly cabbage like flavor – they’re in the same family. I roast them whole, chiffonade and sauté them in butter (lots of butter) and I’ve even tested out a gratin (that didn’t turn out so well). I’m always a bit surprised when people profess a dislike of Brussels sprouts. So much so that I’m determined to find a recipe that will win over even the most ardent sprout detractors. I think this recipe just may do the trick. The recipe compliments the earthiness of the Brussels sprouts with a balance of flavors: sweetness (honey), salt (sauce), spice (pepper flakes) and the distinct flavor of toasted sesame oil hanging out in the background. And I love the texture balance of the soft wilted leaves and the crispy crunch of those leaves that have been charred on the edges.
Note: Unfortunately, I was out of my favorite bottled soy sauce and I was too lazy to run to the market for more. So, I used a few of the less flavorful soy sauce packets that I happen to have on hand from my last Chinese delivery. Oh, the shame. [click to continue…]
Wait…there’s no need to adjust your screen settings. Yes, this ketchup is actually black.
I’ve only cooked one ketchup from scratch before (a delish Ginger 5-Spice Ketchup) but I had my doubts when I first came across this recipe. There were questions: A ketchup with no tomatoes? Mushroom ketchup? Would it taste anything like “real” ketchup? How could you even call it ketchup…I mean, why not call it a Mushroom Tapenade? And the questions kept coming until there was little doubt of what I needed to do. Make it. [click to continue…]
Can caviar taste and Ramen Noodle budget exist together? This was the question that brought me to this recipe.
More specifically, can you put a budget friendly twist on the classic dish, Duck Confit? Duck Confit has a special place in my heart: succulent, tender meat and crispy flavorful skin. But there’s a down side. Besides being cooked in vats of cholesterol packed animal fat, it’s cook in very expensive vats of cholesterol packed animal fat. And since duck fat doesn’t grow on trees, I was committed to finding a more cost efficient alternative. There are two stages to a traditional confit recipe. The first is curing the meat with salt. The second, is slow poaching the meat in fat. As for the curing, for years I’ve used an herb-salt recipe from Thomas Keller’s cookbook, Bouchon. The recipe has always worked for me and I felt no need to change it. Finding an alternative to using duck fat would be the true hurdle. [click to continue…]
It happens every year like clockwork. I call it my Three Stages of Autumnal Culinary Acceptance.
You saw Stage One last week: The Denial. I stubbornly refuse to even entertain the notion that summer is over. So, in the middle of October I start making a variety of frozen, pool party worthy treats. I present Exhibits #1-3: This Fall’s Blackberry-Red Wine Ice Cream; Fall 2010’s Frozen Strawberry Margarita Pie; Fall 2009’s Mango & Raspberry Sorbets. See? I have problem. And then comes Stage Two: The Acceptance. I go all in – throwing myself into as many new seasonal recipes that I can get my hands on. During this phase, I usually find at least one or two stand out recipes that earn a permanent place in my cooking repertoire (fancy word, right). Which brings me to this recipe for Roasted Curried-Cauliflower. Amazing. [click to continue…]
You know that guy that never seems to know when the party is over? Well, in the party known as summertime, I’m that guy.
It’s been a few weeks since the official end of summer and, I’m still not ready to let go. The sun. The outdoor neighborhood cafes. The ease of throwing on my favorite tattered shorts and racing out of the door. With that said, I was beginning to embrace fall. But then came the setback. I was hit with a sight that screamed, “Don’t give up just yet!”
Walking around my neighbor, I saw it… a lone wild tomato plant growing in a patch of dirt. A wild tomato plant?…growing in downtown Brooklyn?…in October? [click to continue…]
This is a ‘Money Back Guarantee’ recipe! A bold claim? Yes. But I say this without a hint of doubt. Chiefly because: 1) it truly is the best Fried Chicken recipe that I have ever cooked (and I was raised in Alabama)! and; 2) I’m giving it to you for free. It’s been awhile sine the last post and I’ve missed sharing some of my favorites eats with you. This has been a busy summer of settling in: new client, new home, new city and thus, a bunch of new local restaurants to discover! Which leads me back to this Brined Fried Chicken recipe.
I’m not much of a pact rat – not a fan of clutter. But there is an exception. My DVR. It’s filled with shows that I have watched and can’t bring myself to erase and unwatched shows/movies that I keep meaning to get around to. I’m a regular ole “DVR hoarder.” [click to continue…]
Health effects. Smelth effects. I loved MSG. OK, well, that’s an exaggeration. I don’t actually LOVE MSG.
Growing up in the South, MSG (better known by a consumer product brand, Accent) was practically a kitchen staple. You used it in everything: soups, marinades, sprinkled on ‘garden fresh’ tomatoes (yeah, I know how ridiculous fresh anything with MSG sounds), fried chicken, stewed veggies…the list goes on. It wasn’t until well into adulthood that I realized that MSG came attached with some serious health problems – headaches, digestion issues and shortness of breathe to name a few.
As my appreciation for food and cooking has grown and matured over the years, I have tried my best to be more responsible about what I put on the table and in my body. Although, I’ve been known to still use a dash of Accent while making my mother’s ‘best in the South’ fried chicken recipe.
Besides ditching MSG, I’ve made other efforts towards improving my diet. It’s been 3 months since I’ve walked through the doors of a McDonald’s and said, “I’ll have a Number 6 with no ketchup or mustard, one slice of cheese and hold the tomato. With Sweet Tea and Medium Fries.” For those of you who are not McDonald’s connoisseurs, a #6 is a Double Bacon Angus Beef Burger. It’s the same in any McDonald’s in the United States. I’m not proud that I know this.
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