Barbecue Chicken Macaroni Salad

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I’m not really a macaroni salad person. Its probably the goopy mayonnaise that coats most macaroni salads, the limp vegetables, the inability to taste anything except a not-that-appealing sauce. Nevertheless, when I saw this recipe on the Kitchn, I knew I had to try it. To me, barbecue sauce is pretty much the ultimate condiment. I could put barbecue sauce on almost anything that wasn’t a dessert. Lucky for me, not too long after I found this recipe, I was invited to a pot-luck, end-of-summer pool party. Perfect. Read more…

Harvest Grains Salad

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Over the last weekend my boyfriend was out of town, so I decided to experiment with light meals that might not be enough for him to eat for dinner, but would be fine for me. Namely, I had saved a few recipes of grain-based “salads” that would be quick, cheap and at least moderately healthy. One of them was a couscous recipe from Serious Eats (from their “Healthy & Delicious” series, natch). I substituted a lot of different things in this recipe, but the backbone is still there; in fact, you could argue that the recipe itself is like a template that can easily be adapted for various ingredients. To call this a salad is really kind of a misnomer; it’s a salad in the same way that any mix of vegetables and grains can be considered a salad. This dish can be served hot or cold, as a main course or a side, and it’s dead simple, with few, low cost ingredients. Read more…

Adobo Chicken

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Last weekend we almost found ourselves grilling in the rain again, but at the last minute the sun came out and the grilling gods smiled upon us. It was a good thing, too, because it allowed us to make this amazing Adobo Chicken recipe from the NY Times. The chicken is basically cooked twice which imparts a full, rich flavor throughout the meat and keeps it moist and delicious throughout. Read more…

Prickly Pear Lime Sorbet

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A couple of weeks ago, it got uncomfortably hot. Not hot like it gets in the southern river valley where I grew up, and not even that hot for some other more northern climates, but hot enough for me in my un-air conditioned apartment. So instead of baking for desserts, I decided to put my ice cream maker to good use. One of the ingredients I’ve been thinking about for a while is the prickly pear fruits that my local grocer carries. There are few recipes I had been considering, but I decided to slightly improvise a sorbet based on this Lime Mango Sorbet from Simply Recipes. Read more…

Kofta Burgers

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Of all the things I’ve been grilling lately, I hadn’t gotten around to something like straight up hamburgers, which are really kind of the essential grilled food. Don’t get me wrong, I love hamburgers, particularly of the homemade variety. I guess I’ve been making somewhat more ambitious foods lately, so the simple hamburger was not really high on my list. When I did decide that I was in a hamburger mood, it had to be something different, and I was struck with the inspiration of using a recipe from The Taste of Africa for kofta meatballs, but obviously forming them into burgers instead of meatballs. I had made the kofta before and they were phenomenal, so I deduced the hamburgers would be awesome too. This mix of spices makes such a delicious and unique burger, I’m sure I’ll be making it often. Read more…

Whole Wheat Pancakes

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When the weekend rolls around, I want relatively quick, tasty and filling meal in the morning. We usually get up late enough that we don’t eat both breakfast and lunch, instead relying on our brunch to fill us up until dinner. But we’re also more inclined to go for a traditional breakfast food instead of something more lunchy. Thus, we fall back on pancakes a lot. The batter goes together in a flash, and the whole batch cooks up in less than 20 minutes usually. Normally we go for Alton Brown’s standard buttermilk pancakes, which is our favorite recipe, but last weekend I wanted to mix it up a bit to keep us from getting bored. Flipping through AB’s book I’m Just Here for More Food, I decided to go for the whole wheat pancakes, which are almost identical to the regular pancakes, they just use whole wheat flour instead. Read more…

Fresh Tomato Pan Frittata

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Here they are: the first tomatoes from my garden. Small, but plump and red and juicy. What on earth was I going to cook with these, the first tomatoes I had ever grown myself? This frittata was born out of several things. First, I had lovely, fresh tomatoes, and I wanted to showcase them in something simple and something they wouldn’t disappear in. Second, we needed breakfast and I had eggs and cheese. Third, I didn’t want to wait for a breakfast casserole/quiche to bake forever in the oven, but I was bored of the standard omelet. And so the pan frittata was inspired. Not really a true frittata, which is usually cooked mostly on the stovetop and finished under a broiler, because the pans I have access to are not oven-safe, so all the cooking had to happen on the stovetop. In the end it did turn out to be a tasty breakfast that was filling and perfectly showcased the ripe, fresh tomatoes. Read more…

Thai Fried Rice

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I’ve noticed that ever since I’ve started cooking more and more, I’m starting to collect cookbooks. Usually nothing fancy, but the bargain section of the bookstore almost never fails to tempt me with a $3 cookbook that looks like it would offer the kind of recipes that I don’t get online. I find myself collecting ethnic cookbooks, mostly; I think that mainly it’s to get the kinds of recipes that you don’t find as often on blogs, or at least the blogs I read. I mentioned in a previous post that I had recently picked up another in the Culinaria series, which I like. But the other day I found a book that was clearly published by the same people that published my The Taste of Africa cookbook. I haven’t posted any recipes from that book yet, but everything I’ve tried out of it has been fantastic. Not just good, but pretty amazing. It has a very particular layout, with a particular typesetting and a large main picture of the dish and a few smaller pictures interspersed throughout the recipe; when I opened up a book called Thai and South-East Asian Cooking and Far Eastern Classics (how’s that for a catch-all title) and found the same layout, I had to pick it up (it helped that it was basically free with my rewards credits).

Last weekend I cracked it open and flipped through a few recipes. The thing is quite huge, so I decided I wanted to make some fried rice, and then had to narrow it down to one of a dozen recipes. The one I settled on, Thai Fried Rice, did not disappoint. I’d be lying if I said I followed the recipe exactly – there were just some ingredients I didn’t have – but I think it was the basic of this recipe that led to its success, and It certainly came out delicious. Read more…

Sautéed Home-Grown Green Beans

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Last week I started teaching for the summer; it’s a really intense class, and it’s pretty much sucked my will to cook (or do anything) every evening after I get home. Hence the lack of posts… sorry about that! I have plans to make a number of things today, and a few things to post from last week, so hopefully that will make up for it. This post is pretty simple, but I wanted to show off my first produce of the summer from my container garden! Read more…

Grilled Asiago Rounds

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The same weekend I grilled the pizza I came across this recipe for Grilled Asiago Rounds on King Arthur’s baking blog. While they were suggested for eating with a dip of some kind, I immediately thought that they could be split horizontally for sandwiches and figured I might as well go all out on the dough grilling and try these the same day as the pizza. This required some creative planning to make sure everything went on the grill in order (I wanted to cook the pizza last so that it would stay hot for dinner), but everything worked out perfectly and these rounds cooked up perfectly, and made for fantastic sandwiches. Read more…