Monthly Archives: September 2013

Don’t Hide Your Love

20130928-082100.jpgSummer is ending, and as I wandered the neighborhood farmers’ market, I selfishly filled my basket with at least a half dozen end of season zucchini as if I would never see (and taste) them again.  It was foolish, of course.  Mid-way through the week, I’d sautéed it, stuffed it, and added it to a curry and still had half my haul left.  It would be a shame to let it go to waste.

My mother used to make zucchini cake every time my grandfather sent us home arms laden with the bounty from his garden.  It wasn’t the frosting or chocolate chips, rather it was the tender, emerald-flecked crumb that made me beg for seconds.  I’ve taken her recipe and turned into a slightly healthier muffin proudly displaying it’s gorgeous green heritage.

Spiced Zucchini Muffins

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Sugar, spice, and everything nice

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Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

This week I received the highest honor bestowed by a kindergartner — a friend’s daughter who is the embodiment of girlhood in all its pink and purple, sparkly grandeur — two thumbs up accompanied by the awarding of “my new favorite” cookie title, which though fleeting, is a pretty big deal when you can unseat anything commercially prepared. When her mother texted me to ask for the recipe, I had all the confirmation I needed.

Sadly, since I use raw dark cocoa powder (and I’m not a food photographer), this picture doesn’t do them justice.  Trust my little friend, and try them anyway.

An identity crisis

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How many foods can inspire a passionate backyard barbeque or dinner table debate over whether they should be labelled a grain, vegetable, or fruit?

Corn is one of those ingredients you don’t find on a lot of five star restaurant’s menus. After all, what customer will pay top dollar for something they can get out of a can or find on a buffet line.  It’s a shame, because the sweetness of fresh corn really complements spicy dishes, like this take on a Cajun dish – Blackened Salmon with Sausage Maque Choux (pronounced “mock shoo”).

Oh, and if you haven’t Google’d it already, the answer is all three.

Bubba Forgot Scampi

“Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.” Forrest Gump, 1994

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Imagine how long Bubba’s list could have been had he known of the all the ways shrimp and prawns are prepared around the world, from Italy to Mozambique to Thailand and everywhere in between.  I love cooking with them; not only are they versatile, but they cook so quickly, they are great for days when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  Without a doubt, my favorite vegetable to pair them with is zucchini, so when I had a craving for garlicky scampi but wanted something lighter than pasta, I decided to fill roasted zucchini with them, but these shrimp would also be great over zucchini “pasta”.  Of course, if you want more substantial meal, you could always float your zucchini boat on waves of linguine.

Zucchine Ripiene con Gamberi all’Aglio (Zucchini Stuffed with Garlicky Shrimp)

Another Reason to Love NYC

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You’ve seen them.  Those saucer sized sugar cookies covered in bold black and white icing.  Like the city they hail from, these cookies have attitude.  They don’t need your affection; you’ll love them, and they know it.  I have nothing against Starbucks for introducing Black and White Cookies to the masses, but I’m willing to bet the versions found at every mom and pop grocery and bodega in New York and New Jersey taste better.  The problem is, I can’t tell you, because the ingredient list might as well have one big red circle with a slash through it… until now.  Even though I’m not a huge fan of icing, I never seem to have a problem finishing one (or more) of these babies off and then agonizing over whether to have another.  The cookie was right.

Baby You’re a Firework

20130907-111609.jpgThese simple cake doughnuts taste amazing and don’t really need the decoration. But plain vanilla sounds so, well, plain, and this is a gluten-free, vegan, doughnut we’re talking about.  It demands celebration.  So, last weekend, my (pre-teen) visitors decided a splash of color was the solution. Okay, so we went a bit crazy with all the decorative choices they found in my kitchen cabinet, but, hey, why not?

You could also go completely decadent with a chocolate glaze.  Fireworks optional.

Vanilla Cake Doughnuts

I heart bacon

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Everyone knows bacon makes everything taste better… okay, everyone except vegetarians and those who abstain from pork for religious or other reasons. Even then, I’m not so sure.  Why else would there be so many bacon flavored substitutes, from turkey to soy?

So, why not make fried rice with it? Seriously, two comfort foods should be together, right? Yes, please!

Shrimp Fried Rice

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