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.
Remember when pretty much the only take-out you could get was pizza and Chinese? If you can’t have gluten (or egg or dairy), the delivery guy probably didn’t visit your house much. G-Free Chinese food is hard to find, and I hate not being able to eat what my friends are having.
Next time you’re craving take-out, reach for your cutting board instead. In the time it takes to order and wait for your food to be delivered, you can make a healthier version, like this Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry, at home.
One of my favorite things to make for a dinner party is paella. Traditional paella is gluten, dairy, and egg free, without having to be adapted. The leftovers taste phenomenal. Oh, and I also like the drama of unveiling the pan at the table, although I’ve only managed to keep my guests out of the kitchen while I was preparing it only once.
This week’s dinner presented a unique challenge, as two of my guests were vegan, one follows a kosher diet, and the rest were meat lovers. My heart was set on paella, though, so I thought I’d adapt my paella valencia recipe and see what happened. (I also made a traditional paella for the meat lovers.) The result – even the meat eaters enjoyed the paella vegetariana but no leftovers. 😦
Here’s a sangria to go with it, even though you’ll only find tourists drinking it with dinner in Spain.
Once you use fresh basil, it’s hard to go back to the dried stuff. For a couple of dollars, you can get far more that you could need in a week at the local farmer’s market. Ashamed that I was throwing any away, I decided to grow my own in a little planter on my kitchen window sill. But, I swear that little guy sprouts new leaves faster than I can come up with ways to use them, despite my repertoire of Italian dishes. Then I remembered Thai basil, a.k.a holy basil.
Like most Thai stir-frys, Gai Paht Bai Grapao (Chicken Stir-fried with Holy Basil) comes together so quickly that if you’re planning to serve it with rice, you’ll want to start cooking the rice before you even start prepping your ingredients for the chicken, which makes it perfect for a weeknight supper. Oh, and it uses a whole handful of basil leaves, so now you have no excuses for letting them go to waste.
After a long day at work, I opened the cabinet looking for inspiration only to stare blankly at a bag of polenta – boring, bland polenta. Then, I caught sight of a forgotten container of smoked Spanish paprika, and my mind began to wander back to Spain and the plates of tapas shared alongside glasses of sherry. This dish borrows those flavors.
Since this comes together in less than half an hour, it is the perfect supper escape after a marathon day at work. The flavors are so intoxicating and have such depth that I wouldn’t be afraid to entertain friends with it, pairing it with a light salad and maybe even sangria.
Ajo y Pimentón de la Vera Roasted Chicken with Shrimp and Peppers