Back home, my family is apart of a CSA that provides us with a weekly delivery of vegetables from the area. Having a CSA inspired me to cook with seasonal vegetables that I might not have bought at the store or market, one of those being asparagus. I have always admired the lean green stalks but never thought that I would be cooking with them on a weekly basis. Continue reading
There is nothing I loathe more than mayonnaise. That means no sandwich lathered in mayo, no deviled eggs, and absolutely no creamy mayo dressing. There are very few cases where I can handle a bit, such as a BLT from … Continue reading
I hate to admit it but at least once a day, I complain about how cold it is in DC and how I can not wait for Spring to come. I don’t want to be so negative towards anything in … Continue reading
I’m writing to you all from a Starbucks in Amsterdam as I wait for my flight to France. By the time this is published, I will have already reconvened with my grandmother, aunts/uncles, and sister, and am eating some kind of … Continue reading
Everyone has their go-to, show-stopping recipe that the make during the holidays season because they know the recipe like the back of their hand and are sure that it will impress guests. For some people, this could be as easy as a homemade mac and cheese or as meticulous as a boeuf bourguignon. This holiday season, we have 4 self-professed chefs at the house; me, my mom, my sister and my grandmother.
One of my sisters go-to recipe is for Paella. Back when she was in college, she spent her Study Abroad in Sevilla, Spain. When she returned to the States, she carried with her host dad’s Paella recipe. For reunions with friends and family following her semester abroad, she would make Javier’s (her host dad) Paella. Eventually, she shared the recipe with my mom and I.
When we know we will be hosting a large crowd, we tend to lean towards this recipe because we know it burst with flavor and can be adjusted with what we have on hand. This recipe is not Javier’s (that will be shared another time) because we modified it by adding clams, peas and sun-dried tomatoes. These can all be removed and the dish will still make everyone want more.
If you ever talk to someone about paella, they might throw out a few words that you should be aware of. El Sofrito is the flavor base, consisting of the vegetables and spices. This is what you cook first so that the flavors emerge and are absorbed by the rice. El Socarrat is the burned/chewy bits of rice, meat and vegetables at the bottom of the pan. This coveted part is usually found at the center of the bottom, right above the flame and enjoyed at the end of the meal. Paella is to be eaten from the outside of the pan to the inside.
So for your next gathering, keep this one pan, flavor blasting recipe on hand. It doesn’t need much attention while cooking so you can let the dish do its final cooking when guests arrive. This way you can enjoy the Spanish dish in its prime manner.
- 6 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ pound chorizo/sausage, casings removed
- 1 white onion chopped very finely
- 1 roasted red pepper, chopped very finely
- 2 garlic cloves chopped very finely
- 1 tomato chopped very finely
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 cup of white wine
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of Bouillon, any flavor
- 4 cups of bomba/calasparra/short-grain/sushi rice (about ½ cup of rice per person)
- 12 cups of boiling water (3 times the amount of rice)
- 1/2 cup of peas
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of saffron threads (mainly for color)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges for garnish and sprinkle over
In the paella pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the chorizo/sausages.Using a wooden spoon, break apart the sausage into small pieces. Cook for 5-8 minutes over medium high heat, until fully browned. Remove from the pan and place aside in a bowl.
Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onion, pepper, garlic and tomato. Add the cayenne, coriander, turmeric, paprika and cumin, and stir. Once flagrant, add the wine and bouillon, and let sit for 2 minutes over low heat.
Add the rice and let brown for 1-2 minutes. Add the water, peas, sun-dried tomatoes and saffron. Increase the heat to medium high and let it reach a boil.
Once boiling, lower to a small simmer and let sit for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and cover with aluminum foil. Let sit for another 10-15 minutes, to absorb the remaining liquid. Season with salt and pepper
Serve hot with lemon wedges.
Want to know more about Paella? Here’s a Saveur article about it:The Art of Paella
Cauliflower. The vegetable you either love or hate. As I child, I was a fan of its doppelgänger, the broccoli. I believed that broccoli is to Stephanie as spinach is to Popeye the sailor man. Hence, broccoli was practically the only vegetable I would eat and I thought that it was what made me strong. When it came to cauliflower, the smell would turn me away but I was intrigued by its familiar appearance to my dearly beloved broccoli. Yet it wasn’t green like broccoli, nor green like spinach, so I wouldn’t become as strong as Popeye.
My only recollection of cauliflower ventures as a child was eating my grandmother’s “Gratin au Chou Fleur” (Cauliflower Gratin). But I also remember sitting at her table on the “banquette” in the dimly lighted yellow wallpaper room eating her Gratin au Chou Fleur with the faint smell of Cauliflower lingering in the room. It wasn’t until recently that I began to make new POSITIVE memories with cauliflower.
It all happened when my mom did a cleanse and cauliflower rice was a recipe that was featured. My grandmother (Mamie for those who don’t know her yet) was visiting during this time and fell in love with the cauliflower stir-fry. Flash forward a few months later when I spent my summer with her in France. She lives in a small town and her family is still based there. Her younger brother spends his days taking walks throughout the town visiting people and tending to his garden. At the end of the summer season, he had an abundance of cauliflower. Every time I would visit him, I would get a garden tour with an update of what he was harvesting and leave with a cauliflower. And every time he would stop by Mamie’s house while on his walk, he would bring more veggies and yet another cauliflower. Mamie’s recipe book was very limited when it came to cauliflower. Her recipes included the gratin and the stir fry. I wish this wasn’t true for me but sadly it was…until now! My mom recently added this recipe to our growing collection. This version gives the cauliflower a bite; no more soggy bites and no more stench. Yup, you heard me right! NO MORE STENCH! So with Thanksgiving just around the corner, bring in more veggies (to make up for all that pie) to your diet in a way that will please everyone.
- 1 cauliflower head
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¾ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
- 1 ½ cups pureed tomatoes
- ¼ cup vegetable broth, plus extra for cooking
- 3 large pinches red pepper flakes, more if you like spicy
- salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Put the cauliflower on its side on a cutting board. Core the base of the cauliflower ( insert a small sharp knife about 1 inch into the base of the stem, make a circular cut to loosen the cone-shaped core, then pry it out and discard).
In a deep, heavy ovenproof pot with a lid (I used a lodge cast iron pot), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower cored side up; it should sizzle. Brown the exterior, turning it occasionally with tongs for even browning, 5 minutes. Turn over and lightly brown the other side, 2 minutes.
Remove the cauliflower and add garlic and rosemary into the pot. Stir until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, vegetable broth, chiles and salt. Bring to a simmer. Return cauliflower to pot, cored side down. Baste with the tomato liquid and pile some of the solids on top. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes to thicken the tomatoe puree.
Cover the pot, place in the oven and roast until tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Check on the tomato sauce every 10 minutes or so. If it becomes too thick, add a bit more of vegetable broth.
Transfer the cauliflower head to a serving plate and spoon the sauce from the pot over the cauliflower. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Recipe inspired by the New York Times
When going to the market, you can sense the change of the seasons. The weather becomes cooler in the mornings, the vegetable array changes and people mention their recent baking ventures. Watermelon, peaches and tomatoes have left us for the year and now it’s time to embrace the new treasures that fall has for us; Sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, beets, etc. Continue reading
You would think that walking down to the market would be easy and you would grab what you would want, right? Wrong. What I’ve found recently is that every time I go to the market, I walk down with no plan and buy what ever intrigues me. With spring blooming, every last vegetable at every last stand grabs my attention. Since the warmer days are coming, markets may be changing slightly. My market has changed it’s hours to the summer hours, making it open earlier and grow in size. Within one week, the amount of stands seemed to have doubled as well as the size of the crowd. It’s interesting what warm weather can do.
But with warmer weather, people don’t only go outside more but they also tend to cook more with fresh vegetables and cook outside. So for this FMF, I decided to carry that idea into my kitchen, but in a versatile way. Pickling!! Pickling is a way to preserve certain foods, give them a different flavor and give them a different use. I pickled Radishes and was able to use them on fish tacos and on little tartines (toast).
With this recipe that I use for pickling, you can pickle practically anything and a lot of the market produce may be pickled. I was jumping with joy to see that there was a stand that was selling baby cucumbers. Pickle those and you get a fresh jar of homemade pickles. You can also try pickling beets, turnips and carrots. Your possibilities are endless.
Next time you go to the market, try to see how many other things you can pickle. Trust me, you will be amazed by how many things can be pickled. But here is one tip: you want the vegetable to be sturdy enough to withstand the pickling process. Also, when you are preparing your batch of pickles, don’t be shy on adding herbs, such as dill,thyme or rosemary. Top them on what ever fancies you.
- 1 bunch radishes, removed from stems
- 1 cup vinegar
- 6-8 peppercorns
- 2-3 large garlic cloves, quartered
- 1/2-2 teaspoon sugar (or honey from your market) , depending on how sweet or sour you like it
Using a mandoline, slice the radishes thinly. Place in a jar that can be used for canning.
Add vinegar, peppercorn, garlic cloves and sugar/honey to the radish jar. Close the jar tightly and shake until the sugar is dissolved. Place in the fridge for at least 5 hours before serving. They can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Top them on any dish you want to top them on.
Slowly but surely, it seems like Spring is finally coming. So I decided that I would spice things up for this Farmers’ Market Friday. And when I say spice, I mean a watercress kind of spice. If you’ve had watercress before, you know what I mean. It is small, green and leafy but don’t let that fool you. Watercress is a Spring vegetable that’s known for its kick. A couple weeks ago, vendors at my local market, The Westover Farmers’ Market, started to bring this fierce vegetable to their stands. For me, that was a sign that Spring was on its way.
Being the fierce leaf that it is, watercress is packed with important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K and vitamin A. Besides benefiting your vision and your cardiovasular system, it is also made of compounds that are suggested to have an anti-cancer effect. But with all these health benefits, why isn’t watercress popular? It might be because when you look up recipes, you tumble upon hundreds of ideas for watercress soups or salads topped with watercress. But since you’re an International Palate reader, you want something more, right? Yes and that’s why I’ve combined the two for an updated version of a watercress salad.
At your local farmer’s market, you can definitely find root vegetables all year-round. These reliable root veggies are the base to my salad recipe. You might be wondering, “how is she mixing soup with salad?” Answer: Watercress tops the salad and a watercress dressing (soup) is drizzled on top. This dressing has a similar texture to the tahini dressing and will coat your veggies. It can also be stored as a dressing for another salad.
Farmers Market List (depending on your location, ingredients may vary): Watercress, Beets, Carrot, Parsley, Mint, Lemon
- 1 bunch watercress, thick stems trimmed
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- pinch of salt, plus more for tasting
- ½ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 golden/red beets, peeling and sliced
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 bunch watercress
Preheat the oven to 375F.
In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, beets, olive oil, salt and pepper. Evenly disperse them on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until they become soft. Set aside and let cool. Chop the carrots and beets in to smaller pieces, if desired.
Dressing: Bring a saucepan with water to a boil. Cook watercress, mint, and parsley just until wilted, about 15 seconds; drain. Transfer watercress and herbs to ice water; let cool. Drain and pat-dry with a paper towel. Chop coarsely.
Purée watercress, herbs, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, pinch of salt, and ¾ cup water in a blender until smooth, thinning with more water as needed to reach desired consistency; season with salt and more lemon juice, if desired.
Salad: Place all the carrots, the beets, the chickpeas and the watercress (from the salad ingredients) into a salad bowl. Toss with salad dressing, adding as much as desired. Season with salt and pepper.
Saint Patrick’s Day happens to fall this year on a Tuesday. Aside from all the Irish classics, such as beef brisket, you should find something healthy on your table. When I think of Irish vegetables, I think of potatoes but you don’t … Continue reading