These past couple of years, a few food blogger friends and I, contributed recipes to KwanzaaCulinarians.com. This would’ve been our third year, but I needed to rest. I regret that we failed our fans in this decision, but this is a better solution for me. In addition to taking a relaxing vacation from my 9 to 5 job, I’m enjoying this time of year more than requesting 31 food bloggers and chefs to take time from their busy schedules to write Kwanzaa-inspired stories and recipes. Read more →
Finland. Summer 2003. Lunch outside of a mild summer day. The server presented steamed salmon in a saffron creamy broth. It was simple dish, but the memory of its taste is grand. Recently, when I made Saffron Butternut Squash soup as an idea to include in a Thanksgiving menu, the first spoonful didn’t have me thinking of smoked turkey. Instead, forgotten memories of Finland returned.
It was the summer of learning about organic food, becoming environmentally-conscious and riding Copenhagen’s public bikes. The flavorful produce was fresh, bruised and unwaxed. Large chickens looked liked American cornish hens. Fingerling potatoes enclosed in a thin papery skin roasted into a buttery softness. I would return to occasionally trying to recreate the Saffron Creamy broth. It’s a simple sauce, in which I’m surprised to not have successfully created it. Perhaps, the simpleness of the sauce is underestimated. Ten years later into today, I would unwittingly recreate the taste with different ingredients, but the memories come courtesy of saffron. It’s distinct flavor beautifully infuses every dish. Read more →
Often when we think of Southern Soul food, we think of mac and cheese, fried chicken, collard greens, and potato salad–to name a few dishes. In reality, it’s about the first animal shot in the morning and served in a stew in the evening. Depending on the size, it’s served in various forms within the next few days. Bellies are salted and cured for preservation (Read: Bacon). Bones, such as poultry backs with little meat, are used for broth. Inners are fried to a crisp or simmered in broth. Fat is rendered into lard for baking or frying. Brains are served in rich root vegetable gratin dishes freshly made with butter, cream or buttermilk (that generation wasn’t lactose-intolerant). Generations ago, our grandparents feasted on wild possums, doves, turtles, squirrels, rabbits and deer. As Craig Samuel, co-owner of Peaches Restaurant in Brooklyn, mentioned, “…it’s the food that kept our grandmothers…[and families] alive…” Read more →
By now, we’re familiar with amaranth, millet, barley, or quinoa—to name a few. Each wholegrain is welcomed with curiosity and questions: What’s the history, where’s it from, and how is it cooked? Similar to rice, they’re mostly mild with a nutty, wholesome taste. Most whole grain recipes are served cold or room temperature as a vegetable salad or pilaf. They’re often used in breads and cereals, too.
Red beans and Rice isn’t my favorite dish in the world. My indifference to the stew is why it took some time to develop it. When I originally started making it, I tried adding more spices such as ginger, cinnamon and so forth. The boyfriend and I agree on the older results: Keep trying (however, I later discovered he’s not partial to cinnamon flavors). A few versions later, I’ve learned the characteristics of an excellent bowl of red beans and rice is in its simplicity. Read more →