One of my favorite light snacks is hummus with quality crackers. Smooth, a little spicy and very flavorful, this healthful spread made of chickpeas, tahini, citrus juice, olive oil and spices goes beautifully on bread, crackers, vegetables and works just as well as a sandwich spread as it does a dip. For variety, I sometimes make this very similar recipe, tweaked enough to become something entirely new. Pureed legumes go from rustic Middle Eastern to refined Mediterranean in this Italian white bean dip with white truffle oil. Continue Reading →
Even though I am a bit late in giving this shout-out, I want to direct attention to a guest column I wrote for my friend Jennifer Au. She and I worked together at the University of Washington’s paper, The Daily, and recently ran into each other at a mutual friend’s dinner party. In our college days, she was a photographer for the paper while I did layout design, illustrations and wrote several columns. One of these was a fashion column.
Jen asked if I was interested in writing a piece on men’s fashion inspired by pieces of art, so I jumped at the opportunity. Take a look at In the Mood for ♥ to see some of the other fun stuff they have going on, but start with The Art of Spring Fashion: Gentlemen’s Edition.
If you are interested in any guest collaborations, please let me know!
A classic favorite of Italian American cooking, spaghetti and meatballs is among nearly everyone’s favorite foods. While only containing three essential components – spaghetti noodles, a rich salsa di pomodoro and meatballs – the balance of texture and flavors makes or breaks this dish. Ideally, meatballs have a tender texture but enough body to stay in one piece, while the chunky pomorodo sauce balances spiciness and garlic with rich tomatoes, olive oil and herbs. Continue Reading →
Of all the dishes to make for company, very few are as beautiful, impressive or delicious as seafood paella. Conveniently simple to make, this Spanish dish is fantastic for dinner parties among close friends: with a short list of simple steps, pour everyone a glass of crisp, dry white Spanish wine and delegate sous chef tasks while everyone crowds the kitchen. I recently made this for a small party, and decided that it would be my go-to recipe for special, casual events because nothing has a more choice ratio of easy, low stress preparation, dramatic presentation and show stopping flavor. Continue Reading →
After seeing this idea for a Saint Patrick’s Day themed cupcake on my favorite Smitten Kitchen about three years ago, I wanted to give it a try (I must say, I love what Deb does on the other side of the country.) After all, this cake includes several of my favorite things: rich desserts, Guinness, whiskey, Irish cream, buttercream, moist cake and the potential for show-stopping elegance. This year, I finally dove in and made my own barely adapted version of the Irish Car Bomb Cake, in the perfect size to share. Continue Reading →
When I was a child, my grandmother would make Irish soda bread, equally good warm from the oven as toasted with butter the next day. A quick bread, this recipe has only a handful of ingredients and comes together quickly. One of my most nostalgic recipes, it has always been a favorite, whether I stick to Grandma’s original or give it a slight twist. Continue Reading →
With bread prevalent at nearly any meal, there is one common use for which it goes strangely under the radar in America: as an ingredient in salad. In Italy, cubed stale bread tossed with tomatoes, greens, onions and olive oil becomes panzanella. Though Americans use seasoned and toasted bread cubes in salad, the effect is different: croutons add crunch and texture to a green salad, while Italian bread salads make use of stale bread by rehydrating it and tossing it with flavorful ingredients. Continue Reading →
Now that Spring approaches, I realize that 2012 will be a busy year. So busy recently, that I have clearly neglected my cooking and writing due to my “real job.” I do have several delicious recipes photographed, but that’s about the extent of the JB Kitchen up until today. Things have calmed down a little, so I’m getting back in with one of the most comforting comfort foods out there: deep dish pizza. Continue Reading →
While I claimed on my most recent dessert post that crème brûlée was my absolute favorite, I must admit that it’s nearly a tie with apple pie. Warm, with melting vanilla ice cream to add creamy, sweet richness to the tart apples and flaky crust, this is the comfort food of desserts. As the expression implies, this dessert embodies Americana. The French, on the other hand, have a very similar dish that I also love. If apple pie is “the girl next door” of desserts, tarte tatin is the elegant European model that lives upstairs. Continue Reading →