Saturday, February 26, 2011

Just Desserts: The Perfect Creme Brulee

Believe it or not, but one of the very first dishes that got me baking and cooking was this creme brulee. I was in my senior year of high school and assigned a project to pick an interest and devote one month to studying, learning, and cultivating this interest. A friend (who also loves food) and I decided to study eating etiquette from eastern and western cultures. We dined around San Francisco, met restaurant owners, chefs, and pastry chefs, and researched French and Japanese cuisine. We then took our inspirations and headed for the kitchen. This classic creme brulee is one of the few from the many we created as a part of that high school project that I continue to make today. It's really easy to make and virtually fail proof, granted you work slowly and carefully. The result is a creamy, rich, decadent dessert I reserve only for special occasions.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Made It! Kale Quinoa Salad

I just started eating quinoa a few months ago after I discovered its interesting texture, taste, and nutrient-rich profile. But I was getting sick of my usual, boring preparation of just cooking it in chicken broth and serving it plain on the side of a protein. This Kale Quinoa Salad, however, has rekindled my love for the ancient grain. The flavors were so bold and melded beautifully together. In one bite I could taste the bitterness from the kale, the sweetness from the dried fruit, the spiciness from the red pepper flakes, the tartness from the lemon, the tangy-ness from the balsamic, and the saltiness from, well...the salt. This dish was so good I made it again for lunch the next day. I loved knowing I was eating such a healthy meal that would keep me full for hours. What's even better, is that it is so easy to make that it's guaranteed to be delicious, even on your first attempt.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Kale Quinoa Salad

After months of cooking and eating for these cold winter days I am starting to crave the lightness of springtime food. This warm salad is a bridge between two seasons - maintaining all the warmth and comfort that is needed for cold days while incorporating the light airy flavors of spring. This recipe is super healthy, very flavorful, and definitely jazzes up the dreariness of winter. So go ahead and give it a try - your winter palate will thank you!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Made It! Thai Coconut Seafood Soup

Lisa was right! I absolutely loved this Thai Coconut Seafood Curry dish when she made it for our family last July. It was so flavorful and refreshingly light. When she told me what ingredients she used, I couldn't believe the simplicity of the recipe and its quick preparation. I've been making this dish regularly since that first taste last year.

I called my version of this dish a "soup" rather than a "curry" because I didn't have Madras curry powder in my pantry. Honestly, I don't think it needs the curry since my dish was so good, even in its absence. Then again, I've never tried the dish with the curry so I may not know what I am missing!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thai Coconut Seafood Curry with Crispy Rice Cake

I cooked this dish for my mom, dad, and sister in San Francisco last July using the bountiful fresh seafood of the Pacific - scallops, shrimp, and halibut. I knew my dad would love it but was worried about my mom and sister, since neither of them are the biggest seafood fans. To my surprise they all loved this dish, especially the Thai style broth. So I knew this recipe was a keeper!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sweet Potato Gratine

This dish is a savory decadence: sweet potatoes baked to golden brown perfection in heavy cream infused with nutmeg, garlic, and bay leaf. So grab your apron, crank up the oven, and get into the kitchen to make this deliciously "sweet" potato recipe.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Crispy Kale Chips

Kale, a leafy deep-green member of the cabbage family, is packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. I like kale because it has some palate personality. It's got a little bite - a mild bitterness that makes its presence known. Also, the uncooked leaves are pretty hearty, which give the cooked product a nice dense texture. In sautees and soups, I use it instead of spinach, which turns into a pile of green nothing. But I love this cooking technique in particular - it turns this delicious vegetable into crispy chips! Incorporating kale into your diet will also save you money, as it's a great bang for your buck. I often see it being sold for 99 cents a pound - that is a lot of kale!