I am working on my re-entry to reality after a stunning week in Montana skiing. If you’re looking for snow out west, this is where you’ll find it. What an amazing place.
Back in the kitchen at home I’m thinking about the turn from winter to spring, and trying to keep things healthy at the dinner table. I love this dinner idea from David Tanis in the New York Times. Calamari with Herbs and Polenta is very simply sauteed calamari with garlic, wine, and fresh herbs. Find your favorite fish monger and look for fresh calamari (he or she will even clean it for you, if you ask nice). You’ll cook it in a screaming hot pan and in two minutes it’s done. You can make your polenta ahead and heat it a bit before serving-I actually love it sauteed or grilled in some olive oil. Of course it works a la minute as well-creamy from the pot and eaten right away.
Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? It’s my go-to homemade dinner when there isn’t much in the house (and it’s often eaten straight from the stovetop, skipping the step in the oven). But let’s be honest, a few variations on the basic version could spice things up a bit when it comes to this ubiquitous comfort food. Today’s Washington Post features all the variations you could ever want. The version above, Spinach and Mushroom Mac and Cheese, is the first one I’ll try. Once you’ve mastered the Classic recipe, you can try these alternatives too: Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese, Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, Indian Mac and Cheese, and Shrimp & Pesto Mac and Cheese. Some sound decidedly better than others but, this is definitely a dish you can make your own. Go for it!
I’m a huge fan of the fried egg sandwich (maybe even more than mac and cheese). In London’s Guardian I found the Devil’s Fried Egg Pita Pocket, an Arabic inspired version you could eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Spiced with chili flakes and za’atar (a dried herb mixture of sesame, sumac, salt, and other herbs), the sandwich is finished with “sabzi”, a catch all word for fresh herbs, often used in Persian cuisine. Grab what’s easy to get- tarragon, chives, Italian parsley, etc. The best part of the recipe is the last direction: “…enjoy straight away, right there, standing in the kitchen, egg running down your chin, giggling like naughty children.” Who doesn’t want a bite of that?
Happy Reading and Happy Cooking.