Comfort Foods and Indulgences
Chicken Tortilla Soup is a great choice during the winter months – hearty and packed with flavor with just enough heat to warm you on the coldest days. Using a store bought rotisserie chicken makes it quick to make, so it’s great for a weeknight meal.
On a recent trip to Mexico City, I discovered Epazote, a pungent herb that is commonly used in Mexico, especially in the Yucatán. The herb has a slightly tangy, almost lemony flavor, and is somewhat reminiscent of oregano. It is used both for flavor and supposedly for its ability to reduce the flatulence associated with bean dishes.
I’ve included it in this recipe, and have also started adding it to my chili recipe, but it’s very hard to find in the US, so feel free to omit. (You can find it online at the Spice House)
My oldest son has declared this..."the best thing you have ever made." He's already requesting it for his birthday next March. I don't blame him...it really is so, so good...it's one of those sweets you crave after you've had a slice.
It is the perfect combination of flavor and especially texture. And it's a big cake, perfect for summer parties. It freezes well, unmolds well...it's all around super-easy, just like you want your summer to be. At the same time it's impressive in it's girth and taste. I will be making this again and again.
Growing up we never had ice cream cake/pies. I don't even remember a Baskin-Robbins cake making an appearance. But my mom is a baker so I guess that is the reason.
Anyway, with temps finally hitting the 80's in the Pacific Northwest, this has been the perfect indulgence. I hope you give it a try, you won't be disappointed.
A healthy breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Plus it's an easy way to get a healthy dose of calcium for your bones.
Not a breakfast eater? Could you try eating breakfast for 3 weeks? Because that's how long it takes your brain to develop a habit, and this is one healthy habit.
Eating a healthy breakfast can help you:
Jump start your metabolism, so you burn more calories all day long.
Consume fewer calories throughout the day since you tend to be less hungry and make smarter eating choices.
Stabilize your blood sugar, which has been linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Concentrate and perform better at work (hey, maybe that whole wheat toast and scrambled eggs could help get you a raise).
Build endurance with physical activity, so your work-outs will be better.
The first article I ever wrote for One for the Table was about how I came to love IHOP as a child, abandoned it as I got older, and rediscovered it much later. I’m still bereft that they took my beloved corn meal pancakes off the menu a few years ago, but when I got an email recently about their All-You-Can-Eat-Pancakes promotion from January 2nd to February 9th, I headed over to that iconic blue roof in Encino.
I did not intend to eat all I could, nor even the 10 pancakes required to compete in the Player Standings. Thankfully, that means that I will not be eligible to win free pancakes for a year. So rather than ordering the buttermilk pancakes required for having my plate refilled again and again, I decided to try two meals I’d never had before. (I ate less than half of each…honest.) First, I ordered the strawberry-banana pancakes, which were spoiled by the goopy, faux strawberry-flavor glaze. Then I got a Belgian waffle, which was perfect - crispy, light and delicious.
If the 39 days of the All-You-Can-Eat-Pancakes season aren’t enough to keep you satisfied, this year IHOP has upped the ante by introducing the first IHOP Pancake Bowl, in which the top 10 high-scorers in the Player Standings from each participating region will compete locally during Super Bowl weekend to see who can eat the most pancakes. He who wins (could a “she” possibly win?) will get a $500 IHOP gift card.
It happened like this… I was standing on the northeast corner of Broadway and whatever street waiting to cross. I was running to shop or cook or finish some errand that must must must get done quickly so everything else can be done quickly so that I can get on to the next thing and then the next and then fall asleep so that more stuff can get done tomorrow. I was staring at a pick-up truck heading in my direction. It was the only car on the road for that moment, the only thing halting my progress, and right before it got to me it suddenly made a turn WITHOUT ITS TURN SIGNAL ON. I could have gone! I was waiting for seconds for this fucking truck to pass when it wasn’t even passing!!! My life is disappearing before my very eyes and this selfish asshat doesn’t even care.
The injustice. The indignity. The NERVE.
I made a sound in response, alone on that street corner, like a groan/ moan/ wail of agony so dramatic you would have thought my child was being ripped from my breast.
But then I stopped. And I heard myself. And I was ashamed. There is a possibility I’ve let this season get the best of me.
I have a special fondness for pot pie. It's one of those all-in-one meals that always hits my comfort spot. And it's a welcome dish to eat on a cold and rainy day like the ones we're having this season. The origins of pot pies can be traced back to the English settlers who brought their love for pies to America. In the States I had never eaten a savory pie. It was always the frozen pies that scared me into believing that pies were no good. Not until my traveling in England did I finally eat my first savory pie. On first bite I fell in love with the flavorful meat and vegetable filling topped with flaky, buttery pastry.
While studying abroad in London, I came to know and appreciate the local cuisine. It was the discovery of a small eatery that really caught my attention and helped change my mind about pies. Every day on my way to class through an alley passage I couldn't help but notice a sign that read "Upstairs Pie Room" right next to an unassuming door. One day a group of us decided to find out what this room was all about. We discovered a homey little restaurant with a menu of traditional English savory pies. It was was one of the best things that could happen. That summer the Pie Room ended up becoming a regular haunt for all of us. The experience turned out to be one of my most memorable, one that I repeated many times until I had tried every pie on the menu.
Remember I told you there was going to be lots of leftover ham from the gorgeous Carlton Farms Bone-In, Whole Holiday Ham we made yesterday? Well, I was right. And luckily the possibilities are endless when it comes to using using up leftover ham.
If I were you, I would start with making these Ham and Havarti Sliders on Parmesan-Butter Topped Pretzel Buns. There are NO words to describe how good these turned out. Do you see that cheese? It's epic.
You see, I have a new vice lately. It happens to be THIS exact cheese. I have been getting my stash at Costco. Every time I shop, I come home with more and more packages to get me through until the next Costco trip. The cheese has a decent shelf life but it's not even an issue since we are eating it faster than we can replace it. If you have never had Havarti, it is the creamiest, butteriest, most superior melty cheese you could imagine. The fact that I can now get it in deli slices has turned me into a Havarti fanatic. It is by far the ultimate grilled cheese-cheese. Does that make sense?
I knew this leftover ham and Havarti cheese were going to marry and bring peace and love into my kitchen. I was right. These little sliders were incredible. I have pure love for this cheese and I hope you can find some soon.
As football fans gear up for Super Bowl Sunday, they'll buy more than 50 million pounds of avocados, almost all of which will be transformed into guacamole. How will all this guacamole get eaten? With chips, of course. 15, 000 tons of chips.
That's enough guacamole to cover a football field, end zone to end zone, waist deep.
Guacamole couldn't be easier to make, so skip the pre-made containers at the super market and make your own this year.
Though I love traditional guacamole, I'll be making my Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole Sunday, a palette-tingling concoction of silky avocado, tangy tomatillos, and hot serrano chili. Tomatillos (toh-MAH-tee-YOS), also known as green tomatoes, are a staple in Mexican cuisine, beloved for their tart, citric flavor, not unlike a Granny Smith apple. When selecting, look for smooth, crisp, papery skin and firm, brightly colored green fruit.
We all have our own rituals for fall Sunday afternoons. Some guys sit around and watch football; for me it takes only about a quarter before I need a nap. Others feel inspired to take up household projects; the less said about my ability with a hammer the better.
Instead, I cook. Well, I cook all year round, but when the days start to cool and the light turns golden, I get more ambitious. Rather than 30 minutes at the grill, I throw myself into hours-long kitchen projects. This year, it's been lasagna.
It started in late September. I had just gotten back from the farmers market when I heard that Marcella Hazan had died. I looked over everything that I had bought and in her honor immediately started making dough for fresh pasta. And peeling and seeding tomatoes and turning them into sauce. And making a Parmesan-enriched white sauce. And blanching, chopping and sauteing beet greens. And then putting it all together. All of a sudden it was dinner time.
There's nothing like lasagna from scratch to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon.
I love bean dips for a party, especially layered dips, because of the colorful and flavorful layers that can be created in a bowl. It reminds me of the colored sand I used to pour into jars as a kid. It's exciting and unexpected to see and break through the different layers of one of these dips to discover unique flavors.
Most layered bean dips start with a can of ho-hum refried beans, but this dip starts with a flavorful pinto bean purée made with a quick sauté of onion and garlic. Then comes the Pace Picante Sauce followed by a layer of mashed avocados, which tastes much like guacamole. Cooling sour cream finishes the layers.
The chunky toppings include shredded sharp cheddar cheese, cherry tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, scallions, and cilantro. It's an easy dip that comes together in no time at all. It can even be made a few hours ahead (minus the toppings) and refrigerated before your party guests arrive. This is a must-try recipe to add to your Super Bowl celebration.
by Scott R. Kline