I’ll never forget the first time I tried romesco sauce. When I was still a student in culinary school, the cuisines of the Mediterranean kitchen were always my jam. Foods from Spain, France, Italy, Turkey and the northern coast of Africa were a welcome hard left turn toward progress, inching ever farther from the canned pea dinners of my youth
Spanish Day was always my favorite. Assortments of tapas marched into place, shoulder to shoulder on a broad stainless steel table, ready for eatin’. The chef instructor in K8 (that was the classroom number) was particularly fond of tapas, so I was quickly schooled in the ways of romesco — a traditional Catalan sauce made with sweet roasted peppers, toasted nuts, sherry vinegar and garlic. Some people even put stale bread in the mix to thicken things up. It was like the most amazing almond and red pepper pesto I’d ever had.
Earlier this year I was working on a shoot with Marc Forgione — you know, the Iron Chef — and, as one does, he made romesco as part of a video on condiments. It was on this otherwise unassuming day, with one fell spoonful, that my romesco virginity was reclaimed and then shattered into a million delicious pieces. Lesson learned going forward: You’ve likely not really tried something until an Iron Chef makes it for you.
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Flank Steak with Romesco Sauce
If the idea of making a lasagna as soon as you get home from work sounds time-consuming, never fear, this lasagna comes together with minimal prep thanks to a few store-bought shortcuts and my all-time favorite time-saver, no-boil noodles.
One thing you won’t want to skip are fresh herbs. A heaping handful of parsley will impart a ton of flavor to the overall dish, so definitely opt for fresh instead of dried.
Continue Reading Comfort Feast: Low-Key Lasagna
Being a kid from the snow covered hills of Northern New York, I love a classic Northeast winter. Snow storms, sledding, and mornings so chilly you can see your breath — it’s nostalgic and delicious. That being said, I don’t mind a bit of a refresher on the beauty of summer fun and flavors every now and then.
Enter taco night! Being that tacos come in so many different shapes, sizes and varieties, I opted this week for a simple and delicious chicken & chorizo combo with a big kick up on the spice factor. My husband loves spicy food (I’m getting there, too; give me some time) so I reached for a heavily seasoned fresh chorizo from my local Latin market and topped these tacos with a chipotle cream and quick pickled jalapenos — both of which I made fresh at home in the time it took the meats to cook through.
The toppings that I used were what I had in the fridge. Take my suggestions as a guide, then go ahead and get crazy with whatever you have around. That’s really what’s so great about taco night, isn’t it? They’re easy; they’re interactive; and they’re just so delicious.
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Spicy Chicken & Chorizo Tacos
Imagine what happens when you combine your favorite tailgating beverage with America’s favorite sandwich. Chardonnay Hoagies? Yuck. Cosmo Reubens? Way off point. But beer and burgers? Now we’re talking.
This “knife & fork” style beer-braised burger does most of its cooking in a delicious sudsy bath of brew, which not only builds in a great depth of flavor, it also helps to create a killer pan sauce that you can pour over your finished masterpiece. While it looks like 110% “so bad, but so good” man food, a few tricks can help lighten this dish. Opt for ground sirloin to cut out some excess fat from the meat and use a strongly flavored cheese (such as the recommended Stilton) to get the most flavor bang for your caloric buck. You can also use a lighter beer like a lager or ale (though I’d recommend something hearty like a porter or stout).
Now – if you’ve had enough time to shake the thought of what a train wreck Cosmo Reubens would be – game on!
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Beer-Braised Burgers
This year, I’m not merely “looking forward” to Thanksgiving. Oh no. It’s pure, unbridled giddiness. Let me explain: For the first year, in many, many years, I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying put. With the man I love. And it will be glorious. My game plan: Stretchy pants, Christmas movies and extra servings of pie, all dished up in a continual loop for at least 24 to 36 hours.
Although pulling together a two-person menu is nowhere nearly as stressful as one for a 20-person party (haha, suckers!), it does take some planning.
Continue Reading A Mini Thanksgiving Dinner for Two
FoodNetwork.com’s FN Dish blog and some of our other favorite food sites are celebrating a virtual Thanksgiving feast. We invite you to #PullUpAChair to our virtual communal table. We’re bringing a quick and easy appetizer that will keep your guests happy and satiated while you finish up preparing the meal.
This celebratory meal of bounty doesn’t have to be a stress-inducing race with the clock. If you’re anything like me on Thanksgiving, when guests arrive, the turkey still needs to rest, the potatoes still need to be mashed, and you’re in a scramble to get lumps out of the gravy. All the while, guests are waiting around hungrily and you’re losing your wits in the kitchen.
Maple Pecan Baked Brie
There is a simple solution to alleviate the stress of the most anticipated meal of the year: start with appetizers. Giving guests pre-dinner bites will help set the scene for an elegant meal while arousing palates and stimulating appetites. They help guests mingle while waiting for the turkey and, most importantly, they will allow you some wiggle room in starting your Thanksgiving feast.
Continue Reading Start Your Thanksgiving Meal with Maple Pecan Baked Brie