Black-Eyed Peas, Please

Unless you happen to be a particular fan of Southern cuisine, you probably don’t think much about black-eyed peas. Except maybe around New Year’s, when it’s customary, again by Southern tradition, to cook up a pot of Hoppin’ John for good luck (a practice that’s seemingly been adopted far and wide, if the sudden scarcity…

Upside-Down Sides

Everyone’s always on the lookout for holiday side dishes with a twist. Quite by accident, this year’s Thanksgiving table included sides that turned assumptions about certain ingredients upside down, offering savory  bites where sweet was expected, sweet where savory is  usually a given. It began with the cranberry sauce. Cranberry Salsa —”What is this? I’ve…

The Boss

The fun of sharing a plate of peppers (along with an icy beer) is that someone is likely to get a mouthful of fire. Folks have called it Spanish roulette.

Risotto Mio

I must be suffering a rice deficiency because all I seem to crave these frigid winter days is risotto.

Wrap Stars

Hot out of the oven or cold from the fridge, a tuna empanada is handheld happiness.

1. . . 2. . . 3. . . Strukli

Sifting through the leftover magazines at my local coffee shop, I came across a copy of the esoteric food journal Gastronomica. When what to my wandering eyes did appear, but a story about the Croatian dish strukli, “The Best Dish in the World.” Really? I have a vague recollection of my mother making strukli when I was young, a…

Summer Stuffiness

Gazing at a friend’s out-of-control kale crop, I had one thought: stuff it.  The size of the kale leaves reminded me of the grape vines growing wild up the back of my Brooklyn brownstone, and that I’d made a vow to harvest some of those leaves this year. Kale seemed like a good practice run….

More Comfort and Joy

An old adage holds that how you celebrate New Year’s Eve reflects how you’ll spend the ensuing year. If that’s true, 2011 will  be relaxed and full of wonderful meals prepared with the kind of friends who find utter bliss in a platter of 12-year-old cheddar. It will also be filled with experimentation, as we…