Chris and Gabe are some friends who currently live in Little Rock, Arkansas. We’re always looking for healthy interludes from our favorite sweet indulgences, so we’re glad to share with you our latest Guest Test Kitchen. Take it away guys!
Happy Friday, Happy April, and Happy Springtime to you! This past Saturday, we celebrated a friend’s birthday by riding our bikes through the streets of Long Beach. It was all fun times until the rain decided to come out and play along with us. Some unfortunate nicks, scrapes, sprains, and wipe-outs did result, so frankly, the weekend just got away from us. (No one was badly injured, thankfully, just our bruised egos as we realized the limitations in our riding skills.) So, as a result, our March Ethnic Exploration is just now making its way to your computer screens. Hey, on the bright side, April will have two editions of our monthly ethnic food expedition! And here’s the first…
Last year we ventured through Little Ethiopia, a small neighborhood in the center of Los Angeles filled with Ethiopian markets and restaurants. That Ethnic Exploration introduced us to the wonders and fun of cooking authentic East African cuisine. Ever since then, we’ve been craving more and more of it! It always proves useful to put a call out on Twitter for ideas, and many great suggestions were offered, but when our friend Esi said Ghanaian, she hit it right on the head for us. We would explore West African cuisine this time, and all of the delicious food that came with it.
Are you caught up on Top Chef: All Stars? Not only is the show madly addictive, but also this season is the best season of Top Chef yet! We both love some good reality television–sometimes the trashy kind too– as much as the next person. Incorporate food into it somehow, and you got a hit in our book. A few episodes ago, the contestants were challenged to create a traditional Italian dish for New York’s exclusive eatery, Rao’s. The judges and celebrity guests wined and dined family-style at the infamous restaurant, enjoying creation after creation from the skilled chefs. Watching all of this clearly had mouths salivating with a ravenous appetite. I swear I could smell Fabio’s Chicken Cacciatore through the television. Plus, the fun everyone dining appeared to be having was highly penetrating. You could feel the joy and passion emanating from each person as these large platters overflowing with Italian delight were passed around the table.
As soon as the episode ended, plans were already formulating to have an Italian feast. Unfortunately, Chrystal was teaching all day, so she could only be there in spirit. The …
It just might be perfect timing that one of the last recipes featured on the site showed you how to make an alfredo-esque sauce using acorn squash. An easy way to trick the brain into enjoying a healthier version of a creamy sauce for pasta. Well, what you see above is another slick use of veggies if you will. Sometimes when you trick people with a clever food surprise, they either love you for it or feel a little wary of what other things you may have been slipping onto their plate. Maybe you have to ride the line of when to tell them all the details. But you’re only doing them a favor, right? Just keep saying that to yourself until you feel comfortable with your cunning ways.
Overtime, cooking for yourself teaches you a few lessons –some of mine include a reminder that I have not gotten over my inexplicable fear of ranch dressing and doubling the temperature on your oven does not cut cooking time in half– with time (and maybe a few singed eyebrows), the lessons end up sinking in and you become one hell of a cook.
If you dig around your fridge or pantry pretty hard, you’ll probably find an ingredient in there that you may have forgotten. It happens, so don’t be ashamed. Because we play around with different things, this happens more often than not. Occasionally there’s a recipe that only calls for a dash of some obscure additive, and you spend a few days wondering how to use it again. Well, the first time we featured pomegranate molasses on the website, it was included in a dip called muhammara. After that, the bottle sat untouched. Now it’s back! This recipe allows you to use more than just a teaspoon of pomegranate molasses to complete the meal. In fact, it’s the key ingredient. Now you have no excuse not to add this item to your next shopping list. You’ll be surprised that one little bottle can kick off a true meal.
Right in the heart of LA, there’s a small strip of Ethiopian eateries lined up to each other for several blocks. It was just a matter of time until this little neighborhood, appropriately called “Little Ethiopia,” was on our radar for one of our monthly Ethnic Explorations. We decided this was the month to venture into the African cuisine. Immediately, Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant and Market stood out among the many options in the area for its quaint market and gift shop filled with goodies.
We love Tracy! Amir’s been best friends with him since high school. Even then, whenever Tracy cooked a meal, the food looked like something straight out of an art book. Even a family-style tuna casserole had some elaborate presentation with neatly shaped food, ornate designs of sauce on the plate, and a plethora of garnishes. What’s even better about Tracy’s food, is that it tastes as amazing as it looks–it’s actually out of this world! We hope you enjoy this month’s Test Kitchen. We wish Tracy lived in Southern California so we can experience his cooking on a weekly basis. Here’s Tracy!
This is not the first time we’ve made crepes. There was a day, long ago, when we made fluffy crepes stuffed with creamy white sauce-covered chicken. We were so excited to share the recipe and the photos, but alas, the photos were no good. Absolutely frightening in fact. For that reason, we decided not to dedicate a post to those crepes. It took a while, but now the crepes are back. In light of a few very awesome savory pancake meals that have taken place over the last couple of months, here’s one that you can see. Fluffy crepes, a creamy white sauce-covered chicken, bits of spinach and tiny tomatoes and just a hint of spice–this is one that you must try.