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Firing up the grill is one of those favored pastimes during the summer. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, fish, vegetables…all good ones. And let’s not forget steak. A good friend hosted a gathering, and I poked around the kitchen musing over what to bring. My freezer was a treasure trove of grill-able goods, including a couple of lamb steaks. You’ll often find lamb paired with yogurt sauce, so with that in mind, I decided to use some of those same ingredients in a marinade. Whisk it together in less than 5 minutes, and you’re ready to go.
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Ain’t broke? Don’t fix it. That’s the idea behind this banana bread, which includes two ingredients recently featured in a batch of oatmeal cookies–brown butter and ginger. Fresh ginger, of course, because ground ginger just wouldn’t pack enough punch. Everyone has little secrets with a recipe, and this one is full of specific ingredients for specific reasons. There are no add-ins like nuts, chocolate chips, or dried fruits, but the brown butter and ginger are just two of the special ingredients that make this one a gem.
A new friend invited me over for an early evening of wine and cheese. There would only be three of us in attendance, so there was no need to make a lot of food. Just enough to satisfy the bellies of three girls. Amir and I would be cooking the next day, and I was in charge of doing the shop for our Ethnic Exploration this month. Time was tight, and I knew that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to tack on a busy shop, prep and cook type of appetizer for a party as well. As I walked up and down the aisles, I racked my brain to recall all of the easy appetizers I have wanted to make for so long. What I settled on wasn’t the first thing that came to mind, but it was the first one that seemed like the best choice–pinwheels! They only require a few ingredients, and they can be made in just minutes. When you’re short on time, this is just the appetizer to keep in your back pocket.
You know what’s annoying sometimes? Having to make special versions of dishes sometimes. This is not to sound like a rant directed to anyone in particular because sometimes you have to make the special version for yourself. So it’s you, in fact, who is the reason for your very own annoyance. Now isn’t that crazy? You can go the long way, or you can go the short way and end up in your happy place. The best way to avoid spending lots of time in the kitchen making two versions of any dish is to choose a dish that can easily and joyfully lose one or two ingredients without sacrificing any of its tasty features. Maybe it even becomes better. Well, that’s up to you to decide. The point is that you should be free of any annoyance, and if that’s reason enough to try this, then shall it be.
We talk about citrus and how much we love it all the time. Maybe a little too much. It goes in most of the foods that we make, and today is no exception. This time is another dessert. So far we’ve shared our Lemon Ginger Cream Cheese Muffins, Bizcocho de Limon, Key Lime Pie, Meyer Lemon Tart, Triple Citrus Cake, Lemon Polenta Cookies, Lemon Thyme Cookies, Orange Almond Cookies and Orange Ginger Granola Bars. Whew! Now it’s time to show you another dessert that has quickly risen up the ranks as a favorite–tart lemon custard topped with fluffy meringue. It’s an easy one that should appeal to any of our fellow citrus lovers out there.
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.
One of the best parts of summer is finding ways to eat in a lighter fashion. Don’t get the wrong idea. You will still see lots of desserts popping up this summer and maybe a few more cocktails, but don’t think that’s all we eat. We like our protein and veggies as much as the next person, and we both find ways to create balanced meals for the majority of our eating. If you have a hard time squeezing in healthy servings of the food pyramid, try wrapping them in flakey, crispy dough. Maybe phyllo dough if you’re feeling frisky. It’s light and airy and provides just the crunch you need when paired with fresh salmon, spinach and feta cheese.
There are a million different dishes we’d both like to try, and not too long ago, we were able to knock apple butter off the growing list. The first time was a fall holiday party, and another batch was canned and given out as holiday gifts. Most recently, we tested another recipe for a friend’s birthday party. Now that that’s out of the way, we can officially say that making your own apple butter is the easiest thing in the world, and everybody should try it. It is a slow cooking recipe that takes little effort on your part. If you have a crock pot, it’s even easier. Apple butter is one of the recipes you can tuck away and pull out whenever you want something comforting. The problem with making our own apple butter is the large amount of leftovers. Actually, that should not be classified as a problem, but we’ll use the terminology for the sake of today’s argument. If you find yourself with more than you can possibly eat in a few sittings (or give away), then why not reuse it in the best way possible? We’re …
The convenience of finding a packaged product that you love is a beautiful food find. When we went to the Saban Free Clinic’s Extravaganza for the Senses in July, we were both gifted with a package of pesto from Maison Le Grand. That was after we’d gobbled up a few of the samples. The dairy-free, bright green pesto–named the garden pesto–was like a bite of pure herbs and lemon. So fresh. So vibrant. We really did love this pesto and knew immediately that we’d want to use it very soon. Cut to September. You’re probably thinking a month and a half is not quite ‘soon’, but we actually did make first use of it towards the end of July. We’re just slow to share. Hopefully, that’s OK. Just a couple of squeezes perked up a tangy dip for one of our most used veggies–zucchini.