ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Fun With Collard Greens Edition

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What does one do with collard greens? Well, one usually makes collard greens. Yes, that signature soul food dish is probably the first thing that springs to most people’s minds, but here’s a fun twist: collard greens can also be used in the tasty Portuguese soup caldo verde. This is my awkward way of announcing that I’ve recently made both collard greens and caldo verde soup, and I deeply wish to share my experiences here on this blog.

Behold, if you will, a collard adventure for the ages.

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Roast Chicken Picadillo Edition

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Just under a year ago, I found myself at the renowned Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregan browsing the hundreds of cookbooks on display. The process took hours, and just when I thought I was ready to check out, I suddenly had this bizarre desire to procure a Native American / New Mexican / Southwestern cookbook. I don’t know where the impulse came from — I think I’d had a vision of corn and green peppers. Either way, I found a nifty book for $5 called Mark Miller’s Indian Market Cookbook which promised “Recipes from Santa Fe’s Coyote Cafe.” Sounded good to me. Ten minutes later, I was lugging the tome back to my hotel.

It was then that I realized practically all the recipes in this book were super involved. This was a restaurant cookbook, and it called for highly specialized ingredients. Groan. Still, I was determined to make at least one recipe from this book, and now twelve months later, I have finally fulfilled that promise. Last week, I made Roast Chicken Picadillo with Quinoa Grain Salad, Olives, and Caperberries. Was it worth the wait? Answer after the jump…

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FYI: Thanksgiving Is 90 Days Away

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It may be hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is a mere 90 days away from today. That’s right: time is a-flying, and before you know it, Turkey Day will be upon you, and you’ll be standing in your kitchen thinking to yourself “What the HELL am I going to make?” Okay, you probably won’t be saying that since Thanksgiving menus are pretty obvious, but just in case you want to spice it up this year, I’m proud to announce that my friends and I have been road-testing a few recipes.

You see, while the rest of America has been enjoying salads and corn on the cob this summer, my crew has hosted not one, but two Thanksgivings, both of which have landed on miserably hot 100°+ days. I’ll admit it was odd roasting a giant turkey breast while heat vapors outside on the street threatened to melt any slow-walking pedestrian, but we made it work.

After the jump, check out pics from our Friendsgiving meals. Hopefully they’ll provide some inspiration as we head into the final Turkey Day stretch…

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BANTER BLENDER #98: Forty-Five Minutes of “Barefoot Contessa” Chat

Calling all “Barefoot Contessa” fans. This week’s “Banter Blender” is devoted 100% to Ina Garten — from her recipes to her friends and everything in between. Ben Mandelker (bsideblog.com) and Andrea Nawalanic hash it all out as they share their favorite meals, their fondest memories, and some of their most honest criticisms about the Food Network superstar.

Along the way, there’s also stern criticism of Food Network’s current direction and also talk of Sandra Lee and The Pioneer Woman.

If you watch Food Network or simply have a passing interest in Ina Garten, this episode is for you. Be sure to use GOOD headphones. How fun is that?

And remember to use the promo code 199banter at checkout with GoDaddy.com to get a new .com for just $1.99! Some limitations apply. See website for details.

Please like us! facebook.com/banterblender

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Food & Wine Edition

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I’ve become a bit of a cookbook hoarder over the past few months, which is not always a great thing as I feel perpetually guilty for not actually cooking from a majority of my new purchases. Making matters worse is that I now have a subscription to Food & Wine magazine, which adds another heap of recipes to my wish list every month. Clearly this is a dire situation. Perhaps the most dire situation known to man.

Anyway, not too long ago I decided to actually put my Food & Wine to the test and try out two recipes: Chicken Salad with Tahini-Yogurt Dressing and White Anchovy and Grilled Radicchio Bread Salad. Pictures after the jump:

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Grilled Chicken Salad Edition

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Most of my Adventures in Domesticity this year have been focused on Rick Bayless’s recipes from Mexican Everyday, which has surprisingly become my go-to cookbook for weeknight dinners. This is particularly surprising, given that as a child the only thing I would eat at Mexican restaurants was cheese-and-bean dip (hold the beans). Two thumbs up for personal growth.

Nevertheless, I keep returning to Mexican Everyday because not only are the recipes easy, but relatively healthy too. And did I mention tasty? (Actually, I didn’t — as evidenced by my choice in adjectives in the previous sentence) Anyway, I’ve delved into several of the book’s recipes by now, even ones that appear to be mundane, like Bayless’s grilled chicken salad. His version involves guacamole, which already puts it way ahead of most other salads out there in the world.

Pics after the jump…

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: When Bad Things Happen To Good Peppers

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Not all my Adventures in Domesticity are winners. Take, for example, this very simple stuffed pepper recipe from Martha Stewart’s website. It calls for bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, basil, ground pepper, and olive oil. Can’t go wrong with that, right?

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Broccoli with Rice Noodles

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Thai food can be a thing of beauty. Ugh, what a pretentious opening line. But it’s true. Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines, thanks in part to the bold, zingy flavors that often include lime juice, fish sauce, and a billion other spices mashed together into a curry paste. I already have two cookbooks (famously documented here) that do a great job of translating Thai food to the home kitchen. One would think I wouldn’t need to venture any further for a decent homemade curry. However, I noticed a curious recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty: purple sprouting broccoli with rice noodles.

The “method” called for a Thai-influenced spice paste, which would then be added to coconut milk and used to form a curry. I was highly intrigued by it all, but also hesitant: Ottolengh, after all, is an Israeli-born chef currently residing in Britain. The pedigree doesn’t exactly scream Thai authority. But who knows? Maybe it should.

After the jump, check out my pics of this grand experiment…

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Grape Leaf, Herb, and Yogurt Pie Edition

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In general, I try to cook healthy these days. Long gone are my weekly experimentations with ice cream recipes and chocolate cake indulgences. I’m not saying those things won’t come back, but after seeing some pics of me toward the end of 2012, I realized I needed to do a few more healthy things for myself. One helpful strategy has been cutting down on desserts (at least making them — I still find myself trotting out to the local frozen yogurt shop more often than I’d like to admit). Another helpful approach has been incorporating a few more vegetarian meals into the mix. Now, I’m still a through and through meat eater, but the occasional vegetable-based entrée can really go a long way.

Of course, not all vegetarian recipes are automatically healthy, and that’s probably the case with the Grape leaf, herb and yogurt pie I made from Yotam Ottolenghi’s famous vegetarian book, Plenty. This savory, Turkish-inspired dish is chock full of yogurt, but a little dairy never killed anyone, right? Right?

Pics after the jump…

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Chard Frittata Edition

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This blog has been pretty quiet since the end of Big Brother season, and that’s mainly due to my need to focus on some other writing projects. As much as I love blogging, it’s a beast that is never satisfied — much like Candy Crush Saga. And like that beguiling iPhone game, I’ve found that at times the only way for me to be productive in my life is to shut it down altogether. However, while I’ve been on a blogging hiatus, I haven’t stopped cooking. In fact, I’ve been cooking heaps of dishes, thanks to this new compulsion I have to buy cookbooks ALL THE TIME. I’ve acquired over ten such books over the past six months, and yet I’m still not fulfilled. So basically what we’re learning in this opening paragraph is that I clearly have some sort of addictive personality disorder, which takes the form of blogging, Candy Crush, and cookbook wanting.

Fine. I’m okay with that. It’s not like I’m on heroin. (OR AM I?) The point is that I have a lot of new cookbooks to play with, not to mention a bunch of old ones that have yet to be fully explored. This recipe actually hails from the latter category — a simple frittata from the brain of minimalist cook, Mark Bittman. It’s basically chard, eggs, and cheese. But is it delicious? Check out the pics after the jump…

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