Sweet potato rösti with avocado and smoked salmon

March 6, 2012 § 19 Comments

My father, who is both a wonderful person and a wonderful eater, and one of the most truly consciously healthy people I know, has been having to make some dietary changes lately to try to figure out some minor allergies.  That’s putting it mildly.  By “some” changes, I mean he’s doing sort of the mother of all elimination diets.  Even things like rice and potatoes, which are usually allowed in elimination diets are o-u-t, out.

If you’re exceptionally noble and self-possessed, I suppose you could see the good in such limitation.  The strict form of the sonnet can give rise to even more beauty and creativity than free verse, and all that la dee da.  But, overall, it has got to pretty much suck.  Perhaps even with a capital S.  That’s how I would feel about it, I know.

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Zucchini Ricotta Fritters

September 16, 2011 § 10 Comments

I feel like I’ve been wanting to make zucchini pancakes (or fritters, I’ve seen them called both.  They’re the savory small kind of pancakes, not zucchini bread-esque sweet ones) since approximately the dawn of time.  Though, when I think about it a little bit more carefully, it’s more like since about mid-July.

Remember Sofra Bakery and Cafe, which I mentioned a while back? (More accurately, which I gushed over, swooned over, and nearly asked to marry me, even though Joel, I think, would have been slightly peeved if I had run off with a bakery-cafe.  I, on the other hand, would have been very well fed.  But perhaps starved for conversation.  Anywho…)  When we were there, I watched (I have a terrible staring habit sometimes) as a young woman, wearing aviator sunglasses if I remember correctly, sprang up to fetch her order when her name was called, and walked back to her seat carrying a dainty copper tray laden with a stack of slim golden cakes, flecked with green.  What were they?  Whatever it was, I had missed it.  My eyes darted up to the menu and scanned over it again.  They had to be the zucchini pancakes.  I was instantly consumed by food envy.

Then I turned back to my flatbread, stuffed with cumin-spiced sausage, oranges, green olives, and yogurt sauce, and I was pretty much entirely happy again.  But, zucchini pancakes stayed on my mind.

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Beet green and ricotta gnudi

April 7, 2011 § 6 Comments

The Italians have such a way with naming their dishes.  I love how they seem to have a sense of humor about it.  I’ve already mentioned pasta a la puttanesca, the fast and easy pasta supposedly named after, ahem, women of the street.  Strozzapreti, a thick slightly coiled pasta, means “priest choker,” and was purportedly given this name because villagers in Emilia Romagna would feed it to friars who came over for dinner (in those days friars ate free) as a first course in an attempt to stuff them too full to have much room for the more expensive second course, meat.

The nickname for tortellini means “sacred navel,” and one must admit they do look a lot like navels.  (Sacred because legend has it that an innkeeper created them after being so inspired by the sight of Venus lying sleeping, he wanted to come up with some tribute to her.  So, he made a pasta that looked like her navel.  Creative, if nothing else!)  There’s even a traditional way of cutting fresh pasta haphazardly at angles that is know as maltagliati, which just means “badly cut.”  Because, hey,why not just tell it like it is?  As long as it tastes good.

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Parmesan Tart with Caesar Salad Topping

May 21, 2010 § 2 Comments

Let’s talk salads.  I love salads.  Love, love, love them.  I’m so excited that we’re getting into the season when the vegetable garden produces lovely little baby lettuces and vegetable CSA’s send you home with more fresh salad greens than you quite know what to do with.  Now, if I’m wearing my “I studied nutrition” hat (which, by the way, I’m pretty sure is a fashionable and sleek little cloche) I will expound on how a good salad can make a very satisfying meal, just use lots of veggies, add a little protein in the form of fish, beans, nuts, or lean meat, and use a small amount of an olive oil based dressing.  A delicious meal with lots of room for mixing and matching your ingredients!

But, not today.  Today, I’m wearing my “butter is a health food!” hat (which may or may not be one of those awesome hats made out of balloons), and I’m here to make you a salad offer you can’t refuse.  An offer that includes a crumbly, buttery crust (like a giant crouton on the outside!!), a silky cheesy layer of custard, and a zesty crunchy Caesar-style topping.  An offer that looks something like this tart.

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