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Author Archives: admin

  • Easy, Spicy Ethiopian Stews

    Ethiopian food sounds exotic, but it's easy to fall in love with the cuisine of this eastern African nation. Whether you're a strict vegan, a traditional vegetarian or an old-fashioned omnivore, as long as your palate is prepared for intense flavors, Ethiopian cookery has a dish for you.

    The deep, red color and spicy heat found in most Ethiopian food comes from the nationally popular berbere spice blend. Usually made from dried chili peppers, garlic, fenugreek and warm spices such as cumin, ginger, black pepper, allspice and cloves, berbere spice is typically mixed with water or oil to make a paste before it is used in cooking. Wet or dry, it makes a flavorful spice rub for meats and fish.

    Berbere is also the essential seasoning in Ethiopia's famous stews, curry-like mixtures known as wot or wat that are often flaming hot — an acquired taste for some! To dial back the lip-burning, if authentic heat of the berbere, we often will substitute mild California chili powder for half or even more of the spicier blend.

    Making Ethiopian stew at home is easy and while the traditional accompaniment, a fermented bread known as injera that is made from a tiny, nutritious grain called teff, is a bit of a stretch for most home cooks, you can serve your wot with any mild carb such as rice, barley or toasted bread.

    Our basic Ethiopian Berbere Sauce recipe uses no animal products. You can keep it vegan with lentils or split peas and vegetables, or serve it with cooked lamb, beef or chicken. Get the recipe »»


    Ethiopian Red Lentils with Berbere Get the recipe »»

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  • Easy-to-Make Dipping Oils Add Flavor to Any Meal

    Olive oil and grapeseed oil, delicious as they can be on their own, become even more mouth-pleasing and versatile when infused with herbs and spices. You can find many varieties of commercially-made infused oils on the market, or you can make your own for a fragment of the cost.

    Why bother? Well, there's not a meal in the day that can't be made a little more fragrant and flavorful with infused oils:

    For a light breakfast, toast your favorite bread, add cheese and drizzle with herb-and-garlic infused oil.

    For lunch, sprinkle infused oil on salads or drizzle atop a hot or cold soup.

    For dinner, roast potatoes and chicken with a drizzle of chili and garlic oil.

    Got the munchies? You can also drizzle flavored oils on pizza, hot bread, mashed potatoes, sliced tomatoes and popcorn. Continue reading

  • Kashmiri Chili: Bright Color, Mild Heat

    If you haven't tried Kashmiri chili, make room in your spice cupboard for this vibrantly red pepper that brings more color than heat to the dishes it flavors.

    Grown in India, Kashmiri chili is hotter than paprika and milder than cayenne; some cooks mix the two if they can't get the more colorful Kashmiri chili. It's equally at home as a substitute for hotter peppers, if you don't want a fiery dish, or for paprika if you do prefer more heat.

    With the deep red hue it imparts to foods, Kashmiri chili is called for in many dishes from the Indian subcontinent. It's also good in Mexican hot chocolate, chili-chocolate cookies and this vegan freezer fudge recipe from the My Heart Beets blog. In fact, you can use Kashmiri chili in any dish calling for chili pepper. Continue reading

  • Warm Up with Chicken and Stuffing Two Ways

    Cool autumn days and long winter nights call for comfort cooking — savory, satisfying dishes that fill the kitchen with glorious aromas. Roast chicken is one of our family favorites, especially with stuffing to soak up the juices.

    This roast chicken dinner can be prepared with either rice or bread stuffing; all you'll need to complement it is a side vegetable and/or a simple salad. If you have a large group to feed, or just want leftovers, you can double the recipe and cook two chickens. Continue reading

  • A Taste of Druze Cuisine

    The hospitality and cuisine of the Druze community have been known for more than a thousand years in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. The modern states of Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan have the largest Druze populations today, but you can also find Druze people in many other countries.

    In New York City, Israeli Druze chef Gazala Halabi owns two acclaimed Druze restaurants, one in Hell's Kitchen and a second on the Upper West Side. That's it, though: If you want authentic Druze cuisine outside Manhattan, you're on your own.

    Ronit has a special nostalgia for Druze cookery. While growing up in Israel, she loved to stop by Druze villages for a favorite treat: crepe-thin Druze pitas, made of dough thats stretched and spun before being tossed onto a convex outdoor griddle where it bubbles as it bakes. Continue reading

  • Sea Salt: Queen of Condiments

    A fairy story told in many lands concerns a foodie princess who is exiled after angering her father, the king, by telling him she loves him as much as salt. She becomes a great chef and, unbeknownst to the old king, arranges for him to be served a lavish banquet prepared without salt.

    You know the ending:

    When the king complains that his meal is bland and tasteless without salt, his disguised daughter doffs her toque and reveals her identity. The scales fall from his eyes, they embrace in forgiveness and she takes the throne as queen.

    The way to a human heart is not through the stomach, but the palate, and no mineral knows it better than salt. For thousands of years, humans have harvested salt from the seas, boiled it out of spring water and mined it from deposits left by ancient oceans, in order to flavor and preserve their foods and trade for goods from saltless lands. Continue reading

  • Liquid Gold

    Golden milk may be a new discovery for us, but this golden beverage is an ancient concoction dating back hundreds of years.

    So what is golden milk? Basically, this golden nectar is a beverage made of milk and turmeric paste with a touch of sweetness. The paste made from turmeric and water is commonly used throughout India for making beauty care products and for creating deliciously, colorful food and beverages.

    Making the paste is easy enough to do, just add powdered turmeric and water and refrigerate until it has the consistency of a paste. Using powdered turmeric is better than the raw form, as it is easier to digest. Once you have your paste ready to use, you prepare the drink by heating a cup of milk, add the turmeric paste, stir in some sweetener, like honey or a sugar substitute to balance the bitterness of the turmeric, and add a wee-bit of oil, like flax seed, sesame, almond, black cumin or coconut. Using essential oil in the recipe helps keep the joints lubricated. You can even add a pinch of cinnamon or cardamom to the mixture for extra flavor. Continue reading

  • What A Dal!

    The amazing world of Indian cuisine can be summed up to tantalizing aromas, colorful flavors and exotic textures that work in harmony to create signature dishes like curries, tandoori chicken and chicken tikka masala.

    One of our favorite Indian dishes is dal (daal or dahl) which is actually a split version of a number of pulses such as lentils, peas, mung beans, chickpeas and more. When they are split into half, it is considered to be dal; an example would be mung beans split in half is mung dal.
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  • All About the Sauce: Charmoula Pt 2

    As a lover of all things related to food I am always eager to explore new and exciting ways to spice up my gastronomical world. However, if I go back to my Moroccan roots, I dont have to look any further than my own kitchen pantry.

    For me, there is no other diverse culture, like the Moroccan culture, which (for centuries) has presented such rich flavors, aromas, and textures in their culinary skills. The colorful presentation and perfect selection of spices and fresh ingredients are what make Moroccan food among one of the most pleasingly balanced of all cuisines.

    Recently, Ive written about charmoula (or chermoula) seasoning, which contributes to some of the most unique sauces and marinades that make Moroccan food stand out so proudly.Charmoula has been the basis for so many tagine-style dishes, and as previously mentioned, it can be used as a dry rub or a marinade. Continue reading

  • The Irresistible Olive

    The olive tree has been depicted as a symbol of peace, happiness and wisdom throughout the world. Beyond its celebrated status, the olive tree is one of the heartiest, drought-resistant trees on the planet; and if properly pruned and cared for, the olive tree can live for a very long time up to several centuries now that's old!

    Lets get to the fruit of the matter. Olives have been a major source of food and oil for thousands of years reaching far back before the invention of language.Native to Asia Minor, olive groves had spread from the rest of the Mediterranean Basin to the Middle East and to the shores of Africa where it thrived in the hot arid climate.In the past few hundred years olive groves have been cultivated in North and South America, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Continue reading

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