Labneh for dipping & gifting

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For much of December I found myself being entertained rather than entertaining. It was a nice, relaxing way to spend two weeks but I find myself - even now that we're well into the New Year - looking for a way to make someone else feel special and cared for.  After some recipe rummaging, I had my answer: Labneh. Soup might comfort, jelly might wibble-wobble, but Labneh delights. This Middle Eastern thickened yogurt appetizer seems oh so fancy but is really a set-it-and-forget-it kind of … [Read more...]

Celebrating World Vegetarian Day with Gandhi and Lemon Rasam

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

In our house we live by Michael Pollan's addage: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."  This week we're going one step further, invoking Mahatma Gandhi's strict vegetarian diet in honor of World Vegetarian Day (October 1st). While most people think of Gandhi as a famous pacifist, he also had a lot to say about eating a pant-based diet, led in great part by his compassion and respect for the lives of even the smallest creatures. Not one to mince words, Gandhi wasn't afraid to puts his … [Read more...]

Celebrating the Ethiopian New Year with Doro Wat

Happy Ethiopian New Year Greetings

There's been a movement to make Enkutatash - a.k.a. Ethiopian New Year - as popular as St. Patrick's Day or Cinco de Mayo.  But instead of wearing green or dancing to a mariachi band you're invited for a much simpler, down to earth sort of celebration. Wear white. Pick yellow daisies. And enjoy traditional Ethiopian food. Waaaay back when "Enkutatash" literally stands for "gift of jewels." As the story goes, several thousand years ago the Queen of Sheba delivered more than 4.5 … [Read more...]

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

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A well-roasted corn kernel is smoky.  Chewy. Juicy. Irresistible. This much, Mexicans know. Some elote are cooked for hours inside clay ovens. They sit over shimmering coals until their bright yellow kernels turn deep, toasty brown and their husks turn brittle.* More simple recipes speed up the roasting process, but have triple-decker toppings: salty cotija cheese, rich mayonnaise (just enough to make the cheese stick), and smoky ancho chili powder. Then the whole cob is … [Read more...]

Entertaining the Italian way with homemade Balsamic Figs + $50 GIVEAWAY

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A daydream worth dreaming Cobblestone alleys flanked by weathered walls. Hilltop churches. Sunlight warm on fig trees and grapevines.  This is the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Deep in the cellars there's Parmesan, balsamic, and prosciutto aging. They slumber in the dim recesses, the nuttiness and salt growing bolder, rounder. Waiting for the perfect moment to shine. Waiting to become the perfect bite. And by perfect I don't mean fancy. I mean perfectly un-fussed. The Art … [Read more...]

Spicy Vietnamese Slaw + Extreme Compassion

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Extreme Compassion Stopping to move a wandering worm off the sidewalk. Helping a baby bird that fell out of it's nest. Not walking by with indifference. This sort of extreme compassion is a thing that some of us - with our busy, distracted lives - strive for imperfectly. But there are others - startlingly kind souls - who live and breathe extreme compassion. Last week I went to the tailor - a big deal for me since I know how to sew. But I have a dress - a dress with lace, three layers, and … [Read more...]

Celebrate the Harvest with Filipino Garlic-Fried Rice | Panlasang Pinoy

Filipino Garlic Rice

  A Labor of Love I have a garden. It's small - an L-shaped  raised bed built with heavy stones. In it I have a few tomato plants, basil, thyme, parsley, chives, and lemongrass. There's also an abundance of mums; they come back every year and explode with burgundy, gold, and white in the autumn. Just next to the wall is my terracotta strawberry planter, perched atop a pedestal of chubby cherubs. It's about as idyllic as my corner of the world gets. This is the first year I've … [Read more...]

Recipe: Zimbabwe Candy Cake | Chikenduza

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Candy. Cake. From Zimbabwe. Given the name... and the fact that we needed a celebration recipe (this being the last recipe of our 'official' adventure to eat a dish from every country in the world)... well, I had to make it. That's not to say there weren't other choices for celebration food. I could have made sweet potato cake (spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg) or sliced mango with custard. But I was sold when I saw the shiny pink glaze on the mound of cakey bread. I would have … [Read more...]