Food For Thought: Love At First Bite Recipes

May 31, 2017

We all have favorite old standby recipes, comfortable and familiar as well-worn jeans.  Recipes like that don't come along often, but when they do you just know you'll be making them again.  This last week, both Nancy Leson and I were lucky enough to come across several new "old favorites" to add to our lists.

One, though an old favorite in Mexico, was completely new to me: chorizo and potato tacos.  The first time I made it we knew it was the newest addition to the favorites list at stately Stein/DeGroot Manor.

There are numerous recipes online, but the one I found was on Serious Eats.  It was a double score as it also includes a link to a salsa verde recipe, something I've never before tried to make at home but which turned out to be surprisingly easy and very good. 

Nancy raved about roasted shrimp with feta, a dish from Ina Garten's new "How Easy is That?" cookbook.  In this case, pretty easy.  It's shrimp laid over a tomato sauce with fennel chunks and topped with feta cheese and browned breadcrumbs.  The whole thing can be assembled right in the skillet and refrigerated.  Then just put it into a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes and serve.

After Nancy described it to me I had to try it, too.  We each made our own small tweaks to the recipe.  Nancy substituted broccoli sprouts for fennel.  Instead of the Pernod liqueur Garten calls for I used some absinthe I had on hand. Explains a lot, doesn't it? 

Nance also raved about this one:

         Roasted Cauliflower with Apple and Dill  (serves 4)

1 cauliflower, about 1 1/2 pounds, core removed and separated into florets

1/2 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices from root to tip

1 large unpeeled apple, cored and coarsely diced

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons dried currants

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped dill weed

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss together cauliflower, onion, apple, olive oil and salt in a large shallow baking dish. Spread ingredients into a single layer. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until some of the edges of the cauliflower begin to brown. Stir in currants and bake for about 10 minutes longer, stirring once or twice, until most of the edges of the cauliflower are browned. Sprinkle with dill, stir again, and scoop into a serving dish.

— from The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor by Jerry Traunfeld

"I don't believe in 'greatest.'  I believe in favorites." – Steve Vai