Brats and Kraut Pasta

20191228_185933I know I’ve posted bratwurst and sauerkraut recipes before, but what can I say? I just love this fatty, salty, sour, funky flavor combo. Today’s recipe comes courtesy of a can of real German sauerkraut brought to me from Germany by a friend. I wanted to ADAPT the usual flavors, and turn it into a one-bowl, hearty, pasta based dish for easy leftovers. I took guidance from some of my other favorite recipes and chose to build a “sauce” for the pasta that wasn’t tomato or cream based, but rather closer to a vinaigrette. The vinegar and mustard flavors of the sauce really cut through the richness of the rest of the ingredients and help bring the sauerkraut flavor home. And in case you were wondering if this gets weird after a day or two in the fridge… nope. It just gets better!

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Radicchio Pesto Pasta

20190930_192202As you know, I love pesto. It’s so easy and fresh and works with a lot of different foods. I recently heard about the concept of a pesto based on radicchio, the bitter red lettuce related to endive. While I was skeptical, I do like radicchio and have found it to be surprisingly pleasant in the right circumstances, so I decided to try it out with pasta, adding a quickly sautéed shrimp for some added protein.

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Coconut-Pineapple Tofu Tacos

20190806_194921My favorite thing about tacos is the toppings. They often have all of the flavor and texture anyway – who needs meat? But sometimes, it would be nice to have a filling that is good for the environment but also protein packed to make the meal feel hearty. I’ve been inspired by my vegan sister to eat more tofu recently. Here I used the tofu crumble method from blogger It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken to make something approximating ground meat, then COMBINED it with one of my favorite taco recipes from EmilyC on Food52. It’s crucial to be patient with this method to make sure the tofu is dried out enough that it gains the texture of cooked meat.

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Shrimp and Grits Strata

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I love stratas for their versatility, which makes them a great base for innovation. Here, I ADAPTED my classic shrimp and grits recipe to the strata format, making sure to get all the key flavors in there – shrimp, sausage, tomato, and even grits. I added in some kale to up the nutrition of the dish, and presto, a dish that feels totally new and yet totally comfortable!

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Fig and Sweet Potato Risotto

20190916_190133Risotto is so tasty, hearty, and versatile; I can’t believe I haven’t done a risotto recipe on here yet! For this version, I knew I wanted to do risotto, but I didn’t know what I wanted to put in it. So I did what I usually do – I went to Haymarket (my local “farmers”/produce market), looked around, and saw what struck my fancy. This time, what hit me in the face was the number of fresh figs everywhere! It turns out it’s fig season, and even though I’ve never had fig risotto, I knew figs go great with cheese, which is also often in risotto, so I thought I’d give it a try. To go with the roasted figs I chose another roasted vegetable, then added spices, sherry, and almonds on the recommendation of my Flavor Bible.

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Moroccan Black Bean Burgers

20190801_201400I’ve made a number of burgers in my time, but I’ve never made a black bean burger. I always thought of them as very dry and crumbly, and tasting primarily of beans, which didn’t appeal to me. But then recently I’ve had some black bean burgers out at restaurants that were quite good. And since I’ve been trying to eat less meat I decided to give it a go. But since I have no experience making these burgers, I turned to the internet and relied on the RATIOS in a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I usually use her site for sweets, but she promised these would work out so… To make it my own, I went with Moroccan flavors.

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Lo Mein with Pork Dumpling Meatballs

20190802_200631This recipe from Vrunka on Food52 makes great pork potstickers, but it makes wayyyy too much filling for a single package of potsticker wrappers! I couldn’t just throw away all of that perfectly good filling, so I decided to implement it in tackling a personal challenge of mine: making at-home versions of take out classics that actually taste like the stuff you get at the restaurant. I’m always wary of trying a new pad thai or chicken tikka masala recipe, because inevitably it doesn’t taste exactly right and what’s the point of going through all the effort to make something that will be slightly disappointing? But I persevered, and by relying on help from a few online sources, this lo mein recipe is exactly what I wanted.

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