Spanish Chopped Salad

20190222_182056A couple of years ago I traveled to Barcelona and Madrid with my two best friends. As a major foodie, I planned all of our meals (let’s be real, I planned all of our everything… me? controlling?). But one of our best experiences was a random little cafe that we happened upon for lunch one day. They weren’t even serving lunch yet (it was only noon, after all) and the owner didn’t speak much English, but he ended up bringing us dish after dish of classic, no-frills Spanish cooking – pan con tomate, sliced cheeses, and tortilla. At the time, I knew that there was this thing called tortilla that bore no resemblance to the Mexican taco and burrito casings, but this was my first experience tasting it, and I was an immediate convert. It’s just potato, onion, egg, and cheese served room temperature – basically a frittata – but the flavors balance perfectly and it tastes like you could be sitting in any Spanish home kitchen, i.e. exactly as comforting as you’d hope. After deciding to recreate this experience using Food52 founder Amanda Hesser’s Spanish Tortilla recipe, I figured adding a bit of nutrients with a Spanish-inspired side salad would be a great opportunity to practice the lessons I learned in my Basic Vinaigrette post.

And yes, I topped that Spanish tortilla with a totally non-Spanish Sriracha mayo. #scandalous #sorrynotsorry

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Buffalo Cauliflower Pasta

20190218_185901Let’s face it, I always have a craving for buffalo wings. They’re spicy, they’re fatty, they make my face hurt, they are a huge mess to eat. And they’re so inextricably tied to atmosphere – game day, out with friends and family, having a boisterous fun time. On top of that, I lived the first 10 years of my life in Buffalo, NY, so one might say they’re my native food. The only thing not to like is that they’re so bad for you – fried meat and no vegetables (the celery doesn’t count)! I have a hard time justifying eating them when it’s not a special occasion. To satisfy these competing desires, I developed this pasta recipe to try to get the feel of buffalo wings on a weeknight. Does it look like buffalo wings? Definitely not. Does it taste like buffalo wings? Let’s find out…

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Butternut Squash and Broccoli Pizza

20190127_193318Guys, I have a confession…

When I was a kid, I hated pizza. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the strong spices in the delivery tomato sauce. Maybe it was that I was slightly lactose intolerant. Maybe I just liked being difficult… At any rate, I was the bane of kids’ birthday parties for a long time, until I hit college and realized that pizza is the most reliable source of free food – one of my favorite things! Since then, I have learned that pizza is much more diverse than the simple red sauce-mozzarella-pepperoni slices you find in dorms. In Italy, pizza is really all about the crust, with a light swirl of fresh tomato sauce and cheese. But in the US, pizza toppings run the gamut and really offer an opportunity for creativity, for taking advantage of local and in-season ingredients, and for using up odds and ends left over in the fridge (my favorite). I have come to appreciate pizza in many of its forms, although I still won’t eat it cold, and I think warm pineapple is weird. What can I say? I’m still a work in progress!

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Vegetarian Tomato Sauce (with Pasta)

20190122_202628Welcome to my first recipe attempt! Through the writing of this blog I hope to learn how to develop my own recipes (and inspire you to try it yourself!) based on my 5 tenets of recipe development.

I decided to start with a simple pasta and tomato sauce for the following reasons:

  1. I love pasta. A lot. And I make tomato sauce fairly often.
  2. Pasta is cheap and can be vegetarian or vegan (yay environment!)
  3. Tomato sauce follows one of my tenets (CONFINE) pretty well – if all you do is pour tomatoes into a pan and add salt, it will probably turn out ok. That’s an excellent foundation for creativity.
  4. The scariest part of cooking without a recipe is getting to the end and having produced something inedible, or just not great. For that reason, tasting along the way as much as possible will help mitigate some of these risks. Some recipes, such as tomato sauce for pasta, lend themselves to this more than others.

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