Sandy Island Chicken + Spicy Mango and Avocado Salad (Antigua & Barbuda)

November 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

J: Admittedly, the title of this post is rather cumbersome.  But I think this was one of our favorite countries so far!  I was expecting some tropical flavors coming from this tiny Caribbean twin-island nation, and that is indeed what we got — but there was also quite a kick in one of these recipes (spoiler: it’s not the one you think).  We intentionally chose recipes that would allow us to play with mangoes, because there are never enough excuses to use mangoes in cooking, and avocado — well.  Y’all know my feelings on avocado.

Overall, these were pretty simple to put together, and thoroughly delicious.  You could also definitely make either of these alone, as side dishes – and as an added bonus, the mango/avocado salad is vegan!

colorful and tropical

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Sweet Potato Hash

December 29, 2011 § 3 Comments

E: We came up with this recipe shortly before Thanksgiving when we wanted something with lots of vegetables in it to counteract a week of irresponsibility with pasta and cheese. It was sufficiently good (and sufficiently seasonal) that when we went to visit my parents for Thanksgiving we made it again for them. It is a testament to how good it was that we didn’t change anything from one preparation to the next except for reducing the amount of pepper we use. I thought it was great, but it turns out that a whole Hungarian wax pepper was too much spice for Joanna, almost to the point of making the dish inedible. So you should really adjust this to your spice tolerance. If you don’t like spice at all, you can still make this just by omitting the pepper. I think the spiciness is a great counterpoint to the sweet potatoes and apples, but it would still be good without.

this is really delicious

Making this is really quite simple. It does take some time, but nothing here is really difficult. The instructions I’m going to give are for making it in stages, cooking ingredients and then removing them from the heat and cooking other ones. If you want to avoid that and do it all at once, just add the onions first until they soften, then add the sweet potatoes and cook until they are almost done, then add everything else and cook until done. « Read the rest of this entry »

Jerk Salmon

September 2, 2011 § 1 Comment

E: The summer has pretty much rolled to a close here, though I can assure you it is still warm enough to impersonate July. But September has reached us with alarming alacrity. Joanna is back to school. My birthday is here. And I think it is about time for another tasty recipe. But first, a little reflection is in order.

We are getting close to a busy time of year for annual events. Both our birthdays, and the first year anniversary of the start of this blog, land in the next couple of months, and that’s along with Thanksgiving and the start of the winter holidays. It is weird to think of where I was a year ago, especially as it concerns this blog. Blogging is a good way to remind yourself of past successes and failures, but it is also a good way to learn stuff. With a couple disasters and a couple new techniques under my belt, I am definitely better than I was a year ago. I have learned something. But it isn’t a miraculous elixir, and I’m still frustrated that I’m not better than I am. I’ve decided on a new strategy of reading through things like the Joy of Cooking page by page to try to gain some more kitchen know-how. We’ll see how long I can keep that up. That said, I’ve found the experience so far rather therapeutic, even though it can be frustrating at times. So bear with us as our cooking adventures continue.

this salmon was such a jerk

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Soba Noodle Stir-(Salad)-Fry

August 24, 2011 § 1 Comment

E: We’ve featured recipes from Nick at Macheesmo many times since we started this blog. But, and I speak for both of us here at Nombudsman when I say this, it is because we have a lot of respect for his creations (not to mention a burning desire to make almost all of them). When I saw this recipe go up recently, I had to try it. I wanted to make something that had a lot of veggies, and I wanted to do something different than the regular stir-fry with brown rice that I default to. The soba noodles really made this dish that much better and more flavorful than plain rice would have. (As a plus, I was home in Mass. at the time visiting my parents, and this dish seemed like something they would enjoy, which was indeed the case.)

not the best view of it, but this stuff is delicious!

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General Tso’s Chicken

July 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

E: The summer has been getting busy for both of us, with me working a full 40 hours and research work picking up for Joanna. And so with things getting a bit more stressful, we felt like making some comfort food that wasn’t risotto. And that was when we realized that neither of us had been to a Chinese restaurant in quite some time. So, both of us craving some Chinese takeaway, we decided to try making it at home instead. Something classic and fried was in order, so we settled on doing a version of General Tso’s Chicken, in some ways the original Americanized Chinese dish—with its many names (Tso, Tsao, Gao, Gau, &c.) and many versions, all of which bear little resemblance to the traditional Hunan food it sometimes purports to be.

it's like takeaway, but at home and 20 times more effort!

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Southwest-Style Pizza

July 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

E: This is a pizza I’ve been waiting for months to try. It came to me one time when I was thinking about how just about anything food-wise could be put on pizza and would be tasty:  one of the wild ideas I thought anyone else might actually want to eat was a southwest-inspired pizza with taco-style toppings. It is pretty quick and easy (assuming you’ve got pizza dough lined up) and my goodness is it tasty. This was the best pizza we’d had in a while.

But before we start, some annoying news from my side. My Mac has died its second death now (the infamous 8600M graphics board failure) so I’ve got to get that to Apple and see if they will cover it (it is a pretty old machine now, but I can’t remember exactly when I bought it). For now I’m on my old XP machine, which takes some getting used to. My monitor here also isn’t calibrated as well, so if these pictures seem a bit off, it’s not you. I’ve also got the photos for one post (the one I was going to do instead of this one) stuck on that hard drive for the moment, so you are getting this post slightly early.

curious, unique, delicious

In any case, and all technical issues aside, let’s get working on some pizza.

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Cocoa-Chipotle Tacos

May 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

E: At this very moment, sitting here writing this, I am five days away from receiving my college diploma. And, truth be told, it is and isn’t exciting. I always sort of figured I would get here, and so it isn’t exciting in an “I made it!” kind of way (though it is a relief to have made it through this semester alive). But I’m ready to either have the chance to go back in time and do it all again, or to be done and move on. And I am certainly ready to do that. As much as I’d like to put this week in stasis, before everyone goes their separate ways for a while or for ever, I’m truly ready to have some free time to do the things I want to do with my life.

One of those things is most certainly to get better at cooking, which is a big part of why Joanna and I do this blog thing anyway, rather than just making tasty food and consuming it in obscurity. Photographing and publishing about food forces you to be more critical of things that you make, to try them again and attempt to get them just right (I still have some gingerbread photos from Thanksgiving that haven’t gone up because the result was just so unpalatable to me that I have to find a successful recipe to post beside it, or I will feel like I’ve failed in my duties). And it also gives you a sort of reward, beyond the immediate gustatory satisfaction of preparing an excellent meal:  you get to share it with friends and strangers alike. Successes and failures alike will endure.

I wish I'd had time to make my own tortillas

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