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The Holiday Leftover Round-Up | A Creative Cooking Challenge

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We tackled leftovers in this month’s challenge. You know, what to do with this and that … and how to repurpose leftovers so you’re not just eating the same thing over and over again. Click on the various links to see the genesis and transformation of these dishes.

We hope we inspire you to get creative and have fun in the kitchen. Continue Reading

Leftovers: Or How I Turned My Fancy French-Inspired New Year’s Eve Dinner Into a Spicy Asian Fusion Meal

New Year’s Eve was all about indulgences … foie gras with an apple gastrique and chutney, bone marrow, triple créme cheese and baguette rounds that served as the vehicle for all those delectable starters. Then came some shrimp and lentils (for New Year good luck) followed by a main course of cornish hens and black rice. Not just any cornish hens, either. These birds had a little foie gras under the skin and were basted with the fat rendered from the foie. Indulgent!

Though not French, the Chinese black rice was treated with a mirepoix which also included fennel and was mixed with chopped dates and toasted pecans for a little sweet-savory to complement the birds. Side dish: roasted string beans and mushrooms with a little gorgonzola topping. Continue Reading

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve 2014 and New Year’s Day 2015

New Year's Eve 2014

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Old Traditions Die, a New Pasta Shape with Red Lentils and Walnuts

The first half of my life was very much influenced by my Italian-American surroundings … my paternal relatives, my Brooklyn and Staten Island neighborhoods, and my extended family and friends.

That meant I grew up eating all the traditional “Italian” foods of that era. Continue Reading

Rum-Infused Chestnut Bonbons with Dark Chocolate-Crystallized Ginger Dust

“Make something for the Thanksgiving dessert table” … that was this month’s Creative Cooking Challenge.

Since I don’t keep a particularly sweet kitchen and I’m no baker, this one was a little difficult to conceptualize. But, I was determined (as I usually am for these challenges) to look around and go with ingredients I already had on hand. I came up with roasted chestnuts, chocolate-covered crystalized ginger (thank you Trader Joe’s), rum from Puerto Rico and a few pantry spices. Continue Reading

Trick or Treat: Meatballs + Spaghetti with Vodka Sauce for a Creative Culinary Crew Challenge

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It’s October — and that means Halloween. And you know what Halloween means … nothing is quite like what it seems.

The Creative Cooking Crew’s challenge this month is to have some fun with the holiday. I decided to play a little virtual trick or treat. But it turned out more like a ‘trick and treat’. Continue Reading

Sicilian Style Pork Meatballs on a Cheesy Butternut Squash Mash

I’ve got Sicily on my mind. After many trips to Italy, I’m finally looking south and exploring  a 2015 trip to Sicily and southern Italy. Yeah, I know, I recently said almost the same thing about a trip to the Yucatan in 2015. I’m doing both.

So, what makes a meatball Sicilian? Continue Reading

Warm, Spicy and Savory Apple Pot Pie with Cool Apple Cream and Sweet Apple Slaw | A Creative Cooking Crew Challenge

This month’s challenge allowed us to pick our own ingredient to star in a dish. Easy, right? Well, no … we had to showcase it both hot and cold!

I used the double definitions of ‘hot’ (temperature and spicy) and ‘cold’ (temperature and cooling-off spice effect) in 3 separate apple applications in this dish. Continue Reading

An Asian-Inspired Dinner Party or Anyone Can Cook Anything!

Yeah, that’s my take on cooking food outside your ethnicity. All it takes is knowing what you like, a few good seasoning agents*, a dash of confidence and access to google for recipes or to answer any last-minute questions. It may not be “authentic”, but it could (should) be tasty.

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