Wow, has it been a year?
#CookClub, our online community cooking project, celebrates its first birthday this month, and I have to say this toddler is quite advanced. Walking? Running is more like it. This year, #CookClub won awards for digital innovation from the Association of Food Journalists and the Florida Society of News Editors.
But I really gauge its success by the growing number of participants, some from as far away as Canada, Australia and England. Yes, #CookClub is global but it's uber local, too. Readers of the Tampa Bay Times and tampabay.com have joined the group, participating in a number of ways. If you haven't taken the plunge, consider this your formal invitation to join our exceedingly informal and fun group of home cooks. (See more instructions accompanying this story.)...
Mon | Meatless meal
We hardly blink an eye at carrot in cake, but carrots as the primary flavor fuel of a pasta dish? Sure, why not? Their sweetness pairs deliciously with cream, nutmeg and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in Spaghetti With Carrots (recipe below), from Sarasota cookbook author and teacher Giuliano Hazan, son of the late, great Marcella Hazan. A green salad studded with white beans adds more protein....
It's good to have an interesting, go-to side dish recipe at the ready. For me side dishes tend to be an afterthought so we end up with a lot of steamed broccoli. Healthy, but a bit boring.
Pineapple Fried Rice, #CookClub recipe No. 25 from the food blog Natashaskitchen.com, is going into my favorite's file and I urge you to try it. With the fresh ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil it obviously has an Asian accent and goes well with many things. It's perfect alongside chicken and beef, but I especially like it with salmon, shrimp or scallops. It could be a one-dish vegan meal with the addition of tofu and/or edamame, or simply vegetarian with an egg or two whisked in while the rice mixture is cooking....
Susan Pridmore does something interesting with the classic watermelon and feta salad.
She sprinkles it with verjus, a highly flavorful but not so well-known juice made of grapes. It's actually a very young wine that's not fermented which means it has no alcohol content.
What it adds to this salad is punch, thanks to the acidity. She likes to use verjus because it cuts the amount of oil she needs to use in a vinaigrette. Watermelon and Feta Salad with Verjus is a salad that she particularly likes for potlucks and barbecues. ...
Mon | Meatless meal
Serve Grilled Portobello Burgers With Pickled Red Onion on whole-wheat buns. Garnish with spicy arugula and spread toasted buns with mayo mixed with chopped fresh tarragon. To make the quick pickles, marinate 1 sliced red onion in ½ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 ½ teaspoons of kosher salt for at least an hour in the refrigerator. Serve with baked potato wedges....
In Florida, there's still plenty of heat and humidity in the weather report but even so, when September rolls around I want to start experimenting with fall-centric recipes.
So that's why I was drawn to Herbed Mushroom Spoon Bread, from the charming new cookbook Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland by Tanya Holland (Chronicle Books, 2014).
It's a cross between traditional spoon bread and souffle. What makes it like souffle is that the eggs are separated and whites are whipped to medium stiffness and then folded into the cornmeal mixture. ...
Mon | Meatless fun
Mushroom and Spinach Omelets are this week's meatless meal. There aren't too many people among us who don't like breakfast for dinner. Saute mushrooms with a bit of minced garlic until they are just soft. Add spinach (either fresh or frozen that has been thawed and as dry as possible). Heat through and set aside. This is the filling for your omelets, to which I would add lots of feta cheese and even a sprinkle of paprika. Serve with hash browns and fruit....
By Janet K. Keeler • Times Food and Travel Editor
Pasta salad gets a bad rap. And deservedly so.
The big bowl of cold noodles is often bland and uninspired, underdressed and lacking punch. There has been many a party at which the pasta salad remains largely untouched.
It's time to change that sad state of affairs for your Labor Day gathering. ...
Mon | Meatless meal
Garden-Fresh Ratatouille can be served over penne pasta for a one-dish meal. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Add diced eggplant, bell pepper, tomatoes and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper, plus dried Italian seasoning blend (basil, oregano and thyme). Cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is soft. Finish with fresh chopped parsley. A few shaves of Parmesan to garnish. (This quick ratatouille can also be used to top a homemade flatbread or pizza. Jazz it up with crumbled feta or knobs of goat cheese, added before baking.)...
Bacon? Who needs bacon when you've got chorizo?
"Everything tastes better with chorizo," says Isabel Laessig of Dunedin who blogs at familyfoodie.com and is the founder of the #SundaySupper movement. (Join them at 7 p.m. ET every Sunday for a live Twitter chat.)
She is certainly right about her recipe for Portuguese Mussels and Shrimp in Chorizo Sauce, which gets a lot of flavor from the cured sausage....
When the kids go back to school, many of us return to the kitchen. Sure, we've cooked during the summer but when the school bell rings each fall, we seem to get more serious about schedules.
#CookClub recipe No. 23 is a Back-to-School Chicken Casserole that can be tailored to many tastes. I made it exactly as the accompanying recipe reads but as I was cooking, I thought of many ways to tinker....
Amy Kim — better known as Kimchi MOM on her blog — bought an ice cream maker at a yard sale a few years ago and finally dug it out to try her hand at homemade ice cream. Sound familiar?
She's had success even if she does stick to simple flavors, mostly vanilla and chocolate. Her recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered Potato Chips, which we are featuring as a #CookClub bonus, is inspired by Ben & Jerry's "Late Night Snack."...
Don't waste any time. Go out and get peaches while they are at their summer peak to make Grilled Peaches with Honey Cream, #CookClub recipe no. 22.
You may never serve another dessert the entire summer. It's that good.
Also, don't worry if you don't have a grill pan or outdoor grill. The peaches can be roasted in the oven, which is how I tested this recipe. It'll take a bit longer than the grill, but it's worth every minute....
In some circles, the number 13 is bad luck.
But for the Keeler elves and the many folks who enjoy cookies, we expect the Tampa Bay Times' 13th annual Christmas cookie issue to be the best one yet. After all, 13 is a baker's dozen, and that means there should be some extra treats this year.
Now for your part, because it's you, dear readers, who power this thing.
It's time to send in your favorite holiday cookie recipes for the baking-obsessed elves to test. Send as many recipes as you'd like — for bars, drops or cutouts; with nuts or without; iced, plain or sprinkled; gingerbread, peppermint or chocolate. The more we've got to choose from, the better the final selections. ...
Noris Ledesma is amused.
The curator of tropical fruit at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is explaining the difference between how people in her native Colombia eat mangoes and the meticulous way they are peeled and consumed in the United States.
You get your knives and your napkins, she told a packed house at a presentation at the 22nd annual International Mango Festival in July at Fairchild, and you carefully cut the fruit off center to miss the thin elliptical pit, score the halves, then flip them inside out and scrape out the cubes of fruit....