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photos by gluttonforlife

4.15.13 Sweet, Salty, Spicy

It's a holy trinity. A tempting trifecta. To me there's nothing better than an exquisite balance of sweet and salty with a stealthy infusion of heat to kick it up just enough. It's why I love fresh summer fruit—mango, melon, pineapple, strawberries—macerated with jalapeño or sprinkled with chile salt. And it's the magic behind my all-time favorite caramels, made with chocolate, chile and Maldon salt. That same combination infuses a stellar treat dreamed up by baking maven Dorie Greenspan. Her new business, Beurre & Sel, run by son Josh and staffed in part by my very own sister-in-law (a talented baker in her own right), has been tantalizing tastebuds with cookies both classic and creative. My favorite are the ones that play savory elements (sesame, parmesan, rosemary, cayenne) off sweet ones. Dorie has dubbed these "cocktail cookies" because of how well they complement a drink. I've tweaked her recipe for the cocoa-cayenne cocktail cookies slightly, using gluten-free flour and incoporating the earthy crunch of cocoa nibs, but I think it still it does justice to the original.
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Tagged — spicy
Leather-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.14.12 Warm Leatherette

One of the great things about starting this blog has been connecting to kindred spirits near and far, some of them with blogs of their own. Distances collapse in the virtual landscape, rendering us all just a keyboard away. But true connections inevitably materialize in 3-D—as recipients of my caramels discovered—and on occasion this means little packages of pure joy winging their way to me from Julia (quince & sour cherry preserves; grape, fig & walnut conserve); from Rob & David (birch syrup and homemade herbes de Provence); and from Janet (wild lime catsup and Buddha's hand preserves). This last creature is an old pal from 20 years ago. We had long gone our separate ways only to chance upon one another and discover how our paths had neatly converged. Janet is an artist (married to an artist), mother and writer living on a farm. Her newish blog, A Raisin & A Porpoise, is full of her hilariously wry wit, but also poignant insights and recipes for nourishing dishes that I actually want to cook right away, like this divine dip and these gingerbread muffins. And the spicy fruit leather, above, which she kindly presents to you here, in her own words.
 

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Tagged — spicy
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photo by gluttonforlife

6.7.11 Hill o' Beans

Before I move on to telling you about the best baked beans on the planet, a few words of business. The new print feature, which allows you to print a formatted pdf of recipes, is up and running, but only works on recipes that have been coded. For now, that is only new recipes, but I am working furiously to get the rest done. As they are coded, they will also begin to appear in my new recipe archive (on the right hand side), which you'll be able to use to scan through content. Make sense? All in good time, my lovelies, all in good time.And now, to the beans. I debated calling these "Bean Candy," because they are so sweet, sticky and luscious. They are the ultimate summer side dish but so substantial I prefer to think of them as the centerpiece. These beans are a great example of how you can use just a bit of meat as flavoring while having a high-fiber, nutritious meal. We recently enjoyed them with a pan of hot cornbread and some spicy red cabbage slaw. It definitely did not feel like anything was missing.
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Tagged — spicy
Lamb-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.21.11 Meaty Monday: Lamb Vindaloo

I arose this morning to the deep silence of new-fallen snow, a world blanketed white. Today is a holiday. An opportunity to putter about guilt-free, reading yesterday's paper, enjoying a leisurely cup of chai. Thoughts turn to the cubes of lamb I pulled from the freezer to defrost overnight. Something warming is in order, a comforting braise of some sort, but nothing that requires too much work. Perhaps a spicy vindaloo is just the thing. It can marinate for hours, and then G can stir it on the stovetop while I'm at yoga this evening. A group effort, and yet not much effort at all. Brown rice, sauteed spinach and a little raita. That's dinner on this Meaty Monday. A day off for you might mean ordering in, but it's actually much more indulgent to inhale the wonderful smells of aromatics and spices, knowing that a delicious curry is in your future.
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i love the earthy palette of these fragrant spices

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Tagged — spicy
Chutney blog-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

4.28.10 Seeing Red 2.0

I adore chutneys, with their wonderfully complex mix of flavors: hot, sour, salty, sweet. They're like a perfect storm for your tastebuds. This one combines tart rhubarb with dark brown sugar, cider vinegar, sour cherries and a host of spices and aromatics: cumin, coriander, garlic, hot chiles, ginger and fresh turmeric. Look for this last in an Indian market, or substitute a teaspoon of ground dried turmeric. It has a wonderfully bitter bite and a rich saffron color that will stain everything in sight.
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Tagged — spicy
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12.11.09 How Sweet It Is

Does candy-making seem way too daunting? Here's a little secret: all it takes is a clip-on thermometer and a tireless stirring arm. (Doesn't even need to be yours!) More than ten years ago, I began making caramels to give away to clients and friends during the holiday season. They've developed quite the rabid fan base and, at this point, I can't really get away with not making them. (Quite a few people have suggested I start a business selling these caramels, but I think, like Haley's comet, their occasional appearance contributes to their coveted status.)
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Tagged — spicy
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photo by george billard

8.30.09 Got Tomatoes?

I can't stand the rain. OK, not true, but it did wreak a lot of havoc this summer. It was not the year for tomatoes, as you may have heard. Ahem. As you can see here, we started out with some very promising plants. They produced tons of big, gorgeous heirloom specimens that had us dreaming of fresh salads and BLTs and even an aspic or two. BUT THEN THE BLIGHT HIT. And wiped us out. That's right. All that compost and pampering amounted to a hill of beans when the torrential rains hit and the fungus came to town. (It's a strain of the very thing that wiped out all those potatoes in Ireland causing the famed famine.) From one day to the next, we went from tomato-rich to tomato-destitute. No love apples for us. One plant of yellow cherry tomatoes survived, bless her feisty little heart. If you've been luckier, then this recipe is for you.
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Tagged — spicy

8.17.09 Killer Pickled Okra

My friend Carolyn’s old girlfriend Mimi, a Jew from Texas, first turned me on to pickled okra with this very brand. After encountering a beautiful crop at Juno's Farm in the Union Square farmers' market, I was inspired to replicate them. I wish I could say I grew my own but the truth is that one lone okra plant is all that survived this year's torrents. It did produce some gorgeous creamy flowers and a few long, elegant pods but not enough to put up.
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Tagged — spicy
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7.30.09 Jammed Up

Last summer I got it together to can a bunch of beautiful produce from the farmers’ market in Union Square. Among the best things I made was pickled okra and this addictively sweet-spicy tomato jam, which is unbelievably delicious. The nice thing is, if you are canning-phobic, you can make this recipe as written and just keep a pint in your fridge. It’s chunky, gooey and absolutely divine slathered on a cracker with goat cheese, alongside grilled meats and roast chicken or straight from the jar on a spoon. I multiplied the quantities by 10 for canning and would do so again—in a year when I am not otherwise occupied in packing to move house.
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Tagged — spicy
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