While I will admit to a fondness for baked beans, I’ve always shied away from the canned version because I am not a fan of sweet foods. Sure, I’ll indulge if I encounter the canned version, but I won’t buy them unless I have a serious craving.
Yeah, I crave baked beans.
If the craving is minor and time is plentiful — or I know I need a killer dish to bring to a barbecue — I go straight for my crockpot and let the beans cook overnight. The slow cooker does all the work of cooking the beans through while developing a rich sauce that is just sweet enough with some tangy and spicy flavors to balance that sweetness. Best of all: no soaking required! I just toss everything into the crockpot, and let it work while I catch up on TV and much-needed sleep.
I’ve never been a huge fan of tomatoes, though I am trying (and finding them to be less, well, icky than I tell myself). But when I tried an Israeli shakshuka — a dish traditionally made with tomatoes and peppers — in a restaurant, I fell in love. It’s a breakfast dish, but I’d eat it any time of day or night.
One evening, I was playing with tomatillos and greens, considering a chile verde type dish. I didn’t have a plan, and I didn’t have any pork handy. I did have eggs, and it made sense to add the eggs to the dish. Voila! Later, I poked around the Internet for ideas to improve this dish; weirdly, what I found came out as a cross between one of my favorite ways to prepare greens and this final dish. The real difference is the tomatillo, which adds a lot of tanginess to the dish (and makes it a bit juicier than the greens alone).
Serve this to vegetarians and they will think you’re a genius. Serve it for brunch. For dinner. Take leftovers for lunch. You will thank yourself. I promise.
Gochujang is a fermented, spicy bean paste that traditionally accompanies Korean dishes. The fermenting traditionally happens over time, yielding a deep, earthy flavor that makes you crave more. My recipe, as you might guess, is not super-traditional.
It is gluten free, though. So many commercial gochujang products out there have gluten added in the form of wheat or barley. Since finding gluten-free versions of this dish can be challenging, I’ve worked out my own version based on recipes I’ve found online. If I do say so myself, it is delicious.
I love kale. Of course, I love all leafy greens…give me chard, and I’m yours for life! I have a friend who makes an amazing kale salad with a pucker-your-mouth lemon vinaigrette. You know the dressing is intense when I think the amount of lemon is just, exactly, perfectly right.
Her salad inspired mine. I wilted the kale so it wasn’t so tough. Then I made a light vinaigrette to complement the kale. Finally, because lemon and kale are perfect together, I added a bit of preserved lemon. The salty, lemony flavor makes this dish!
Vindaloo is a tangy, spicy curry with origins in Portugal — the vin in vindaloo stands for “vinha de alhos”, or wine vinegar. The spiciness comes from a mix of warm spices such as cumin and coriander, as supplemented by a bit of cayenne. My husband would probably eat this dish every day if he could.
If you have time, marinate your chicken — or lamb, beef, pork — in some of the curry paste before cooking. If not, no worries. I prefer chicken thighs over chicken breasts because they carry more flavor. If have breasts on hand, they’re a fine choice.
As with most curries, this recipe is naturally gluten free. The list of ingredients is long, but don’t let that daunt you. The whole thing comes together very quickly!
I’ll be honest: I was never a huge fan of tabbouleh. I think it was my body’s way or warning me away from foods that made me sick because all the components of tabbouleh are delicious on their own. Which makes this gluten-free tabbouleh just about perfect…and a bit addictive.
Serve it with homemade falafel. Or bring as a side salad to a party.
Coconut rice is a great complement to Thai-inspired dishes. Or spicy dishes. Or, you know, dishes that benefit from rice that is a notch above ordinary (salmon, for example). I find keeping a couple of cans of coconut milk in my pantry at all times is a great idea — it’s surprising how often I need this staple.