Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
It’s not easy trying to come up with great recipes I think you all will enjoy. Some weeks, I just want to cuddle up on the couch and French kiss a bag of Styrofoam cheese puffs. But I doubt that you, my loyal readers, would appreciate hearing about my steamy love affair with Ben and Jerry, or my secret stash of Snickers bars in the freezer.
I used to get my food inspiration by spending time at the supermarket, slowly and deliberately perusing the aisles. I’d usually start in the produce section, looking to see what’s fresh and glorious. I’d create recipes on the fly and fill my cart with ingredients from the imaginary dish that perched vividly in the thought bubble above my left eyebrow.
And then when I reached the seafood section, the glistening halibut would call for me, and blip! Sweet, buttery halibut with roasted tomatoes would quickly zap any trace of the previous dish in my head.
I’d have to run back through the aisles, returning ingredients and swapping out produce and plucking out new herbs. And then I’d get to the meat section and, oh, wow! Lamb is on sale! I can make Lamb Kabobs! I’d go through the exercise again.
I do consider this game great fun, though highly inefficient and awfully suspicious, especially to the loss-prevention team that eyeballs me every time I pass through.
If you’re looking for food inspiration for your own meals at home, I suggest a more elegant method. Here are some of my favorite Web sites for recipes and meal ideas:
Tastespotting ( www.tastespotting.com) and Food Gawker ( www.foodgawker.com) – People from all over the world upload photos and links to their creations, and only the drool-worthy photos get picked to be featured on this site. It’s like the intersection of food and pornography. If you’re a visual person, these two sites are for you.
Foodbuzz ( www.foodbuzz.com) – One of the best food communities online. You can search for members just in the your area and add them as friends. Want to see the most popular recipes by food bloggers this week? Or maybe find recipes by food bloggers in Argentina? Look here.
Stumble Upon ( www.stumbleupon.com) – If you have a highly addictive personality, do not, I repeat, do not use this browser add-on tool. StumbleUpon is like channel surfing the Internet; each click of the button brings up a different Web page based on your interests and based on viewer feedback. You can rate thumbs up or thumbs down on each page, and the engine will fine-tune the results it sends back to you. There are millions of Web pages out there that are food-related; StumbleUpon helps you discover and rate them. I’ve spent hours clicking through new sites – it’s easy to get lost in all the wonderful food content out there in the World Wide Web.
I also want to share some new finds on the web – have fun exploring these blogs!
Under The Tuscan Gun: Debi (do you recognize her famous face?) and yumyum huzb Gabriele cook up some sexy Italian.
Use Real Butter You’ve got to make this insanely simple grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto from Jen! Technically Jen’s blog isn’t a new find, as I’ve known her since I’ve started blogging, but wanted to give her a shoutout in case you guys haven’t been over to her blog.
Sweet Paul I am so in love with Sweet Paul – I just discovered him via a Marx Foods contest. Not only is he the ONLY person in the world who can make prunes look drop dead gorgeous, but Sweet Paul also has easy decorating ideas for the home.
Wright Foods: I only have one thing to say. Any man with a temporary tattoo of a pig on his arm is cool with me. Okay, okay, so Matt’s not really a new find either, but just go visit him, will ya? He’s a good friend and has drop dead gorgeous food photography.
Bitchin Kitchen: If Nadia only knew how many times I’ve watched her video podcasts in the past 8 hours, she would think I’m a stalker.
So my inspiration for this recipe came from perusing some luscious photos from Tastespotting.com. One of the pics that caught my eye was of Greek spiced lamb kabobs, and off to the market I went. Fresh Market had a perfectly ripe mango, and I decided to make a salsa or chutney out of it. The week before, Michelle of the Culinary Sherpas brought me to Acropolis Greek Tavern in Ybor City in Tampa, where we both slathered whipped feta spread onto pita bread. And that’s how this meal was born.
Makes 4 servings.
For the mango chutney:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno, seeds discarded and finely diced
1 large mango, diced
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat a small pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the red onions and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes.
For the whipped feta and pita
6 ounces feta crumbles
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients except for the pita bread in a blender or food processor and pulse for 15 seconds, until smooth and creamy. Serve with pita bread.
For the lamb kabobs
1 pound ground lamb
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing on grill
24 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Form long “patties” around doubled skewers. You can grill the kabobs on your outdoor grill or in your broiler, 3-4 minutes each side. Make sure you brush the grates with a bit of olive oil so the kabobs do not stick to the grates.