Market White Bean Salad
As a way of settling back into our life in Haiti, I have been visiting local markets. I love the challenge of putting together meals with my daily market finds. I had a pot of beautiful local white beans soaking at home as I headed out to shop for this weeknight salad. My market haul yielded local cherry tomatoes, kale, green beans and shallots. I made a bold citrus vinaigrette for my Market White Bean Salad, and served it with grilled fish. A fresh hearty salad to round out a meal with new friends.
Slow Roasted Ginger Honey Pulled Pork
Since our last post, Rebecca and I have been in transition mode, moving back to our life here in Haiti from the US. With bags fully unpacked, two kids settled, and a week of work under our belts, it was time to celebrate this weekend. Meat in Haiti is free-range and very flavorful, but also tends to be quite tough. This lends itself to low and slow cooking. This Slow Roasted Ginger Honey Pulled pork is deeply flavored, and easy to make; perfect for weekend sandwiches under the mango tree after the kids are down for the night. It is good to be home again!
Mediterranean Beef Kebabs
"COOK!" "COOK!" .... "Mmmmmm!" Our 16-month-old daughter will proclaim as she urgently points to the stove around meal times. Our Madeline is both patient and persistent in her quest for food, and will next proceed to helpfully list all her favorite foods for us to cook, meat...blueberries...strawberries, with the ever present refrain; "COOK!" Yes, our daughter is a voracious carnivore who swings her little legs and claps her hands in delight when she gets meat for her meals. These Mediterranean Beef Kebabs are one in a long-line of meat dishes Paul has concocted for Madeline, and they are as delicious as they are simple to make! And if you give them a try, you might just find your guests swinging their legs in delight too.
Recado and Lime Braised Chicken
Recado and Lime Braised Chicken is an easy, vibrant, deep, and tangy chicken dish that we love to make and serve to guests. This week we have been eating it on Venezuelan arepas with pickled red onions, avocado and a fried egg, last week we made our version of a pulled chicken sandwich on Paul's homemade bread with a creamy sauce. This dish is Paul's creation and takes his stunning version of Mexican colorado recado paste, and makes it into a rich braising liquid that allows the pungent recado flavors. Recado and Lime Braised Chicken is easy to make, and is a versatile an endlessly flexible dish, on tacos, over rice, with potatoes, or in sandwiches.
Marinated Herbed Zucchini
Craving something fresh, Paul picked up a basket of summer squash at the market on the way home from work yesterday. Marinated Herbed Zucchini is a beautiful and flavorful summer starter that transforms summer's bounteous zucchini and squash into something unexpected and delicious. Whether you're looking for a creative new salad...or just searching for something other than zucchini bread to make with the summer squashes piling up in your kitchen, this is a winner!
Sweet & Spicy Sesame Wings
For us, the month of May means barbecue season, and with long weekend celebrations this month in Canada, the States, and National Flag day here in Haiti, we thought it was time for chicken wings. We first started making this addictive wings recipe last year when an abundance of hot pepper jelly made it into the fresh produce boxes of our CSA. Paul created these Sweet & Spicy Sesame Wings with a pungent sesame, garlic and fresh ginger sauce that is a slam dunk recipe to add to your grilling repertoire this season.
Smokey Mexican Chile Paste, Chilmole
Last weekend, Rebecca and I moved into our permanent house here in Haiti. What a relief after months of transition. With food on the mind, our first order of business was setting up the grill! And yes, if you were wondering... it is the same grill we had in Pittsburgh for 8 years, lovingly disassembled and brought over in a suitcase by my MacGyver-of-a-father. As temperatures rise, there is just something special about grilled food. Maybe its that the smokey char reminds me of campfires and sleeping under the stars, maybe its just the uncomplicated joy of cooking over flames. For me, this Smokey Mexican Chile Paste is the closest thing there is to bottling all that is beautiful about grilling. Our non-traditional take on Mexican chilmole paste tempers the hard char of the classic black version, for a lighter, more fruity chili flavor. This paste is excellent for making red rice, a great base for barbecue sauces, a go-to rub for meats, and a potent flavor boost for chilis and other soups.
It is a big week for us. Friday marked our first official day as country representatives, and tomorrow we are moving into our new house. The thought of unpacking after 6 months makes me giddy! This week's transition seems more final than the previous ones, it feels like we have finally arrived at our destination, Haiti is home. As we have explored Haitian culture through food, pikliz was our first culinary attempt. Pikliz is a beloved Haitian condiment; a pickled cabbage dish with spices and citrus notes, that often accompanies rich or fried foods. Our usual make-taste-adjust routine was somewhat stymied, when after our 9th batch, we just couldn't seem to get a consensus from our Haitian friends and co-workers, of the flavor profile for the perfect pikliz. More heat, more sweet, less sour, more citrus, less salt, more salt, add color, more crunch. Finally we figured it out, there is no perfect master recipe. This is our favorite version of our many, many batches. Enjoy tinkering with the recipe to make pikliz your own. This tangy condiment is fantastic with all manner of meat, hot dogs, burgers, and stewed dishes.
Black Pepper & Lime Caesar Salad
My mother and sister flew to Haiti last week, the final visit in an amazing month of family guests. First Madeline's uncle arrived on a spur of the moment 48-hour trip to cuddle his new niece. Next to arrive was her grandpa and grandma, traveling to Haiti from Indiana, narrowly avoiding a political protest near the airport on the day of their arrival. Madeline's omi and opi from Canada made it in time to see her first smiles, and last week she met her aunt from Pittsburgh for the first time. It has been an incredible expression of love and support from both of our families as they trekked to Haiti, schlepping our many bags along with them. Each time, as I passed our little daughter over to her newly arrived family member, it was a moving experience. Perhaps it's the postpartum hormones... but there was just something about the contrast of having moved to a new place without family, and then watching the faces of our parents and siblings as they held our daughter for the first time that put a lump in my throat. So how does this all relate to this most excellent black pepper lime caesar salad recipe you might ask? My family is nuts for caesar salad. So as I paced the house waiting for my mother and sisters' delayed flight last week, I made my new favorite variation with black pepper and lime. I perfected this version over the last few months while pregnant and unable to eat the classic caesar dressing with raw eggs. I discovered mayonnaise to be a creamy and delicious substitute and swapped out the traditional lemon in favor of local key limes. This is an addictive dressing, so I recommend just going ahead and doubling it the first time.
Slow Roasted Mayan Pork with Garlic Salsa
Today marks Madeline's first full week outside the womb, and most aspects of our life have irreversibly changed. Cooking and eating together has been the one constant in this topsy turvy new world since we arrived home from the hospital. A food focus persisted during labor as I panted out a list of food requests in between contractions. Paul, both remembered every request and has been cheerfully cooking up a storm this last week. Yesterdays' creation was a yeasty sugar rush of homemade cinnamon rolls, but the vast majority of my requests have been for roasted aromatic meats like this Slow Roasted Mayan Pork with Garlic Salsa. This dish is a Paul invention, which means making use of some extraordinary homemade condiments (Xac spice mix and charred garlic salsa), the end result is transcendent.
Spiced Roasted Garlic Butter
We are both great lovers of butter in all its forms. Since butter is a luxury product in Haiti running around $12 a pound, we feel like it deserves special treatment and the addition of roasted garlic and the warm, sweetly spiced, and earthy flavors Yucatán Spice Rub, Xac, takes things to a whole different level. In this flavorful butter, a base of roasted garlic is mixed with the pungent flavors of Mexican cinnamon, oregano, allspice, pepper, cloves, bay and cumin. Slather this on garlic bread, meat, fish, roasted vegetables...we haven't found a medium yet that doesn't benefit from this punchy butter.
Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Soup
Yesterday was our last day of work, a bittersweet time in many ways. We left after saying reluctant goodbyes to many wonderful co-workers. It was an unusually silent car as we drove away, each of us lost in our own thoughts, until a loud rumble and clanking sound broke our melancholic lull. Our pensive quiet was replaced with a resigned amusement and a jolt back to practicality; we had managed to get a flat tire before we even left the parking lot. A tire change, careful drive home, and a trip to our local garage later, we were famished by the time we finally made it home. We heated up some Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Soup we'd made earlier in the week and dunked some of Paul's sourdough bread into the sweet goodness while we talked through our next life step. This soup is a master at capturing the nuanced sweetness of natural caramelization and the subtle nuttiness of roasted onion, garlic and butternut squash. While Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Soup tastes rich and complex, it is in reality just a very simple roasted vegetable puree turned into a velvety fall soup. We have adapted this recipe from James Peterson. For more information on his soup cookbook and others, check out our bookshelf.
Garlic Lemon Roast Chicken
Having an American-Canadian binational marriage comes with perks, one of which is two Thanksgivings: twice the feasting, with just enough time in between to allow for a full recovery. In honor of Canadian Thanksgiving, and the coming of cold weather, we wanted to share our go-to roast bird. This simple recipe avoids the complex trussing, stuffings, bags, frying, brining, injecting, or other techniques that can mystify and frustrate the home cook. Our Garlic Lemon Roast Chicken is ready for the oven in minutes, works every time, has moist meat and crispy skin, and is deeply infused with the flavors of lemon and garlic.
Charred Garlic Salsa
To celebrate the garlic season, we've been eating batch after batch of this sweet, smokey, and nutty Charred Garlic Salsa. It's easy to slip into thinking of garlic as a year-round kitchen workhorse, rather than as a seasonal specialty worth savoring in its own right. If you've never paused to taste the difference between early summer's stale grocery garlic and the in-season local variety, this is the perfect vehicle to indulge. Charred Garlic Salsa is inspired by the flavors and techniques of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, and is delicious with chips, on bread, with grilled meats, tacos, or as an amazing condiment for sandwiches.
Southwest Black Bean Salad
In high school while browsing for recipes for a Mother’s Day brunch, I was struck by a colorful sounding 'Stoplight Salad' in my Mom’s copy of Simply in Season. My sister and I added it to our Mother’s Day menu that year, and it became a family staple. Through the years, I have created my own version with a bit more of a Southwest flair, swapping in a potent lime-cumin vinaigrette and handfuls of herbs and fruit for contrast. In college, when I needed a dish for a potluck with some Amish friends, I didn’t think twice before whipping up my Southwest Black Bean Salad…what had seemed like a good idea in my dorm room started making me nervous when I saw my garishly bright salad sitting amidst a table of creamy noodle casseroles. Before I could withdraw my food offering, the head cook stuck her spoon in my salad, and I was given a nod of approval, I quietly let out my breath and tried to act nonchalant. Southwest Black Bean Salad is a pungent, bright, and refreshing salad with corn, tomatoes, herbs, and a customizable base of seasonal vegetables and fruit. It has been my most requested recipe over the years, and is an infinity adaptable salad that will be devoured every time. I’d love to hear your favorite combinations! To read more about Simply in Season and our other favorite cookbooks, check out our Bookshelf.
Grilled Vegetable Soba Noodles with Rosemary Garlic Sauce
Cooking delicious food for guests with dietary preferences calls for creative use of the season's bounty. Our goal for a weeknight dinner with friends was a vegetarian, gluten-free main dish, using seasonal vegetables, ready in 30 minutes. After a visit to our local famers’ market, we set to work creating a vegetable based pasta dish with flavor and texture that would appeal to a wide range of eaters. To make Grilled Vegetable Soba Noodles with Rosemary Garlic Sauce, we grilled up fresh broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and zucchini. With a roasted garlic sauce in mind, we added whole garlic cloves to the grill, to see if we couldn’t achieve a roasted garlic flavor without turning on the oven. It worked brilliantly. While the vegetables and garlic grilled, we cooked up a quick batch of buckwheat soba noodles, a toothsome noodle that is also gluten free and cooks in 4 minutes. For a subtle sauce that would accompany the dish without overpowering the fresh flavors, we clipped some rosemary from our garden, added our grill-roasted garlic, a flurry of nutty parmesan cheese, and bright lemon for contrast. Enjoy summer vegetables and homespun food shared with the ones you love.
Turkey Feta Burgers with Yogurt Curry Sauce
On a holiday weekend famous for feasting and barbecues, we wanted to share one of our favorite burgers. These healthy Turkey Feta Burgers with Yogurt Curry Sauce are quick to make, light on fat, and big on flavor. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also substitute the turkey in this recipe for another lean meat like lamb, buffalo, or venison. To top these burgers, we ditch the usual lettuce, and opt instead for the crips fresh accompaniments of cucumber, tomato, and homemade pickled red onions.
Grilled Asparagus & Halloumi with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette
May is cooperating rather well, and we are eating our way into spring with Asparagus. We threw a crisp bunch on a hot grill this week, along with cherry tomatoes and local halloumi cheese, and drizzled the chunky spears with a fresh and summer inspired tomato and basil vinaigrette. To a lovely weekend of eating!
Tomato Basil Vinaigrette
Spring lettuces have started coming into gardens and farmers markets, and with our fridge currently flush with local greens, we have been experimenting with new vinaigrettes. Tomato Basil Vinaigrette is our recent favorite, and we pour this fresh tasting dressing over everything from steak to grilled vegetables. With a base of pureed fresh tomatoes, spiked with basil's anise and peppery notes, Tomato Basil Vinaigrette eats like a warm summer's day. Tomato Basil Vinaigrette is also a great base dressing to customize with different tomato varieties and fresh herbs; tarragon and rosemary are both delicious.
Smokey Ancho Cheddar Burgers
In honor of festive eats and Mexican flavors on this Cinco De Mayo, we wanted to share one of our latest favorites: Smokey Ancho Cheddar Burgers. Despite the ample use of homemade Garlic Ancho Chile Paste, these burgers are not spicy, but bursting with sweet roasted garlic and smokey, earthy, dried anchos. Tangy melted cheddar, addictive ancho mayonnaise, and bright bursts of Yucatán Quick Pickled Red Onions garnish this delicious burger to mouthwatering perfection.
Charred Ancho Mexican Red Rice
Charred Ancho Mexican Red Rice has a mellow chile flavor and vivid hue which highlights the smokey, slightly sweet and garlicky flavors of our Garlic Ancho Chile Paste. This spicy rust colored Mexican red rice is complex and filling and can be served as a main, as a side dish to slow roasted meat, or as a starch base. Ancho chiles are ubiquitous in Mexican cuisine, we love their mild fruity flavor and always keep a large quantity on hand. Prolific Mexican cookbook author Rick Bayless, from whom this recipe is adapted, describes the flavor of anchos as “sweet dark cherries, prunes, and fresh tobacco." Charred Ancho Mexican Red Rice is an unusual rice dish, and one that has the benefit of being quick to make and can be easily made ahead, perfect for entertaining.
Garlic Ancho Chile Paste
Mexican chile pastes of many hues and potencies dotted our fridge in the days leading up to Easter. After a spirited debate about menu and theme, we decided to cook a Mexican inspired meal for the holiday. Armed with a dozen cookbooks, bags of chiles, and advice from the helpful staff at our local Latin market, we set to work testing the recipes. After many heaps of charred chiles, garlic and herbs were pureed and perfected, we had a winner.
This Garlic Ancho Chile Paste is smokey, slightly sweet, medium spicy, and richly layered with roasted garlic and spices. Chile pastes are common in Mexican cooking, providing a complex base, potent marinade, or vibrant accent flavor. Ancho chiles are one of our favorites. These dried reddish-brown poblano chile peppers are popular in Mexican cuisine. This gorgeous paste is the starring ingredient in our Charred Ancho Mexican Red Rice and Ancho Cheddar Burgers.
A few years ago we traveled to India. India is the place where Paul’s brother and sister-in-law met, and where Paul’s brother lived and worked for a number of years. It is a vibrant country with a huge diversity of cuisine. We learned early on in our travels, how hard it is to recreate dishes in our home kitchen without some hands-on experience of the regional cooking techniques and ingredients. Having struggled to master Indian cooking at home, we signed up for a cooking class in each region we visited, and Goan Vindaloo was at the top of our list.
Pork Vindaloo is a spicy, garlic and vinegar seasoned pork dish that comes from the South Indian state of Goa, known for its unique blend of Portuguese and Indian cuisine. Vindaloo’ s name comes from the Portuguese words ‘vinho,’ wine (vinegar) and ‘alhos,’ garlic. Introduced to Goa by Portuguese colonists, Vindaloo evolved with the addition of Indian spices and seasonings. Vindaloo is a uniquely pungent stew with a strong punch of garlic, vinegar and mustard, mellowed by rich coconut milk. Madhur Jaffey, an award winning Indian cooking authority, is a wonderful resource if you are looking to make Indian food at home, and our recipe for Pork Vindaloo follows in her style of simplified Indian cooking.