It's that time of year again where the The Hunger cleans out it's closet and gives you her hand me downs. No these aren't defective recipes or scraps from the trash. This are a collection of amazingly delicious dishes that weren't quite pretty enough to get a full blown photo spread. You know, kinda like the fourth place winner of an Oklahoman beauty pageant. Pretty, but perhaps one leg is a bit shorter than the other giving you an interesting but unfashionable limp. Squint until slightly blurry and enjoy these hidden treasures. If only you could taste through your computer screen. That would be freakishly odd but at least then you would be able to appreciate how scrumptious these dishes were.
Duck confit is one of my top ten favorite foods. It's duck that has been poached and preserved in it's own fat. It's such a luxurious tasting food. The collard greens have been braised with white wine, garlic, and a bit of duck fat as well until perfectly tender. The couscous in this dish was steamed in tomato water which is basically the strained clear juices from fresh, ripe tomatoes seasoned with coriander and cumin seeds.
I strayed from my usual way of cooking manila clams (which I love) of steaming them in vermouth with chorizo. I deviated and experimented and it paid off. A bit more delicate but still packed with flavor. I loved the lamb sausages (similar to merguez) kick and the cava added a tasty hint of sweet/salty/sour. I swear you could "taste" the bubbles even though the carbonation was cooked off. Don't forget the crusty bread to sop up the amazing juices in the pan.
Korma never looks pretty. At best it looks like a lumpy reject sausage that lost it's casing and at worst it looks like your cat missed it's litter box and found your plate instead. Essentially korma is a hand formed sausage or dumpling depending on what culture you talk to. They are freaking delicious. A mix of earthy toasted spices and ground black bear backstrap, this was a pretty unique and tasty take on a Middle Eastern staple. Are there bears in Egypt?
Arepas are fried corn meal cakes that you can stuff or top with any type of yummy filling. I made spicy Cuban mojo braised, shredded chicken thighs stewed with tomato, cumin, adobo, garlic, and onions. Escabeche is basically pickled hot peppers like the jalapenos you see at the salsa bar at the Mexican restaurant. Picante and delisioso! By the way, I already know that I have no concept of where commas belong so shut up you crazy grammar Nazis. Does, this, bug: you?!
The Italians don't have a copyright on lasagna. Nope, the Greeks have been making their own versions of the layered pasta dish just as long. I had roasted some root veggies from the farmers market and decided to create my own version of the comforting dish. To counter balance the sweetness of the beets and parsnips I layered in some salty feta and made a spicy Mediterranean style tomato sauce with a little cinnamon and lemon zest. How do you say mangia in Greek?
Right after you make polenta and serve it up make sure you pour what's left in a shallow square dish. That way the following day you can cut it into little squares and fry them off in olive oil for crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside polenta frita. The lamb sugo (which means sauce) is ground lamb sausage, Hungarian hot peppers, onions, garlic, tomato, and fresh basil. Dishes made from leftovers are sometimes better than the original dishes they came from. This is one of those dishes.
Stewed pinto beans with white rice on a soft tortilla served with chorizo and fried eggs. The perfect Mexican breakfast. Make this when you're hungover. That's what I did. Uhhh, time to go. I need some aspirin.