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I love savory food for breakfast, especially when someone else cooks it.  This morning my husband hit it out of the park with skillet-fried mashed potato pancakes.  They were awesome—fluffy, crispy, and golden all over.  Two bites in, I was already insisting he transcribe the recipe to share with you.

Hungry yet? (more…)

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Japanese curry kare tofu cutlets

Rumor has it that curry made its way from India to Japan during the colonial period via the British navy. There it morphed into a mild, savory-sweet roux-based sauce that’s the perfect counterpoint to a crispy piece of pork or tofu.  If you’re used to eating coconut-milk laden or incredibly spicy curries, Japanese curry is a refreshing change of pace.

Intrigued?

It’s dead easy to make, armed with a box of Japanese curry roux.

1.  Drain, slice, and season firm tofu with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne. Put a pot of rice on to simmer.

tofu

2.  Coarsely chop and saute together carrots, potatos, onions, sweet potato, red bell pepper, and a bit of eggplant.*

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3.  Dredge seasoned tofu in flour.  Dip in beaten egg, then coat with panko (Japanese bread crumbs).  Season with salt.

Japanese panko bread crumbs

4. Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with oil. Arrange cutlets evenly on sheet and begin baking. Occasionally rotate the pan, but do not flip the cutlets.
baking curry cutlets

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fennel sausage pasta

I’ll be the first to admit: this is not the most photogenic dish to ever appear on Culinspiration. But although it’s not much to look at, this sauce is so good it had me pestering my friends Rachel and Julius for the recipe for weeks. Weeks! I couldn’t get the perfect melding of flavors out of my head: the caramelized shallot and fennel, the tender sausage, the kiss of tomato. I—who thought I didn’t like fennel!—was obsessed. And my pleading, borderline harassing e-mails requesting the recipe weren’t getting much response. Sheesh…you’d think they have a life or something.

Frankly, I was getting a little desperate. For pasta sauce.

Finally, I invited myself over we all sat down for dinner again, and I grilled my friends. Triumph! I got the recipe and am happy to share it with you. This is a brilliant dish to serve company— just a few ingredients, minimally prepped, which can simmer away while you uncork a bottle of wine. Just be prepared for the plaintive recipe requests from admirers later. 😉

fresh sage

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black-bean-soup

Credit:  Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

This recipe comes from Martha Rose Shulman of the New York Times, who publishes a ton of great-looking vegetarian recipes.  Beans are not only a protein- and fiber-rich food, they’re also super economical.  And if you have any leftover bags of spinach lurking in your refrigerator, this recipe is your friend.  I think it would be great with a side of cucumber or jicama salad, or slaw!

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If you like lasagna, beef bolognese, or even Cincinnati chili, you’ll love this dish hailing from Greece.  Pastitsio is a layered casserole of tubular pasta tossed with hard cheese and topped off with meat sauce (spiced with cinnamon, clove, and oregano) and lightly browned bechamel sauce.  With so many delicious ingredients, how could it not be good?

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grandma maroni's meatballs

Okay, okay, so technically this 100-year old recipe beat Bobby Flay in a “throwdown,” but “smackdown” just sounds so much better.  That guy can be a cocky S.O. …well, you know.  I haven’t tried them yet, but intend to soon—just as soon as I come up for air amidst all this wedding planning.  This week I’ll also be posting a cheesy, meaty, baked Greek pastitisio recipe that will rock your tastebuds, so please stand by.  Thanks!  In the meantime, here’s the recipe for champion meatballs from the Food Network:

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Cooking for one is sometimes an (unexciting) necessity.  To me, it’s much more fun to cook imagining someone else groaning in pleasure after taking a bite.  (Hey, a girl can dream, right? 😉 )  But anyway, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to cook up a big pot of soup or whole roast when there’s just one mouth to feed—my own.   The dish that follows is perfect for small-scale cooking.  It’s quick and tasty, and even slightly redeems itself with the inclusion of roasted Brussel sprouts.

Vegetarians could omit the bacon without sacrificing too much flavor, esp. if the sprouts get nice and toasty.  Just toss in a little Baconnaise or something. (more…)

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