Muhammara is a delicious Middle Eastern dip similar to hummus and baba ganoush that will make a perfect addition to your next appetizer platter. Originally from Aleppo, Syria, this somewhat unknown dish is popular in Levantine and Turkish cuisine. We first discovered this tangy spread at Carousel, a local Lebanese restaurant, and immediately fell in love with its smooth, creamy texture and sharp, smoky flavor. We were excited to find an authentic recipe and thrilled when we discovered how easy it was to make this at home. This ancient tradition mixes roasted red peppers with fresh cloves of chopped garlic, toasted walnuts, and a splash of lemon, which is blended with crispy bread crumbs, and seasoned with cumin and red pepper flakes for a hint of heat. This lively mix of flavors is balanced with pomegranate molasses, a thick, tart sauce made from concentrated pomegranate juice which is common in Middle Eastern cooking, that adds a slight sweetness, a zesty pep, and a stunning rusty-red color.
If you have ever had the pleasure of trying a true Belgian waffle, then you know that they are entirely different from the ones in the United States. Three years ago around the holidays, we were visiting our family who live in Amsterdam, and we took a three day side trip to Belgium, wandering the fairytale streets of Bruges, climbing spiral staircases in old medieval castles in Ghent, and roaming around a Christmas market in Antwerp sampling freshly made hot chocolate and of course the waffles that the country is so famous for. We tried several kinds during our short trip, and surprisingly, the best ones were at the train station on our way back to Holland. We knew they were going to be good when the baker asked us if we could wait five minutes while he made a fresh batch so we could enjoy them hot from the iron. Trying these authentic Belgian waffles was an experience that we will always remember. They were nothing like the waffles that we grew up eating for breakfast, as these didn’t come with any toppings or condiments. They had a sweet and crispy glazed exterior covered in a crust of glistening sugar like the best creme brulee, and a soft, sweet and buttery, chewy inside with pockets of molten sugar throughout. We thought that we would never be able to replicate the complex texture and unique sweetness of that incredible delight, but this recipe we discovered perfectly captures the authentic flavors of Belgium that we remember from that glorious day.
We are so lucky to be living in a time when you can take an old-fashioned recipe, update it with healthier ingredients, and make it just as good or better than the original. While tater tots are a popular classic, they are usually fried and not the most nutritious snack in the world. So when we were looking online for tasty alternatives and stumbled upon this crowd-pleaser, it wasn’t long before we were buying the simple ingredients and trying it for ourselves. Made with fresh tender broccoli and seasoned with a hint of lemon and chives, these crispy tots have pockets of melted cheddar cheese in every bite. They are incredibly addictive, but since they are good for you and high in vitamins, you can have as many as you like!
Sometimes the best recipes are also the most simple, like this rustic Italian dish that uses just eight basic ingredients that might be in your kitchen right now. We searched for years trying to get the flavor and texture right, so we were thrilled to find this delicious pasta that turned out to be better than some dishes from our favorite restaurants. In the past, our spaghetti aglio e olio (“garlic and oil” in Italian) would turn out bland and boring no matter what we did. But we learned some simple tricks that make these noodles some of the most flavorful we have ever tasted.
It is a complete mystery to us why this simple and delicious, four-ingredient breakfast isn’t listed on every menu across the country. They are much easier and quicker to make than pancakes or waffles, not to mention there’s no waffle iron to clean. Everything is mixed in one bowl, cooked in one pan, and baked to a golden perfection in just fifteen minutes. A dutch baby is a beautiful and rustic dish similar to a pancake, but has toasted crispy edges, with a tender crepe-like center. As it bakes, it puffs up and rises high above the sides of the skillet like a gorgeous soufflé, before deflating dramatically when it emerges hot from the oven. There are so many wonderful toppings to choose from so you can make it differently every time, and this is where the fun begins.