The holidays are here and it truly is a wonderful time of year. There is a cheerful spirit in the air that brings people together. Neighborhoods sparkle with colored lights, friends gather for festive parties filled with spiced drinks and sweet treats, and the cooler temperatures revitalize us, bringing an uplifting and refreshing energy to the new year. And on Christmas day, while many families will be roasting turkeys, baking gingerbread cookies, and sipping eggnog, it is an annual tradition in Ryan’s family to cook an authentic Cuban dinner. The centerpiece is a massive roast pork leg, marinated for a week in garlic and spices, that is usually so big it barely fits in the oven. There is always congri on the table (a savory dish with black beans and rice), two kinds of plantains (both the salty tostones and sweet plátanos maduros), and of course our favorite: yuca con mojo, in which tender cubes of yuca are tossed with an intensely-flavored sauce filled with crushed raw garlic, olive oil, and zesty vinegar. And while yuca is not typically thought of as a Christmas dish, it is perfect for the holidays and other family feasts. Anywhere that mashed potatoes are welcome, yuca is a deliciously bright and tangy alternative.
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.
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.
Looking for a delicious, easy-to-make, healthy dinner, preferably one that cooks in under 30 minutes, and uses just one pan? Then you have come to the right place. This meal is light, packed-full of fresh tender greens, and bursting with flavor. And after a festive Labor Day weekend filled with sweet pies, creamy Thai iced tea, and chocolate cookie ice cream bars, this is the perfect savory dish to revitalize and start the month off right. In this simple recipe, we sauté orzo until deeply toasted and fragrant, tossing it with sizzling minced garlic, tangy pecorino romano cheese, freshly ground pepper, a pinch of cayenne, and generous handfuls of kale and chopped basil. With a quick prep time and minimal clean-up, this deliciously satisfying pasta is an ideal mid-week dinner leaving you more time to enjoy these warm September evenings.
There is nothing that compares to homemade hummus, and this classic recipe is so simple you can make it in less than five minutes. Freshly squeezed lemon and raw garlic combine with the nuttiness of tahini and tender garbanzo beans to give this Middle Eastern spread a sharp, bold flavor that just cannot be found in store-bought hummus. It is extremely addicting and easy to prepare, but since it is so healthy you can enjoy this delicious vegetarian appetizer anytime.