Heirloom Spice Bread

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After the holidays, the last thing I wanted to eat was sweets. So, I took an easy-peasy vow to follow my instinct. Not a bad idea too, since all I got for Christmas this year was fat!

But then I got a hankering for this spice bread that mom used to make when we were kids. With all the sweet nostalgia of childhood swirling around the memory of its delicate deliciousness, it became quickly and firmly implanted in my brain. This was definitely an instinct worth following.  Continue reading

Basque Salt Cod with Garlic and Roasted Peppers

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Mountains of salt cod, or bacalao, priced by cut and quality, at Mercat Sant Josep, aka La Boquería, Barcelona.

Cod is pretty hum-drum as far as fish goes, but it dries and salts up into a miracle. The prosciutto of the sea? Maybe. Salting has been used to preserve the bountiful North Atlantic hauls for centuries. It became a been a heavily traded product in the 17th century and is still a staple throughout the old Atlantic trade routes. You’ll find bacalao, bakaiļao and bacallà in Spain and its regions, baccalà in Italy, and similar names throughout Europe, plus–leave it to French to be different–morue in France. All over Europe, the Carribbean and throughout the regions touched by the seafaring trade, are a multitude of preparations of the same humble salted fish, each reflecting local flavors.  Continue reading

Slow-Roasted Dukkah Salmon

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This is one of those recipes you can whip up on a work night, or serve to company. Salmon is special. It takes well to baking, grilling, smoking, roasting. If you’re like me, you try to squeeze it into your diet when you can because of its rich, delectable flavor and because it’s incredibly good for you, packed with omega-3s and healthy fats.

And dukkah. This Egyptian spice-nut-herb mixture is a revelation. It’s salty and crunchy and savory and perfect for for livening up so many foods. I think it’s a great complement for slow-roasted salmon, its toasty-nutty-cuminyness adding complex flavors and texture.  Continue reading

Best Morning Oats: Apricot-Ginger Steel Cut Oats

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Here’s one of my all-time favorite breakfasts: Apricot-Ginger Steel-Cut Oats. It’s easy, it’s do-ahead, it’s adaptable, and it’s delicious. We all have great intentions for eating a good breakfast everyday–or at least eating breakfast–and with this recipe you can. It’s a basic soaked/cooked steel-cut oat, into which a yummy combo of dried fruits have been added. The flavor is mellow, texture toothsome, and the kick of ginger is super. Serve it with a little milk, toasty nuts, fresh fruit, and you’re set. And with all the lovely dried fruits, no additional sweetener is needed. Hurray!  Continue reading

Guirlache

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One of my fondest Christmas season memories is the utter excitement the day the parcel from Abuelita, my paternal grandmother, arrived.  No doubt fueled by the memory of sugar-highs past, we would tear into the box, full of exotic smells and sweet treats. Among the treasures were the kid faves like bags of “China” orange candies with a gooey center, candy cigarettes with the painted-on pink ember (indeed!), “piñones” (candy coated pinenuts), marrons glacés (swoon!), and an assortment of Spanish turrones. Guirlache is part of the turrón family, but not one we ever tasted as kids. I discovered it when I lived in Salamanca, Spain, during college.  Continue reading

Roasted Persimmon Applesauce Bread

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The little Asian grocery on my walk home has been tempting me with big bags of shiny, orange persimmons this fall. Five bucks and I was the proud mom of several pounds of shiny, happy Fuyu persimmons, all greeting me from the kitchen counter, asking “what now, ma?” Hmm… We needed a plan.

As it turned out, a persimmon bread recipe walked across my path. David Lebovitz published a nice version of James Beard’s ridiculously good persimmon bread recipe on his blog, and I am offering my adaptation here.  Continue reading