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Lemon curd is an outstanding combination of smooth, sweet, tart and tangy. You may be familiar with lemon meringue pie but have you paid attention to the star ingredient?
One of the things I love about living in Philadelphia is the fact that the city has a deep well of secrets. No matter how many years I log in the City of Brotherly Love, I find that there’s always something new to discover.
In the neighborhood just north of South Street, there’s a Moroccan restaurant that you’ll never find on your own. Hidden behind an unmarked door, you walk off a residential street and into a world of lush fabrics, pillowed benches and low tables set with brass trays.
I’ve eaten there a few times since a friend first helped me find that hidden door. I love every part of the experience, from the ritual of washing hands to the fact that the meal moves slowly. However, most of all, I love a chicken dish they serve. Baked in phyllo dough, it’s highly spiced with ginger and cinnamon. The outside is dusted with sugar, so that you get sweet, savory and spicy all in a single bite.
Though it’s been years since I’ve had that chicken, I still crave it. However, a meal that lasts 2 1/2 hours doesn’t fit into my schedule as easily as it once did. I’m in that stage of life where most of my friends have small children, and though I love dining with my husband, you really need a group to make the most of a meal like this one.
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Spring is officially here, which means that it’s time to embrace the light, colorful, fragrant bounty this season has to offer. Whether you’re growing your own fruits and vegetables or simply prefer to peruse the produce aisle, the next few months are some of the freshest all year, promising bushels of ripe, sweet goods, such as vibrant asparagus, radishes, ramps and more. Below is Food Network’s list of spring-inspired recipes, each rich with in-season produce that will transform any basic dish into an inspired one.
Food Network Magazine’s Roasted Asparagus (pictured above) side dish is a no-fail recipe that delivers simple, satisfying results every time. Crunchy pine nuts, fragrant parsley and refreshing lemon zest are sprinkled atop slender spears before baking the asparagus until it’s warm and tender.
I’m a hoarder and until recently I didn’t see this as being a problem. My habit is under the guise of eating locally and seasonally. You won’t see piles of junk around my apartment, but open the freezer and you’re likely to get pelted with frozen fruit spilling from the shelves. Freezing fruit to last beyond its normal season is a way to enjoy summer’s bounty all year long. Learning to use it all up is not my strong suit. I get nervous about dipping into it too soon, so I dole it out sparingly in smoothies to perk up gray winter days.
Suddenly, daylight-saving time snuck up on me and a look at the calendar reminded me the official start of spring is here, too. The days are getting longer, temperatures getting a little warmer, and that means in just about two months, the growing season will be here. Farmers’ markets will once again welcome old friends. And then the panic sets in: Come December I worry about using up my stock of frozen berries, cherries and peaches too fast. Right about now, I start wondering how I’ll manage to use it all up before the cycle of preserving starts all over again.
Chuck Hughes, host of Cooking Channel’s Chuck’s Day Off, reveals his favorite hometown dishes in Montreal.
Bifana Pork Sandwich from Rotisserie Portugalia
At this Portuguese barbecue joint, thinly sliced pork marinates for hours before it hits the grill, then it arrives at the table piled on a soft Portuguese roll. “It’s simple and it’s that good,” Chuck says. “Don’t ask for toppings or cheese.” No, really— don’t: The restaurant refuses to alter its trademark sandwich, even for regulars. $9; 34 Rue Rachel Ouest; rotisserieportugalia.ca
I have always been a fan of other people’s gnocchi. Somewhat dense and coated with layers of grated Parmesan cheese. My favorites are the ones that taste so intensely (and purely) of potato and provide the perfect companion to many of the spring vegetables I look forward to devouring in the coming weeks. From Swiss chard to the first little parsnips to fava beans to baby spinach, gnocchi makes them all taste even better than they do on their own. After many bad batches, I settled on this recipe as my absolute favorite. Like pancakes, your first batch may not be your best.
It takes time to try your hand at this. This recipe, to me, is worth that culinary leap of faith.