Chermoula

I’d like to introduce you to my new friend, chermoula. Though we met scarcely two and a half weeks ago, we have become fast friends. We do everything together. Or, at least, I hope we will soon.

Chermoula, or charmoula, is an herb sauce or marinade used in various North African cuisines. It varies from region to region in its exact composition, but a typical Moroccan preparation uses parsley. This is the kind I first tried at a little Moroccan restaurant in upstate New York. It came on a colorful plate, surrounded by warm, toasted triangles of pita bread. For an unassuming green sauce, it packs a lot of flavor. It is wonderfully fresh from the herbs, bright from lemon juice, and earthy from cumin and other spices. It was my favorite dish of the evening, despite trying many other wonderful things. Now that I know how easy it is to make at home, it may become a permanent resident of my refrigerator. Continue reading “Chermoula”

Snack Series: Zucchini Butter

Though I would be the last person to talk smack about a good zucchini bread recipe, when it gets to be that time of year where garden-growing friends are trying to foist off watermelon-sized summer squash on all their acquaintances, it’s only a matter of time before all the sugary, oily overhead costs of endless loaves of zucchini bread start to, uh, weigh me down. Sometimes I need a little savory counterpoint. That was my mindset when I came across this zucchini butter recipe on one of my favorite food websites.

This is a great recipe not only because it’s delicious but also because it’s versatile, makes great use of large quantities of zucchini, and requires little more than the vegetable itself to make something spectacular. It’s nice and smooth and garlicky – if you want it to be – and goes well with a variety of flavors. Continue reading “Snack Series: Zucchini Butter”

Marinara Sauce & A Spanakopita-Inspired Pizza

More often than not, when I go to make a recipe that I’m excited to share on this site, I end up leaving out a major ingredient or burning something or taking pictures that I think are good at the time but then look like a Pinterest fail to me later. For example, I was going to finally post the hummus recipe that I’ve been in love with for several months, but I must have been distracted when I made it last weekend because I left out one of the liquid ingredients, and the end result, while tasting delicious, looked a bit more like wood putty than something you’d want to spread on crackers.

Fortunately, my failed plans tend to be counterbalanced by unexpected successes that keep my enthusiasm alive. Case in point: spanakopita-inspired pizza.

Continue reading “Marinara Sauce & A Spanakopita-Inspired Pizza”

Pear Butter

I generally have a hard time with summer ending. The fruit aisle at the grocery store transitions from stands bursting with cherries, berries, and peaches to a pathetic selection of approximately three fruits that are actually good in winter plus a bunch of pale, anemic fruits that are coaxed to survive through the dead of January. The plus side is that the few good winter fruits are very good and very versatile. Pears are one such fruit, and I think they are underappreciated. If you disagree, perhaps this pear butter can persuade you otherwise.

In case you’re new to fruit “butter,” it’s simply fruit that has been cooked and pureed to a thick spread and sweetened. It often has spices added. I like it because it’s more full-bodied and less overwhelmingly sweet than jams and jellies. Also, it’s really easy to make (no pectin required). For this recipe, you pretty much just chop pears into a crockpot, stir it now and then, and then add sugar and a few spices. Continue reading “Pear Butter”

My Friend, Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a friend that I once took for granted.  It has always been there for me, but not until recently did I show it the appreciation it deserves.  If you, too, have been neglectful toward this noble condiment, simply using it as a last resort, I-only-have-thirty-seconds-to-make-lunch ingredient, I hope these two recipes will inspire you to spend a little more quality time with this valiant kitchen staple. Continue reading “My Friend, Peanut Butter”