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Celery Risotto with Pistachio Pesto Recipe

Daddy's been dieting diligently lately, and he told me yesterday that he had a craving for celery risotto. Of course, I was happy to oblige. Unlike many of my other risotto recipes, which will probably never be considered healthy, I decided to make this risotto (almost) as good for you as it is good to eat.

To complement the very distinct flavor of celery, I added lemon juice and a pistachio pesto. I also threw in a little parmesan cheese for a nutty aroma and flavor. Daddy enjoyed it so much that I froze several portions of the risotto so that he can get his "fix" whenever he wants, whether he's on a diet or not.


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Persian Basmati Rice with Raisins and Saffron Recipe

Recently we went to the home of  family friends for dinner. They made us an absolutely amazing home cooked Persian meal.  If I had known about all the incredible dishes that I was going to get to sample, I would have brought my camera to post them here!

One dish in particular that really stood out was the rice. Every culture that eats rice has its own particular method and manner of preparation. In our home, we make both sticky Asian jasmine rice and Indian basmati rice to satisfy the different palates.

What's different about this Persian rice recipe is that it's not just a neutral medium for delivering the flavors of a main course. It is prepared in such a way that it is delicious on its own. Cooked basmati rice forms the base, but to this are added saffron, fried onions, butter, and flavored raisins. The final product is ethereal, yet rich.

I've had it at restaurants many times, but never with the care and quality that was put into this preparation. as if that weren't enough, we also had another Persian rice recipe made with dill, but that's another post...


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Vegetarian Tortilla Soup Recipe Recipe

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup Recipe

10.20.09 by Jackie

I had 5 tortillas left-over from the burritos we made over the weekend that were going stale, so I decided to make a large pot of tortilla soup. I use the tortillas as a thickening agent in the soup, and also as a garnish on top of the dish. To the tortillas I added tomatoes and tomato paste for a little tartness, jalapeños for a little heat, and some kidney beans and soy chorizo for protein.

The spices give the soup an earthy flavor and the Cotija cheese and sour cream that I top each serving with are very soothing for the taste-buds.

Tortilla soup is a really hearty dish that's the perfect cure for the dreary weather we've been having here as of late.


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How to Make Harissa Recipe

How to Make Harissa

10.17.09 by Jackie

Harissa is a spicy paste that is used as a condiment in Northern African cuisine. I was first introduced to harissa when I was in elementary school.

I had a friend named Inès, who was of Tunisian decent. I went over to her house one day and I remember we strolled into the kitchen and she pulled out a jar filled with a dark red paste. She dared me to spread some on a piece of baguette and have a taste.

Of course, I accepted the challenge, and oh boy was it spicy! I don't really eat hot chiles, and I could barely handle it. The harissa did have an amazing flavor though, and after a tall glass of milk to soothe my taste buds, I went back for more.

When it came to eating harissa, I was definitely a lightweight compared to Inès and her family. I could barely handle a few bites, but they ate it the way Italians consume balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.  Harissa was eaten with bread as a starter, and mixed with meat and vegetables for main course.

Harissa is not only versatile, but also very easy to make. The main ingredients are garlic, and of course, dried red chiles. The final ingredient is time. Like cheese, the longer you wait, the stronger the flavors get and the yummier it is. So prepare a jar this weekend, and you'll be well on your way to making amazing North African dishes.


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Home-Made Corn and Whole Wheat Flour Tortilla Recipe

Tortillas are the foundation upon which many delicious Mexican dishes are made. They are readily available at any supermarket, and I bet many home cooks never consider making them from scratch when preparing burritos, enchiladas and the like. That's unfortunate, since the ingredients and process of making tortillas are both incredibly simple.

If you are fortunate enough to have a specialty Mexican market nearby as we do, you can purchase the masa dough freshly made and ready to press or roll out. But this time I wanted to make a healthier version using whole wheat flour. The texture of the tortilla looks very similar to paratha, or Indian flat bread, but the rolling part is much easier, especially if you have a tortilla dough press. The tortilla comes out perfectly each time in a nice round disk.

Tortilla Press picture


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