Simple Recipes

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Roasted Beet and Corn Salad with Tangerine Vinaigrette Recipe

I love beets. They have a wonderful sweetness and texture. I sometimes cook beets into hot dishes, but my favorite way to enjoy beets is in a simple salad. For this particular recipe, I paired the beets with a tangerine vinaigrette with tangerine-infused oil and tangerine juice. The vinaigrette brightens the flavor of the dish and acts as a nice complement to the flavor of the beets. I also added corn to create a contrast of texture and color. The result is a salad with some very bold flavors.


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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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Vegetarian Cheese Quesadilla Recipe

Vegetarian Cheese Quesadilla

10.16.09 by Jackie

Quesadillas are easy to make and fun to eat. We had relatives over for dinner tonight, so I made some quesadilla canapés as an appetizer. I prepared two fillings, one with shredded beef and a vegetarian option as well.

I wanted the vegetarian ones to have a chewy consistency, so I did not use vegetarian chorizo as I usually do when I make vegetarian Mexican dishes. I used shredded, fried tofu that I blended with harissa to add a little kick to the dish. Harissa is a spicy paste that is used as a condiment in Northern African cuisine. I think the grainy paste blended with the shredded tofu loosely resembles the texture of the meat version. I'll post the recipe for harissa tomorrow.

Vegetarian Cheese Quesadilla Recipe


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Tips for Perfect Pancakes Recipe

Tips for Perfect Pancakes

09.27.09 by Jackie

Pancakes have an almost magical ability to turn anyone into a child again. There's something irresistible about waking up on a Saturday morning, stumbling into the kitchen and being greeted by the smell of batter and a mountain of fluffy pancakes just begging to be smothered in maple syrup and whipped butter.

Perhaps part of the beauty of pancakes is that they're so simple to make. My teenage sisters-in-law often make them on their own for the family. As with many simple dishes though, attention to detail is the difference between drab and delicious. Read on to learn my tips on making excellent pancakes every time.


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Basil Mint Lemonade Recipe

Basil Mint Lemonade

09.24.09 by Jackie

It's already the end of the summer and I've been making every effort to get the best use out of the leftover mint and basil in my herb garden. With the basil, I've made a lot of pesto that I store in the freezer for the winter. There isn't enough left for an additional sauce, and I've always wanted to try a basil infused drink, so today I made a basil lemonade, basil limeade, to be more precise. Sweet basil can be a bit subtle, so I wanted to pair it with another herb to give the drink some kick.

Mint immediately came to mind. I've made drinks all summer using the different kinds of mint we have, including spearmint, peppermint, Vietnamese mint, and apple-mint. I still, however, have a lot of leftover chocolate mint in the garden. Lulu planted it for me a few years ago and it's been growing literally like weeds. It's not as strong as the other mint varieties, so it complements the basil in the limeade I made today without overpowering it. It may sound odd, but it's a really fun, beautiful and delicious drink.

I wish I had tooken the main picture but it is not mine. It was taken by a brilliant photographer named Ken Phuong. He's currently shooting with a team of photographers in the Bay Area.

how to make basil-mint limeade


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