Entries tagged with “Spicy”.


Have you heard? It’s raining in LA.  I am sure my readers in Canada and New York and Chicago and Utah and Montana and Michigan and… everywhere else outside California, with real, snowy winters of your own, may not consider several consecutive days of rain in Southern California to be newsworthy, but around here it’s quite the story.  In a land where “winter” is marked by blooming camelias and perpetual tans, a bit of a drizzle on the Golden Globes’ red carpet is practically unthinkable.


I miss seasons.  When our rain finally comes, I revel in it.  The towering eucalyptus trees across the street broadcast their mossy, lilting scent over our house whenever a gust of wind wafts through their rainsoaked branches.  As I climb the stairs to our front door on a rainy night, I marvel at the scent, thinking this is what every candle and fabric softener has tried to mimic with fragrance names like eucalyptus rain.


Evenings this week have been chilly and damp as the storms wax and wane.  It’s perfect weather for a bowl full of something rich and spicy.  The kind of thing you’d describe as rib-sticking.  I’ve been particularly enamored with quinoa recently, and find it to be a lovely base for this quick, spicy chicken stew.  You might not use all the quinoa you’ll make here – toss leftovers with the ingredients for a chickpea salad for a profoundly filling lunch.  Serve the stew with extra sriracha to keep your ribs warm as you watch your snow, your rain, or your camelias.
(Keep reading Spicy Chicken & Quinoa Stew…)


There is an amazing restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan, called eve.  It’s in Kerrytown, and if you ever find yourself in A2, you should go.   The food is exceptional, as is the ethos behind it.  The focus is on the ingredients, good ones.  Eve Aranoff, the chef-owner, allows her dishes to be both simple and intricately nuanced. She does not shy from ornate flavor profiles, but also serves the best steak you’ll ever have, seasoned only with a little salt and pepper.

One night last week, I came home hungry for salmon.  Curious what Eve had to say about it, I turned to her lovely cookbook and browsed until I found a variation on the following.  With individual salmon filets in the freezer and cooked rice in the fridge (a weekend ritual to provide the 3 tablespoons of cooked rice I need for our weekly multigrain sandwich bread), this was a simple but elegant menu to throw together in less than an hour.  As the pictures show, I served it with a very basic tomato and avocado salad, but anything fresh and green will accompany this well.  The original salmon recipe called for macadamia nuts, but I have a pile of slightly over-toasted almonds I’m trying to work through.  Either nut has a strong enough flavor to hold its own against the chili spices.



This is one of those recipes that neatly achieves a little fanciness without requiring much in the way of special ingredients or prep time.  I can’t remember when I first tasted spicy hot chocolate, but I definitely fell in love.  Smooth, earthy chocolate is punctuated beautifully by the power twins of cinnamon and cayenne.  You can certainly exclude the Drambouie if you wish, but know that you are missing out (unless you are pregnant or otherwise medically excluded from alcoholic beverages, in which case hit the whipped cream with gusto and carry on with your spicy, chocolatey self).

I recommend Dagoba Hot Chocolate here, though you can use any hot chocolate powder.  Stop, go back, read that again.  I’m taking you through a shortcut by using a hot chocolate powder, rather than unsweetened chocolate that you sugar up yourself.  Do not try to make this with plain old Hershey’s, and definitely do not send me a nasty email after doing so wherein you tell me how yucky your drink turned out.  Hot chocolate powders have sugar already blended in.  I like Dagoba because it’s sweet, but not overly so.  I’ve made hot chocolate from absolute scratch, and wasn’t happy enough with the results to be interested in the extra steps.