Supercalifragicabbage

How do you name a recipe? Does “polenta” by any other name (“mush,” for example) taste as sweet? As our incontestable authority on naming, Anne Shirley, said, “I’ve never been able to believe it.”

Of course it matters what a dish is called!

That’s why my sister has insisted on calling one of her specialties “Soupe au Fromage” instead of “Cheeseburger Soup” (the unappetizing title on her recipe). This is also why it’s so painful when my dad obnoxiously pronounces soufflé “sow-ful.” And it’s why dishes like Jambalaya, Minestrone, Tapioca and Tamales are always so appealing when planning a menu.

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When I made this Mediterranean dish for the first time, I loved it instantly. I knew I would make it again and again — but there was a problem (or five). The book I’d adapted it from titled the recipe “Braised Cabbage with Red Beans and Rice.” Continue reading

Learn to Burn

In cooking, “burnt” is usually an undesirable flavor.

Of course, fire is sometimes used for dramatic effect. And some people say they prefer their hot dogs or marshmallows this way, but I think that’s generally an indicator that they lack a) practice or b) patience.

Burnt sugar, on the other hand, requires a bit of skill. You don’t actually want to burn it—just caramelize it. Most Americans are only familiar with this flavor in old-fashioned burnt sugar cake.

I’d pass on that dessert, but  this dish, which also features burnt sugar, is one of my favorites.

Pelau

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