In a family with two working parents and a rambunctious two-year-old, I only have a few priorities when it comes to weeknight cooking. I need something relatively simple, something relatively nutritious and something relatively delicious. All three are probably a step down from how things were in the past, but I’m OK with that.
How simple? I’d really like it if my knife prep was the most time-consuming aspect of the meal. We’ve been doing a better job with nutrition by cutting out a bit of meat from our diet and focusing on more vegetables. And I don’t think it’s too much to ask that my pasta sauce taste better than Prego. So when I thought about how I could bring some of the slow-cooked goodness of bolognese to a Tuesday night, I decided to swap out the meat for mushrooms and see how I can amp up the flavor a bit.
The keys were to get a good caramelization using vegetables that didn’t take too long to break down (mushrooms, shallots, garlic), liberal use of tomato paste and a good dash of Worcestershire sauce for some sweetness and anchovy flavor. The result was a richly flavorful sauce that nicely coated the noodles but didn’t weigh it down.
Your diners might not accuse you of spending all day in the kitchen, but if I can get something this good and still have time to watch some Pajanimals with my kid, I’ll take it.
Mock Bolognese (Mushroom Ragù)Read More›
I’m an unabashed Taco Bell fan. It’s in my rotation of Friday night takeout options and I even braved the wilds of Orange County for the opportunity to visit their test kitchen and see where the magic is made. I’m pretty regular in my routine. I usually stick with a basic burrito, maybe a taco and almost always a beef Baja Chalupa, although I do occasionally swap it out for the not-on-the-menu-but-available-if-you-ask-nicely Volcano Beef Chalupa.
I have to take my hat off to them for the success of scientific breakthroughs like the Doritos Locos Taco, though that sort of thing always struck me as gilding the lily a bit. But what about a new product line that wasn’t a gimmick—one that stressed high-quality and fresh ingredients? That’s where the Cantina Steak Burrito comes in.
Taco Bell’s introduction of the Cantina menu was intriguing. A trip to your local shopping center will make it clear that Taco Bell is facing competition, so it was only logical that they would fend off the challenge and take advantage of the public’s desire for a more sophisticated option. So, after seeing my wife order it on a few occasions, it was time for me to see if Taco Bell had found the sweet spot between their affordable options and the higher-end products offered by its fast casual foes.Read More›
As a life-long Philly guy, I think I speak from experience when I say that this city isn’t usually on the cutting edge of the latest trends and fashions. For all of its charms, this place can be bit more traditional…parochial, even, when it comes to new ways of doing things. So it’s no surprise that the food truck phenomenon arrived a little bit later in Philly than other cities like New York. That said, Philadelphia has been working hard to narrow the gap a bit with some inspired new mobile options, a few of which go beyond the everyday taco truck.
Oh, sure, we have those, too. And not just any taco truck. An Iron Chef taco truck: Guapos Tacos is run by Jose Garces’ local restaurant empire and serves some tasty fish tacos. But what if I told you that there is also a Mexican-Thai fusion truck that makes creative use of a favorite kids’ breakfast cereal? How about a truck dedicated to Trinidadian food? That’s not something you see every day.Read More›