Squash on Fire: “Spaghetti” Puttanesca

On a recent trip to a local market we were greeted by a gorgeous array of orange pumpkins and irregular gourds. Instead of heading straight for the quintessential Halloween symbol, we simultaneously reached for the oblong, sunny spaghetti squash. When roasted, the bright yellow squash is transformed into pasta-like strands, so we thought it was only appropriate living, in the North End of Boston, a historic Italian neighborhood, to use it like spaghetti.

While in Italy, we were big fans of the famously pungent and spicy Puttanesca sauce. The deep, rustic red sauce with bursts of green briny capers transforms any pasta, or in this case, the subtly sweet squash ribbons. With the addition of earthy eggplant, a sprinkling of fresh chopped basil and Parmesan cheese, it’s our fresh, seasonal take on an Italian classic.

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

Read More

Homemade Hot Sauce

Freelance writer Alicia Ranch-Traille joins ES to talk hot sauce. Very hot sauce.

You don’t quite know what makes yourself tick. As a kid, you played mad scientist with the solvents and cleansers beneath the kitchen sink. As a teenage vandal, you really got something out of chemistry class: a temporary record down at the police station. In college, you jumped out of a plane because the sky would win if you didn’t, and you once made a resume that listed only your bodily scars. As an adult, you’re either the dude who sets his head on fire at a bar and makes the national news, or you’re someone for whom ingesting the world’s hottest sauces and peppers is an extracurricular pursuit.

Or maybe both. It’s a fine line.  There’s a way out of this hole, man. It’s time to bottle and sell your pain. You need to make your own hot sauce.

Hot Sauce: A Truly Hot Commodity

Hot sauce isn’t just for men, of course. It’s just that guys have built a whole subculture around it, a close cousin of the microbrew movement. Americans love hot sauce, and the fact that it’s one of the top-10 growth industries in the U.S. right now proves it. By 2017, according to an IBISWorld report, hot sauce is expected to be a $1.3 billion industry, and the movement is already well underway. Just take a look at all the chilihead resources that have popped up in recent years. Austin has a store devoted just to hot sauce. You can get lost in the Hot Sauce Blog for hours, and certain people are obsessed with Sriracha.

What this means for the home chili pepper enthusiast is simple. There’s a market for that thing you love, and you should consider getting in. Unfortunately, chiliheads—being reckless and impulsive by nature—tend to be both rule-averse and unsystematic. That’s no way to learn cooking. “Trial and error” doesn’t mean throwing a bunch of stuff together at random, you know. You can’t see your variables that way. It’s not scientific.

Getting Started

Read More

Beach Paella

At a recent beach gathering, instead of bringing the common potato or pasta salad to accompany burgers and hot dogs, we decided to really go for the wow factor with a one-dish meal: Paella.

We used a recipe that we adapted from an old friend from Spain. The dish is a burst of colors, flavors, and textures that can be made ahead of time, enjoyed at room temperature, or thrown on the grill to add a bit of heat. If you have the paella pan, it is quite the display and the handles on the pan allow for an easy transport. Because you can eat it at room temperature (it does not have to be super hot), you can place it on a picnic blanket or table for people to dig in!

Seated in beach chairs and covered in blankets, with a fork in one hand and a glass of sangria in the other, we dig in.

Beach Paella

Read More

There Are Only Two Things Money Can’t Buy…

…true love and homegrown tomatoes.

Garden Fuck-Up: Vine-Ripened Fail

In today’s installment of Garden Fuck-Ups I present to you the idea of the vine-ripened tomato.

I’ve been eye-balling that sucker for a week now in all its juicy green glory, waiting for the right time to pluck it off the vine, slice it, and enjoy it with some fresh mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil. Who knows, I might even get crazy and drizzle it with a bit of pesto. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

I went into the garden the other day and saw that said tomato was just showing the slightest hint of turning from green to red, but barely enough to notice. It was growing, and I stood there admiring it like a proud parent thinking of how far it had come. They grow up so fast, don’t they? I’d leave it for one more night to allow the color to turn just a bit more, since vine-ripened tomatoes taste sooooo good. It was going to be awesome.

The next day I approached the garden, basket in-hand, and smiled as I went to pull my prize from my tomato plant. I could already taste the caprese I had mentally sliced up and drizzled with oil. I reached around the fruit—and was suddenly bitch-slapped by Mother Nature. Apparently some unidentified garden pest had other plans for my tomato:

Read More

Not Your Average Easter Eggs

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or you know, aren’t an East Coast elitist food snob), you know that deviled eggs are trendy. But you couldn’t show up to Easter Brunch with just plain old deviled eggs, now could you?

No, you couldn’t. But never fear, chef Adam Carpenter of Jasper’s Corner Tap and Kitchen in San Francisco has three original recipes for deviled eggs: one that uses the season’s bounty (spring peas!), one that gets creative with a classic recipe, and one that is just right for ESers (bacon!)

Read More
« Previous
Next »