Sunday, March 27, 2011

Food Blogger on a Diet: Thai-Style Chicken Salad

I spent the better part of last week eating without abandon in honor of my birthday.  It was a fantastically indulgent week and I have no regrets; but now, the snow is nearly melted (fingers crossed that it continues!) and I can't hide under heavy sweaters for much longer.  Yes, it's time - and pardon the four letter word - to DIET.

Luckily, I don't look at dieting with total dread.  I use the time to cut back on cheese and wine (my caloric Achilles heel), and spend a little more money on fresh produce, bright condiments, and fresh seafood.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Creamy Mushroom Soup with Thyme

I think the fact that I eat mushrooms at all must astound and confuse my family (just ask my mom about "the mushroom incident").  I used to wince just at their mention - and if I found a mushroom hiding in a salad or on a pizza, there was a strong possibility I would give up on that meal altogether.

So how did I grow to love mushrooms so much that they ended up the star ingredient of this simple soup?  I think it started when a group of coworkers decided we should share a mushroom and caramelized onion pizza at a local restaurant.  Not wanting to complain, I took a bite of the small slice I had taken - but the paper-thin slices of cremini complemented the sweet unctuousness of the onions so well, they began to prove their culinary mettle.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crispy Fried Leek Rings

It's finally March - unfortunately, the winter weather isn't giving up without a fight.  A surprise storm dropped two feet of snow in northern Vermont last week, but luckily it seems to be melting off fairly quickly.  While waiting for the weather to warm up, I've started adding my favorite spring ingredients to my recipes.  The leeks at the local market looked so gorgeous this week that I wanted to let their flavor shine through in a simple preparation.

I decided on a super-light breading, a quick high-heat fry, and a sprinkle of sea salt.  These crispy little beauties look like baby onion rings, but have the crisp of a potato chip and a bright, fresh flavor that no bulb onion can match.  Fried leek rings would make a great snack to go with a round of St. Paddy's Day pints - but make several, because they're delicious and may disappear quickly.