appetizer
tabasco-soup-33

The last tomato has been pulverized, the last photograph has been captured, all the images have been edited and my kitchen is an unholy terror with dishes precariously stacked on every available surface. That’s right. It’s Friday, the fifth and last day of the Tabasco 10 Ingredient Blogger Challenge. 10 bloggers posting 5 recipes in 5 days using only the 10 permitted ingredients (plus salt, pepper, oil and sugar). So on this, the last day of the Tabasco 10 Challenge, I’ve made a chilled tomato soup from yellow cherry tomatoes and topped it with a Tabasco granita, brioche croutons and basil-cilantro oil. I know, it’s all fancy and stuff. It makes a tasty and refreshing summer lunch, the icy tabasco

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caesar-salad

Caesar salad was the first salad I ever actually liked and looked forward to. I’ve always been somewhat sensitive to vinegar and there’s something about most ranch dressings that puts me off, so you can imagine the challenge my mother faced in trying to get me to eat salad. Not to mention that I’m a firm believer in my friend Benji’s theory of the side salad, which is that it adds more empty calories than nutritional benefit. To elaborate, in most restaurants, a side salad consists of a few stray leaves of iceberg lettuce, a sad, pale wedge of tomato, perhaps a few shreds of carrot and a mediocre slice of cucumber. Then, to make the whole mess palatable, whatever

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artichokes-2

Artichokes first appeared in my life when I was about ten years old. My brother and I were sitting at the table and my mother set down a dish of steamed artichokes. I was of an age when a heretofore unseen vegetable aroused deep suspicion in me and I watched askance as the other parties at the table began dissecting what looked like strange alien fruits. Learning that the proper method of eating artichokes involved pulling off the leaves and scraping the fleshy bits with one’s teeth did nothing to assuage my misgivings. Faced with the prospect of this unconventional style of eating and the foreign vegetable matter, I declined to participate. Even the prospect of dipping said vegetable into

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featured-images-47

There’s a series of little pasta places in Atlanta called Figo. It’s the type of place where you get to pick the kind of pasta and sauce you want and I went there a lot when I was in school. It was a great place to grab dinner and do a little studying. They also have these little spinach and walnut crostini that I really like, so I decided to recreate them at home. The spread is both creamy and earthy, due to the ricotta/walnut combo, and the spinach also lends a nice flavor and color to it. As I discovered during the concocting of this dish (I was guessing at the ingredients), the lemon is crucial. The bright acid

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