Archive for February, 2014

February 25, 2014

Bruschetta Diabla

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It’s my 100th post on Rosemary Renaissance!

When I first started this blog I never expected it would be anything more than an idle side project, but seeing readership rise steadily and hearing from you all about the recipes I put up here is what has pushed me to be a more adventurous chef. So whether this is the first post you’ve seen or you’ve been following my (mis)adventures in the kitchen since my first post back in 2011, I’d like to thank you all so much for reading.

Since good cooking should always be a labor of love, it’s fitting that my 100th post is one of the dishes that I made as part of a four-course Valentine’s Day dinner for my wonderful girlfriend, Maggie. It’s the second year I’ve cooked on Valentine’s Day and she hasn’t complained yet, so I must be doing something right!

The Bruschetta Diabla is a twist on the classic tomato-and-basil Italian appetizer. The tomatoes are burst using direct heat and then reduced into a sweet, tangy and spicy compote with garlic and red pepper flakes. They are paired with buttery, meaty mushrooms and aromatic basil atop crunchy baguette slices for a compact burst of flavor.

Whether you’re looking for an appetizer for a fancy dinner or want to host a swanky cocktail party, these little bite are the perfect fit!

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February 9, 2014

Eggplant Wraps with Moroccan Rice and Pickled Mango

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As I mentioned in my last post, I’m down in the state capital these days for work. My day job – when I’m not cooking and writing here – is working for the state legislature, and during the legislative session that means a southward migration to our state’s capital, Olympia. It also means pretty long hours and fewer new posts here, but I do my best to keep things fresh (pun absolutely intended).

One of the best parts about the legislative session though is the return of my Olympia dinner nights, which my friends affectionately refer to as “Quinnsmas.” Aside from a welcome reminder that there is a life outside of politics, these dinner nights are a blast because they are loosely modeled after an Iron Chef challenge. I don’t have an opponent, but every week I get three surprise ingredients with twenty four hour notice that I have to incorporate into my dish.

My friends like to find odd pairings to throw me off, and I love a good challenge – which makes for some fun and elaborate dishes!

This past week the ingredients were chorizo, eggplant and mango, which resulted in this wonderful new Moroccan-inspired recipe. Eggplant and chorizo are a perfectly serviceable combination, so the only trick was figuring out how to shoehorn mangoes into the mix. As it turns out, pickling them brings the flavor profile in line perfectly!

The mangoes retain some of their sweetness, but also pick up some of the acid and vinegar notes as well as aromatic spice. Paired with salty, paprika-infused chorizo sausage, hearty spiced rice and full-bodied eggplant, it forms a delicious winning combination.

This is definitely a dish that requires some planning ahead – the mangoes should be done 24 hours ahead of time and the eggplant needs about an hour of work by itself – but the results are definitely worth it!

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