Try it – You’ll Like It!

There is a reason why people pledge to do things differently this time of year—everything feels fresh and you are able to look at things in a new light, with an open mind.

For me, this time of the year is all about comfort food. Every week as I plan the menu for my long-standing Sunday dinner with friends, I often gravitate towards whatever I can braise, stew or roast. At the same time, I like to keep things interesting so I am constantly looking for new ingredients and preparation techniques to add to my lineup of old favorites.

Add these amazing ingredients to your repertoire and find a whole new way to do comfort food. À bientôt!

1. Duck may be the single most underused (and underappreciated) protein around. It is surprisingly versatile, the shining star of Seared Spiced Duck Breast with Currant and Pine Nut Relish.

2. Smoked sea salt. I am obsessed with this stuff because it lends an incredibly deep and smoky flavor to everything you sprinkle it on. Try it on your next batch of french fries, sprinkle over a snack of steamed edamame or use it liberally to season any winter vegetable (squash, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) before roasting.

3. Can you say “superfood”? Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is one of the healthiest foods available. It is the only grain that is also a complete protein, containing eight times more than its starchier counterparts. Make it the base of a weeknight pilaf by adding chicken stock and herbs you have on hand, or turn it into an elegant main dish by folding in cooked shrimp, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives and feta cheese.

4. Black currants are the new cranberry and can do everything their more piquant cousin can and then some. They are packed with antioxidants, but more importantly, they deliver a delicious sweet flavor that makes everything from scones to salads more interesting. They jazz up just about any savory side dish.

5. If you are struggling to eat more veggies, broccolini just might be the perfect food for you. Also known as broccoli aspiration, this cross between traditional broccoli and Chinese kale has a sweeter flavor and works in everything from stir-frys to salads. For your cozy comfort food dinner, roast it for 10 minutes after tossing it with olive oil and smoked sea salt.

The perfect menu to try these great new foods:

Truffled White Bean Dip with Homemade Pita Chips
Seared Spiced Duck Breasts with Currant and Pine Nut Relish
Roasted Broccolini with Smoked Sea Salt Herbed Quinoa Pilaf

Categories: Entertaining, Recipes