Of Red Cabbage and Forgiveness

Red cabbage is a very forgiving vegetable.  It sits patiently for weeks and weeks and weeks in the back of my refrigerator, waiting for me to feel like cooking, never complaining, never growing soft or moldy.  Its outer leaves may shrivel and darken, but peel them away and the cabbage beneath is fresh, crisp and vibrant. In cold weather it is wonderful simply cooked with apples and onions, and in warm weather it’s delicious raw, shredded finely and dressed with olive oil and vinegar.  Made in advance, red cabbage salad becomes even tastier with time.   Shredded Red Cabbage and Carrot Salad   3/4 pound red cabbage, cored and...

Spicy Chinese [Fierce Foodie]

Chinese food is my soul food. Whenever my father was out of town, which was quite a bit when I was growing up, my mom would pick us up a dinner of chicken and broccoli, pork lo mein, and wonton soup. Some days she would even let me “play hookie” from school and go to Chinese buffet with her. Mounds of white rice with savory stir fries, tender dumplings and crisply fried squid. Sauces described, not by flavor but by color, brown and white, with toasted sesame and peanut oil complementing garlic and soy. Now that I live close to her again, we occasionally go to what she calls our “watering hole,” a Chinese buffet with her favorite seaweed...

(Kinda) Healthy Mac and Cheese [Fierce Foodie]

  Mac and cheese is pretty irreplaceable as far as comfort foods go. Something about the combination of starch and fat hits a pleasure center in the brain like nothing else. There was a three-month depressive period in my life when I made it every week and gained 25 pounds. After that I...

Time for Lunch [Fierce Foodie]

Lunch time.  Two words that can spell doom for diets and pocket books alike.  How many of us have sat in our cubicles, willing the minutes to tick by, the hunger growing by the second into a monstrous yearning for the amazing sushi roll, the juicy cheeseburger and fries, the crispy falafel...

Forty Cloves of Garlic and a Chicken [Fierce Foodie]

How much do you really love your friends?  Sure, you’re willing to cook for them, but do you love them enough to peel dozens of cloves of garlic? John Thorne, my favorite food writer, gives this recipe for chicken with 40 cloves. As a garlic lover, I highly recommend biting the bullet and...

Eat Your Spinach! [Fierce Foodie]

I love spinach.  And I love it significantly more now that it comes in bags already washed and ready to eat.  Because really, who has time to spend washing sand and grit off their food?  Spinach needs very little cooking to add delicious flavor to soups and sautés.  The less you cook it the...

Nuts [Fierce Foodie]

Is anybody really normal? Sometimes I think there is such a thing as normal, or even well adjusted, whatever that means.  Other days I think everyone is nuts, and that some people are just better at hiding their crazy while others wear it like a badge for all to see. Those of us with eating...

The Incredible Redness of Beets [Fierce Foodie]

My dad always enjoyed plain boiled red beets as a side dish at dinner. He was diabetic for many years, and beets were one of the few sweet pleasures in life that he was not forced to forgo. Until I started cooking red beets for myself, I was unaware of quite how much redness they actually...

Bake Those Apples [Fierce Foodie]

I think one of the main struggles of being human is self-acceptance.  For a long time I wanted to believe that I am not a naturally lazy person who, like a cat, would prefer in general to spend eighteen straight hours in bed or staring out a window. I wanted to believe that I might learn to...

Animal-free Hearty Burgers [Fierce Foodie]

If society as we know it broke down and we were all forced to hunt for and kill our own meat, I know I would go vegetarian instantaneously. Unlike my mother who can butcher a chicken in sixty seconds, I am a big hypocrite and don’t particularly enjoy the bloody reality of cooking animals. Raw...

Everything is Peachy [Fierce Foodie]

I love pie, and always have, soggy crusts and all. But due to mounting heath concerns, pie and I are no longer on a first name basis. One way to enjoy all the yummy fruity delights of pie without inhaling the buttery pastry and cups of sugar is to skip straight to the fruit. This recipe makes...

The Food of the Times [Fierce Foodie]

I have a penchant for reading cookery texts, from M.F.K. Fisher on transatlantic shipboard cuisine in the 30’s to Apicus on Roman cuisine. I enjoy imagining what a paste of stewed calf’s brains seasoned with pepper and cumin, and cooked with broth, wine, milk and eggs might taste like. Foods...

Nerd Food [Fierce Foodie][Best of FaN]

This is my favorite Fierce Foodie of 2012 because it utterly encompasses my nerdishness, from my obsessive LOTR behaviors to my love of food descriptions in fantasy fiction.  Plus, it expresses my yearning to be a hobbit.    When I think of nerd food, my mind inevitably wanders past pizza...

When Your Oven Goes On Strike [Fierce Foodie]

My newest excuse for not turning on the oven this summer: it exploded.  We were baking a pizza the other day when we heard a loud popping noise, and looked over to see sparks shooting around our pie.  Big, scary sparks hopped to and fro over the cheesy crust.  Turns out the heating element is...

Hot as an Oven [Fierce Foodie]

I’m living through a sweltering stretch of on hundred degree plus weather right now.  This is the time for ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Air conditioners are going on Craigslist for the price of a firstborn, and if you are like me and have to wear black to work and walk over a...

One Fish, Two Fish [Fierce Foodie]

This is a recipe from one of my dearest and nearest friends, L. Fusco. For more than four years, L. has been on a heroic journey to remove processed sugar from her life. She has recognized that while other people can eat one or two or three Swedish fish and be happy, she has to eat one or two...

Juicy Fruit [Fierce Foodie]

I love watermelon, and ever since they have come out with seedless varieties, I no longer have to fear that I will swallow a seed and grow one in my stomach. Many recipes for watermelon drink tell you to add sugar, which I think is unnecessary if the melon is ripe and sweet. Knock on your...

Whinging ’til October [Fierce Foodie]

I know I have whinged and complained in the least attractive way about my hatred of the heat in almost every summer post I have ever written, but really, it’s horrible in Pennsylvania.  It’s just a pit.  Our weather lately has bounced between three day downpours and unrelenting...

Purple on the Side [Fierce Foodie]

Warmer weather makes us lazy as a species. Unfortunately, ice cream for dinner every night will lead to a myriad of problems, such as running out of pants that fit. Thankfully there are some easy and relatively healthy recipes that require no attention to the stove. Someone once told me, “You...

The Call of the Potato [Fierce Foodie]

Lately I have been getting the hungries; I’m like a bear out of hibernation constantly sniffing out yummy recipes.  Everything attracts me, but especially starches.  I hear the call of the potato everywhere.  Although my upbringing was heavy on the rice (Persian father, Filipina mother), I...

Easy Caprese [Fierce Foodie]

Summer is coming early in my neck of the woods in the form of 80-degree days and a swarm of carpenter bees outside my door.  When the temperatures rise, all my million or so sweat glands and I want to do is laze in front of the fan and dream of colder climes and less soggy days.  However,...

Short and Sweet and Salty [Fierce Foodie]

I owe this week’s short and sweet fierce foodie to my older sister, who took me out for breakfast recently and rocked my blueberry bagel and plain cream cheese world with her sweet and salty discovery. She asked for a toasted everything bagel with honey walnut cream cheese: the perfect...

Thai Time [Fierce Foodie]

Spring is my favorite time of year, and my favorite soup is perfect for the varying temperatures of the season. Tom kha gai is a Thai soup made from coconut milk, lemongrass, fresh ginger, juice of a lime, chile paste, basil and cilantro. It is hot and sweet and lemony and limey. Just right...

Take Comfort [Fierce Foodie]

The ancient Spartans saw food purely as fuel, and both royalty and peasants alike ate black bread with a blood and vinegar soup. The Romans, on the other hand, luxuriated in food as a symbol of wealth, and are famous for their exorbitant banquets of rare ingredients eaten lying down and...

Recipe for Love [Fierce Foodie]

The heart is a tough muscle.  Despite the movies that depict a warrior taking a bite of a still beating specimen torn from the chest of an enemy, most cookery books suggest a long marinating in vinegar and red wine followed by hours of slow baking or stewing to render the chewy, lean muscle...

Garbanzos on My Mind, and Sometimes in My Purse [Fierce Foodie]

For some reason, my mother likes to give me garbanzo beans. To the point where it’s hard for me to get out of her house without finding a can or two tucked in with whatever groceries she wants to send with me. She has tossed them through the open window of my car as I’m backing out of the...

Spotty Bananas Need Love Too [Fierce Foodie]

When I was seven years old, I ate nine extra-large, perfectly unspotted, starchy sweet bananas in the space of ten minutes.  I’m not sure why I kept methodically eating banana after banana after banana as if I was in some kind of food challenge for kindergarteners, or why my mother made no...

The Joys of Venison; or What to Do If Someone Gives You Bambi Meat [Fi...

Pennsylvania is a weird and wonderful state. Two relatively artsy and liberal cities are surrounded on all sides by mainly conservative folks who enjoy the local wildlife, albeit often on the wall or in a stew pot. Venison was never on the menu at my house when I was growing up. The only...

Potato Love is No Ordinary Love [Fierce Foodie]

I love potatoes in every form I have ever eaten them. I love potatoes so much it borders on becoming a codependent relationship.  I love potatoes so much that I actually enable potatoes to be less than their absolute best.  Which is to say that even though I truly appreciate good potatoes, I...

Eating and Reading: Yes, I’ve Got Crumbs in My Pages [Fierce Foo...

Reading while eating is luxurious habit but not easy to accomplish, at least not if you like creamy, yummy treats and the pages of your books unstained and unspotted.  My favorite books to read while eating are books about eating and cooking: John Thorne’s Outlaw Cook, Laurie Colwin’s Home...

Everybody Needs Chocolate Cake [Fierce Foodie]

I’ve been trying to get in the habit of exercising. This may sound banal to you, but in reality this is like trying to get a feral cat used to full body shampoos.  It’s a process.  After I do my time on the treadmill I want a treat, but the last thing I want to do is eat something that will...

Absolutely Good Food [Fierce Foodie]

There’s an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants that I have been known to watch repeatedly.  It’s called “Just One Bite” and the premise is that sarcastic, narcissistic Squidward hates crabby patties and all those who enjoy them.  This is all because he has never actually eaten a patty due to the...

Ahem…There Seems to be Bacon in My Pancake [Fierce Foodie]

The eternal American breakfast question is “savory or sweet?”  Do I have a hearty scramble of eggs with sausage or bacon and home fried potatoes, or do I essentially have dessert for breakfast, a.k.a. the tower of fluffy pancakes covered in fruity topping and whipped cream?  Some brave souls...

Give Me Quinoa: Hot or Cold, for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner! [Fierce F...

I am a big fan of quinoa, not because it has the “health food” stamp, and not because it’s a “superfood” that sustained the Inca Empire, but because it really is a delicious and extremely adaptable food.  You can make it Indian curry style, Italian style, Chinese style, and the list goes on. ...

Confessions of Cereal Addict [Fierce Foodie]

Dear reader, tonight I am questioning whether I am truly the right person to be writing a food column because darn it, all I want for dinner is cereal.  I love the initial crunchiness, the salty sweetness, and finally gulping down the survivors sopping with milk.  Rather than dairy, I prefer...

The World of Strawberry Shortcake [Fierce Foodie]

Strawberry shortcake has always fascinated me.  The perfect blend of a juicy, ripe summer fruit, fresh cream, and a dense scone or light cake, it can be made the easy way with mainly store bought ingredients, or the cream and cake components can be lovingly prepared by hand.  In either case,...

Food Fears [Fierce Foodie]

Certain foods inspire an illogical revulsion in me. I find mushrooms, for instance, impossible to separate from the fact that they grow upon decomposing matter. Their very texture conjures up images of rotting meat and dead, wet, brown leaves. For my boyfriend, it’s the sight of bone or...

Steakums All Grown Up [Fierce Foodie]

During my childhood, dinnertime could be as late as nine o’clock due to my dad’s frenetic work schedule.  I had to have a snack after school to be able to wait for a long simmered Persian meat and vegetable stew over rice.  My mini-meal of choice was Oscar Meyer bologna and Kraft American...

Hello Halo Halo: Fierce Foodie [BEST OF FaN]

My favorite piece so far is “Hello Halo Halo,” because I love sharing foods from my childhood that may be utterly unknown or incomprehensible to some readers.  Mung beans and purple yam and palm seeds in my dessert?!  Yes!!  I love to encourage culinary exploration. Originally published...

Inspired by the Biryani (which is not beer made by Yanni)

Recently I was lucky enough to have some truly amazing, flavorful, rich and delicious Chicken Biryani.  Instead of pouring curry over the rice and mixing it before eating it, the maker of Biryani cooks the rice in the curry.  This means that the rice is not just covered but infused with the...

Food You Can Move With [Fierce Foodie]

Summer is road trip time, get in your car and go time, gas prices be damned.  And that means car food, road food, food eaten with one hand.  Since nothing is less fun than biting into your delicious treat and having half of it dribble down your chest, I suggest eggrolls, samosas, burritos and...

Avocado Me, Please! [Fierce Foodie]

Avocado is a very large berry, has been eaten since 10,000 B.C., and is called Butter Fruit in some parts of India.  They are buttery and delicious when ripe, and if you cut them down the middle around the large seed, the skin slips right off the flesh.   I love a ripe avocado as is with a...

Drink Your Vegetables [Fierce Foodie]

Eating steaming hot food in the summer is about as appealing to me as drinking liquids at room temperature, as I cannot get over the feeling that I am imbibing my own spit.  In the heat of summer I crave ice cream and any other form of frozen dessert, but also cool, fresh foods like honey dew...

Sweet, Magical Corn: There’s no summer without you!

Now comes the summer of our extended montage.  Shiny, dazzling special effects and loud crashy noises will once again distract us from the troubles of this world, as the disembodied voice of a dead but not gone mentor will push our fallen hero to rise up from his/her apparent undefeatable...

What Clouds Are Made Of [Fierce Foodie]

I love, love, love gnocchi.  And I love saying gnocchi.  Neeyocki.  Eating these delicious little balls of potato dough feels like eating clouds.  If clouds were made of soft, delicious potato dough, and not condensed water vapor.   One day I will get my shit together enough to make gnocchi...

Simple Food: Wet on Dry

It’s March, I’m in Cape Cod, and it’s damn cold.  It’s another in a long line of puzzling vacations, such as touring the ruins of historic Jamestown in November with four year olds.  Or the time we toured three European countries in twelve days, six of which were spent exclusively in the...

Cobble a Cobbler [Fierce Foodie]

Cobbler is one of my favorite desserts and one of the easiest to make, even for those like me who regard baking as a fearsome and time-consuming art.  Unlike pies that require forging tender, flaky pastry, creating thick crust over chopped fruit requires little skill.  Enter me!  If it’s...

Fierce Foodie: Yum Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four!

Despite last minute snow storms, spring is on its way, and with spring comes yummy new potatoes in the market.  Red bliss is among my favorite varieties to eat in a salad.  When it comes to potato salad, I distinguish between two main types: with mayo and without mayo.  For some of us, mayo...

Fierce Foodie: In Which I Attempt to Avoid Type 2 Diabetes (Despite My...

You know that song that goes, “I can’t live, if living is without you, I can’t live, I can’t live anymore”?  That is how I feel about dessert.  I love sweet things.  Pastries of every denomination, danishes, pull-aparts, cupcakes, claws, hamentashen, rugala, babka, baklava, jalebi, ensamada,...

Fierce Foodie: Kale!

In the winter, salads are completely off my radar, and yet I yearn for something to counterbalance my mainly meat and potatoes and rice pudding diet.  Wintery greens fit the bill perfectly.  And thanks to the availability of precut and prewashed produce, the annoying prep time for...

Fierce Foodie: Not as Naughty Lasagna

Good lasagna is a demanding mistress.  She will slide down your throat and have you in a food coma by the end of the evening.  She knows you can’t say no to her layers of noodles and melted cheese.  Her creamy ricotta filling beckons seductively. I fell in love with lasagna at an early age. ...

Fierce Foodie: Mmm, Chickpeas… [Healthy Holidays]

Chickpeas, someone once told me, are just blobs of nothing flavor that no spice or seasoning can penetrate.  In curries they float like impenetrable islands of bland, he complained.  The only way to avoid this was to mash or puree them, which is a time consuming and not particularly fun job,...

Fierce Foodie: The Secret of My Mother’s Amazing Mashed Potatoes...

I love the potato in all its forms: fried, mashed, boiled, baked, scalloped, whatever.  I can truthfully say I have never met a potato I did not appreciate, down to the flaccid, oily French fry at the bottom of the bag.  This is not a love ingrained by my cultural background, however, in fact...

Fierce Foodie: Pumpkin Spice Sure is Nice

I was walking in old town Alexandria, Virginia this past weekend and was lucky enough to catch a street performance by Jamey Turner, a musical genius whose hands literally fly across the mouths of water glasses to create a magical sound somewhere between an organ and a flute.  His table of...

Sometimes the Recipe on the Can Really is the Best

I love the fall in my home state of Pennsylvania because of the forests of turning leaves, but also because I love pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin butter, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin roll and pretty much every other form of...

Fierce Foodie: Reasons to Stew

I love stew.  I love the fact that you can throw a bunch of raw ingredients into a pot, let them simmer and a few hours later have something tender, aromatic, and delicious to share.  I love stew because stew is inherently a social food.  There is no such thing as cooking stew for one.  I...

Fierce Foodie: Hearty Autumn Bean Stew Just For You

Autumn in Pittsburgh brings gray, rainy days.  On go the sweaters and out come the rakes.  Nothing is better than the smell of something yummy simmering on the stove.   Easy to make and modify (for instance, throwing in some chopped kale would be a great idea), this stew is excellent over...

Fierce Foodie: Hot (Sweet) Potato!

Sweet potato bread pudding studded with raisins and soaked in a rich caramel sauce is the kind of dessert that compels you to skip dinner and go directly to sweet, heavenly delight.  The addition of sweet potatoes to the already buttery goodness of bread pudding creates an even richer...

Fierce Foodie: Looking For A Yummy, Easy Group Meal? Try Pepper Steak!

Pepper steak is just yummy.  Unless you hate the taste of cooked peppers or don’t eat steak, it is almost impossible not to like this dish.  Summer or winter, spring or fall, it is an easy and delicious dish to feed a crowd, or just a few.  All the picky eaters I know enjoy it.  Even small...

Fierce Foodie: Shrimp Toast, Candy Apples, and BBQ Ribs [FaN Favorites...

. a favorite blogumn by Roya Hamadani Roya Says: I picked this entry because it’s a great dish from my Persian heritage, and because I love the idea of bottling leftover cereal milk on a commercial scale. From October 15, 2008 I’ve spent the last three days visiting family in Boston,...

Fierce Foodie: The Best Canadian Dish You Haven’t Eaten Yet.

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Poutine needs to come to America, people.  What is poutine, you ask?  It’s a French Canadian formula for a yummy good time: French fries + fresh cheese curds + tasty chicken or turkey gravy = happiness.  The cheese curds and gravy are added right before serving so...

Fierce Foodie: The Perfect Summer Cold Cure

Summer colds pose a particular problem when you live in a place where breathing in July is akin to breathing through a wet sock.  Mucus and humidity make a winning combination if you think swallowing is for suckers.  Who needs oxygen and food anyway? Drinking tried and true remedies like hot...

Fierce Foodie: Do Trifle With Me

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani A good dessert is a lot like a hot date: good-looking, delicious and easy.  Three of my top choices are cake in all its myriad forms, pudding luscious pudding, and sweet ripe fruit.  Trifle is a dessert that manages not only to combine all three of my loves in an...

Fierce Foodie: Lucky Recipes

I am not the kind of person for whom happiness comes easily or naturally.  Give me a good thing and my mind will do its very best to run it into the ground with constant thoughts of anxiety and mistrust.  Negative obsession feeds my insomnia, which feeds my groundless fears.  Whether these...

Fierce Foodie: Something Sweet To Eat While Reading

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Hobo pie isn’t exactly a dessert name that inspires confidence.  It kind of sounds like some canned fruit thrown into a pie tin and covered with a leftover pancake.  A quick recipe search confirmed my suspicions; hobo pie is generally white bread surrounding a...

Fierce Foodie: The Secret of Happy Tea

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani The secret of making good iced tea is much like one of the secrets to happiness, namely, the avoidance of bitterness.  Good iced tea isn’t weak, but isn’t bitter either.  Rather than steep the tea longer, use more tea to increase the strength of the flavor.  A...

Fierce Foodie: Hey Johnny Johnny Cake

Some foods aren’t just fun to eat, they’re fun to say, like Johnny cakes.  Johnny cakes, Johnny cakes, ooh Johnny Johnny cakes!  I do have good friend named Jonny, but sadly he is not the type of person who would respond well to having the word  ”cakes” added to the...

Fierce Foodie: Yummy, Easy Meat!

I like meat.  Yes, I am a very happy little carnivore.  I like my meat pink, still bleeding, oozing warm red yumminess from its center onto my mashed potatoes, dying them pink.  Some people find this very disturbing.  To them I say, I am sorry.  I am sorry you will never enjoy the sheer...

Fierce Foodie: Nothing’s Perfect So Let’s Have Cobbler

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani I love looking at photographs of big, beautiful layer cakes enrobed in marzipan and fashioned to look like pill box hats, Kelly purses or ribbon covered presents.  They represent an ideal of human achievement, something both seemingly unreachable and achingly...

Fierce Foodie: Honest Food

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Recently I faced a dilemma of sorts, one that faces most people at some point: the decision of whether or not to make someone else happy at a cost to oneself.  It’s very hard to be honest with yourself and other people about what you want and need, and what you...

Fierce Foodie: What To Eat When You Wake Up On The Wrong Side Of The B...

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Sometimes I wake up so exhausted down to the very marrow of my being that I don’t even want to chew.  I don’t want to hold anything between my teeth, grind it into bits and mix it with saliva and force it down my throat.  I’m so tired and disgusted with the world...

Fierce Foodie: Is It Time For Arugula Yet?!?!

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani I don’t care what the groundhog saw, the impassable walls of ice and snow are melting here in Pittsburgh and I am eating arugula. And that means it’s spring. Arugula, or wild rocket, looks like marigold weed and has a rich, peppery flavor that lends texture and...

Fierce Foodie: Love Life A Little Meh? Try Eggplant!

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani In my opinion, food is major source of comfort and is sometimes abused as an inappropriate coping mechanism because food, unlike people, doesn’t mess with your emotions, refuse to communicate, or break up with you via text.  For instance, food doesn’t write you an...

Fierce Foodie: Easy Merengué (Sauce)

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Yes, it’s a dance, but it’s also a sauce – whose origin some accounts attribute to a chef for Napoleon Bonaparte, forced to produce something fit to serve the tiny dynamo while out in the field on the war campaign.  I simplified it a little because really,...

Fierce Foodie: Stifado Your Face With This Stew

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Here in Pittsburgh it’s been snowing almost everyday for over a week.  Cleaning the snow off my car day after day after day makes me want a nice warm bowl of beef stew.  To me, stew is a kind of magic created from humble ingredients – inexpensive cuts of meat,...

Fierce Foodie: I’m Just Crazy About Saffron (Rice Pudding)

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani I know I have developed an unhealthy obsession with a recipe when I make it four times in one week.  This rice pudding is dangerous, people, I warn you now.  One try is all it takes to make an addict.  It all started when my good friend Lisa wrote about her...

Fierce Foodie: Celery Finally Gets Some Respect

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Growing up I ate one of four types of koresh, a Persian meat and vegetable stew, at least three nights a week.  There are of course many more varieties, but my father has his favorites, with the result that my mother can now make any of these dishes while...

Fierce Foodie: Easy As Apple Cake

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Cooking and baking are essentially different activities, and I willingly confess I am much better at the former than the latter.  You have a certain leeway with a stew, it’s not as if one wrong move will give it the consistency of concrete.  It’s possible my fear...

Fierce Foodie: At Least There Are Pumpkins

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani I know that fall has really begun when my car starts to skid on the wet leaves in front of my house.  That’s when the hot, stagnant humid summer of Pittsburgh gives way to rainy day after rainy day, and the kind of gusting wind that brings down tree branches.  The...

Fierce Foodie: Nice Tomatoes

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Tomatoes are the world’s most popular fruit, so it is fitting that they have taken over my garden.  A glut of bite-size, pear-shaped yellow tomatoes are ripening in my backyard, clustered on the vine like grapes in bunches of three and four.  They have reseeded...

Fierce Foodie: Clafoutis, anyone?

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Photo Credit: Beth Taylor Claufoutis.  It’s not a fungus, or a French soccer player, or a river in Belgium.  It is an easy fruity treat and a great way to use up summer’s berries, particularly if you are like me and tend to forget about them until they are a...

Fierce Foodie: Death by Carbicide

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Yummy Photo Credit: 3Liz4 The funniest food-related thing I’ve seen all summer is a moment from Bruno when the gay fashion commando, defeated and depressed, decides to end it all by ordering everything off a family restaurant menu that comes with whipped topping. ...

Fierce Foodie: The Thwock Effect

  “Thwock” is the sound I associate with cold, congealed pasta plopping onto a plate. Unfortunately summer is riddled with refrigerated pasta salads cemented together with mayo. As a public health professional in training, to me the practice of chowing on mayo on a hot day is akin to eating...

Fierce Foodie: It’s the Time of the Season … for Ice Cream...

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani   All I want to eat in the summer is ice cream.  I want it every day, sometimes multiple times a day, in liquid, solid or semi-solid form, in a cone or a cup or a dish or a cookie.  The air in Pittsburgh in the summer gets so thick and moist that it feels like...

Fierce Foodie: Back from Berlin

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani   Recently I visited a friend in Berlin, a place where plate sized pastries studded with cherries and covered in streusel topping can be found every twenty feet or so.  You could use these things for frisbees, that’s how big they are.  The sight of the glass...

Fierce Foodie: Think Pink Spring Stew

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani   Fresh mint and beets are two of my favorite spring foods besides petit fours.  Beets combine a full bodied sweetness with the flavor of earth while mint has a clean, bright taste.  Together with chicken they make a flavorful but light stew, perfect over rice.  ...

Fierce Foodie: Masala for a Rainy day

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani   It’s been raining a lot over the past few weeks, and that sort of weather puts me in the mood for Indian food.  Last week I went alone to my favorite buffet in Pittsburgh three days in a row.  Chicken tikka masala and sag paneer are comfort food, my version of...

Fierce Foodie: My Super Food

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Quinoa (KEEN-wah) has been called “the super food of the Incas” but to me, that’s really not a selling point.  I wouldn’t pick up a bottle of mead because it was marked “the choice inebriant of the Vikings” or dig into spelt because it’s “the favorite breakfast...

Fierce Foodie: Spring Salad

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani After a long winter of soups and stews, I crave the freshness of crunchy greens.  I have been on a major salad kick lately, enjoying many tasty combinations such as baby beets and mild goat cheese with a little asparagus.  I found iceberg lettuce boring until my...

Fierce Foodie: Unexpected and Yummy

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Arkansas has never been on my list of places to visit.  There’s this X-Files episode about cannibalistic chickens…Anyway, a good friend of mine is based in Fayetteville for her job, and so I decided to make the trek down South.  I didn’t have great hopes for...

Fierce Foodie: Not Born To Cook

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani It’s taken me many a ruined dish to learn to feed myself.  For instance, some spices can be tossed in with abandon while others ruin the whole pot if used indiscriminately.  Fenugreek powder, once overused, cannot be undone, even if you strain the dish, wash the...

Fierce Foodie: Tahchin, King of Dishes

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani In my family there is one food that is kind of like the king of dishes.  We make it for big deal occasions, request it for birthdays and reunions, sing songs and make up stories about it.  One family legend tells of how a young girl once ate half a pan of it...

Fierce Foodie: Movie Yum

. a blogumn by Roya Hamadani Can I get a close-up on that cupcake? Have you ever noticed how in the vast majority of movies people never eat?  Or when they do, the plate sits just out of focus as they talk and gesture without actually ingesting anything?   As if we don’t know it’s a plate of...

Fierce Foodie: Mini-Food

. A blogumn by Roya Hamadani I’ve always been fascinated by dollhouses, especially their miniature kitchens filled with itty-bitty fake food.  A little Googling during a slow work day introduced me a world of tiny food enthusiasts.  These are people who meticulously hand craft miniature foods...

Fierce Foodie: The Perfect Wrapping Paper

. A blogumn by Roya Hamadani Every time December rolls around, I think, “This is the year.”  This is the year that I’ll get my presents and cards in the mail on time, I’ll budget my shopping perfectly, I won’t forget anyone, and every present will be matched to its recipient with a care that...

Fierce Foodie: So Good Peanut Butter Sesame Noodles

. A blogumn by Roya Hamadani Some foods fit your insides like a glove.  From the first time you eat them, their biochemical components seem to click into place like Tetris squares to produce a nearly audible hum of satisfaction in your brain.  It’s pure food love, it’s got nothing to do with...

Fierce Foodie: Seaweed and Peaches

. A blogumn by Roya Hamadani No, it’s not the name of a new indy band you should have heard of.  Nor is it the list of ingredients in an amazing facial mask or foot scrub.  Seaweed and peaches refers to one of the main influences on my culinary tastes, and for better and worse, on my life: my...

Fierce Foodie: Collector of Food

. A blogumn by Roya Hamadani As a child I never needed to check the expiration labels in my mother’s pantry.  But now as a returning adult, I find that a walk through her hoard is a stroll through the Museum of Old Food.  Cake mix boxes are yellowed with age and smell of mildew, while the...

Fierce Foodie: My Dead Tastebuds Offer You This

. A tasty blogumn by Roya Hamadani Okay, so here it is: my best recipe.  This is my shining star, the dish that generates rave reviews from everybody who has tasted it, the dish that elicits cries of joy due to its sheer awesomeness.  I almost can’t believe I’m sharing it.  Maybe it’s the...

Fierce Foodie: Shrimp Toast, Candy Apples, and BBQ Ribs

. A blogumn by Roya Hamadani I’ve spent the last three days visiting family in Boston, sharing shrimp toast and candy apples and barbecued ribs.  For gastronomic adventuring I can think of no better partner than my sister.  One taste and she can accurately predict my reaction – “You won’t...