February: Coconut Shrimp Curry

In a Sunset Magazine that I picked up somewhere, I found this coconut curry recipe that is easy to make, and easy to customize with whatever ingredients that are handy. You could even make it vegan by substituting the shrimp with potatoes and other vegetables. This recipe is a good introduction to basic curry, and it’s great to build and learn from.

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January: Lentil Soup with Cumin and Lemon

I have a huge 3-ring binder filled with recipes that I collect: magazine pages from the doctor’s waiting room, labels torn from a can of beans, online articles and printed for inspiration or written down on scraps of paper. Some I have already tried and loved, but the rest I keep “just in case” of… what? The next time someone asks me, “Can you please bring this very specific dish that you’ve never made before?” That’s never going to happen. So in 2019, I’m going to dig through my binder and finally try all the recipes that I’ve been saving up.

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December: Shrimp and Grits

I wanted to explore Southern cooking, but I’ve never actually spent time in the region. With the help of my sister-in-law who was raised in Alabama, I’ve been learning the finer points of how to cook foods that you’d find in kitchens from Texas to Virginia. In fact, that area is referred to as the “grits belt” of the United States because the food has become such a vital part of the region’s cultural identity, and Georgia has even named it the official “prepared food” of the state. Grits are typically a breakfast food, although shrimp and grits became popular for dinner sometime in the 1980’s.

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November: Pan de Muerto

Pan de muerto, or bread of the dead, is traditionally made during the Dia de Muertos holiday celebrated in Spanish-speaking communities. Families make offerings of food, marigolds, calavera sugar skulls and pan de muerto to their deceased loved ones and eat their favorite foods to honor and remember them. The sweet bread differs slightly by region and is often shaped to look like a skull and crossbones, and is believed to help give the spirits strength after their journey back to the world.

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November: Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna

I don’t have a love affair with cheese. I use it in cooking sometimes and I love cheese pizza, but up until a few years ago, you would never see me add more than one kind to a dish. I’ve only recently started exploring blending cheeses and using them more frequently, so I figured it’s about time for me to dive in and use all the cheese as I can get my hands on to make this hearty lasagna!

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