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In the Kitchen

The Italian Job
Sally Belk King
May 6, 2008

This spaghetti squash recipe from personal chef and caterer Robert Cacciola is one of his favorite dishes not just because it's replete with flavor but because it's light, healthy, and can be made in advance. 'When making this at home, do all your prep ahead of time and keep the ingredients separate until 30 minutes before serving,' he suggests.

Wild Thing: Ramps and Potato Gratin
Sally Belk King
Apr 22, 2008

Asparagus, peas and strawberries. That's what usually comes to mind when most of us think of springtime fare. But there are also highly anticipated wild things from the woods this time of year, like morels and ramps. The latter are actually wild leeks (Allium tricoccum); they resemble scallions, but have broader, lily-like leaves. Their assertive garlicky, onion-y flavor is reason enough to celebrate spring, which many communities do--especially in the woodsy parts of Appalachia.

A Succulent Roast Guinea Hen for passover
Sally Belk King
Apr 8, 2008

Even if you don't keep Kosher--even if you're not Jewish--Jonathan Lindenauer's Guinea Hen with spicy dried fruit chutney is easy, festive, and great for just about any special occasion, any time of year. As a side dish, our featured chef suggests an arugula salad, wilted spinach, or roasted Brussels sprouts; all represent the requisite 'bitter' flavor that is part of the Passover tradition.

A Pork for a Party
Sally Belk King
Mar 25, 2008

Fare by David Chang, a.k.a., The Pork King (and GQ magazine's Chef of the Year), nods to Asia, but he also has a clear appreciation for good-quality American products. In addition to featuring country ham from Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee, Chef Chang also offers DeBragga natural pork from Iowa.

The Shoulder Season
Sally Belk King
Mar 11, 2008

Pasta e Piselli is a beloved dish in Campania, and to me, is a dish that signifies the beginning of spring. One of my favorite recipes for pasta with peas is from Eleanora's Kitchen, a book that I co-authored with Italian-born Eleanora Scarpetta. It's the perfect 'Lion-to-Lamb' dish, and just right as a starter for Easter dinner.

Not Your Mother's Meat and Potatoes
Sally Belk King
Feb 26, 2008

When asked chef Jonathan Lindenauer what he was going to cook when returned from Colorado to snowy New York, without hesitation he said, "Steak. Steak with this amazing sauce that I just invented." Lindenauer's spicy, tangy, rich sauce--spiked with gingerroot, soy sauce and sherry vinegar--marries beautifully with an assertive Argentinean Malbec or a full-flavored Côte Rôtie from the northern Rhône.

Comfort in a Kettle
Sally Belk King
Feb 12, 2008

As I write this column, we're still deep into winter here in Montana. Making Country Captain--an old timey southern chicken dish--is definitely on my 'to do' list. Like most long-cooked stews and soups, Country Captain can be made several days in advance; what a joy to have a semi-spicy dish in the refrigerator (or freezer) to reheat for the snowy days and frigid nights still to come.

Powder Day Supper!
Sally Belk King
Jan 29, 2008

Whether you're hunkered down in a mountainside condo or simply want a spicy dish to get you through a dark winter's night, baked pasta dishes seem to always satisfy our primitive craving for big flavors (and yes, calories) this time of year. I'm lucky enough to live near Big Sky Resort, where chef Wendy Wagner is known for her game dishes and other inspired--and filling--dishes. I was intrigued by the title of the dish, and just had to try it in the spirit of solidarity. (I was dining with a male colleague who shook his head and couldn't understand why the dish couldn't be called 'Cowhand Casserole' or something less, um, feminine.

The Cheese Chick Speaketh
Sally Belk King
Jan 15, 2008

In addition to being famous for rain, rain, and more rain, The Beaver State is also replete with extraordinary victuals: mushrooms (for obvious meteorological reasons), wine and cheese. After a recent trip to Oregon wine country, I was enchanted with the cheeses, and wanted to learn more. So, who ya gonna call? The Cheese Chick, of course!

A Scallop Starter from Madrona Manor's 'Star' Chef
Sally Belk King
Jan 1, 2008

When planning a party menu, sometimes it's easier to focus on the main course (Pork roast with fennel? Poached salmon with dill?) and treat the starter as a mere afterthought. But to me, the purpose of a first course is to gracefully ease the diner into the main event.

Before the Prime Rib, a Great Starter
Sally Belk King
Dec 18, 2007

Randy and Lisa Lynch of Bennett Lane Winery in Calistoga have a strong tradition of prime rib, plenty of hungry family members and multiple bottles of their myriad Napa Valley wines for Christmas. And Lisa has a killer appetizer: Chilled shrimp with basil-ponzu sauce. With a Bennett Lane Carneros Reserve Chardonnay, of course!