Comfort Food, Revamped

By: Victoria Phillips

Comfort food: It warms you up from the inside out. It wraps you up and satisfies deep down — even if just for a little while. It's like getting the warm fuzzies after hugging an old friend. My first bite into Tavern N Town's Pan Roasted Florida Lobster Tail and Slow Braised Oxtail Risotto was a mixture of all of that — plus surprise.

Surprise because normally, I crave marinara-topped pasta for my comfort food of couice. But after having this dish at the Key West Food and Wine Festival Master Chef Classic, my tune is changing. The buttery, light lobster pairs well with the oxtail risotto, while the cumin lime crema keeps the meat extra moist. Plantain chips add extra texture and crunch. All of these components worked together to be at once comforting and original.

So I took a look around and found some more new ways to serve up a comforting meal:

First up, Bobby Deen’s spin on the baked potato. With goat cheese, kalamata olives and fresh dill, Bobby’s Greek-Style Twice-Baked Potatoes are anything but traditional.

Bal Arneson takes on the ultimate comfort food: macaroni and cheese. Her Indian-Style Macaroni and Cheese is as rich as the original, but the addition of paprika, ground cardamom, tumeric and cumin give this cheesy classic a spicy twist.

No comfort food list would be complete without meatballs. Emeril’s Spanish Meatballs are kicked up a notch with chile powder, crushed red pepper, cilantro and Spanish white anchovies. Don’t skip the chorizo — it makes the sauce a smoky standout.

Get the Recipe: Spanish Meatballs

And what’s a comfort food discussion without cupcakes? Tomato Soup Cupcakes may sound like some crazy hybrid of comfort food (and in a way, they totally are), trust us: you won’t be able to put them down. Cinnamon keeps these cupcakes from tasting too savory, while cloves add just the right kick of flavor.

Get the Recipe: Tomato Soup Cupcakes

Find even more comfort foods with a twist in our International Comfort Foods gallery.

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