Caille à Vin (Quail in Wine)

20140729_154427One of the things you may not know about me, and how would you since it’s the first time I’ve mentioned it, is that I am a total Francophile. Ever since I was a young girl I have admire just about everything French from the beauty of the sensual language to the buttery croissants and of course…the wine. So it should come as no surprise that I have tried my hand—not with a ton of success if I’m being honest—at several of the less complicated French dishes.

I have mastered the traditional coq au vin and one day I may even show you my efforts. As you can imagine it is difficult to make this dish with a vegetarian spouse, but I just make half the chicken and only serve him the veggies, sauce and rice or noodles. It works.

Throw in my need (compulsion?) to make traditional dishes in my own way and you can see how I thought this dish would be a good idea. Just ask my husband or my friends, you will often find on my menu things like steak-less Pepper Steak or Welsh Rarebit Mac & Cheese. I’m just a big fan of taking something I have always loved and changing it up to match how I eat now. I love macaroni and cheese, like freakin’ rub it all over my body LOVE it. But you will never catch me noshing on electric orange powder mac & cheese…EVER. I make my own cheese sauce so I can change it up and make it more grown up.

Hence my need to try something else au vin because, let’s face it, food drenched in wine is a pretty good idea. One of the best from the French which I think we should all embrace! Continue reading Caille à Vin (Quail in Wine)

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Tuxedo Cheesecake

pacman cheesecakeSo I’ve been working on my dessert skills these last few months. Before this year began I was able to make 3 desserts really well; brownies, German chocolate cake and peanut butter cookies. These were my “go to” recipes for parties, bake sales and just about any other occasion calling for something with a ton of sugar. But as I’ve discussed before…my palate bores easily, although very rarely when it comes to brownies and especially not if there are walnuts or pecans mixed in.

I don’t have a big sweet tooth but, of course, my husband has a major sweet tooth. So I have the perfect guinea pig for my experiments. In honor of the new season of Project Runway—13 seasons, can you believe it?!?! Seems like just yesterday the world learned what auf Weidesehen meansI decided to create something that would stun my eyes as much as my taste buds. What better way to celebrate the newest names in fashion than with a tuxedo cheesecake?

I don’t have many guilty pleasures and if pressed I wouldn’t really call this one of mine, but it is a show that LOVE. I have no shame admitting that I shake my head and smack my lips when a designer tries to give Heidi attitude, but I have no problem when they turn the bitch on Nina, because come on…Nina is. But, I digress. Continue reading Tuxedo Cheesecake

Thai Spring Rolls

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Thai spring rolls with shrimp and basil

Food, for me, has always been about more than sustenance. In college food was a treat from the special reservation-only shrimp or steak dinners to my Wednesday takeout while I watched Dawson’s Creek. I would rush home from Mock Trial practice, place my order for pizza or grinders (those are super delicious warm sandwiches on the tastiest toasted bread you have ever sank your teeth into), get into my comfy clothes, pop a vodka cranberry into a glass and get giddy when the first strains of Paula Cole’s “I don’t wanna wait” started.

I don’t think the food had much to do with it considering my love—even today—of Dawson’s Creek, but whenever I think of that time the food always plays a role.

Today though, when I think of food I think of the event surrounding a new dish. The first time I tried Indian food I was in Washington, D.C. after a week of DNC training. The food was awful and it would be about 3 years before I ate a good Indian dish. The first time I ate sushi was in 1996 before it was “all the rage” because I read some chic lit novel and it sounded delicious and sophisticated to a teenage girl eager to be an adult. I have tons of these, but I won’t bore you with them all lest I use up all the space on the internet!

Ah, I lied…there’s one more. But it’s relevant, I swear. Continue reading Thai Spring Rolls

Mini Frittatas & Smoked Salmon Pinwheels

mini frittata salmon pinwheelsLike most people, I absolutely love the weekends. I work for myself so it isn’t so much about what the weekend represents—time away from annoying coworkers and clueless bosses—but more about the relaxing culture that encompasses all weekends. I think I have a better appreciation for my weekends now that I’m living in Europe. I wake up and linger in bed for awhile before heading to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.

I admit that I’m not much of a breakfast person. Not that I don’t like breakfast, but rather I’m not all gung ho about it every morning. As long as I have a steaming cup of freshly ground coffee and a bagel…my morning is as good as mornings can get. But on the weekend we can be lazy and not rush to get him out the door to work, and that means I get to spend time with my honey and work on expanding my breakfast dishes. Continue reading Mini Frittatas & Smoked Salmon Pinwheels

Mediterranean Pizza

One of my favorite things about cooking is venturing outside of my comfort zone. There are foods that my tongue simply refuses to acknowledge as tasty such as eggplant and spinach. Luckily for my culinary skills my husband does like those foods, but this isn’t Iron Chef so I season and experiment but never taste. He seems happy about the flavors, which is about the best I can hope for, so I think I’ve done a decent job so far.

That brings me to one of my biggest culinary loves; pizza. I’m not talking about the crap that passes for pizza in the frozen section of the grocery store because let’s be honest, that is only acceptable after a long night of partying or for college students. Otherwise it is a disgrace. No, I’m talking about making your own dough, kneading it until your muscles burn and watching (okay squealing) with delight when the dough begins to rise. This is the kind of pizza that gets my mouth watering. Continue reading Mediterranean Pizza

Spicy Coconut Moqueca

When it comes to TV chefs everyone has their favorites. I’m partial to Rachel Ray mostly because it was her easy and accessible style of cooking that prompted me to change my life by cooking my own meals and becoming more conscious of what I put in my body. Of course Rachel’s portion sizes leave something to be desired but I can’t fault her for that. I also love Tyler Florence because he’s all big and Southern and the man can cook! He’s definitely tested my skills as an amateur chef but I do make a few mean dishes thanks to his TV guidance.

But my TV chef crush, if you put a gun to my head, is Anthony Bourdain. That deep voice and the way he uses his words in that Beat Generation cadence…well let’s just say the food he introduces me to from all parts of the globe isn’t the only thing that gets my mouth watering. Given my desire to see as much of the world as I can before these lids shut permanently, it makes sense that I’d flock to this type of food appreciation show now that I am on my own journey to visit far flung regions of the world.

What’s my point, other than giving you way too much information into my Bourdain crush? Well it was an episode of Parts Unknown that inspired me to try out this Moqueca (sounds like MO-Cake-Kah) recipe. Of course I have neither the access to, nor the skill to handle blowfish so I used plain old white fish in my recipe. Specifically I used cod filets which I often have on hand because you’ll never know when a fish & chips craving will strike. Anyway I saw this recipe and I knew I’d have to try it and this is my first attempt. Continue reading Spicy Coconut Moqueca