Wednesday, June 30, 2010

a meal not to miss

Whether you enjoy a cappuccino for breakfast
or
lattes and almond croissants
fresh coffee
mini blueberry muffins
beet hash
a cup of tea with
 an orange and cranberry muffin
an espresso
a baguette with dessert
or maybe
 breakfast outside with fresh fruit
breakfast really is 
a
 wonderful meal

I grew up always having 
  breakfast.
My dad
 would make breakfast
 for my three siblings and I
 every morning.
He would make:
Omelets
French Toast
Hash Browns
Waffles
Chorizo con Papas
and
by far
 my favorite
Chocolate Chip Pancakes!!
Everything was always from scratch
and 
I loved
 listening to pots and spoons
clang in the kitchen.
It was comforting
 knowing my dad was making breakfast.
He would always yell from the bottom of the stairs
Come and Get It 
Breakfast is Ready!!
So it is only natural that I feel that
Mornings
 are 
not
 complete
 without
 Breakfast
!
What is your favorite breakfast memory?
And do you drink coffee, tea or juice with breakfast?
Bisous!

Monday, June 28, 2010

a sweet mess ...

 Switzerland
Gruyère 2007

in the kitchen
whisking egg whites
before the oven
ready for the oven
out of the oven
Meringues 
dessert
to be enjoyed with Meringues
the perfect dessert
what was left

Late night baking
 is
 one of my favorite things to do
 and
 that is exactly what I did on Saturday.
 All day I had a recipe in mind 
 and could not shake it.
  I wanted Meringues with Creme Fraiche. 
 I first discovered Meringues with Crème Fraiche on a trip to France 
in 2007.
  We took a trip to Gruyère Switzerland
 and 
I fell in love with the sweet and historic town of Gruyère.
  Marc's Meme (grandma) had told us
 that the Meringues from Gruyère were her favorite
 and
 the Crème Fraiche was out of this world.
 Later,
 when we got back to the family farm
... 
la ferme
...
 we were busy chatting with Marc's cousin and his wife 
when we heard a knock at the door.
 It was Meme and she had bought us 
Meringues and Crème Fraiche.

We devoured every Meringue
and
gleefully ate spoonfuls of the Crème Fraiche. 
 By far,
 the best way to enjoy a Meringue is with Crème Fraiche.
 
So,
 this is what I thought about all Saturday
 and 
around 9pm 
I got to making Meringues. 
I knew that Meringues were egg whites and sugar.
I found several recipes online
 and took bits and pieces that I liked from each
recipe
 and quickly
  started on my Meringue adventure. 
 
I used five egg whites and about 2 1/2 cups of confectioners' sugar
 and 
two teaspoons of vanilla. 
I whisked the egg whites until frothy
 and then added my vanilla. 
Next,
 I whisked away with my mixer and slowly added the sugar.
 I whisked and added.
 Whisked and added.
 Finally,
 when the eggs whites were stiff
...
 I knew my Meringue was ready to be popped into the oven. 
The recipe I liked in particular
 was one that said to
 wedge a wooden spoon in between the oven while baking the Meringues.
 I baked my Meringues for 3 1/2 hours.
 And boy was this incredibly hard for me 
...
 I am not patient what so ever.

 The next evening 
Marc and I picked up some Creme Fraiche and enjoyed all 12 Meringues. 
They were INCREDIBLE!!! 
Next time however, 
I will get a proper pastry bag
 ... 
because a freezer bag
 with no pastry tip
 made making Meringues quite MESSY.

 All in all,
while eating our Meringues
 Marc and I were whisked away to one of our favorite places
  ...
 la ferme.
And that made any mess I made in the kitchen
SO worth it.
 Happy Monday
and
BISOUS!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

how do you ... dress your dog?

all the toppings
smart dogs with onions
before
after
the simple dog
the sweet dog and the simple dog

Hot Dog it is Monday!!
 The weekend went by too quickly.
 On Saturday
 Marc and I ran from Giants Stadium in San Francisco
 over the Golden Gate Bridge
 and 
back.
 The run was amazing and I took in all of the sites.
  All in all 
we ran about 12 miles
until
 we had to stop 
 because
of a dull ache in my knee.
 I think it might be from my lack of cross training
 so
 I will be trying to balance in a bit more swimming and yoga
 into my workouts.
  I have one month to go and I am hoping I will be ready to run 26 miles.

After our run
 Marc and I stopped off at Crown and Crumpet for tea and scones
 ... 
I ordered the Paris blend
 and
 was whisked away to my home away from home.
 We then walked five more miles
 and 
grabbed more goodies at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market.
  We had an incredible veggie wrap and washed it down with blueberry lemonade
 .... 
YUM!
 If you haven't been to the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market
  GO 
you will love it.
For the past week or so,
  I've been craving lemonade and grilled hot dogs
 yes hot dogs!!
 I think it has something to do with the warmer weather.
 So,
 being that Marc and I are trying to cut down on the amount of meat we consume
 we used an all veggie dog
 ...
My goal was to try and cook the dogs in a way that Marc could not taste the difference
 ...
 and 
this is what I did.
 I grilled the dogs in our grill pan
 with a little bit of olive oil and a heaping amount of sliced onions.
 And 
I believe the onions did the trick 
because
 our dogs tasted just like ball park franks
 ...
 they were perfect.
  Another tip is: 
ditch the hot dog buns
 and 
go with a baguette.

  On our last trip to France
 we went camping and used small baguettes as our buns
 and since then
  I use baguettes as hot dog buns.
 Marc toasted our small baguettes in the oven for 5-7 minutes
 and
 then brought them out to cool for a minute or so.  

And now
 for the best part,
 our toppings!!!
 We used our homemade horseradish
 that we made a week ago,
 cornichons that I chopped into small little pieces, 
tomatoes, 
onions,
 New Zealand cheddar, 
roasted red peppers,
 pineapple,
 cilantro,
 Dijon mustard
 and
 ketchup. 
We had an array of goodness to choose from.  
Here are two of the hot dog creations Marc and I made:

The Simple Dog
Dijon mustard
New Zealand cheddar
onions
horseradish
this dog was salty, spicy, and all together good!!

The Sweet Dog
Dijon mustard
ketchup
pineapple
roasted red peppers
cheddar cheese
cilantro
this dog was the right amount of sweet!!!

And to wash it all down
  What are your favorite toppings when it comes to hot dogs??
 Enjoy your week!!
BISOUS!

Friday, June 18, 2010

everyone needs a mini

carrots
mixing
ready to go
before
after
everyone needs a mini

Last weekend,
 I made 50 mini carrot cupcakes for a good friend who just graduated.
 She asked me about a month ago
 if I would be interested in making a treat for her celebration
 and
 of course
I
 said
 YES.
  I decided to go with mini cupcakes
 because
 I think they are too cute.
 And
 people don't feel as bad when they have more than one
 (speaking for myself).
 I purchased a mini cupcake pan from Williams-Sonoma
 that was perfectly priced
 and
 that I have now put to use several times
 in the last week.
 from the one and only 
 Did I change the recipe?
 But of course!!
  
The recipe calls for orange juice
 and
 instead of two tablespoons I use four.
 I also
 do not include raisins or nuts 
because when making 50 for a special occasion
 you never know who is allergic to what etc.
  I add a bit of nutmeg
 and
 ditch the coconut.
 But the kicker is that I use 1 teaspoon of pineapple juice.
 I have made these cupcakes several times now
 and
 it has never failed.
 I pair the cupcakes with my go to cream cheese frosting 
and
 garnish the tops with fresh carrots.
 All in all
 I am quite partial
 to anything that involves carrots.
  I feel these little cupcakes
 are
 perfect
 for a
 Summer barbecue,
 a picnic with friends
 or
 even breakfast.
  Who says you can't have dessert for breakfast?!

 I am curious
 ... 
what is your favorite go to recipe?
 And what are you up to this weekend?
 Bisous!
I found the carrot cupcake recipe last year
 and
 searched high and low for it online
if you would like the recipe
email me
and 
I would be happy to send it to you.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fresh Peaches

a white peach from the farmers' market
fresh raspberries
a gift from France
white peaches
perfectly ripe
sweet and juicy
dessert

A post or two back
 I wrote about a dessert Marc had made
 but
 I did not go into detail 
so
 now I will.
 Marc made 
White Peaches in Raspberry Wine Sauce
 and
 they were amazing.
 The dessert was light, flavorful and oh so sweet.
 What I loved was how fresh the dessert made me feel.
 Instead of  Cointreau, Grappa or Marc 
we used a tablespoon of
we got it as a gift from family in France.
 So,
 being that I get on kicks where I must have the same dessert
 twice in one week
 we made it again, two nights ago. 
 We bought ripe white peaches,
 fresh raspberries
 and
 dry white wine
 and
quickly began creating.
After mixing,
stirring
and peeling
we waited until our syrup chilled
and 
then 
slowly
  we enjoyed every last bite.
 
The dessert danced
 with our taste buds!!
 White Peaches and Raspberries are perfect together.
 The next time you are craving a tasty dessert
 I hope you will make White Peaches in Raspberry Wine Sauce.
 Here is the recipe, enjoy!!

White Peaches in Raspberry Wine Sauce
Ingredients
1 cup water
1 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup sugar
1 box of raspberries
1 tablespoon of Cointreau, Grappa or Marc (we used our EAU DE VIE)
4 white peaches

Combine water, wine and sugar in a saucepan (we used a small pot).  Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10-12 minutes.  Refrigerate until cold.

The original recipe wants the raspberries pureed in a food processor BUT being that I LOVE whole raspberries I lightly mashed mine so they were still hearty.  Stir raspberries into the cold wine syrup and EAU DE VIE 
and chill.

When it is time for dessert ... peel the peaches and dice them into hearty slices.  Next pour as much of the chilled raspberry wine syrup as you would like
 over the peaches 
... 
and serve.  

Marc and I found this recipe in Fresh From the Farmers' Market by Janet Fletcher
As usual we adapted it to our liking. 

Wishing you a lovely Wednesday.
BISOUS!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

eggplant sandwiches?

eggplant
all the ingredients in their glory
"the sandwich"

Eggplant Sandwiches?
 I was a bit skeptical when I first saw 
the recipe
 Where was the bread?
 How would it stay together?
 I got over my skepticism very quickly
 and
 tackled the recipe.
  I did make
one big change to the recipe.
  The recipe calls for goat cheese
 and
 being that all of you know how much I love cheese
 ....
 I added soft bleu cheese to the sandwich.
 And
 it was a great decision
 ... 
the bleu cheese mixed with the goat cheese
 and
 created a mouth watering combination.
  After dipping my eggplant rounds in flour,
 egg
 and
 bread crumbs, 
I then browned them for 3-4 minutes.
When they were done,
I lightly sprinkled my rounds with a pinch of salt
 and
 put them off to the side
 while I cut my tomato,
 sliced onion (I added this too),
washed basil (a very key ingredient),
 and pulled apart romaine lettuce. 
After I layered my ingredients into sandwiches
I could not believe how incredible the sandwich looked
 ... 
it was almost too good to eat.
 That did not last long 
because
 Marc grabbed his plate and started digging in
 ... 
while I snapped a heaping amount of photos.
 The sandwich really is perfect
 for a Summer dinner
 and
 I love dishes that use oh so tasty vegetables.
  I paired the sandwich with rainbow chard
 that I cooked with sauvignon blanc,
 red wine vinegar and garlic.
 Chard is way better than fries.
 So,
 if you choose to make this sandwich
 remember
 ...
 bleu cheese is KEY.
 And if you do not like bleu cheese get creative
 and
 try it with your favorite cheese. 
I hope all of you have a wonderful Tuesday 
filled
 with fresh vegetables and tasty cheese. 
BISOUS!
(I searched all over for the recipe online
 but could not find it
 you can find the recipe
 on page 202 
in
 the July 2010 issue of Real Simple)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Perfect for Summer

sweet tomatoes
a new way to dice (thank you Lacey)
baguette slices with garlic
Bruschetta with Tomatoes and Purple Basil
Dessert: Cherry Raspberry Popsicles

Now that the weather is warmer
 I find myself craving simple and refreshing meals for dinner.
  Last Sunday,
 I made my favorite Summer Recipe 
...
I used purple basil to give it a twist!!

 The trick to having the perfect baguette for your bruschetta
 is 
slicing thin pieces of garlic
 and
 wedging them inside each slice.
 The garlic will ooze into every inch of the baguette slices.
  And 
being that I can't have a meal without cheese,
 I love grating fresh Parmesan cheese over the tops of my bruschetta. 
 
Bruschetta is perfect for Summer
 ...
 it's light,
 fresh
 and
 incredible.
  The recipe I use calls for the tomatoes to be boiled
 BUT 
being that I never follow recipes
 (sometimes this is a good thing or as you all know ... a roller coaster ride)
 I do not boil my tomatoes
 ... 
I use the tomato as is.
  And for dessert
 ... 
I made Cherry Raspberry Popsicles.
 I made these little pops
 with
 fresh Cherry Raspberry Juice
 (found at Whole Foods)
 and
 then added fresh raspberries
 that I bought from my local Farmers' Market.
 I turned a three dollar bottle of juice into 8 popsicles
 ...
 now that is a magic trick
 if I do say so myself.
 Enjoy your weekend!!
 I hope it is filled with fresh and simple Summer Goodness.
 BISOUS!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Procrastinating with Iced Coffees and Yogurt

filtering my coffee
waiting
pure coffee goodness
the starter
warming the milk
milk and the starter
8 hours until YOGURT

So,
 the last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy
 but
I am happy to say ...
 it is over
 ...
 I am officially done until Fall Quarter!!!
 That means
 my time will be filled with
 trying new recipes,
 writing,
 day trips,
 photo adventures,
 and
 relaxing days at farmers' markets.
 I have a couple of ideas that I want to set into motion
 and
 will fill you in once I get a hold of them.
 But for now,
 I wanted to share with you two of my latest obsessions:
 making
 homemade iced coffees and yogurt.
 I saw Lily's post on iced coffees about two weeks ago
 and
 since then
 have been brewing my own coffee
 about every other day.
 I mix my coffee grounds in a mason jar,
 let it sit for 12 hours,
 filter,
 and chill
 by far the best coffee
...
ever (maybe an exaggeration)
Making my own iced coffees has allowed me to be more content at home.
 I love whipping up an iced coffee in my mason jar and relaxing.
 I haven't bought an iced coffee in two weeks
and 
for me
this is a long time!!
What do I put in my iced coffee?
  I add honey
 a small spoonful of sugar
 and ice cold milk.
 If you have mason jars sitting around
 I strongly encourage you to use them as your glasses
 ...
 they are simple,
 unique and just fun glasses to have.
 Oh and did I mention reasonably priced.
And
 now for my other obsession
 or
 rather
 Marc's.
 He has been making homemade yogurt.
 The recipe pretty much blew my mind 
because it is so easy
 and
 pretty much effortless.
 Fermenting yogurt at home is healthy,
 cheaper than buying it
 and
 the taste of fresh homemade yogurt will knock your socks off.
 If you are interested in the recipe that we use
 ...
 email me at writingldy@gmail.com
 and
 I will send you the recipe.  
Wishing you a great rest of the week 
...
 and I am interested
 ... 
how do you procrastinate? 
BISOUS!