The best thing ever happened recently. I know I’ve talked on here about losing my need for all things American in the kitchen and embracing what I can find here in France, and learning to make things that I still craved from scratch. But sometimes, I still get really excited when I can easily find a little slice of home. Hence the best thing ever: Marks and Spencer Food opened right next to my work! OK, so I know that M&S is British and not American, but I still find versions of my childhood comfort foods (good pre-packaged cheesecake and other sweets) as well as other, more adult and grown up flavors like curry sauces and chutneys and OMG: ground lamb! I’ve set foot in the store two or three times so far, and seeing this lamb mince was definitely the most exciting moment by far (even more so than the discovery of cheesecake!). I snatched it up without hesitating, and grabbed a package of Indian naan bread as well, set on the idea of making lamb burgers over the weekend. Continue reading
This is my go-to salad. It’s the one that I’ve been making for years, and one of the first “meals” that I made for myself once I was out on my own. Something about the combination of tuna and a mayonnaise-laced vinaigrette, crunchy cucumbers and radishes, hearty boiled eggs and big flecks of pepper keeps me coming back for more. Not to mention that this salad can be used to clean out your pantry of canned veggies, or your fridge of leftover bits of produce. It’s a niçoise salad without being so structured, putting the ingredients you have on hand to good use. Continue reading
I’m so glad that I finally got around to making this recipe again and that it’s finally up on the blog! This is one of the first things I learned to make on my own, back when Jé and I had just gotten together. I remember trying so hard to impress him (even though he’s really not much of a foodie), making stuffed bell peppers (another recipe that I don’t think is even on here!), pumpkin pie from scratch and then, this chicken. It felt like such a triumph. It was incredibly easy, actually, but something about it seemed complicated. Almost fancy even. It was pure instant gratification, and I made it on a regular basis for a long time, until one day, it just fell out of my rotation. And I haven’t made it since. And then the other day I randomly thought about it, and remembered how it was just as good as any take-out I ever ate in America and a million times better than what I can find in France, and just like that, sticky honey chicken was back!
Usually, when you have over-ripe bananas, you make banana bread. I am part of the rare group of people who doesn’t like banana bread. I know! But I just… don’t. So when I found myself with three bananas that were way too ripe to just eat, I found myself in a bit of a dilemma. I’d been craving pancakes lately (my new favorite thing is forcing Jé to eat dessert for dinner, which usually involves pancakes) so I decided to give banana pancakes a try, for dinner no less! Continue reading
Sometimes I can’t believe how long it takes me to actual make a recipe that is on my list. Especially when said recipe is as easy as turning on the oven and involves only three ingredients. Also when the recipe in question is nothing short of pure bliss when it comes out of the oven a mere 10 minutes later. Also when I have technically already made this recipe several dozens of times while working in a restaurant… But somehow never got around to making it in my own kitchen. I guess it just takes that one trigger that makes you think about a recipe that you used to make/ want to make/ haven’t made in forever. For me, it was a trip to the grocery store. We were in the cheese aisle when Jé saw a specially marketed cheese that was made for being baked, or rather microwaved. It came in a cute little wooden basket-like packaging that you just had to heat up and… Amazing! Fondue in a neat little package! Jé was intrigued and wanted to try it, despite the fact that we had no idea what kind of cheese it actually was. Because who doesn’t want to eat melty, gooey, hot cheese and call it a meal? Enter the baked camembert. I gently shooed him away from the mystery cheese and picked up a camembert instead. Continue reading
I don’t think life gets any better than this. One of my greatest pleasures in life is an early-bird lunch at Red Lobster with my adorable Grandma. It’s been a tradition of ours ever since I can remember. We’d drive up to her house in the Amana Colonies, arriving around 10 am. By 11:15, she was ready to go, and after a quick 25 minute drive to Coralville near Iowa City, we were among the first to arrive just before noon. When I was a kid, I wasn’t a big fan of seafood. I remember always ordering flounder and feeling incredibly adventurous if one of my family members could coerce me into trying a bite of their shrimp or scampi or lobster. I usually obliged, but was always content to eat my flounder with fries, and of course as many Cheddar Bay biscuits as I could get my hands on. My love for these little balls of dough, cheese and herbs was apparently so well known that to this day, my Grandma always asks for extra biscuits right off the bat to satisfy my cravings. Now that I only get to make this trip about once a year, if I’m lucky, it makes the moment even more special (and satisfying!). So imagine my sheer happiness when, last week, completely randomly, I came across the world’s easiest recipe, promising to replicate those famous biscuits to the T. Continue reading
This cheesecake was in no way planned, and somehow turned out perfectly! I wasn’t even planning on cheesecake at all until I ended up with three packages of cream cheese that I picked up on super sale at our local supermarket. The idea for rhubard curd on top came from the bag of frozen rhubarb that’s been in my freezer for way too long. And the hazelnut crust? A gigantic bag of raw hazelnuts that I bought last week to make hazelnut cookies. But guess what? Nutty hazelnut crust is the perfect balance for sweet, custardy cheesecake filling, which goes perfectly with tart rhubarb curd. Guess what else? Eating a handful of toasted hazelnuts followed immediately by a spoonful of still-slightly-warm rhubard curd is a really good idea.