Brussel’s and bacon quiche

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Quiche! It’s so easy, obviously infinitely customizable, and very tasty… Ever since I learned to whip up a quick and perfectly flaky pie crust, I’ve been making quiches as often as I can. The best thing about a quiche is that there really aren’t any rules: add whatever veggies you have lying around, some cheese, maybe some meat… This particular quiche had some finely sliced Brussel’s sprouts, some salty lardons, and of course a healthy dose of Comté cheese. It was one of my favorite combinations, so I thought I’d share it with you here! Continue reading

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Brussel’s sprouts and zucchini gratin with Comté and bacon

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Vegetables have probably never been so rich and satisfying. I took the year’s first Brussel’s sprouts, combined them with a nutty brown butter béchamel sauce, crumbled bacon and grated cheese and threw them in the oven. They were so good that we ate half the pan as a main dish and finished off the rest as a side the next day. The veggies keep just a tiny bit of their bitterness, which is quickly overpowered by the creamy goodness that is béchamel. You could throw whatever you have lying around in this gratin, I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong! Continue reading

Creamy carbonara

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One of the first things that I learned to cook upon arriving in France was something not whatsoever French: carbonara. I also learned how to make the Italian dish from a Colombian girl, so you can imagine that it was not necessarily the most traditional interpretation. Nonetheless, carbonara is great for so many reasons: I almost always have everything I need to make it on hand, it’s delicious, and it doesn’t cost much to make. Continue reading

Braised fennel with cream and bacon

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It’s a wonder that I love fennel. I hate licorice, and in France anise is everywhere, more specifically in the Ricard-type liqueurs that are so thick and full of alcohol they must be diluted with water. Jérôme loves them, and I just can’t get behind their strong, overpowering anise flavor. Raw fennel is packed with much the same flavors, which is why for a long time I didn’t dare buy it. I finally decided to go out on a limb one day a few years ago, and this recipe was born. The fennel is braised in a cream sauce and balanced with smoky bacon and delicate cream, with just a touch of mustard for an extra kick. The flavors go wonderfully together, and this dish completely annihilated my fear of fennel, leading the way to raw fennel shaved in salads in the spring. I just had a lovely salad of fennel, avocado and mâche last night (and today as leftovers), and I have this recipe to thank for it. Continue reading

Creamy cauliflower, cumin and lardon soup

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Yes, I know. ANOTHER soup! But it’s the season, and soups are one of my favorite (and economically advantageous) ways to warm up and enjoy something home-cooked in the winter months. It was especially cold here in France over the last couple of weeks when the weather brought us our first snow of the year that actually stuck, so soup was definitely on the menu (potato, leek and fried almond, turnip leek and sweet potato, roasted carrot and parsnip with coconut milk, etc., etc.). This is a fabulously basic soup. It’s hearty, filling and satisfying. You can eat it as thick or as thin as you like but I promise it’ll fill you up. I’m not sure what it is about this soup. I never regarded cauliflower as extremely filling but this is one hearty soup. It’s also very simple and something about respecting the cooking times and different steps takes it to another level, and I don’t recommend skimping. Continue reading

Cherry barbecue sauce and bacon cheeseburgers

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I was inspired by several things in the creation of this particular recipe. It came just days after my unbelievable experience at “Un Jour Un Chef” that you can read all about here. Ludovic, the chef, taught us how to make a super tasty barbecue sauce from scratch, with the only “artificial” ingredient being tomato paste. Of course, on that day it was a bourbon BBQ sauce. I had other plans. We just happened to be right in the middle of an intense cherry season that lasted about 10 days. They went from barely ripe to black before we knew what to do with them. After freezing several bags for when my family visits next month, I decided a full-on recipe was in order. Continue reading

Goat cheese salad with bacon-blood orange vinaigrette and blood orange-black pepper marmalade

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My face lit up a few days ago when I was grocery shopping and came upon a marvelously large and cheap bag of blood oranges. My mind started to race, and I hurried home to my empty house to start eating and cooking them right away. I was very tempted to make some sort of dessert, but finally decided on a marmalade that would go fabulously with the Selles-sur-Cher ashy goat cheese that I purchased. And what better way to sublime my goat cheese and marmalade than to put it atop of sourdough bread with sea salt, all of which itself would go atop of a lovely, leafy salad with even more blood orange-y goodness packed inside!

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