Buttery, cheesy drop biscuits

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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

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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

Potato and celery root gratin

Wow. I’m still hung over from my late Thanksgiving feast two weeks ago. It was the first time that I’d really cooked a holiday meal for a group of people, so I was hell bent on making it amazing and over-the-top. It was. There were only four of us, and I made way too much food. Two of the dishes were repeats, but the others were brand new recipes that I’d been dying to try.

In France, celery root is quite common, and is often served raw and grated in a light mayonnaise-based sauce. It has a deliciously sweetish flavor that is surprising, and not like anything I’d ever eaten before. A few weeks ago I brought some leftover boeuf bourguignon to work for lunch. I was eating and talking about food with my colleagues as usual, when one of them mentioned that her favorite side dish for the classic French stew was mashed celery root. This opened my eyes to a whole new realm of possibilities using cooked celery root.

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