Hazelnut honey mustard vinaigrette

Oh, vinaigrette! When I moved to France eight years ago, this was one of the first things I learned to “make,” and also one of the most rewarding. I’m not crazy for organic products, but I do take satisfaction in knowing what goes into what I eat. I almost always prefer making things from scratch, even if it means spending a little (or sometimes a lot!) more time in the kitchen. And while I do have a soft spot for creamy ranch dressing, I’ve learned to live without it and to prefer a simple, homemade vinaigrette. My go-to is the very recipe that I first learned here, a classic olive oil, red wine vinegar and mustard sauce. But my new favorite, which is better on so many levels, is this hazelnut honey mustard dressing. Continue reading

Hazelnut crusted trout with lemon brown butter and spicy kumquats

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Unlike some home cooks that will plan weekly menus (which I admit must be very handy, especially when you have kids!), I tend to grocery shop with a very vague idea of what I want to buy. Of course, in the winter months I know this usually involves root vegetables and beef to make stews like the classic bourguignon and I sometimes search for recipes that include whatever I’m currently craving. But what I like most about being in the kitchen, and grocery shopping for that matter, is taking full advantage of products that are in season, on sale or new to me. One such recent find that was both new to me in terms of cooking at home and on sale, was a beautiful, bright orange trout filet. Once cut, we had about 6 good-sized individual filets. And guess what else I found on my trip? Kumquats! I’d never cooked with those before either (I’m actually not sure I’d ever eaten them?), so I was very excited to get back home and start dreaming up a suitable recipe. Continue reading

Plum and hazelnut cake

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I recently found myself with way too many plums in my kitchen. This happens a lot, because while I want to love fruit, I just don’t. I buy it hoping that I’ll actually eat it for breakfast but knowing that I’ll most likely choose toast with salted butter and speculoos spread any day of the week. I’d already used some plums the week before to make a delicious chutney and was craving something sweeter. I scanned my evernote and found the perfect recipe immediately. Brown sugar. Hazelnuts. Plums! Continue reading

Cinnamon, hazelnut and vanilla bean sandies

Wow. This, my friends, is a cookie. Or a sandy, to be more precise. I knew from the ingredient list that they were gonna be awesome. Mind-blowing even. But I had no idea just how perfect they could be. They are buttery, spicy, sugary, salty, and packed with vanilla flavor, all with that grainy, nutty flavor of hazelnuts. They are hard and yet melt-in-your-mouth, not at all dry. They are sweet, but don’t take it overboard. This may just be the perfect cookie.

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