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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Culinary school 101: scrambled eggs

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I never craved a big, all-out American breakfast as often as when I moved to France. I have always loved breakfast, even breakfast for lunch or dinner, but once I came here and traded bistrots and brasseries for diners, I knew that I’d have to make up for this lack of breakfast food myself. Enter in real pancakes not made with a mix, learning to make hashbrowns from scratch (blanch and shred and fry? Fry and bake?), and of course lots of experimentations with eggs. I learned to make scrambled eggs at a young age, by whisking eggs and milk together, dumping it into a frying pan and scraping the runny eggs around with a spatula until they were all cooked. Oh, and usually topping it all off with American cheese squares right before serving. These eggs, in all their different variations, were perfectly delicious until I learned how scrambled eggs were supposed to be made. And my mind was blown by the incredible texture and most of all the rich, in-depth flavor. The ingredients had barely changed and the method slightly, but this was a whole ‘nother egg. Continue reading

Roasted chicken with root vegetables and beer pan juices

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This beautiful bird was served on Thanksgiving instead of the traditional turkey. I had no qualms about swapping poultry because turkeys are harder to find here in November and Jérôme isn’t a fan. And honestly, once I discovered this stellar recipe from Bon Appétit, I knew that it would be the perfect centerpiece to my overly ambitious Thanksgiving dinner. I cooked for four, and yet couldn’t bring myself to tone things down. Alongside the chicken there was celery root purée with hazelnuts, pommes Anna with fresh herbs, sausage and cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, coconut cupcakes and deep dish pumpkin pie. Needless to say, we were swimming in leftovers for about a week afterwards even after sending our guests home with doggie bags and taking sweets to our neighbors. I’m not one to complain though… Continue reading

Herbed spaetzle

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I just recently got around to posting a traditional recipe that I made months ago for chicken schnitzel, one of my all-time favorite simple dishes. I was inspired to finally make it when I found a package of spaetzle pasta at the grocery store. I wish I’d had this recipe at the time, as an all-around home-cooked meal would have been so much more satisfying. Unfortunately, Food Network Magazine didn’t think to publish it until their October issue as part of a menu for Oktoberfest. I’m not complaining too much though. The spaetzle were fun to make and went perfectly with the pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin with plum chutney that I served them with. Continue reading

Herb-marinated chicken shawarma kebabs

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Some days, I have very specific kitchen plans, and wake up with a sense of purpose. I organize my time like a champion and manage to make mains and sides with ease, perfectly timed and delicious. Other days, I have absolutely no idea what I’ll be cooking. When the morning draws to an end, I’ll ask Jé: “so, what should we eat?” Then the back and forth begins. Well, we have this. This is going bad soon. We could de-thaw that?

Today, I found myself in category two. We seemed to be experiencing some sort of lazy vacation hangover. After a late night of home improvement and watching movies, we woke up early this morning with no real purpose to our day. It was sunny, which was unexpected, and we both migrated outside with our morning drinks and found a place in the sun. We took a stroll around the yard, analyzed the progress of our plants and listened to the birds sing and watched as our favorite couple made trip after trip into the hedges to feed their newly hatched babies. Continue reading