Marinated cantaloupe salad

This salad is something special. The combination of ripe melon, fresh mint and allspice is genius. The addition of a simple syrup “marinade” takes it to the next level, making for a real fruit salad instead of just flavored melon. I stole this idea from the catering company that I worked at over the last few weeks, falling in love with the fresh summery feel of this side. I made this for guests recently and served it alongside minty lamb chops (fruit salad does not have to be dessert!) and I it went over very well. I’m pretty sure that every time I buy a cantaloupe from now on, this is how I’ll prepare it. Continue reading

Grilled lamb chops with mint walnut pesto

Oh how the last few weeks have flown by! I’m finally finding the time to get back in the kitchen after my whirlwind experience at the catering company, but having house guests means not necessarily taking the time to snap photos of what I made. We ate simple food, and I hope my words will whet your appetite just as much as a photo would have! Continue reading

Grilled sirloin with minted chimichurri

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It’s been so long! My job at the catering company has been keeping me busy and wearing me out, so much so that I couldn’t find the time to write about this amazing chimichurri sauce last week. I think this is probably one of the only things, aside from my yogurt cake, that I’ve actually made at home since I started working. I’m so ready to get back in the kitchen, and am planning on making coconut milk and caramel ice cream this afternoon to celebrate the late arrival of summer. Yesterday was the last day of June, and as I sat down in my back yard to unwind in the sun, I dreamt of all the ice cream I was going to eat now that temperatures are finally feeling estival. You know what else is great for summer? A simply grilled steak and this amazing sauce. Continue reading

Dark chocolate mint ice cream

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This is adult ice cream, my friends. It’s full of rich dark chocolate, tons of cocoa powder and a little bit of mint liqueur just to make sure you’re all paying attention. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over my adult years, it’s that booze makes everything better. Case in point: my beer-braised Mexican pulled pork, this delicious chocolate stout cake with pear cider frosting, or this Nutella and rum cake. Something about the addition of alcohol just seems to bring out the best in these dishes, adding subtle layers of flavor, and I’m not one to argue with that. Continue reading

Ribbon carrot salad with mint and spicy lime-cumin vinaigrette

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I found the most beautiful carrots at the market the other day. Violet and off-white verging on green, pale yellow and orange. I knew that I had to focus on presentation, without forgetting about flavor. Although it was very time consuming, I decided on a ribbon carrot salad with a simple spicy and fresh cumin/lime/mint vinaigrette. I hope you like it!

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Ribbon carrot salad with mint and spicy lime-cumin vinaigrette

Ingredients:
1 lb carrots, preferably colorful ones!
A few of the carrot fronds, washed and trimmed
1 small green onion, finely chopped
1 large handful of mint, roughly chopped
2 T olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1-2 T chile garlic sauce
2 t brown sugar
1 t cumin
2 T lime juice

Shredding these carrots would make this whole ordeal a lot easier, but less pretty too ;) I used a vegetable peeler to peel my carrots into ribbons. In a large bowl, mix all other remaining ingredients and season to taste. Go easy on the spices, you can always add more later, depending on how you like it! Add the carrots and fronds once the vinaigrette is ready and let marinate for at least 30 minutes before eating, to soften up the carrots and infuse them with flavor! This simple salad will be even better the next day, so why not make a double batch?

Rich chocolate brownies with mint white chocolate and dark chocolate ganaches

Part three of my New Year’s Eve food extravaganza (you can see part one here, and part two over here), rich chocolatey brownies with double ganache: white chocolate and crème de menthe, and dark chocolate crème de menthe. Jérôme is a simple man. While I dream of pear and blue cheese tarts, he prefers an all-cheese quiche. I get overly excited about vanilla beans, and want to use them in everything, including this vanilla bean, honey and lemon-zest roasted turkey. He prefers a more traditional bird, one roasted with chestnuts, just like his Mom used to make. While planning my NYE menu, I knew exactly what I wanted. Aside from the aforementioned turkey, I decided on spicy crab cakes with tomato ginger jam, sautéed sunchokes and homemade eggnog. When I told my man what the plan was, he smiled politely. I knew that I would have to go all out for the dessert, and make it traditional-French-boyfriend-friendly.

And what he loves, what he even suggests we make from time to time (which is saying a lot from a man with no apparent sweet tooth), is French chocolate cake. French chocolate cake is more like a brownie, made not with cocoa powder and lots of flour, but with butter, melted dark chocolate and just a spoonful or two of flour. I decided to spice up this classic with a little bit of mint, his other sweet weakness. Of course, throwing in a bit of alcohol with the crème de menthe couldn’t hurt my chances of making a 100% Jérôme-approved dessert.

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