Sticky honey chicken with ginger and sesame seeds

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I’m so glad that I finally got around to making this recipe again and that it’s finally up on the blog! This is one of the first things I learned to make on my own, back when Jé and I had just gotten together. I remember trying so hard to impress him (even though he’s really not much of a foodie), making stuffed bell peppers (another recipe that I don’t think is even on here!), pumpkin pie from scratch and then, this chicken. It felt like such a triumph. It was incredibly easy, actually, but something about it seemed complicated. Almost fancy even. It was pure instant gratification, and I made it on a regular basis for a long time, until one day, it just fell out of my rotation. And I haven’t made it since. And then the other day I randomly thought about it, and remembered how it was just as good as any take-out I ever ate in America and a million times better than what I can find in France, and just like that, sticky honey chicken was back!
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Chicken coconut milk curry with turmeric cardamom rice

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I’m in a serious rut. I’m trying my best to get out of it, and I’m hoping that since winter is looming and inevitably it will be time to switch from fruit salads and grilled meats to stews, soups and ragouts, I’ll finally be able to. This recipe has been my go-to for the last few weeks. It’s easy and I like it and most of all Jérôme can’t get enough of it. He requests it nearly every time we’ve got chicken to cook, and for now I’m not complaining. I’ve made several variations (with or without bell peppers, flakes of coconut, etc.) and they’re always great, a nice, fairly quick weeknight dinner. Continue reading

Shrimp, orzo and mozzarella bake

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I needed a new use for my nice, cheap, flavorful little shrimp that I’d been buying and grilling a little too often over the summer. I’d tried them with garlic and lemon in salads, spicy straight off the BBQ as a main dish, and mixed with vegetables on kebabs. Jé was getting sick of them, but we had one last package in the fridge that had been meant for guests, but never made. We also had some leftover mozzarella and a few tomatoes after a week-long pizza marathon, and I just couldn’t figure out how all of those things were going to come together into a coherent meal. Thanks once again, Epicurious.

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Chicken, pancetta and honeydew salad

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Summer is definitely over, but that shouldn’t stop us from reminiscing about the quintessential dishes that we’ve enjoyed over the last few weeks, and all of the season’s star produce. One of my favorite things about summer is the melon. Canteloup, honeydew, Brazilian, yellow, orange and green, always sweet and refreshing. Sometime in August I bought a beautiful little honeydew and also found myself at home alone that week. I decided on a fresh little salad that combines chicken (in this case, leftover ginger and spice fried chicken strips, but grilled chicken with a little garlic would be perfect as well), salty pancetta and juicy, ripe honeydew. I paired it with a light lemony dressing that I’ll think you’ll love.

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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?

Citrusy chick pea salad with peppers

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This is part two of this week’s “throw it together post.” Of course it only worked because I just happened to have a bell pepper and one last little bit of fresh ginger and because my cilantro plant is out of control and I can’t even use it fast enough. That is not the point. I think that being comfortable in the kitchen equals not having to plan everything ahead of time. It’s being able to throw something together at the last minute, with little notice, and finding ingredients that you have that go well together. That is what I managed to do last weekend.

On Monday I told you all about my easy herb-marinated chicken shawarma recipe. I was very proud of myself for coming up with this idea at the last minute, and even prouder by the fact that I managed to make a side dish that actually went perfectly with the main. This chick pea salad is awesome for so many reasons: it’s quick and easy, it’s full of interesting flavors, and it’s incredibly cheap! At my local supermarket, a gigantic can of chick peas goes for about 80 cents. 80 cents! And they’re so versatile. Try a quick hummus by pureeing them with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic or try this pistachio baked falafel if you’re feeling adventurous. Continue reading

Spicy meatloaf molé

Growing up, meatloaf was not necessarily one of my favorite meals. I don’t think my Mom made it very often, but I remember having it at friend’s houses, and not being very impressed. Somehow, I’m not sure why, the dish stuck with me regardless. In the beginning of my kitchen experimentation here in France, it was one of those classic American comfort foods that I knew I could easily reproduce on the other side of the Atlantic without searching for mystery ingredients that were hard to find here. ALthough, from what I gather, most meatloaf is made with meatloaf seasoning packets, I figured it would be easy enough to recreate using what I had in my spice cabinet. Continue reading