Thursday, June 22, 2006

The back of the Pantry

Sometimes it is necessary to dig around and see just what is living in the dark parts of your pantry. I tend to hoard, for those 'just in case days'. Even after 20 years of Paris life I still need to have certain American products around..

  • A small selection of Campbells Soups (Cream of Tomato, for those after-flu days)
  • I have broth and stocks (for those lazy cooking days)
  • Reynolds Wrap (french foil is just too flimsy!)
  • A small can of Crisco (fried chicken-n- country gravy!)
Here is the problem, when you are a 'hoarder' those precious items stay in the pantry long after the shelf life, I've found soup from 1998 (is that still good?)!! I have started a 'list', I've got one for the freezer and have started one for my precious items. Best intentions! Think of Golen, from Lord of the Rings, holding up 'His Precious'!

On this cool day in Paris, I decided to take a gander in my dried fruit and nut basket to see what I could throw into a batch of Biscotti. As mentioned before, I'm not a cookie baker and Biscotti seems to fill the need to replace those multiple failed cookie attempts. So far I haven't flubbed a batch. With a base recipe you can add whatever you find in the pantry!

Look what I found today. Some lovely dried cranberries, some dried bananas that have been enrobed with honey & Pistachios!

Such a tasty combination. Join me for a cup of tea on this cool afternoon -- Or are you too busy cleaning out your pantry!!

My lazy summer days have begun, although the chirping bird noises are being drowned out with World Cup games and yelling family members! Oh well! Sorry, Team USA.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Day for Fathers

When I need recipe inspiration I turn to the 'net'. 24 hours a day I can find exciting ideas to play with. This morning, however, I turned to an old friend. My Joy of Cooking!
This was my culinary bible when I first left home at 19. A gift from my mom. It traveled to Dallas with me, where I really wasn't much of a cook, up to Long Island then down to Florida. From Florida the pages were turning a lovely brown and the cover was long gone, but my copy of Joy of Cooking got packed up in the shipment and headed across the ocean to Paris. Sometimes you forget about those basic wonderful recipes and this morning I wanted to cook waffles for my husband on Fathers Day. Several recipes to choose from, I picked a Sour Cream Waffle, although I replaced the Sour Cream with Creme Fraiche!

Crispy on the outside, light as air on the inside, they were delicious! Of course I didn't plan in advance and had no Maple another base recipe with improv thrown in and we had a lovely apple-brown sugar sauce to compliment the waffles.

This day also makes me think of my dad. He did have his favorite meals to cook. He loved to make Sunday Breakfast for us, I always complained about the way he cooked bacon. Dad would throw the whole pound of bacon in the frying pan, not separating the slices. He would fry till crisp (too crisp for me) and this would accompany eggs, pancakes or whatever he was in the mood to make that morning! Wishing Dad was here today, to throw some lean French bacon in a pan, I wouldn't complain today!
Happy Fathers Day all!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

For Your Eyes Only!

Posted by Picasa This has been a grueling week of luncheons! Somehow, I have to find a balance to all the eating and drinking in the middle of the day!
Below you see a springform pan filled with chocolate! No balance in there, trust me!

Now we've moved on to the dinner party season! More eating and drinking, just later in the day!

I've been asked to bring dessert. Perusing through my files I found a great, easy looking dessert. Outrageous Chocolate Marquise Cake! This looks like the ticket to please. The recipe is from a talented gal who lived in Paris for a while and is now back in Canada. She demo'd this recipe when she came back to Paris just to do a cooking class!
What you don't see is a chocolate sponge on the base, that has been brushed ever so gently, with Kahula! Yeah......this is great!

But......Houston, I think I have a problem. This cake isn't going to release from the springform pan without a fight. A warmed knife at the ready, armed with creme Anglais and another dessert (Banofee Pie)......I hope my host will be happy! Would you be happy to see me at your front door??

pssssst......if you see my trainer, tell her you just saw me 'jogging the hill', ok?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Graduation Day Brunch

Sunday was Graduation Day. 86 degrees and full-sun were in the forecast! Thankfully, Saturday morning found me at the mall panic-buying a dress fit for the heat, without TOO much skin showing (you know what I mean!)! My elegant black and white suit would have left me melting. Hey, it was perfect for the weather a few weeks ago for elegance. Now all I can think about is being COOL!

Emotions in check, I also found the time Saturday after panic-shopping to do a bit of relaxing with some dough! I've been wanting to try Barbara's recipe for English Muffins since she posted it a year ago! Her version had the dough in a cool-ferment. Her muffins have nooks and crannies!
My version had no nooks, no crannies....but tasted pretty good. Fresh yeast in the fridge and I was on my way to relaxation.

I didn't have time to let the dough have that overnight ferment, I wanted to make them on Saturday, ready for Sunday morning!

So, what do you prepare your 'bearded baby' for brunch?

Oeufs Cocotte a la Duxelles!

Baked egg with mushroom duxelles, creme fraiche & a nice mimosa & melon make it a balanced start of the days celebrations!

Sunday was a fresh 'start' for many of us.

It was a perfect day!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Beer-Can Chicken

I've been trying to stop a rolling freight train dead in its tracks with my bare hands. It just won't stop, so I'm giving up and giving in. I'm going to stop dreading and start enjoying!
What am I talking about? It is graduation time, my 6ft tall, bearded baby is going to graduate from High School. I know I'll shed some tears......but darn-it, he has grown into a fine young man, and insisting that he is more than ready to spread his be it!

Listen, don't let anybody tell you that this 'life event' is easy, it isn't!

Now on to the other joy in my life, food&cooking! Lets talk about chicken on the grill. Comfort food, really! The trick when grilling or roasting is to make sure your bird is moist. Beer-Can chicken does the trick and works a treat. I know this recipe has been blogged about and re-blogged. But, you gotta' love it! Above are all the makings for this meal.....smoked salt (from my mentor/friend) and a French beer! If you have problems thinking about this beer, cola or a lemon lime mix will be fine. I'm sure you can find something worthy!

There he sits, so roasted! Moist and delicious! This bird is fit for any graduating senior or senior citizen alike! Now all that is left for me to do is run out and buy some waterproof mascara and pray for sun! Wish me luck, I'll get through this!