Wednesday, September 20, 2006

As Good as it Looks!

I'm closing in on my Grilling/Smoking class! Trying to nail the recipes so they are perfect for the ladies! Funny though, the ladies don't mind when I botch things up, they like a good botch-up, makes them feel good. But really, I don't try to plan on a flop. In fact, the only flopping I like to do is after class.....flopping down on the couch with a cup of tea!

This Miso Marinated Plank'd Salmon was delicious! Rich, deep flavors.......the salmon was juicy. No flames, in fact this was the second 'go-round' on the plank. The instructions say you can reuse them, and low and behold I was able to with no problems.

I will probably share a comment with the ladies that Dr. Biggles wrote last year when I blogged about plank'd food.......he said it reminded him of his grandma's cedar closet!!!
I think the ladies will like that comment!

I love it when things fall together and I can look forward to a good class! I even heard that the weather looks good for next week!! There is a chance we can eat out in the garden!

Keep your fingers crossed! I know Max will be on his best behavior to meet all of the ladies! How can they resist!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fresh Goodness

More from the Wagamama cookbook.....
This time lots of freshness, add some Hoisen Sauce and Mirin. Toss with shrimp and noodles!
Yes, that is fresh spinach from a bag. I'm keeping my ears open, haven't heard about e coli on this side of the pond.

I'm inspired with this cookbook and I love the little Japanese market, MIDO on Rue St. Charles where you can find all the goodies you need!

Dinner in the garden, Indian Summer!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Rediscovering France --- Pierrefonds

Many years ago when we moved to France, we used to take the 'D' roads (the little yellow roads on the Michelin map) . We would meander through the countryside and find little antique shops and great little places for lunch. Or, in the spring would would pack up a picnic and head out.
I can remember one cold but sunny Sunday, about 19 years ago, we found a huge surprise. Pierrefonds!

An incredible site! Right out of nowhere! A fortified castle that is in the most picturesque setting!

I'll never forget when we moved to France. The 'old man' picked me up at CDG and drove north to our new home. He drove me past the Chateau de Chantilly right up the street from our little apartment. You can imagine how excited I was! Of course when you are in your late 20's and life is simple, all I wanted to do was tour around and explore! I wanted to learn French way back then, till I realized you had to study. hmmmmmmm, that is another story!!!

Now we have some time to rediscover our past haunts, we made our way out that way again on Sunday. The weather was perfect and the crowds were not too bad! Years ago they told us that they would eventually open the crypt under the castle. To our surprise it was open yesterday. Very eerie, mood lighting and sound effects!

After our tour of the castle we made our way to the little bistro by the lake for lunch. Yes, 19 years ago we ate there, although the fireplace was roaring on a brisk autumn day, and the meat was cooking on the open fire. Yesterday was as perfect as a day gets, I can't wait for the next Chateau to rediscover!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tea-Smoked Duck

Getting back into the kitchen after 'vacation' has been pretty easy. Grocery shopping, however, proved to be a learning experience. I headed off, list in hand, to my local Auchan. Enjoyed touring up and down and left with sacks of groceries totaling 150euro. You realize that there are just two people in the house now. I'm not sure who I thought I was buying for, but when I head back again, I'll really use my brain cell(s) instead of just picking up items and throwing them in the cart! I'm not sure what army I was going to feed!

My first cooking class is coming up. I'm doing a Grilling/Smoking Class. Many times when trying to create an interesting class, I pick out some recipes that sound good to me, I enjoy predicting a new trend or new method of cooking. Then, I start the testing/tasting process long after the description of the class goes to print! Now is the time to get started cooking!

I love this part of giving a class. Developing, testing and re-testing, then, writing up the recipe.
Right now, I'm working on the Tea-Smoked Duck. I used a Citrus Tea to infuse a 'smokey flavor'. The result was good, but I think I can do better!

I will retest this recipe using another tea. I just found a wonderful smelling 'orange' tea from Hediard. I think this combo will be a winner!

I decided to pair the duck with a fresh salsa. Avocado, melon, jalapeno, cilantro, onions & lime juice. A teeny tiny but oh-so-spicy red chili was thrown in the mix. Fresh & delicious. The recipe I'm using smokes the duck first, then you crisp the skin up before serving. The duck was served 'rosy' in the traditional way. Too rare for you?.......Just cook a little longer when crisping up the skin. I'll let you know what happens with the re-test this weekend.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Convenience Cooking in France

Yes, I'm back home in the suburbs of Paris. When I boarded the plane I had this nagging feeling, like I was forgetting something.
Oh yeah, my son!
He is safe and sound in college, with all the little items that Bed Bath & Beyond had on it's shelf for a college kid! Now I'm dealing with the empty nest and learning how to make conversation with my husband again! Not to worry, so far it is going ok!

While we were in the UK, I got a chance to eat at a place I've been dying to try! Wagamama! I wanted to eat there just because I like to say the name! Try it, you can't say it without smiling!
I was able to pick up their cookbooks (they have two out) and have cooked 3 great recipes!
This one is an Oven Steamed Moules recipe.

Remember, I just got back from the states, the land of Convenience! And trust me, I ate my share of fast food.......and have the surplus weight to prove it.
I had Chicken Fried Steak from the Black Eyed Pea. I ate at Taco Bueno......oh yum! Dunkin Doughnuts, Pizza Uno, for the Pizza Bianco.....the list goes on! (my trainer moved back to the U.S., so there is no body to scold me, but me!) Can you Bloggers and Foodies ever forgive me for eating this way??

Below is a French item of Convenience.......Ready to Cook Moules! Just rinse, season and cook. Vacuum packed, all mussels closed and alive!

Really, they were not bad.

Since I already had the Sake and light Soy Sauce & ginger, I was just about ready to go. A quick trip for a carrot and a couple of leek and a fresh bulb of garlic and dinner was on its way!
I usually steam my moules on the cook top, so this recipe not only intrigued me because of the amount of vegetables it used, but because you cooked them in the oven.

Look at the results, perfectly cooked and still juicy. The vegetables were tender crisp, and lots of sauce to mop up with bread!

Check out their cookbook......I've prepared a Pork breaded with Panko and served with some delicious vegetables and a wonderful dipping sauce. I also made the Yaki Soba, easy and tasty!
I can't wait to try the Gyoza.
I've become such a fan of Wagamama!