Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts

Cake au Comte & Jambon - {French Bread with Ham & Cheese}


This recipe has quickly become one of my absolute favorites.  A friend made it for a party a few months back and it was one of the first things to go.  My two year old also ADORES this recipe.  Perhaps it's because it has all of his favorite things: ham, cheese and bread.

This is so easy to put together that I didn't even bother to take pictures of all of the steps.  Besides, how many pictures of dough balls do you really need to see on my website?

Ingredients:

2/3 cup grated gruyere cheese (cheddar cheese would be really good too)
2/3 cup deli ham chopped
1/2 cup butter melted (1 stick or 100 grams)
1 1/4 cup of flour (200 grams)
3 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of baking powder
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400℉ (210℃)

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl add the eggs and beat with an electric mixer.  Add the flour and baking powder and keep beating on low while you add the milk  and melted butter.

After everything is well incorporated add the ham and cheese along with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Mix well.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Cook for 10 minutes on 400℉ and then reduce heat to 350℉ (180℃) and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

Serve warm.

As you can see, by the time I got around to taking pictures, my boys had already dug right in.  Yeah...it is that good!

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Sables du citron aux framboises {Raspberry Lemon Cookies}

I have been on a lemon kick lately. Maybe it is because the light flavor makes me think of Spring.

I made these cookies as a test because the combination sounded delicious, however I am terrible at baking cookies.

Not only was this recipe super easy but they were a big hit even with the toddler! That is saying ALOT.



First mix the dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder and salt.

Then in a small bowl mix the jam with the Chambord.


Chambord is a raspberry flavored liqueur and as you can see we use it often!


If you don't like cooking with alcohol or don't have Chambord you can leave it out and the cookies still taste delicious.

In another bowl combine the egg yolk, vanilla, lemon juice and zest.

Then cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Then beat in your egg yolk, vanilla, lemon juice and zest.

When everything is combined beat in the flour in two additions until the dough forms small moist clumps.

Roll the dough into a ball. From here pinch off one inch balls and place them on your cookie sheet.


Make an indentation in each cookie either with your finger or the back of a spoon.


Place a 1/2 teaspoon of the jam mixture in each indentation.


Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cookies are golden brown.

I can tell you from experience that you want to keep an eye in them because they will go from golden brown to dark brown in no time!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of raspberry jam
1 teaspoon of Chambord (optional)
1 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of butter at room temperature (1/2 cup)
1/3 cups sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Preheat your oven to 350℉ (180℃) and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl combine the jam with the Chambord and set aside.

In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolk, vanilla, lemon juice and zest.

Beat in the flour in two additions until the dough forms moist clumps.

Form the dough into a large ball and then pinch off smaller one inch balls and place in lined cookie sheets.

Press down the center of each cookie and add 1/2 teaspoon of jam mixture into each indentation.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Let cool and enjoy!

This recipe makes about a dozen and a half cookies. In my house they wee gone in one afternoon so next time I will double the recipe!
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Cake au Citron - {French Lemon Cake}

One of the best parts about living in France is the breads and pastries.  I'm very aware that one day we will have to move back to the US and I am going to go through some serious withdrawals.  

This has put me on a mission to try and learn as many french recipes as I can so that I can take a little piece of France back with me.

That is why I love, love this recipe.  Not only is it easy, but all of the ingredients are readily available in the States.

Since this is a French recipe it always comes in weights rather than measurements, so I did my best with my trusty scale to convert these into American measurements.  



I always combine my dry ingredients in a bowl first:  Flour, baking powder and salt.

Then I beat three eggs with the vanilla extract.

Then finally cream the sugar with the butter.



 Beat until you get a creamy mousse:


Then slowly beat in the egg mixture.  Once incorporated fold in the dry ingredients:


Lastly, add the zest and juice of 2 lemons and mix:


I put it in a lined loaf pan and bake in the oven  at 350 for 45 minutes.  You can always use a cake pan, but I love the look of a loaf.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups of flour (190 grams)
1 cup sugar (170 grams)
1 1/2 sticks of butter (170 grams) at room temperature 
1 tablespoon baking powder (6 grams)
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
zest and juice of 2 lemons

Pre-heat oven to 350℉ (180℃).  Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk to combine.

In a small bowl whisk the eggs with the vanilla and set aside.

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until you obtain a mousse.  Slowly beat in the egg and vanilla mixture until incorporated.

Fold in the dry ingredients with a plastic spatula.  Once well incorporated add in the juice and zest of the two lemons.

Pour the batter into a lined loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick in the center comes out dry.
  
I would love to hear if you give this recipe a try!

(Recipe my own adaptation of an old St. Hubert Recipe)

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Valentine dessert and cocktail recipe

I can't believe that Valentine's Day is only a few days away! To be honest I have never really been into celebrating Valentine's Day. After having kids it just became too much of a hassle to try and find sitter simply to go to an overcrowded restaurant.

So, more and more, we have opted to celebrate at home after the kids have gone to bed.

This is why it is nice to try and find creative ways to make our Valentine menu not like any other dinner at home.  That is why this year I am stepping it up in the dessert and cocktail category.

Remember the crepe recipe I shared last week? Well, I started out with my basic crepe recipe.

To make them more festive I added just a couple of drops of food coloring to make them pink. Remember food coloring goes a long way so just a couple of drops will do.

After they were cooked I filled mine with Nutella but your favorite filling will do. I then folded them (they are typically served in quarters and not like burritos) and tried to not to eat them before decorating them.

For the extra special touch I cut out a heart out of some scrap paper and used that as a template to sprinkle powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

Voila, the perfect Valentine dessert.

We can't forget about a cocktail to go with these delicious crepes - enter the delicious Kir Royal.

The Kir is a typical aperitif (cocktail before the meal) here in France and it consists of white wine with a flavored liqueur.

A Kir Royal takes it a step above by using champagne in place of the white wine.


The recipe is also quite easy.  Fill the bottom of a champagne flute with your flavored liqueur of choice, I love to use Chambord but Creme de Cassis is also good.

Fill it about 1/4 of the way full and then top with chilled champagne and enjoy!

For that extra special touch you could add either a fresh or frozen raspberry in the flute.

I can't wait to have both of these next week!  Let me know if you try either of these!

Let's BEE Friends
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The Crepe Holiday

Today is "La Chanadaleur" in France, or Candlemas.  Like most holidays in France it is of course tied to religion.  Today is the "Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple."

The best part of "La Chandaleur", at least here in France, is that the day is celebrated with crepes!  Tradition is that the crepes have to be eaten after 8pm and if the person can flip the crepe in the pan, good luck with come to the family for the entire year.

And here is something interesting I learned in France, crepes are always sweet and for dessert; the savory ones with cheese and hams are called galettes.

Cute, right?

Well, I couldn't wait until the evening to celebrate such a delicious holiday and so I set out to make crepes early this morning.

Now, I have tried to make crepes from scrap.  The recipe is super simple but like with all simple recipes they never turn out right for me.  I think the problem is that I'm supposed to let the batter rest for about a half an hour in the fridge and I want instant gratification.  Who has time to let the batter set?

So while all of the French who read this will scoff, I use this beauty:


Crepe Mix!  I will never find a cake mix in France, but a crepe mix - no problem!  Add milk and butter and voila - Instant crepes.  No waiting!  But for you purists, I have included the traditional recipe below.

So in about fifteen minutes I had whipped up the crepes and all that was left was filling them and eating them (definitely the best part)!



My favorite is always Nutella, because well, Nutella goes with everything right?  But because I was making these for Nathan too, I added banana to the the Nutella because fruit is healthy.

I also filled them with confiture (jam) and cream cheese (because Nathan is obsessed with cream cheese).

After snacking on one (or three) I made a little plate for Nathan to enjoy.  I even added a little French flag for fun.



Needless to say, they were a hit!


And now as promised, the recipe!


Crepes


1 cup of flour
2 eggs
2 cups of milk
2 Tbs melted butter
1 pinch of salt
2 tsp of sugar (optional for sweeter crepes)

In a small bowl beat whisk the eggs.  Then add in the flour.

Slowly add the milk to the flour and egg mixture.

Finally add the butter and salt (and sugar if desired).  Mix until everything is incorporated.

Refrigerate the mixture for at least half an hour.

Heat a skillet and lightly butter.  Ladle some batter onto the hot skillet making sure to cover the bottom.  After a few minutes, flip the crepe until golden on both sides.

Fill with your desired fillings and enjoy!


Let's BEE Friends
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La Truffade

I've mentioned before that I live in the Auvergne region of France.  It is literally smack dab in the middle of the country.

We actually live in the biggest city of the region, which isn't saying much since most of the region is farmland inhabited by cows and sheep.  The one amazing thing about this region though is the cheese.  Most of those delicious and smelly cheeses are produced right here.  You can go and visit local farmers and buy the cheese directly from them, or better yet take a tour and see how the cheese is made.  Yum!  Some bread, some wine and cheese.  Life isn't all bad in Auvergne.

What all of this means is that the regional cuisine is focused on cheese and those "countryside" meals.  One of my absolute favorites is Truffade - which is essentially potatoes with bacon and cheese and {DELICIOUS}!


It is typically served with sausage or ham; add a glass of hot spiced wine and it is heaven on a plate, and I decided to make it this weekend.

It is definitely not figure friendly, but so delicious and so easy to prepare!

Ingredients:

2 medium yellow onions diced
1 pound of potatoes, peeled, cooked and chopped into pieces (I steamed mine in the microwave)
2 Tbs of butter
200 grams (7 oz) of bacon, diced into pieces
250 grams of a good melting cheese (9 oz) ( I used Cantal, which is a French cheese but any melting cheese will work).

In a large skillet (or pan) melt the butter and add onions.  Cook until translucent on medium heat (about 3 minutes).  Add the bacon until cooked and fat is released (an additional 3 minutes).

Reduce heat and dd the potatoes and brown them in the skillet with the butter and fat. We like ours crispy and even a little burned so I cooked mine longer.  After the potatoes are browned, turn off heat and add the cheese.  Toss until the cheese is melted and covers all of the potatoes.

You can serve this with smoked sausages or even a bratwurst, although we ate our plain with a side a salad.

It is the perfect dish for winter and some typical French comfort food.


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Susie Homemaker

While I love to cook and try new recipes rare are the days when I spend hours in the kitchen lovingly preparing meals for my family.

I usually do it on a whim and if I have the ingredients then I go for it, other than that, this family survives of pasta, rice and potatoes...oh and lots of bread and cheese!  Which is why this weekend was so unusual for me.

Maybe it's the pregnancy cravings; or hormones; or nesting or maybe it's just the fact that it has been so cold here lately that I find the warmth of the oven comforting.  Whatever the reason, I spent the entire weekend in the kitchen and we all lived to tell the tale.

Last weekend I emailed my mom because I was a craving for her delicious Albondigas Soup {Mexican Meatball Soup}!  Since the house was sick this weekend I decided to give it a go, and I was surprised how easy it was to make (recipe below)!


As if that wasn't enough, I woke up early Sunday morning and wanted to make something special for breakfast.  I usually make banana pancakes but without any bananas and lots of old stale bread I decided to make this for breakfast!

I didn't have any strawberries so I used frozen red berries instead and they were delicious!  This was a momentous occasion since this was the first time my husband had ever had french toast (which isn't French at all)!  It was so rich and decadent - perfect for a lazy Sunday.

And last but not least I found this great website for healthy foods for toddlers!  When I saw the recipe for these apple banana muffins with no processed sugar I knew I had to make them for Nathan.  And so, Sunday afternoon as the rain and wind pounded down, I set out to make muffins!  They are delicious and the honey makes them oh, so moist!  I can't wait to try some other recipes on this site!


I'm going to have a hard time outdoing myself next weekend.  We might just have to go back to pasta and cheese.  At least for one brief moment, one weekend, my family ate well!  Who knows when this wave will come again!

Albondigas Recipe:

1/2 pound ground beef
1 egg
2 tbs tomato paste
1 garlic clove
1 onion coarsely chopped
1 can peeled seeded tomatoes
1/2 bell pepper coarsely chopped
1 cup cooked rice
1 carrot diced
1 zucchini diced
2 cups water
4 cups broth (beef or vegetable)
Fresh parsely

Bring to a boil the water and the broth.  

In a blender mix half a can of the peeled tomatoes, the tomato paste, onion, garlic, bell pepper with a pinch of salt.  Add 1/2 cup of the blended mixture to the ground beef along with the egg and season with salt and pepper.  Mix it all together and form small meatballs and put gently into the boiling water.  Add the remainder of the blended mixture to the water and the remaining can of peeled tomatoes.

Lower to medium heat and throw in the carrots and zucchini.  Continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender and the meatballs float to the top.  Add the cooked rice and warm through.

Serve and top with chopped parsely.  Enjoy!


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Gazpacho

There is nothing I hate more than cooking in the summer.  The thought of turning on my stove or oven when it's 80+ degrees outside is overwhelming.  Especially considering that we don't have any AC in our house.

This is why I am constantly searching for recipes that require zero to no cooking time without falling into a salad rut.  So last week, I busted out  my trusted and true Gazpacho recipe!


I've been making this cold Spanish soup for years and it's one of Cornel's favorite!  With the temperatures climbing in Clermont it was time to take this recipe out of the reserves.  The best part about this recipe is how healthy it is, so you don't have to feel guilty about putting on that swimsuit later!


Ingredients:

1 large can of peeled whole tomatoes (you can use fresh tomatoes, but I find peeling them to be a pain, so I use canned)
1 large zucchini chopped
1 green bell pepper seeded and chopped
1 medium onion (yellow or red will do, depending on your preference) chopped
2 cloves of garlic
the juice of two lemons
1 slice of bread *optional (I don't use this at all, but you can put it for a ticker consistency)
1 tablespoon olive oil *optional (you could add it for flavor, but for a healthier option I leave it out all together)
salt and pepper to taste (in addition to regular salt and pepper I also like to use a little celery salt for flavor)

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend to desired consistency.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours until chilled and then serve!

I like to add fresh avocado to each plate as a garnish (and delicious topping).  You could also add cold shrimp, sour cream or just use your imagination as to the toppings!  

Enjoy this easy, no-cook soup on a hot summer evening!  Hopefully it will become one of your favorites too!

What is your favorite summer recipe?

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You put what in that cake?

As I might have said before I have a love/hate relationship with vegetables.  I love them when I'm at the store and dream up all the ways that I'm going to use them when I cook and they hate me as the decompose in my refrigerator.

Well, I went crazy a couple of weeks ago and bought 1 kilo (2 pounds) of zucchini.  An ambitious purchase since I'm basically the only one in this household that likes zucchini (Nathan likes them, but let's face it, he's not eating a kilo of them).  So, when I needed to figure out what to use them for I knew exactly the recipe!

My friend Casney's Pineapple Zucchini Bread.  This recipe is so good that even my husband eats it and the man HATES zucchini!  The only problem with this recipe is that it makes 2 loaves.  And while I love zucchini bread, there is no way that we can have 2 loaves in this house.  We would devour them in a couple of days, so I decided to take the second loaf to work.


When I got to work, everyone looked in delight as I unwrapped the loaf from the foil.

"Qui a fait ca?" (who made this)
"C'est quoi l'occassion?" (what's the occasion)
"C'est de quoi le gateau?" (What's in the cake)

And you see that last question is where I lost them.  I never realized how strange it was to have zucchini in a sweet cake.  It always seemed kind of normal having zucchini bread. When I told my co-workers however what was in the cake, they were a little in shock and a little in disbelief.

"Courgettes?!" (Zucchini)

Their reaction was unbelievable to me.  They can eat andouillette (which smells and tastes like feces) but the idea of zucchini in a cake is apparently disgusting. 

Some people were more adventurous than others and they really enjoyed it.  Although, some other people were harder to convince.  By the end of the day most of the zucchini bread was gone, but not without a little lesson learned.

Let's BEE Friends
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Raspberry Scones

My fascination with scones probably began during my short stint living in the UK.  I mean I had eaten scones before (how can you escape Starbucks without eating one or two), but I had never truly tasted a scone before living in the UK.

You see, the British have truly perfected this pasty.  There is nothing better at tea time than a nice warm scone with whipped butter or english cream.

2008 - Enjoying English tea in York (see the scones on the second tier with butter and jam?)

Since I knew that I wanted to invite people over on Sunday for coffee, it was a no brainer that I wanted to try and make scones of my own.  I scoured the internet searching for the perfect recipe, except all the ones I found were for blueberry and cranberry scones.  Neither of which I had readily available here, and so I knew I would have to mix and match my own recipe.

And so working with bits and pieces of various recipes I decided to create my own raspberry scone recipe.  I was very nervous since I had many people who have tried real British scones and would definitely tell me if they were a FAIL.

I measured and mixed and cut the cute little triangles.  It was all much simpler than I had imagined, plus they looked delicious!  

It definitely helps if you can serve them on a tiered holder...a la English tea style.

They were a hit and people finished them off entirely!  For such an easy recipe this is definitely something to try again.

Ingredients:

2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
6 tablespoons of butter (cold and cut in chunks)
1 1/4 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of fresh raspberries

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 400℉

Sift together all dry ingredients and then cut in the cold butter until the mixture looks like crumbs.

Add the cream and mix together to incorporate ingredients.

Carefully mix in the raspberries. {I wasn't gentle enough with them and some of them were crushed in the process}

Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle.

Cut the dough in half lengthwise and then begin to cut out triangles. 

Shake off the excess flour and place on a cookie sheet.  Then brush the tops with a little bit of extra cream and bake for 10-12 minutes until the scones are light brown.

For the full English effect, eat them with jam, butter or whipped cream.



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Tasty Tuesday: Mascarpone Chicken Filets

Last weekend for Easter I made my infamous tiramisu for dessert, but since we were going to be a small group I only made half of the recipe.

This left me an entire packet of mascarpone cheese that I didn't know what to do with.  Luckily for me that the lid came with a recipe for me to try.

The actual recipe on the lid was for "Beef Filets with Mustard Mascarpone" and it looked pretty easy; except I didn't have beef filets handy.  I did have chicken breasts handy and figured I could easily substitute one for the other.


Except, I couldn't follow the recipe exactly {big surprise}.  The recipe called for 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard!  If you have ever had Dijon mustard you know how incredibly spicy it is and since I wanted to give some to Nathan I only used one tablespoon.  It also calls for 2 teaspoons of ground pepper and I only used 1.

I'm sure that the recipe as is can be incredibly delicious in all its spicy glory, but since this meal had to feed an 18 month old some things had to be cut back.

All in all, the recipe was full of flavor even with the tweaks.  It even got Nathan's seal of approval, which coming from an 18 month old is very hard to get!  The great thing about this recipe is that it only uses 1/2 of my container of cheese so that I'm free to make this recipe again except this time with beef filets!

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Stromboli

Whenever I heard the world Stromboli I immediately pictured the puppet master in Pinocchio.  I had no idea that this also referred to food!

I came across a recipe for Salami Stromboli and thought it would be fairly easy to make.

 I mean it kind of looked like a Calzone and I already had the pizza dough in the fridge so all I needed was the stuffing.

The original recipe called for stuffing the dough with salami, mozzarella and tons of basil.  While I wasn't at a loss for the sausage and cheese, I didn't have any fresh basil.  My wonderful husband came to the rescue however with a jar of pesto sauce!

I layered the pesto sauce with sausage, mushrooms and tons of fresh mozzarella cheese and then rolled it into a cute little log.   After a quick egg wash and 15 minutes in the over lunch was ready and it was delicious!

It was such a nice twist to our "traditional pizza" Saturdays.  What I loved the most was how quick and easy it was.  I hope to be making this again soon.
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Weekend Gourmand

During the week I hardly ever get to spend any time in my kitchen.  After getting home from work and getting Nathan ready for the evening the last thing I want to do is cook a long and complicated meal.
This is why I love to cook during the weekends.  I love to try the new recipes that I have found during the week or whipping up an old favorite to reheat later.  Even though this weekend was gorgeous and sunny, I still found time to spend in my kitchen.

Friday night, I had very little motivation to cook anything heavy and so I resorted to my stand-by favorite:  Tapas and Wine!  Seriously you can't go wrong with this menu!


The lineup: puff pasty cups filled with roasted garlic and mushrooms & guacamole; mozzarella, tomato and green pepper salad with balsamic vinaigrette and of course a nice bottle of red wine.  Perfect for cuddling on the couch and watching a movie.

Sunday afternoon I decided to make this recipe for the family:  Sauteed Bacon, Mushrooms & Lentils.  
Photo credit:  Leites Culinaria

I love lentils and had been wanting to try this recipe all week.  I had to tweak the recipe of course, adding a little splash of white wine to the mushrooms before adding them to the lentils.  I also cooked turkey bacon separately and added it only to Cornel's plate {I am not a fan of bacon} so that the rest of the plates were vegetarian.  The final verdict:  SUCCESS!  This recipe has the Nathan seal of approval {which means a lot coming from a finicky 17 month old!}

Ahh, but the entire weekend can't be spent in the kitchen.  When you live in a country that prides itself on food, cooking and all things culinary - it is imperative to get out and immerse yourself in this culture.  So Saturday evening we did just that!

We went out to celebrate a dear friend's birthday and enjoyed all things sweet, delicious and French!


And how cute is that chocolate hedgehog?  


In case you are wondering he was also delicious!  He too received the Nathan seal of approval!  {And yes, this makes the second pastry animal he has tried this month}!

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Pasta Carbonara

Ever since Cornel & I have been together, we've averaged about one trip to Italy a year.  {We're spoiled, I know}!



About once a trip {if not more} Cornel always orders Pasta Carbonara.  I remember asking once what the sauce was made of and heard "raw egg"; no thanks.  Although I should say that the heat of the pasta cooks the egg, so technically it is just an egg sauce.


So, last week when I asked Cornel what he would like to eat in order to plan my weekly "menu" he responded with "pasta carbonara".

I'm always up for a challenge, so I went searching for recipes and came across this one.

I had all of the ingredients, but I wasn't convinced.  So of course I had to tweak it a little until I came up with my own creation.  Instead of adding pasta water (which always seems icky to me) I added 1/2 cup of cream. {So not diet friendly}!

I have to admit that adding the raw egg to the sauce is more difficult than I thought it would be.  I wasn't fast enough in my mixing skills and there were tiny lumps of scrambled egg.  Oops.  Luckily it was only a few lumps since I seemed to get the hang of it after a couple of seconds.  Luckily Cornel didn't mind.

When we sat down for dinner, I was surprised that I actually liked the way it tasted.  I don't know why I had been so resistant before.  Raw egg and all.  I did ask Cornel what his opinion was compared to the "authentic" recipe and he did say that the sauce was a little to "liquidy".  So next time we will try 1/4 cup of cream and work from there.

This will definitely make another appearance on our dinner table!

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Pancakes & Potting Soil

I have been wanting to make this recipe for banana pancakes FOREVER.  Well actually, only a couple of months - but you get the idea.

Photo & Recipe Credit:  Annies Eats


The only problem - waking up early enough on a Sunday morning to justify making pancakes.  Usually we just buy 2 extra croissants/pains au chocolate on Saturday so that all we have to do on Sunday is make coffee. {Which isn't so bad either}.

This weekend I was DETERMINED!  Why you ask?  Well because I had left-over bananas from Nathan's party that were about to go bad. 

Since Nathan had gotten the OK for {almost} all foods, I really thought we could share a breakfast as a family.  I woke up early and started in on the batter.  Cornel woke up and made the coffee.

{If I ever decide to do this again, I will make the coffee first}

While I worked on making the pancakes, Cornel whipped up some  chantilly (whipped cream).  There is nothing like team work!  After a while we were ready to eat.  We propped Nathan in his highchair and ploppled a pancake down in front of him.

At first he squeezed it in his hand.  Then he threw some over the side of the chair.  Then he just began banging them with his fists!  {Nothing makes a mom feel better than being appreciated}.

I tore off a piece of his mangled pancake and tried to put it in his mouth.  He happily opened up and after a few seconds he spit it back out!  WHAT?  I tried again, this time making sure he had a piece with a banana in it.  Same thing - out came the pancake.  Granted his didn't have whipped cream on it, but it wasn't bad!  After most of the pancake ended up on the floor.  We gave up.

He ended up having cereal for breakfast with what was left of the banana garnish.  {Pancake FAIL}!  I was sure he was going to love it!

Here is the part that I don't understand.  Now that Nathan is mobile, I find him eating the most obscure things.  His favorite snack is potting soil.  I find him "playing" by our potted plant.  There are toys that magically end up near the plant and the minute he is left unsupervised he takes a big handful of dirt and puts it in his mouth.  He LOVES it!  He giggles and goes back for more!  So this kid will eat potting soil but not pancakes. 

Next time I will be sure to add a small handful of the potting soil to the mix to entice him to eat breakfast!  This might be a breakthrough in baby nutrition.  At least it's organic!
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Biscotti Cookies



A couple of weeks ago one of my colleagues brought in these delicious biscotti cookies that his wife had made.  They were delicious and went perfectly with my 10 a.m. coffee.  I knew I had to give them a try so I was very excited when I got a hold of the recipe.

I am always scared when trying a French recipe.  For one the measurements are on the metric system so I have to whip out google and the handy converter.  Second almost all the ingredients are given in terms of weight.  I wonder where in the world all of these French people are keeping a scale in the kitchen. I refuse to have a scale anywhere in my home let alone the kitchen.  I would never ever cook if I had to weigh everything.  Sadly, even google can't really help me since one is a measure of volume and a conversion can't be done based on weight.  Sigh.

These biscotti cookies (croquants as they are called in French) where so good, however, that I bit the bullet and decided to give them a try.  I have a basic rule of thumb when converting French recipes which is grams = milliliters.  Okay so this is not at all scientific, but my measuring cup also has milliliters so I go with it and it hasn't really failed me yet.

So now, to make these delicious cookies.

Ingredients (complete with French translation):

1 cup of flour (220 grams)
6 tbs of sugar (75 grams of sugar)
2/3 cups of almonds or hazlenuts (100 grams)
1 tsp of baking powder
1 egg
vanilla (according to your liking I used 1 tbs)
1/4 cup of water (40 ml)

Toast almonds for 10 minutes in a 390℉ degree oven (200 ℃) tossing frequently.  Remove and let cool.  Turn oven down to 350℉ (180℃).

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  In a bowl mix all ingredients (it is easier by hand but be careful it's sticky)!

Form 3 logs on the cookie sheet.  (Don't panic if they are very runny and don't look right, they will firm up in the oven).

Bake for 20 minutes keeping an eye on the color.  Once they are golden brown remove from the oven and close the door.  Immediately cut the logs into slices (use an oven mit, they're HOT).

Place the slices flat (cut side up) on the lined baking sheet and put back in the oven for 10 minutes to dry.


These are so delicious dunked in coffee or simply all alone.  Since this recipe makes 40 cookies I sent Cornel to work with a full tupperware for fear of finishing them off myself.
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