Thursday, December 04, 2014
A no-cook holiday cranberry sauce? Who knew!?!? Well it seems the very smart women in my family did. This recipe has been handed down by my mother-in-law.
It is a recipe to make a few days ahead. And takes about 5 minutes from start to finish.
With just a few ingredients, it’s simple, fresh & bursting with flavor! And it’s not just for Thanksgiving. Enjoy.
Here’s your recipe.
1 bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed & gently patted dry
1 small to medium size, seedless orange, cut into 6 pieces, skin on
1Tbsp of sugar + more if necessary
Place cranberries and orange pieces into a food processor.
Begin processing until all ingredients come together to form a puree;relish type consistency.
Taste. If the mixture is too bitter add sugar a little at a time (processing in-between & scraping down sides of processor) until the sweet level is perfect for you. This may take more than a tablespoon. The sweeter the orange the less sugar you will need or at all.
Use a spatula to remove cranberry sauce from processor. Place into a container you can seal tightly. It will last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Yields up to 10 small servings.
*A piece of fresh peeled ginger or a pinch of spice can be added for a festive flavor.
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Marsala Mascarpone Tartlets are the answer to serving a light and simple dessert over the holidays.
All you need to do is stock your pantry with a few essential ingredients, use a minimal amount of elbow grease and you’re ready.
Next thing you know you’ll be the sweet envy of your holiday guests!
Here’s your recipe.
1 tub of mascarpone cheese
1 Tbls of Marsala
1 package of miniature tart shells
Fruit to garnish.
Lay 12 tart shells side by side on your countertop. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine the mascarpone and marsala and mix to incorporate.
Spoon 1-2 teaspoons of mascarpone mixture into each tart shell.
Garnish with your favorite fruit.
Yeilds up to 12 miniature tartlet shells.
Minature tartlet shells can be found at your local market or speciality markets like World Market.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Roasted cauliflower just makes everything better! But don’t take my word for it. Check out this simple recipe with only 4 ingredients.
It’s one of my favorites and a go-to for any everyday meal; not too mention for your holiday dining. It’s the perfect side dish!
Here’s your recipe.
4C of cauliflower florets, w/ 1-2” stem
1⁄4-1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
3tsp of kosher salt
1 1/2tsp of freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven 350°
Rinse, clean and gently dry the cauliflower.
In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with a 1⁄4 C of olive oil. If broccoli seems dry drizzle a little more until florets are moist.
Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the florets. Mix thoroughly.
Evenly distribute cauliflower florets on a baking sheet.
Pop into oven, middle shelf center.
Roast florets for 30 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are soft and caramelized. Take out of oven and cool. Arrange florets on a plate and serve.
Cauliflower can be stored refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Yields 4 side servings.
Friday, November 21, 2014
This recipe is a Thanksgiving twist on green bean casserrole; Grean Beans & Proscuitto. My sister, Emily, introduced it to our family as a healthy alternative.
I was asked to re-publish it for your holiday table. It’s quick using simple techniques.
And, as we say in our family, “It’s a keeper!”
Here’s your recipe.
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 very thin slices of proscuitto, julienne
1 of each: red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, sliced, seeded & julienne
2 lbs. fresh green beans, blanched
1 - 2 Tbs pure maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C pecans, rough chop & toasted
Place a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and proscuitto and sauté until soft but not crisp. Remove from pan and place on paper towel to drain. Add peppers and sauté until just barely soft.
Add the beans and proscuitto to the peppers and sauté until heated through, season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle maple syrup to taste. Toss all ingredients together.
Place on serving plate and garnish with toasted pecans. Serve.
Yields up to 8 side servings.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Let’s all say it together, slow cooker roast with Fall root vegetables. It’s a mouthful and almost as toothy as it is fully cooked!
When I was first married I recieved, what was then called a crock pot; 2 of them to be on point. I knew what they were. My mom, Carol, used her “red-brick” coverd one for soups, chili and such. I understood their value of convenience and one pot cooking.
For me, though, if I used one it meant I had officially become domesticed. My vision was one of a 20-something gal wearing a waist-tie apron, watching the clock for her husband’s arrive home, final dinner table touches, hearing the car come up the drive, quick lipstick application, big smile and then saying as the door opens, “Honey, you’re home.”
I was a career oriented and on the move with no time for cooking. The crock pots quickly found a new home at the local Good Will.
Fast forward several years… I’m a bit wiser and more thoughtful towards the irony of a young woman’s silly perception!
The truth is, and in today’s language, a slow cooker is the BOMB!
Here’s your recipe.
3⁄4 lb of lean chuck roast
2 Tbls of olive oil
3 tsp of kosher salt
2 tsp of fresh ground pepper
14.5 ounce can of dices roasted tomatoes
4 sprigs of flat leaf parsley
2 sprigs of marjoram
4 sprigs of thyme
1 large bay leaf
6-8 baby carrots
6-8 baby potatoes
1 small onion, peeled quartered
Sprinkle salt and pepper over all sides of chuck roast. Set aside.
Place a medium skillet over high heat. Pour olive oil into pan. As the oil heats up coat the inside of the pan. Once oil is heated through and almost smoking, gently place salted chuck roast in the pan. Cook each side (searing) until slightly caramelized. Put roast into the slow cooker. Add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Get messy!
Cover slower cooker with top. Turn heat on high and walk away. At 1 1⁄2 hours check and mix. Repeat once more. Cook for up to 4 hours or until roast falls apart to touch.
Yields 3 4-ounce roast servings with vegetables.
Not all slow cookers cook alike. Take care in the timing and be watchful.
Friday, November 07, 2014
Rosemary and lemon are the perfect flavor combination for seasoning a chicken for a Fall grill – indoors.
This is one of my go-to recipes for an everyday meal. It’s super flavorful and quick using simple techniques.
Here’s the recipe.
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 -4 inch stems of rosemary
2 medium lemons, sliced into ½” pieces
2 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Place chicken in a gallon size freezer bag. Set aside
Take the rosemary needles off the stem and roughly chop.
Place in the bag with chicken.
Squeeze lemon slices over the chicken and then toss into the bag.
Pour olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken, rosemary and lemon.
Push all the air out and seal the bag tightly.
Gently shake the bag, rubbing on the ingredients to distribute evenly.
Set on a plate or in a bowl and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours to overnight.
Ready to Grill
Take chicken out of refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
Heat grill pan over high heat until pan is extremely hot.
Place each chicken breast top side down in grill pan.
Grill as high heat for 2 minutes.
Turn heat down to medium and grill for 1 minute.
Turn heat back up to high and immediately turn chicken over.
Grill at high heat for 2 minutes.
Turn heat down to medium and grill for 1 minute.
Finally, turn heat down to low and place a piece of aluminum foil over top of pan.
Cook for 3 more minutes.
Take off heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice Chicken against the grain into thin slices.
Yields 4 – 4 ounce servings
Note: Cooking time may vary depending on thickness of each chicken breast.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
My Mediterranean Couscous Salad is a crowd pleaser!
When I first stared making it, with Israeli or pearl couscous, years ago it was very hard to find in the mainstream market. Now all you have to do is meander to the pasta and rice aisle and you’ll find it.
You cook it just like pasta.
Add a few fresh herbs and veggies along with some briny olives and tart vinaigrette, you’ll have yourself a super side dish.
Here’s the recipe.
2 C pearl couscous (another name is Israeli Couscous)
¼ C chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ C chopped fresh mint leaves
¼ C chopped fresh basil leaves
½ C Calamata olives, pitted & sliced lengthwise
¼ C red bell pepper, minced
½ C green onion, thinly sliced
Zest of one medium lemon
Bring one quart of water to a boil in a 3-quart, heavy saucepan.
Stir in couscous and simmer, uncovered, up to 10 minutes or until couscous is al dente (cooks just like pasta).
Drain couscous and transfer to medium bowl.
Pour ½ of vinaigrette (see recipe below) over warm couscous and stir to incorporate. Add parsley, mint, basil, bell pepper, olives, green onion and zest. Mix thoroughly.
Taste for flavor and texture.
Add more vinaigrette if too dry.
Add more salt and pepper for seasoning if necessary.
Yields 6-8 side servings.
*Refrigerator storage for up to one week in a tightly sealed container.
1/4C fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ C extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Place all ingredients into a container and tightly seal.
Shake vigorously until all ingredients emulsify (combine).
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
If you have a craving for a sumptuous piece of beef but are on a budget my Sherry Glazed Beef Tenderloin Bites with Garlic and Parsley recipe is just the ticket.
With just a pound of beef tenderloin, a few aromatics and some quick technique you’ll have an elegant dinner for two; in no time at all.
Here’s the recipe.
2 tsp of kosher salt
1 tsp of freshly ground pepper
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. beef tenderloin, 1in cubes
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1⁄4 C Sherry
1⁄4 C rough chopped Italian parsley
Generously season beef with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a heavy bottom sauté pan, heat oil on high heat until almost smoking. Place beef into pan and sear. (Approximately 45 seconds).
Add garlic. Once you can lift pieces of beef up off the bottom of the pan easily, turn each piece over and sear other side. Cook meat until done to your preference.
Take pan off heat and pour in sherry. Shake pan gently.
Place back on heat (medium high) to deglaze pan. Reduce sherry by 1⁄4. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Transfer meat and sauce to a serving platter. Serve immediately.
Yields 2 main servings.
Monday, October 20, 2014
There is nothing like a super fresh green lettuce salad to accompany a hearty Fall meal. Add a vinaigrette with a mild acidic bite and you have a perfect foil that cuts through richness of stews, roasts and braised dishes.
Keep it simple and you’ll be set for every weekday meal.
Here’s the recipe.
4 C of mixed green lettuce, gently torn into bite size pieces.
1/4 C of red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp of kosher salt
1/8 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
Fill a medium size bowl with lettuce. Set aside.
In a Mason jar or small plastic container, pour red wine vinegar.
Add kosher salt.
Seal tightly and shake vigorously (which will dissolve the salt).
Once dissolved, open and add ground black pepper and olive oil.
Again, seal tightly and shake vigorously until vinegar and oil have come together.
Pour 2 Tbsp of vinaigrette over lettuce.
Mix gently so that vinaigrette surrounds each piece of lettuce.
Add more vinaigrette if necessary.
Place on serving platter and serve immediately.
Yields 2 medium side salads.
*Sealed tightly the vinaigrette will hold for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Yellow squash is of the summer season. In fact, it is also known by its season, summer squash. So why would I offer you a summer ingredient as we embark on Fall?
First, it is available in the market. Second, I’m going to kick it up by adding a warming spice, yellow curry powder.
Yellow curry powder is made of some of the world’s most extraordinary spices and aromatics including but not excluding, cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, garlic salt, bay leaf, lemongrass, cayenne, pepper, ginger, mace and cinnamon.
Yellow squash dusted with a bit of yellow curry powder is, quite frankly, a pair made in heaven.
A pairing that provides a bit warmth for cool Fall days.
Try it for yourself. Here’s the recipe.
1 lb fresh yellow squash
1 tsp yellow curry powder
¾ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Cut stem and bottom off each squash.
Slice squash into ¼” to ½” medallions and set aside.
In a medium bowl mix curry powder, salt, pepper and olive oil.
Place sliced squash into bowl with curry mixture.
Stir gently so that curry mixture coats both side of each piece of squash.
Heat a large skillet over high heat.
Add the squash and sauté for up to 1 minute.
Shake pan to move squash around.
Reduce heat to medium and sauté for up to 3 minutes or until squash is tender.
(Watch squash while cooking and gently stir as necessary.)
Take off heat, place on a platter and serve immediately.
Yields 4-6 side servings.
*Can be eaten at room temperature
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Fall has arrived in Austin, TX. As such, I’m starting to think about rich, warming braised and roasted meats and all the yummy sides to go along with them. Hence, this is a recipe for Asian Slaw with Sesame Seeds.
This side is what we call a foil; a contrast in flavors, which in turn enhances its’ mate. In basic form it is just a cabbage salad. With the addition of cilantro, Asian seasoned rice vinegar and sesame seeds, however, it adds that fresh and tart bite giving it distinction.
Here’s the recipe.
3C of package slaw mix
1/4C rough chopped cilantro
1/2C red bell pepper, julienned
1/4C green onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp white/hulled sesame seeds
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1/4C seasoned rice vinegar
1/2C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp of fresh ground pepper
In a medium bowl place slaw, cilantro, bell pepper and onion.
Mix gently and set aside.
In a Mason jar place all vinaigrette ingredients and cover tightly with lid.
Shake vigorously to incorporate all liquids together.
Pour half of vinaigrette on slaw and mix, coating all ingredients.
Add more if necessary and to taste.
Cover bowl tightly and place in refrigerator for up to 1 hour to overnight.
With a slotted spoon, spoon slaw from bowl to a decorative platter and serve.
Yields 6 side servings.
*May be stored in refrigerator for up to one week.
Thursday, October 09, 2014
My friends from Salazon Chocolate Co. asked me to write a recipe for them. When I said YES (notice the caps) they sent me some chocolate.
I said yes because I really love chocolate and I’m a sucker for a new brand. So, while walking through Whole Foods Market their bars caught my eye.
It’s marketed to the outdoors person such as a hiker or backpacker; someone who needs a little extra energy after a long journey. There are several to choose from like72% Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Organic Cayenne and the one I’m using for this recipe:
Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Organic Turbinado Cane Sugar.
This recipe is one that I’ve been using for years. One which came out of my love for Spain and tapas. It combines traditional Spanish flavors and makes for a light snack or dessert after a Fall meal.
Here’s the recipe:
1 large orange, seedless
1 Tbls of cinnamon
1 bar, Salazon Chocolate (Dark Chocolate w/Sea Salt &Organic Turbinado Cane Sugar)
Slice orange in half between stem & bottom.
Slice each half. You now have 4 quarters.
Slice each quarter into ¼- ½” slices.
Arrange orange slices on a platter.
Sprinkle cinnamon down the center of each orange slice.
Break off pieces of the chocolate bar.
Yields up to 4 servings; 2 oranges slices per person & several pieces of chocolate.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
There’s nothing quite like experiencing Harrods in London with a bubbling pink glass of champagne.
And I only just found out about it this visit.
Today was all about going to some of my favorite shopping spots in London. Luckily my husband, Mike, was game. We first meandered off toward Portabella Road for a quick look at Books for Cooks and a big round of walking and negotiating our way our the tube (London’s metro sytem). With a great morning under our belt we made our way to the famous Harrods.
Harrods takes up one full block of London real estate and has seven floors of pure shopping bliss.While some of my more fashion forward friends might make a day (or even a week) out of exploring, we had only a few hours. So, we hit the floors that offered what we wanted; shoes, men/ladies fashion and food.
This is my third visit to Harrods and my first to taste champagne. While you can enjoy a respite in the food courts (and I suggest you do) for a bit of quite and calm make your way to the third floor.
Nestled between Lingerie and Designer Classics sits The Champgane Bar and Restaurant. And believe me, it IS the perfect sit-down break for weary world travelers.
We had a glass of the Harrods Own Label pink champagne. It was fabulous and just the right amount of bubbles to make a girl happy!
Cheers from Harrods.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
For those of you who haven’t been to Hillside Farmacy on the Eastside of Austin, Texas here are a few images of what I saw and ate during my first visit.
Sitting tranquilly on a corner lot of a busy 11th Street corner this restaurant buzzes with constant activity. I was there right after a Friday lunch rush. This is the time between 1:30 and 4p when things settle down a bit, shifts change and preparation for dinner is just beginning behind the scenes. And that’s why I got to sit in a quiet little corner looking out and into a restaurant that was beginning to charm me.
The concept is pharmacy-esque with old-school warm woods and a new-school hip color scheme that is pleasing to the eye; at least mine.
One of the new trends I’ve noticed in restaurants is the absence of salt and pepper on the table; unless it’s a signiture blend or a cool color. A primary and learned technique in culinary school is how to season with salt and pepper. The ideology is that if this is done correctly there is no need for seasoning (salt & pepper) on the table. That said, I like to have the choice and HF gives you that in the form of two cobalt blue bottles with definitive labels.
Stepping into the restaurant you’re met with a professional staff and fun people watching.
I had a the Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon. And it was REAL GOOD!
For a Friday afternoon jaunt to the Eastside of Austin it was well worth it. This first timer left with a happy belly and big smile.
Thank you Hillside Farmacy. I’ll be back.
p.s. Love the “farmacy girl” on the lavatory door.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
“I’ll have a French Coffee, please,” I said to the lovely lady behind the counter. “Do you know what French Coffee is?” she softly intoned with a whisper of a French accent. Quizzically, I shrugged my shoulders. She smiled and explained that a French coffee was a shot of espresso with whipped cream. With her hand she measured how much of each went into the coffee mug. When I saw that the volume of whipped cream was twice the amount of espresso, I was sold. “Yes, I’ll have one, please!” I said.
This was my first experience at what was then a quickly becoming known French cafe named, Baguette et Chocolat.
An authentic French bakery and cafe it stands alone in the small Uplands Shopping Center just off Bee Cave Road and is a stones throw from HWY 71. It’s right smack dab in the middle one of Austin’s newer suburban landscapes; the City of Bee Cave.
Walking into the cafe you would never know. On any given day you can count at least 2 to 3 different languages; including French. It lends itself to feeling as if you’re somewhere else. Perhaps Paris?!? And like any good Parisian cafe this one is bustling and very well patronized.
Why? Maybe it’s little touches that the patrons love; an area for the wee ones with their very own flat screen TV; not having to wait long for a seat even in the busiest times; adding new items but not changing the core menu; a huge ladies lavatory full of natural light. It could be any one of these things.
But my guess is it’s the bread, pastry, macaroon and the traditional French dishes like salty and sweet crepes, quiche, salads and baguette sandwiches.
The menu is wonderful. Fresh bread is made and baked daily.From a traditional baguette to a new 6-Seed sourdough batard there are many to choose from. My favorite to take home and toast is the sourdough batard; crusty on the outside, chewy and airy on the inside. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the olive batard. It has two different types of olive slices gently nestled inbetween layers of chewy baked dough. And has just the right amount of brininess.
Pastry is center stage eyeing you seductively as you stand in line to place your order. The ubiquitous Americanized croissant doesn’t even compare to the one found here. Biting into one it’s as if the crunchy buttery layers melt into a whispered remembrance of your favorite place in the world, until you take another bite.
Fruit tarts, decadent chocolate cakes and eclairs make a strong showing for desserts. For a lighter option there are any number of different flavored macaroon. And , one of my favorites, the financier; a small French sponge-like cake.
The prepared breakfast and lunch items are magnificently French. Starting with the traditional buckwheat crepe you can choose either salty (savory) or sweet. Salty crepes are filled with ingredients like rich cheeses, ham and mushrooms. Sweet crepes are filled with jams and (of course) Nutella. And as you can see from my friend, Karen (who spent 5 years living in Paris), they incite an inevidable level of anticipation and happiness that can only be found here. She literally comes from Central Austin just to have a crepe.
Sandwiches and salads are another option. Sandwiches start out with a half baguette with layers of fresh ingredients such as salty ham, creamy brie, tuna cucumbers and crisp lettuce topped off with an aioli or herbed vinegar. Salads come out in bowls piled high with mixed baby greens. The house made vinaigrette has a soft sweet tang and dresses the lettuce lightly. Salad Niciose is a house favorite.
If you can’t stay for breakfast or lunch - no problem. Take-out is just as popular. And if you’re lucky a handsome French lad will meet you, arms full of your own specified hand crafted treats.
Ready for a trip to France via Paris? It’s simple! Just jump in your car and make your way to this little gem. Even if you’re not an espresso whipped cream coffee person there’s obviously something for everyone.
I want to claim Baguette et Chocolat as MY own little food find in MY little neck of the woods but I really can’t.
It’s been found!
Here are my recommendations for your first or next visit:
*Paris - Austin Eclair
*Ham & Cheese
*My Grandpa’s Banh Mi
*Salad with Chevre Chaud
Baguette et Chocolate is on FaceBook
Baguette et Chocolate is on the Web
Baguette et Chocolate is on Twitter
12101 FM 2244 (Bee Caves Rd.) 78738
Tuesday - Thursday 7a to 5:30p
Saturday 7a to 4p
Sunday 8a to 2p