Stay tuned for basil recipes! ;D
Last Wednesday marked the 100th birthday anniversary of Julia Child, and I’ve had her on the brain everyday as I relentlessly poured over recipes from her two volume food bible, “Mastering the art of French Cooking.” Julia’s charismatic on camera personality and her tremendous passion for a fine meal have always had a great impact on me as a food enthusiast.
Julia introduced Americans to the fine art of French cuisine during a time when it was thought of as better to dine on TV dinners. Her distinctive warbly voice and sense of humor made her show “The French Chef” not only a source of education, but entertainment as well. Even as she made errors with her technique, and fumbled with ingredients, she kept going. She was a fantastic teacher. Julia Child is the “Shakespeare” of the culinary world and her name will continue to live on forever.
Of all her recipes, I decided to re-create her classic “Coq Au Vin” dish. There are a few steps to this recipe, but the preparation is pretty straight forward. This is one of the sexiest dishes I’ve ever made, chicken drenched in red wine while cooked slowly, as it produces melt in your mouth meat that falls straight off the bone. Yum.
Coq Au Vin
- 3lbs of chicken (legs & thighs)
- cup of flour (to coat chicken)
- about 20 white pearl onions
- 1 package of cremini mushrooms (roughly chopped)
- 1/2 cup of lardons or bacon (chopped)
- 3. 5 cups of cabernet sauvignon or another deep, red wine.
- 50 ml of cognac (mini – bottle)
- 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
- 3 cups of chicken stock
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 small red onion
- 3 carrots cut on the bias
- 3 celery stalks cut into 1″ pieces
- 4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1/2 can of tomato paste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley (for garnish, if desired)
Wash & pat chicken parts dry, season with salt & pepper. Rub chicken with minced garlic and thyme. Place into the fridge for an hour. Meanwhile, chop carrots, red onions, celery and mushrooms, set aside. Peel pearl onions, set aside. In a bowl, take about 1 cup of all purpose flour and coat chicken with flour (it will thicken the sauce, too).
In a stock pot, add pieces of bacon in about 1/2 cup of water. Allow it to reduce slightly for 3- 4 minutes and get it screaming hot. Brown the chicken on all sides (about 3mins per side), remove from pot. Add one tbsp of butter, carrots, celery, red onion and a pinch of salt & pepper until the veggies tenderize and onions are slightly translucent. De- glaze the pot with the cognac (it intensifies flavors of the dish and makes cleaning the pot much easier, too).
In a separate skillet, saute mushrooms over medium heat in one tbsp of butter and a pinch of salt & pepper until tender. Pour mushrooms and their natural juices into the stock pot along with the veggies. Add chicken, chicken stock and red wine to the stock pot. Cook until boiling, lower heat, cover and simmer for an hour. Serve over egg noodles, rice or potatoes and garnish with fresh minced parsley. Serve with a glass of red or whichever spirit you prefer. Bon appetit!
Though I love NYC, sometimes I need to escape, so I decided to embark upon a journey across the Atlantic to visit my lovely buddy Maria and her family in Stockholm, Sweden aka, Sverige. It was truly a memorable experience. They showed me around their sparkling land and introduced me to native foods and customs. All I remember saying to myself was “how fortunate I am to be here.”
Sweden is a land of beautiful islands, very attractive inhabitants, innovation (think H&M, Volvo, Ikea, just to name a few) and Nordic gods, hey, hey Thor! But for me, it was much more than that. I will take you on a trip through images filled with beauty, splendor, dynamic people, and plenty of scrumptious meals.
Ceviche (also spelled cebiche or seviche, depends on origin) is pure summer on a plate, a hot Latino person in dish form, regardless of the season. Peruvian in origin with Arab influences, its an ancient dish that has different variations throughout Latin America, The U.S. and all over the world.
Ceviche has made a huge come back in the food scene, and isn’t leaving anytime soon. Some versions are made with tomato sauce or coconut milk; one similar theme with most recipes is that the star ingredient, either super fresh fish, octopus or shellfish is “cooked” in citrus juice. Lemons are commonly used, but lime, sour orange and grapefruit are also known to be utilized in many different recipe variations. It can be served as an appetizer or as a main course on a bed of white rice, a side of plantains or sweet potatoes.
It makes my taste buds dance!
My mouth salivates when it knows its about to get some sexy ceviche action. Its the pure punch-in-your-face flavor made with a combo of red onion, garlic, red or green pepper, cucumber and in certain cases, spicy chiles. Herbs such as fresh mint, parsley or cilantro and a few dashes of Tabasco, um yes please! Yummy seafood marinating in all that freshness, sprinkled with sea salt and coarsely cracked black pepper. Ceviche is a dish that makes me happy.
Freshness is key when it comes to Ceviche, so unless the creature has been pulled directly out of the sea, and even then, its better to lightly cook off any potential threat of bacterial growth. Then you can marinate in the citrus juice along with the rest of the ingredients for about 1- 3 hrs. In some cases, it’s served immediately, but again, its all about the freshness factor. What an invigorating meal! Packed with nutrients, and light in calories. Summer on plate. Pass me a Coronita or a glass of rose wine, and I’m set.
Ladies and Gentlemen, My Ceviche. Enjoy! xoxoxo
2 lbs of fresh medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 medium red onion (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
6 large lemons
1 sour orange
1 regular naval orange
2 juicy limes
handful of cilantro (chopped)
1 cucumber (wax- free, seeds removed, skin intact and chopped)
1 large red pepper (seeds removed, chopped)
1 jalapeno pepper (chopped, remove seeds if you need it less spicy, but extra heat is always welcome, baby!)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1- 3 dashes of Tabasco sauce
sea salt & fresh coarsely cracked black pepper to taste
In a large hot skillet, add one tbsp of olive oil and lightly cook the shrimp on all sides until pink, immediately remove from heat. In a large mixing bowl, add shrimp, chopped cucumber, red pepper, red onion, jalapeno pepper, and minced garlic into the mix and incorporate thoroughly. Squeeze all the citrus fruit juices into mixture, add Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Cover with cellophane, and place into the fridge for 1 – 3 hrs. Last, but not least, add the fresh herbs and mix really well. Serve in a chilled martini glass, over a bed of lettuce and garnish with more fresh herbs. Tastes best when paired with a rose or white wine like sauvignon blanc, or a crisp lager or sparkling wine.
The other day, a wonderful thing happened to me in the blogosphere. After having a long and somewhat tiring day, I get home and log into my WordPress account to discover the most welcome message from Dana of “A Serene Scribe.” I was given The Versatile Blogger Award. Yay! This made my day and put a much needed smile on my face. Thank you. I’m thrilled, tickled pink and ever so appreciative.
Blogging, though may appear simple, is not. It takes a lot of time and dedication. It takes lots of research, editing and revisions. One blog post can take hours to write and that depends if you have everything, the photos, notes and material in order. It’s a constant process, and I’m always with a camera and miniature notebook on hand. Yeah, blog writing definitely requires passion, and please let me add that I enjoy every moment of it. The passion behind what I do are all that’s necessary to keep me going.
I realize that my efforts haven’t gone unnoticed and it means the world to me. I’m thrilled to have The Versatile Blogger award! Feelings of inspiration are at an all time high. Thank you again for your support! Xoxoxo.
Writing, food and people are my greatest passions. It’s what makes me happiest and no, this isn’t only a hobby, it’s my life. I love to make people happy. Plus, writing is the best form of therapy for me, so it’s a win/win! In my mind, cooking makes me feel as though I’m slowly improving the world with each delicious bite. To have people around me with whom I can share this joy is what makes life worth living.
7 things you don’t know about me….
- Sometimes, when I’m alone or when no one is looking, I eat tuna straight out of the can with fresh lemon juice and hot sauce (one of my only canned indulgences!!)
- I like to take refreshing walks in the summer rain without an umbrella.
- I make the sign of the cross before meals (my form of grace).
- I race to change the channel for those darn ASPCA “Arms of the angel” commercials, they depress me! :’(
- I read magazines from back to front (why the heck not?)
- I love tattoos… on other people, not on me.
- I always make a wish upon the first star I see in the night sky. (I’ve done this for as long as I can remember.)
These are just a few of my fellow blogger folk whom never fail to inspire, keep up the great work!
I met Julie Deily at the Techmunch food bloggers conference in Boston last summer, and I’ve been an avid reader of her blog ever since. Her site is chocked full of tasty recipes and lots of information about the wonderful world of food. I want to present Julie with The Versatile Blogger award. Thank you for your inspiration. Keep up the great work!
I enjoy this blog. Her photos of food are mouth- watering. She has a great selection of tasty recipe ideas for anybody in a food rut. I want to present The Scrumptious Pumpkin with The Versatile Blogger award. Well deserved! Thank you for your inspiration.
This is a blog where non- kosher recipes are converted into a more kosher version. Very well written and inspired. I enjoy the writing style and I want to present CrazyTasty Kosher with The Versatile Blogger award. Thank you for inspiring me.
This blog is very spiritually uplifting and truly inspirational. She covers topics ranging from yoga, meditation, chakras to spiritual food/meals. I follow this blog and I highly recommend it to anybody on the path to enlightenment. I can relate to her material and I want to present her with The Versatile Blogger award. Thank you!
This blog tugged on my heart strings in the best way! I love Pit bull terriers and they’re treated unfairly because of this misconception people have about them. Pits are one of the sweetest, kindest breeds of dog, and they are great with kids, too! It raises an awareness on this issue and provides foster care for these adorable beings until they’re placed in a loving home. :’( Thank you for doing what you do! I genuinely support anyone in favor of such a noble cause. I want to present you with The Versatile Blogger award. Thank you so much for your inspiration!
Emily Cavalier, a lovely lady I came to know some years ago, has been an inspiration to me since day one. I’ve been reading her blog for over three years and I enjoy her musings on exotic cocktails and tasty recipes. She is also the master mind behind the concept of Midnight Brunch which I plan to attend really soon. I want to present her with The Versatile Blogger award. Emily, thank you for inspiring me and keep up the great work!
There’s this thing about mussels I can’t describe, they’re so enticing, and so satisfying. For some reason, when I make them at home, I feel like such an accomplished cook. You see, the secret is all in the broth. My twist on the broth consists of a dry red wine, butter, olive oil, garlic, shallots, lime, sea salt, pepper, and a just a pinch of saffron.
This is one sexy dish! Super easy to make and very inexpensive. Paired with Caesar salad, a crisp glass of rose or white wine and some crusty bread! Romantic dinner, friendly brunch or to be indulged in all alone. Delicioso.
I’m a concrete jungle kind of gal, after all, I do reside in hustling, bustling NYC, and I really enjoy it. Though one day, hopefully, (God willing) sooner than later, I will own a home in the ‘burbs with a huge gourmet kitchen and a garden filled with delicious, lush produce bringing the concept of “local” to as local one can possibly get.
Today is a day that will go down in history for me as a food enthusiast (6/5/12). I planted my very first two crops. No, I don’t own a garden yet, but this is a definite beginning. I went to my local florist and purchased nutrient rich soil, a few packets of seedling, and two plant pots, all for under seven dollars. I decided to begin with two of the herbs I’m most familiar with, flat leaf parsley and sweet basil. (Currently, my mind is at work with all the recipes I’ll be using them for, ooh the possibilities are endless, but that’s another blog post altogether!)
I already lovingly refer to them as my girls (you must speak kind words to the plants from what I hear, so that they’ll thrive). I am on my way! This is the first time since childhood I’ve ever planted anything, so I hope it goes well. Why not? I followed the directions to the “T” (whatever that expression means).
The window sill in the hallway (drenched with lots of sunlight) will be my garden for now and as I’ve already stated, it’s just the beginning. Soon there will be tomatoes, banana peppers, squash, I have a long list! I will update you on their progress. I look forward to my new crops, so exciting! I feel as though I’m getting really personal with my food. I’m getting down and dirty, literally!