Zucchini Bread Mini Muffins

E and I made these one afternoon when she wasn't feeling so well. I promised she could help me mix and bake. She was very pleased with herself, covered in flour and bits of zucchini.

Preheat oven to 350F.

1 stick of butter
2 cups of flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Mix these ingredients together with your hands (or the hands of your child :-) ), it will resemble rough sand.

1 cup of yogurt (4 oz)
2 eggs

Whip the eggs together with a fork and add yogurt to incorporate.

1 large zucchini, shredded (about 2 cups)

Mix the zucchini, flour mixture and egg mixture together. Bake in a buttered mini muffin pan for ~20-25 minutes.

Serve with goat cheese whipped cream.
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Short Rib Stew

In my slow stream of dutch oven use (abuse) I made these short ribs for dinner to great success, however, I much preferred the pork shoulder to them.

1 large onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped into cubes
2 tbsp butter
2-3 sprigs of rosemary and thyme
10 beef short ribs, bone in
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken or beef stock (I used chicken)
2 tbsp flour

Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and dust evenly in flour. Set aside.

Roast onions until golden brown in butter, add carrots. Mix with a wooden spoon. Set in the short ribs, bone up, so they are equally immersed in the carrot/onion mixture. Add stock and wine. Place herb springs atop the ribs.

Close the lid and place into a 350 degree oven for 2 hours.


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Pear Tart

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Pork Shoulder with Melted Apples and Celeriac Puree

With the recent gift to self of a dutch oven, I've been looking for and found beautiful things to make, including this one. I followed most of the recipe, however my rub of choice was thyme, rosemary, garlic and only 1 tbsp of salt.

As a side dish, celeriac puree (1 celery root and 1 potato) was a great, rich accompaniment.

Jicama, Apple and Smoked Salmon Salad

As I stood over the display of jicama in the grocery section, I was trying to equate it to something I knew...at least in texture. Sure, I've had it before, but never really used it in anything original. So, my description to those who haven't had the pleasure; think texture of an Asian pear with a raw potato / apple taste, but tastes a lot more appealing then I make it sound.

1 jicama, peeled
1 granny smith apple, peeled and cored
~ 4 oz smoked salmon, sliced
1 tbsp mayo

Slice all ingredients into strips of equal size, this will be a little difficult with the salmon, but try. Place in a bowl and mix with the mayo. Serve chilled with cilantro.
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Grilled Swordfish with Mango Caper Chutney

This swordfish simply marinated in lemon juice 15 minutes before grill time, begged for something refreshing and bright. I made a mango caper chutney which was just a perfect amount of sweet and salty.

Peel 1 ripe mango and 1 ripe tomato and use the medium side of a box grater to puree. Roughly chop 2 tbsp of capers. Mix and enjoy with your grilled swordfish.
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Crustless Pumpkin Pie-ettes

I made these for E - her first pumpkin! She loved them and kept referring to them as her little "cakes". The ingredients are basically that of your favorite pumpkin pie filling baked in individual ramekins. This is mine...slightly adjusted...

1 can, Organic Canned Pumpkin
1/2 can, Condensed milk
1/2 packet, plain cream cheese
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs

Whip ingredients together and pour into ramekins. Bake 25 minutes at 350F.
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Pickled Green Tomatoes

It was sad to pick the last fruit last night off the tomato plants. With frost predicted overnight, I needed to do something with these otherwise they'd fall wastefully to the ground. I haven't pickled before it's very similar to the recent stint with butter pickles.

Mixed green heirloom tomatoes (pricked with a fork several times)
4 cloves of garlic
1 chili pepper
3 sprigs of dill
2 bay leafs

Arrange the ingredients in a cleaned jar, and pour boiling hot water over to cover to top. *Please make sure to use a tempered glass jar.

Bring the following to a boil to make the marinade.

1 liter of water
10-15 peppercorns
3-5 allspice
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon, chopped horseradish

Carefully drain the hot water from the jar, and pour in the strained marinade. Seal the jar and wrap to slowly cool. Place into the fridge when fully cooled. These should be ready in 2-3 weeks.
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No Knead Bread - So easy a 2 year old...

...can do it :-)

3 cups of flour
1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1.5 cups of warm water

Mix the dry ingredients together, add water and twirl once with a spoon to combine (or with a tiny hand).

Let sit for ~15-20 hrs. Fold the dough over itself on a floured surface and place on a floured tea towel for 2 hours. Half hour before baking, heat a cast iron pot with the lid in the oven at 450. Place the dough into the HOT (the 2 yrs old was napping at the time) pot and cover with lid. Place back in the oven for 30 minutes, remove the lid at that point and bake another 15-20 to get the nice rustic crust.

There are many different, yet very simple versions of this recipe (I highly recommend to check them out) and mostly lack of work = longer rising time to get the awesome, ciabatta like center with crispy crust worthy of our the last vacation!


Lunch in Paris

A simple lunch can be amazing when shared with someone special, regardless of what it is. But, if that same lunch is spent outdoors, on a gorgeous fall day in Paris...well, there are few things that compare.

September in Paris is unique. As are the freshly baked, crispy baguettes filled with brie, jamon and apples. This sandwich is from Paul, a local boulangerie chain, as is the Cannelle. It's hard to imagine that "fast-food" as such can be up to par with the best of Michelin experiences.

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Luc Salsedo in Nice

The bistronomy movement is big in Paris, and apparently in Nice as well. The general rejection of Michelin as a form of rating and the desire of chefs to be closer to their patrons has taken a stronghold over the past 5 years. Reading a few of the more popular French food blogs before the trip, I found a plethora of delicious info on where to go and what to eat. A general who is who of the bistro community is almost as well known as the Michelin rating system itself, at least to the locals and foodies. Most of the chefs have been trained by a superstar, such as Alain Ducasse, as is the case of Luc Salsedo namesake restaurant we dined at in Nice.

The menu here changes every 10 days, is is thus very seasonal by nature. To put things in perspective, it is not the most amazingly creative food, however the execution of the beautifully written menu lives up to its advertisement. The food is perfectly cooked, the technique is great and the ingredients incredible.

The waitress, one of the two in the restaurant, was great, and spoke to us candidly about the Michelin "scene" and the chef's desire to do something different. "Michelin is a mafia of sorts", she said and asked if we were in town for a few more nights. She recommended a few restaurants, that share the camaraderie of same approaches and extend their own network of epicurean experiences.

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Antibes Open Air Market

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Dinner at La Bastide Odeon

After realizing how difficult it is to play it by ear in the Paris dining world, because we wanted some spontaneity in our trip, we went on a dinner hunt around Luxembourg Gardens, reading through menus posted outside the numerous establishments. A lot seemed to play to the tourist notion of French food, with less then creative version of the standards. It was just when L was jokingly eyeing Quality Burger as an option that we came upon La Bastide Odeon. The menu looked incredible, but what really peaked our interest is the waft of slow cooked food and warmth, when the door opened. The restaurant was full, so it seemed unlikely but the Chef was willing to seat us if we were willing to wait a mere 15 minutes. Standing outside, we couldn't resist a little googling of our choice.

Hubby ordered Creamy soup of artichoke with dry figs and ginger bread, goat whipped cream, followed by Sea bream fillet and black olives, roasted pumpkin and grilled “chorizo” sausage and I had the Roasted pork breast (a very direct translation of Pork Belly) cooked in a covered saucepan, raw and cooked parsnip salad (pictured). Just thinking about the pork belly now makes me hungry - the sauce was exquisite. After some struggle with the translation, I found that it was cooked down meat jus with a bit of honey and cumin, that reached the viscosity of cream.

We couldn't agree on just one dessert so we had both the Rhubarb tiramisu and the pictured, baked to order, traditional millefeuille with vanilla cream. The picture does not do it justice, this was a six inch high cloud of delicate pastry.

Overall, it was a superb meal, and great service.
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