A Cheesy Discovery

While looking for something new in the cheese section, I got pulled into a foodie conversation I could not resist. My new acquaintance was well informed on cheese, among other things, and told me that I must try the Fromage D'Affinois. He went on to recommend wines and the perfect cracker. I think my dedication to food pales in comparison.

A short car ride later, with knife in hand (as well as the perfect cracker) I was trying my Fromage. Wow. Where has it been all my life? Think brie (in fact the same preparation) with more creaminess and more sharpness in the rind. It's almost like the Saint Andre, but better. In fact, so much so that the last and final cracker is waiting for me by the keyboard as I finish typing.

Go get some.

picture from http://www.aoap.com.au

Lamb Shoulder with Cola Cous Cous

I've wanted to try this for a while - flavoring a stew with Cola. It was awesome with lamb shoulder. I substituted half-Cola for the stock I'd usually use to cook cous cous and the meat, after slightly roasting to give it color.

Lamb went very well with the tart cherries, raisins and figs I added. Perfect for a snowy night's dinner. Now I may actually consider having soda on hand for occasions like this. Just need to find a good hiding place from some people :P
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Chicken Tabaka and Country Hash

A few friends made this little number recently and I decided to join the ranks with the pair of Cornish hens purchased during snow-madness. (I am never leaving my house again before the "storm").

My preparation a little different...

1 Cornish hen, sliced at breastbone and flattened
3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons + 1/2 cup of white vinegar
1/2 cup water
pepper, lots of pepper
1 foil covered very heavy brick or dutch oven

Dry the hen and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub in crushed garlic on both sides.

In a stainless or cast iron pan, heat some olive oil. I say some because it all depends on the size of your pan, you want to be generous, but you won't want to deep fry either. I used about 4 tbsp in a 12" pan. Place the hen skin side down into the heated oil, CAREFULLY. Sprinkle the inside (not the oil) of the hen with 2 tbsp of vinegar. Place the heat-proof heavy object of choice on top to flatten down as much as possible. Fry on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, flip with tongs. Again, carefully. Place the heavy object back on the hen, and fry for about 15 minutes. Slowly pour in the remaining vinegar and water into the oil/pan. Fry for another 10 - 15 minutes.

In the meantime make the dressing, as follows:

3 sprigs of dill, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp white vinegar

Serve the hen with dressing spread atop the crispy skin.


Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

Well, almost. I am undecided if I actually like them.

Anyone else?

(the photo I took in Paris this fall, today's chestnuts are far less exciting looking)
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Blackberry Thyme Kuchen

Yet another type of a berry filled cake. This is a kuchen. I have been obsessed with them for the past few weeks ever since a colleague asked me to test her tart mix about to hit the market. (Post on that coming soon).

I think it must be my trying to resist winter onset and the painfully cold temperatures. That and these are so easy to make that, umm...a two year old can do it. :)

The flavor combo in this one is mine, but the basic recipe isn't.


Mixed Berry Buckle

cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanillin
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 eggs
about 1 cup of blueberries and strawberries

Sift all dry ingredients together (not the berries) and mix in chopped butter. Work with a mixer (I used my hands) until the dough starts to come together into a ball. Mix in the eggs.
Spread the mixture in an 8 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Sprinkle berries on top. No need to press them down. Place into a 350F preheated oven for 50-60 minutes.