Thursday, June 13, 2013
Before I get started I have to give Alex credit for the picture above. While we were wandering around the Louvre our first day in Paris Alex decided to start messing with the settings on our camera. Some of the pictures (like the one above) turned out really nicely. Others were a little more whacky. But since this photo turned out to be one of my favorites from Paris I'm considering it a photography win. Sadly we have had our camera for almost 2 years now and this is the first time we have really experimented with some of the settings. Oops.
Ok, now back to Paris. Given the number of pictures we took and the amount of amazing food we ate, I am going to have to split Paris into several posts. This post is going to be about the city in general and will touch briefly on the food, but won't go into a lot of detail about the individual meals we had. I'll try to post about some of the restaurants we visited in Paris later this week (or over the weekend). I have TONS of food pictures (what else is new), so that post should be a fun one. Then again, as far as I am concerned, any post about Paris is a fun one.
More after the jump!
Monday, June 10, 2013
I have been dying (and I do mean dying) to go back to Europe for years. Alex and I had originally planned to go to the Netherlands and France back in fall 2010, but once I started work that was clearly not going to happen. And we kept saying that we would go, but a few years went by and it didn't happen. It's not that we didn't travel from 2010 until now, it's just that we had so many weddings and family vacations to go on which used up all of our vacation time. Sometime last fall I had finally had enough and I bought us plane tickets to Brussels. After some negotiation Alex and I decided that we would go to Belgium (his choice) and France (mine). I am firmly of the belief that Paris is one of the best cities on Earth. When I studied abroad in college I was in the south of France, but I couldn't get over how much I loved Paris. I love the food, I love the museums, I love the parks, I love the city... I just love every single thing about it. If it were up to me we would have spent the entire 10 days in France, but Alex wanted to go somewhere new. After some discussion we decided on Belgium. And then we started researching three things - chocolate, beer and mussels. Let's be honest, I focused on the chocolate and to a lesser degree, the mussels. Alex focused on the beer.
More after the jump!
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Hi everyone. I feel like there have been an inordinate number of apologies on here lately, but I owe you another one. Before we left for Europe I had grand intentions of posting a few recipes and posting a teaser of our trip to come. And then life (mostly work) got in the way. Apparently the road to Europe is paved with good intentions just as much as the one to hell. Luckily neither work nor life interfered with our trip to Belgium and France! I promise that this weekend I will sort through our pictures and everything from Europe and put up a few posts. Until then, this picture of the sun setting over the Seine in Paris will have to do.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Kohlrabi is one vegetable that I just can't into. It's fine. But I'm just not sure that it is worth the trouble to peel and cook at home. The flavor and texture is vaguely turnip or potato-like and since I'm just not that into turnips or potatoes, it makes it hard for me to really enjoy kohlrabi. The first time we tried to cook kohlrabi at home we didn't peel off enough of the outer layer, which was incredibly fibrous and hard. The second time we roasted it with garlic and Parmigiano-Reggiano. It was pretty tasty that way, but it was pretty ugly so we didn't bother to take pictures and post the recipe. This recipe is obviously more photogenic and it is also pretty tasty, but it didn't blow me away. We made this recipe previously with daikon and I think I liked both the crunchier texture and the slightly peppery flavor of the daikon better in this dish.
Recipe after the jump!
For some reason on our last trip to Cost Co I decided to pick up a can of jumbo crab. I say "for some reason" because I am not actually a huge fan of crab meat in things. I love crabs. But I think that, at least for me, the whole experience of cracking and picking apart crabs smothered in Old Bay and drinking a beer is what makes crab worthwhile. It should be messy and un-refined. I also really enjoy a good Dungeness crab from time to time, but again it's the experience of eating the whole crab that I really enjoy. I will also occasionally eat crab cake, but I am very picky about my crab cakes. Growing up in Maryland can turn people into total crab cake snobs. I also love soft shell crabs in a number of different preparations (fried Asian soft shell crabs rock my world). But crab on pasta just didn't do it for me. I have wanted to try a pasta with chilis and crab for a long time. And maybe we just didn't do a very good job with it. But I thought the flavor of the chilis totally overpowered the flavor of the crab and the basil. It was fine (and we both cleared our plates), but I wouldn't make it again. Luckily we have just under a pound of crab meat leftover so I think we are going to make some crab cakes for dinner. Here's hoping that the crab cakes turn out better than our pasta...
Recipe after the jump!
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Recently I have spent dozens of hours reading a number of different Paris food blogs in preparation for our trip to Paris at the end of May. Most of the blogs are dedicated to the Parisian restaurant scene, but David Lebovitz's blog is dedicated to dessert and Paris. All of the blogs get me all worked up like a little kid on Christmas Eve or like Alex after eating dessert too late at night (i.e. bouncing around and unable to sleep). We currently have reservations at a few restaurants and I'm pondering my options for our remaining meals. I'm having trouble narrowing it down because I want to eat everywhere, but I'm going to have to make some tough decisions soon. I can't wait. But enough about that - back to David Lebovitz. I stumbled across his Gooey Cinnamon Cake recipe a few months back but the number of steps/layers that it involved was sufficient deterrent to keep me away. But I kept coming back to it. I'm not sure what it was about this cake recipe that kept bringing me back for another look but after my 10th visit I decided that I had had enough. And that is the story behind this cake. It's not much of a story, but this cake was inspired by our upcoming trip to Paris (in a rather backwards and roundabout way).
I'm not sure what I expected the cake to taste like, but it strongly reminded me of coffee cake. And I'm not a huge fan of coffee cake, but I found this cake to be strangely delicious. Other bloggers have said that these cake squares reminded them of snickerdoodles, which makese sense given the prevalence of the cinnamon. I expected the upper layer to be a little more buttery and gooey-er than it actually was, but that didn't bother me. And it did become gooey-er after a day or two. All in all I considered it to be a very pleasant cake. It tasted (and looked) homemade and just struck me as a very simple dessert (notwithstanding how long it took me to put it together). I could see making it if I ever had people over for brunch. It didn't blow me away and I wouldn't make it the centerpiece of a dinner party, but I think brunch would be the perfect opportunity to make it again. Then again, I might prefer a french toast bread pudding, which would be equally brunchy and potentially more scrumptious...
Recipe after the jump!
For the record, Alex rocks. Sometimes my job explodes and I basically disappear. I would say that it's like magic, only the use of the word "magic" makes it sound fun and exciting when it is often exhausting for both of us. Last Sunday he did the laundry, made us both dinner and cleaned up after dinner while I was on an epic conference call for work from 6:00 pm to nearly midnight. And that's after I basically worked all evening on Saturday as well. He also made me this Red Cabbage Salad with Warm Pancetta-Balsamic Dressing for lunch. I picked out all of the recipes and bought most of the ingredients, but he handled everything else and there is a lot to be said for a meal magically appearing in front of me while I tap away at my laptop. It's pretty awesome. This meal started with the Japanese sweet potatoes that I picked up at a little Japanese deli near my office. Once I had the sweet potatoes I needed to figure out what to do with them. This sweet potato recipe seemed like a perfectly simple recipe to feature the Japanese sweet potatoes but not drown them in sugar and other stuff. And the chicken naturally followed. If we were making a miso-scallion butter for the sweet potatoes, why not marinate the chicken breasts in miso and aromatics?
In some ways this dish was exactly what I needed to get me through that conference call. It was warm, conforting and had good flavor. It was also easy to eat one-handed (and relatively easy for Alex to prepare on his own). I really liked the combination of miso-scallion butter with the sweet potatoes. The delicate sweetness of the sweet potatoes worked really nicely with the savory butter. I was surprised by how the texture of the sweet potatoes differed from the American sweet potatoes that I am used to. The flesh was a little drier and starchier (which required more butter than I typically use with sweet potatoes). I also liked the marinade for the chicken and was pleasantly surprised by how much flavor the chicken picked up. I could imagine using these chicken breasts in a number of dishes. They would be delicious either in a salad or a sandwich. They were also quite nice as a stand alone entree. They didn't have any noticable heat to them, but I was ok with that. I think that the addition of more Korean red pepper flakes would have detracted from the overall comforting quality of the dish. And after hour 3 of my conference call I was dying for some comfort.
Recipes after the jump!