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Archive for January, 2010

Delicious Fig Bars

Wow, I cannot believe I have had the stand mixer for this long and not posted a recipe using it! Unacceptable! Thankfully, I found this recipe, which is practically designed to be used with the stand mixer. Seriously, this recipe a snap with it. The bars come together very quickly and it was mesmerizing watching everything get combined so easily. How did I ever bake without a stand mixer?!

These are usually called Food for the Gods and are a Filipino holiday treat. I’ve renamed them though because traditional bars have dates and the first time I made these with dates, I wasn’t in love with the date aspect. They were good, but the dates weren’t working for me. I had some leftover dried figs from the crostata and decided that I, a mere mortal, would tinker with the Food for the Gods. If I get struck by lightening, this is why.

But the figs in the bars are delicious! But perhaps I am partial to figs, so if you like dates, feel free to sub them back in. The bars are amazing either way, how could they not be with the scary amount of butter in them. I read the original recipe three time to make sure that I wasn’t overbuttering, but it really does call for three sticks! And all the nuts makes them very dense. So cut them into small squares and share the calories with others. Otherwise you’ll be like me, staring at an empty plate wondering where all the bars went.

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One:

Geaux Saints!!! Superbowl all the way baby! Of course this happens as soon as I leave New Orleans. We watched the game and the Resident Frenchman enjoyed an Abita Turbodog in a Bulldog Mardi Gras glass. I can’t believe they won! Am excitedly planning a Super Bowl party – I have so many appetizer recipes to try out!

Two:

Honest Tea Peach Oo-La-Long in large format. I finally found it at Wholefoods (3.49, pretty good considering the single serve size is 1.50) and my life is complete. I love love love this stuff, it is sweet, but not overly so. And it only has a small amount of caffeine, which is good for me, since the tiniest bit makes me bounce off the walls.

And….
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La Petite Grocery Ravioli

Before I left New Orleans, I went on a grand tour of sorts of restaurants in New Orleans that I loved and wanted to go back to or had always wanted to try. Needless to say, I had a delicious time, but my pants haven’t fit the same since.

One place that I went to was La Petite Grocery. For years, I passed by and thought, oh that place looks cute, I should go there and then continued on my merry way. I was a fool. La Petite Grocery was amazingly good and I wish I could go back right now. I am still dreaming about the crabmeat baked in brie appetizer.

So when the Resident Frenchman and I went upstate this weekend and I discovered a stash of old Bon Appetit magazines, including one that featured a recipe from La Petite Grocery, I went nuts. As soon as we got home, I bought the ingredients and made the best ravioli ever (alternative recipe title). These are SO good. SO good. Can I write SO again, or is that bordering on annoying? The roasted garlic and goat cheese go perfectly with the shrimp and who doesn’t love a cream sauce flavored with shallots?

I love the idea of using wonton wrappers for ravioli – so much simpler than making pasta (though I do want to do that one day). Like with the aushak dumplings, making the ravioli is a little time consuming and feels very repetitive, but very worth it. If you don’t have the time to use all those wonton wrappers, this recipe halves very neatly.

There were several other NOLA restaurant recipes in this issue of Bon Appetit and I will be making all of the now (except for Lilette’s poached oysters in fennel-saffron soup, as oysters are not available here without paying for them with my firstborn). Next up is Herbsaint’s banana brown butter tart, so get excited!

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My Resident Frenchman’s dad used to live in Tribeca and they were constantly ordering takeout from this restaurant called Edward’s. Edward’s makes a mean sausage pasta. It is perfect – creamy sauce, perfectly cooked sausage, lots of basil, all melded together. So naturally, when I had some leftover sausage links, I thought, I need to make Edward’s pasta.

The recipe is actually (mostly) my own. The internet has been rather spotty here and before I could look up a few recipes for sausage pasta and cream tomato sauces, it booted me off. I spent a few minutes freaking out – the idea of cooking without a recipe and/or the internet to guide me was rather upsetting. But I was running out of time and needed to get going. So I started to cook the sausage, dice up an onion and some garlic and went from there. Eventually, the internet did work and I cheated a little bit to check out a sauce recipe (I thought a cup of cream seemed about right, but also slightly too much, so I wanted to check it out).

Result=delicious. Tasted just like Edward’s. I love love love cream based pasta sauces and they taste even better when you make them yourself. This will definitely be joining the “make all the time” recipes.

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Did you make a New Year’s resolution about eating healthier and/or eating less dessert? I did not – not because I don’t think I need less dessert – but because I know that is a resolution I can’t keep. I love dessert! But I digress, this is about crostatas! Healthy, fruity crostata that allows for dessert and a modicum of nutrition. This is not overly sweet and the yogurt topping gives a nice creamy, yet fresh, taste. It is a great compromise between healthy and dessert.

Also, I love this dessert because it is essentially a free form pie. I adore the slightly messy look of galettes, crostatas, whatever you want to call them. So rustic, so charming, so much easier than fluting the edges of a formal crust.

I basically took the recipe whole hog from Bon Appetit (despite my undying love for Gourmet, I will admit, I do love the Fast Easy Fresh column. Hello black bean chili), except I subbed walnuts for pistachios. I do not like green nuts, they seem a bit unnatural to me. Plus you can’t go wrong adding pecans to a dessert. My crostata opened up a bit, as I was working quickly and did not properly pleat and press one of the sections. But the filling stayed put, so I’m deeming this recipe fast, easy, fresh and (mostly) idiot proof.

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Moroccan Chicken Pie

I hate chicken pot pie. I think it usually tastes mushy and, well, really just gross. So when I spotted this recipe, I was initially suspicious. It seemed a little too close to chicken pot pie. But if this is chicken pot pie, then sign me up! I loved it! The spice mix is amazing, the chicken was tender and the phyllo, well, I won’t lie. The phyllo is a pain to work with. So fragile! So flaky! So messy! But in the end, so delicious.

So, I apologize chicken pot pie. Dressed up, you can be quite tasty.

A small warning: I wasn’t kidding about the phyllo. This is a time consuming dish to make and totally should be made on Sunday afternoon when you have some extra time. Cutting, buttering and layering the phyllo is an exercise in patience, especially when you are hungry.

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To be honest, I have never really eaten squash until this winter. I know the amount of butternut squash recipes on this site would suggest otherwise, but it’s true! My mom never made squash, I generally avoided anything healthy in college and the weather in New Orleans never really lent itself to squash eating, as I very much associate it with cold winters (though I hear things are verrrry different this year!). I don’t know what shifted, but moving back to the Northeast has really encouraged my squash consumption.

This is probably the first time I’ve tried spaghetti squash and I really liked it! Eating it made me feel very earthy and healthy. The spice combination is Moroccan and it is very flavorful. This is the exact sort of dish that you try the first bit and think, hmmmm, interesting and then keep taking bite after bite, until it is all gone. The spice combination is very addicting! Like the best of Gourmet recipes, it is simple, yet delicious.

P.S. How cute are my new pinch bowls? I love them, so they will be making many appearances on the site from now on!

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