Monday, October 11, 2010
Why is it that Mondays seem to come too soon? Even though I had a blissfully relaxing weekend which included a lovely stroll through the green market, cooking and lots of cuddling up on the couch watching movies and hockey, I can't help but wish for another day off. I guess who really wants the goodness to end? Plus it's Columbus Day and other people have off but I don't. Oh well...
I do have things to look forward to this week. Starting with a fabulous giveaway and a guest post at one of my favorites tomorrow. Can't wait!
What did you all do this weekend?
Have a wonderful Monday, lovelies. Happy Columbus Day to those in the US and Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends! Hope you're all enjoying the extended weekend! xoxo
Images: 1, 2, 3
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Happy Sunday, lovelies! Hope you're all enjoying the weekend. We've had a change of plans today. Originally we were supposed to be attending a family joint birthday and baptism party but J woke up feeling under the weather so we're staying home instead. Another day to rest and relax for me. Poor J but I'm not complaining. Spending this glorious sunny Sunday indoors relaxing, making lots of tea and cooking up a storm. Soup is the best medicine so I better get to work to have some ready for when J gets out of bed.
Hope your weekend is treating you well! xoxo
Images: 1 & 3 via tiny white daisies, 2, 4
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Happy Thursday, darlings! Hope you're all having a fabulous week. I'm so excited that today is my last day of work before the long weekend. 4 days off are headed my way!
Thinking off all of the wonderful things I will fill my extended weekend with but one of those things will definitely be heading to the greenmarket, my usual late summer into fall weekend routine. It's one of my favorite times of the week and I look forward to spontaneously menu planning for the week ahead while I'm there. I just love being inspired by all the fresh delectable goodies laid out before my eyes.
And since I'm a dreamer I always have to take things one step further. How lovely would it be to market in France? I dream of one day hitting up the gorgeous markets in beautiful Paris. Next time I go I think I'm going to rent an apartment rather than stay in a hotel so I can do my usual weekend routine there. Sounds like a plan to me :)
Hope you all have a wonderful day! xoxo
Images: 1 - Definitely Golden via Sterling Style 2-10 & 13-15 via Little Brown Pen, 11 & 12 via Sterling Style
Monday, August 2, 2010
Happy Monday, lovelies! And Happy August! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend. I can't believe it's August already. The summer seems to be flying by. Guess that's what happens when you're having fun.
And having fun is exactly what I did this weekend. We had a great time Saturday in the Hamptons at my friends birthday party. We ended up coming back to the city Saturday night because the forecast for Sunday called for clouds and rain. It didn't turn out to be a beach day after all. I have to say I wasn't sorry to change plans and come home. We have spent so many weekends away this summer that a day in the city with nothing to do sounded like paradise to me.
We ended up having the perfect Sunday. Slept in late, hit the farmer's market, went to brunch and then I decided to tackle cooking mussels for the first time ever. I saw some delicious looking tomatoes, mussels and parsley at the farmers market and decided why not give it a shot? It was a little intimidating at first...it takes a lot of effort to clean those babies!...but it was well worth it in the end. The meal was absolutely delicious! Definitely dinner party worthy. Can't wait to invite some friends over to try it out on them.
Here's the recipe if you're interested:
Spaghetti with Mussels and Tomatoes
- 2 lbs mussels
- 2fl oz dry white wine
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, very finely sliced
- generous pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1lb cherry tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1lb spaghetti
- 2 tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- extra-virgin olive oil
Clean and debeard the mussels. Put them into a large saucepan with the wine. Cover and cook over a medium heat for about four minutes or until the mussels have opened, shaking the pan a couple of times. Remove any mussels that haven’t opened.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and cook until soft but not colored. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and turn the heat up. Sauté until the onions and garlic are pale gold. Now add the tomatoes and cook on a low heat for about five minutes, until the tomatoes are soft. While this is happening cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water in a very large pan (one that will contain the mussels).
Now strain the mussel cooking liquor into the tomato pan. Simmer all this together until the mixture takes on a sauce-like consistency (it should be able to coat the spaghetti) then stir in the parsley. Drain the pasta, put it back in its pan and quickly add the tomatoes and mussels. Toss everything together gently with a slug of olive oil and some salt and pepper (you might not need much – the mussel liquor is quite salty). Serve immediately.So now here we are at the start of another week. I decided on Monday mornings I'm going to start thinking of what I have to look forward to during the week to help motivate me to get out of bed. This week I have dinner with my cousins on Wednesday and vacation on Friday! Can't wait! A whole week at the beach! That thought alone should be enough to get me out of the house today :)
So what did you all do this weekend? And what are you looking forward to this week?
Images: 1 - Petra Van Raaij, 2 - via Pretty Stuff, 3 - via Black Eiffel, 4 - via here, 5 - via From Me To You
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Hope that you're all having a lovely weekend. I just picked up some fresh juicy ripe strawberries this morning that I can wait to dig into. I think I'm going to try to make some strawberry tarts for brunch. Wish me luck!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend, lovelies!
Images: 1&3 via fashionising, 2 via cannelle et vanille
Friday, February 5, 2010
Happy Friday everyone! I'm counting down the hours until the weekend starts. I can't believe I'm actually saying this but I'm looking forward to the big snow storm heading our way. My toes were in the sand less than a week ago and now I'm looking forward to running around in the snow? What's wrong with that picture??? :)
Anyway, hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Oh and I also almost forgot to mention that today is World Nutella Day! Yes, my favorite guilty indulgence has it's own holiday and I'm looking forward to celebrating it later on tonite someway, somehow. I'm browsing recipes as we speak but as of now I'm leaning towards giving these a shot. They sound easy enough and look delicious.
2 pkg. crescent rolls13 oz. container Nutella
- Spread out a crescent roll triangle
- Drop a spoonful of Nutella in the middle
- Add a slice of banana and wrap crescent roll up
- Place these on a baking sheet
- Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and put them in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes, or until golden.
Sending sweet wishes your way! xoxoImage: found here
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday's have turned into Soup Sundays in our house and I'm loving it. I love nothing better than cuddling up to a warm yummy soup on the weekend and soup for lunch always make my work days a little brighter.
So here I am with another delicious soup to share. The first time I made this one was New Year's Eve about 5 years ago for 8 of my nearest & dearest friends. Unfortunately I didn't read how much the recipe yielded before I made it and I ended up making a vat of soup and served it in little bowls. There was enough to make 40 servings! Needless to say, I got teased quite a bit and to this day I still have not lived that night down!
The original recipe is from the In Style Parties book, one of my go to entertaining books. J transformed it a bit and I think it came out amazingly so I'll include her modifications. Note...I've also cut the recipe in half so it will yield about 20 4 oz cups. Didn't want you guys to have the same issue I did :)
Sweet Potato Soup Shots
(Makes 20 4 oz. cups)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 3/4 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3/4 lb. baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
32 oz. chicken broth
5 c water
1 T light brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
3/4 c heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
toasted baguette slices and minced fresh parsley for garnish
- Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlicl cook 3-4 min.
- Add all potatoes, broth, water, brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Bring to a noil, reduce heat and simmer 25-30 min., or until tender.
- Let cool slightly, then, working in batches, puree soup in a blended.
- Return to heat.
- Stir in cream; heat through.
- Add salt and pepper; garnish with crostini and parsley.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Here are a couple of new recipes we tried out this weekend. They're both delicious and good for you so I figured I'd pass them onto you.
Of course I had to try out another soup. If you've been following me for a while, you kinda know the deal...:)
White Bean Soup
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup chopped pancetta
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cans (each 15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained
5 cups chicken broth
3/4 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In 3 1/2-qt. Dutch oven over medium heat, warm olive oil.
- Cook pancetta 5 minutes.
- Add onion, carrot and celery; cook 8 minutes.
- Add garlic; cook 1 minute.
- Add beans, broth and thyme; simmer over low heat 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat to cool.
- Puree in batches until smooth.
- Return to Dutch oven and stir in cheese, salt and black pepper.
And this next recipe...and no it's not a soup....was one that J discovered on over at Gina's WW Recipes. She's been searching for new recipes and she stumbled upon Gina's site. You must check it out...its a feast for the eyes! The photos are so scrumptious looking! And the great thing is that they're good for you too so we couldn't help but give one a shot. All I can say is DEEElicious! We will definitely be checking out some more.
Baked Zucchini Sticks
3 medium zucchini sliced into 3" x 1/2" sticks
1 large egg white
1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Marinara Sauce (1 cup)
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 small bay leaf
1 tsp oregano
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
salt and fresh pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and bay leaf. Stir and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer about 20 minutes.
- breadcrumbs, garlic powder and cheese and shake well. In a small bowl, beat egg whites and season with salt and pepper. In a ziplock bag, placeSpray cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
- Dip zucchini sticks into eggs then into bread crumb and cheese mixture, a few at a time and shake to coat. Place the breaded zucchini in a single layer and spray more cooking spray on top. Bake at 425° for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with 1/2 cup marinara sauce for dipping
A girl can dream, right?
Images: Kitchens via dress, design & decor
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Oh and speaking of cooking, here's the Tuscan Tomato Soup Recipe that I promised you.
Tuscan Tomato Soup
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 lb (1.5 kg) ripe tomatoes, peeled & seeded, then diced
4 c (32 fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock or prepared broth
3 T tomato paste
1/8 t red-pepper flakes
3 T heavy cream
1/2 c finely chopped basil leaves, plus 6-8 whole leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
- In a large soup pot over medium meat, warm the oil.
- Add the onion and saute, stirring frequently, until softened, 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until softened but not browned, about 30 seconds.
- Add the tomatoes, stock, tomato paste and red pepper flakes.
- Raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the tomatoes are softened, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- In a blender or food preocessor, puree the soup in batches, leaving a little bit of texture if desired, and return the soup to the pot.
- Alternatively, process with a handheld blender in the pot until the desired consistency is reached.
- Return the soup to the saucepan over medium heat, stir in cream, chopped basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
- To serve, place in a warmed bowl and sprinkle with Parmesean cheese.
- Garnish with a basil leaf and serve immediately.
Peeling & Seeding Tomatoes
For this soup, select fully sun-ripened tomatoes that are slightly soft to the touch.
- To peel and seed them, fill a saucepan three-fourths full of water and bring to a boil. Using a sharp knife, score an X in the blossom end of each tomato.
- In batches, without crowding, immerse the tomatoes in the boiling water and leave for 15-30 seconds, or until the skins just begin to wrinkle.
- Remove from the pan with a slitted spoon, let cool slightly, then peel away the skins.
- Cut in half cross-wise and squeeze gently to dislodge the seeds.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Can you guess what it is? It's a movie that I know a bunch of you love & have seen. It was recently released on DVD so it made for good conversation over holiday meals.
Yup, it's Julie & Julia. I finally saw it last week and it definitely struck a chord with me. Blogging & Cooking? How could I not love it? :)
After watching the movie, J & I were inspired to cook up a storm since we had a few days off. Well, we decided to give the challenging, very time consuming, Boeuf Bourguingnon a shot. We figured, why not? Go big or go home, right? We had nothing to loose.
Well, I just have to tell you that the meal was a huge success! We loved it! It was seriously one of the best things we've ever eaten. The meat was so tender & flavored so perfectly. And the the pearl onions & mushrooms were to die for. I'm not going to pretend and tell you that it's easy to prepare or easy on your waistline but if you're looking for a cooking challenge where you'll be rewarded with an amazing meal, I highly recommend that you give this baby a shot. Bon chance! And Bon Appetit!
Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon
One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
A crumbled bay leaf
18 to 24 white onions, small
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered
- Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long).
- Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly.
- Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
- Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp.
- Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking.
- Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides.
- Add it to the lardons.
- In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables.
- Pour out the excess fat.
- Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly.
- Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.
- Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).
- Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
- Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.
- Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
- Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
- While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
- Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.
- Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.
- Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.
- Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated.
- Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.
- Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat.
- As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.
- Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes.
- As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.
- When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
- Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it.
- Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.
- Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
- If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock.
- Taste carefully for seasoning.
- Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
- Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.