MISSISSIPPI ROAST AND THE OPEN MIND

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a huge fan of FoodTV’s The Kitchen. The crowd brings a mixture of different types of talent and cooking styles, they are funny, witty, it’s a great way to spend an hour on Saturday mornings. Often they will have guests, but for the most part I don’t care that much for them. Usually they are hosts from other cooking shows in need to advertise their cookbook, some are so in love with themselves that they get me into that state of non-stop eye-roll.  A particular OMG-We-ARE-So-Cool American-Italian couple comes to mind. I had to fast-forward that one, I have my limits. A few months ago they featured Robin Chapman, a nice older woman to share her recipe for a slow-cooker concoction called Mississippi Roast. I know, roast in the slow-cooker seems like a contradiction in terms, but that’s how the recipe goes. Anyway, apparently Mississippi Roast got stellar reviews all over the internet, went fully viral on Pinterest, to the point of calling the attention of Sam Sifton from The New York Times. He went searching for the original author. And that’s how she ended up at FoodTV. As I watched her preparing it, my shock and horror kept growing. I could not picture myself making it for us. A real dump and forget approach to the slow-cooker, involving a bag of powdered ranch dressing to make things more “interesting.”  The fun part was watching Geoffrey Zakarian trying to keep his cool. I would love to know his real thoughts as the cooking went on. Of course, I promptly removed the recipe from my mind. Then, one day I got notification of a new post by Mike, the blogger behind The Iron You. My chin dropped. He made it. He raved about it. He tweaked it with a few modifications (taking it on the same path Sam Sifton suggested), which definitely improved the recipe. No more powdered ranch (wink, wink). I caved. I made it. I absolutely loved it. Have already made it three more times. If you are a meat lover, grab your slow-cooker, and try this one.

MISSISSIPPI ROAST
(slightly modified from The Iron You)

3 lbs boneless chuck roast or top or bottom round roast
2 teaspoons fine grain salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons butter
8 pepperoncini peppers (I used jarred)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika

Rub salt and pepper all over the roast.

Heat oil in a large pan over high heat until it is shimmering and almost starts smoking. Place the roast in the pan and brown on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes per side, to create a crust. Remove roast from the pan and place it in the insert of the crock pot.

Make the ranch dressing by mixing mayonnaise, vinegar, dill and paprika. Whisk well to emulsify.  To the meat in the crock pot add butter, pepperoncini, and the ranch dressing. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Using two forks, shred the meat and mix it with the gravy surrounding it.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


Comments: This was scrumptious. As usual, brown food is pure ordeal to get a nice picture, so you better trust my words. I had never tried pepperoncini and was not sure what kind of flavor they would contribute. It is a very nice pepper, mild, almost lemony. One of the changes I made from Mike’s version was to omit the cornstarch coating of the meat. My sauce turned out a bit thin, but we don’t mind that. I served this “roast” with mashed cauliflower (shown in the picture). with spaghetti squash the second time around, and with rice and beans on the third. Leftovers were always consumed with corn tortillas for a Tex-Mex version. Some Cotija cheese crumbled on top, a little guacamole and we were all set. The original version from Robin Chapman uses a full stick of butter on top of the meat. To me, that is overkill, but if you’d like to try it as initially conceived, jump to the FoodTV link and check it out.

I am very fond of any type of meat that you can shred with a fork, to me it says comfort food right away, and holds the promise of many tasty meals ahead.

So there you have it. I learned a lesson with this one. Don’t twist your nose at something just because it’s not exactly your style of cooking. A few tweaks here and there, and you might end up with a recipe that will win a spot in your regular rotation.  Of course, now I’m wondering if there’s really anything to be said for ham braised in Coca-Cola. Hey, I’m not making that up. It is a real thing!

😉

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ONE YEAR AGO: Walnut-Raisin Bran Muffins

TWO YEARS AGO: A Star is Born!

THREE YEARS AGO: Chestnut Flour Sourdough Bread

FOUR YEARS AGO: Kinpira Gobo and Japanese Home Cooking

FIVE YEARS AGO: Walnut Sourdough

SIX YEARS AGO: Thai Chicken Curry

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Zen and the art of risotto

BLACK SESAME MACARONS

My macaron obsession goes on and on. I would love to bake a batch each weekend, but must keep in mind that even the most understanding departmental colleagues might say enough is enough. Plus, if I only make macarons…  brownies, cakes, and cookies will get jealous. So here I am to share with you a batch I am quite proud of: Black Sesame Macarons. Because, although I’m addicted to colors, we all know that black is beautiful…

 

BLACK SESAME MACARONS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the shells:
198 g powdered sugar
100 g almond meal
15 g black sesame powder (or you can grind black sesame seeds to a powder)
113 g egg whites (aged for three days)
1 g or a pinch of cream of tartar
100 g granulated sugar
Black Gel color  (about 1/2 teaspoon, add 1/4 to start and adjust as you mix)
for the filling:
8oz (227g) cream cheese
⅔ cup (134g) brown sugar
1 tsp (5g) vanilla extract
½ cup (122g) heavy whipping cream

Line 2 or 3 heavy baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Layer the powdered sugar, almond meal and black sesame powder in a food processor or mini processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like fine meal, about 15 seconds. Pass through a sieve and transfer to a small bowl. Set aside.

Place the egg whites and pinch of cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Make sure that the bowl and the whisk are impeccably clean. Starting on medium speed, whip the whites with the cream of tartar until they look like light foam. The whites should not appear liquid. The foam will be light and should not have any structure.

Slowly rain in the granulated sugar, trying to aim the stream between the whisk and the side of the bowl. Turn the speed up to medium-high. Continue to whip the meringue until it is soft and shiny. It should look like marshmallow creme. Add the gel color and the vanilla. Staying at medium-high speed, whip the egg whites until the mixture begins to dull and the lines of the whisk are visible on the surface of the meringue. Transfer the whites to a medium bowl.

Fold in the almond meal mixture in three increments. Paint the mixture halfway up the side of the bowl, using the flat side of a spatula. Scrape the mixture down to the center of the bowl. Repeat two or three times, then check to see if the mixture slides slowly down the side of the bowl. Put the mixture in a piping bag fitted with one of the tips listed above. Pipe on the prepared baking sheets.

Slam each sheet hard four to six times on the counter. Then fist bump each end of the sheet’s underside twice. Let the unbaked macarons dry until they look dull but not overly dry. Drying time depends on humidity. In a dry climate, the macarons can dry in 15 to 20 minutes; in a humid climate, it can take 35 to 40 minutes.

While the macarons are drying, heat the oven to 330 F (170 C). Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack. Check in 11 minutes. If the tops slide, then bake for 2 to 3 more minutes. The macarons should release without sticking. Check one or two. If they stick, put them back in the oven for 1 to 2 more minutes. Let the macaroons cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Make the filling:Whip the cream in a clean bowl till stiff peaks. In another bowl, whip the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract.   Gently fold in the whipped cream into the bowl until well combined. Reserve.

Assemble the macarons: find two macarons similar in size and add a good amount of filling to the bottom of one of them. Place the other on top and squeeze gently to take the filling all the way to the edge.  Ideally, store in the fridge for 24 hours before digging in…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

Comments:  I am definitely not the first person to bake black macarons. A quick google expedition will show you a few other examples. Some recipes go to extent of using exclusively powdered sesame seeds as you would use almond meal for the shells. I did not want to do that, fearing that the change would be too much of a departure from the classic. So I used a small amount of black sesame powder (15 g in 115 g total seed/nut component). We could definitely taste it in the final product and I thought it was just right. More could have been overpowering.  My intention was to use a white chocolate filling, but I ran into problems and my filling never set enough to use. White chocolate is a temperamental creature. So I quickly whipped up (literally) a vanilla cream cheese filling and used it instead. It complemented well the sesame flavor of the shells, and the slight hint of caramel color given by the brown sugar looked good with the black surrounding it.

I was very happy with the way these turned out. Not a single shell cracked during baking, and the surface was for the most part pretty smooth. Beautiful, well-formed feet, and the black food coloring rose to the challenge. I am almost to the point of trying the Italian  meringue method, but want to tackle this simpler version a few more times. You know, build confidence first before facing the combination of hot syrup with egg whites.

 

I have yet another macaron post for you, shockingly green…  Stay tuned!

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ONE YEAR AGO: Fine Tuning Thomas Keller

TWO YEARS AGO: Cauliflower Tortillas

THREE YEARS AGO: Majestic Sedona, Take Two

FOUR YEARS AGO: Secret Ingredient Turkey Meatballs

FIVE YEARS AGO: Swedish Meatballs and Egg Noodles

SIX YEARS AGO: Italian Easter Pie

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Black Olive Bialy

SOUP SATURDAY: ROOT VEGETABLES

Third Saturday of the month, which means it’s time for soup! This month’s Soup Saturday Event event is hosted by Wendy, from A Day in the Life on the Farm. She chose Root Vegetables as the theme.  I thought about making a potato soup I’ve had in my files sitting for 6 years. Yes, I checked. That soup calls for two kinds of potatoes and it also involves shrimp. Unusual, right? I definitely have to make it before another 6 years go by. But then, another option called my attention, one that features a veggie that doesn’t get much praise. The parsnip. Inspiration for the recipe came from  the cookbook The New England Soup Factory, but I modified it quite a bit. Parsnips paired with tomatoes, a tasty idea. No matter your stance on this humble looking root veggie, I am certain you will love this soup.


PARSNIP AND TOMATO SOUP

(inspired by New England Soup Factory)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
2 ribs celery, sliced
8 medium parsnips, peeled and cut in chunks
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, peeled, with liquid
1 bottle V8 juice (12 ounces)
2 cups water
1/4 cup half and half
salt and pepper
fresh dill
.
Add the olive oil, shallot and celery pieces into a pan, and saute until soft and fragrant in low heat, about 5 minutes. Add the parsnips, increase heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until it get a bit of color.
.
Add the tomatoes with the liquid, stir to release brown bits from the pan.  Transfer to a pressure cooker, add the V8  juice and 1 cup of the water. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook on top of the stove until the parsnip pieces are tender, around 50 minutes.  If you use a pressure cooker, cook for 20 minutes and release pressure under cold running water.
.
Transfer contents to a high-powered blender, and blend until smooth. Return to the pan. If too thick, thin with additional water. If too thin, simmer to thicken it. Add the half and half, some fresh dill and simmer gently for a couple of minutes. Ladle into soup bowls and add fresh dill right before serving it.
.
Sprinkle some more fresh dill as a garnish.
.
ENJOY!
.
to print the recipe, click here
.

Comments: I was really pleased with this soup. I love tomato soup but sometimes find it a bit too intense. The parsnips mellow the flavor of the tomato and give the whole thing a more earthy flavor. It’s important to use a very powerful blender, otherwise you could get a bit of  a fibrous texture. I ran the blender for a few minutes to make sure it was absolutely smooth. Oranges and tomatoes are great together, so when I enjoyed the soup again for my lunch next day, I added a bit of orange zest and squeezed some orange juice while warming it. Very nice, and the dill doesn’t fight with the citric flavor. I had never used V8 as a cooking ingredient, but will definitely keep it around, maybe even the spicy version for added kick. Often vegetable soups include chicken stock, but for the most part I prefer to use either water of a veggie stock. The half and half could be omitted, I suppose, if you like to keep it lower in fat, but it is such a small amount, I say go for it…
 .

Wendy, thanks for hosting! I invite my readers to click on the link feast below, to see what my virtual friends cooked up this month…

.

 

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ONE YEAR AGO: A Retro Dessert

TWO YEARS AGO: Cauliflower Tortillas: Going low-carb and loving it!

THREE YEARS AGO: Clementines in Cinnamon Syrup

FOUR YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2013 

FIVE YEARS AGO: Thrilling Moments (CROISSANTS!)

SIX YEARS AGO: Maple-Oatmeal Sourdough Bread

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Pork Trinity: coffee, mushrooms, and curry

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LOLITA JOINS THE BEWITCHING KITCHEN!

Please allow me to introduce the newest member of the family,
Lolita, our air-fryer!

She arrived last week, after a lot exchanges between me and my niece Raquel in Brazil, who owns the exact same model and had been twisting my arm to get one. Then, my friend Karen joined forces with Raquel, even though they’ve never met. A virtual conspiracy of sorts. Karen brought her air-fryer to play and teased me with drool-inducing chicken wings. Take a look at them here. So, I went back and forth, back and forth, bought a cookbook to help me decide, lost hours of sleep tossing in bed. Turn to the left, I’m going to buy it. Turn to the right, do I really need it?  Of course, Phil was close witness to my personal drama. It is possible that he got a bit tired of some of my evening monologues as I walked around the kitchen, cookbook in hand, reading some of the recipes out loud. Although, seriously, who could get annoyed by that? Right? Anyway, all I know is that one morning he informed me that a Philips air-fryer was on its way. Sorry, ladies, the husband is taken.

First experiment: Russet Potato Fries

This is really a non-recipe.  Get Russet potatoes and cut them in slices, mine were around 1/2 inch, but quite variable. I wanted to see how the fryer behaved and optimize the size for the next time around. To a pot of salted boiling water, add the slices and parboil them for 4 minutes. Drain and dry. Once they are dry, place them in a bag or container and gently toss with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt (you will add more salt later once they come out of the fryer).  Try to coat each slice with oil, but no need to go crazy with it. Some recipes recommend you shake them in a bag, I was afraid they would start breaking, so I just tossed them with my hands inside a bowl.

Add them to the fryer set at the highest temperature, which in my model is 390F. Set the timer for 25 minutes, place the potato slices in the basket, and fry away. Shake the basket every 5 minutes or so, and keep an eye on them. Depending on the thickness of the slices and the power of your machine, they can take a little more or a little less to get brown and cooked.

Remove the fries to a serving dish, season with more salt and pepper to taste, and ENJOY!

Comments: I was over the moon with these fries, because of course I was worried about my beloved’s investment. They were really good. One thing that becomes evident is how much oil we consume when enjoying “regular”, deep-fried potatoes. These have a nice crust, but the inside feels more like a boiled potato, creamy, no taste of fat. You know how when you grab fries your fingers get all oily, and your lips might end up a bit oily too? None of that happens here. Are they as good as regular fries? That is a tough question. In all honesty, when you have regular fries for some reason it is easy to over-indulge. These are satisfying but don’t make you compulsively inhale them. I made three Russet potatoes into fries, they were not very big, medium size. We had enough for our dinner and offered some to certain four-legged beings that were nearby. Happy tail wagging was observed. Experiment concluded.

Second experiment: Sweet Potato Chips

Or, if you happen to be in Great Britain, Sweep Potato Crisps. I confess I like that name even better…


For this adventure, I enlisted help of another interesting kitchen gadget, the spiralizer. I used the ribbon blade to cut two sweet potatoes. With regular veggies, you’ll end up with long ribbons, perfect to mimic pasta, think of a very large pappardelle. The sweet potato is hard, so the ribbons break and turn into pieces quite suitable for frying.

Of course, you can use your knife skills and cut them uniformly. After slicing, I decided to soak them in cold water. Some recipes skip that step, but it’s clear that doing it results in crisper chips, which was my ultimate goal. I did that on a Sunday afternoon, just placed them in the bowl of water and there they stayed for a few hours. You could do the step of soaking and drying several hours in advance, if pressed for time. Then it’s all a matter of adding the slices to a bowl, coating them with olive oil, seasoning with salt, or any other spices you’d like, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, chili. I set the temperature to 360F, which is what I saw recommended in the Phillips manual. They were ready in about 25 minutes, with shaking at several time points, as I could not stop opening the basket and peeking inside.  The photo below gives a glimpse into their frying progression. Loads of fun.


From top to bottom, clockwise… The slices just ready to start air-frying, then after 5 minutes, 10 minutes and 15 minutes (ten minutes left on the timer). They were actually ready before the timer went off, for a total air-frying of 22 minutes. Not bad at all…  If you get your prep work done in advance, sweet potato chips can be enjoyed pretty quickly. And yes, they were very crispy and delicious!  The Philips model heats up very fast, they advise you to wait 2 to 3 minutes before placing the food inside. Experiment concluded. Scientists happy and well-fed.

I have quite a few recipes lined up for future experiments. If you have an air-fryer, I highly recommend this cookbook by Meredith Laurence. it is the one with the best reviews at amazon, and I can understand why. Very creative use of the fryer, with recipes that might surprise you a little. Like Molten Chocolate Almond Cakes… See? I told you!

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ONE YEAR AGO: Cashew Cream Sauce

TWO YEARS AGO: Blood Orange Margaritas

THREE YEARS AGO: Smoked Salmon Appetizer

FOUR YEARS AGO: Clementine Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: Springtime Spinach Risotto

SIX YEARS AGO: The end of green bean cruelty

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Torta di Limone e Mandorle

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DAN LEPARD TIMES THREE

Dan Lepard is the person who many years ago started my bread baking adventures through his fascinating book The Handmade Loaf. I even named my sourdough starter “Dan” and he is now a healthy and bubbly 8-year-old boy. Dan is better known as a bread baker, but his talent goes way beyond that, as you can see in his book Short and Sweet, which I reviewed five years ago. He often writes articles in The Guardian and in Goodfood (an Australian online publication) and I try not to miss anything new coming from him.  Today I share three wonderful recipes, one published in Short and Sweet (but shared by Dan in The Guardian) and two from Goodfood. Dan prefers not to have his recipes published in food blogs, so respecting his wishes, I will only share the links. You can fetch them easily and make them in the comfort of your kitchen…

First, a batch of brownies that could very well be my favorite brownie recipe ever.  Very sophisticated and complex, even those with issues against brownies will be awed by Dan’s take on it.  Figs and chocolate are a great match, but add a little red wine and you’ll hit a jackpot.  Make them. You must.

SHIRAZ FIG BROWNIES

First you reduce Shiraz on the stove top until it is a concentrated purple-reddish beauty that smells wonderful… then you add to it chocolate, butter, walnut halves and dried figs. By the way,  get the best quality figs you can find for these brownies. Also, make sure to keep the walnuts in large pieces, don’t go dicing them.  The texture of the figs, the gooey chocolate and a slight touch of fennel seeds make this recipe shine! A real masterpiece in brownie format.

for the full recipe, click here

 

Tell me, don’t you wish you could have a piece like RIGHT NOW?

 


Next, let’s talk Chestnut Ginger Biscuits. I adore ginger and anything sweet with spices, but normally have a bit of a problem with crispy cookies. I am definitely a soft-baked kind of girl. Sorry, odd phrase. Anyway, these cookies are basically dressed-up gingersnaps. They are crispy, they are hard, but once you bite into them, they melt in your mouth, and your senses are invaded with the warmth of ginger and cloves. Spectacular. Make them. You must. 

CHESTNUT GINGER BISCUITS

The recipe uses chestnut flour, an ingredient that might be a little tricky to find, but you can order it online. Smells amazing, actually. As usual for nut flours, keep it in the freezer. The preparation is actually quite simple, a one-bowl type of thing. Melt the butter, add the spices, get all happy with the intense smell as you mix the dough, that must sit in the fridge for a little while before scooping little balls and rolling in coarse sugar.  They are fun to make, fun to watch as they bake and get all cracked, and fun to share with co-workers. On a side note, I baked mine for only 18 minutes instead of 25 as called for in the recipe, and they turned out perfect.  As soon as they started to collapse a little, I removed them from the oven.

for the full recipe, click here

Finally, let me share a special bread. It is not a Johnny Depp-like loaf. No, definitely not eye-candy. It is black, with a tight crumb, quite humble looking. But when you taste it, you realize you are in front of bread royalty. Believe it or not, I made it in December 2014 and never blogged about it, hoping to make it again and perhaps get better pictures. I have good intentions, but they don’t always materialize. Oh, well. Make this bread. You must.

 

RUSSIAN BLACK BREAD

Very interesting preparation, rye flour is added to boiling water, then allowed to cool to lukewarm.  Yeast and sugar are added.  At that point, I realized I was out of an important ingredient to continue with the recipe (caraway seeds!) so I dashed to the grocery store, and returned to find quite a bit of a mess over my counter.  On the positive side,  at least I could be sure the yeast was alive and kicking.  Or, should I say, bubbling?  Another interesting twist in the recipe is the addition of grated carrots to the dough. All in all, a very straightforward bake, the bread will be ready in less than 3 hours start to finish.

 

 

for the full recipe, click here

As I mentioned, I baked this bread back in December 2014, when two very special friends (Marijo and Vlad) visited us. I knew that Vlad grew up in Russia enjoying dark rye breads, and decided to try and bake one for him.  Of course, I trust any recipe designed by Dan, and this one hit the spot. Vlad said that my bread took him straight to his childhood and teenage days. I cannot think of a better compliment…

Bumper sticker from Penzey’s, a company I’ve been a customer for 15 years. They are taking a firm stance on a message of inclusion, of embracing diversity and refusing hate and division.  On top of it, their spices rock!  Visit and support their online store with a click here.

 

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ONE YEAR AGO: Turkey Portobello Burger

TWO YEARS AGO: Raspberry Ricotta Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2014

FOUR YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lemony Tomatoes and Spinach

FIVE YEARS AGO: Blood Orange Duck: A work in progress

SIX YEARS AGO: Grilled Mahi-mahi with citrus marinade

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Memories of Pastéis (and my Dad)

IN MY KITCHEN: APRIL 2017

It’s been three long months since I last invited you for a virtual tour of our kitchen, the event initiated by Celia and now hosted by Lizzy from Bizzy Lizzy Good Things. Better late than never, let’s get started…


Last month was my Birthday, and I got two wonderful surprise gifts shipped from opposite corners of the world. The first package arrived from England, sent by our dear friend Denise, with a gorgeous apron and a matching coffee mug. Can you spell posh?   The second package arrived all the way from Brazil, sent by my niece Raquel, containing two Silpats for macaron baking!  Can you spell posh baker? Thank you Denise & Raquel, you made me feel super special…

In our kitchen….

The two on the upper row were bought for their looks, both found at Marshalls, one of my favorite spots to get unusual things for our kitchen. The third one is kind of vintage, a Pyrex sturdy bowl that I find myself using all the time. Perfect to mix a small batch of bread dough, cake batter, meatloaf, guacamole… I really use it almost on a daily basis.

In our kitchen….

Of all the alternative pastas out there, this one is my favorite. It was recommended by Elaine from foodbod, and I decided to give it a try. The texture is perfect, and the taste reminded me of homemade pastas made with a little spinach in the dough. Really nice, and quite a bit lighter than normal pasta. As you know, I have no gluten issues, no restrictions in my diet, but love to try new things. If it’s not tasty, I am not interested. This is tasty, and with the lower content in carbs, more than welcome at our table.

In our kitchen….

Two new ingredients to play with. First, hemp seeds which are high in protein and have many uses. You can add it to salads, smoothies, homemade crackers, cereal, yogurt.  Mild taste, nice crunch.  The black sesame powder you can obviously make from scratch using black sesame seeds in a spice grinder, but I found it available in our Asian market and brought it home, with one particular recipe in mind.  Black sesame macarons. Yeah, baby. You read it right. Stay tuned for it.

In our kitchen….

Zhorat tea blend. Have you heard about it? If not, I invite you to read this post by the one and only Sawsan. I thought about making it from scratch, but then ordered a batch already prepared. It is wonderful, I love to brew a pot before dinner and then enjoy it the whole evening right until going to sleep. It is floral, smooth and fresh at the same time. If you love tea and prefer to avoid caffeinated tea, this is a great option.

In our kitchen….


Another new ingredient to play, black tahini. It is exactly like a regular tahini, but made from black sesame seeds.  I haven’t tried it yet, but should start important experiments soon.

In our kitchen….

From black to color… My special food coloring batch in powder form, to make macarons, of course. Liquid food color is a no-no to make macarons because they interfere with the delicate balance of the meringue and almond dough.  Powdered or gel are a must.

In our kitchen….

Sprouted wheat flour from King Arthur Flour.  I first learned about this product reading Alexandra’s blog. Could not resist and ordered a bag.  I made a nice loaf of bread with it already, should be on the blog soon. Because the flour is made from sprouted wheat, it is supposed to be easier to digest, as the sprouting process starts metabolizing the wheat. The resulting bread feels smooth and moist. Excellent product.

In our kitchen….

Fathead pizza! This one blew my mind, big time! If you google fathead pizza you’ll learn that it is the Queen of Low-Carb Pizza, by far. I was very curious and one evening decided to give it a try, because it’s quite simple and quick to prepare. It turns out that I love it! It is the closest thing to real pizza I ever came across, and it is quite filling, so when I make the whole recipe I can have it for dinner and then lunch next day.  You can find the recipe clicking here.

In our kitchen….

A drink made from apple cider vinegar. As you know, I am into this type of alternative, non-alcoholic drinks. And I found this product in one of our grocery stores, Hy-Vee. It is actually very good, although I prefer to dilute it with carbonated water. I do 1/3 of the drink, 2/3 carbonated water, eyeballing it. The same company makes several different flavors, but I like this one the best.

In our kitchen….

Beware. These are addictive. Phil found those at our grocery store. Brought them home. OMG. They are good with hummus, with cheese, with avocados, with tapenade. They are good naked. The crackers, not necessarily the person munching on them. If you find them in your neck of the woods, pounce on the bag.

In our kitchen….

These are unreal. They are from Australia, so if you are partial to local food, I feel a bit sorry for you. To savor these babies without hurting your principles, you must face a pretty long trip to Sydney, and the tickets are quite pricey.   Amazingly, our grocery store carries them.  I am a big white chocolate lover, but must say the dark chocolate is much, much better. Phil and I savor one each on special evenings, making the box last as long as our will power allows.

In our kitchen….

A delicious dessert, from a book I reviewed recently, London: The Cookbook. As I already shared a recipe from the book, consider this an additional teaser. They are Bavarois Framboise. Quite easy to prepare and absolutely wonderful!

And now, it’s time for the Magnificent Trio to say hello…

We have a pretty regular routine in our home… We get up early, and while Phil gets our cappuccinos going, I grab the dogs’ bowls and get ready to feed them. At that point the morning symphony starts. If you’d like to listen to it, click here. After they are done wolfing their food down, they know they’ll have another hour or so in the coziness of our home. Then we leave for work and they must go outside. They use that precious hour very wisely.


Of course, sometimes the weather early in the morning is not compatible with doggies being outside, and in that case, they don’t get their food until later in the day. Once they realize there’s no food coming, you can sense the disappointment in the air…

But of course, snacks and little bits from our own food are always making the rounds to keep our four-legged friends happy. Happy? Well, maybe not all of them….


Buck is now the sweetest dog we’ve ever had! His personality changed a lot after Chief passed away, and even more after Bogey joined our home.  I call him my Little Tim Tam… not always, just sometimes.
Like twice, maybe eight times a day.


Oscar was definitely ready for his summer shave. He was having one bad hair day after another…

But we took care of it, and now….


Bogey has been with us for 8 months, and it’s clear that he’s adapted well… a few pieces of Parmigiano cheese disappeared from the kitchen island, as well as a batch of Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, a full genoise, freshly baked from scratch, a couple of sticks of butter and the eventual bar of soap.  But we love him to pieces!

The Magnificent Trio for the most part gets along well together, especially when it’s time to do their tricks for Mom and Dad. Those are rare moments in which I get their full attention…


That’s all folks… 
I hope you enjoyed Mom’s tour through our kitchen… 
 See you in a couple of months!

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ONE YEAR AGO: Secret Recipe Club: Chicken Korma and a Bonus Recipe

TWO YEARS AGO: Josey Baker’s Olive Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: Almonds, A Cookbook Review

FOUR  YEARS AGO: Pomegranate-Molasses Glazed Carrots

FIVE YEARS AGO: Codruta’s Rolled Oat Sourdough Bread

SIX YEARS AGO: Roasted Corn and Tomato Risotto

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Light Rye Bread

FIRST MONDAY FAVORITE: APRIL 2017

Today is the First Monday of the month, so it’s time to showcase my favorite post of March. You would think that I would share a recipe, but not this time. My favorite post of last month focused on fitness, my review of Jessica Smith’s program Walk Strong 6-week Total Transformation System. How could I not pick that post? A post that included a graphic that took me twenty years to compose must make it to the top of my personal list.

So here it is, in case you’ve missed it

 

If you’d like to read the full post, click here.

Thank you Sid, for organizing the First Monday Favorite!  
If you are a food blogger and would like to participate, drop Sid a line.
The more, the merrier!

To see the contributions from my virtual friends, click on the link below

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