Feasts

Pumpkin Spice Banana Pancakes

Pumpkin Spice Banana Pancakes

Okay, let me start off by saying that I think “paleo” is one of the most obnoxious diets du jour. No cheese? No beer? No bread? That bleep is for masochists. And the gluten-free craze falls into the same category (unless you legitimately have celiac disease, in which, case, I’m really sorry and also, can I have that bread if you’re not going to eat it?).

Since I’m much more of an epicurean than a masochist, I generally bristle at the sight of gluten-free and paleo-friendly recipes. But I keep coming across a recipe for pancakes that has caught my attention, something involving two simple ingredients: a banana and two eggs. I may not be into fad diets, but I’m totally into healthier versions of not-terribly-healthy dishes, and I was also curious about how a banana and eggs could magically morph into pancakes, so I decided to give it a shot. More

Kahlúa Macarons

Kahlua Macarons

I threw my husband’s cousin an ostensibly Big Lebowski-themed 40th birthday party last night, and since I’m always looking for an excuse to try my hand at a new batch of macarons, and since White Russians are The Dude’s cocktail of choice, I decided to see if I could come up with a Kahlúa-flavored concoction.

Although it’s October, summer is still lingering here in Texas, and most days have been in the upper 80s/lower 90s lately. It’s also been very dry. But on Thursday evening, a quick but rather violent storm rolled through, snapping trees in half and lowering the temperature a few degrees. I was grateful for the relief from the never-ending heat wave, but macarons are notoriously finicky and I was worried that the humidity might ruin them. Fortunately they came out just fine, but I did learn a few new lessons about macaronage (technically that’s the French term for folding the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients for the macaron shells, but in reality it refers to an exercise in magic and finger-crossing). More

Feigning Fall: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

As I’ve mentioned previously, I lived in New Hampshire for close to three years in my 20s, and I miss it terribly, especially in the fall. Having grown up in Southern California and Texas, I never experienced a true fall until my first in New England. I remember how amazed I was when the trees erupted into technicolor as the air cooled and took on the collective scent of cider and cocoa and roaring bonfires. There’s nothing quite like it.

Down here in Texas, “fall” doesn’t really exist. Summer merely shifts gears from 100-degree days to 90-degree days, and those often last well into October. Sometimes it gets chilly as the holidays approach, but I recall one year when it was so warm that we ate Christmas dinner on the patio. I adore gloomy weather, so when summer refuses to release its grip, I start to get a little blue, and the only thing that will cheer me up is closing the blinds to block out the relentless sunlight so I can daydream about the cooler climes for which I’m better suited. Throwing myself into fall-ish recipe also helps. More

Sunday Supper and a Farmers Market Oddity

Dallas Farmers Market

With the exception of a (glorious!) three-year stint on the East Coast, I’ve lived in Texas for the better part of two decades. Though I often complain about the weather and the less-than-inspiring landscape, the Lone Star State does have a lot to offer in terms of food and shopping. Those two things come together at the Dallas Farmers Market, a place I’ve somehow never had the pleasure of visiting in all these years until this past Sunday. More

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Cheesecake Macarons

Cheesecake Macarons

When it comes to the kitchen, I’m pretty fearless. Very few recipes intimidate me. In fact, I love spending the better part of a day tackling something challenging like boeuf bourgignon (even if I don’t eat a bite of it ’cause I don’t eat stuff that had parents). Macarons, however, scared the bejesus out of me until recently. I haven’t taken very many cooking classes because I can usually figure out how to cook just about anything on my own. But after a terribly failed first attempt at making macarons (they didn’t even make it into the oven), I decided I needed professional intervention, so I wrangled my mother-in-law into taking a class with me at Sur la Table in Dallas a few weeks ago. ‘Twas a great success, as I’ve now successfully made macarons several times in the comfort of my own kitchen. More

Chicken Pot Parmentier

Chicken Pot Parmentier

Okay okay okay. I swear, just one more recipe from My Paris Kitchen and I’ll move on to something else. But this cookbook just has soooo many dishes that I want to make, and the ones I’ve made so far have been a huge hit with my husband, so I keep coming back for more.

I couldn’t decide what to cook for dinner tonight. I was thinking spaghetti but then decided I wanted to do something new and a little more challenging. So I thumbed through the aforementioned cookbook and found Chicken Pot Parmentier (Hachis Parmentier au Poulet), which is basically chicken pot pie but with a layer of potatoes on the top instead of dough. It would make a great fall/winter meal, and it would even be a good dish to bring to Thanksgiving. Chicken-pot-anything is kind of heavy for the 90-degree weather we’ve already been having down here in Texas, but my husband still managed to gobble up half the baking dish in less than ten minutes. More

Kalamata Olive Tapenade

Kalamata Olive Tapenade

I firmly believe that the best foods have the simplest ingredients. Bread made with flour, yeast, and salt. Tomato sauce made with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil. Strawberries and bananas dipped in melted dark chocolate. The fewer ingredients, the better, and if you agree, you’ll love this Kalamata Olive Tapenade I made last night. More

Poulet à la Moutarde (Chicken with Mustard)

Poulet à la Moutarde

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently got my hands on a copy of David Lebovitz’s cookbook My Paris Kitchen. I’ve been anxious to try my hand at some of the recipes contained therein (all the recipes, actually), so I set aside some time last night for my first attempt at Poulet à la Moutarde (Chicken with Mustard). It turned out great, and I especially like that it’s one of those meals that looks and tastes quite fancy but is, in actuality, terribly easy to prepare. More

Fettuccine with Carrot Cream Sauce

Carrot Cream SauceA good friend of mine recently described a meal she had in Italy that involved pasta and some type of carrot sauce. Since I’m always on the lookout for an interesting vegetarian dish, I was intrigued and eager to either find a similar recipe or invent one of my own. I pecked around online and found a few recipes that seemed to roughly approximate the dish, so I took some of their basic elements and then came up with my own concoction. I loved the end result, and the best part is, there are lots of ways you could change it up to suit your own tastes. More

Mad Men Dinner: Chicken Kiev

Chicken KievOn the heels of my last post, which featured a Mad Men-inspired cocktail, I thought I’d continue indulging my mid-century fetish by cooking a dish featured prominently in the first episode of the show’s fourth season.

Don is on a date with a pretty young blonde named Bethany Van Nuys. The waiter comes over to take their order:

BETHANY: I don’t even need to look. Chicken Kiev.

DON: They make you wear a bib.

BETHANY: Come on. Let’s have some fun.

DON: Two Chicken Kievs.

Indeed, let’s have some fun. More

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