Mango Nutella Crêpes

Once I conquered my fear of making crepes and realized I could quite easily make these at home rather than reserving them as a treat best left to the hands of someone more experienced, they found their way into my weekend breakfast repertoire. Pancakes, waffles, bagels, and omelettes are all great Saturday morning breakfast food, but there’s no reason not to include some delicious Mango Nutella Crêpes in your routine as well.

After having made my first batch of crêpes, I still had a ton of nutella in the pantry, and nutella just screams crêpes to me (and in unison, my belly was also screaming crêpes, so it was decided). So while local strawberries have come and gone, it was onto another favorite fruit that has been looking pretty darn good on the store shelves these days: mangoes! Yes, this isn’t tremendously different from the prior crêpes, but… click to read more…

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Cardamom Honey Baklava Ice Cream in Phyllo Cups

This was really delicious. I must confess, when I made baklava, I didn’t make it just for the baklava–I made it for this dessert. This isn’t to say baklava by itself isn’t amazing (which it most definitely is), but why settle for one amazing thing when you can have two? Yes, I made baklava so that I could use it as an additive to cardamom honey ice cream.

The cardamom-honey ice cream custard-base really stole the show–it was intense, just the right creamy texture, sweet, and just out of the ordinary. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices that really is beyond my ability to describe–it works so well in savory and sweet applications, kind of like cinnamon–and in this case, it really gave the ice cream an incredible flavor backbone.

Combined with chunks of baklava, you had a great contrast visually, texturally, and flavorally (go, made up words, go!)–crunchy, cinnamon spiced… click to read more…

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Strawberry Oat Bars

I don’t typically do much for breakfast, especially during weekdays when I normally just eat some store-bought granola bar with my coffee as I run out the door. I usually don’t have the time or appetite to have much more, but I did have the urge recently to improve on the quality of my breakfast, so trying my hand at my own granola bars seemed like a great place to start.

In addition to the obvious inclusion of oats and nuts, I also employed some spices (cardamom and ginger) as I thought these would rather nicely complement the filling: strawberries (since I know how nicely they can go together)! I was a bit worried that using fresh strawberries would result in a wet, mushy granola mess (since they macerate and get quite wet in the presence of sugar), so I sliced them thin and insulated the granola from them… click to read more…

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Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew in Red Wine)

This dish is a French classic: a stew created by braising a tough cut of beef in red wine, cooking long and slow to yield something hearty, tender, and full of flavor.

Beef Bourguignon, served over noodles

Now shocking as this may seem, this isn’t a summer dish, but that’s ok–I actually made it during the winter, lol! Can you tell that I’m not great about getting all of my posts published right away? 😉 This recipe is based on that of the great Julia Child from Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One, a book I’d highly recommend to anybody who is serious about cooking good food (I’ve also discovered the re-runs of her fantastic TV series on PBS–very worth a watch!).

So whether the weather is cold or you just want something to warm you up and… click to read more…

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Baklava

Depending on where you hang your hat, baklava might mean different things to you–a Greek baklava is not a Turkish baklava is not an Arab baklava, and so on and so forth. The core idea is the same across all variants though: an absolutely delicious treat composed of layers of paper-thin, flaky phyllo dough, sweet, spiced, crunchy nuts, and a sticky, sweet syrup to bring it all together.

As exotic as baklava might be to some (to think, some have never had it before! If you haven’t, this goes on your dessert to-do list. Really!), making baklava is easy, albeit a bit tedious. Of course, if I didn’t use store-bought premade phyllo dough, it might not have been quite so easy ;-). At a high level, it really amounts to layering several sheets of the delicate, paper thin phyllo dough with a light brushing of butter between each with a thicker mid-section composed of sweetened nuts. Once this… click to read more…

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Beef Wellington

Some times, when dinner rolls around, we all experiment and try to put together something new. Other times, we resort to the classics, maybe not comfort food, but definitely something “established,” and this is one such dish: Beef Wellington.

I don’t think I ever had a Beef Wellington before this, but was well aware of it (how could you not be when its included on Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen season after season?). Like some other “classics”, I approached this with some hesitation as it seemed like it could be tasty in my mind, but it also just seemed kind of…stodgy and dated, if that makes any sense. But the more I thought about it, I couldn’t imagine how this dish would disappoint.

After eating this, I can easily see why this is a classic. This is timeless: a juicy, tender cut of filet mignon cooked inside a tight, buttery, flaky package of… click to read more…

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