How to Give French Eclairs a Modern Makeover

Did you know French Eclairs are the new ‘it’ pastry? These retro desserts are making a huge comeback right now at you local chic bakery. But it’s even more fun to make them at home. Let you inner artist run wild when decorating!

Raise your hand if you devoured a many eclairs in your youth? This French pastry is made with pâte à choux, shaped in an oblong vessel that transports whipped cream or custard cream to your mouth, formerly finished off with a chocolate ganache. The new modern French eclair sheds it’s ganache coat for gorgeous and artistic edible works of art.

French eclairs

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Why Kouign Amann Will Change your Hips

The Breton Kouign Amann pastry is utter heaven in a bite. The recipe calls for lots of butter, barely held together with flour and sugar. I am sure once you try it you will be hooked for life. Sorry hips you’re gonna get bigger!

I am so late on this one, this was the April 2016 Daring Kitchen assignment and life got in the way. But I had to do it because Kouign Amann is one of those pastries where I melted IN love at first bite…and it became my nemesis in the kitchen. Finally, for once, I won the battle! Sweet delicious victory!

Kouign Amann flakes

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Carrot Curry Canelés, a savory treat

Savory Carrot Curry Canelés are wonderful flavor packed curry bites, beautifully baked in a quintessential French fluted shape.

It’s Food ‘n Flix time and this month it is also a very special cross-over with Cook the Books! In both groups this month two host picks the same movie/book that pertains to food. I prepared for the book/movie “The Hundred Foot Journey” a fusion Indian/French recipe: Carrot Curry Canelés

To participate we had to either read the book or watch the movie, or do both. Then participants made a recipe inspired by the film. It could be any recipe you wanted. Both groups are a lot of fun so consider joining!

carrot curry caneles in a pyramid

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Great book gift ideas

Still looking for a few great gift ideas for the chef or foodie in your life? I have a few excellent suggestions for you today. This is a very varied mix of books touching on recipes, travel, health and treasures to be found in the pantry.

I have been enjoying every moment spent leafing through these books, testing their theories, trying out recipe and planning a few future seasoning purchases. I am including the main description of the books and a “my-2-cents” paragraph for each. Enjoy!

Yunnan_Cookbook

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Watercress Endive Salad with Walnuts and Vinaigrette

It’s Food ‘n Flix time again! In this monthly group a ‘host’ picks a movie of their choice that pertains to food. Everyone watches the movie and then makes a recipe which the film inspired. It can be any recipe you want. This month’s pick is hosted by Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla. She picked a movie that is very dear to my heart: Le Festin de Babette, or translated to Babette’s Feast.

Since there is a very set menu in the movie the choice of what to make was limited. Well we do not have to make a recipe from the movie but it felt more à propos this time. My original idea fell through drastically (keep reading) so I ended up going with “la salade”. It may appear quite simple but my Watercress Endive Salad with Walnuts and Vinaigrette is actually quite lovely and elegant to the palate.

Watercress Endive Salad with Walnuts and Vinaigrette 1

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Chit Chat over Chocolate Mousse

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time. This month’s secret: Chocolate Mousse.

chocolate mousse 13

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Shrimp Bouillabaisse

OK people, T-minus 3 days and 1 night before the cast is taken off should everything be in order! I cannot wait, I want to rip this damn thing off my arm so bad. I will have a lot of physical therapy since my muscles have atrophied and it may hurt more than while in the cast…BUT I DON’T CARE…TAKE IT OFF!

Since my  injury I have depended mostly on the kindness of my mom’s leftovers, a few dishes friends came over and prepared for me, the occasional frozen dinner and the one recipe I managed to cook in the last 6 weeks, my One Armed Tom Yam Wonton Soup.

My chosen recipes are 1 dish balanced meals. Its easy for me to warm up and all I dirty is 1 bowl and a fork. I have been searching for more exotic 1 dish meals than the first Google results. This week I chose a Slow Cooker Chicken and Shrimp Bouillabaisse recipe that was prepared by my special someone. This is a very flavorful and easy meal to prepare that gets slowly cooked in a crock-pot.

Bouillabaisse  is a traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille, France. This one is not playing by the rules as it uses chicken (and my added shrimp), so it is perfect for non seafood lovers. I modified the original recipe a lot by doubling the veggie portions and seasoning, and adding shrimp and white beans. In my opinion what sets a real Bouillabaisse apart is the distinctive flavor of real saffron. Best crock-pot recipe ever.

You may not find anything unusual about the left side but remember 6 weeks ago I could not move or really feel some fingers. Since yesterday I can slowly bend my ring and little finger and touch the cast. You may have noticed the unusual selection of nail polish colors, I matched the colors used from the cast design for my final cast days!

Now lets cook 🙂

Ξ Slow Cooker Chicken and Shrimp Bouillabaisse Ξ
adapted from Good Housekeeping

Ingredients

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
3 chicken breasts, cut in half
1/2 pound raw shelled shrimp
Salt and pepper
1 fennel bulb
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 can (14 ounce) diced tomatoes
1 can (14 ounce) white beans
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled

Directions

In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high until hot. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to season both sides. Add chicken to skillet and cook  until lightly browned on both sides, turning chicken over once and adding more oil if necessary. Set aside.

Meanwhile, trim stems and bottom from fennel bulb. Cut bulb into quarters, then thinly slice bulb crosswise.

After all chicken is browned, add wine to skillet and heat to boiling on high, stirring to loosen any browned bits. Boil 1 minute, stirring.

In 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker bowl, combine fennel, onion, garlic, broth, tomatoes with their juice, beans, bay leaf, thyme, and saffron. Top with browned chicken, shrimp and wine mixture from skillet; do not stir. Cover slow cooker with lid, and cook on the low setting for 8 hours or the  high setting for 4 hours. Serve in a soup bowl with a slice of French bread. Makes 4 servings.