November 20, 2014

Country Potato Soup (copycat la Madeleine recipe)

Without a doubt what I miss most about Texas is the food. Naturally, you would expect me to miss the Tex-Mex, the juicy chopped brisket, the deep fried Southern cooking, and the incomparable Mexican food. But I also miss the less expected--like la Madeleine's potato soup.

La Madeleine is a charming bistro style chain restaurant that I first encountered in Texas. Apparently, it was actually started by a Frenchman who found himself in Dallas. (Gotta feel for that guy!) As to the present day authenticity of these "French" restaurants, friends who lived in France for decades merely noted that, "They try very hard." But when you're stuck in living in Texas and unable to cross the ocean, la Madeleine lends even more variety to the already amazing regional fare. 

November 18, 2014

New-to-Me: Cooking with Leeks

I learned so much by watching my mom in the kitchen. That's where she was (and still is) often found, either scrambling to get a weeknight dinner on the table, mixing up baked goods from memory, or experimenting to recreate something new she tried at a restaurant. She had worked in food service in various capacities over the decades, making her an incredible short order cook and an overflowing fount of knowledge when it came to tips and tricks.

October 18, 2014

Fall Fun at Cidrerie Vergers Léo Boutin (Mont Saint-Grégoire, QC)

Hoping to make the most of our first Indian Summer in Quebec, Bryan and I visited Cidrerie Vergers Léo Boutin the last Saturday in September. The weather was perfect—high 70s to 80s (mid to low 20s C), bright sunshine, the occasional breeze. While the fall foliage hadn’t yet reached its peak, the countryside was nonetheless adequately adorned in oranges, yellows, and reds. 

July 24, 2014

Lynnelle's Chicken Salad

We all know cooks who can just make things. No script, no measuring, just experience and instinct. As much as that sort of free cooking baffles little ol' anal, ahem, precise me, that's exactly how Lynnelle's amazing chicken salad came to be. No recipe, no precise measurements, just good taste and know-how.

Like many home cooks, my dear friend Lynnelle loves trying new things in the kitchen. In preparation for a Memorial Day picnic several years back, she decided on chicken salad: quick, easy, and portable. Using fresh ingredients she had on hand and her undeniably good palate, she inadvertently created what was (and still remains) the best chicken salad that I have ever had. 

March 28, 2014

Me Oh My, It's Mississippi Mud Pie!

Kitchen confession here: I totally make things "for others" knowing full well that it's really want I want to make for myself. Such was the case with my husband's birthday cake. His favorite dessert is probably cookies. So, I naturally decided that the best dessert for his special day would be cookies this überdecadent, over-the-top, chocoholic Mississippi mud pie. Makes sense right? Since I love he can tolerate layer cakes and chocolate? And it was all mine for him?

But just look at this thing! Given how phenomenal this dessert it is, can you really blame me for my selfishness? Reviewers of the Baked Explorations recipe, as featured on the Martha show, as well as numerous food bloggers have all gone gaga over Matt Lewis's Mississippi Mud Pie/Cake.  

March 11, 2014

Tuna & White Bean Salad

Spring has sprung! At home that means that we have entered our thaw period. There's still frost in the ground (and snow forecasted for tomorrow), but the ice is gradually receding as the days lengthen. It's amazing how refreshing and spring-like the high 30s and even 40s can feel after enduring months below freezing. With seasonal rejuvenation in mind, a tuna and white bean salad seems just right for this transitional weather.

January 31, 2014

Breakfast Crumble Bars

The past several months found me in a baking flurry. If I wasn't measuring, mixing, or baking, then I was reviewing favorite recipes and pinning new inspiration. While I enjoyed that sweet time of year, all those empty carbs left me feeling bloated and yucky--and that's not to mention the large holiday meals that accompanied the baking. My body's been craving substance, real food that actually nourishes and fuels rather than impoverishes.