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All things meat

Getting back into the kitchen is hard – so can a pork roulade make a difference? :-)

These past few weeks have been really hectic for me. First, school is back and I’ve been fretting over classes, syllabi, and meeting new colleagues and students. I have been stressed and out of shape intellectually, and going back to a full work schedule has proved nothing short of exhausting. Second, my mom’s recent flight back to Europe was delayed for several hours, causing her to miss a connecting plane in London and to arrive at her destination well after midnight. My mom is a senior citizen who doesn’t speak English, and the whole experience was a nightmare for her, as it was for us. Such stressful events are definitely not conducive to creativity in the kitchen. πŸ™

Getting back to cooking and blogging was hard. In the end, I found inspiration in an email exchange I had with my cousin, who is a passionate gardener. This summer he has grown tomatoes, zucchinis and cucumbers galore, and he was writing me that he had just finished sun-drying some of the tomatoes. My mind instantly went back in time, to the years we spent in England and to a recipe we used to like a lot: pork roulade stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese and herbs. Keep Reading

Egg on toast, and much more: Why mayo is out – and dandelion greens are in!

It occurred to me the other day that I had never told you why I don’t use mayo in my sandwiches. Indeed, if you look through my sandwich and panini recipes you’ll find none with mayo, and plenty with sour cream, cottage cheese or mustard. I know mayo is a very popular sandwich ingredient, and for good reason: you need a good creamy component to “bind” everything together and to turn the sandwich into a coherent whole. Still, we find mayo way too heavy and not particularly flavorful, and this is why I’ve been using other ingredients in its place. We’ve always been big fans of sour cream and cottage cheese (both of them lighter than mayo, in our opinion), so why not use these in panini or sandwiches? Moreover, on some occasions, I turn to other less used ingredients and I take advantage of their luscious creaminess to create a satisfying light lunch. Such is the case with the sandwich I am going to write about today, whose creamy component is a fried egg.

This sandwich is special to me because it incorporates a lesser known green element: dandelion greens. Keep Reading

Vive la France! My “almost” French lunch, featuring croissant, Camembert and tomatoes (again!)

I woke up this morning and remembered something: today is France’s National Day, which is also called Bastille Day.Β  This day is always celebrated in my home country. Our culture is closely related to the French culture – so close that we are members of the International Organization of the Francophonie. I am really glad I remembered about Bastille Day. Better mark the occasion later in the day than not mark it at all!

In honor of Bastille Day, I decided to make a French-inspired lunch: a stuffed croissant. Keep Reading

Happy 4th of July! My mighty meaty burger menu

Who has the time to plan in advance and to create elaborate menus? Not me, that’s for sure. The 4th of July weekend is coming up, and I have yet to do any menu planning and to buy any ingredients. Having an infant around has made things harder and less organized for me on the kitchen front. Nowadays, it’s all about the baby – and so it should be. πŸ™‚

I know I won’t get the chance to prepare as many dishes as I did last year. I will most likely focus on burgers and I will make a few of my family’s favorites.Β  Keep Reading

Roast beef for a special occasion: our first celebration of Father’s Day!

We are a household of carnivores, but our meat preferences are very different. Chicken is my favorite meat to cook and to eat: light, versatile and affordable, it makes up the central element in a variety of dishes I love. Whenever I think of chicken I think of mom’s chicken recipes, and I get all excited and happy. To me, mom knows best and is the best cook πŸ™‚

Meanwhile, my husband is a diehard fan of red meat, who always chooses steak over breaded chicken. I wanted to cook something I knew he would enjoy, so I made roast beef to celebrate his first Father’s Day ever. This is one of my mom’s recipes – this is the way she usually cooks beef, pork and even mutton. I followed her recipe, but also changed it a little by adding mixed peppercorns and oregano.

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My Memorial Day menu: It’s fruits and veggies… and burgers, of course!

It took me awhile to come up with a Memorial Day menu. Nowadays, my mind tends to wander off aimlessly more often than not, and I have found that sleep deprivation affects my creativity. With summer just around the corner however, and with the local stores brimming with new crop fresh produce, I had extra incentives to work on this menu, and as I developed it I felt inspired and energized. I also experienced a great satisfaction seeing my family enjoy these dishes, which I intend to make again this coming weekend.

I used plenty of olive oil to make the salads below, as well as salt and pepper for seasoning. I started off by making tzatziki, the traditional Greek sauce which we usually eat as a dip. Keep Reading

CLOSED Spices for the heart and mind: a review of Raw Spice Bar – and a giveaway!

I have always wanted to know more about spices and the art of combining them to create the perfect flavors. When we lived in England I used to love the cooking shows which featured Chef Atul Kochhar. A twice Michelin starred chef renowned for his modern take on Indian cuisine, he is also what I would call “a spice genius.” Every time I watched Atul’s shows I was amazed with his artistry. To Atul, nothing was random: every ingredient had a reason to be there, and every added spice was discussed in a way which made perfect sense to the uninitiated, such as myself.
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