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cilantro

Veggie and smoked fish salad: my “madeleine moment”

It all started with a sample I was offered at a newly opened grocery store in our area. It was a sample of smoked salmon, meaty and delicately smoky, with a vibrant color and an enduring appeal. I tasted the fish and, like in Marcel Proust’s famous madeleine scene, my mind went back in time to my childhood and to a salad my mom used to make a lot: potato and smoked fish salad. Back in those days any meat was considered a delicacy, and my mom was very excited whenever she could get her hands on some smoked fish from the local general store. Usually it was smoked mackerel – tasty, but oh so full of bones! Nevertheless, we never complained: we just had to spend some extra time taking the bones out. It was food – and this was all that mattered. 🙂

With these memories in mind, I decided to buy smoked fish and to remake mom’s salad in an American setting. I found some gorgeous looking smoked rainbow trout and got a piece which weighed a bit over 1lb. In this salad I also wanted to pay tribute to the years I spent in England, so I decided to marry the smoked trout with another very dear ingredient: pickled hot & sweet cherry peppers. Keep Reading

A review of the new menu items from Corner Bakery Cafe: Spring has sprung in the kitchen!

I don’t know about you guys, but I just love the weather outside! It seems that spring has come to Chicagoland and that, after months of grueling cold and icy roads, I can put away my heavy winter coats and wear light clothes – at last! Spring and summer are my favorite seasons because I feel at my best in the sun: I am confident, inspired, energized, happy. Now is the time when things and situations around me gain new meanings, and obstacles are approached with a positive and constructive attitude. Now is the perfect time for me to go ahead and work on any outstanding projects.

I always eat light in the spring and summer. Whereas during winter I often make Georgette’s zucchini bake and drink rivers of comforting sweet hot chocolate, in the spring I want to give my body nutritious but also calorie-friendly dishes. The foods I make at home and eat while out and about are informed by this desire to eat lightly, and each new dish I discover makes me very happy.
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Chicken liver paté: Less waste, more deliciousness

I’ve always been a big fan of using chicken liver, hearts and gizzards in cooking. I like their unembellished appearance and enduring humbleness, and I am in love with what they represent to me. This shouldn’t come as a surprise: I grew up in a time when every bit of meat was much appreciated, and getting hold of a small pack of chicken liver was a reason for celebration. I remember my mom and my aunt chopping them finely and using them to make a “diluted” meat dish, made up of a small amount of meat, a whole lot of bread, some water to bind it all together, and very few spices. I grew up with the idea that chicken liver was an expensive delicacy, and that you could only eat it on special occasions. Keep Reading