Summer escape

red candy appleI don’t know if I will be able to post any new dishes in the next few weeks, because this week I’m scheduled to travel to Europe for about a month (hopefully no delays please g-d). A very much-anticipated summer escape for me as well as for my husband.

Travel is one of my biggest inspirations for my design work as well as cooking. I don’t travel to get inspired by food, but food is everywhere and there is no way I can stay still when I eat something incredible or that reminds me of home. Besides, I love beautiful presentations and food is no exception.

I’m planning to take a lot of pictures and I know that when something pops I will post it here for your enjoyment and mine. I am feeling blessed that i am able to share beautiful things that the world has to offer. It’s always a pleasure knowing that a little inspiration can go a long way.

On that note, this is the dialog I had with my ten yr old today:

daughter: “mom, what’s for dinner?”
me: “cereal”.
daughter: “(in French accent, she knows how to get me): moi want to eat La Me’r Mon cheri”.
me: “tired. cereal topped with red juicy berries and cold white milk…you’ll forget you were hungry, Mon cheri”.
daughter: “(big smile) Mon cheri, you are an amazing cook. show me your magic”.
me: “…..(thinking)…………Mon cheri…….no”.

See? I want to cook but when I travel and prepare myself mentally and physically for this long journey, who wants to cook?

Now, if I add one more sentence I might regret not cooking tonight.

Cereal. It’s what’s for dinner.

Bon voyage

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Watercress and goat cheese summer salad

“Salad is never more appetizing than when served in a large wooden bowl

Dorothy Draper

..as long as it’s mixed with some eye-catching ingredients too.

hello chefs,

Salad can be unglamorous and boring even if it’s healthy, don’t you think?

My family thinks I’m boring because I eat mainly salads. Well, i like salads because it’s the only food that doesn’t make me fall asleep.

Some of my close friends are not so…how shall I say it delicately…creative when it comes to salads. They don’t even think it’s food. I just hope they don’t read this.

So when you want to prepare something to eat but without a lot of effort, something that tastes like you spent the afternoon shopping in an upscale market, what can be better than a good healthy contrasting delicious colorful crunchy fresh salad? if you’re asking me…well, a lot of things like chilling under the Tuscan sun, shopping in Paris, flying first class but…let’s just stick with the salad now shall we.

Do you love watercress? if you’ve never had it why don’t you give it a try. It’s a herb widely used in Europe and rich in vitamin C and iron. But aside from its benefits I love the tangy taste, especially when I combine it with other fresh greens, or soups. watercress summer salad

Jazz up your salad with watercress and the addition of fresh sliced strawberries helps to make the salad colorful and refreshing. Nothing says summer more than red juicy berries right? This salad might even surprise the kids. Look, with kids it’s straight forward: either they will hate it or be all over it. It happens to me all the time. First they say no, then they taste, than it’s gone, than I make another one. 🙂

watercress goatcheese summer salad

A good salad starts with basic lettuce then you add whatever you like, build it up in layers, it’s like art class. The “fuller” the salad the more “dinner” appeal it gets. Then, complaints that “there is nothing to eat in this house” magically disappear. It’s fun to make and eat and so colorful to look at you’d even want to take pictures of it.

Shall we:

ingredients

2 cups Romaine lettuce (washed, dried and roughly cut)
bunch watercress, remove tough stems (washed and dried)
sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
4 small radishes, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts (drained and roughly cut)
1 tsp each toasted white and black sesame seeds (use both or either)
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
3 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried orange zest
(store-bought or you can make it yourself)

The dressing: in a bowl combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and paper. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
Assembly: in a large platter place Romaine lettuce mixed with watercress, radishes and artichoke hearts. Top with crumbled goat cheese and garnish with strawberries. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and dried orange zest. Drizzle the dressing on top and all around the salad.

Serve with toasted french or country bread (optional).

watercress goat cheese summer salad

This juicy salad can turn any blah moment to a special one. It’s very light and refreshing…almost like taking a cool shower on a hot summer day

…or maybe not.

But it’s a good as it sounds.

Bon appetit

Tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakes

Big name
but
little effort.

Does it ever happen to you that you crave for something to eat and don’t know what it is? sweet? savory? home cooked meal or just that something to satisfy your desire? it happens to me a lot maybe because I simply want to try a lot of things at one time. So it’s a new day and a new day calls for new something. Something sweet and comforting that reminds me my childhood home…or my sisters’ homes (they baked a lot when their kids were young). Do I have a treat for you.

I was in a mood for a dark, deep, rich color with smooth texture. How did I come about it? While I rearranged my living room today (which happens quite often) and I laid my new rug on the floor, it came in these beautiful deep silky earthy hues of browns that the colors naturally triggered my cravings to – you guesses it – chocolate.

But not just chocolate. I craved warm, silky, melting chocolate with just the right amount of crunch. Petite in size zapped with a touch of sour red berry. Oh, my juice buds are exploding as I write this.

tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakeDon’t you feel the same now? than go ahead and make this super simple yet light and so tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakes. It requires minimum effort – if you have nutella chocolate spread – then you have almost everything you need.
tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcake
tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakesyou can serve it like this
tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakeor like this

tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcake

or eat it straight out of the paper…like me.

tasty chocolate melting crunchy berry cupcakeServe it to guests and I promise they will think you worked very hard on it. I just can’t promise how many will satisfy you or them: three…five…

Shall we:

ingredients:
about 6-8 medium size cupcakes:
3/4 c. nutella spread
1 whole egg
1 egg white
4 tbsp white flour, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
handful of any kind of berries
1/2 c. chocolate chip (optional – fun for kids)
medium size paper muffin cup

preparation:

In a large bowl combine whole egg, egg white, vanilla extract and nutella. Whisk until smooth. Add the flour and whisk gently until well combined. Set a side.

Heat oven to 350°. Meanwhile cut the berries to small pieces.

Insert paper muffin cups into a tin muffin pan (if you have one, it simply helps with support). Spoon the nutella batter into the paper muffin cups about 3/4 full. Top with chopped pecans, or chocolate chips or both. Insert a few pieces of berries into the batter filled cups. Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out soft and sticky. For a drier consistency bake 5 minutes longer. Let cool in paper cups for 10 min. Serve warm and enjoy this delectable treat.

 Bon apetite.