Ah, France. It's another place on my travel bucket list. #Imisstravelling I would really like to see the Provence countryside, the French Rivera and the Pyrenese Mountains. Who wouldn't? 🏔The scenery looks spectacular and, let's be honest the food sounds extraordinary. Something that I definitely need to taste for myself. Classic french food like cassoulet and coq au vin, crepes Suzette and buttery French pastries. 🥐
I'm not a professionally trained chef. I'm just a housewife and a mom who has a love (borderline obsession) with food. 🤣 I learned how to cook from my mom and my grandma and sometimes - the internet. I am so thankful for the foodie family that I was lucky enough to grow up in and the fact that these amazing women invested in me and my passion for food. They were deliberate and patient when it came to teaching me how to cook longstanding family favorites like ravioli and meatballs. 👩🏻🍳
Quite honestly, I was probably the worst student in the kitchen. My grandmother would portion out handfuls of flour onto her perfectly seasoned wooden board for homemade raviolis and I would go behind her and scrape it into a measuring cup as fast as I could so I could record her exact measurements. She was trying to teach me to "feel" the dough and I was focused on taking accurate notes so I could recreate the dish on my own. 🤦🏻♀️
My grandmother shared a lot of recipes with me but I think the greatest thing that I learned from her was to cook from feeling instead of from a recipe. After years of watching her prepare and serve great Italian food, I finally started to develop some instincts about what to add to a dish and I had to learn to trust those feelings. Because of her, I feel like my cooking style is much different than it would have been if I had attended a fancy cooking school.
Don't get me wrong, I would love to be professionally trained and I have mad respect for anyone who goes through the rigorous training to earn the title of "chef." The most prestigious of chefs in my book are French trained chefs. They're masters of all things butter, chicken, herbs, cheese and all foods comforting.
Provençal cooking refers to dishes prepared from ingredients in a specific Province in France. Olive oil, garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, basil and marjoram are traditionally found in Provencal dishes. That speaks to this Italian girls heart right there. Chicken Provencal is one of the first things that I'm going to try when I finally make my trip to France. 🇫🇷
4 bone in chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup flour
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon anchovy paste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cu kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fresh parsley
Serve chicken with parsley.
Winner, winner chicken dinner! If you've got an overabundance of tomatoes in your garden this summer and you're looking for a great way to use them - I suggest this dish! 🍅
What does it take for a cake to be called a coffee cake? You don't actually have to add dark, caffeinated java to the batter for it to be a perfectly acceptable breakfast treat. It's not exclusive to cakes that pair well with coffee either because let's face it - a freshly brewed cup of Joe enhances all cake eating experiences. ☕️ So what is the determining factor that distinguishes a cake as either a provision to eat before 8:00 a.m. or a treat best enjoyed at the end of a meal?
These are the important questions that I ponder in my spare time. Yup - I'm deeply philosophical. 😂 I may never solve the great coffee cake inquisition but that won't stop me from making cakes and eating it all all hours of the day to figure out when it tastes the best. 🤣 It's research people. 🥮
A coffee cake should be moist and have a light, delicate crumb. This Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake is everything that a coffee cake should be. With a stick and a half of butter and a full cup of sour cream in the batter - there's no way that this cake will end up dry and crumbly. And nobody likes dry cake.
I conducted a little research into this coffee cake. (I'm nothing if not thorough.) I ate a slice for breakfast - it was delicious. I had another slice of this cake with a cup of tea as an afternoon snack - it was delicious. I ate a piece after dinner and yup - still delicious. 🤣
Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons heavy cream
Bake 8 minutes at 400. Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 40 minutes.
Drizzle over cooled cake.
I can come up with so many reasons to make a coffee cake but the very best might just be that Monday morning is right around the corner and I can think of no better way to start my week off than with a slice of cake. Enjoy!
Ssssssssalsa! Sure it's a dance but it's also a delicious condiment. 💃🏻I definitely don't have the type of coordination or hip mobility required to ever get the hang of salsa dancing but I do intend to master the art of making the condiment. 🌶 Salsa is low in fat, it's packed with vegetables and it's completely customizable to any level of spiciness. What more could I need? I eat a lot of salsa and I was perfectly happy with my salsa experience UNTIL I was introduced to the world of chimichurri.
Chimichurri is like salsa on steroids. If you're into big, bold vibrant flavors - you need to start eating Chimichurri. This sauce from Argentina is jam packed with flavor and it can be used on meats, fish, chicken or tacos. It comes in a red version but more commonly, you'll find a cilantro and parsley packed, bright green version. Both are delicious.
I've been known to make giant batches of homemade salsa that weigh in at 3 or 4 pounds by the time I finish adding all of the scrumptious ingredients. I divide it up into small containers to store it in my freezer so I'm never more than a few minutes in the microwave away from homemade salsa. Now that I've found a new love for Chimichurri, I'm going to have to come up with a way to mass produce large quantities of this finger licking good sauce to store in my freezer as well.
This sauce is so good that even a non-red meat eating girl like me is willing to make strip steak - just as an excuse to make more Chimichurri. Yup. I made Strip Steak for the rest of the family and I ate my Chimichurri on a chicken taco. It was AMAZING! AND I still have leftover chimichurri for my grilled fish tomorrow night. Like I said - it's good and everything.
Strip Steak with Chimichurri
2 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon pepper
1 Tablespoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons sugar
2 (20 ounce) strip steaks (2" thick)
2 Tablespoons pecan oil
3/4 cup pecan oil
1/4 cup sweet paprika
2 Tablespoons red pepper flakes
1/4 cup oregano
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Serve with accumulated juices. Drizzle with chimichurri.
Finding strip steak in my local grocery store can be a challenge. When I go to the butcher shop, I tend to stock up and buy several packages to keep in my freezer. It defrosts quickly and it's super easy to cook on the grill.
It used to be so awkward for me to pull out my camera every time I cooked a new recipe. I would carry plates all over the house to find the best lighting. I would keep the dog from eating off the plate with one hand while attempting to focus my lens with the other. 📷🐶 It took me a long time to work out the best time and place for me to snap food pictures. It took my family an even longer time to get used to the fact that there would be a 10 minute delay after I announced that a meal was "ready".
Ah, the early days of food blogging. Fortunately, all of my trepidation about photographing food has gone by the wayside. After 7 years, I have no apprehension about taking someone's dinner plate outside on the deck and spending 10 minutes trying to capture the contents in the best light. I've been food blogging for so long now that photographing food just comes as second nature. It actually seems weird to fix a meal and NOT photograph it. On average, I probably take 30-40 pictures of each recipe that I post. I bet I have 20 times more food pictures on my computer than anything else. What does that say about me? 😂
I spend so much time with my camera these days that it's become an extension of my hand. When my kids were in school, I would photograph all of their sporting events. NOT because I was that interested in capturing every moment of every wrestling match and soccer game, but because having a professional looking camera in my hand allowed me access to be closer to the field and more importantly, got me out of the bleachers full of screaming parents. 💁🏻♀️There was more than one occasion when I had a dead camera battery but I pretended to take pictures just to avoid sitting in the stands next to parents who were yelling insulting comments to their children. 😬
My camera has gotten me out of more than one sticky situation but it's also gotten to me in trouble a few times. I'll never forget being asked to leave the grocery store for taking pictures of the pretty displays. 😂🙄😳 This camera and I have been on a lot of adventures together. We've covered a lot of miles and a lot of smiles together.
I'm still working on my landscape and portrait photography because I still feel most comfortable photographing food. I can control shadows, there's no wiggling, awkward smiles or complaining. So here I am in my comfort zone - photopgrahing the prettiest of all fish - salmon. I hope that you enjoy this slow roasted salmon recipe as much as we did.
Slow Roasted Salmon with Chives and Lemon
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 pound salmon filet
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoon fresh chives, sliced
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Pour oil over salmon. Let rest 5 minutes.
Serve salmon. Spooning any remaining juices over fish on plate.
If you've got some great food photography tips - I'd love to hear them. Send me an email or comment your best pointers for food styling and photography. TIA
Have you ever invited people over for dinner only to find out, after the fact, that your guests have weird food allergies and preferences? 😬I hate to admit it but, I'm THAT dinner guest. I don't like to eat beef or pork. In recent years, I developed a sensitivity to dairy (mostly milk) and I try and avoid eating any fried foods. Yup, I'm that "hard to plan a menu for" dinner guest. 🤷🏻♀️ I know it and I'm sorry.
People also assume that because I'm a food blogger, I'm oozing with culinary knowledge and Gordon Ramsey like cooking skills. 🔪 Truth is, I'm just a girl who learned to cook from her mom and her grandmother. I have a food blog but that doesn't give me any more credibility than people who put cooking videos on tic tock. It's just an avenue to share my passion for food.
It's hard to believe that with my title of food blogger and my less than typical food habits working against me, that I've ever been invited to dinner. I feel guilty when I do get a dinner invite because I don't want anyone to have to try and plan a menu around my weird eating habits. The truth is I don't even plan my OWN dinner menu around myself. We have steak nights and hamburgers on the grill. I cook pork chops and fried fish and I have no problem serving that to my family while I eat the side dishes for dinner. A big plate of grilled vegetables, a green salad and a slice of crusty bread is a perfect meal for this vegetable loving girl.
With every birthday, I feel like I add more foods to the list of things that I can't seem to tolerate anymore. 😅 Lucky for me, gluten is not on that list YET. 🤣 I know a lot of people who are gluten intolerant though. If this is you - or you know someone who has celiac disease, I've got just the perfect recipe. Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Bread is made with coconut flour and it's a nice addition to any brunch or lunch menu.
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Bread
18 Tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup coconut flour
1 cup chocolate chips
Allow to cool before slicing.
This year, I've gotten more requests for gluten free foods than I ever have before. I'm not a big fan of the 1:1 gluten flour substitutes because I can detect a weird after taste when I bake with them. I much prefer to use coconut or almond flour as a substitute for wheat flour. It's not as simple as a one to one substitution but with a little trial and error (mostly error) I can create something that's delicious AND gluten free. Hope you enjoy.
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