what do I do when the kids go to bed?

I apparently cook eggs.

I am not exactly sure why.

I have been really into french cooking lately, and probably because eggs are involved.

The amazing chef, Michael Roux, said once that Eggs should be treated gently. He used the word “nurse” (which I totally get)- and he said they do not like to be cooked “fiercely.” After I heard that I stopped ruining my scrambled eggs.

Last night I was craving Creme Anglaise to go on top of my fresh organic berries. I couldn’t find the recipe so here is the one I came up with on my own. It is pretty tasty.

image from cooking light

Creme Anglaise with Cinnamon

I love Creme Anglaise because you can store it in the refrigerator for three days. We always keep fresh fruit in the house, and I love to pour it on top of some berries after the kids go to bed, and I want to watch one of my DVRed shows with something sweet.

  • 2 cupes low-fat organic milk
  • 1/3 cup organic cane sugar (from evaporated cane juice) regular white sugar can be used in a pinch
  • 1 cinnmon stick (optional)
  • 4 large egg yolks (cage-free or organic)

1. Combine milk sugar, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for five minutes or the sugar dissolves and the milk is hot.

2. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until blended. Gradually add half of the hot milk mixture, stirring CONTSTANTLY with a metal whisk. Add egg mixture to milk mixture in the pan. Cook over Med-low heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon and DO NOT BOIL.

3. Strain sauce through a sieve into a bowl. Discard cinnamon and place bowl of custard into an ice-filled bowl until the sauce is room-temp. Stir occasionally. After that serve or cover and chill.

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J’aime la France

Tonight we decided to take a culinary trip to France.

I was craving “Croque Monsieur”- a very rich cheesy sandwich.

I decided to serve it with a creamy basil tomato soup (perfect for dipping!)

It was definitely a success. Definitely two recipes worth posting.

I don’t mind feeding the boys this kind of food as long as it is a treat once-and-awhile.

Croque Monsieur

Barefoot Contessa, Barefoot in Paris. 2004

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.

To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.

Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Rich and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

allrecipes.com by MARBALET

Ingredients

  • 4 tomatoes – peeled, seeded and diced
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 14 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place tomatoes and juice in a stock pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves, and return the puree to the stock pot.
  2. Place the pot over medium heat, and stir in the heavy cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Do not boil.

Sprinkles Cupcakes

In the early hours, before Obama made his landing at LAX and ruined traffic in the westside- I wanted to take the kids out of the house.

Where did we go? Where we go far too much- SPRINKLES CUPCAKES!

They had flourless chocolate today, so we tried that. I’m on the fence if I like it.  I finally realized that it is for passover…..

Some questions I frequently get asked:

Are they the best cupcakes you’ve ever had? No, but they are really good and the setup of the store is so inviting it makes you want to go back.

Is the line an hour long? No, on the weekends I’ve waiting about 15 minutes. They are very organized and get people in and out quickly.

Is it really a tourist attraction? YES! I didn’t feel awkward taking pictures there because everyone was.

Is the red velvet their best flavor? No, not at all (IMO)….My favorites are chocolate marshmallow, dark chocolate banana, peanutbutter chip, and vanilla with chocolate.


Soda

Soda grosses me out.

Regular soda is so sweet it makes me sick to my stomach, and diet soda has strange chemicals I wish not to put in my body.

Unfortunately, water and tea can get pretty boring.

My new obsession is Drysoda.

It only has a few ingredients (all that you can pronounce) and tastes (in my opinion) how soda should taste (slightly flavored carbonated water)…..

My favorite flavors are Lavendar and French Vanilla.

YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS!

I stole this post because everyone reading my blog needs to make this!

Here is the original link:

http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2008/11/the_best_brocco.html

The Best Broccoli of Your Life

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You know you’ve done something right with broccoli when the person you made it for describes it to someone else the next day as “better than biting into a steak.”

Those were Craig’s words and they were a marked change from the first words he uttered about the broccoli, before he bit in: “You made broccoli for dinner? Broccoli and sweet potatoes?”

Then he did bite in and his eyes lit up. “Oh my God,” he said. “This is the best broccoli I’ve ever had in my life.” Later he said: “If parents made this broccoli for their kids, kids wouldn’t hate broccoli. They’d beg for it.”

So what did I do to the broccoli to make it taste so good?

I can’t take any credit. The credit goes to that formidable force in my foodie life; namely, The Barefoot Contessa. From the very beginning, when I used to go to book stores and copy recipes out of her books on little index cards that I kept in my pocket, Ina Garten’s recipes have proved to be that perfect combination of simple yet sophisticated; she maximizes flavors in ways that are both ingenious and incredibly replicable. Anyone can do an Ina recipe yet when you taste the finished product, it doesn’t taste that way; it tastes like it was made by a pro.

I’m going to have a hard time this week not posting all of the recipes from her new book, Back To Basics. In the past few days alone, I’ve made her roasted pears with blue cheese and walnuts; her roasted sweet potato wedges (which I wrote about in the previous post); and from her “Parties!” book, her butternut squash soup and her roasted pork loin. As you can tell from these recipe titles, The Barefoot Contessa loves roasting.

Specifically, she loves roasting vegetables at a high temperature until they caramelize. That’s the basic premise of most of her vegetable recipes in most of her cookbooks and that’s precisely what makes her broccoli recipe the best you’ve ever had.

Normally, broccoli gets squishy when you cook it. Not this broccoli; it develops an amazing brown crust in spots. Then you toss it with lemon juice, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese and you’re in heaven.

Seriously, this recipe is so easy I can recite it without looking at the book. (Ok, I’m lying, I’m about to open the book just to double check….)

You preheat the oven to 425.

Take 4 to 5 pounds of broccoli (I just got two large bunches), cut into florets (but relatively big ones.) Here’s the key that she doesn’t mention in the recipe: dry them THOROUGHLY. That is, if you wash them. I saw an episode of Julia Child cooking with Jacques Pepin once when Pepin revealed he doesn’t wash a chicken before putting it in a hot oven: “The heat kills all the germs,” he said in his French accent. “If bacteria could survive that oven, it deserves to kill me.” By that logic, then, I didn’t wash my broccoli; I wanted it to get crispy and brown. If you’re nervous, though, just wash and dry it obsessively.

Now, it’s easy. Put the broccoli on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. (She says 5 Tbs olive oil, 1 1/2 tsps kosher salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, but I just eyeballed it.) Now add 4 garlic cloves that are peeled and sliced and toss them in too.

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Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until “crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.”

I shook the pan around a bit as it went, but not sure that’s necessary.

When it’s done, take it out of the oven–and here’s where it gets really good–zest a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze the lemon juice over the broccoli, add 1.5 Tbs more olive oil, 3 Tbs toasted pine nuts (I left those out), and 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. She also has you add 2 Tbs julienned fresh basil, but I left that out too.

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You won’t miss it: the magic combo of the crispy broccoli, the garlic, the lemon and the cheese will make this the best broccoli of your life. I guarantee it; you will go ga-ga over it. I’m so ga-ga over it that I would seriously consider a trip right now to the store just so I could make this for lunch. Broccoli for lunch? After trying this, you’ll never want to eat anything else for breakfast, lunch or dinner ever again.

Our first taste of Ethiopian food!

We “needed” to go to Disneyland a few days ago. I was hearing great things about this Ethiopian restaurant in the ghetto of Anaheim. We decided to have lunch there before we went to see the big mouse.
It was delicious! Most of the food is vegetarian with the staple being lentils. We also had some really tender lamb.

You eat everything with your hands. Well, actually your utensil is an Ethiopian flat-bread called Injera. It looks like a giant spongy crepe and tastes a bit like sourdough bread. Basically you rip a piece of bread off and collect whatever bit of dip of meat you want with it.

The owner knew we were adopting and we were talking about how important it was to feed our daughter familiar things when she comes home. I asked if Injera was easy and she laughed…that was a bad sign.

I guess Injera is made of barley and a gain called “teff” that is located only in and around ethiopia. To make Injera it takes 3 days and 3 nights. Luckily, you can buy Injera at the restaurant we went to. Apparently all of the other dishes are pretty easy to make (or so she says!)

“AT” surprisingly LOVED the food.

RECIPE: Chocolate Pots!


This is better than Chocolate Mousse! By FAR! The chocolate seal on the top is the best part.

INGREDIENTS
1 2/3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces ORGANIC semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped ( I use Black and Green brand) 70% Cacao
6 large egg yolks

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk to blend and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until all chocolate has melted. Remove from heat.

3. In a large bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Then, in a slow, steady stream, add chocolate-cream mixture, whisking until smooth. (if you poor to fast or don’t whisk fast enough you will cook the eggs and ruin the dessert!)

4. Divide mixture among 6 ramekins or small custard bowls (about 6 ounces each), and place them in a large high-sided baking dish or baking pan. Make a bain-marie, or water bath, by pouring cold water into baking dish so it comes halfway up sides of ramekins or custard bowls.

5. bake on center rack 1 hour, or until custards jiggle slightly in center when gently shaken (custards will thicken as they chill). Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until cold. Serve cool.