Growing up, my mother didn’t cook dinner, and if she did, it was never more complicated than an omelet. Most of the time, dinner consisted of leftovers from her elaborate, well-labored over multi-course lunches (two or three different salads, a main meat dish with vegetables, bread and fruit or a homemade dessert of sorts). Tortillas, being slightly more complex than omelets, only made an occasional appearance on our dinner table; sometimes they were part of lunch.
I’m used to grain-free baking so I had different ideas for a Passover dessert and this certainly wasn’t the first one to pop in my head. But as soon as I thought coconut macaroons, there was no longer question of anything else. Coconut macaroons are traditional Passover food which means that families would have them in their homes already, and all they would need is spare a couple to make this dessert. Things just made sense and fell right into place. Not that they would have if I didn’t think coconut macaroons tasted absolutely amazing. They have always been one my favorite cookies.
As the weather starts getting warmer, outdoor grilling, weekend barbecues and dinners alfresco become very attractive to me. I know I live in a place where it’s warm all the time but I like to follow the rhythm of the seasons nevertheless. I get excited about climatic changes no matter how subtle they are here in the Sunshine State.
I had some doubts about what to title this post and after much thought I had to call these kebabs “juicy” because they are so moist, tender and dripping with flavor. The marinade is really simple. You probably have all the ingredients for it already and no excuse for not making this recipe (Okay, maybe you do if you’re a vegetarian but even so, you should make a once in a lifetime exception. You can always blame your temptation on me if you feel guilty afterwards). The longer you marinate these kebabs, the more flavorful and tender they will get, and the happier you will be. Serve them with a fresh green salad or one of these fine salads for a fantastic spring meal.
This week is Spring Break where I live, but, no, I haven’t been tanning all day or partying all night (perhaps this weekend). I have been having a quiet stay-at-home week, living the stay-at-home-mom life, waking up slowly, cooking simple meals, spending hours at Barnes & Noble with Maya every day, browsing children’s books and reading cookbooks and gossip magazines. Quite an uneventful, ordinary (or rather extraordinary) week but one we enjoyed every bit of.
Amid the peaceful redundant rhythm of our week’s routine, I made these muffins. I’m usually a sweet-muffin-or-no-muffin-at-all type of girl but I have been doing some soul searching for likings that haven’t surfaced yet, and deep down, very deep down, I have found a craving for savory muffins ready to materialize. I gathered my ingredients and improvised these — yes, I’m one of those people who can cook and bake without a recipe. Don’t hate me for that, please.
What better way to showcase gorgeous spring berries than to frame them in clear aspic where their colors brightly shine through and their flavor is minimally fiddled with.
The beauty of this dessert is in its simplicity, not to mention that it’ll make you want to be playful and dig out those whimsical molds, forgotten brioche tins and ornate bundt pans. It can serve up to twelve people which makes it perfect for parties. Kids love it!!
Enjoy it with ice cream or lots of whip cream, and by all means, have seconds, if you feel like it. It’s all berries and tea — well mostly.
Every year at this time, the weather in South Carolina is nice and nippy, if not mildly frigid. I was hoping to catch a last dose of winter but this year, it was as warm as we had left it in Florida. I was disappointed, but only slightly, since staying home for the party is mostly what we do when we go there. Not that I’m discounting that. It’s something we rarely get to make time for. I mean, really, it’s a luxury these days to just sit around for a whole weekend, spend time with family, eat and chat all day long.
Our only outside adventure was a neighborhood treasure hunt, with frequent pauses to admire the new spring blossoms.
The party was smaller this year, consisting of about thirty people. Cheerful Irish music was playing as we ate, drank and had a sheer good time in our green paraphernalia. We’re so thankful to our hosts for always hospitably opening their home for the party.
These sweet, spiced whole wheat buns are a perfect Easter treat—or breakfast indulgence, if you don’t celebrate. They are not iced like traditional ones but simply stamped with a cross and sprinkled with turbinado sugar.
Oh so good.
It’s time to celebrate my favorite saint of all. We are spending the weekend in South Carolina with family like we do every year. I’m expecting some seriously good times and will take lots of photos to share with you—perhaps even a recipe if John’s mom lets me have her secret soda bread recipe. I hope your weekend is fabulous.
When making this aspic, I couldn’t help but think eighties French buffet in Morocco. The last time I’ve seen or had aspic at a restaurant was probably in the early nineties in Marrakesh where vegetable, salad and meat aspics were a hotel buffet staple. Nobody seems to make aspic anymore and I’m feeling a bit retro preparing this but the memories of how much I liked it are coming back strong and I’m feeling like creating at least a few aspics this spring. I think they’re great for warm, sunny weather.
I have never liked doughnuts though I tried. When my family visited from Morocco a few years back, I bought them doughnuts to offer them a little taste of Americana, they didn’t like them. My French friends don’t like them either. I have come to the conclusion that doughnuts –along with football and baseball—may be one of those things that you have to be born here to be able to appreciate.
I thought I’d give baked doughnuts a shot. First, I’m still recovering from a few oil burns (nothing serious, don’t worry.) so there was no question of me getting anywhere near hot oil. Second, I figured that the fact that they’re fried may be the reason why I never liked them.
Now I can say that I like doughnuts. These doughnuts. No others!
If they’re not all that authentic to your taste, forgive the Moroccan. She tried! Her promise to you, though, is that they’re really really good.
It is no secret on this blog that I love red lentils. I love how fast they cook. I love how soft they get when cooked, almost like a mash but not quite. I could think of a dozen ways to make them yet I always tend to cook them up into a soup or stew. Here, they are seasoned with cumin, a hearty dose of lime juice and some red onion. A simply delicious, satisfying dinner.