Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Madeleines with Lemon Curd and Raspberries

Sometimes procrastination can last for moments or days.  At other times, it can endure for...(gasp!) years.  Well, my intentions with the French tea cake/cookie of sorts, le Madeleine, fell to the latter end of the spectrum.  I had been planning to make them for what seemed like forever, even buying these many years ago, to spur myself along.  But, alas, nothing, nada, caput.  At least until the burst of inspiration, that is, by now, my signature for abandoning myself to recipes and dishes I am compelled to make, entered the scene.  And then, I just had to bake them.

Beyond the light, cake-cookie texture and citrus undertone of these French delicacies, I was eager to make this recipe so I could adorn them with homemade lemon curd (so. good.) and fresh raspberries--for the ultimate sweet  (but not overly so) bite.  

Pleased with the results, I decided to add them to the menu of my first, Pop Up cooking class that launched this past weekend.  They were a hit, as I expected...but more about that in a future post. :)  The menu decision further compelled me to try and tweak several recipe variations before landing on my final version for the class and resulted in me baking madeleines like they were going out of style!  

I'm not one to keep something this good--and easy and fun--to myself, so today's post is serving up the first recipe I tried and loved.  Note: the measurements are slanted to the UK metric system, so plan on pulling out your kitchen scale for this one.  It's quite a forgiving recipe along those lines, however, so enjoy and... 
Happy Eating! 



Friday, April 4, 2014

Shaved Vegetable Salad

Spring on a Plate: Shaved Vegetable Salad
With Spring finally making its arrival, one of things I relish most is the lighter touch I can give to dishes.   With this inspiration in mind, and with the kinder weather in tow, I plan to ramp up my visits to local farmers markets to enjoy more of the fresh, vibrant produce that’s perfect for spring eating.

I got a slight head start recently with this simple, yet elegant and delicious, Shaved Vegetable Salad.  Driven by the vegetables’ vibrant colors, I love bringing this dish together, in a matter of minutes, and enjoying it as an appetizer or light lunch course.  Oozing with the vibrancy of this season, it is nothing short of Spring on a plate.

Happy Eating!

Shaved Vegetable Salad with Classic Vinaigrette

Yellow Squash
Brussels Sprouts
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Generous pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sprinkling of fresh herbs (optional)

For Salad: Using a vegetable peeler, shave raw zucchini, squash, asparagus and brussels sprouts. Stack the zucchini and squash shavings and roll into small circles.  Stand the circles up on the serving dish and adorn with the asparagus and brussels sprout shavings.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette (recipe follows) and garnish with a sprinkling of fresh herbs. 

For Vinaigrette: Combine the vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.  Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the vinegar mixture and continue whisking until the dressing thickens.  Store refrigerated in an airtight container.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

D.M.R. Fine Foods Launches Pop Up Cooking School!

I've been a busier bee than usual over the last while, as I eagerly prepare for--and anticipate--the 1st class of my newly launched cooking school.  To say I'm excited is an understatement, if ever there was one.  

If you know anything of my food story, then you may know that I began sharing my passion for the world of food and teaching cooking techniques several years ago as a culinary instructor for Williams-Sonoma.  Since then, I've had the pleasure of continuing my instruction through articles, blog posts, recipes, videos, guest chef demonstrations and private consultations.  

Now I'm eager to widen the net with more up close and personal instruction to fuel your inner chef!  With my Techniques and Tastings(TM) classes, I will teach and demonstrate cooking techniques, dish sample tastings from featured recipes--and bring the joy of cooking to life!

And I want you to join me.  There's still time to register and make your plans to be there on Saturday, April 12th at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market; get all the details here.

I hope to see you there! Bring your appetite and prepare to indulge in Happy Eating!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mint Ice Cubes: {Spring in a Glass}

If you're celebrating the recent arrival of Spring, then you'll want to add this to your list: mint ice cubes.  And if you have to ask why, it's because nothing says Spring (in a glass, at least) like gorgeous, herbal ice cubes.  The bright pop of color, coupled with the extra flair, will take your favorite sips to the next level of toast-worthiness faster than you can say "cheers".

So the next time the occasion calls for it, go ahead and pour. chill. sip. and repeat--with Spring-infused ice cubes!  

Happy Sipping!

Mint Ice Cubes
Fresh Mint Leaves
Equipment: Ice Trays

Place a mint leaf in each tray compartment.  Fill with water and freeze.  Enjoy!      

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Birthday Dinner at King + Duke's

Yesterday brought the wonderful gift of another birthday.  I love birthdays and happen to enjoy celebrating my own with rounds of special occasions shared with family and dear friends.  And this year was no exception.  Starting with a Friday night outing and carrying over with other special touches throughout the weekend, my celebration culminated with an amazing dinner shared with a special friend.  

Over the last few months, I began noticing press on one of Atlanta's newer additions to the Buckhead foodscape, King + Duke, helmed by Chef Ford Fry of other favorite Atlanta dining spots.  So when the time to decide on the location of my birthday dinner rolled around, I tossed King + Duke into the pot for consideration, leaving the final decision to my friend who was celebrating me--and for that extra element of surprise that makes birthdays so fun.

King + Duke was crowned the winner and last night we embarked on a journey of varied tastes, some familiar and some not so familiar, but on my running foodie bucket list.  An open fire delivered up roasted, smoky and charred cuisine conveyed through delicacies such as Roasted Bone Marrow and Rabbit 4 Ways.   Succulent sea bass, creamy polenta, warm popovers, and a virtual sea of chocolate for the dessert course, rounded out the evening's presentations and made for a satisfying meal befitting this birthday girl--and the perfect ending to my day days of celebration.

Bread Course
Roasted Bone Marrow
Rabbit 4 Ways
Dark and Cozy Interiors
Happy Eating! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Spring Lamb Stew

"Is it Spring yet?"  If I had to guess, I'd say that's probably the question most lingering on everyone's minds these days.  Especially after the type of winter we've been having.  And especially after the interludes of warm and sunny days that have shown up recently.

While the calendar is clear that Spring is still a little ways off, I decided to hurry it along just a bit--in my kitchen, at least.  Feeling inspired by the abundant sunshine last weekend, I cooked up a bright Lamb Stew as my personal ode to Spring.

On the lighter side of a more traditional stew, this dish serves up lamb, vegetables, herbs and aromatics, bathed in richly flavored broth, for the perfect bowl of Springtime indulgence.

So here's to a Spring that's sure to be filled with brighter days...and Happy Eating!

Spring Lamb Stew

printable recipe

Lamb shoulder
1 onion, diced
1 bouquet garni of thyme and rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
Carrots, chopped
Green Peas (frozen or fresh)
4 cups chicken broth
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat.  Season the lamb with salt and pepper and add to the pot.  Sear on both sides, remove and set aside.  Add onions and carrots and saute until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add in broth, bouquet garni, and lamb.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Allow to simmer for 25 minutes.   Add in the green peas and asparagus and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve and enjoy!


Friday, February 28, 2014

Mini Sausage Rolls

Puff pastry has been in my life a lot recently.  You may recall these chocolate croissants that served up a bit of sweet goodness not too long ago.  And now--just a little while later--I'm back again with a savory rendition of this most loved star ingredient.  A small, elegant, scrumptious rendition that makes for the perfect appetizer, snack or cocktail bite--sausage in puff pastry, to be exact.  

I started with my favorite Italian sausage and encased it in the flaky, buttery puff pastry dough, accented with a smear of dijon mustard (for extra kick) and a sprinkling of fresh herbs (for extra joie de vivre--and color!).  Sealed and crowned with flaked sea salt and freshly ground pepper, they were baked off to golden, succulent perfection and soon devoured--I mean savored bite by bite. :)

Great things often come in simple and small packages, and these mini sausage rolls more than measure up. 

Happy Eating!

Mini Sausage Rolls

Recipe courtesy of Lorraine Pascale

(Cook's Note: I "free-styled" a bit by using my sausage of choice, adding dijon, using herbs I had on hand, etc., and didn't stress too much about the exact measurements of the dough.  It's an easy recipe that lends itself to your creativity, so have fun, and I'm sure the results will show!)