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Showing posts from August, 2011

Cherry Tomato Crostini with Ricotta - David Tanis

A Platter of Figs by David Tanis is a beautifully written and conceived cookbook.  It's one of those cookbooks where you'll read the foreword (by Alice Waters in this case) and 20 pages later realize you're still going!  I particularly enjoyed reading about the beginnings of Chef Tanis' culinary career and about his time spent running the downstairs kitchen at Chez Panisse.  It must be nice to run such a wonderful kitchen 6 months out of the year and spend the other 6 meandering along the streets of Paris...What a dream!  (sigh). This particular book is filled with simple, but flavor-packed recipes.  One of my favorite things about this book is that it is divided into sections according to the seasons and the produce that's available at that time.  Chef Tanis is known for his uncomplicated recipes, which incorporate nothing but the finest ingredients.  After all, why should a recipe be complicated and fussy when simplicity is sometimes the best way to really sho

Julia Child's Ratatouille

***If you saw my kitchen right now, you might just chuckle.  In fact, Brad thinks it's pretty funny.  What am I talking about?  Well, there are several small mountains of fresh produce meticulously arranged and on glorious display around my kitchen.  Sweet potatoes, red potatoes, green bell pepper, not one but THREE varieties of eggplant, gorgeous tomatoes, cucumbers, and even fresh basil and spearmint. In my opinion, one must take advantage of this wonderful summer produce while you can!!  Right?? This past weekend, Brad and I visited our favorite farmer's markets to see what was available.  We came home with bags of goodies, and I was super excited to get into the kitchen!   With so much eggplant and tomato on-hand, a delicious Ratatouille was a no-brainer.  And not just ANY ratatouille - Julia's!  If you are going to commit to such a classic dish, it needs to be done right.  Julia's recipe is the "proper" way to prepare one.  Each vegetable is cooked in

Tomato & Corn Salad...A great way to showcase summer's best!

This summer, I have been spoiled when it comes to fresh fruits and veggies.  One afternoon on my way home, I noticed a small produce stand on the corner not far from my house.  I quickly put my blinker on and pulled in next to the stand.  As I approached, I was greeted with a warm smile by a man named James Fields.  He had a beautiful assortment of the summer's best produce - gorgeous red tomatoes, sweet corn, peaches, eggplant, squash, peppers, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, watermelons, cucumbers, fresh honey made in my neighborhood, and even an assortment of homemade jellies to name a few things.  I was hooked from the first visit.  Ever since, I've stopped by on my way home from work several times a week to pick up some goodies.  I've rarely even purchased any produce from the grocery store these past few weeks.  I think it's SO very important to support our local farmers.  Plus, produce is incredibly fresh when you buy it locally...There's just no sub

Nutella Buttercream Frosting

Nutella Buttercream... Seriously?  Is a combination that wonderfully scrumptious sounding even legal?   Yes, my is!  My little sisters recently turned 21 years old...I can't believe it.  Where does the time go?  I guess they're not so "little" anymore.  Anyways, before their big day they dropped a few "hints" by emailing me this recipe for Nutella Buttercream Frosting.  Pretty clever, huh? They dreamed up a combination of a dark chocolate cake laced with coffee, smothered in this frosting.  I couldn't resist...It sounded just too amazing.  So, I decided to use one of my very favorite chocolate recipes as the base.  You can find the RECIPE HERE .  This particular cake recipe is incredible because an entire cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee is added right to the cake batter.  It always comes out perfectly moist and delish...without fail! One taste of this frosting, and I was smitten.  After all, they had me at the word Nutella!  This fro

Dreamy Dark Chocolate Sorbet

*** Whew, it's been a scorching summer here in Alabama, with record-breaking temperatures and sunny days.  I don't know about you, but I am looking forward to the cooler days of the fall season - filled with pumpkins, beautiful foliage and dishes made with apples, pears and butternut squash! Around here, one of the best ways to beat this summer heat is a cold, refreshing bowl of ice cream or sorbet....homemade, of course!  This Dark Chocolate Sorbet is quite simply amazing.  It only has 1 gram of fat per serving, but you wouldn't know it by tasting a bite!  It's decadent but won't make you feel guilty after you down a bowl. Plus, there are only 5 ingredients...water, sugar, salt, cocoa powder and vanilla extract.  Sorbet doesn't get much better than that, especially if you have an automatic ice cream maker to do most of the work. If these hot summer days have you hot and sunburned, try a bowl of this sorbet.  It will cool you down and put a smile on you