Friday, August 31, 2012

Peanut Butter and Cocoa Almond Spread Cookies!

I recently discovered Trader Joe's Cocoa Almond Spread when searching for some Nutella to make these cookies. It is similar to Nutella, except made with almonds, and may even be better! These cookies are simply just... YUM! I adapted the recipe from Simply Scratch. I replaced the oats (not a fan) with almond meal, and was very pleased with the results. I also added in some vanilla extract in addition to using the Cocoa Almond Spread. Next time I will throw in some chocolate chips for added decadence! Drop a dollop of raspberry jam in the middle, and these very well could become one of my top most craveable cookies of all time!


1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon milk (I used soy)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter (the crunchy works really well here!)
1/2 cup cocoa almond spread or Nutella
3/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.  In a large bowl, mix together egg, brown sugar, milk, vanilla, peanut butter, and almond spread. Add in salt, baking soda, and almond meal. Drop heaping teaspoons onto the prepared pan. Shape into a ball for nice, round cookies. Bake for 8 minutes. This timing was impressively exact! As difficult as it may be, let the cookies cool for 10 minutes before transferring from cookie sheet to serving plate, or mouth! 

Excellent alone by the spoonful!


ground up almonds

peanuts, chocolate, and almonds, oh my!
The perfect cookie!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Julia's Beef Bourguignon

Here it is! The final recipe for the JC100 blogger event honoring the great, late Julia Child! Her famed Beef Bourguignon! She would've turned 100 today. Forever an inspiration, her legacy lives on. Participating in this event has been fun, and I have more of an appreciation for French cooking, Julia, and keeping up with regular blog posts! I wonder what Julia would have thought about the use of technology and how it can easily bring so many people together sharing experiences cooking up her dishes around the world! Truly incredible. Every dish was unique in itself, just like Julia. Once my waistline recovers , I will continue experimenting with French cuisine, perhaps delve more into desserts (of course).

Beef Bourguignon is one of the more complicated dishes. It takes time, and there are many steps, but very delicious, making it well worth the time and effort.  I started the dish on the stove and transferred to a slow cooker. I will be invested in a nice cast iron casserole dish and make this again to compare. Though, I will wait until the winter. This dish is heavy and will heat up your kitchen! I did not cook the mushrooms and onions separately like the recipe suggests due my own time constraints. I added them right into the slow cooker with everything else. Although the dish still came out delicious, I would make Julia's mushrooms and onions next time around. I also added in some fingerling potatoes and fresh tomato which added some color and additional flavor. Enjoy!

(serves 6 people)

6oz chunck O bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
3lbs. lean stewing beef, cut into 2" cubes
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
1teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups full-bodied young red wine (Chianti is suggested)
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned bouillon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
crumbled bay leaf
blanched bacon rind

18 to 24 small white onions, brown-braised in stock (recipe found on page 483 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child)
1lb. quartered, fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter (recipe found on page 513 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child)
Preheat oven to 425F
Saute the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 3 minutes until lightly brown. Remove, and sauté the beef after drying with paper towels (the beef will not brown if it is damp). sauté a few pieces at a time in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely brown. Add to the bacon. In the came pan, sauté the vegetables. Pour out the Sautéing fat. This is where you would return the beef and bacon to the casserole, toss with salt and pepper, and lightly coat with flour. I left in the sauté pan and did this. You then put the casserole (or sauté pan) in a preheated over for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to the over for 4 more minutes (this brown the flour and covers the meat with a nice crust). Remove casserole and turn down the heat to 325.

Stir in the wine, and enough stock to just cover the meat. Add tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind (I omitted the rind). Bring to a simmer on stove top. Cover and place in over for 21/2 to 3 hrs. I placed everything in the slow cooker on low heat for 3hrs. Meat is done when fork easily pierces the meat.


A nice medley of mushrooms

beef in bacon fat

Beautiful Bourguignon

Bon Appétit

*Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Julia's Scallops Gratinéed

The 100th anniversary of Julia's birth is fast approaching on the 15th! Many area restaurants are serving up some of Julia's classic dishes. I recently enjoyed an incredible sole meunière dish over at Clio.

Sole Meunière by Chef Douglas Rodrigues of Clio
Recipe number fourteen for the JC100 blogger event is Scallops Gratinéed with wine, herbs, and of course...butter (Coquilees St. Jasques a la Provencale)! Oh, and cheese, butter....and more butter! The minced onions, shallots, and garlic cooked with wine in this recipe makes for a very delicious sauce. Be sure to have a nice baguette or favorite bread with this dish for soaking it all up!


1/3 cup minced yellow onions
5 tablespoons butter (!!)
11/2 tablespoons minced shallot, or green onions
1 clove minced garlic
11/2 lbs. washed scallops
salt and pepper
1 cup flour
2/3 cup white wine, or 1/2 cup dry vermouth and 3 tablespoons water
1/2 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup grated swiss cheese

Cook onions slowly in butter for 5 minutes or so, until tender and translucent, but not browned. Stir in the shallots or onions, and garlic, and cook slowly for 1 minute more. (Your kitchen will small incredible right about now). Dry scallops and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Just before cooking, sprinkle with salt and pepper, roll in flour, and shake off excess. Saute scallops quickly in very hot butter and oil for 2 minutes to brown them lightly. If you have people waiting to eat these, the aroma will make it very difficult for them to wait for this dish. I highly recommend serving them a cheese plate ahead of time to prevent someone from coming in the kitchen and burning their fingers in hot oil and butter when they try to steal a scallop! Next, pour the wine (or vermouth) and water, into the skillet with scallops. Add the herbs and cooked onion mixture. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Uncover, and if necessary, boil down the sauce rapidly for a minute until it is lightly thickened (I let it boil down for a few minutes). Spoon the shallots and sauce evenly into shells, or individual casserole dishes. Sprinkle with cheese and dot with butter (!). Run under moderately hot broiler for 3 to 4 minutes to heat through, and to brown the cheese lightly. Enjoy!!!

Did I mention that there was butter in this recipe?!

Bon Appétit!

 *Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cheese Soufflé

Recipe number thirteen in the Julia Child, JC100 blogger event is a cheese soufflé. A throwback to my childhood, this was the first Julia recipe I ever made, and at the age of eleven! I wrote down the recipe word for word while watching the episode. With determination, and a little help from my ever so patient, and supportive mother, I successfully made the soufflé! Julia had a way of making you believe that cooking complex French dishes can be fun. A soufflé can be intimidating at first attempt. As a child, I remember believing that loud noises would cause the soufflé to collapse! While that may not really have much to do with the success of the soufflé coming out well, preparation and careful folding of the egg whites do play an important part. I kept a close eye on this soufflé while it was in oven. It came out light, fluffy and delicious. Although I attached a collar to the baking dish, it was not needed as the dish I used was a little large to achieve the great height that is so classic to the soufflé. I will try using a smaller dish next time for the dramatic effect.  You will impress your guests while having fun making this dish. I highly recommend this cheese soufflé for any meal!


2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese, or other hard cheese
21/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup hot milk
1/2 teaspoon paprika
speck of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites
1 cup coarsely grated swiss cheese (I used emmental)

Preheat oven to 400F. Set oven rack to the lower third level of oven.

A Béchamel Sauce is used for thickening in this recipe. Stir and cook the butter and flour over medium heat, in a saucepan with a heavy bottom for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool a moment, and our in all of the hot milk, and whisk vigorously to blend. The mixture will immediately thicken. Boil slowly for 3 minutes. Whisk in seasoning, and remove from heat. One by one, whisk in egg yolks.

In a separate, clean bowl, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Scoop a quarter of the egg whites on top of the sauce and stir them in with a wooden spoon. Turn the rest of the egg whites on top; rapidly and delicately fold them in, alternating scoops of the spatula with sprinkles of the swiss cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the soufflé is brown , and is either 2 or 3 inches over the rim of the baking dish, or when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Serve immediately. 

fluffy, light, and cheesy!

sparkling wine goes very well with the soufflé!
Bon Appétit

*Excerpted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child. Copyright © 1989 by Julia Child. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Julia's Provencal Tomatoes

A classic vegetable dish for any occasion, provencal tomatoes is recipe number twelve honoring Julia Child. Light, simple and delicious. The perfect summer side, or try adding some crab, shrimp, or clams to the stuffing and serve as a main course.


3 large, ripe tomatoes
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 teaspoon herbs de provence
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Brush a shallow baking dish with olive oil. Cut tomatoes in half, gently squeeze each half, remove juice, and scoop out seeds. arrange halves in shallow baking dish. Stir together bread crumbs, shallots, dried herbs, grated cheese, and chopped parsley in a small bowl. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, tossing well to moisten crumbs evenly. Spoon stuffing into the tomato halves. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of each half. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the topping has browned.

Bon Appétit 

* Excerpted from Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home by Julia Child and Jacques Pépin. Copyright © 1999 by A La Carte Communications. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Juilia's Ratatouille

"Ratatouille perfumes the kitchen with the essence of Provence" - Julia Child
Recipe number eleven for the JC100 Julia Child blogger event did just that to my kitchen! I do not speak french, but I am actually hearing somewhat of an Inspector Clouseau type French accent in my head as I'm cooking these delicious dishes! I am channeling Julia's voice as well... it is very entertaining.  The method for cooking this dish involves cooking each of the components separately. In the end, all of the flavors blend perfectly while bringing out the best of each vegetable. I replaced parsley for thyme, and green pepper for red. This recipe is a must for using up those fresh summer veggies! I created a ratatouille pocket with some whole wheat pita bread for a nice, light lunch. Once this dish is chilled and reheated, it tastes even better! Try using different veggies, and keep it simple. The tomato mixture will compliment just about any vegetable, and the dish makes a nice side for any meal.


1 eggplant, peeled and sliced
1 zucchini, peeled and sliced
1 onion, julienned
1 red pepper, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes
~1 tablespoon thyme
olive oil
salt and pepper

Add eggplant and zucchini slices to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to let the water sweat out the slices. Pat dry with paper towels. Next, add about three tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet and saute in one even layer, the eggplant and zucchini slices for one minute on each side. They should be a little golden in color. If not, turn up the heat a little. Set aside. Saute onions and pepper for a few minutes (not until brown). Add in garlic. Layer tomato slices in an even layer on top of the onion and peppers. Cover and let cook for about 15minutes. Layer tomato mixture on the bottom of a casserole dish (or in the skillet used for cooking) with some thyme. Add a layer of eggplant and zucchini slices, followed by tomato mixture with thyme. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Bon Appétit!

*Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dessert Art by Chris Cordeiro

Pastry chef, Chris Cordeiro creates artwork for Clio. Desserts that burst with color, flavor, and inegnuity. When I first met Chris, I was interviewing Todd Maul in what is called "the dungeon"  by Chris and Todd, but I see it as more of a space where artistic and culinary expertise meet hand in hand.  Considering that dessert is my favorite meal, I was curious about the process involved with designing and creating desserts for one of the top restaurants in Boston. After dropping in for a dessert tasting, and a photo shoot, I enjoyed gathering some information to share with you!  Enjoy the photos and be sure to stop in at Clio to enjoy a Chris Cordeiro original. He is leaving Clio on September 1st and will be heading to Persimmon in Bristol, RI. where he will be focusing on his true passion, savory dishes. I will be sure to catch up with Chris in his new role, but will miss his innovative desserts at Clio.

Chocolate and Green Chartreuse Capsule
Roasted Orange, Alba Cinnamon, Chocolate Sorbet:

Chocolate Capsule, Chartreuse Anglaise, Chartreuse Gummies, roasted orange puree, alba cinnamon cream, dehydrated chocolate mousee, candied cocoa nibs, thyme infused orange foam

Raspberry and Lychee:
Candied Lime, Macadamia Nut, Sour Cream Ice Cream:

Raspberry and Lychee coral, Fresh Raspberries, Fresh Lychee, Lychee Gel, Raspberry gel, Candied lime segments, lime powder, macadamia roasted, chip and gel, sour cream ice cream

Buttermilk Bavarois
Blackberry, Violet, Oak Ice Cream:

Butter milk Bavarois, Textures of Black berry, violet cream, violet meringue, elderflower gel, oak ice cream

Kouigin (My favorite!!)


Mango Tart
Coffee, Togarashi Caramel, COconut Ice Cream:

Mango Curd, Mango puree, Coffee crumble, Togarashi Caramel,
Coconut foam, COconut IC, orange marmalade..

Visit Chris over at Clio:
370A Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215 

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