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Dark Chocolate, Cherry Almond Bark


Hello Readers,

I hope you are all preparing for a memorable Holiday season. I received some e-mails lately asking why I have not been posting new recipes. 

My husband was out of town for a week and I have been home alone with my toddler. I decided that for the month of December I was going to do some extreme workouts to build up my body muscle. I have been doing a combination of resistance training and cardio. My diet consists of lean protein and vegetables. For the entire week I did not even eat any meat. I was practically vegetarian. 

My meals were very nutritious and simple. There was nothing worth photographing or blogging about. I have been thinking about making some treats for some of my friends and family. Today I found the following recipe on Yahoo Health. Like any treat the calorie count is high. But it contains a lot of good fats, vitamin e, and omega fatty acids. 

This recipe can be made as clusters or as bark. I think the bark looks much better.

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How To Carve A Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last night I was busy making three different stuffings. Some say that the stuffing is the most important part of a Thanksgiving Dinner. I do not know if that is true, but here is what I made:

1. Apricot and Almond Stuffing
2. Apple and Pear Stuffing
3. Carrot and Ginger Stuffing

For the cranberry recipe, I made the Tangerine Cranberry recipe published by Food Wishes. It is featured below in this blog if you would like to keep it. I substituted orange for tangerine. Normally I make pumpkin pie from scratch, but due to time constraints I had to make it from a can. Sorry guys - nobody is perfect.

If you need to carve a turkey tonight, here is a quick tutorial video on how to properly cut a turkey. Rule Number One: do it in the kitchen and NOT at the table. Bon Appetit!


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Vin Chaud


When I was living in France, I went up to Alsace in December. It was beautiful and magical. What a wonderful place. In Strasbourg, near the cathedral they were having their annual March a Noel. It was a feast for the eyes.

I tried Vin Chaud for the first time. It is a traditional French beverage served at Christmas time. To be honest, I did not personally care for it. It was much too sweet for my palate  I like red wine, but this had a flavor that was too off for me.

I was planning on making it this year for Thanksgiving, but at the last minute changed my mind. It is really a Christmas drink and not a Thanksgiving Drink. Maybe in a few weeks I will give it a shot.

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Chipotle Pumpkin Soup served inside a pumpkin


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • .2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 minced garlic
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Chipotle pepper
  • 1 teaspoons curry powder
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups of pumpkin puree*
  • 1 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)**
  • 3 tbs of milk
  • 3 tbs heavy cream
  • salt to taste
When I made this recipe I fist cooked it on the stove top, then pureed it in the food processor. After it was pureed again, I heated it again on the stove. It was piping hot before pouring it into the pumpkin bowl. 

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Bûche de Noël


This year I will be making a Bûche de Noël for my family. For those of you who do not know what a Bûche de Noël is, it is a cake shaped like a log. It is served in France and certain francophone countries before Christmas.

"Buche de Noel.--Gateau symbolique qu l'on prepare chez tous les patissieres de France, a l'occasion de la fete de Noel. Cette buche se fait generalement avec des abaisses de genoise fine, qu l'on fourre avec des cremes diverses (le plus souvent, une creme au beurre), qu l'on faconne en forme de buche, et que l'on decore a la poches munie d'une couille cannellee, avec une creme au beurre aux chocolate ou au moka qui cimule l'enorce de al buche. Nota: Pour le Noel, on fait aussi un autre gateau symbolique auquel on donne l'aspect d'un sabot. Ce gateau, qu l'on fait ordinarement en nougat, se garnit de petits fours divers."
---Larousse Gastronomique, Prospere Montagne [Librarie Larousse:Paris] 1938 (p. 528)


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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Today's recipe is Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies. Normally I would make this with dried cranberries or raisins. Since my husband likes neither cranberries or raisins, I divided the batch and added the raisins to the second half. 

I first found this recipe on all.recipies.com. The problem with many of their cookie recipes is that the recipes are too large. They previously had a function where one could size up or size down the recipe. One could even convert it to metrics if they wanted. The website looks different and not as user friendly.

I cut the recipe in half by hand and changed a few things. After cutting it in half, there was too much batter. I am now in the habit of freezing my treats. 

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Kamikazi Tomato Basil Soup


After my wonderful basil plant decided to take a kamikazi suicide mission off my balcony, I had to salvage the remaining leaves and sent that wonderful plant up to basil heaven. I was really upset. That plant produced so much in a few short months. What a loss.

I used the dearly departed basil leaves in this yummy soup. This recipe called for some of my garden fresh basil leaves, onions, carrots, tomato and a few other goodies. Unfortunately I was short on tomatoes. I was able to pull some from the refrigerator, some from my garden, but it just was not enough. I decided to make it a carrot, tomato, basil soup. Why not? So long as it tastes good, who cares about the name. This soup was served as an appetizer for our main chicken dinner.

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Pictures of my Kick Ass Pumpkin



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Halloween Playlist

Hello All,

While putting together my Holiday Playlist I browsed a few others on YouTube. Linked below is a playlist published by All Recipes. I have been a contributing member of all recipes for several years. Their videos are very simple, and straight to the point. So, I linked them below.

Enjoy!


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Rainbow Bright Muffins

Rainbow Bright Muffins
This recipe is exactly the same as my Berry Orange Muffin Recipe. Click on the link >>>LINK, for recipe and basic Muffin making instructions. Remember - do not over beat these babies or they will slap you right back. 

The recipe calls for Lemonade Concentrate Juice. 






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Chocolate Cherry Cookies

missing the white chips, but still good
We’ve now arrive at my favorite time of year, Fall. The stores are stocked with Halloween decorations, candy and costumes. I love this time of year most of all because I get to make my favorite fall treats. Get ready for many recipes calling for pumpkins, corn, gourds, ham, turkey, gravy, stuffing and pies. I am always being inspired by the old and the new. What inspires me the most in the kitchen is family and tradition? I am a firm believer that families should create their own traditions.

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Brine Chicken in Salt Water

Whole Chicken Brining in Bag
I was looking to do something special with three chicken breasts. I first learned about brining meat when I found a recipe reproducing KFC chicken. Before KFC prepares their chicken, they soak it in salt water. Just plain old salt water. Salt water is the most basic brine for poultry and foul. It causes water and salt to be drawn into the chicken´s flesh making it more juicy. Brining chicken makes a big difference. It should be done at the bare minimum, four hours before cooking. Brining prevents your chicken from drying out while cooking it. 




Two major processes at work during brining:
  • Diffusion. This is when particles move from a region of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration. For example, when you're brining chicken, the brine has a lot more salt in it that the chicken. To balance things out, the salt gets absorbed by the chicken — not just on the surface, but all through the meat (although it does take a bit of time).
  • Osmosis. This is when water (or another liquid) moves through a membrane from one region that has more water to another region that has less water. When you brine chicken, you're creating just that situation: the brine has a lot more water than the chicken, so the water moves through the chicken cells, from the brine to the chicken. The result? Moister chicken!


Instead of just salt, this would be an excellent time to add other flavorings to the brine...sugar, juniper berries, whole allspice berries, pepper berries, etc. It is recommended to first boil the additional flavorings, allow the brine to cool, then add the meat. This is called boiled brine, but remember...do not put your chicken in hot water, the water must be cold. 

Brining is an easy way to get extra flavor into meat as well as moisture. I have not had a chance to brine my poultry yet, this is the first I heard about it. I will be sure to try it. 

Today I made fried chicken with a twist


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My blackberry cordial is done!

Bottled it up in an old vodka bottle. 
I must confess that when I first strained the berries I made a huge mess. About half a bottle of blackberry cordial ended up in the sink. I was pretty upset. But the cordial turned out lovely. It had a smooth taste of blackberry and it was also intoxicating. I felt it after one drink. So - go easy on this stuff. It will get you trashed.


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Blackberry Cobbler By Naomi

Yesterday I decided to start using up some of my frozen blackberries. Here is my recipe for you guys. Since the serving was so small, only two ramekins, there are no measurements that I can give you. Just follow along and you should not have a problem.


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chocolate and vanilla swirl pancakes

These were super simple to make. Just separate the batter to two bowls. In one, add vanilla extract, in the other add chocolate and sugar. Be careful not to cook these too slowly! This is a fast process and not for a novice. 

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How to Make Perfectly round cookies

Have you ever wanted to make perfectly round cookies without a cookie cutter? It takes awhile, you will have to refrigerate or freeze the dough.


Here are my photos. As usual, I take pictures of the entire process. 



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Over 60 ways to make chicken in Videos

Here is another fantastic playlist from Chef John - Over Sixty Videos about how to make Chicken. Super!


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How to make a spicy Chinese Peanut Sauce

This was a fun recipe to make. At the Seattle Library I checked out a book 500 Chinese Recipes. (image linked to the right). I thumbed through the book and found that many of the recipes had the same ingredients, rice vinegar, rice wine, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, pepper paste, fish oil, sesame oil, szechuan pepper, hoisin sauce...and a few others that escape me for the moment. 

I like things that are spicy. On a scale of 1 - 10, I like my hot factor to be about a 6.5 or a 7. Once in awhile I will take it up to an 8. 
Basic Ingredients for a Spicy Chipotle Peanut Sauce
Continue reading this blog for the recipe and photos.

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Perfect Brunch

I have often wondered what constitutes the perfect ' brunch'. Is it suppose to be a real combination between breakfast and lunch? Like a pancake sandwich? Or a breakfast soup?

This morning I put together a little brunch for my husband. It consisted of stuffed eggs, grilled tomatoes, and potato pancakes.


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Chef John's Pasta Playlist

Good Afternoon Everybody!

While my husband is at work, and I am missing him terribly, I decided to use my free time learning some new recipes from one of my all time favorite Chefs - Chef John. I chatted with him back in 2006 when I was living in Paris. He helped me put together a nice little menu of all American food that I could present to my friends.

Today I jumped over to his channel to see what was cooking. (pun intended) . I decided that today I would do something a little different and embed an entire playlist of Chef John Pasta Recipes. If you are planning on opening an Italian restaurant - just watch this playlist. You are set.

There are forty four videos here. I hope you take the time to watch them all. 

Cheers!!!


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How To Make Mustard Videos

Homemade Mustards

Today I wrote a little blurb in Naomi´s Garden, about how to grow and cultivate mustard. That blog lead me here. How to make your own mustard!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • egg yolks, beaten

Directions

  1. In a heavy saucepan combine mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar. Simmer over low heat for 3 hours.
  2. Beat egg yolks into mixture and stir until thickened. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Cool at room temperature and store in the refrigerator.


Continue Reading for some easy tutorial videos! How to make your own Mustard from scratch!

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Berry Orange Muffins

.

Mixed berry orange muffin made with blueberries, blackberries and orange juice concentrate. Follow standard muffin making instructions. Mix the dry ingredients separately (flour, baking powder, salt) Mix the wet ingredients separately (sugar, milk, juice, butter). Mix just until incorporated. Do Not over mix this batter because the muffins will come out stiff. A few spots of flour is okay. Bake at 350 until golden and delicious.

After baking the muffins, I made an orange glaze and a blackberry glaze. I drizzled both glazes on the cooling muffins. They looked and tasted wonderful!

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Making Wine and Alcohol

http://www.sterlingwineonline.com
I took the boys to the Seattle library today. I checked out a few cookbooks. Bread, Cookies, Holiday treats...and how to make wine at home. Life is really amazing. So many things that I do not know! It  makes life wonderful.

I read a few chapters of wine making, then looked up some unfamiliar terms. There are suppliers all over the country that will sell equipment to make beer, liqueur, wine, and soda. There is so much to learn and take it, I am only getting started.

Although I am not much of a drinker, I will certainly enjoy making alcohol (particularly wine), for my friends and family. Featured below are several tutorial videos about how to make different kinds of alcohol. At the end of this blog I am going to link some suppliers.



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Blackberry Orange Cobbler - Low Calorie Recipe

-Low Calorie Blackberry Orange Cobbler-
Orange-Blackberry cobbler is as fantastic low calorie dessert. This dessert calls for fresh, ripe blackberries and orange concentrate! Yummy!

 In a previous post, Paula Dean´s Peach Cobbler, I posted a Paula Dean video showing how to make the cobbler. For further instructions, click on the link above and watch the video.

 Follow her instructions step-by-step, but use my ingredients.

 She will insist that you use butter instead of margarine. You can use margarine. The crust will be fine. The filling is going to be so delicious, that you will not miss the butter. So please go to my previous post about how to make a Peach Cobbler.  Using Splenda cuts out a lot of the calories. So even though this is not the lightest dessert, it is significantly lighter than many other baked pastry or cobbler.

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Naomi´s Blackberry Wheat Bread Recipe


I made my first loaf of wheat bread last night. As usual, I photograph the entire process from beginning to end. I have some great photos here....

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Blackberry Fest Bread of Elma Washington


Blackberry Fest Bread - Proposed Official Dessert of Elma Washington

Naomi and her handmade braided sweet bread
 As some of you may know by now, my home town is Elma Washington. I have lived all over the world - Geneva, Paris, New York, Mexico City - but little Elma Washington is my home town. So in honor of my hometown I created a new traditional treat for the Elma Summer Festival held in Elma Washington every August. 

I remember when Elma had its Slug Festival. Then it was changed to the Blackberry Festival, and now it looks like that has been changed to the Outlaw Festival. After careful thought, I realized that both 'slugs'and óutlaws' are not good for the image of poor little Elma. Slugs are disgusting, and we certainly do not want to glorify criminals or outlaws. 

I decided to make my own contribution to Elma Washington by inventing a special pastry to be served during their yearly late summer festival. I am going to ask the City of Elma to consider making this dessert the Official Dessert of Elma Washington.  I would like to introduce you to Blackberry Fest Bread. This is a dessert that I invented myself.  If it is made perfectly, it is a delicious and attractive recipe that people will love both looking at....and eating. 

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Blackberry Wine and Syrup Suppliers

It is always challenging to start a new project, one that I have never tried before. This might seem shocking to people who know me in the real world, but I doubt myself all the time. I never really know if I am doing things right. I am very good at gathering information,  but sometimes I am just too lazy to flesh out things. The problem is that I take on so much, I do so much, that I cannot give all of my projects the attention they deserve. Well, that is my moment of self loathing...

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My Blackberry Plans This Year

Hello Everybody,


Coming to a breakfast table near you
If you read my gardening blog, you would know that blackberry season in Washington State (late July-August) is one of my favorite times of the year. I am a forager, like a soldier wandering the landscape for provisions, I raid our blackberry bushes with the boundless energy of a toddler. I do not tire of it. My eyes constantly scanning the bushes for hidden bundles of sweet blackberries hanging from the vine.Blackberries are free in Washington State! Anyone can pick them. But no one can pick them the way I do. 

So hop on over to Naomi´s Garden if you want to hear all about it. I do not post too much on my gardening blog right now because all I am growing are potatoes, carrots, strawberries, grape tomatoes and basil. When  we get a house, or a small farm, I will write more about my adventures in the garden. For now, it is Naomi´s adventures in the kitchen. 

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Paula Dean´s Peach Cobbler

I know that people have been giving Paula Dean a lot of crap because her food is a heart attack waiting to happen. Lets be honest for a second,  is Southern Comfort food really the kind of thing reasonable people eat every day? Or even once a week for that matter. She is not shoving her fatty food down anyone's throat.

In all seriousness though, after watching Paula Dean research her family history on a show called Who Do You Think You Are?, I came to adore this woman. I never had a mother. If I could have one, I would pick Paula. She seems like the kind of person who is easy to talk to. So yes, I am a Yankee who likes Paula Dean. I admit it. Deal with it.

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Gordon Ramsey´s Beef Wellington

Most of us know that the British are not exactly known for their food. I have never been to the UK, but I do have many friends who live there. I hear immigrants greatly improved the British culinary experience enormously. 


Former French president Jaque Chirac once said, "One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad." Within earshot of reporters he went on, "After Finland, it is the country with the worst food."

A UK spokesman said: "There are some things that it is better not to comment on."
What are they known for? Shepard's pie, fish, chips, potatoes, cabbage soup, toast and beans?  Whelp, personally I am not the biggest fan of French food. While living in France there were some things that made me want to vomit. 
Beef Wellington is a famous British dish. Some people have said it is difficult to make. I am always up for a challenge. Today I will be making Beef Wellington, and I will be following the recipe from famous British chef Gordon Ramsey. 
The first problem I encountered making Beef Wellington was that I did not have any prosciutto. I used bacon instead. I cooked the bacon a little because I am not taking any chances. The second problem I had, was that I did not prepare enough bacon and mushroom paste to ensure that the filet could be properly rolled out. So I had to go back and fix some things. I made some more bacon, and spread everything out a second time. I also wrapped and refrigerated the Wellington twice. The good thing about this recipe is that it can be made the night before.
One of the things about being a self-taught chef is that we need to learn by trial and error. Unlike baking, we can usually go back and fix things that went wrong with steaks or assemblies. Below is Gordon Ramsey´s simple Beef Wellington Recipe. He did update his recipe with a lovely Christmas version

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◆◆◆◆◆ Soufflé

The book I am reading
A few days ago I stumbled upon a charming cook book from my local library titled:  Rise To The Occasion. The book was written by the owners of Dallas Restaurant - Rise No. 1. And what do they do exactly? They make Souffés! Sweet  Souffés, Savory  Souffés and cute dainty Souffés . When I think of the word Soufflé, the first thing that comes to mind is a movie I had to watch in a French Cinema Course, La Nouvelle Vague...the movie was  À bout de souffle (1960) featuring American actress Jean Seberg (who later commit suicide in Paris, 1979) and Jean Paul Belmondo, who turned into a dirty old man pervert in dire need of Botox injections.Yeah...okay...so I went off on a tangent there. I do that sometimes. Seth McFarlane needs to hire me as a writer for Family Guy. Back to the topic of this blog...Soufflé


Wikipediasoufflé (French: [su.fle]) is a lightly baked cake made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a savory main dish or sweetened as a dessert. The word soufflé is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means "to blow up" or more loosely "puff up"—an apt description of what happens to this combination of custard and egg whites.

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Julia Child Interview from 1999

The other day I went to the local library to pick up some materials. I checked out The French Chef, Julia Child. She shows us how to roast a chicken, make Boef Bourguignon and Tripe (cow stomach).

The Tripe video was nauseating . Cow stomach! Barf


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Cooking at a high heat, 400 degrees and up

Seared Roast
The difference between baking and roasting? - the thing being cooked. If it is a liquid and you want it to become solid, then you bake it. If the food is solid and you want to cook it - then it is a roast. Baking and Roasting are both the same thing, applying dry heat to cook. The only difference is the object being cooked.

The simplest approach to roasting is placing seafood, veggies, and seasoned meat on a roasting pan, and sliding it into an oven temperature 400 or higher. The greatest benefit of high heat cooking is that foods develop a well seared exterior with a juicy savor, rare or medium rare interior. This is exactly how I like my steak. Be careful not to over cook them. Nothing is worse that rubbery meat. Roasting meat can require split second timing, you have to really baby-sit the meat. The major limitation is that high heat cooking does not work well with larger roasts. For example, large meats like Turkey or Leg of Lamb will be burnt and crusty on the outside by the time the inside is cooked. Frequent oven cleaning becomes a problem. Juices splatter and the flesh smokes the interior.

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Homemade Chicken Pot Pie Dinner

Tonight we will be having homemade chicken pot pie. I made the crust this morning, if you do not know how to make a chicken pot pie crust, go to my previous blog about how to make a Spinach Quiche. I wrote the crust recipe there.








1 cup chopped onion
2 cubes chicken consome
.5 cup chopped carrots
.5 cup frozen peas
1 cup flour
1 tbs cornstarch
1 tbs salt
2 chopped chicken breasts
.5 cup 2% milk
4 tbs butter

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Baking Bread


Very Proud of My Braided Bread


I decided to start baking my own bread. It is lucky for me that I love doing things myself. I love growing my own food from the seed, harvesting from the vine, and controlling each ingredient that goes into my recipes.

I learned how to bake bread from watching simple tutorial videos on All.Recipes








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Black Cherry Glazed Chicken



Black Cherry Glazed Chicken Breast
Today my husband came home to a treat. For dinner he had a black cherry glazed chicken breast on a bed of veggies. Sounds delicious.

Here is the recipe:
2 medium size chicken breasts
1 cup black cherries
.25 cup white vinegar
.25 cup Teriyaki sauce
.5 cup brown sugar
1 tbs salt
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp cornstarch
.25 cups water

The salad was mixed Romain, Red Lettuce, Iceberg Lettuce, Spinach leaves and cherry tomatoes. I tossed in three tablespoons of the sauce and tossed the salad. Very simple.
First I seared the chicken in a pan, then it went into the oven.  I baked it at 400 for about 10 – 15 minutes. I usually just check until it is done. 

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Kent Cornucopia Days - Vendor Spotlight

Today we took the two boys and the double stroller to Cornucopia Days, a festival mid-July located in Kent Washington. It is a celebration of food and harvest. Although most of our vendors are from Washington State, some do come from other parts of the United States. Cornucopia Days was much better this year than it was the last time I went, two years ago.

I was happy to see a lot more originality in vendors, displays and products sold. When I visit vendors, I first pay attention to see originality. Then I look for quality and uniqueness of their booth. I want to see that they care about their product enough to make their booths special and unique. I like to see the artist expressed in details. I do not care to see people selling meaningless crap. If that were the case I would move back to Brooklyn New York.

Getting a booth is not cheap. Last time I checked it was more than $300 dollars. I is certainly higher than that if one reserves a space more than 10x10. The price is high enough to make sure people care about their product and presentation.

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Homemade Pesto

Naomi Making Pesto in the Food Processor

The ancient Romans used to make a garlic slash cheese slash oil slash salt slash vinegar paste called Moretum. They ate it as a spread on bread. Today, we have a version of Moretum called Pesto. Pesto is one of my favorite sauces.

In this blog, you will see how I make pesto from scratch. The first ingredient, Sweet Basil Leaves comes directly from my garden. Then you will see each step of the process in photos.

I love pesto on shrimp, chicken, and pasta. Pesto is not a cheap product, in the store just a few ounces of it costs a few dollars but when feeding a large family this can really add up. The most expensive part of pesto, in my area, is the pine nuts. Using other kinds of nuts makes the pesto sauce turn out weird. 

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Peach Cake Brule avec Pêches Confites

Naomi's Peach Cake Brulee
After the babies were put to bed, I made my first recipe from Dominique and Cindy Duby's book Creme Brulee - 50 Decadent Recipes. The recipe I made can be found on page 18 of their book. Their recipes was Pear Cake Brulee. I sent my husband off to get me some of the supplies I needed. Their recipe called for 1/2 cup pear juice.

I brought me Peach Juice. I changed only one ingredient from their recipe. Other than that, I am following their exact instructions.

This recipe had more ingredients and was more complex. After I whipped it up and put it in the oven, I realized that it would need some candied peaches to go ontop. The candied peaches are entirely my recipe.

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Bacon Egg Cheese Quiche

Cheese and Bacon Quiche
I went to Target to buy two smaller ramekins for the ten  Crème brûlées  that I plan on making from Dominique and Cindy Duby's book -   Crème brûlée - 50 Decadent Recipes. This morning I woke up and decided to make my husband a quick quiche for breakfast. I used one of my new Ramekin. It was only $2.99. Here is my recipe in photos. Enjoy!


  • Three Eggs
  • Three ounces Mexican Cheese
  • Two ounces chopped onion
  • Two strips of bacon



I used some of the left over crust I made for the spinach quiche a few days ago. This recipe was very simple. 



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Naomi's First Creme Brulee

Naomi's First  Crème Brûlée - I had problems with the broiler method
As promised I made my first Crème brûlée today. Before I begin my diatribe about all my blunders and triumphs, I will will share my basic recipe. The ramekin is the same one that I used for the spinach quiche, so it is pretty big for this dish. I had to adjust the recipe for the ramekin volume. So here it is:

  • 3-1/2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons and 1-3/4 teaspoons white sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream

Before I began the filling I spun some sugar the night before. Or, as Dominique and Cindy Duby writes - "Caramel Recipes". These are sweet toppings to one can put on top of a  Crème brûlée, ice cream, or any other dessert. It gives the pastry a professional appearance. Their book has five pages recipes for different spun sugar toppings: basic caramel, caramel cages, caramel threads, caramel dust, pulled caramel, caramel paper, caramel glass, caramel nuts and bubble caramel. For their exact recipes and techniques you will need to buy the book.

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Spinach Breakfast Quiche

My Spinach Quiche made this morning
This morning I decided to make my husband a Spinach Quiche for breakfast. I have two medium size ceramic  ramekin bowls. ( also known as bouillon bowls) The one ramekin bowl used for this recipe was a little too big. One really does not need that many calories for breakfast. I will need to make a quick trip to Ikea to buy some smaller, more appropriate ramekins. 

There were two things that I did for this recipe the night before. I made the crust the night before, rolled it into a ball, and wrapped it up in plastic wrap. I cooked the spinach and onions with a little olive oil and salt. When they were finished, they went into the refrigerator. It is not required to make the spinach, onion, and crust the day before making your breakfast Quiche. I do it for convenience. I am not exactly a morning person. The recipe for the crust comes from a tutorial video that I watched. (It is linked below). The filling is my own personal recipe.

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Chapter One - Introduction to Crème Brûlée


Dear Readers,

Yesterday I read the first chapter of Dominique and Cindy Duby’s book, Crème brûlée – More than 50 Decadent Recipes. Today I am going write a quick abstract over the introduction to the art of making Crème brûlée. I also wanted to add one important note that Dominique and Cindy Duby’s recipes are all copy write material. Out of respect for their hard work I will not publish any of their actual recipes in this blog. The only recipe that I will publish will be a generic Crème brûlée recipe. For each of their recipes that I do make I will publish a photo of my image, and link you to either their company or another place where you can buy a copy of their book.  So let’s get on with my abstract.

Crème brûlée is a baked custard much like cheesecake is a baked custard. It consists of basically milk and eggs. Depending on how much egg or thickener used, the custard may vary in consistency. As I thought about how and why eggs are thickeners I decided to do a brief review of the egg. The egg is a protein thickener. It traps carbon dioxide when heated, which is what thickens the substance. I think that it is important to understand the chemistry behind these recipes.

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My love-hate relationship with French Food


A lot of you might find this a surprise, but I am not a fan of French food. I lived one year in a small French village. The food was....meh. Even French restaurants in New York City did not really impress me. The only French things that I really like are wine, escargot, cheese, and desserts. A lot of the food I tried was rather plain and boring. Their food is simple. I am not saying there is anything wrong with something being simple. It’s just not my thing. Or as they would say, “Ce n’est pas mon truc.”


Raclette and the human fat it turns into 30 minutes later
There are some French dishes that made me want to vomit. Raclette– potato, cheese and ham. BARF! May as well get a pound of lard and inject it right into my thighs because that is exactly where that meal is going.  I did a quick google search to make sure that I spelled Raclette correctly, then looked at some images. The images online are much nicer than reality. When I had it, it was a big disgusting mess of potato, cheese and ham. Then there was this pork apple thing I ordered in a restaurant. The smell of it was nauseating. While in Alsace, I tried their meat stew thingy. I think it was called Baeckeoffe. It looked to me like pieces of dead animal in soup, which then reminded me of that infamous scene from Fatal Attraction when crazy lady boiled that poor rabbit alive. In case you need a visual - I put this little image together in photoshop to give you an idea of EXACTLY what went thorough my mind when I tasted that disgusting crap. 
Baeckeoof and a Murdered Bunny Rabbit

I survived in France cooking all my meals at home.

When I told my husband that I was writing a blog about how I do not like French food, he said, “So – French food has made you surrender? You have....given up....on French food?” Yes, those were actual puns. Shameful but true.

Now, let’s move onto the things about French Cuisine that I do like – desserts, wine, cheese and bread. Some say that Crème Brulée was first invented by the Spanish and stolen by the French. The French say they invented it as do the British. I could care less about that controversy. It is kind of like arguing who invented the Ravioli. Many cultures have a version of a stuffed dough thingy like most cultures have a version of the pancake. 

My first Crème Brulée will be a basic recipe. Then I will move onto the Crème Brulée à la Naomi, which will be more flavorful, complex with flavor mixing in the dish not on the palate as the French so prefer.

So, get these gross images out of your head because I will have some pretty ones coming soon. 

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Crème brûlée

All my recipes will come from this library book
I have a personal belief that the number of public libraries in a community has a correlation to to that community's level of culture, intelligence, and sophistication. Public libraries are tax dollars well spent. 


It is too bad so few people are willing to take advantage of them. 


Yesterday I went to the library with my nine month old son Liam. One of the books I checked out is called: Crème brûlée, More than 50 decadent recipes. (Featured Image) I have never made Crème brûlée and I am very excited to get started. When I get my mind to learning something new, I go head in and take it to the extreme. Just as I did with the Cheesecakes, this is going to be my new culinary delight. I plan on photographing, and publishing each recipe that I make. I doubt that I will be able to work my way through the entire book because I have to watch my calories, and my husband does too. So I am thinking, ten recipes from this book should do it.


I would like to link you to the authors of this book, Dominique and Cindy Duby. They will be my teachers on this journey and I am a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due. Every recipe that I make will be coming from their book.


So, keep checking in to this blog to see the delicious burnt cream concoctions I come up with in the kitchen. 


À bientôt 

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Chicken Wellington


Made in Mexico City

When I was living in Mexico City I saw a photograph of a delicious steak Wellington. Everyone told me it was very difficult to make. I have to admit that it did look difficult. This is a variation on a French dish, filet de bœuf en croûte. It is basically a steak cooked in pastry puff. Before wrapping the steak, you layer it with mushrooms, cheese, or other flavorful goodies.

I made mine with chicken. The problem is that chicken takes longer to cook than steak. Nobody wants their chicken medium well or rare. But steak can have a little blood.

I made two Chicken Wellingtons for my husband and I. To go with it, I made a mandarin spinach salad. When it comes to dinner, I have one simple rule regardless if the main dish is simple or complex. Always serve with fresh vegetables: steamed, raw or grilled.

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