Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sourdough toast with Avocado, Poached Egg,
and Marinated Feta

This is what I had for dinner tonight. Usually, this is more of a breakfast type meal, but my day was hectic. We didn't eat til 7:30 which, is unusual for us. So, I wanted to just make something simple and yummy. And, everyone loves avocado right? Funny thing. Before I was pregnant with my first child, I HATED avocado. I am not a picky eater at all, but oh my gosh, did I hate avocado. I thought the texture was the weirdest thing ever, it freaked me out. Then, when I got pregnant, all I wanted was avocado. It was like a light flipped on, angels sang down from heaven, and from then on out, I loved it. 
Did you know the oldest record of avocado was dated back to 10,000 B.C. in Mexico? People loved avocado since forever! Did you also know it's just a big berry?


Sourdough Loaf
2 Avocados
1 Lemon
Olive Oil
Fresh Parlsey
Fresh Rosemary
2 Eggs
Feta Cheese
Balsamic Vinager
Fresh Thyme

Alright, so I first sliced up my bread and set it aside. Next, I got out my bowl and I sliced my avocados, added it to the bowl along with the juice of 1/2 lemon, some parsley and rosemary and some salt. I put it in the fridge to wait. 
In a little bowl, I added some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and some thyme. I added some feta and put that in the fridge to marinate.
I got out a pot, and I boiled some water. This is when you poach the egg. Poaching eggs isn't easy, but this is the way I found easiest. When the water was boiling, I cracked an egg into a ladle. I gently lowered it into the water, turning the heat down so it was still hot but not boiling. I put it into the water, and waited for it to cook.You want it to look fluffy, like a cloud, but the yolk should be runny still. I did that with both eggs, separately.
I then scooped the avocado onto the toast, added the egg with some salt and pepper, and the side of cheese, and you're done!

Smoked Salmon Salad with Creme Fraiche

Hello! Yesterday for lunch, I was craving salmon. I didn't really feel like cooking, so I decided smoked salmon would do. I decided to make a creme fraiche with lemon and dill for a dressing on a smoked salmon salad.
Nom nom noms. Creme Fraiche is very easy to make! If you've never had it, the most similar thing I can compare it to is sour cream, but it's not sour cream. It's different. Creme Fraiche is really good to thicken sauces, because it handles high temperatures without splitting. 
Creme Fraiche originates in Normandy, but is now widely associated with French food. And making it is easy! All you need to do is get out a jar and add 1 cup whipping cream to 2 tablespoons buttermilk and combine well. Leave for 8- 24 hours at room temperature, and then refrigerate for up to 10 days. How easy is that?

Creme Fraiche
olive oil
smoked salmon
cherry tomatoes

This one was easy, I just mixed the creme fraiche with a squeeze of lemon, a few shakes of dried dill and 1 teaspoon of olive oil and mixed it together, adding a bit of salt.
Then I put the arugula on a plate, some salmon, tomatoes, and a dollop of creme fraiche. Gah, I hate that word.."dollop".

Oh, and:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Beef Stew

Hey there lovelies! Yesterday, with it somewhat fall like here in AZ ( 84 degrees! Brr!) I decided I wanted to make Beef Stew. This is Shane's favorite. He always begs me to make beef stew, he even tried to make "stew sundays" which, never caught on. But once in a while I will grab all the stuff and surprise him with it. Yesterday was the day. 
I usually make stew with just regular potatoes, but I was feeling fall-y and decided to make it with orange sweet potatoes, which I found to be delicious. Shane liked it but I know he likes it with regular potatoes best.  "But look how colorful it is!", I said to him. I don't think color matters to a meat and potatoes guy. 
Every time I make beef stew, I always feel so cozy and homey. Kind of like I should be wearing a bonnet and living on a prairie, and Shane should be wearing suspenders or something. Is that weird? I mean,  I don't own a bonnet or anything.
Apparently, people have been making stew forever. I read that there are stew recipes in the old Roman cookbook Apicius written back in the fourth century. As well as in the French cookbook Viandier .


Stew meat
Sweet Potatoes (or regular, whatever you want)
Olive Oil

So, take a freezer bag and add a cup of flour, and your stew meat. Shake it all around! Get your pot, and add some olive oil to the bottom of it. Once it's heated, add a few pieces of meat, with the excess flour shaken off, and brown it on all sides. Once all your meat is brown, add in your sliced onion to the oil on the bottom of the pot. Sautee until translucent, and then begin to add some flour to the bottom, stirring as it thickens. Once you are done, add the rest of your beef, cubed sweet potatoes, and carrots back into the pot. Cover with water, and let simmer for an hour and a half. Once the time has passed, come back and lets thicken the stew. I just make a roux. In a cup, I add some flour, and some of the stew water and stir until there are no lumps. Pour it back in and continue that process until you are happy with the consistency. Add your frozen peas in, and wait about 20 minutes to serve!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Peach and Blackberry Smoothie 
With Coconut Oil and Raw Indian Honey

So, for the last few days, I have been eating just horribly. I abandoned my diet and just ate everything I came across. It was fun and horrible all at the same time. I woke up feeling yucky and ashamed and decided I need to get back on track, even more then i was before. So, you'll be seeing a lot more healthy recipes in here now.
I never eat breakfast. It freaks me out. But, I can drink a smoothie in the morning at least, and that's what I decided to do today. I love smoothies. Shane likes to tell me that it's a bad idea to drink your calories, which he has a point, but this smoothie tends to keep me full until lunch, so I don't see what the problem is.
This smoothie has coconut oil in it. Coconut oil is by far one of my favorite health foods. When buying coconut oil, make sure that it is unrefined and pure.. preferably saying "extra virgin". Refined coconut oil has undergone bleaching and deodorizing, where extra virgin coconut oil has not. With the extra virgin, they squeeze the oil out of the meat of the coconut quickly.

Coconut oil has a ton of benefits. Ranging from heart health, shiny hair, weight loss, lower risk of diabetes, etc. I love it. But, it is high in saturated fat. It is 90% saturated fat, in fact. Although there is conflicting research over the fact that coconut oil actually improves heart health, even though it is a SF.
We also have raw Indian honey in this smoothie. Raw honey is also incredible for health. It is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral. It helps with allergies, colds, sore throats. Also, it tastes a heck of a lot better then the honey that comes in those creepy little bear containers. 


1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 banana
1 cup of juice ( I used blueberry pomegranate, but I usually use orange)
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1/2 cup frozen blackberries

Throw it in a blender, and blend! That simple. :P

Thanks for reading & enjoy.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chocolate Orange Soufflé

Every time I make a soufflé it is like the scariest thing I can imagine. It's nerve wracking and makes me all kinds of anxious. And it's just a freaking dessert. The first time I ever made a soufflé I was pregnant with my second child, I think maybe around 8 weeks or so and I was watching Master Chef and I knew right then I needed to have one. I think it was 10 at night, and I asked Shane to PLEASE go buy me some ramekins so I could make this like, at that exact minute. When he got home I got to work and by the end I was exhausted and kind of sweaty from working around the heat and my arms hurt because I didn't have a kitchen aid mixer. It was madness. MADNESS!
Souffle comes from the french word "souffler", or to "blow up". You know, since it rises. Ive read somewhere that the first soufflés were started with rouxs ( mixture of flour and butter). 
The first soufflé I made was a chocolate orange espresso soufflé, and I figured tonight I'd make another one, minus the espresso. Ready to learn! Sweet!


  • 7 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus for preparing the molds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 8 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Confectioners' sugar for garnishing

Right off the bat, I want to say, when you are baking you MUST always follow exact measurements and everything. Do not make any adjustments, get it?!

Begin by taking your ramekin and using soft butter, butter all of the inside. Even the top edges.

Next, take granulated sugar and add sugar to the inside, coating it.  Now, put your ramekins in the freezer for later.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and set a rack on the lower half of your oven.

Measure out your chocolate and your butter now. You want 4 tablespoons butter and 7 ounce of chocolate. Make this exact. You don't want me to cry, do you?

Take a saucepan and fill it with water, and simmer it on your stove. In the meantime, take you chocolate and your butter, and put it in a bowl. Once the water is simmering, put it above the water ( NOT ON TOP OF IT) and mix until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Don't do this in the microwave okay? I know you're considering it. Then add you vanilla extract.

Now, take 3 egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of warm water, and add them to your kitchen aid.  Begin to mix it until it is frothy. Add two tablespoons of granulated sugar, and beat on high for about 5 minutes, or until it forms ribbons.

In the meantime, add your grated orange to your chocolate mixture. I did about 1/2 an orange.

When your egg yolks are done, begin to fold them into your chocolate until completely mix. Remember, fold. Do not stir.

Take six room temperature egg whites, and 1 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice, and add to your RINSED OUT kitchen aid. Begin to beat it until its frothing. Once it's frothing, add 1/2 cup of sugar. Now put that baby on high. You want to see the finished product with peaks that are stiff. 

Tada! We got stiff peaks ;) Okay, that was weird. Ignore the wink face. 

Alright. Now, take your chocolate and take 1/3 of your egg whites, and fold it in gently. WORK QUICKLY. Really, work quickly. Time is important here! Once thats folded in, fold in the rest. Again, never stir!

It should be the consistency of a mousse. Ladle it into your ramekins, being careful to not get any on the edges. Once it's in, smooth the top down with a straight edge. Sorry, at this point I didn't get any pictures because I was working quickly to keep my egg mixture light. 

In the oven for 17 minutes, or until it's raised about 1 inch above the surface of the ramekin. DO NOT OPEN OVEN. Very important. Even try to keep the noise down. That may be an old wives tale, but I wouldn't risk it. You don't want a squid ward moment, do you?

Sprinkle on some confectioners sugar and enjoy!


Flagstaff & Grecian Citrus Pork with Mediterranean Quinoa.

Hey again. I thought today I would include a restaurant review and also a recipe. Today, my mom and I went up to Flagstaff ( of which we forgot how torturous a drive it was). We got up there and were debating between Thai food, crepes, and Charley's. We settled on The Creperie. I was pretty thrilled about it. It was adorable.

Is that adorable, or what? Seriously. Flower boxes. It looked like a French café. We got up to the door and lo and behold, it was closed. So, we saw the Weatherford Hotel across the street, which has Charley's, and decided to just give it a shot. 
The Hotel itself was pretty adorable. 
A little history: It was built in the late 1800's by the Weatherford family. Supposedly, it's pretty haunted. Story's revolve around Room 54 where it's said that a newlywed couple haunts, which no longer holds guests. There are a few other stories of hauntings as well, which I found pretty interesting and you can read about it here if you're weird like me and into those sort of things. 
So, we went to their restaurant, Charley's. My mom ordered the burger and I ordered the "Flagstaff Dip". The service was pretty excellent and everyone was friendly, but to be honest, the food was mediocre and I don't think it was exactly worth the price we paid. It was good if you're wanting just bar food, but if you want something really amazing, meh. Not your place. Thinking back, we should of went to the Thai place.

So, tonight I am making Grecian Citrus Pork Tenderloin and Mediterranean Quinoa. And yes, all of that had to be capitalized. It's that good. I'd like to add that Shane does NOT like pork. He really hates it almost, but when I make pork tenderloin he is ALWAYS happy with it. Im not sure if it's just this cut of meat, or what, but he usually is pleased with this. 


A decent sized pork tenderloin
Grapeseed or Olive Oil
Lemon and a Lime
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
6 garlic cloves

1 cup Quinoa 
Feta Cheese
Grape tomatoes
Red pepper
Grapeseed or Olive Oil
Lemon juice & rind

Let's start with the pork! Grab a freezer bag big enough to hold the pork. Combine 1/2 cup of the oil of your choice, 2 tablespoons of oregano, salt and pepper to taste, garlic, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, juice of one lime and one lemon into the bag, and add the pork. Marinate overnight, if you'd like, which is what I did. Or marinate AT LEAST 4 hours.

Alright, now we need a skillet or a pan. Take you marinated pork, and add it to the heated pan. We want to sear it brown on all sides, about 2 minutes on each side. 

Hey, that looks good! Now that it's seared, let's add it to the oven at a temp of 365 degrees for about 15- 20 minutes, or until it is barely pink but still juicy. After it is cooked, take it out of the oven, BUT, let it rest for at least ten minutes before slicing, to preserve the juice.

So, our Qunioa. It's going to be light and refreshing, very mediterranean. Let's take a saucepan and add 2 cups of water, and one cup quinoa. Please look at the back of your bag for your exact directions for cooking though! Mine usually takes 12 minutes til it's cooked and the water has been absorbed. 
If you don't know what qunioa is..well, you should. It's amazing. It's so good for you. It's a whole grain, high in fiber, iron and amino acids. It has a slight nutty flavor, but looks like couscous ( the food so good they named it twice). 

Alright, quinoa cooked? Good! Take it off and fluff it with a fork. Now, get your cutting board out and chop your pepper up into bite sized pieces. I prefer a red pepper, but thats because I like how vibrant and fresh it looks. Feel free to use orange or yellow as well! 

Add that to a pan with oil and sautee, until soft yet slightly firm still. When it's cooked add it to the 
quinoa with the oil as well. Fluff it around and put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes or until cool. 

Once cooled, take it out and slice one lemon. I prefer to use the juice of one whole lemon, but I LOVE citrus. So add what you're comfortable with. I also grate 1/2 lemon rind as well. I add salt to taste, and crumble up some feta cheese, a dash of red wine vinegar, and a handful of sliced grape tomatoes, and you have yourself a nice little summery, refreshing, mediterranean salad!

Enjoy loves!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Creme Vichyssoise Glacée
(Potato and leek soup)

Hey there. I am Danielle. I have always had a passion for cooking, even though it's waxed and waned over the years. When I got married, I couldn't even cook chicken. I remember, because the first meal I made as a married woman was baked chicken, and I remember Shane looked at me and politely smiled and said "Wow, Dan...this is, um...yeah. Thanks." Ever since then I realized, I need to learn to cook. And I did. And I loved it. I hope you'll like my blog. I assume you will, because I am freaking hilarious, and a classy broad. 

Moving on to the meal I made tonight. I was planning on making pork tenderloin. Then Shane asked for mashed potatoes. And I did the same thing I do every time Shane asked for mashed potatoes. I get the potatoes out and then say "Ah, Im making potato and leek soup! He'll forgive me." Which, he always does. Because potato and leek soup is amazing. 


3 large leeks
1 onion
1 stick butter
8 medium sized potatoes
Heavy cream
White Pepper
Chicken Stock

This is a very inexpensive meal. Sounds fancy, but it's not. This is peasant food back in France in the day. I read somewhere that King Louis XV invented the cold version of this soup, but I cannot be certain of that. It really made a comeback in New York in the 1950's, where Luis Diat of the Ritz Carlton put it on his menu, since his mother and grandmother used to make it for him. He used to add cold milk to cool it (citation). This soup is MEANT to be eaten cold, but I reallllly like it better hot. In the fall. With the windows open.
Okay. I want to share my love of leeks. I LOVE LEEKS. You have no idea. Every time I smell one, its the best smell ever. They smell so earthy and delicious. They remind me of how amazing the world is, the world gave me leeks! They're that good. I shit you not. 
The first time I made this was after I read Julie and Julia. I was at my first house and Lily was a little baby. After making it, I said to myself "Holy guacamole. This is the best thing I have ever eaten."
Let me show you how to do this.

Take your onion and peel it, and slice it long ways. You'll need a big enough pot ( this recipe is quite large, I like to freeze the leftovers for fall days) and add your stick ( A STICK!)  of butter. Let the butter melt down, and add your onion.

Leeks. My favorite! I love leeks but they are difficult buttheads sometimes. Go ahead and chop the top green part off and discard. We don't need that.

Got rid of the green part? Good! Now, lets cut this leek down the middle. ( Do all three like this!) Cut the root off, and then take the leek and rinse it well under the sink. Leeks collect dirt in the layer, and you need to make sure you thoroughly rinse it. Now, once it's clean, dice it up. Add it to the pot of butter & onions, and cook them until they are nice and soft and all you can smell is delicious buttery leeks.

In the meantime, wash your potatoes well. Peel them nicely. When I peel potatoes I am like a mad woman. There are potato peels everywhere, except the garbage can. Usually in my hair, too. Although, thats besides the point. Moving on, after they are peeled, wash them again so all the dirt is removed. Get your cutting board out again, and slice them thinly. 

Throw them in the pot as well. Cover with chicken stock. Let it simmer until the potatoes are soft and falling apart.

Done with that? Good, lets move on. Get your blender out!

Okay. Scoop in batched into your blender and blend. You want this soup as smooth as it can be. Avoid and lumps or pieces of leek. Smooth it!

Okay, at this point you're probably thinking "Did I just spend this long making mashed potatoes?" No. You didn't. Stay with me, people.

Let your soup COOL DOWN before you add the milk. Thats important. I just stuck mine in the fridge for 10 minutes. Do not add milk or cream until it is cooled.

Add this to taste. Just a word of warning. The first time I ever used White pepper I was taken aback. I was afraid to use. To me, it smells like a petting zoo. Do not be alarmed. It is important to use this, so do not skip it. Also, I like to add a bit more butter to the pot at this point. Add the milk.

You're done! Enjoy, dearies.