Butternut Squash Spaghetti

The still life arrangement of seasonal fruit and vegetables on our kitchen table is slowly transitioning from winter to summer.  It makes me think of the living statues you find at carnivals.  Looking at them, it’s hard to perceive any change in movement at all, but if you walk away and return five minutes later, the statue is in an entirely new position. It’s the same with the table – bowls that contained oranges and apples suddenly contain fresh berries and lemons.  Asparagus, chive blossoms and herbs from the garden are appearing next to aging pumpkins and squash. Continue reading “Butternut Squash Spaghetti”

Dijon Mustard Roast Chicken and Roasted Mashed Potatoes

Yesterday I made a roasted chicken with Dijon mustard and I shared on Instagram the situation regarding food here in Colorado which, I am sure, is very similar across the country and around the world right now, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  I’m not sure how it is where you are, but here, since the state of Colorado has issued shelter in place orders, we’re advised to only shop for groceries every other week. For someone who used to shop daily, this has been a bit of a learning experience.  It’s okay, we’re getting along just fine and I’m always up for a challenge, but add to that the fact that stores are limiting what and how much we can buy, it makes shopping for two weeks especially puzzling.  Currently we’re allowed just two chicken products and two beef products per family.  If we’re lucky there might be some pork behind the butcher’s counter, but for the most part, the shelves in the markets are bare, especially of pantry staples like beans, rice, flour and sugar, and I haven’t seen eggs in stock for weeks.  Thankfully, fresh fruit and vegetables have been plentiful. Continue reading “Dijon Mustard Roast Chicken and Roasted Mashed Potatoes”

Wild Rice and Asparagus Salad

Covid-19

This will likely be a very untraditional post.  Like everyone else in the world, we’re confined to home for the (un)foreseeable future.  When I sit down to write a blog post I often draw inspiration from past experiences, dreams, restaurant meals, what I’ve found in the farmer’s markets or at the grocery stores.  But the markets are empty, restaurants are closed, I still have my dreams, and I still find much comfort in the kitchen cooking for my family, maybe more now than before. Cooking with only what we have on hand in the pantry is a bit of a game to me.  I took time to organize the kitchen this week, rotating the old with the new.   I’ve never liked to waste food, but now, when food seems to be scarce, it’s even more unbearable.  I had a few stalks of asparagus in the fridge and half a bag of wild rice in the pantry and so this salad was born.  If you don’t have asparagus your could substitute green beans and it would be just as good. Continue reading “Wild Rice and Asparagus Salad”

Chicken Paillard with Lemon Orzo

Chicken breast is such a staple in my kitchen, but sometimes it can feel a little repetitive and a bit boring.  I compensate by trying to hide it within elaborate casseroles or stews, but there’s no reason why chicken breast can’t take the spotlight of the meal, if it’s cooked correctly.  This Chicken Paillard is an elegant dish that comes together in just minutes and showcases the chicken as the star of the show.  It’s neither bland nor boring, and is a great dish to make if you find yourself in a weeknight meal rut. Continue reading “Chicken Paillard with Lemon Orzo”

Rosemary Country Bread

Baking bread, for me, is a meditative process.  The repetition of mixing and kneading the dough helps me relax and collect my thoughts after a long day.  When I first became a mother, I read somewhere that the best way to soothe a crying baby was to rock him to the same rhythm as your heartbeat.  It’s true – it worked every time.  I’ve thought about that principle often, and find that any repetitive motion, especially kneading bread dough, is always the most soothing when done to the tempo of a heartbeat.  Speaking of that, do you remember playing with PlayDoh as a child? Perhaps not.  But if you’re a parent then maybe you remember getting out the dough for your children.  Showing them how to roll it and shape it, it’s almost impossible not to join in on the fun, and in doing so it brings you right back to your own childhood.  Even the smell is transportive.  For me, baking bread at home is the same.  The smell of wildflower honey and the warm yeast working its magic, fill the kitchen with that slightly earthy and ultra comforting aroma.  The feel of the dough as it comes together into a ball beneath my palms is so calming.  Baking bread is one of the most relaxing and satisfying experiences, and I love to repeat the process almost weekly. Continue reading “Rosemary Country Bread”

Normandy Pork with Apples

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the US.  I like to take this week, not only to plan the menu and shop for the big meal, but also to tackle all my fall cleaning tasks.   Replacing old blinds and washing the curtains, polishing the furniture and the silverware, scrubbing the baseboards and cleaning the ceilings in the bathrooms, changing the linens from summer to winter – it all makes the house feel cozy, bright and ready for a stream of holiday guests.  Maybe it’s weird, but I absolutely love fall cleaning, even more than spring cleaning.  There’s something so completely satisfying in making the dull and dingy shine again.   For Christmas one year I was given a book called, Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, and it’s still one of my favourite books today.  It’s like a cookbook, but with instructions on how to properly clean anything and everything in your home.   Continue reading “Normandy Pork with Apples”

Pork Tenderloin with Plums

One of the easiest ways to elevate an everyday dish to something elegant and refined is by adding a little dried fruit.  I love to cook with fruit in both savory and sweet dishes.  When paired with roasted meat, it brings a subtle richness and a depth of sweetness that you can’t get from anything else, especially when using dark dried fruits like raisins or prunes. Continue reading “Pork Tenderloin with Plums”

Cedar Planked Salmon, Three Ways

Fickle summer weather!  It will be beautiful in the morning; I’ll wake up dreaming of lighting the grill, seasoning meat, pouring a glass of wine and cooking dinner outside while the kids run through the yard and the dog barks at the neighbor’s chickens, only to have the dream shattered mid-afternoon, when storms race in over the mountains and force us inside.  Other days we wake up to a cool, cloudy drizzle and I think, there’s no way I could start the grill in weather like this. Only after I’ve panned a meal inside does the sun come out and the weather becomes perfect for grilling.  The dichotomy of Colorado weather is that it can go from soggy to parched in a matter of hours, thanks to the elevation and the drying mountain winds.  Sometimes we go weeks without even a drop of rain, and everything gets so dry that just the tiniest rogue spark from the grill’s coals could ignite a wildfire.  On these days, all outdoor fires, including those in grills, are banned as a precaution.  All of this poses a problem, because I’m a planner when it comes to cooking, and grilling so often must happen spontaneously.  When the weather happens to be perfect, the stars align and I have all the essential ingredients to create a feast on the grill I have to seize the opportunity.  That is, unless, I have something that works just as well on the grill as it does in the oven.  That’s why I love this salmon.  Each of these recipes can be made in either.  Problem solved. Continue reading “Cedar Planked Salmon, Three Ways”

Poussins rôtis and cookies au pépites de chocolat

A friend recently posed the question, Do people read blogs anymore?  It seems to me that the heyday of blogging has, indeed, passed, however short it was.  With all the different social media outlets, is there really a place for individual blogs, specifically food blogs? Continue reading “Poussins rôtis and cookies au pépites de chocolat”