I love macarons…but then again, you probably already know that. As such, I am constantly sampling macarons around the Chicago area (and outside Chicago as well). Feast your eyes on these Vanille Patisserie creations, (picked up from Chicago French Market)
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Quinoa has been getting a lot of love lately. And for good reason. It’s high in amino acids, protein, and fiber. Plus it’s gluten-free. I always have some quinoa in my pantry ready to pair with anything from a filling breakfast, to an elegant dinner, to use when emptying the fridge of leftovers.
It’s easy to prepare since it requires 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. Bring the water to a boil, then simmer 10-15 minutes until all of the water has been soaked up and the germ separates from the seed. Use how you see fit.
Quinoa Breakfast Parfait
The slightly nutty flavor of quinoa brings a savory edge to this yummy breakfast treat.
- Quinoa, cooked
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Your favorite fruits (blueberries & strawberries for me!)
- a pinch of cinnamon
Combine and enjoy! Add some milk if you prefer a cereal variation.
Quinoa for Dinner
Quinoa with Leftovers
One of my favorite ways to enjoy leftovers is to make a batch of spaetzle (german egg noodles) and add last night’s Indian, Thai, Chinese etc. for a lovely leftover creation. In an effort to be more versatile I realized that quinoa would be a great substitute for my spaetzle.
Just cook the quinoa as listed above (or as the box indicates) and add to your favorite leftovers. I find that it works best with dishes that have a lot of sauce as the quinoa will soak it up.
- 1 cup white flour
- 1 cup wheat flour
- 6 oz sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 4 brown eggs
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 pint skim milk
Mix all solids with a whisk (I find that wire works best). Dig a well in the solids and add the eggs, butter, and vanilla. Add 2 cups of milk and begin mixing until the batter is smooth with no lumps. Add the rest of the milk and whisk well. Optional: let the batter rest for 2 hours.
Butter and heat the crepe pan. Ladle a few drops of batter into the pan if they begin to cook immediately, the pan is ready. Ladle the batter into the pan, swirling to coat the entire pan. Once the surface of the batter is no longer shiny, flip the crepe and cook until the down-side is slightly browned. Fill with your favorite filling. Repeat until all the batter is gone, being sure to butter the pan in between crepes.
For those of you who don’t know, I have 2 sisters, one of whom recently graduated from college. I’m a big fan of “activity” based gifts, so my gift to Carrie was a crepe-making class. Our grandmother loved all things French (one of the many things I inherited from her), but she especially loved making crepes. She would hand make sweet crepes every year for Christmas to serve with vanilla ice cream inside and my mother’s famous fudge sauce drizzled on top with some raspberries. I was actually lucky enough to inherit her crepe pan and recipe. But as crepes have always intimidated me, I was nervous to attempt crepes without a bit more guidance.
The crepe making class was a perfect fit for us both. Hosted by Flip Crepes, the class consisted of 12 students and 2 instructors. Over the course of 3 hours we learned how to make sweet crepe batter, actually cook crepes, as well as learn a very thorough history of crepes. It was such a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and I am now exponentially more prepared to make crepes in future!
Below are Carrie’s thoughts on the crepe experience (a pseudo-guest post)
Annie and I had such a fun time learning how to make crepes. Our grandmother used to always make us crepes and it was nice to finally learn how and to make her proud. We had a rough time starting out with all the flipping. Annie seemed to get the hang of it sooner and was making perfect circles and flipping like a pro. I did not do so well with the flipping, but i think in the end they turned out alright 🙂 We were able to add different toppings and then made our own orange topping. It was so much fun to be in a little french crepe shop with french cooks as our teachers. It was a wonderful way to spend a sunday night!
Click here for our recipe
Is there anything better than Sunday Brunch (or Sunday Funday)? One of my favorite things about brunch is the beverage selection. I love champagne or sparkling wine, but sometimes nothing hits the spot quite like a Bloddy Mary.
My parents invited us over for brunch a couple weeks ago, and as to not show up empty handed, I brought them some of my favorite Bloody Mary mix: Zing Zang. I love this mix because you don’t need to add anything to it, but you certainly can. It’s great with vodka or without. Ben even likes it and he doesn’t really like tomato juice. A perfect addition to Sunday Brunch.
Annie’s Perfect Bloody Mary
- 2 parts Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix
- 1 part favorite vodka (I like to use Absolut Peppar)
- 1/4 of a lime squeezed
- 2-3 drops Tabasco Sauce
- Fresh Cracked Pepper
- Celery Salt
- 1/2 Bottle MGD or other favorite beer
- Celery Stalk
- Dill Pickle
- Salami Cubes
- Mozzarella Cheese Balls
- Grilled Shrimp
- Pickles Asparagus
Mix Bloody Mary Mix with Vodka over ice in highball glass. Squeeze limes into glass. Add Tabasco, cracked pepper, and celery salt. Add garnishes. Pour 1/2 Bottle MGD into another glass. Chase Bloody Mary with Beer.
Ben’s Bloody Mary Alternative
- 2 Parts Orange Juice
- 1 part vodka
- Splash of Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix
Combine in highball glass.
So while normally Anthropologie is not food related, last week it was! As an Anthro Card Holder, I was invited to a 1 year anniversary celebration for the State St store in Chicago. Free drinks, a delicious spread, and several girlfriends? Yes, please! We had such a great time and I found so many lovely spring items!! Look at some of my favorites
I love cookbooks. There’s nothing like opening one and having inspiration and creativity wash over you when you’re trying to come up with new ideas for your family’s table. I am fortunate enough to have amassed a very extensive cookbook collection. So extensive that I can’t keep most of the cookbooks in my apartment because I don’t have enough room. Most of the cookbooks that I have were my grandmothers, so I love pouring over them finding little notes about a particular dish. It’s as if she is reaching out to me with these notes to let me know that she is in the kitchen with me.
Despite the volume of resources in front of me, I can’t help but want for more cookbooks. Each one a source of that magical power that puts the chef in the kitchen with me. Here are the books I am currently craving:
Macarons by Annie Rigg (I found this book last night at a One-Year Anniversary Party for the Anthropologie on State St in Chicago – so fun, but that’s another story. I was totally inspired by the flavor combinations and the artful presentation of the macarons.)
The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser (As an avid reader of the New York Times – I read it almost religiously – I have had my eye on this book since I found out last summer that it was being published. It came out in October of 2010, but Santa didn’t hear my pleas this year, so it made the list.)
Heart of the Artichoke by David Tanis (Another Anthro find – I love their book selections – and after flipping through a couple pages, I couldn’t wait to read more. I love hearing the memories associated with particular recipes. It makes the dish so much more special.)
Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan (Dorie makes great French recipes so accessible to the average reader and also encourages improvisation with the recipes themselves based on what is currently in your pantry/refrigerator.)
Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours by Sarabeth Levine (Breads and Pastries? Yes please!)
Tartine by Elisabeth Pruiett and Chad Robertson (The famous bakery in San Francisco compiled some of their customers and their own favorite recipes complete with gorgeous photos.)
Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson (The more grown-up sister of the above book, Tartine is solely about bread. While I would initially be reading this book more for inspiration, I hope that one day my skills are up to snuff where I can make loaves as pretty as they do.)
The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters (The first cookbook I ever loved was Fanny at Chez Panisse. The Art of Simple Food is a must have for any kitchen – hence why it made the list.)