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The Dumpling Round-Up: A Creative Cooking Crew Challenge

The first challenge of the New Year for our virtual cooking group was dumplings — those doughy filled purses that are found in most cultures. Our Creative Cooking Crew did an outstanding job. Come see …8316344214_9d16bebb6e_z Continue Reading

Green Bean Casserole Makeover: It’s Italian, contemporary and it has fried spaghetti!

The ‘green bean casserole’ was created in 1955 by the Campbell Soup Company and has been a Thanksgiving favorite on a gazillion tables across America for more than 50 years!

This one is a makeover. It’s Italian. It’s lighter. And, it’s contemporary. This is an ‘instead of” recipe.  Continue Reading

Squash Challenge: Trick or Treat!

I was all over the place with this month’s theme. I had 10X as many ideas as there are varieties of squash. And then I realized it was Halloween. Why not don a toque and costume myself as a “baker and candy-maker”? No one would recognize me, for sure!

“Come in my little pretties … I have a treat for you.” Hee hee. Continue Reading

Apple Challenge: Salmon Tartar, Forbidden Black Rice and Cider Gastrique

Yes, apple is present everywhere in this dish!

I always try to take the theme of these challenges to some place different … some place unexpected. I knew immediately it would be featured in a savory dish: (1) for the obvious reason that I’m not a dessert-maker and (2) I love the yin and yang of sweet and savory.

You might think at first glance that this is complicated or fancy, but it’s really very simple. Continue Reading

A Duo of Sweet and Savory Cheesecake for High Tea

This month’s 5 Star Makeover Challenge is “high tea”. High Tea?  I don’t even own a teapot. Never did. On the very rare occasion I drink hot tea, I pop a mug with water and a teabag in the microwave.

… I don’t make pastries or eat gooey sweets either and I haven’t eaten white bread since I lost my baby teeth. That was a long time ago. These days, I’m more a ‘vino y tapas‘ kind of gal. Continue Reading

Souvlaki Cups with Horitaki Salsa and 3 Tzatziki Sauces: A Greek Meze Makeover

Who would mess with the gods? With the dining table of the cradle of civilization?

Well, that would be the 5 Star Foodie Makeover Cooking Group. This month we’re challenged to put our spin on an item for a traditional meze table.  Continue Reading

Really ‘Cool': Watermelon Soup with Cilantro Drizzle

Fruit soup is a delicate balancing act — you want the sweetness of the fruit but you also want to balance that sweetness with a little acid and piquant heat. I think I accomplished just that for this month’s 5 Star Makeover Challenge: chilled soup. Continue Reading

Morel Raviolo • A Cooking Club Challenge

Welcome to Le Morel, a virtual restaurant and the result of the current 5 Star Cooking Club challenge.

[5 Star is a band of about 25 fearless food bloggers who take on monthly culinary challenges prompted by the evil twins, Natasha and Laz <just joking. No vote-pandering is involved with these challenges. We do it for ourselves. We do it for the love of our art. We do it for fun. And, we do it for the pleasure of our readers.]

So, come on in and take a seat while I introduce you to the other cooks in the Le Morel kitchen and entice you with our 3-course morel tasting dinner.

Continue Reading

Junk Food Goes Gourmet, Holy Mole: A 5 Star Culinary Makeover Challenge

The message announcing the new challenge said “take your favorite Junk Food … something you are addicted to, for example chips or fries … and use it in a gourmet dish!”

I panicked and replied “Yikes, I’ll have to find a bad habit in a hurry.” Continue Reading

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