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Leftovers: Or How I Turned My Fancy French-Inspired New Year’s Eve Dinner Into a Spicy Asian Fusion Meal

New Year’s Eve was all about indulgences … foie gras with an apple gastrique and chutney, bone marrow, triple créme cheese and baguette rounds that served as the vehicle for all those delectable starters. Then came some shrimp and lentils (for New Year good luck) followed by a main course of cornish hens and black rice. Not just any cornish hens, either. These birds had a little foie gras under the skin and were basted with the fat rendered from the foie. Indulgent!

Though not French, the Chinese black rice was treated with a mirepoix which also included fennel and was mixed with chopped dates and toasted pecans for a little sweet-savory to complement the birds. Side dish: roasted string beans and mushrooms with a little gorgonzola topping. Continue Reading

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve 2014 and New Year’s Day 2015

New Year's Eve 2014

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Rum-Infused Chestnut Bonbons with Dark Chocolate-Crystallized Ginger Dust

“Make something for the Thanksgiving dessert table” … that was this month’s Creative Cooking Challenge.

Since I don’t keep a particularly sweet kitchen and I’m no baker, this one was a little difficult to conceptualize. But, I was determined (as I usually am for these challenges) to look around and go with ingredients I already had on hand. I came up with roasted chestnuts, chocolate-covered crystalized ginger (thank you Trader Joe’s), rum from Puerto Rico and a few pantry spices. Continue Reading

An Asian-Inspired Dinner Party or Anyone Can Cook Anything!

Yeah, that’s my take on cooking food outside your ethnicity. All it takes is knowing what you like, a few good seasoning agents*, a dash of confidence and access to google for recipes or to answer any last-minute questions. It may not be “authentic”, but it could (should) be tasty.

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Moroccan Dinner at the Casbah Nova

My son gave me a beautiful tagine on Mother’s Day and I finally got around to using it this weekend. But, first, according to directions, it needed to be treated … a 24-hour soaking in water, then a massage with olive oil and, lastly, a 1-1/2 hour dry treatment in the oven. By the time I was done, I was ready to book a spa treatment for myself.

So after 2 days of preparation, the tagine was ready and, in typical FOODalogue fashion, I decided to create a dinner party around its inauguration.

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Fiesta de “Tres de Mayo”

I invited two friends for dinner Saturday night and, based on what I had on-hand, planned to make Italian fried shrimp and spaghetti with no-cook tomato sauce. But, Saturday morning, I changed my mind and went in a totally different direction. The no-cook tomato sauce became salsa, the spaghetti was opted out for black rice … and, with a few other additions, we were headed south-of-the-border just in time to celebrate Tres de Mayo. What? You never heard of Tres de Mayo? Continue Reading

What’s for Breakfast? A Creative Cooking Crew Challenge

I’m not a boxed cereal kind of gal. Not when I’m alone — and certainly not when I have company.

For challenges (and all-round eating out of the FOODalogue kitchen), I rely on what’s on-hand. Anything that’s not fresh or healthy(ish) is kept to a minimum … a pinch, sprinkle, dusting or dollop.

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Spanish Cassoulet and Entertaining Friends

Who remembers this post I published a few years ago about social media and new friends?

I’m happy to say our friendship has endured 5 years … and counting.

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A Latin-Inspired Birthday Lunch Was the Answer to a Super Bowl Day Conflict

As you may know, in my family, we celebrate everyone’s birthday with a group dinner generally late Sunday afternoon of the birthday week. So, a couple of weeks ago I sent out a family text announcing I would host Gram’s (the family matriarch) and Julie’s (my d-in-l) birthdays on 2/2 at 5:00. Yikes … the push back was immediate. You think I said the world was coming to an end!

Not being a fan of football (or bad fried and cheesy food-fests), I didn’t realize there was something else scheduled for that day. We compromised and I moved the festivities up to lunch so ‘those who cared’ could be home or wherever for the big kick-off. Continue Reading

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