My 2013 Cooking Challenge

Here is my new project for 2013!

I want to find more time to cook or at least finally try and discover some recipes that I have heard of, never tried before or simply as “bring the childhood recipes back into my life”.

I will not necessarily do the list in this order, it is just how it came up.
The goal would be to do one recipe every month for the rest of the year.

My 2013 Cooking Challenge

1. Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam (or in-season fruits)
2. Duck confit Garbure Soup
3. S’mores
4. Cheese Souffle / Souffle au fromage
5. Risotto
6. Indian seasonal vegetable dish
7. Savory Crepes
8. Chocolate recipe from the book “Atelier Chocolat”
9. Cupcakes
10. Gulab Jamun

Details & Explanations

1. Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam (or any in-season fruit) – when I was in France the year before moving back to the U.S., me and my best friend Claire spent a few winter Sunday afternoons making jam in my parents kitchen. I discovered and learned from her and love home made jams 🙂

2. Duck confit Garbure Soup – this a traditional soup from Bearn in South West of France. My grand-mother used to do it, it is delicious and a perfect winter healthy meal.

3. S’mores – my friend Ellie mentioned it recently and was “amazed” that I had no idea on what she was talking about… the very next day, I found this blog post on the same subject… the signs were obvious, we thus have a date for a “S’mores” diner. It will certainly be the first item to be completed on this list!

4. Cheese Souffle / Souffle au fromage – My mom used to make this dish when I was a kid and I have great memories of it. It is not easy to make but I want to try so that my husband can taste it!

5. Risotto – it might seem silly but I have never cooked a risotto before, and it time to start!

6. Indian seasonal vegetable dish – I want to become more comfortable in cooking Indian food and for that I need to try, even though it will take me some time at the beginning, especially on weekdays once I am back from work…

7. Savory Crepes – my husband has been asking for home made Crepes, since we got back from Brittany and had the most delicious Crepes on earth in Carantec. I’m serious: it is really the best place I have ever eaten Crepes.

8. Chocolate recipe from “Atelier Chocolat” – a book that my brother and his girlfriend gifted me for Christmas. It seems complicated or at least that is in my mind but it doesn’t seem that hard when reading it. I just need to do it!

9. Cupcakes – since this list has French and Indian cooking, I thought I needed to have something from here as well. I already tried with success pancakes (see my post here ) and thought that the next on the list would be cupcakes 🙂

10. Gulab Jamun – this is my favorite Indian sweet (with Jellabys) and this week-end, my husband’s cousin was telling me how to make them. A must try!

Let me know your thoughts about the challenge, about one of the item/recipe and any help/suggestion or encouragement will be helpful!

Thanks and happy blogging!

Collage 3










Collage 4










Pictures Credit:

Chocolate truffles & Holiday Spirit

Christmas is around the corner and it’s time for me to make some chocolate truffles!

This became a Christmas tradition with my brother. We would team up: I would do the ganache, multiply quantities by 2 (to be sure to have enough for all the chocolate lovers of this family) and my brother would come help me roll them in cocoa powder.

I think we both have a very sweet memory of these moments spent preparing this deliciousness in the spirit of holidays 🙂

The recipe is coming from this cooking book for children that we had (and still have at my parents place) – with a red cover and nice pictures for every single step.
We still love it!

Chocolate truffles

250g / ~ 8.8oz cooking chocolate
125g / ~4.4oz butter
2 egg yolk
1 packet of vanilla sugar (equivalent of 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tbsp sugar)
125g / ~4.4oz powdered sugar
50g / ~2oz cocoa powder


Cut the chocolate in pieces and bring it to melt it using the “bain-marie” technique: place the chocolate in a small pan. Take a larger pan and add water in it. Put the small one containing chocolate in the larger one, floating in the water. bring the water to boil.
Once the chocolate is melted, add the butter cut in pieces.
Once the mix is melted, take the pan out of the boiling water.

In a bowl mix the egg yolks, powdered sugar and vanilla sugar.
Add in the melted mix chocolate/butter and mix well.

Let the ganache cool down and harden in the fridge for 1-2 hours, until it is hard enough to roll with your hands.

Place the cocoa powder on a plate.
Shape the truffles from the ganache into balls by rolling between the palms of your hands.
The size of the truffles can vary depending of the size of the ganache you are using.
In the cocoa powder plate, move the truffle around until they are coated.

Put the truffles in a display tray and in the fridge to harden before serving them.






Grapefruit, Avocado & Tomato Salad

Staying at home for hurricane Sandy with lots of supply is just making me wanna cook…

To get vitamins, I decided to do this really good and original salad.

This one of my so-called secret recipe: everybody is very surprised by the combination and even if some are doubtful, it ends up always being a huge success. And nobody can guess the sauce 🙂

Grapefruit, Avocado & Tomato Salad

– 1 grapefruit
– 2 small tomatoes
– 1 avocado
– 1 tbsp of mayonnaise


Take off all the skin of the grapefruit Di you only have the flesh.

This part might be the longest, especially if you ate not used to do it.
I am not a big fan if anything time consuming when cooking but this is so much better that it’s worth the time and effort.

Cut the avocado and tomatoes in small pieces and mix everything together.

Add 1 tbsp of mayonnaise in the mix.

You can also replace the avocado with shrimps for a non-vegetarian version, also delish!


The 20’s and a Pic-nic

We went to a flapper party this week-end on Governor Island – meaning everybody is dressed up as in the 1920’s.

While meeting with friends, we brought our food & blankets.

Our added value to this delicious pic-nic was:

– 1 piece of this delicious saucisson that I got directly from France – god I had forgotten how good saucisson was and I am so glad I could take some back from France!

– rice salad with tomatoes/orange sweet pepper/cucumber/avocado/hard boiled egg

Fresh rice salad & veggies

In a bowl mix the tomatoes, cucumber, sweet pepper, avocado chopped in small pieces.

Once the rice is cooked, put it under cold water to cool it down.

Put one egg in boiling water for 10 minutes. Once it is cooked, put under cold water as well to cool it down. Peel, remove the membrane and chop in small pieces.

Add the rice and the hard boiled egg chopped to the mix.

Prepare the vinaigrette: mix half a tea spoon of mustard with 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper. Add olive oil while mixing energetically at the same time (2-3 tablespoon).

Add the vinaigrette at the last minute before serving/eating.

If you prepare this in advance, the trick to avoid the avocado turning black is to add lemon juice on it when you add it in the salad. This is working pretty well for a few hours.

Another trick is to leave the avocado pit in the salad and remove it at the last minute. It used this trick this time and it worked well, the avocado was not brown at all!

For dessert, I had raspberry cookies that I brought back from France.
I used to have these when I was a kid and they are my favorites!




Pasta, ti amo

I moved into a new apartment last week and didn’t get a lot of time to unpack since… Last week-end we were at a wedding in Massachusetts and I used my free 4th of July day to finally unpack most of our stuff – including kitchenware 🙂

I finally had a decent kitchen and could start organizing it – kind of.

Tonight I did what I call “emergency diner” : pasta with ready-made tomato sauce and cheese.

While unpacking we found this ready made tomato sauce that I forgot we had – or maybe my husband got it before I moved in 🙂
He was challenging me by asking if I would ever use this sauce. And I said Yes! So I thought I would start tonight since I didn’t have a lot of other options 🙂

We had this fancy cheese Pecorino Romano, that we got at Dean&Deluca. We had never heard of it and thought it would be a good change from the Parmigiana. It was a new taste and pretty good!

br />


Guacamole Tartines

You don’t get avocado in India so I brought one to my mother-in-law since she liked it a lot when she came to visit last March.

One morning I decided to make Guacamole tartines for breakfast.

1 Avocado

2 tomatoes (if small)

I also added 2 sun-dried tomatoes as my mother-in-law aslo really likes them and I had brought a small box 🙂

1 lime

Bread for the tartines – Ideally whole weat bread or similar. I used white bread as it was the only one available.

If you have 2 avocados, just multiply the quantities of other ingredients by 2 as well to keep the balance.

Cut in small pieces the tomatoes.








Mash the avocado with a fork and add the tomatoes and the lime juice.

Add salt to your convenience.

Toast the bread and spread the guacamole paste on it.

Here is how it looked like before eating 🙂

Meanwhile my mother-in-law was making sandwiches. I took the opportunity to take pictures to make you discover.

It contains tomatoes and cucumber and probably some sauce although I am not sure exactly what it is.

They don’t really have a name and they call it 3 ingredients sandwiches as it has tomatoes and cucumber in it. Because of the colors, I decided to call it “Indian flag Sandwiches” :)))





It is very fresh and was really good to eat on a hot day in India (it went up to 110F..).


More to come on other Indian delicious food that I had over there!

Mango Avocado & Chicken Salad

Here is my first recipe to share with you!

This is a recipe I created by mixing different recipes that I found online.

For 2 people:

– 1 mango (2 if they are smalls)

– 1 avocado

– 1 boneless skinless chicken breast (about 8 pounds)

In a bowl, mix together 2 big spoons of Soy Sauce, 1 lemon juice and ginger. Let it stay in the bowl while you prepare the rest.

Cut the mango & avocado in thin slices or in small cubes, depending on your preference.

Try to have everything in thin slices, it looks more refined if you want to impress your guests!

Cut the chicken breast in small pieces or thin slices and cook it in a pan with some olive oil.

A few minutes are enough, you can make it roasted but make sure it stays tender.

Once the chicken is ready, mix it with the mango and avocado in the bowl with the sauce.

No need to add salt as the soy sauce is already very salted.

To be served right away while it is warm!

My husband was surprised by this dish when he saw me cooking, but then when he started eating, he just loved it!