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!

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Pictures Credit:

http://www.owlhaven.net/2008/06/10/strawberry-rhubarb-jam/

http://www.52kitchenadventures.com/2012/05/02/gluten-free-cupcakes-with-nutella-cloud-frosting/

http://www.france-voyage.com/travel-guide/photo-garbure-1381_2.htm

http://www.phamfatale.com/id_1625/title_Galette-Complete-Savory-Crepe-Recipe/

http://nutritionfor.us/2012/07/butternut-squash-risotto-recipe/

http://cooksjoy.com/blog/2012/11/gulab-jamun-milk-powder-method.html

http://www.lacuisinedebernard.com/2011/03/le-souffle-au-fromage.html

http://littleindiana.com/2012/07/4-smores-themed-recipes-you-can-really-sink-your-teeth-into/

http://palakkadcooking.blogspot.com/2012/11/aloo-gobi.html

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Endive Winter Salad

Winter is not completely over but I can feel how everyone around me would like to see spring come up.
Last week, few people including me got lighter sweaters and jackets out again but it was still pretty cold and windy, which doesn’t help. We all got back into our winter jackets, putting our spring ones on hold for a little bit more.

It is nice cooking according to the season and we used to have this salad during winter in my family when I grew up.

Winter salad

Ingredients

– 3 endives
– 2 apples (ideally Golden, or any slightly acid kind)
– gruyere
– 100g / 3.5oz coarsely chopped walnuts
– 100g / 3.5oz bacon (optional)

You can add or reduce quantities based on your preferences and a good balance between the ingredients. The apple brings a freshness to balance the “heaviness” of the gruyere and walnuts.
You can also put tomatoes instead of apples and use another kind of cheese, like blue cheese, Gorgonzola or Roquefort, just to name a few.

This salad can be served as an appetizer (antipasti) or can be an entree on its self, for which i add the bacon.

Preparation

Wash and chop the endives crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Peel and cut the apples.
Cut the gruyere in small pieces.

In a bowl, mix the endives, apples, gruyere and walnuts. Add vinaigrette. I like to do the basic vinaigrette with olive oil, mustard and balsamic vinegar. For this salad, it is also nice to add some honey to the vinaigrette.

Just before serving, cook the sliced bacon in a pan. You don’t need to add olive oil in the pan, the fat of the bacon will do the job when reducing.

Put the salad on each plates and add a little bit of bacon on top of each before serving.

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Granola for breakfast

When you go out for brunch in New York City, you often find Granola Yoghurt with fruits. Actually you even find it at Starbucks…

When I came to the US the first time 3 years back, we would travel a lot to various cities with my friends, getting cheap deals and ending up getting coffee & breakfast on the go at Starbucks.
I discovered Granola Yoghurt with fruits there and loved it.

I do it quite often at home now, it’s a good change from eggs & omelets 🙂

I usually use blackberries and bananas but this time I had peach and decided to try.

Yoghurt Granola with fruits:

– 2 tablespoons of yoghurt (either regular or Greek yoghurt)
– 2 tablespoon of Granola
– blackberries
– 1 peach
– 1/2 teaspoon of maple sirup

Of course you can adapt the proportions depending in your taste 🙂

The maple sirup was an idea from my Japanese friend Mariko, it adds a nice sugary taste!

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Oh and we had Chinese Jasmin tea to go with it – love it!

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India

That’s it tomorrow is the day! I will be flying to India!

I will probably not be able to post any new recipe but will learn some more with my mother-in-law and I will have the pleasure to cook once back home.

Also we should be moving to another apartment at the end of the month with a bigger kitchen and a dish washer (very excited as washing dishes is not my favorite activity :)))

I will definitively be back with lots of different smells, spices and colors in my head – to create, test and share!

Little Zucchini

This surname followed me since I started school, and I believe it was the same for my sister and my brother although I would need to check with them…

My maiden Name in French is very similar to the French word Zucchini “courgette” and kids/people started calling me Zucchini from time to time as a joke.

It stayed especially because a lot of my recipes are including Zucchinis. I didnt like them when I was younger but that said, I didn’t like a lot of things before. Thank god, I got to discover and appreciate a lot more!

I always use green zucchinis and should look into the other existing varieties. I cook quiches, ratatouille, indian dishes & pasta extremely often with zucchinis and I love it!

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