(recipes will continue to be added to this post as I sample them)
Many of you who've been following along for some time have heard me mention Cannelle et Vanille.
It's a food blog with gorgeous photography, fabulously organic & fresh recipes and completely inspirational.
The beautiful woman behind it's creation is named Aran Goyoaga - a mother of two children...food writer, stylist & photographer.
(Aran and her family just so happen to live in South Florida too...although she's originally from the Basque country).
I found her blog nearly 2 years ago and there's not a single post I haven't walked away from feeling inspired.
I love that.
I've been living vicariously through her food...
Feeling completely connected in the sense that she's actually cooking for her family the way I DREAM to cook for my own.
I decided it was time to stop getting lost in the imagery...
and to stop dreaming of fresh farmer's market foods in my own kitchen.
It was time to DO something with the inspiration.
Have no doubt...many of the ingredients are foreign to me...(I've already walked into the produce section of Fresh Market and asked for a chorizo). *blushing*
Many of the recipes are intimidating.
And that's exactly why I chose to incorporate one recipe a week into my family menu...as part of my "promise ME" journey.
There couldn't be a better way to add a bit of "enrichment" to my life than through cooking FRESH.
I look forward to sharing my experiences with you.
after deciding to add this to my "promise ME" list...
Aran announced she is now working on a book to be published in the fall of 2012!
(I'm SO pre-ordering...that'll be the perfect gift to give myself after a year of refining my palette through her recipes)!!
ranked by me: 10 (omgoodness delicious)!!
ranked by my family: 6
level of difficulty: simple (except for the potato chips)
brief summary: Thrilled with the results of my very first recipe. Fantastic flavor in the soup. Loved the use of coconut milk. The potato chips are a different story. They did NOT turn out crispy and I received serious burns on my hands during the cooking process. *ouch!* If I tried leaving them in the oil longer in hopes of crisping up...they only browned and were still limp?
things I learned: My family wasn't really into the texture of the soup which would be considered a bisque. I absolutely LOVE it.
things to note: I added a little coconut milk to the top of the soup for presentation - I felt like such a "gourmet chef". *wink* I did try the potato chips again on another night - hoping the use of a thermometer to get the oil to the perfect temperature would create different results. It was a bit better as far as not receiving burns this time...but the chips were still limp - not crunchy. Could it be that they need to be sliced even thinner to achieve the "crisp" results?
ranked by me: 6
ranked by my family: 6
level of difficulty: simple
brief summary: the results of this salad were not good simply because the forelle pears were over-ripe AND...I forgot the fennel.
It's a very simple salad with fantastic presentation and I know I'll be fond of the results when I have every ingredient.
things I learned: Try this again in the Fall when apples & pears are in season. *wink*
things to note: I made this for Clara and I one afternoon for lunch. She didn't seem to mind it too much - even with the over-ripe pears.
Butternut Squash Orange Cauliflower Soup:
ranked by me: 10 (crackers only score a 7 though - I think because I used rice flour?)
ranked by my family: 6
level of difficulty: simple
brief summary: I really enjoyed this soup. It has wonderful flavor, beautiful texture and would definitely rank as a "comfort" food in my book. I loved the addition of pumpkin seeds to the top of the soup as an unusual & unexpected food element. The crackers weren't my favorite but I think it's because I used rice flour?
things I learned: My family definitely is NOT into the texture of this meal. (although I'm in LOVE with it). I heard many comments about it being "baby food". *frown* I believe it's merely a reflection of their "unrefined palettes" *wink*
things to note: I did not have purple basil oil because I couldn't find it in any store. I used vegetable stock not chicken.
Leek, baby broccoli, smoked salmon & goat cheese tart. (not photographed)
ranked by me: 2
ranked by my family: 0
level of difficulty: moderate (more time consuming than anything - especially in addition to making the soup & homemade crackers).
brief summary: This was a disaster. It was extremely salty and rich. (wondering if the 1 tsp. of salt listed in the recipe should be reduced to 1/2 tsp.)? I could only handle eating a few bites. I even felt nauseous afterwards. I believe it's directly related to the type of salmon I had to use. (don't laugh...it was the salmon packaged in pouches. I had put it on the grocery list and that's what J came home with - I didn't want to say anything because I appreciate his efforts as well as his patience in his weekly search for "exotic" ingredients - but salmon in a pouch?)
things I learned: My family isn't much into the salmon/egg combination. Never buy salmon in a pouch ever again.
things to note: My favorite part of the tart was using fresh rosemary in the crust. Smelled so good. I used rice flour for the crust.
Green Heirloom Tomato and Celeriac Soup
ranked by me: 4
ranked by my family: 3
level of difficulty: pretty easy
brief summary: I did not enjoy the flavor of this soup as much as I've loved the other ones so far. I was actually disappointed in the outcome.
things I learned: Don't make a dish I'm unfamiliar with for a special occasion.
things to note: I made this soup as part of what was supposed to be a romantic Valentine's Day evening picnic. Not only was I disappointed in the overall taste of the soup, I was disappointed in the outcome of the romantic evening. (nothing to do with the soup necessarily but it didn't help). *wink*
ranked by me: 8
ranked by my family: 6.5
level of difficulty: super easy
brief summary: This is a quick, easy meal. It's not jam-packed with flavor necessarily but it's simplicity appealed to my senses. It was a nice clear broth with simple potatoes and peas.
things I learned: This is one of the most simple soups I've ever made.
things to note: I've been searching for English Peas for nearly 2 weeks - both fresh and frozen. To no avail. I finally decided on using regular frozen peas I already had. Unfortunately, when I went to use them, they were gone. I therefore had to use a can of la seuer peas. *gasp* I definitely wasn't happy about that.
ranked by me: 7
ranked by my family: 8
level of difficulty: very easy
brief summary: A simple cookie recipe that produced decent results. Seemed a little gritty with a strange after-taste.
things I learned: Whipping up a "healthier" cookie was really quite simple and it really satisfied my sweet tooth.
things to note: I used "white" rice flour instead of the brown rice flour the recipe called for only because I already had some in my pantry. I did not have tapioca starch and used 1 1/2 TBSP xanthun gum instead. Thinking I used too much and may have been the cause of the "grittiness" I mentioned.