Sunday, April 13, 2014

More of Adorable Brugge

We only had 2 days in this adorable place but we did it up! All the way to the top of this Bell Tower (made famous by the movie In Bruges - I recommend it if you haven't seen it - a bit violent but funny) something like 360 steps to the top! My legs were shaking by the time we got down - so our first stop was the french fry place right out front for the famous Frites with Mayonnaise - and can I say we said "easy on the mayo" yikes!  "They fuckin' drown 'em in that shit" hope you get that movie quote! Next stop was the Haagen-Daz cafe for waffles and ice cream and a beer - quite the combo huh - when in Brugge! And last but not least my favorite place for a morning cuppa - a flat white that is - ever heard of that one? It was a new one on me but it's 2 shots espresso and hot milk served in a glass - awesome from an adorable cafe called I Love Coffee. It even comes with a little brownie on the side - these people love their chocolate and so do I! 
Bell Tower

Fries and Mayo

On a little boat tour
Flat White

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Brugge - adorable!

Brugge Market Square
Roasted chickens & potatoes
So our next stop was Brugge - an adorable little town in the north of Belgium famous for chocolate and beer - and a very funny movie called In Brugge. Some people call it the "Venice" of Northern Europe and I have to agree - adorable is the only word. Surrounded by canals it has a ton of old world charm at every turn. Friday morning we wandered over to the main square and found this amazing food market - fish, meat, veggies and a booth with Pate de Fruits - those jelly like confections sold by the slab. Beautiful. Go there if you get the chance - worth the trip.

Adorable canal views

Pate fruit
Handmade Candy

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What's a cupcake without Icing?

A muffin. Sarah got me on that one. I was trying to get away with just making these berry cupcakes without icing for a baby shower I was going to and she said - that's not cupcakes - that's a muffin! So there you go - not one to shirk my celebratory cupcake duties -I added frosting - cream cheese frosting that is and blue sprinkles for the baby boy on his way. Happy now? I should hope so. This was originally a cake recipe but converts to muffins/cupcakes very nicely : )

Buttermilk Berry Cupcakes about 19

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon each baking powder and soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups raspberries or blackberries
couple tablespoons turbinado sugar (if not icing)
cream cheese frosting (if you want cupcakes)

Whisk flour with powder, soda and salt. In a mixer beat the butter with the sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In alternating batches mix in the buttermilk and dry ingredients ending with dry but don't overbeat. Pour into muffin tins lined with paper cups. Add about 5 or 6 berries to each cupcake pushing them in slightly. Sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar if you are going for muffins - leave it out if you are going to ice them. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-14 min or until done. Let cool. Then frost.

Cream cheese frosting

4 oz butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Get at room temp then beat all together until smooth.

Post Note: I made these LAST summer for a baby shower and could NOT find the original recipe to save my life! Driving me crazy because I really liked them. Finally found it today in a pile of papers - I have some frozen raspberries that are crying to be let out of the freezer!! I did it as a cake today (1/2 recipe in 1- 9 inch pan baked for 30 min) and then I'm topping with whipped cream! Reminds me of Blueberry Boy Bait!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Desserts in Paris!

 Creme Brûlée with an espresso - perfect end to a meal. And...


as a perfect late afternoon snack - Patisserie Odette. Do not ask me why but a beer just sounded good - and if you know me that is odd! But it went very well with my little pastries stuffed with chocolate cream. Delicious! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Still the same - Brasserie Balzar

 14 years ago I went to this restaurant Brasserie Balzar in Paris with my niece and fell in love with the Sole Meuniere. They bring out the whole fish and then the waiter de-bones it and pours over a lemony butter sauce served with steamed potatoes. Just perfection. So of course I had to go again - I think there are new owners but the same waiters with attitude. As soon as we sat down they "threw" the English menus at us. I was a little hurt as I can at least speak restaurant French but ignoring the rudeness we ordered my fish and a steak with frites and béarnaise for Rich. They finally warmed up to us when Rich said to the waiter - Now that's a hunk of meat! He even brought him a "nicer" glass of red wine on the house to go with his bloody steak! FYI - order a point - which is medium but in Paris it's rare and perfect. Another thing that they make look really good here is steak tartare - they mix it up right in front of you - I've just never had the courage to order it - maybe if I could share and have just a bite or two - but it's a big serving. I was so impressed by the French couple next to us - the wife had her whole appetizer (entree in French) then a whole mini dutch oven of some sort of stew then a whole dessert and TWO espressos - at 10:30pm! What a constitution! - Did I mention that they had 2 bottles of wine?  Anyway after our fill of food we wandered down towards Notre Dame and the Seine and found this Cave where they had a Jazz band and TONS of people dancing! Quite impressive - in this underground cave of crumbling stone the fact that they even bothered with a fire extinguisher was amazing!

On a bridge in Paris

Friday, March 28, 2014

Our first wonderful meal in Paris!

Just in case you were wondering where I've been - it's Paris! So I've got a few things to report on - but I've been crazy busy with actual work since I got back so give me a bit... here though is our first meal in Paris - at a little brasserie located in the 5th arrondissement called La Petite Perigourdine. We had just checked into our hotel and decided to get a late lunch so we walked over to this lovely little place. Waiter was very nice and we ordered a salad that came with cheese, bread, proscuitto and potatoes and a steak with béarnaise sauce and that "glob" next to them was cheesy whipped mashed potatoes! The waiter came to our table with a copper pot and proceeded to whip them up and then poured onto my plate - he gave me the recipe - not that I think I could re-create this cheese sensation - but I can't find it in all my stuff! Anyway it was delicious with a nice glass of house red wine - Bienvenue a Paris!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Asparagus Risotto - the season begins!

I love a good risotto - and this one has all it needs - veggie included! Perfect with a slice of cedar planked salmon.

Asparagus Risotto serves about 4

about 3 cups good chicken stock
couple tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion chopped
3/4 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 small bunch of asparagus cut off the tips and then chop into small pieces the tender stalk
2 oz soft goat cheese

Bring the broth to a boil. Add in the tips and cook for a couple min or until tender and remove and set aside. In a saucepan heat the oil and saute the onion until soft. Add in the rice and cook a few min until lightly translucent. Pour in the wine and cook off. Add the broth about a cup at a time adding more when it's been absorbed and stirring almost constantly. When you have about 1/2 cup of broth left and the rice is almost done add in the small rounds of asparagus and cook until all is done. Fold in the tips and serve with a dollop of goat cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.