One Michelin Star, Two Hungry Sardinian Tourists, a Private Sailboat, and 11ty Courses . . .
I tend to go on and on about how much I love Europe, and how Italy (specifically, Positano) has stolen my heart, but I'm here to tell you, I think I have a new love in my life. I know. Surprising, right? It's been quite some time since, but W and I jetted off to Sardinia in May ahead of what was a very generous (and timely) vacation to the island of Capri provided by Small Luxury Hotels. Well, *provided* after I spent weeks and weeks voting and asking many of you to spend some time voting for me, so for that, I thank you. I intend to do some justice to Capri at a later date, but this post is intended to focus on our lovely experience at a hidden gem of a restaurant in Palau on the northeast tip of Sardinia, La Gritta. Oh, yeah. And something, something . . . on a boat. Continue Reading
Dried Apricot, Date & Lamb Stuffed Peppers
I can't believe it's already April! The plants in the greenhouse are doing incredibly well. A variety of herbs; two types of thyme, rosemary, cilantro, our curry plant, tarragon, chives, purple basil, sweet Italian basil, sage, parsley, oregano, dill, lettuce and cilantro seedlings, three types of tomatoes, poblano, bell, and jalapeño peppers. Even our grapevine is going insane and starting crazy production. It's going to be a great spring and summer! On another (happy-sad) front, my very best friend, Renee, is moving to Australia NEXT Sunday. I'm not sure what I'll do without her (probably cooking a whole lot more :) than I have been), but many of my coming recipes will be dedicated to Renee and her new adventure in Australia with the love of her life, Matt! W and I couldn't be happier for her, and I hope that chronicling my recipes will help inspire her in her new town of 1,000 inhabitants. <3 Stay tuned; next weekend is the big send-off, so I should have some photos/recipes from Renee's Big Going Away Bash. On a happier note, this year is simply flying by, and it won't be too long before W and I are relaxing in the middle of the Mediterranean. First stop? Italy. More specifically, Sardegna on the Costa Smerelda, for the 2011 Rally D'Italia and after that? Capri! Late last year, right around my birthday, W and I were informed that we had won 5 nights at any hotel from Small Luxury Hotels of the World. We agonized for weeks over where we might like to go, and finally decided on JK Place Capri. Returning to Italy is an amazing opportunity that we could never have dreamed of so soon after our unforgettable vacation last May. I always find that my interest in cooking and experimenting tends to spike before and after our overseas vacations, so I'm looking forward to what inspiration we can derive after this very seafood-centric journey. Now, onto the Dried Apricot, Date & Lamb Stuffed Peppers. My love affair with dates in meat dishes began with these Date and Olive Braised Chicken Thighs. It's been quite a while since I made these particular stuffed peppers, but I've really been thinking about them quite often lately. They have just the right amount of sweetness and spice, and the sweeter the peppers, the better the stuffing ends up tasting. If you try these and like them, please do let me know! Continue Reading
And then there was Paris . . .
And then we made it to Paris. What an amazingly lovely city on the Seine, rich with history and culture . . . and FOOD! I'd wanted to go to Paris for at least the last 10 years. With our fourth anniversary approaching, Weston and I decided France would be our anniversary gift to each other. So, arriving in Paris was interesting. We again rented a flat through VRBO, and although it lacked the charming owners of Villa Margarita, it had its own appeal. At 123 Rue Saint Honore, it was so close to the Louvre that we were able to walk the grounds ever day. We were also above a very highly rated patisserie (that appeared in our Paris Insight eating guide) and every morning we were greeted with the smell of baking bread. Continue Reading
I didn’t disappear. I just went to France.
I know, I know. It's been a long time coming. Since about October, W and I have been excitedly awaiting our trip to the Cote D'Azur and Paris. The culmination of every birthday and holiday since last October. We skipped a big vacation last year to finally upgrade our backyard and get our garden started. This. This was the trip I'd been waiting for since our amazing experience in Italy and the Amalfi Coast. It did not disappoint. If Italy was the trip that broadened my horizons when it came to food, this was the vacation that validated my love of simple, local, and extremely fresh ingredients, and that although presumably biased, the Michelin star actually means something, from the level of food preparation to the flourish of presentation. Our first visit to a Michelin starred restaurant was Melisse in Santa Monica, CA in October, and after that experience, we committed to making an attempt at visiting a Michelin star in France. Continue Reading
Red Snapper en Papillote
Every single time I suggest making a fish dish, Weston sort of turns up his nose and suggests something else, often beef, lamb, or pork based. However, Alton Brown is a complete genius and I owe him a debt of gratitude for opening W's eyes to the beauty of fresh fish! While watching Alton's The Pouch Principle this past week, my dear, normally fish-isct husband suggested that he might actually eat Alton's Red Snapper en Papillote. Excited that I might be able to change his mind about fish in much the same way I was able to change his mind about pumpkin based dishes, we set out to gather the freshest and best ingredients we could find. One thing we did notice, is that often an entire fish is much less expensive per pound than a comparable fish filet ($19.99/lb. of filet, and our entire 2.8 lb whole snapper was $24.99 total), so if you don't mind a few bones, baking a whole fish in an envelope of parchment paper is probably a much more low cost option for a significant payoff! This dish is certainly impressive once the envelope is cut open and the lovely smells waft your way. I guarantee, if you have a fish hater in your house, they will surely change their tune if you offer this delectable buttery fish dish to them! I'm so glad we tried it, because you'll be much more likely to see more fresh dish on my blog from this point forward. Yay! :) Continue Reading
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