Olive lovers, you know how when you buy a loaf of olive bread, there are never enough olives in there? I have a solution: make your own at home! I assure you, it’s not that hard. (And if you don’t like olives, you can still make your own bread with different flavorings of your choice.) For this recipe you do need an oven-proof pot with a tight-sealing lid that will withstand 450 F/ 230 C degree heat. I use my 5.5-quart Le Creuset dutch oven and it works like a charm. You just mix everything together the night before, let the yeast do its magic overnight, then plop it in a preheated pot and cook. It comes out crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, and (my version, at least) loaded with olives and herbs. It’s the only bread recipe you’ll ever need (and never knead)!
With Mother’s Day around the corner, I thought I’d revisit this tried-and-true recipe with a fresh spring topping. The special moms in your life deserve breakfast in bed, don’t they? What’s better than fresh crepe-like Swedish pancakes, warm from the pan, and topped with whipped cream and strawberries? If it’s your day, moms, and you’re not sure what awaits you on Sunday morning, you might want to print this recipe out and leave it somewhere conspicuous. These are similar to traditional French crepes, but have slightly more eggs and less flour in them — making them easier to cook, springier in texture, and more flavorful, in my opinion. For more topping ideas and tips, please visit my original posting for Swedish Pancakes with Sweet Clementine Sauce. Enjoy!
A little story and a recipe
Having lived in Japan for four years, I find miso soup comforting any time of day, any time of year. There is nothing quite like the earthy, rich flavor of miso and dashi combined with fresh vegetables and seafood. One spring during cherry blossom season, my parents visited me, and we toured around Kyoto, the old capital bursting with delicate pink petals everywhere. Chilled by the crisp spring air, we ducked into a restaurant specializing in nabe (pronounced “NAH-bay”), or hot pots of vegetables and seafood in a broth cooked at the table. We ordered a miso-based nabe made in the style of the northern Hokkaido region, and it came with a hearty and colorful array of salmon, shellfish, and fresh vegetables. It warmed and nourished us, and we still talk about that delicious lunch many years later.
Last year I tested chocolate fondant/molten lava cake recipes as I think only a zealous chocoholic can. I tried them in ramekins (not as fun as opening them up to let the chocolate spill out on a plate), I baked some in a water bath (more pudding-like than cake on the outside), I poked little chunks of chocolate in the middle of some (which felt like cheating, and wasn’t the smooth and rich consistency of molten batter), and I experimented with different chocolate/sugar/flour ratios and minutes in the oven. Luckily I found a favorite before I became a walking molten lava cake myself. The best variation, to my taste, was this one, adapted from a recipe by Aussie chef Curtis Stone (another confessed chocoholic). Baked in a jumbo muffin pan, it uses quality dark bittersweet chocolate, just enough flour to set up without offsetting the rich chocolate goodness, and achieves that gooey molten effect that oozes out at the slightest touch of the spoon. This winning dessert — along with a day spent with my luvbugs and a lovely dinner prepared by my husband — makes for a very happy birthday today!
From my busy kitchen to yours, I’m sending all of you my wishes for happy holidays and festive feasting. Wherever you spend the holidays, bon appétit, bon voyage, and happy seasonings!
Here I’ve gathered up my favorite holiday dishes, from starters to main courses to desserts, all the way to magical morning breakfast ideas. Enjoy! ~Laura
Coriander is the kind of spice that usually plays a supporting role in curries, other sauces and spice rubs. Here it’s the star seasoning. This sweet, nutty seed complements pork, red wine and prunes so it’s perfect as the star ingredient in seasoning pork tenderloin and infusing a red wine and prune reduction sauce. I love this dish in winter; I find it so soothing and simple, but it’s elegant enough to be the main course of a festive feast for the holidays. Continue reading
I have lots of catching up to do for Thanksgiving. First, I’d like to thank Transplanted Cook, More Food Please, and Fae’s Twist & Tango for nominating me for awards. Wow! These are some of the best and most inspirational blogs I’ve come across, and it’s an honor to receive such kudos from them! Second, I’m happy to pass the recognition on to some more outstanding and deserving blogs in each category. Continue reading