GF Ratio Rally Makes Pasta – Tagliatelle with Smoked Salmon

July 6, 2011
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Welcome to another gluten free ratio rally event!! This month I had the wonderful opportunity to host, and being the non-baker that I am, chose another culinary creation near and dear to my heart, pasta.  Pasta was one of the first things I learned how to cook from scratch, ever.  While in grad school (yes, […]


Daring Cooks Make Gumbo

May 14, 2011
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Today marks exactly two years since we Daring Cooks intrepidly revealed our first cooking challenge to the world, and every month since has been an eventful, educational (and sometimes stressful) trip across various techniques and cuisines. I am sad to say this shrimp & sausage gumbo will be my 20th and last Daring Cooks challenge that I present to you – the past 24 months have been wonderful, but I have to move on – Daring Cooks was an amazing experience, and did wonders to help me grow with my skills in the kitchen, new techniques, and above all creativity (especially when it came to making some of the challenges gluten free!).


White bean tuna salad for a picnic in the park

April 17, 2011
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Ha, I told you we’ve been loving salads lately!  I’ve been all about “no cook” these days, and so when our friends organized a potluck picnic in the park yesterday I thought a flavorful salad would be the perfect dish to bring (so did everyone else, we had a lot of salads – just goes […]


Daring Cooks do Ceviche – Grapefruit and mint ceviche salad

March 14, 2011
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This month’s Daring Cooks challenge is all about Peruvian classics – there were actually two challenges this month – ceviche and papas rellenas. Feeling in the need for some lighter fare, I decided to choose the ceviche for this month. This was a fun challenge because I got to do something new. I’ve marinated seafood in acid before in a ceviche-inspired salad, but never ever actually started with raw fish. So here is to another daring first!


Coquilles St. Jacques and Saffron Risotto, and thoughts for CHCH

February 22, 2011
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Instead of some lengthy drivel about my life in calm and quiet (albeit a bit gray & dreary lately) Suisse, I’m dedicating this post to CHCH and sharing some of the things I love about Christchurch’s beauty. There are great tasting scallops in NZ too, that’s enough of a connection for me at this point to the recipe at hand. I’m not really going to talk about the scallops, other than last weekend I learned that saffron and orange work exquisitely well together (recipe below). And y’all should make Dario’s risotto, it’s perfect.


Tacos: My New Comfort Food

January 18, 2011
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What makes comfort food so….darn comforting? Why do we get cravings for foods that aren’t culinary masterpieces? Why is it that a bowl of mac & cheese on a cool Winter’s day just puts me in a happy place? Or even say….gasp!…a packet of noodle soup? Is the flavor of those dishes so out of this world that they are each deserving of their own Michelin star? No, of course not. In fact, I’d argue that it has nothing to do with their flavor at all. It has everything to do with where they take me. Enjoying food is like having your own personal time-travel machine or private jet. In just a few bites, I can be quickly transported through time and space, to specific memories, people, places. Well, in my mind at least.

Mac and cheese, cooked with some stewed tomatoes and ground beef all in one big casserole bowl. Not exactly restaurant material, eh? Ha, at home, we even named the dish “mush”. It was perfect when you were six years old, had a sore throat, and just wanted to cuddle up on the couch with your mom and a blanket wrapped around you. It’s certainly no culinary star, but to me it will always be comfort food, because every time I make it I remember her taking care of me when I was little.

I think sometimes we have a tendency to underestimate the power that food holds over us. It can make us laugh or cry, bring us joy or sadness, or a myriad of other emotions on so many different levels. Trying to view food as a mere vehicle for calories and nutrients misses a bit of the point. It is the meal, and the life experiences around which the food is eaten that give it meaning and power. And as such, we can use our memories to create new comfort foods. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about living thousands of miles away from friends and family, it’s that new traditions can be forged just as easily as the old ones are enjoyed. Tacos are my new comfort food.