Banana Pie Baked Upside-Down in Caramel

Banana Pie Baked Upside-Down in Caramel

Banana Pie or Banana Tarte Tatin?

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What is a tarte tatin?

A tarte tatin is a pie that is made upside down. Most people think the term tarte tatin refers only to a French apple pie, as this is the most famous version of a tarte tatin. However, you can make a tarte tatin with any fruit. You can even make a savory version with vegetables. See for instance my recipes for a Belgian Endive Pie and a Tomato Tarte Tatin.

A tarte tatin usually starts by caramelizing your featured fruit or vegetable in a little butter and sugar in a pan. Next you roll out dough on to…

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Swiss Chard Pie with Parsley and Cheese

Swiss Chard Pie with Parsley and Cheese

What is a Swiss Chard Pie?

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It’s a pie in the same sense that pizzas, quiches and other similar savory dishes can be considered a pie.  It starts with a layer of dough on the bottom, then is topped with a mixture of Swiss chard, parsley, onions and cheese, and finally is baked in the oven until golden brown.

What Inspired this Unique Dish?

I have Georgian and Belgian cuisines to thank for inspiring me to make this super delicious combination.  When I say Georgia, I mean the Causcasus country, not the US state.

Georgian inspiration

Last spring I had th…

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Sourdough Pizza Crust – Healthy and Homemade

Sourdough Pizza Crust – Healthy and Homemade

Who Doesn’t Love Pizza?
Pizza can be found all over the world.  Thin crust pizza, deep dish pizza, round pizza, square pizza, all kinds of pizza.

What distinguishes a good pizza is its crust, sauce and choice of toppings.  The way the pizza is baked also influences its flavor and texture.

I will write more about each of these components in a separate post about pizza making.  Here I will focus on pizza crust, and more specifically on sourdough pizza crust, and the way it acts as the foundation for your pizza.

 
Selecting Your Pizza Crust
Yeast Pizza Crust
For years I’ve made …

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Roasted Beets and Fennel on Pasta

Roasted Beets and Fennel on Pasta

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How an Accident Became a Favorite Dish
Sometimes it’s hard to find inspiration for meals when you’re cooking for yourself.  Why spend a lot of time to prepare a dish that you’re probably going to eat quickly?

Well, this past year I’ve made Roasted Beets and Fennel on Pasta several times.  It started off as an accident.  One day I wanted to make a meal that required little effort with the ingredients in my refrigerator.  And this dish was the happy result.

 
Red Beets
I usually have red beets in my refrigerator, as I love them prepared so many ways.  I’ll throw…

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Trustworthy Sourdough Bread at Home

Trustworthy Sourdough Bread at Home

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Sourdough Bread is My Favorite Type of Bread
Over the past twenty years I’ve made dozens of loaves of bread.  Quick breads, yeast breads and sourdough breads.  Not all breads have turned out perfectly.  Yet, the process of making bread is always enjoyable.

As the name suggests, quick breads do not require time to rise.  Generally you add baking soda or baking powder to the recipe so your baked goods will rise in the oven.  Sometimes you need to add an acidic agent, such as buttermilk or yogurt, to help the baking soda work properly.

Yeast breads use either dry yeast …

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A Basic Sourdough Starter Guide

A Basic Sourdough Starter Guide

What is Sourdough Starter?
Sourdough starter is a mixture customarily made with flour and water, yet can include other ingredients, such as organic grapes or figs.  It captures the wild yeast present in flour to create a rising agent to be used in baking.  It therefore replaces cake yeast, dry yeast, or other forms of baking yeast.

You may replace sourdough starter for yeast or other rising agents, such as baking powder, in any recipe.  You may need to play a little to find the right amount of sourdough starter needed, as much will depend on your starter’s potency.  The result might not be…

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A Guide For Making Bread at Home

A Guide For Making Bread at Home

Is Making Bread a Chore or Passion?
I’ve been making bread for more than twenty years.  Not continuously, yet periodically in long spurts over the years.  As you might have noticed from my other recipes on this site, I love making all kinds of dough for pastries, pasta and bread.

Friends often ask why I bother to make my own bread.  Isn’t it time consuming and difficult?  Yes, I respond, it takes time and requires a certain amount of skills.

Nevertheless, almost nothing feels more rewarding than making your own bread.   After making bread a couple times, the feeling of reward will turn …

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Tomato Fish Soup in 30 minutes

Tomato Fish Soup in 30 minutes

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How to make a Quick Tasty Tomato Fish Soup
Tomato Fish Soup is one of my favorite soups at home and in restaurants.  There are so many ways to make fish soup, some simple, others a little more complicated.  This recipe is super easy to make in less than an hour.

You can make this Tomato Fish Soup in a single pot, making your clean up afterwards much easier.   All you need to do is put a casserole on the stove over a medium heat.  Add an onion, a few garlic cloves and spices.  Then pour in a can of whole tomatoes, mix and let simmer until tomatoes break down.  Finally thro…

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Fresh Red Beet Pasta

Fresh Red Beet Pasta

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Why Bother Making Fresh Red Beet Pasta?
Recently I developed a recipe for Red Beet Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese, which was absolutely yummy.  Of course, I may be a bit biased.  So don’t rely on my word, try it yourself and see how delicious is this ravioli dish!

The red beets in the pasta make the dough a vibrant purple color, which will certainly make any plate look more attractive.  The red beets also add dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and nutrients that will help you and your family remain healthy.  Contrary to common belief, red beets are not high in sugar;…

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Pumpkin Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese

Pumpkin Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese

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Why Not a Pumpkin Variation for a New Family Favorite?
During a stay in Kosice, Slovakia at the end of my Journey to Greece, I fell in love with a vegetarian red beet pirohy (pierogi) dish served with fresh spinach and goat cheese.  To discover more about my love story with this delicious wholesome dish, read my recipe for Red Beet Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese.

While I was testing out recipes for Red Beet Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese with one of my Belgian sisters, she started harvesting pumpkins from her vegetable garden.

 

 

As I…

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Red Beet Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese

Red Beet Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese

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What Inspired this Soul-Fulfilling Red Beet Ravioli Dish?
Towards the end of my Journey to Greece, I spent a few days in Kosice, Slovakia, near the Hungarian, Polish and Ukrainian borders.  I initially planned to spend one night in Kosice, yet immediately fell in love with its old town.  I ended up staying three nights so I could leisurely visit the town, hang out in its cafes and restaurants, and spy on the hordes of people strolling on the main street, Hlavná ulica.

Hlavná ulica is such a vibrant street with a park, musical fountains, and load…

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Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes

Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes

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What Makes this Recipe for Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes Genuine?
Months ago my friend, Diamantis, described how his wife, Thomais, made the absolute best Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes (in Greek known as Gemista).  In fact, his accolades of his wife’s wonderful cooking and his invitation for me to come learn at her side first gave me the idea to embark on my Journey to Greece.

Why not spend time in Greece learning local and family recipes from such a good cook?  I’d enjoy some long-deserved vacation while gathering materials for my blog.  Ok, twisting my arm was  perh…

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Pasta with Fennel and Fresh Garlic – Yummy and Healthy!

Pasta with Fennel and Fresh Garlic – Yummy and Healthy!

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Pasta with Fennel and Fresh Garlic Makes a Quick Yummy Meal
Is Fennel an Acquired Taste?
Not everyone enjoys the strong-licorice flavor of fresh fennel.  It can be a bit overwhelming if you eat a lot of it in one sitting.

However, when it’s cooked, fennel’s pronounced taste becomes more subdued and quite yummy.  Cooked fennel is a good substitute for celery in many recipes.  In Belgium, some people replace fennel for Belgian endives (chicons / witloof) in the traditional dish of Chicons au gratin.

 
Recipes with Fennel
Full of good intentions, I often buy fen…

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Wild Garlic Pesto

Wild Garlic Pesto

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Wild Garlic Pesto on Pasta is a Springtime Favorite
 
Memories Triggered by Wild Garlic
The sense of smell can trigger strong memories, no matter how faraway they may be.  Wild garlic, also known by many other names, such as ramps, spring onion, ramson, wild leek, bear’s garlic, and wood leek, is probably my most faithful olfactory trigger.  Wild garlic is not actually a variation of garlic, but rather a variation of leek.

At 16 years old I lived on a farm in Belgium as an exchange student.  Farm life was different in almost every way from my life in Los Angeles….

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Crusted Salmon for Special Occasions

Crusted Salmon for Special Occasions

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What makes Sunday family meals so simple yet so special?
After rushing around all week, Sunday rolls around and lets us slow down to enjoy our families and friends.  A meal together, a stroll in the park, or whatever else your family does to reconnect together.

 
Sunday brunch in Los Angeles
While growing up in Los Angeles, Sunday brunch was my family’s main event.  We often enjoyed bagels, lox, and cream cheese along with whitefish, creamed herring and dill pickles. At one time my father made his famous scrambled eggs with everything in it (dried salami, onions,…

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