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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Tomato Tarte Tatin

Tomato Tarte Tatin

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Tomato Tarte Tatin is Simply Elegant
 
What is a Tarte Tatin?
You have probably heard of Apple Tarte Tatin (tarte tatin aux pommes), the French version of hot apple pie.  Slices of apple caramelized in a pan on the stove or in the oven before placing puff pastry dough on top and baking it further.  Before serving the pan is turned over so the pastry is on the bottom and the hot caramelized fruit on top.

Although tarte tatin is often made with fruit, a savory version made with vegetables can be just as delicious.  A few months ago I shared on this site my recipe f…

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Mornay Sauce

Mornay Sauce

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What is a Mornay Sauce?
A Mornay sauce is essentially a bechamel sauce with a combination of cheese melted in.  Some know the bechamel sauce by its less elegant name of white sauce.  Bechamel sauce definitely sounds better, even if it’s basically only milk, flour and butter with a little salt, pepper and nutmeg.  That’s it!

Traditionalists add an egg yolk to give it more creamy consistency (and reduce the amount of flour used). Yet I don’t think it’s necessary.  I also often use olive oil instead of butter to improve its health benefits and make it …

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Belgian Beef Carbonnade (Belgian Beef Stew)

Belgian Beef Carbonnade (Belgian Beef Stew)

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Belgian Beef Carbonnade Made Easy
Belgian Beef Carbonnade is known by many names:  Flemish Carbonnade, Belgian Beef Stew, Beef and Beer Stew, are among the most common.
How to Make Beef Carbonnade
Although recipes for Belgian Beef Carbonnade generally include beef and beer, there are many variations.  Some families spread mustard on bread and add it to the pot for thickness and to reduce the sweetness of this dish.
Many use dark abbey beer to give a deeper flavor.  Depending on the beer used it may also add sweetness.  I prefer a blond Abbey (light ale) beer instead since i…

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Simple Stuffing for Thanksgiving

Simple Stuffing for Thanksgiving

Sometimes Simple Stuffing Recipes are Welcome on Thanksgiving
If you are like me on Thanksgiving Day, you somehow suddenly become a master multi-tasker.  Preparing several dishes at a time, making sure the oven is constantly filled with dishes being cooked in a pre-determined order, and decorating the table and dining room for the main event:  Thanksgiving dinner.  In all this chaotic order it’s welcoming to have some dishes that remain simple, without any extra fuss.

My Simple Stuffing recipe is exactly what is needed.  It has the all the main ingredients (bread, celery, sage, vegetable b…

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Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Garlic

Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Garlic

What makes this Pumpkin  Soup so Sublime?
Every autumn I make pumpkin soup so many different ways.  I prefer pumpkin soup with spices that give a little heat, such as cumin, cayenne, and turmeric.  When I make a spicier version of pumpkin soup, I usually add an apple to soften and round out the flavors.   Sometimes coconut milk serves the same purpose.

In Belgium, however, people generally prefer a creamy milder version of pumpkin soup.  They usually add a little cream, milk or butter in the last minutes to add richness.  This recipe for Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Garlic features more flavo…

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Pumpkin Risotto

Pumpkin Risotto

How do you make the Yummiest Pumpkin Risotto?
In the middle of pumpkin season I’m always on the lookout for new ways to include pumpkin in recipes.   A couple days ago I was having a friend over for a mid-week dinner and wanted to make something special without too much fuss.  I had been thinking of preparing Asian-inspired vegan pumpkin dumplings yet in the end opted for developing a new recipe for Pumpkin Risotto.

Risotto is a dish best made immediately before serving, which makes it a little complicated when entertaining guests.  I prefer not being busy in the kitchen when the guests ar…

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Pumpkin Tomato Lentil Soup

Pumpkin Tomato Lentil Soup

What are some ways to use pumpkin?
During the autumn months I tend to buy and use a lot of pumpkin.  Although a wide range of squash is available at the grocers and the farmers markets in Belgium, muscat pumpkins are my favorite.  Muscat pumpkins are different from the pumpkins generally sold in the US.  I now prefer their texture and taste over the US variety.  They also seem to have more flesh, making them a wonderful source for many recipes.

Once I start using a pumpkin, I try to find other ways to use the rest of the pumpkin during the week.  Chopped raw pumpkin added to my morning oat…

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Belgian Foodie® Winter Salad

Belgian Foodie® Winter Salad

What are Winter Salads?
Winter salads bring color, vitamins and fresh tastes to brighten up your plate and keep your palate alive.  In many ways I prefer winter salads to salads at other times of the year because the ingredients are often more crispy and full of flavor.

 
How can you create a Winter Salad?
Blend colors and tastes
The key to making an exceptional winter salad is to blend colors and tastes.  Don’t be afraid to use bitter vegetables, such as Belgian endives, radicchio and escarole, all from the chicory family. You may offset the bitter tastes by adding sweet ingredien…

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Braised Belgian Endives

Braised Belgian Endives

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Why learning how to braise Belgian Endives is so important?

Everyone in Belgium needs to learn how to braise Belgian endives, commonly known as chicons or witlof in Belgium, at some point in their life.  It should almost be a requirement for citizenship. Many people are a bit intimidated by Belgian endives because they are easy to overcook or often fall apart while cooking.  Yet, braising Belgian endives is actually fairly simple.

How to braise Belgian endives

All it takes to braise Belgian endives is a pan, some olive oil or butter, garlic, a to…

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Tomato Chickpea Soup

Tomato Chickpea Soup

How do you feed the soul along with the body?
Comfort foods somehow feed our bodies while making us feel protected and warm inside.  They feed our soul along with our body.  What is it about comfort foods that make them so satisfying at all levels?  For me it’s food that nourishes, teases my tongue and somehow reaches the child inside me, the child that wants to feel protected.

When my daughter was feeling ill with a lingering cold a few days ago, she asked me to make a soup that I had made about 6 months ago with tomatoes and chickpeas (garbanzo beans to some people).  I remembered the so…

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Vegetarian Enchiladas: Delicious and Healthy

Vegetarian Enchiladas:  Delicious and Healthy

How do you turn Vegetarian Enchiladas into an evening?
Why Vegetarian Enchiladas?
A few days ago I prepared dinner for a friend on her way to Cuba.  Although she will certainly have fabulous and authentic Cuban food while she’s there, I wanted to make a Latin American dish to celebrate her upcoming trip.  I decided to make Vegetarian Enchiladas since they are tasty, healthy and comforting.

As Vegetarian Enchiladas may be prepared in advance, reducing the effort needed when company arrives, they are ideal for a mid-week supper. Weeknight suppers should require less preparation, even if you wor…

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Pasta with Arugula Pesto and Zucchini

Pasta with Arugula Pesto and Zucchini

How can you use Arugula Pesto this summer?
Summertime is ideal for creating pesto sauces since herbs and greens are at their freshest. I love experimenting with new combinations to tease my palate with a change from the more customary pesto made with basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and garlic. For instance, recently I enjoyed a Pesto with Arugula, Basil and Fennel. Follow this link for the recipe and for more tips about making pesto sauces.

I prepared this summer pasta dish by mixing the Arugula Pesto sauce with some fettuccine pasta and sauteed green and yellow zucchini. The zucchini ca…

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Couscous Salad with Vegetables

Couscous Salad with Vegetables

What makes a Couscous Salad with Vegetables such an ideal side dish?
Tonight I grilled a pan sheet of chicken wings. It’s an easy weeknight dinner. I just cut off some of the skin from the chicken wings to reduce the amount of fat. I then line up the pan with the chicken wings and sprinkle on some dried thyme, salt and pepper. Sometimes I may add some other herbs, such as basil and oregano, and spread on a few garlic cloves diced finely. I love it when there’s lots of garlic on it.

I wanted a quick side dish made of a starch and vegetables to round out the meal. I decided to make a couscou…

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A Greek Salad for the Gods

A Greek Salad for the Gods

What makes a Greek Salad Greek?

Greek salads are served and enjoyed all over the world as people try to capture the magic of Greece. In Greece, however, this salad is known simply as horiatiki, translated as a peasant’s salad or a country salad.

Traditional Greek Salad

Although there does not seem to be a definitive way to make a Greek salad, most can agree that the essential ingredients salad are tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, red onion, Kalamata olives, and olive oil. At least this is how the Greeks make their horiatiki.

Additional Ingredients

Common ingredients added to a G…

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