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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Papoutsakia – Greek Stuffed Eggplants

Papoutsakia – Greek Stuffed Eggplants

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How do you Make Papoutsakia?
The Greek dish called Papoutsakia can be translated from Greek as the Little Shoes or the Little Slippers.  As charming the name may be in Greek, Papoutsakia are eggplants stuffed with seasoned ground veal and tomatoes.  Sounds simple, right? Well, they are!

 

My friend, Thomais, has kindly provided me with this recipe for Papoutsakia.  As you may remember, she has also taught me how to make Authentic Greek Pasticcio and Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes.  Click on the names of those dishes to find the corresponding recipe.  I appreci…

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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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Authentic Greek Pasticcio (Pastitsio)

Authentic Greek Pasticcio (Pastitsio)

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What makes this Pasticcio Recipe Authentic?
Greek restaurants all over the world prepare Pasticcio (also known as Pastitsio or Pastichio).  Not surprisingly, families and taverns all over Greece also make it.  Most families follow a recipe passed on to them by a dear family member and then adjusted over time to satisfy personal taste.

 
What is Pasticcio?
Those unfamiliar with Pasticcio may wonder what is this romantic-sounding dish.  The easiest way to describe it would be as a Greek version of lasagna bolognese.   This is not entirely fair as a comparison.

I…

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Hungarian Goulash Soup Made at Home

Hungarian Goulash Soup Made at Home

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A Cooking Extravaganza with friends in Budapest
On my travel through Hungary at the start of my Journey to Greece, I spent three wonderful days with friends outside of Budapest.  My friends have twin five-year-old children so we planned to spend much of our time at home cooking traditional local dishes.

Little did I know how many dishes we would prepare on my second day there.  I say we but really all I did was watch, take notes, take photos and, of course, taste the final results.  You may think I did nothing, however, these elementary tasks constitute t…

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Banana Muffin Bliss

Banana Muffin Bliss

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Why will each Banana Muffin bring you bliss?
We all have had bananas become overly ripe on our watch.  No one can blame us for letting their peel become covered in brown or even spots.  Having overly ripe bananas is, however, a test of character or resourcefulness.  It’s what we do with these golden brown gems that truly count.

In my household, we usually make banana bread, often with chocolate chips, because that is what my kids want.   We have several banana bread recipes that we follow.  There’s one with sour cream which has always been a family favorite and then ano…

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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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Coconut Cream Pudding

Coconut Cream Pudding

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(Cliquez ci-dessous pour la version française de la recette)
Recette Creme noix coco -fr

What makes Coconut Cream Pudding such an Ideal Yummy Dessert?
 
The Joys of a No-Fuss Dessert
After preparing a fairly elaborate main course for lunch guests, sometimes I do not want to put a lot of effort in making a dessert.  This is especially true for a casual family Sunday lunch.  Sunday mornings are intended for sleeping a bit late and languishing in bed before summoning all my will power to get out of bed.  Late Sunday mornings (when I’ve finally gotte…

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Quick Puff Pastry Dough

Quick Puff Pastry Dough

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How do you make a Quick Puff Pastry Dough?
What do you do when you want to make Puff Pastry Dough (pâte feuilletée) but don’t want to go through all the effort?  Puff Pastry Dough is ideal for appetizers, quiches, and light desserts.   It’s even on its own with a little flavored sugar drizzled on top.  This is how I use up all the leftover bits of dough.

To make a genuine Puff Pastry Dough, knead some cold butter into rectangular slabs of dough.  Fold the slabs over themselves several times.  It’s not terribly difficult but does take a certain amount of patience and rep…

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Pumpkin Bread Tried, Tested and Tasty!

Pumpkin Bread Tried, Tested and Tasty!

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What recipe makes my Pumpkin Bread a Fall Favorite?
 
My Faithful Pumpkin Bread Recipe
By now you know that I love pumpkin.  Making food with pumpkin is how I connect best with the season of autumn.   Every year tradition calls me to make pumpkin bread at least once.  My kids love it and are always asking me to make it.

I’ve been using the same faithful recipe for almost 30 years. Of course, I’ve tried other recipes, such as one calling for cream cheese to give the pumpkin bread more of a cheesecake finish. Another recipe suggested chopping up and dropping in som…

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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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