Sometimes the simple dishes are the best. But the ambiance, the souvenir, the memory, the surrounding, and the specific situation makes what you eat super delicious and unforgetable.
I discovered “Spaghetti alle vongole ” in my not even 20′s travelling with Joel to Italy.
We spent two amazing weeks discovering, visiting, drinking, eating, tanning, exploring Italian cities treasures ( Capri Island, Napoli, Roma, Pompei ruins…). We were starving and strugling students but so into adventures, travel, discoveries, freedom….nothing was stopping us.
We enjoyed so much our Italian escapade and loved every minute spent in our little and so cute Sorrento town and the surroundings. The coast was stunning.
One morning, we decided to spend the day at the beach. We did not have a car so we usually took the bus, hitchhiked, rented a vespa or we had to walk. Someone mentionned a fantastic little beach not too far from our camping, but it was deep down the hill, and not having a car and it was pretty hard to get down there and it was always taking us (me) long time to arrive at the beach. It was a little creek with turquoise cristal warm water just located between Almafi and Sorrento, a few small restaurants were lined up their feet into the sand and water. One day, we spent the morning snorkelling into the clear waters. But when we reached our beach towel the delicious smells from the restaurants wanted us to taste their food and we decided to eat al fresco in one of the little family owned restaurant. . It was the perfect spot to watch Italian kids and families having fun at the beach and stay cool during a super hot August day drinking up some “cafe al fredo” and “iced tea’.
The menu was simple but very promissing. We ordered “Spaghetti alle vongole ” .
And it was all we could expect, fresh, tasty perfectly cooked and seasonned with plenty of fresh caught up seafood and perfect al dente spaghetti.
We then ordered some espresso and gelato. We finished to spend the day at the beach. Then on our way up (already exausted at the thought of walking up the hill) an Italian mama stopped her tiny Fiat car and proposed us to drive us back to the top. It was a kind of epic drive the car was so small and the turns so deep… but we managed to arrive… alive. And I guess this is a fun and memorable souvenir. We were so thankful to have a ride up.
Today I am sharing a similar recipe with a lot of shortcuts and not as perfect and fresh as the one served in Italy but it was very good…. .and I was so happy to eat this dish years later again with the same person I did years and years ago.
Spaghetti alle vongole (Adapted from Jamie Oliver Recipe)
- 1 16 oz package Steamers clams in garlic butter sauce
- 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped or chives
- 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
- 1/3 cup white wine
- ½ package =8oz High fiber dried spaghetti
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 12 oz package frozen langostinos
- lemon juice
* All Trader Joe’s Ingredients
Cook your pasta in boiling salted water according to packet instructions, until al dente, then drain.
Meanwhile, get a large pan on a medium heat and allow it to get hot. Put 2 generous lugs of extra virgin olive oil into the hot pan and add the garlic, langostinos, clams with butter juice,half the parsley and pepper. Stir everything around constantly and pour in the wine. Put the lid on and shake the pan as they cook. Take the pan off the heat.
Add the spagetti to the pan of clams along with the remaining parsley and an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Stir or toss for a further minute or two to let the cooking juices from the clams be absorbed into the pasta.
Serve right away with fresh hunks of bread to mop up the juices.
Viva Italia and Buon Appetito
When I discovered and drank my first Almond Milk a few years ago I loved it right away. It was velvety, not too sweet, light and delicious.I was hooked.
I still buy my store-bought almond milk once in a while, since we also love and drink our Straus Organic Whole milk.
But after reading a lot about it I found out than you can actually make your own Almond Milk at home. You know me I like to make homemade things from baguette, cheese, cakes, pasta….
I had some leftover almond meal from my previous French Macaron Cookies cooking class, some Medjol dates from our local farmer’s market so I decided to make some yesterday…. and to enjoy it today…
I do not think that I will buy the one from store anymore, it is easy to make and you can really flavor it the way you want: You like Vanilla add some Natural Vanilla extract, chocolate add some cocoa powder, sweet add some honey, thicker add more dates….
Here below is the simplest recipe I came out using on 3 ingredients.
Homemade Almond Milk
• 1 cup raw almond meal , soaked 3 cups filtered water
• 1-2- pitted Medjool dates
1. Place almond meal and dates in a bowl and cover with water and soak overnight (for 8-12 hours) in the water.
2. Place into a blender along with pitted dates.
3. Blend for 1 minute or so.
4. Place a thin nut milk bag, muslin or cheesecloth over a large bowl and slowly pour the almond milk mixture into the muslin .
5.Gently squeeze the muslin to release the milk.
6. Pour into a glass jar to store in the fridge for up to 3-days.
7. Shake jar very well before using as the mixture separates when sitting
What to do with the leftover almond meal I mixed it with some honey, cinnamon, and make my own spread .
Happy New year! Actually in France you can send your “voeux” (Happy New year wishes) until January 31st, so I am not that late.
I hope you had a great holidays as I did. I took a break from my Iphone, meaning no Instagram, no Pinterest, no Twitter, no FB.
I loved every minute of it. It was relaxing, sumptuous, lazy. My kids were as usual great, fun, full of energy. We enjoy days at the beach, we hiked, we biked, we had fantastic picnics, we visited new places in LA area and we had the best time at home playing ping-pong (Santa brought us a nice set incuding a net, racket, balls….to place on our wooden table), the perfect gift.
Joel even organized a fun Ping-pong tournment with our great friends Jackie/Michael and Robin/Rick and their kids. So much fun…Actually my son won….
So, true the holidays are over, but it does not mean that you can’t enjoy some chocolate treats. A fews weeks ago, I found on Pinterest David Lebovitz picture of his amazing Chocolate- almond Buttercrunch toffee and could not think of a better treat for the holidays. So I made it once, then twice……and I should have made it more. I will. My family could not resist.. can you believe I only had one. I am always an advocate for homemade meals, cookies, snacks and now treats. You can use any nuts you like. For my recipe I used Trader Joe’s Mix Trader Joes with seeds and nuts, and put it in the food processor. I like it crunchy so I did not process too much but it is up to you…I am sure some bits of caramel, or ever dried fruits will be great too.
Here is the link to this amazing treat… go ahead do not be shy. The only equipment you need is a candy thermometer – available now at any major grocery stores. Another important point: do not leave the kitchen, you need to check your oven quite often to be sure your nuts are not burning and you need to pay attention and look at the color of the caramel constantly….
Here is the link for the recipe. click on it ….
Chocolate- Almond Buttercrunch Toffee recipe
Happy Snacking my friends!
Happy Holidays and Happy New year
Cream puffs with light vanilla cream filling
Some cream puffs can be too heavy and too rich. In this recipe, I am using a light cream filling that makes these Cream Puffs just exceptional. Once you eat one, you want another one then another one.
In fact, this recipe is the result of Laduree -Paris French Pastry shop- (for the cream filling) and David Lebovitz -an American Pastry chef who lives in Paris, France- (for the choux pastry).I swear this will be one of your best French dessert….
The “choux” part is pretty easy, I teach kids to make chouquettes, choux and eclairs in my baking classes.
The more difficult may be the cream. Be sure you have enough time to be in front of your stove and not texting someone….the only requirement is to be focused while making it and reading well the recipe from A to Z.
Bon Appetit mes amis, regalez vous.
Continue reading Extraordinaire Cream Puffs (with light cream filling): the other French pastry trend after macarons
Olive and Cheese loaf cake
This savory loaf bread is called : “Cake sale” in France. Yes we call it “Cake” an English word… In this recipe I used a mix of Black and Green olives, gruyere/ mozzarella grated cheese. But you can use any other fillings you like : cooked chicken, tomato, zucchini, mushroom, bacon…endless possibilities.
Once you try it you will adopt it, it will become a staple in your own kitchen and cooking repertoire.
This savory cake is in my Cookbook : Pack a lunch -Cooking with Trader Joe’s serie cookbook-
It can be eaten as a main dish, hot, with a salad on the salad. Or cold, cubed, for Aperitif and drinks. Also great for picnic, potluck… Well wrapped you can keep it for a few days in the fridge. You can also reheat it in the oven on chilly day and use it as a bread or tartine with a soup. I spread it with some hummus or goat cheese. I cut in small pieces and place in my kids’ lunchbox.
Olive and Cheese Loaf Bread
Lovely Olive Loaf : Olive and Cheese Loaf Bread Recipe
prep time 15 minutes
Hands-on cooking 45 minutes + 6 minutes for the ham
1/2 lb applewood cured ham steak
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup warm milk – 2%
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese or Swiss cheese
1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives
1/2 cup chopped pitted black olives or Kalamata olives
1 dash fresh black pepper
Preheat oven to 350F
Cook ham steak as per package instructions and cut in 1/2 inch cubes.
In a bowl, beat eggs, and then add flour and baking powder. Add milk and olive oil, a little at a time, whisking until smooth. Mix in ham, cheese, olives and pepper.
Pour mixture into an oiled floured standard loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife instered in center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes and cut into serving slices.
Note: I like to add some spreadable cheese on my slices… yum.
Bon Apetit !
Olive and Cheese Loaf Bread
Olive and Cheese Loaf Bread
Lake tahoe CA Summer 2012
Happy and Safe Summer Everyone
I will post more recipes on my blog soon….
Ricotta Gnudi with Pomodoro Sauce
It has been a while since I posted something on my blog. Actually in one week I managed to closed a door on my finger and hurt my back. We are working on a Garage Sale. And I can’t believe that a small box with my kids’ toys hurt my back so much since I am loading/ unloading/ moving around heavy cooking equipment, materiel and produces on a regular basis. I could NOT move. Crazy pain. Today is my first day when I function well..and I guess the proof is that I am posting a delicious recipe, you should try and adopt.
As a foodie, looking just at a food picture and I want to make it, right away. Sometimes I am lucky I can duplicate the recipe because I have all ingredients handy. Other times I have to wait to buy the ingredients.
This happened when a few weeks ago, Rosa May an amazing and talented food blogger and photographer mentioned on her Facebook that she had Gnudi for dinner and that is was amazing. I had no idea what Gnudi is-are. So I was happy when Rosa posted a link to the recipe: Ricotta Gnudi with Pomodoro Sauce. My hear jumped when I read the recipe I had all the ingredients and homemade tomato sauce from last summer made with our own tomatoes, onion and garlic and basil.
So I decided to make it for dinner. Oh My. I was above and beyond my gustative envision. It was absulutly delicous, light. We loved it.
Here is the recipe, adapted from Bon Apettit magazine
Ricotta Gnudi with Pomodoro Sauce
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine
16 ounces ricotta (about 2 cups)
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano plus more
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
1/2 cup all-purpose flour plus more
3 cups homemade Pomodoro Sauce or tomato sauce
Mix ricotta, egg, egg yolk, pepper, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and 1/2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl until well combined. Add 1/2 cup flour; stir just until combined and mixture forms a ball (mixture will be soft and moist with some bits of ricotta remaining; add more flour by the tablespoonful if it feels wet).
Dust a rimmed baking sheet generously with flour. Using 2 large soup spoons, shape heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into football shapes; place on baking sheet and dust with more flour (you should have 30).
Cook gnudi in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and tender, 5-6 minutes (gnudi will quickly float to surface; continue cooking or gnudi will be gummy in the center).
Using a slotted spoon, divide gnudi among bowls. Top with Quick Pomodoro Sauce and more Parmesan.
homemade Tomato sauce
lunch in the Garden
Kids Cooking Camp via Celine's Cuisine
This summer, kids 6 to 17 years old have their choice of two different five-day Kids’ Camps, featuring Baking and Cooking Camps.
During the Cooking camp young chefs will be taken on a culinary journey to faraway places: tasting new flavors and textures of different and authentic cuisines from Mexico, France, Japan, and Italy. Through kitchen essentials they will lear how to follow recipes, measuring, weighing, mixing, monitoring cooking temperatures and time and kitchen safety.
Sample Menus: Italy: Pasta and Mini-Meatballs in Tomato Sauce from Scratch – Herbs and garlic cheese bread, Mexico: Chicken cheese Quesadilllas- Spanish rice with black beans, Japan: Orange-ginger chicken and veggies Fried rice, France: Croque monsieur and French Crepes.
This year exciting Baking camps have been added, this camp has been designed specifically for kids who want be creative and have fun in the kitchen. They will learn all about the wonderful world of baking, including the key techniques needed to make some of their favorite sweet treats, including cupcakes, frozen treats, cake, and more. Using real ingredients no processed or from a box!
Sample Menu: Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream – Lemon-Orange Frozen Yogurt – Hot Fudge Sauce- Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla and chocolate Buttercream Icing- Birthday Layer cake – Chocolate Dipped Strawberries -
Each day session is 1 ½ hours a day in the morning or afternoon over five consecutive days and it starts in June and run through mid-July. At the end of each class, kids will eat their creations. At the end of camp, kids will receive a Cooking Diploma and copies of all the recipes they made. Limited spaces to ten kids per camp
Registration is open now!
TEMECULA SUMMER CAMPS (6-13 yrs)
Enroll online https://registration.cityoftemecula.org/registrationmain.sdi or call (951) 694-6480 today!
June 17-21 11:45 am to 1:15 pm
June 24-28 11:45 am to 1:15 pm
July 8-12 1:30 pm to 3 pm
June 10-14 9:30 am to 11 am
June 17-21 1:30 pm to 3 pm
June 24-28 1:30 pm to 3 pm
REGISTRATION ONLINE : https://online.activenetwork.com/MurrietaCA/Activities/ActivitiesAdvSearch.asp
Then Click on ” Healthy living and fitness” , then click on CAMPS
Date/Age: Camp 1 – June 17-20 (6-12 years)
Camp 2 – June 24-27 (6-12 years)
Camp 3 – July 15-18 (6-12 years)
Camp 4 – August 5-8 (13-17 years)
Camp 5 – July 8-11 (13-17 years)
Camp 6 – July 15-18 (6-12 years)
Camp 7 – August 5-8 (6-12 years)
Time: Camp 1,2,3,5,7 – 9:30-11:00 am
Camp 4, 6, – 2:00-3:30 pm
Fee: $75 Residents
Location: Community Center
Instructor: Celine Cossou-Bordes
COOKING CAMP: Orange Chicken, Fried Rice, stuffed Pita Bread, Cheese Raviolis, Asian Lettuce Cups.
BAKING CAMP : Berries tart, Meringues, Turnovers, Cake pops, Ice cream treats with chocolate sauce
Celine’s Cuisine reserves the right to change/alter a menu due to availability of product.
Kids birthday party
Celebrate your child’s birthday with a hands-on cooking party -invite their friends and we’ll teach them how to make their favorite treats. We do the work- so you can enjoy the party as well. Cooking activities are age appropriate, and are customized for the group’s experience. I offer 2-hour birthday cooking parties for children 5-12 yrs old. The party is at the Birthday kids’ house. You choose from healthy and delicious themes and then kids create the party meal.
Experienced Cooking instructor
Choice of one delicious party meal theme (see bottom of page)
Individual birthday cupcake decorating for the birthday cupcake tree or homemade Birthday Cake
Set up and clean up Party prices:
$270 minimum for up to 10 kids
$25 for each additional child up to 12 children (including the birthday child)
Asian | Mexican | Pizza | Pasta | Hawaiian Luau | Brunch | Bake & Decorate | French Add-Ons:
Create a Cook party favor bags Party Favor bags are $5.00 ea and contain 1 rubber baking spatula, 2 cookie cutters and a container of colored icing sugar
Other food allergies or religious dietary restrictions: I always try to accommodate children with other allergies like milk allergies, sesame, soy, etc. When you register your child that there are food allergies or dietary restrictions like no pork or no shellfish I always try to find a substitution for the student. Parents booking a birthday party should ask parents of the guest children about allergies BEFORE the party so no surprises come up during the party when a child lets the staff know he or she is allergic to an item being used. I can work around most allergies if I know in advance.
Kids Birthday Party Themes
>Asian Wraps Party Fresh Vietnamese Style Spring Rolls with Rice Paper wrappers or Nutella-Banana wontons Decorate cupcakes
>Brunch Party Flavored Yogurt,Granola, Coconut, Chocolate Chip Parfait or Dutch baby (baked pancake) topped with mini chocolate chips and banana slices and Warm Maple Syrup Decorate cupcakes
>Hawaiian Party Baked Kabobs of Fresh Pineapple with chocolate sauce or Cornflake Coated Chicken Decorate cupcakes
>Mexican Party Vegetables /chicken/ Cheese Quesadillas Decorate cupcakes
>Pasta Party Fresh Egg Pasta Dough Pasta is served with either a Marinara Sauce or Butter and Cheese Decorate cupcakes
>Crepes Party Savory Crepes Crepes
>Cake Birthday Cake and Finger food as party favor Layer birthday cake Finger food to bring home as party favor