Chicken Pot Parmentier

Chicken Pot Parmentier

Okay okay okay. I swear, just one more recipe from My Paris Kitchen and I’ll move on to something else. But this cookbook just has soooo many dishes that I want to make, and the ones I’ve made so far have been a huge hit with my husband, so I keep coming back for more.

I couldn’t decide what to cook for dinner tonight. I was thinking spaghetti but then decided I wanted to do something new and a little more challenging. So I thumbed through the aforementioned cookbook and found Chicken Pot Parmentier (Hachis Parmentier au Poulet), which is basically chicken pot pie but with a layer of potatoes on the top instead of dough. It would make a great fall/winter meal, and it would even be a good dish to bring to Thanksgiving. Chicken-pot-anything is kind of heavy for the 90-degree weather we’ve already been having down here in Texas, but my husband still managed to gobble up half the baking dish in less than ten minutes. Continue reading


Kalamata Olive Tapenade

Kalamata Olive Tapenade

I firmly believe that the best foods have the simplest ingredients. Bread made with flour, yeast, and salt. Tomato sauce made with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil. Strawberries and bananas dipped in melted dark chocolate. The fewer ingredients, the better, and if you agree, you’ll love this Kalamata Olive Tapenade I made last night. Continue reading

Poulet à la Moutarde (Chicken with Mustard)

Poulet à la Moutarde

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently got my hands on a copy of David Lebovitz’s cookbook My Paris Kitchen. I’ve been anxious to try my hand at some of the recipes contained therein (all the recipes, actually), so I set aside some time last night for my first attempt at Poulet à la Moutarde (Chicken with Mustard). It turned out great, and I especially like that it’s one of those meals that looks and tastes quite fancy but is, in actuality, terribly easy to prepare. Continue reading

Fettuccine with Carrot Cream Sauce

Carrot Cream SauceA good friend of mine recently described a meal she had in Italy that involved pasta and some type of carrot sauce. Since I’m always on the lookout for an interesting vegetarian dish, I was intrigued and eager to either find a similar recipe or invent one of my own. I pecked around online and found a few recipes that seemed to roughly approximate the dish, so I took some of their basic elements and then came up with my own concoction. I loved the end result, and the best part is, there are lots of ways you could change it up to suit your own tastes. Continue reading

Mad Men Dinner: Chicken Kiev

Chicken KievOn the heels of my last post, which featured a Mad Men-inspired cocktail, I thought I’d continue indulging my mid-century fetish by cooking a dish featured prominently in the first episode of the show’s fourth season.

Don is on a date with a pretty young blonde named Bethany Van Nuys. The waiter comes over to take their order:

BETHANY: I don’t even need to look. Chicken Kiev.

DON: They make you wear a bib.

BETHANY: Come on. Let’s have some fun.

DON: Two Chicken Kievs.

Indeed, let’s have some fun. Continue reading

Kale Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado, and Pine Nuts

kale saladI pretty much always make the same salad to go with whatever meal I happen to be cooking for dinner: spring mix, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and red bell pepper. It’s good, but it’s starting to get rather boring. Last night I decided to have a go at the oft-derided leafy green that’s become the butt of many a hipster joke as of late: kale. Continue reading

Mother’s Day Brunch: Spinach and Gruyère Quiche

spinach gruyere quiche

In my neck of the woods, restaurants tend to get absurdly busy over Mother’s Day weekend. There’s nothing very special about waiting for the better part of an hour only to be seated in a crowded dining room teeming with dozens of noisy strangers and more than a few unruly members of the under-12 set. Come Mother’s Day, I prefer to cook for my mom at my house, where we can chat and sip coffee and linger as long as we’d like in the quiet of my living room.

This weekend I decided to have my mom over for a celebratory brunch. On the menu were spinach and Gruyère quiche, breakfast potatoes, mixed berries, and Poinsettias. The quiche is rich, delicious, and easy to make. It’s one of my go-to breakfast/brunch recipes whenever I have company. Continue reading

Cinco de Mayo for Dos: Tortilla Soup and Spicy Guacamole

tortilla soupI’m well past the age when Cinco de Mayo means donning some culturally stereotypical hat and drinking myself into oblivion, so this year I used the holiday we’ve purloined from our friends to the south as an excuse to prepare a caliente feast for my husband and myself.

Since I don’t eat meat, I often enjoy the challenge of taking a recipe and creating two versions: one with meat for my husband and one sans meat for myself. Dishes like coq au vin are pretty much impossible, but soups and stews are a snap. Continue reading

Vegetable Lasagna


Lasagna is one of my go-to meals to cook when I have family over. It’s simple, it makes a lot of food, and it’s good. Since I don’t cook with red meat very often, I only make vegetable lasagna, and I’ve refined and perfected my recipe over the past few years. I have to say, I’m pretty proud of it.

My dad came over for dinner recently and I thought it was a good excuse to prepare a lasagna feast, since I hadn’t made it in a while. The great thing is that you can use whatever vegetables are your favorite—just aim for about 2.5 pounds total. Sometimes I also add black olives, and I think capers could be a nice addition as well. I prefer my lasagna on the noodley side so my recipe calls for three layers, but two should work fine. I prefer to use real mozzarella, not the comes-in-a-bag, oddly powdery stuff. Also, my seasoning measurements are estimates because I normally just eyeball it. Basically, the recipe I’m sharing is a great place to start and then find ways to make it your own! Continue reading

Pollo alla Valdostana


My husband and I recently took a quick weekend trip to Napa, and on our second night, we found ourselves in Santa Rosa, a busy town that lies within wine country but lacks the charm you’d find in, say, St. Helena. Unsure what to do with ourselves for the evening, we decided to try a hole-in-the-wall restaurant (LoCoco’s) that the concierge at our hotel recommended and ended up enjoying some of the best Italian food we’d ever had. Continue reading