Sunday, September 23, 2007


I haven’t posted in a while, but I had a crazy couple of weeks, that included a 48-hour trip to Marrakech, Morocco. I have to say that I was so impressed by it. It was really beautiful; I loved the ‘medina’ with all its smells, colors, and people (medina literally means ‘city’ in Arabic). Here are some images: top row, my husband and my boss breaking the fast at the Jemaa El Fna Market, middle row, the spice market inside the Medina, bottom row, more images from the market, nuts, dates, and mint tea.

Inspired by all the Moroccan flavors, I came up with a recipe for white beans, which turned out to be really delicious; of course it is not Moroccan AT ALL! It has pork! Enough to make it not Moroccan. But the flavors are definitely Moroccan, and if you like a little variety in your beans, I highly recommend it! So here it is:


Moroccan Inspired Beans

4 cups of cooked white beans (cook them just like black beans)
1 cup of smoked bacon in small cubes
1 diced small onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 diced celery stalk
1 diced carrot
3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of ketchup
½ tablespoon of red chili pepper
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of cumin
2 medium tomatoes (processed)
1/3 cup of brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 bouillon cubes

There isn’t much science to this recipe, when your beans are soft and there is still some liquid in them, heat a medium pan and add the bacon. When the bacon is sizzling, add the rest of the ingredients in the same order I wrote them on the ingredient list, one by one, gently stirring. Add this ‘flavor mix’ to the beans, and cook over a medium flame until they thicken. Taste, and adjust the salt to your taste. Serve with crusty bread. This is a great cold weather meal, you'll feel like you are under the Marrakech sun!

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Chateau Romanin is located on the northern slope of the Alpilles, the mountain bordering the Mediterranean in Provence. There are some 58 hectares of vineyards on the property, made up of the usual southern French red and white varieties. It’s been certified as biodynamic (with Demeter) since 1998. The wines are universally of a very high standard and the difference between the various cuvées is in the origin of the grapes and the oak regimen.

Biodynamic wines are usually highly concentrated, very personalized and specific to their homeland, the "terrroir". This wine has won multiple Gold Medals, and according to the owners, will take a few years to fully express itself.

This wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet and Mourvèdre. The palate is rich, spicy, with the vivid fruit and firm tannins. I agree with every wine trader: This vintage is worth every cent!

Classification: Very good/excellent.

Recommended for:

Mood: Fine Dining / Entertaining
Food: Hearty Meat / Seafood

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Thursday, September 6, 2007


I've never been one to like jellies or jams, but I tried this amazing dressing at a restaurant called 'La Verbena' a few years back, and I had to ask the waiter what the secret ingredient was, and I was completely taken by surprise by the answer: blackberry jam! and I don't even like jelly! but I love this dressing, and it is the only reason I keep a jar of jelly in my refrigerator, I've also tried it with other flavors and it's not as good. Back in my kitchen, I tried a couple of versions of it, and this is my favorite. You can make it sweeter by adding more jelly or more tart by increasing the amount the balsamic vinegar, you could even leave the olive oil out all together for a healthier alternative.


1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of blackberry jelly
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard (not the grainy type)
1/4 clove of garlic mashed (optional)
salt and pepper

* if you use garlic use very little

In a small bowl mix all ingredients! Isn't it great when that's all there is to it? a lot simpler than beans! :)

For an easy salad, toss a bag of baby greens (jeunes pousses) with the dressing, and top with quartered figs and goat cheese (or sliced green apples and blue cheese). Its great with nuts too! Bon appétit!

* You can make a variatian of this dressing by using one tablespoon of honey instead of the jelly, white balsamic vinegar instead of the regular balsamic, one tablespoon of sesame oil and a couple of tablespoons of sesame seeds! You can use rice wine vinegar too.

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Monday, September 3, 2007


This is the easiest, best dinner ever. It literally takes ten minutes. I love how it looks too!
We shop for groceries once a week, Saturday morning to be more specific which means that I’m thinking about the following week’s menu since Friday afternoon. I write down one dish per day, and buy accordingly. This means instead of buying a bag of onions for example (that are going to last me a month, if I don’t make an onion tart or something that requires lots of onions), it simply means that I buy two onions, three potatoes, two carrots, etc. This is especially practical when you live in an apartment with a five story walk up like we do. Also, we spend less money, and we don’t waste any food. Another reason this is good system for us is that if I just go to the store and buy whatever I feel like buying, we end up eating the same thing week after week, because I tend to gravitate towards the same things.
Last week, we had (for the first time) a wonderful pot of sesame noodles (with this system you also experiment a little bit more). And as I mentioned before this dish was very easy and really tasty.


½ package of flat rice noodles
1 piece of fresh ginger (2.5 cm / 1 inch) chopped
1 tablespoon of honey
2 cloves of garlic, chopped.
¼ cup of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds
1 boneless skinless chicken breast cut in small pieces
2 baby bok choi

1. Get you water boiling.
2. Heat a pan with the vegetable oil
3. Add the ginger and garlic to the oil.
4. After about 30 sec. add the chicken.
5. Cook.
6. Put a metal colander in the boiling water and put the bok choi in.
7. Cook until changes color. Take the colander out. Drain the bok choi.
8. Cover the water and wait until it boils.
9. Get your noodles in the water.
10. Cover the noodles and remove them from the heat. Soak noodles until soft. Drain and rinse with water. Drain again.
11. Add the soy sauce and the honey to your chicken.
12. Cook for a couple of minutes and add the noodles. Add the bok choi.
13. Cook for a couple more minutes (to reheat the noodles).
14. Add the sesame oil.
15. Add the sesame seeds.
And serve!

Oh and eat your dinner! It gets cold really fast!