italian stuffed artichokes

italian stuffed artichokes

italian stuffed artichokes

tender steamed and baked artichokes with a crispy stuffing.

If you’ve never made or eaten artichokes before, you might be a bit befuddled as to what to do with them, how to prepare them — or even which parts are edible.  In that respect, artichokes are a novelty vegetable.  

 

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sweet corn and crab salad

sweet corn and crab salad

sweet corn and crab saladIt was 97 degrees here this weekend.  I’m not joking.  Perspiration dappled the bridge of my nose and a slick sheen was visible on my brow, neck and arms as Scott and I wandered in delirium from the heat through the streets of Key West on Saturday.  

 

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summer vegetable sauté

summer vegetable sauté

summer vegetable sauté

tender, but still firm vegetables

Before I went to France, I was going to title this post “ratatouille”.  But then I went to Paris and ordered a ratatouille from Louise Cafe.  It came with two perfectly poached eggs on top and I realized in that instant, that this was NOT RATATOUILLE.  

 

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egg, cheese and avocado sandwich

egg, cheese and avocado sandwich

egg, cheese and avocado sandwich

heaven on a plate!

We’ve known each other a while now, right?  You know how I like to cook.  You know what I like to eat.  But you may not know this about me.  I am a die-hard egg lover.  Specifically egg sandwiches.

 

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asian chicken salad

asian chicken salad

asian chicken salad

this salad hits every note on your tongue!

You know how convenient those rotisserie chickens are?  Just stop into the market and pick up a ready-cooked bird.  Well, Costco has one-upped the rotisserie chicken!  They are selling cooked and shredded rotisserie chicken — breast meat — in cryovacked packages!  Now you don’t even have to pick the meat from the bone to make a quick and easy dinner!

 

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cinnamon walnut loaf

 cinnamon walnut loaf

cinnamon walnut loaf

fills the house with a warm baked-cinnamon aroma!

 

I couldn’t decide if this was a bread or a cake.   Is it breakfast?  A snack?  Dessert?  Does it matter?  I opted for LOAF.  And isn’t it mouthwatering?  Not over-the-top with ingredients, just simple and straightforward and AMAZING!  Cinnamon walnut loaf.  Sigh!

 

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spicy caribbean mahi mahi

 spicy caribbean mahi mahi

spicy caribbean mahi mahi

tender, flaky fish poached in a spicy garlic-tomato broth.

I’ve mentioned that my grandparents on my Mom’s side are from the Caribbean, right?  Martinique.  A little French island in the Lesser Antilles.  Much of what our family eats has been influenced by the regional fare from that little outpost plopped in the middle of an azure blue sea.

 

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Paris – restaurants and cafes

 Paris  – restaurants and cafes

Paris  - restaurants and cafes

a typical lunch complete with french bread and house wine.

When visiting a new city or region, you need only sample the local fare to get a better understanding of the people and culture of that locale.  What I’ve learned from my visit to Paris is this:  The French people respect food.  They pay homage to it.  They demand quality.  They expect freshness. And they revel in every succulent bite.  So did we.  Here is a closer look at Paris  – restaurants and cafes.

 

 

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greens with dates, nuts & harissa

 greens with dates, nuts & harissa

greens with dates, nuts & harissa

devour this salad today!

I know it’s only mid-April, but the fact of the matter is – in South Florida it’s already bathing suit season.  And my recent travels to France have left me with more than just a warm remembrance of my morning croissant — the evidence of my indulgences are egregiously attached to my waistline.  It’s salad time.  Scott doesn’t really have a choice in the matter.  He’ll thank me later.

 

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salmon caesar crostini

salmon caesar crostini

salmon caesar crostini

a delicious nibble with cocktails

Don’t you just love a good cocktail party?  Not the kind with a cash bar and stale pretzels, but the ones with a few good drink choices – and some stellar bites that keep you coming back for more.  Like these salmon caesar crostini.

 

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