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The Magic of Comfort Food

Sometimes the simplest things can bring us the most comfort when we need it. I’m definitely a believer in comfort food, especially since food has always been a pretty central part of my life. Baking and cooking are relaxing for me, because it gives me the opportunity to focus on something else when I’m stressed out. The act of preparing food requires your full attention, or at least it does for me, so it’s a great way to escape the little stresses of everyday life. Then of course, you get to reap the rewards of eating and sharing the food you prepared. One of my favorite things to bake when I’m stressed are fruit-filled cakes. They are great as dessert, and also as breakfast the following morning or as an afternoon snack. Plus they are pretty easy to put together and even easier to modify depending on your tastes and what’s fresh and readily available. This Plum Cake I found on the kitchn is the perfect thing to bake when you need a little time to slow down, and it’s even better when you get to share it with a friend.

Plum Cake

Plum Cake from the kitchn

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"Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need."

— Julia Child

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My Fiadone

Some of you may not know but I have a always had an interest in Corsican cuisine but haven’t been able to study up on it until recently. I’ve stumbled across just a few Corsican cookbooks that are written in English, (my French is a little rusty!) so even though the island itself has a very interesting culinary history, it is still largely unknown outside of Europe.

Luckily for me, I was gifted one of those cookbooks for Christmas; my aunt surprised me with Rolli Lucarotti’s Recipes from Corsica. Whenever I receive a new cookbook I immediately go to the desserts section, and one dessert in particular caught my eye. The fiadone is often likened to a cheesecake, but I don’t think that quite does the job when describing this unique sweet. It’s light and refreshing, and the perfect end to a delicious meal. I’m glad I chose to make fiadone for my first foray into Corsican cookery, and I highly recommend you try it.

My Fiadone

adapted from Rolli Lucarotti’s Recipes from Corsica

Ingredients:
17.6 oz. or a rough pound brocciu or ricotta (I used ricotta as it seems near impossible to get brocciu in the States)
2/3 cup caster sugar
4 large or 5 medium eggs
zest of 1 large lemon
1 tbsp. eau de vie
pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9” springform pan and set aside.

Separate the eggs. In a bowl, combine the yolks, sugar, lemon zest, eau de vie and cheese until smooth.

In a separate bowl, add the salt to the whites and whisk them into soft peaks. Fold some of the whipped whites into the cheese mixture, then fold the mixture into the remaining egg whites until combined.

Transfer the mixture to the springform pan and bake for 30-35 mins until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least half an hour before slicing and serving.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Here’s a little love for all of you…Philly style. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Thank you Tastykake for officially ruining my diet.

Thank you Tastykake for officially ruining my diet.

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Pecans are Perfect.

I love pecans. Seriously, they’re probably my favorite type of nut. They aren’t as bitter as walnuts, and can be used as a substitution for them (or other nuts) in almost anything. I frequently put them on top of my oatmeal in the morning for breakfast, or just eat them as a snack, or throw them into baked goods. So you could imagine my excitement when I stumbled across this little recipe from Cookie+kate. This is good work, my friends. Good work.

Image and recipe from Cookie+kate.

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So yeah…

I was stumbling my way through the internet this week and came across a new blog, or a new-to-me blog: Milk & Mode and I was instantly smitten. Written by Carol Han who combines two of my favorite things (food & fashion) into one brilliant and inspiring blog, it is chockablock with as many great outfit ideas as recipes. Seriously, if you love cheese labels as much as designer labels, click the link.

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Aw man…

This is totally going to kill my diet. You see, this right here is Baklava Butter. Courtesy of Elle’s New England Kitchen. It’s like the best part of baklava that you can put on anything. Dangerous…very dangerous.

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Ooooooooh…

I wanna make this:

It’s a Spicy Date Walnut Loaf. And it sounds wonderful.

Image and Recipe from Forque.

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Coronation Chicken Salad

Have I mentioned that I have a thing for Great Britain? Oh…I haven’t? Oh, well I do. I don’t know what it is…just do. Have since I was a kid. Was even an English Lit major in college. (Yes, I do enjoy reading Shakespeare. Yes, I’m one of those booknerds.) And over the weekend some books I ordered came in from B&N, including the new biography, Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith. So far it’s a pretty interesting read and I already have a lot more admiration for the Elizabeth II. Did you know she was just 25 years old when she became the Queen of England? Pretty amazing. Of course, in the book they cover the details of her coronation and they mention that Coronation Chicken was served at the luncheon following the ceremony. I’d never had it so I decided to do some googling and try to put together my own version of this tasty sounding chicken salad recipe. At first I was a little skeptical about a curried chicken salad, but then I realized it has a lot of the same ingredients as one of my favorite Indian dishes, Chicken Biryani. I’m happy to report that it turned out delicious, so I do hope you all try it out.



Coronation Chicken Salad - Sort Of…
1 whole boneless skinless chicken breast, poached and diced
a handful of dried apricots, chopped
a small handful of cashews, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 to 2 big teaspoons of light mayo
curry powder
1 tsp. apricot preserves
a splash of cider vinegar
salt & pepper

I started off by poaching the chicken breast, then I set it aside to cool for a bit. While it was cooling, I chopped up the celery, apricots and cashews. When I was done chopping them, I threw them together in a bowl and mixed them up to see how they looked ratio-wise. This makes it easier to adjust. If you want more apricots, add some more, need more celery, throw some in, etc. I chopped up the chicken and added it to the bowl along with the mayo, curry powder (to taste - mine was pretty yellow…I like a lot of curry), apricot preserves, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste, mix it all up and let it sit in the fridge a day before eating it. It needs time to groove on. Trust me.