Thursday, April 21, 2011

THE Grill

Since we are finally living somewhere that we don't have a set "moving date", John and I have started buying furniture and house-stuffs that we want to keep. Hopefully for a long time. While buying furniture and settling in takes a while- the first place that is ever settled when we move is the kitchen. And, since we are Americans, part of having the kitchen settled is having a grill. Until now we have lived with a tiny camping grill in Lexington, and electric grill that didn't have a cover in France and now, this guy:

Wooohooo! We have definitely been making the most of it too! Grilled chicken, burgers, hot dogs, pork chops, veggies- We'll try anything on a grill.

Asian-Glazed Chicken Thighs
1/3 Cup Rice Vinegar
1/4 Cup low sodium Soy Sauce
3 Tbls. Honey
2 Tbls. Dark Sesame oil
1 1/2 Tbls Chili Garlic Paste
6 garlic cloves
6-8 boneless, skinless Chicken thighs

Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, chile paste, and garlic. Stir well, until honey is dissolved.   Reserve half of marinade, pour the rest over chicken in a large pyrex container(with a lid). Marinate chicken for one hour.
Heat grill to around 400, place chicken on for about 5 minutes. Flip, glaze chicken, cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat, glaze again. 
Serve with rice, steamed green beans or broccoli. Soooo good.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Since we left Nice, I have been waiting for Springtime. Unfortunately, spring in PA is not the same at all. I have yet to wear shorts, get a tan, or enjoy more than one beautiful day in a row. Actually, I can count the days that we have had temperatures of more than 60 on one hand. For a Tennessee girl who has lived on the French Riviera for 2 years....This. is. not. normal.

Once I realized that it wouldn't be spring for a looong time, (Evidently a very very long time..) I started planting some seeds in the apartment. This girl needs her fresh basil, cilantro, and of course some flowers.
I have basil, cilantro, chives, lavender, poppies, cosmos, snapdragons, and spider plants. I'll keep you updated on their progress! The goal is to have the entire patio covered in pots and flowers.

Anyone else planting their garden already? Is it warmer there? Send some my way please!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sweet Birthday Treats

I made my own cake... Strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting. Even John-the anti-cake man- loves this cake. Not too sweet, not too heavy, essentially it is the Baby Bear's porridge of cake.
And, my hubs bought me those tulips for my birthday too. Love him! 

Cake recipe: Pink Lady Cake from Smitten Kitchen

Monday, April 18, 2011

Somebody had a birthday!

And, it was me! 
Last Friday was my 26th birthday and my husband gave me a wonderful present, one that will be very handy in the coming months, a Kitchenaid Professional 600 mixer! 
Don't you love the wrapping paper? Shiny. 

I was excited! Can't you tell? 
The color is called "caviar" and it's kind of a shiny metallic black. Lovely! Tomorrow, I'll show you the first thing I made with it!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fancy Pants Spaghetti

Break out your dress pants- this is not your ordinary spaghetti dinner. This is nice-bottle-of-wine,-impress-your-guests,-and-have-some-good-bread-on-hand-to-sop-up-the-goodness-when-your-plate-is-empty kind of spaghetti. (Because while it may be a fancy dinner, you have to be yourself...)

Like a lot of our dinners, this was a challenge to ourselves. Could we make spaghetti and meatballs from scratch and would it actually taste better than what I used to make from a jar..... Of Course, it was. That's why it became our Fancy Pants dinner. And, the good news is that it cooks the same in Europe and the US. Yeh!  (Some recipes will be given US/Europe methods in the near future now that I have made them in both places)

The recipe is a big blend of several that I found and pulled into one big, good, meal. Feel free to make any adjustments that you like for the sauce or meatballs. I know everyone has their own favorite things in Spaghetti- throw in some mushrooms, more celery, more zucchini, less carrots- make it your own Fancy Pants meal.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
1 lb. Ground Beef (Or ground turkey, or a mixture of beef and sausage. Up to you!)
1/2 Freshly grated Parmesan
4 Tablespoons freshly chopped Parsley
1 Whole Egg
3 cloves Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Pepper
Dash of Herb D'Provence (or italian seasoning)

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large Onion (chopped)
3 cloves Garlic
1 stalk Celery (chopped) 
2 small Zucchini (chopped)
2 small Carrots (chopped)
Salt and Ground pepper to taste
1 32oz can Crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can Diced tomatoes
2 Bay Leaves
Herb De Provence to taste

Drop everything in a large mixing bowl and mix well by hand. Using a medium sized cookie scoop, spoon out and form by hand. Place onto a cookie sheet, and refrigerate for an hour or two so flavors will blend. While they are in the fridge, start on the sauce.

In a large casserole pot, heat Olive Oil. Add onion, cook until translucent. Add the rest of the vegetables to the pot, saute until tender crisp. Add tomatoes and spices, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for around 45 minutes before you.....

- Cook meatballs until just browned on the outside. I will either 1- fry them in a large skillet or 2- grill them. Once they are browned on the outside, they can be placed in the sauce to finish cooking. Let cook for around 45 minutes more. 

- While sauce is finishing, fill a stock pot with water, add a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add noodles and cook until al dente. Drain and serve with a few meatballs and sauce!