Market Finds

Market Finds
Farmer's Market Bounty

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rekindling a Romance

Oh La La!
My love for all things French started with my first bite of a croissant amande, when I was ten years old.  We were visiting family friends who lived in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, in an utterly fabulous apartment.  I remember that the kitchen was a city block from the dining room and the butter sat out on the kitchen counter and never spoiled.  It was magical.  At that age, I was a shy tomboy, who refused to wear the carefully chosen outfits that my mother had packed for me.  Instead, I wore my very faded, too large jeans, that were held tight around my waist by a purple hair scrunchie.  The look was completed with my favorite bright gold Brazilian soccer jersey.  I was not chic.  I was painfully shy.  But, I walked alone, every morning to the boulangerie to to purchase my beloved croissant amande, which I ordered in my best French and paid for in funny looking coins.  Thirty-plus years later, this is still a precious memory.

That initial trip to Paris, made me want to return there as often as possible.  Luckily, I had several more opportunities to visit the city of lights during my teens and twenties.  Then life happened.  Job, marriage, kids etc...  Thus, twenty years have passed since my last visit.  Where has the time gone?  Now,  I am the mother diligently packing suitcases for my children and hoping that they will wear the cute and appropriate outfits that I have selected for them.  More importantly, I hope that they will fall in love with this magical city, just as I did thirty years ago.

Certainly, I am a bit nervous, just as one always is when visiting an old friend who you have not seen in years.  But if you are truly friends, you will feel immediately at ease, once reunited.  I think my first bite of a true croissant almond, will be the perfect reunion with this special place.  I just hope Paris, did not hear me go on and on about how much I enjoyed Venice a couple of years ago.  It is never a good idea to temporarily toss aside an old love for a brief fling.  I hope Paris can forgive me for that brief indiscretion.  I feel certain that my love affair with this city will be renewed with fervent passion and continue to have a place in my heart for the rest of my life.  For this is a place that I am truly passionate about.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Feeling Saucy!

My version of mustard-based BBQ sauce
 I am far from being a barbecue expert, but I certainly have a very strong opinion of what good barbecue is.  For me, "barbecue" is a chopped pork sandwich with a North Carolina style thin vinegar and ketchup based sauce. Although I fancy myself to be quite an adept saucier, barbecue sauce is not really my forte.  Even more foreign, is the South Carolina style mustard-based sauce, that I have been challenged to create.

This sauce challenge presented itself last week when making Thai turkey burgers for an event at the new Chapman Family Cancer Wellness Center in Newnan.  The Thai turkey burger recipe is from chef Nancy's Taste and Savor cookbook and is always a hit every time it is served.  There was just one part of the recipe that we thought could use a little tweaking, in order to showcase the "better for you" mantra of our healthy kitchen.  The ginger-lime bbq sauce recipe, which accompany's the turkey burger, started with a store bought mustard barbecue sauce.  Although the store bought sauce was convenient and tasty, we just knew that we could make a mustard sauce base that was quick, delicious and above all, better for you.  I happily volunteered to see what I could come up with.  Below is the resulting recipe, which tastes wonderful as is, or can be adulterated with the additional ingredients in the ginger-lime sauce recipe.

A sampling of my sauce ingredients
Mustard BBQ Saucy Sauce:
1 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup raw-unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir to combine and cook until brown sugar has melted into the sauce.  Continue to stir and cook for another five minutes.  Sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days and reheated as necessary.  Yields 1/2 cups of sauce.  Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if a greater volume of sauce is required.