A four course dinner on the French Riviera

A four course dinner on the French Riviera

The French Riviera has no shortage of beautiful, sun-kissed coastal towns: Villefranche-sur-Mer, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, Antibes, Eze...  But Monte-Carlo has a way of sparking the imagination.

After the Vatican City, Monaco is the smallest country in the world. This rocky country nestled on steep hills that drop off into the Mediterranean is divided into four neighborhoods: Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte-Carlo, and Fontvieille. Of these four, Monte Carlo is the main resort and residential area, popular with tourists around the world.

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Turmeric and the mysteries of the golden spice

Turmeric and the mysteries of the golden spice

Hailed as a trendy root, but once humbly thought of as the poor man’s saffron, turmeric is now glowing.

In its raw state, turmeric is a small, knotty, fingerlike rhizome resembling it’s more familiar family member, ginger.  More often than not you will find it in powdered form ranging in color from bright yellow to golden orange.

Even Kraft Macaroni & Cheese has replaced synthetic food colors Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 with turmeric as a natural, alternative coloring agent.

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Does French-Canadian count as a relevant topic on Bastille Day?

Does French-Canadian count as a relevant topic on Bastille Day?

The Montreal food scene represents a spin on French food that highlights local ingredients such as maple syrup, root vegetables, and game, such as caribou, goose, and wapiti, as well as lamb and emu.

Known for its comfort food as well as adventurous plates that lure travelers to the area. Salmon and mussels are also frequently used in local dishes. Strongest influences on the cuisine are that of Ireland and France, both of which are the largest ethnic groups in Quebec.

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Mega Purple and a few notes on Natural Wines

Mega Purple and a few notes on Natural Wines

Going au naturel in the wine department isn’t as risqué as it sounds, however you will be liberated and rewarded just the same.

Advancements in technology have changed the face and taste of modern-day winemaking.  

Additions such as sugar, cultured yeasts, additives, and even Mega Purple - a wine concentrate - are included at various times throughout the process while impurities and flaws are stripped away by egg whites, dairy, or even a sturgeon's dried swim bladder.  These alterations are intended to improve taste, appearance, color, and clarity in your favorite glass of wine.

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Summer Sundays: Make-and-keep sauces and toppers

Summer Sundays: Make-and-keep sauces and toppers

With a refrigerator full of ready-to-eat salads and vegetables, you’re almost ready for spur-of-the-moment summer meals.

The only things missing are jars of sauces and herbed oils to dress your sandwich or top a platter of grilled vegetables.

Homemade condiments are simple to assemble and don’t require any heat. Usually, they’re a lucky combination of ingredients you already have on hand. And since they keep for a while, you can make them at the start of the week and use them until the weekend rolls around again.

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Summer Sundays: Make-and-keep roasted vegetables and herbs

Summer Sundays: Make-and-keep roasted vegetables and herbs

Simple grilled vegetables are a natural make-ahead ingredient in the summertime. They’re easy. Toss a big batch of your most abundant vegetables in olive oil, lay them on the grill, and turn them over (and over again) to make sure every side is lined with char marks. Then enjoy them all week in salads, sandwiches, and scrambles.

But you may find that the sheer quantity of produce begs for innovation. Enliven your bumper crop by turning an eye to the herb garden. Pair your vegetables and herbs mindfully and you’ll enjoy beautiful flavors all week.

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Summer Sundays: Make-and-keep grain salads

Summer Sundays: Make-and-keep grain salads

Though we won’t reach the solstice for another couple of weeks, summer is all but here, with evening hours stretching to their limits. Enjoy them more, and keep your kitchen cool, with make-ahead salads that can transform your refrigerator into an in-home deli case.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll share promising summer recipes you can prep on a Sunday evening and eat for much of the week. We begin today with cooked grains because they’re some of the best keepers and suited to summer add-ins, despite their wintry associations. Hearty, lesser-known grains are a ready foundation for light, filling summer meals.

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Love Your Mother (Sauces)

Love Your Mother (Sauces)

An orange-laced butter sauce can transform a plate of white fish into an elegant meal for two. A pungent chimichurri can make you scrape your plate.

We may appreciate them when we’re dining out, but many of us skip the sauce in our day-to-day cooking, opting instead for bottled sauces and condiments.

It’s time to roll them into our repertoire, not only to increase our serving options for roasted vegetables and grilled steaks, but to learn the age-old craft of dressing our meals.

Auguste Escoffier, the renowned French chef, designated five essential or “mother” sauces, those he considered indispensable for a variety of dishes, from pot pies to poached eggs.

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Time together: French Baking Projects for Mother’s Day

Time together: French Baking Projects for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day gift-giving is usually easy. A bouquet of flowers and a brunch reservation are usually all our moms are looking for.

But to nurture the relationship in a deeper way, tackle a kitchen project together that neither of you would attempt alone. A signature dish takes time and attention, both things that will draw you together. You’ll inevitably have more time to bond as you knead, roll, or pipe—and there will be two of you to do the dishes.

We suggest you start with French desserts. French pastry can be intimidating, which makes it the perfect candidate for a day together in honor of Mother’s Day. And at the end, you’ll have a show-stopping sweet to impress the rest of your family.

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Explore your own spice reserves for North African flavors

Explore your own spice reserves for North African flavors

To make the dishes of North African cuisine, you may not need to look further than your own spice drawer.

Since North African cuisine has been influenced by a variety of other culinary traditions, many of the spices you keep on hand for Indian, European, and Mediterranean dishes can be combined to create a Moroccan tagine, Ethiopian wat, or b’stilla.

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Know your food labels

Know your food labels

For Earth Day, we think it’s a good time to explore not only where our food comes from, but how its origins are communicated to us when we shop.

As consumers demand more transparency, food labels have only grown more baffling. What are “natural” potato chips? Was that “fresh” halibut previously frozen?

Here are just a few of the most prominent claims and labels you’ll see in the grocery aisles and what they mean.

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Lamb, an Easter showstopper

Lamb, an Easter showstopper

Lamb is always named as a possible centerpiece for the Easter feast, but it’s an optional billing, behind the traditional ham roast, which is still the choice for the majority of home Easter cooks.

Perhaps it’s due to cost. Depending on the cut, lamb can be more than double the price of ham. But given that it’s a once-a-year holiday purchase, we’re not convinced that money is the only reason people don’t cook it.

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Pantry staples: Thai cuisine

Pantry staples: Thai cuisine

Excellent Thai food is a full-palate experience: salty, spicy, sour, sweet and bitter come together to create riotous flavor combinations. It’s an irresistible cooking challenge.

As satisfying as it will be to create your own Tom Yum Goong (spicy shrimp soup) or Sai Ua (herbed sausage) at home, the full flavors add up to quite a shopping list.

Too many errands can derail a cooking project, so to be sure your Saturday afternoon is spent in the kitchen and not running around town, stock your pantry with staples for your next Thai-themed dinner.

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Dinner party fatigue? Throw a tasting supper.

Dinner party fatigue? Throw a tasting supper.

Entertaining at home doesn’t always have to look the same.

Sometimes, if a full-blown dinner party feels like too much, we fill the table with tasters.

A tapas-inspired spread is casual without being too informal, planned but not stuffy. And it can take less work. If you’re creating the whole meal, you can pace yourself by making dishes that will be served cold the day before. Or assign each guest one dip or small dish to create an elegant, coordinated meal.

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The best poke is from your own kitchen

The best poke is from your own kitchen

On the mainland, poke is exploding. Endless riffs on the Hawaiian raw fish salad are served up in bars and bistros and out of deli cases. Many cities now have dedicated poke bars. In Seattle alone, no fewer than seven opened their doors in 2016. New York went from zero to a half-dozen poke-only spots in the span of a year.

Poke [pronounced POH-kay] won’t be a has-been anytime soon. The poke bowl’s briny, bright cubes of fish dressed up with an array of fun extras is the whole package for many eaters: an inspiring patchwork of colors and textures that’s long on flavor and packed with nutrients.

But that doesn’t mean it has to stay in our eateries. Now that many of us are hooked, we think it’s time to learn to make it ourselves.

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Eat like you’re Irish

Eat like you’re Irish

Today we’re less inclined to seek out corned beef and cabbage—an Irish-American tradition—and more interested in traditional Irish fare.

The Feast of St. Patrick is a religious and cultural holiday centered on music, dancing and drink, Lenten restrictions being lifted for the day.

But holiday foods for this celebration don’t really exist. The Irish tend to eat what they always eat, albeit in larger quantities and washed down with an extra Irish beer, cider or shot of whiskey.

Here’s what we’re serving tonight:

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