Friday, November 30, 2012

Charlevoix, Quebec: Odds and Ends from the Flavor Trail

The vibrant produce at the farmers market at Le Ferme in Baie-Saint-Paul, the first stop on the gastronomy train
In early September I was fortunate to be one of four journalists chosen to go on a food-centric press trip to explore the Flavor Trail in Charlevoix, Quebec. I drank cider, consumed my weight in local cheese, and ate more (ethically raised, local) foie gras in three days than I had in my entire life up to that point.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mini Skyr and Birch Liqueur Cakes with Coffee Buttercream Frosting

As you can see, I continue to obsess over all things Icelandic after our recent vacation. First it was Icelandic lamb, and now it's skyr, the Icelandic yogurt that is technically a cheese. (Truth be told, I have been eating the stuff for breakfast since long before our trip. It's a bit like Greek yogurt, but creamier.)

Here I've substituted vanilla skyr for yogurt in a Trixified version of yogurt cake. I also included a splash of Birkir, an Icelandic birch liqueur with a distinctive, almost resin-like taste. It imparted a very subtle "What's that?" kind of quality to my mini cakes - if you can't get your hands on any, substitute a pine liqueur. I used Madagascar vanilla bean in both the cake batter and the frosting, and threw in some coffee extract to give the frosting a little oomph.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cheddar Cheese Soup with Haricots Verts, Mushrooms, & Cronions; A Green Bean Casserole Makeover

In honor of Thanksgiving, the theme for this month's 5 Star Makeover, hosted as ever by Natasha of 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! is a holiday classic, the green bean casserole.

For those of you who did not grow up in the U.S., the green bean casserole is a staple of many American Thanksgiving celebrations, and generally consists of some variation of canned or frozen green beans, cream of mushroom soup, cheddar cheese or imitation cheese product, and bread crumbs or fried onions. It's a gloriously and unabashedly white trash dish, and it conforms perfectly to my late, much-missed mom's philosophy of cooking: Do as little as possible.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Icelandic Lamb Soup

We got back from Iceland late last week, and I already miss the stark landscapes, black lava fields, golden grass, slate gray sky, the buildings of Reykjavik  ... and, me being me, most of all I miss the food.