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Duck Breast with Pomegranate Reduction

Duck Breast with Pomegranate Reduction
There is nothing sexier in my book than cooking French. That could explain why I traveled 6,000 miles to take cooking lessons in France from a gifted cook and teacher Susan Herrmann Loomis. Her culinary classes became my destination.

Why French? 

Georges Auguste Escoffier was the first to create systems and simplified rules for cooking. Not only did he create them, he documented them in the fascinating book Le Guide Culinaire. His criteria are still used in Western culinary education and restaurants today.

This might explain why we drink a “Frappé” 
at Starbuck instead of a “drink that is ice blended,” eat crêpes, instead of “very thin pancakes” and “deglaze” a pan instead of “removing the bits of food that cling to a pan, by adding a liquid.” Continue Reading →

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2013 SERV International Recipe Winner:
Colossal Chicken & Veggie Tower
“SERV”ed with Love

They say you first “eat with your eyes,” but with today’s recipe I hope you will also taste with your heart.

Before your fork ever touches your food, your senses are anticipating how enjoyable the dish before you will be. You’ll taste with your senses and find delicious flavors. When you taste with your heart, you will feel the love behind the food. Let me explain. Continue Reading →

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Chicken Nuggets with Sun Dried Tomato Ketchup

photo by cathy nelson arkle
If you think that ketchup is a food group, or believe everything is better with ketchup, today’s recipe is for you. Feeding your kids and your inner child something tasty in the same meal is possible because of one ingredient.

Ketchup… no kidding!

ketchup

Ketchup is one of America’s favorite condiments especially for kids who eat 50 percent more than adults.  This, I think, could change after tasting Sun Dried Tomato Ketchup from Traina Foods. I’m traditionally not a ketchup girl, but Traina sent me a bottle of theirs and so I said…”why not give it a try?” I love creating recipes and meals, so this posed a great challenge.

I was pleasantly surprised because Sun Dried Tomato Ketchup isn’t like any ketchup I ever tasted. It’s tart and slightly sweet, yet mildly spicy (not hot) and aromatic. Continue Reading →

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2012 Top 10 Recipes | She Paused 4 Thought

A New Year brings the promise of diverse culinary adventures.  I thought before we move forward it would be fun to look back. Borrowing from a late night host, here are the Top Ten.  I hope one of these is your new favorite recipe.

#1| M’hanncha – Moroccan Snake Pastry

Photo by Cathy Nelson Arkle
It comes as no surprise to me what this was the most view post of 2012.  The Moroccan Snake Pastry is bursting with WOW factor.  I mean, who doesn’t want to look like a pastry princess?  This recipe is time consuming and worth every second it takes to create it.

#2| Pumpkin Mousse with Toffee Crunch & Cran-Raspberry Sauce 

cathy nelson arkle

This recipe was a winner in my book from the ingredients alone.  Add the visual magic and viola… you are a culinary wizard.

#3| Pork Butt with Port and Prunes

   Cathy Nelson Arkle

This was the shocker! I think this made it to the top because of an irresistible title of “Pork Butts and Pig Tales” featuring a humorous, yet informative post.  Something about cooking with “prunes and butt” must have kept everyone’s inner adolescent boy laughing all the way through this blog. I would love to know if anyone actually made this!  Funny thing is, this is a really good recipe.

 

#4 | Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

Cathy Nelson Arkle
This is simple to make and bursting with flavor.

 

#5 | Santa Maria Tri-Tip Tacos with Guacamole and Salsa

 Cathy nelson arkle
This has Super Bowl party food written all over it!

 

#6 | Gâteau au Chocolat (French Chocolate Cake) 

cathy nelson arkle
The best part of this recipe besides eating it is you can freeze it ahead of time.

 

#7 | Lemon Rosemary Shrimp Skewers with Mint Pesto

cathy nelson arkle
Shrimp “anything” is always a sure bet considering it is the most popular seafood in America.

 

#8| Roquefort, Walnut & Belgian Endive Salad

Cathy nelson arkle
Simplicity meets visual artistry.

 

#9 | Cucumber and Cheese Verrine

cathy nelson arkle
This is very easy and refreshing on a hot summer day.

 

#10 | Melon and Blueberry Parfait with Ginger Yogurt

Cathy Nelson Arkle
I have made so many variations of this recipe I lost count. It is one of those recipes you can’t afford not to have in your recipe box.

Quote of the Day

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” - Walt Disney

 

My goal this year is to stay curious, be experimental, and never stop learning.I intend to seek out new culinary delights such as bugs… particularly from Moreton Bay or Balmain. I tried them on my recent trip to Australia and they are much better than the “bugs” I had in Cambodia, but that is another post.
…and then, she paused for thought.

 

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Maximizing Menu Development

Photography by Cathy Nelson Arkle

Today’s class is about menu development.  After all our weeks of training, Chef Carol Cotner Thompson thought we were now ready to be creative and experiment. Scary for me because I want a recipe as my security blanket, but this how we learn.

Once you have a good handle on cooking techniques, different cuisines, and which foods and spices work together, creativity can take your dishes to a whole new level. Here are some tips to help make you look like a pro.

Three Tips for Maximizing Meal Planning

  1. Make sure flavors complement, not compete.
    Any single item now becomes part of a group when you menu plan.  Understanding how ingredients’ flavors relate to one another is a great place to start.  A good resource is “The Flavor Bible.”
  2.  Don’t overdo any one item.
    If your appetizer has garlic, use onions or leeks in your entrée. Too much of a good thing can be bad.
  3.  Keep it simple.
    Limit the number of ingredients per dish. This helps create balance and harmony throughout your entire meal. Continue Reading →
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