Pear & Nutella Tart

January 28, 2016


Pear Nutella Tart
I sympathized with everyone going through the blizzard and snowstorm that hit the East coast by making a few baked goods and giants pots of soup. Sure our temperatures dropped a little but nothing like people up North felt it. No snow here. I lived vicariously through friends posting on social media and the news reports. Winter here is touch and go. It was 70F yesterday. I think I wore a coat 4 times so far. I am not complaining. I know that being freezing cold and shoveling mountains of snow feels old really fast.

Nostalgia kicked in though. During the winter months back home, we would drive up to the mountains near Italy where my family has a chalet and spend two good solid weeks skiing to our hearts' content. I miss those days. I love and miss the silence right after a fresh snow fall. The pure air of the mountains and the cozy feel of a warm cup of soup by the fire.

Pear Nutella Tart
It also made me crave Nutella. Our favorite snack after a long day on the slopes. And tart. A good tart with Nutella would be perfect to indulge in my nostalgic moment. If you know me or have read this blog for a while, you know that I have a hard time with chocolate and fruit pairing. I simply do not like chocolate and fruit in anything. Especially berries and fruit. Give me nuts, caramel and chocolate any day and I am a happy girl. But a chocolate cake with raspberry coulis and I will pass. Except when it comes to pears and chocolate. Somewhat I am better than good with that association!

I had leftover puff pastry dough that I had used for Galette des Rois during Epiphany so I decided to use it for this Pear & Nutella tarte. I knew it wouldn't puff as much being re-used but that was just fine this way. The filling is a basic custard with a good amount of Nutella in it. Choose pears that are on the ripe side rather than firm and just harvested.

Pear Nutella Tart



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Watercress, Pancetta & Goat Cheese Spaghetti

January 15, 2016


Watercress & Prosciutto Spaghetti
If you are reading the blog on your computer, you might notice that it has a brand new look. Nothing drastic but I wanted this page to reflect more of how I currently saw things in my head. Once again, I got in touch with Ana at Blog Milk to install a new theme for me and she did a wonderful job tweaking it to my specs. I love Blog Milk! Not going to lie. Affordable templates, small installation fee if you don't want to bother with it and great communication. Ana...thank you for keeping on creating!

Creating. It's always something I keep in mind even for the most mundane everyday tasks. Like cooking dinner. I am fortunate enough to have a husband who enjoys everything I cook, whatever cuisine, whatever season. My mother in law is a traditional southern cook but she has surprised me more than once in the last month by having seconds of lunch salads and soups I wasn't sure she'd go for. 


Watercress & Prosciutto Spaghetti
But heck...sometimes I am not that inspired comes dinner time. You would think that with the number of recipes I shoot for a living that would never have a problem picking one to make for dinner, wouldn't you? Well, it's like having "chefs disease"...you graze but rarely cook a meal for yourself. I see so many meals throughout the week that my brain kind of shuts down from time to time, a bit overwhelmed by the choices. 

That's when the tried and true dishes and their multitude of variations come into play and make me look like I have awesome creating superpowers. I am all about superpowers. Mine is to usually make food disappear off my plate :) What's yours? 

One of those dishes is a simple pasta from Cooking Light with plenty of pancetta, lots of garlic, goat cheese and a big handful of watercress. It is actually a blank canvas to let your inspiration run wild. Pancetta is sometimes replaced with proscuitto, garlic gives way to shallots, burrata or feta sometimes eclipse the goat cheese and watercress disappears in favor of sorrel or arugula. I might thrown in some leftover smoked salmon, some fresh shrimp with a bit of chilies. Leftover roasted chicken has also been known to make an appearance from time to time. Spaghetti might give way to orecchiette or fettuccine.
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Happy New Year! 2016 Starts With An Olive Oil and Walnut Cake!

January 6, 2016

Olive Oil & Walnut Cake
Happy New Year! I hope that 2016 is truly filled with all your wildest dreams coming true! While we learn from our experiences, I am not one do dwell on the past much. What is done is done and tomorrow is not guaranteed, so the present is where it's at. Pretty much. Last year tested me and also enabled me to stretch my wings. There were moments of 2015 I wanted to throat punch with a vengeance and others I wanted to relive in all their deliciousness. It's what makes a year I guess!

Every year I follow Susannah Conway's "Find Your Word" online course. I admit, I severely crush on the girl... beauty, intelligence and soul. She's the whole package. Her Instagram #decemberreflections photo challenge was a complete stretch for me but I am glad I did! I am not one to stay still long enough to retrospect or reflect so this month long challenge was definitely an exploration in sharing thoughts through the lens. Five day into it, I knew my word for 2016. Explore.

Explore the obvious like new places, new projects, new recipes, but also explore my own hesitations, new techniques like calligraphy and video. Explore the senses and the unexpected. I am true Taurus after all and I am looking forward to where it takes me. It's ok for your word to change. Last year I started with Nourish and mid-way through it, that word evolved into "Let Go". Both fit at the time. But there are so 2015 now...! Time to Explore!

And I need some sustenance for all that exploring that is about to happen. Olive Oil & Walnut Cake seems like a good place to start...

One last thing... There is ONE spot left in the workshop I posted the other day!
 
Olive Oil & Walnut Cake


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Food Styling & Photo Workshop February 2nd - 6th 2016!

January 2, 2016

Food Styling & Photo Workshop
Registration is now OPEN for the workshop I am teaching in Charleston, SC next month! All info can be found HERE.
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