Best Laid Plans

We had another Romanian recipe planned for today. Only it didn’t turn out very well. In fact, it didn’t turn out at all. You know how that goes sometimes, you have everything all laid out – your plans for the day, the recipe, the ingredients and then somehow time sneaks up on you, you’re in a rush, the recipe goes completely haywire and all you have are some prep pictures and no finished result. This is when I take a deep breath and am reminded of that old saying, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

But that’s life isn’t it…it’s gunna throw stuff at us. It’s full of uncertainty, and sometimes it’s okay to just throw your hands-up and move on. Now even though we pushed this recipe aside for today, we do plan on trying it again. You could say that it’s become a personal challenge of sorts. I will figure this one out! Until then, we thought we’d share this simple Watermelon-Ginger Salad that we whipped up to go with Mr. N’s birthday meal a few weeks ago. It’s simple, it’s fresh, is a great summer side, and most importantly it’s no fail! Continue reading

The FTC Romanian Style

By the “FTC,” I’m of course referring to the French Toast Challenge and would you believe when I was searching for Romanian recipes I came across a Romanian French toast? It was meant to be and so it was…our anniversary breakfast.

Mike and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary this past weekend. I can’t believe it’s already been 12 years. We’ve had our ups, we’ve had our downs, and I can honestly say, I love this man more today than ever. We celebrated our anniversary in style (Eva – I wore my pink and orange stilettos!) with a delicious dinner, a great bottle of wine and a lovely late night walk (not in the stilettos). I may try to recreate one of the appetizers from our dinner soon. It was too delicious not to – bacon wrapped dates, stuffed with blue cheese and topped with a balsamic reduction. Oh, my, my, my.

But I digress. Back to the Romanian feast of the day. While the Ciuperci pe Friganele doesn’t exactly scream romantic breakfast, we figured it was best to whip up the mushroom laden French toast while the kids were at Nana and Papa’s. We are slowly converting them, but mushrooms would not have screamed breakfast of the year to the kids; plus Mike and I like making breakfast together while the kids are out. It’s a little something reminiscent of days gone by. I still remember the first time Mike made me breakfast. It was of course French toast; however, it didn’t start with chopped mushrooms. Continue reading

A Piece of Cake

First and foremost, thank you all for your wonderful comments to Mr. N. He was very excited to hear them all. He had quite a fabulous birthday week and we still have more celebrations to come, so he’s not done yet! Ah, to be a kid again.

As promised tonight we’re going to bring you the special dessert for Mr. N’s birthday dinner. Here’s how it came about: “I think I want you to make me a cake this year mom.” Continue reading

From Sesame Street to Sesame Chicken

I mentioned in the last post that this was Mr. N’s special week. So for the next few posts we’ll be setting Romania aside to bring you Mr. N’s birthday meal of choice. Gone are the days of kicking back and watching Sesame Street with my favorite little boy. He’s eight now and rolls his eyes at the sight of anything Sesame Street related. Now he’s into LEGO’s, reading mystery books and running around with his friends (without his mom). While I miss the days of carrying him around everywhere with me (Man, did he love to be carried!), it’s such a joy watching him grow and develop such an active imagination, gentle nature and terrific sense of humor.

Mr. N’s 1st Birthday

So what did Mr. N request for his birthday? Sesame Chicken. Well, actually he told me he wanted some kind of Chinese chicken. When I asked what kind, he requested I pull something up on the internet. So I Googled “Chinese chicken” images and passed him the computer. He browsed through a page or two of pictures and then said, “This one. I want this one.” And so today, Mr. N — who’s writing this along side of me and rather embarrassed at the moment with his mom’s mushiness — bring you a lighter version of the popular Sesame Chicken which we adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. Incidentally it’s also a really easy recipe which gave me more time to work on the dessert that we’ll share soon. Alright…take it away Mr. N.  Continue reading

One for the Money, Two for the Show

As promised tonight’s introduction to Romanian cuisine is complete with a bonus recipe. Yep, this is a twofer. Now that summer is here we’re eating lighter and enjoying the outdoors quite a bit more. That means there’s less time to spend holed up in the kitchen. All that said, you’re probably wondering why then, we have two recipes. Well…they are both appetizers and absolutely easy.

Both Beth from Yes Folks, I Run Like a Girl and Kate from Minestrone Soup both suggested eggplant and eggplant salads as part of our tour of Romania. So our first recipe is just that – a Romanian Eggplant Salad. While searching for eggplant recipes we also came across a recipe for Fasole Batuta, or a Romanian Bean Dip. The bean dip recipe is adapted from Lake Magazine which also had this little tidbit of information: It is estimated that there are more than one million Romanians living in America, and of this group 17 percent live in Illinois and Michigan. In metro Chicago alone there are about 100,000 Romanians. I had no idea! That was kind of a fun little fact to learn about our area.  Continue reading

Gettin’ Down to the Nitty Gritty

We’re back and today we have our last recipe from North Carolina. After all, we’ve got to get rolling with some Romanian dishes here soon too. In fact, stay tuned early next week for our first taste of Romania – it’s a twofer!

Now before we cross the Atlantic, we’re going to round out this culinary tour with a classic Southern dish inspired by our favorite restaurant from North Carolina, the Tupelo Honey Cafe. The moment I saw “Fried Green Tomatoes- served over goat cheese grits with basil” on the menu, I knew I was going to be sold. Sure enough Tupelo didn’t disappoint. The dish was fantastic! So of course we had to see if we could recreate the magic at home.  Continue reading