Ratatouille by Julia Child

Honeybrook Farms, NJ

Honeybrook Farms, NJ

For someone who loves to cook, I don’t often follow recipes exactly.  I mean I use them all the time, but I tend to have a rather loose manner with them, altering them to my tastes or using my own experiences with a dish.  Except of course with baking.  Baking is a science and experimenting with it can have disastrous results. But in cooking I feel a bit more confident, and use recipes more to educate myself on a technique, or flavor ideas. There are exceptions to this rule of course, and one of them is trying to cook a specific dish from “Mastering The Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child.  You don’t mess with Julia’s way of doing things…. 

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Cook It Real Slow

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First off, a very Happy New Year to all my readers.  All 17 of you! :-)  I hope your holiday season was filled with fun, friends, family and of course…copious amounts of delicious FOOD! The past month was a whirlwind of activity both in and out of the kitchen for me here at Zia’s Kitchen, not just due to special holiday meals, but also because my birthday falls smack in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was difficult to get out of the kitchen and to my computer, but I am back now to ring in the New Year and share some of my culinary adventures from the 2013 Holiday Season and my new adventures in 2014. To begin with……….. 

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Breakfast for Dinner

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I don’t know about you, but I LOVE breakfast. I mean I love food in general…obviously, but breakfast is my favorite meal.  Strangely enough breakfast holds many many memories for me, more so then any other meal…particularly downthashore”. That’s how you say “Going to the beach” if you are from Philadelphia or New Jersey.

Growing up, we had a beach house in Ocean City and most mornings Dad was in charge of breakfast.  This was decades before I realized I should be eating Gluten Free so we had pancakes, pork roll sandwiches (another Jersey/Philly thing), sticky buns from Mallon’s…you name it.  I even have distinct memories of being at my Dad’s parents beach house – Mommom and JJ and watching my grandmother make cream chipped beef. That was my Irish side of the family…. 

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Red Chard and Beans

Last Night’s Dinner

Pistachio Crusted Flounder, Red Burmese Rice and Sautéed Red Chard with Cannelini Beans.

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First admission.  I didn’t make the fish.  I COOKED the fish, and perfectly well I might add <pat self on back> but the fish was pre-crusted and NOT Gluten Free.  I got it from The Fresh Market when I did a huge “protein shop” at the butcher last week.  I pick a bunch of things, order 4 of each as it’s normally Nonna, Mama Sis, myself then the munchkins split one, and have the butcher wrap it all to freeze. Wrapped, labeled and perfectly portioned – it SO speaks to the inner OCD freak in me.  I’m a 20 plus minute customer but my butcher John is the BOMB and I walk out so happy.  Completely broke but happy and with enough quality meat and fish for a few weeks…. 

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