Happy Birthday to me! I am 29 today. I woke up this morning to discover my hero of a hubby had my favorite breakfast of strawberry nutella crepes ready to go.
What a man.
I love birthdays. I love making a big deal of other people on their day. Truth be told, I like taking advantage of any excuse to celebrate and do something unusual, especially if it means something tasty. Therefore, on my birthday, I want to spread the love by sharing some delectable dishes I’ve discovered recently, and encourage you, as the Parks and Recreation cast does, to “Treat Yo Self.”
1) Peaches and Creme Crepes
Last week I was visiting some friends and wanted to make them something delicious for breakfast. I had all the stuff to make this crepe recipe, which is by far the best recipe I have found for this french staple (By the way, if you don’t have brandy, remember that sherry, bourbon, and rum also work; play with the amounts). But what to put inside the crepes? I hunted through their kitchen. No fresh fruit. But what ho! They had an enormous amount of canned peaches. I decided to turn this into a challenge. I sliced up the peaches and simmered them in bourbon, water, and sugar. When they became a little more tender, I added a splash of vanilla. Now for the topping. I searched their fridge. They didn’t have regular cream. They did however have sour cream. I grabbed that, mixed it with milk, sugar and bourbon in a bowl and played with the amounts until I had slightly tangy, slightly sweet creamy drizzle to top the crepes. I’m rather proud of myself. Give it a go!
2) St. Germain Wedding Cocktail
I first tasted St. Germain at a wedding rehearsal dinner when another friend of the bride whipped up some cocktails using this elixir of elderflowers and champagne. Super simple and magnificent. Josh brought some home on Valentines day and we started getting curious for how else we could use the stuff, which leads me to #3…
Holy cow, was this easy and spectacular. I’ve never been much for sorbets. Not when there is chocolate to be had. But this sorbet made with fresh squeezed oranges won me over big time. Though we have an ice cream maker, we didn’t end up using it. We just put the mixture in a large ramekin waited for it to ice over in the freezer. Doing it this way gave the sorbet the consistency of an italian ice, which in some ways is more fun than smooth sorbet. We made two changes to this recipe that, I believe, made it a true show stopper. First, we added pieces of orange rind to the simple syrup, giving it a pang of orange zest. Secondly, we added St. Germain liquor right before the mixture went in the freezer. Nom Nom Nom.
As you may remember, I wrote about the Nashville ice storm that stopped the city in its tracks for a week. What it also did was postpone the New Orleans Fat Tuesday dinner party I had planned. The other night we made up for it with shrimp etouffee and buttermilk beignets. I have had mixed results making beignets from scratch, but this recipe is a keeper. I’m pretty sure one of my guests ate ten on his own. Once these suckers were tossed in a paper bag full of powdered sugar, there was little to help us withstand the temptation of the finger-licking goodness of fried dough in its classiest form.
5) Duck Confit
Valentines Day 2015: The day Josh learned to butcher a whole duck. It was awesome. We pan seared the duck breasts and served them a l’orange. We then took the legs and wings and marinated them overnight before baking them in their own fat for several hours. Following the David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen book has not steered us wrong yet, and this confit recipe was no different. This was REAL food–you know that moment when you realize a combination of ingredients achieves something greater than the sum of its parts? Serious food. Seriously good.