Monday Mélange: Tastes of Home

I’m convinced that I have heightened senses. Walking down the streets of Paris, I always knew when a bakery was nearby due to the indescribably intoxicating smell of butter. Smells bring back memories for me; whether it’s the chalky smell of fresh paint that reminds me of the number of apartments my family moved to in Manhattan or the sweet musky smell of the Redwoods we would visit in San Francisco, smells bring me right back to places and moments.

I surprised my family this past weekend for Easter. My mom made all of my favorites (some of which I shamefully requested). These tastes – along with many others – bring me right back to being a carefree kid again, something that grows more and more comforting as I grow up.

P.S. PLEASE excuse the poor photo quality. I barely had time to pull out my iPhone for these photos before I dug in!

1. Tiramisu – Ahhhh. Little pillows of lady fingers that have absorbed coffee liqueur. Clouds of mascarpone and whipped cream. Chunks of chocolate on top. Bliss? Bliss.

Tiramisu | netflix & nutella

2. My Mom’s Hash Browns – I added these to my blog about a year ago, but nothing can compare to the ones made by the creator herself. They’re slightly crispy, still tender, oniony, paprika-y…you get the picture. They’re delish.

Hash browns | netflix & nutella

3. Cheese Soufflé – Cheese. Goat, cheddar, brie, Boursin, parmesan. If it’s cheese, it makes me happy. That’s all there is to it.

Cheese soufflé | netflix & nutella

4. Anything from Corner BakeryThis spot has been a favorite of ours since the beginning of time. The chocolate chip scones and brioche are to die for (as is the raspberry almond bar below). So is the corn and barley salad I get every time I come home. It has a little bit of a bite to it and has a scallion vinaigrette that’s so light and perfect for summery days.

Corner Bakery | netflix & nutella     Corn and barley salad | netflix & nutella

5. Gigi Salad – This delicious mix of shrimp, onion, string beans, bacon and roasted red pepper brings joy to my mouth in every bite. The name maybe reminds you of the Leslie Caron character, but to me, it’s the salad my mom makes every spring and summer that I can’t get enough of.

Gigi Salad | netflix & nutella

*The blood in my veins: My Mom’s Tomato Sauce. Something that – if there’s any justice in the world – should be jarred and on shelves one day. (I’ll work on it.) Since I was driving and not flying this time, she gave me a vat to bring home. I (not so willingly) shared with my friends in a first-night-back-chicken parm dinner to show them how spoiled I was growing up.

Chicken parm | netflix and nutella

Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions

Sometimes, all you need is cheese.

Baked brie with caramelized onions | netflix & nutella

And why not bake that cheese with some delicious caramelized onions in a pocket of puff pastry?

Baked brie with caramelized onions | netflix & nutella

Just yum. My friend was having a tough week, and we had talked about our love for baked brie. I made this recipe once at home for Christmas, but I don’t like the idea of having to eat something with puff pastry with an additional cracker. These individual servings make you feel a little less guilty.

Baked brie with caramelized onions | netflix & nutella

Although who could feel guilty about these delicious little guys? I did a few as hand pies with crimped edges (above) and took the excess dough around the cutout circles to make little dumpling-esque packages (below). They both worked well, just make sure you mend any holes!

Baked brie with caramelized onions | netflix & nutella

I followed this recipe from 5 Ingredient Fix. For one entire package of puff pastry (2 sheets), I only needed 2 onions and less than an entire 8 oz. circle of brie.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta

It’s not easy being green.

During the fall/ winter months that is. It’s kind of rude, actually. We’re spoiled by delicious, local summer fruits and vegetables and then niente. No more fresh basil, crisp zucchini, or crunchy asparagus.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta 1 | Netflix and Nutella

I had a craving for green things last week, and I decided that I  couldn’t have yet another salad. So I threw together a quick (and few ingredient, of course) pasta dish that left me more than satisfied.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta 2 | Netflix and Nutella

This dish was a staple when I was in Paris with my sister. It’s a quick, clean-out-the-fridge kind of dish. All I did make my pasta (always al dente), and add some pesto, goat cheese, and frozen peas. I topped it with some crushed red pepper flakes.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta 3 | Netflix and Nutella

Note to self: back away from crushed red pepper if you feel a cold coming. I used it as a home remedy to clean out my sinuses. Might have been a mistake.

Though this satisfied my green craving and got my cold on its way out, I’ll be green with envy until local veggies come back.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Pea Pasta | Netflix and Nutella

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Paris feels like a faint memory in my mind. It was officiated by an ever-so disappointing bite of a store-bought croissant.

Yes, I’m now spoiled about French pastries.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats | Netflix and Nutella

The other day, I was craving  a green apple, endive, and vinaigrette salad (with real French mustard…another thing I’m a snob about). It was the first meal my sister made for us when we arrived to Paris. It was New Year’s Day, and we couldn’t stomach much. Out came the potatoes cooked in duck fat and this perfect salad. The sweet and tangy salad became a staple in our house during my stay.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats | Netflix and Nutella

Though it’s not the same unless Emiglia makes it for me, I’ve been looking to her blog for culinary inspiration. After years and years of school, she’s finally graduating (with honors, I’ll add) from La Sorbonne with a master’s in French Lit. She has a “real person” job. It’s safe to say we’ve lost her to France. I’m so lucky that I was able to spend time with her, adding to her crazily busy schedule. And I appreciate the nightly dinners en français that we would share with Tom (who happily sacrificed his second serving of salad for our benefits).

Stuffed Zucchini Boats | Netflix and Nutella

But it’s nice to know, that roughly 4,000 miles away, we’re enjoying the same dish. Zucchini is a favorite in our family, and with one of the last ones I could find at my local farmer’s market, I copied my big sis. Unfortunately, mine was a bit less fancy with my limited supply of ingredients. But I did my best!

Stuffed Zucchini Boats | Netflix and Nutella

Congrats, Big Em. J’ai hâte de te voir en décembre.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

1 zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 turkey burger patty
1/2 cup tomato sauce
parmesan cheese (optional)
crushed red pepper (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Over medium heat, add oil to pan and add turkey patty. Once defrosted enough, shred the patty into bite-sized pieces. Cook just until the last bit of meat is no longer pink.

3. While the turkey is cooking, slice zucchini length-wise. Using a spoon or a knife, hollow out the inside of each half of zucchini (don’t discard insides). Place zucchini boats into greased baking pan.

4. Chop the zucchini insides into bite-sized pieces, and add to pan when turkey has almost fully changed color. When the meat is all grey, add sauce and crushed red pepper. Stir until combined. Fill mixture into zucchini boats.

5. Bake zucchini boats for about 10-13 minutes, or until zucchini is turning golden. Sprinkle with parmesan Enjoy!

Serves 1-2

Say Cheese

To say that I like fromage is an understatement.

When I did a foreign exchange in high school, my host father would buy me a different kind of cheese every week to sample. And though I still haven’t grown very fond of blue (something I inherited from my mother and that my father can’t understand) if I could live on a diet of cheese, bread, and wine, I would be happy forever.

Every Wednesday and Saturday morning, there is an outdoor market my sister and I love to go to. She’s been really busy with new work endeavors, so on a Saturday morning typically reserved for sleeping in, we pulled ourselves out of bed, braved the freezing wind, and shopped. Here’s what we picked up!

My sister’s boyfriend requested morbier, a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese with a line of ash through the middle. It wasn’t my favorite. But in moderation, I think I could grow to like it. On the label, it reads “lait cru,” or unpasteurized milk. The fact that that’s illegal in United States is a sin.


Our second cheese was langres, another cow’s milk cheese. It’s exterior texture is unique and its center creamy and crumbly. It’s mild enough to gain about 5 pounds in one sitting. Again, not pasteurized. How will I ever be able to go back to the States?


I saved the best for last. Chèvre. Is there anything better than tangy, creamy goat cheese? Maybe when it’s on crusty, slightly sourdough but nonetheless perfect baguette. (Do I sound too much like Giada here? See: Commandment III.)

Hi, I’m Madeline, and I’m a chèvraholic.


Comfort Foods: Mac & Cheese

My sister is an amazing cook. Whether it’s jambalaya, pork roast, or, one of my new favorites, chausson, she never ceases to outdo herself.

At home, I’m used to eating a variety of italian or French foods from my personal chef, my mom. I’m trying to convince her to jar her homemade tomato sauce, which, in my opinion, is worth a million bucks.

It’s a rare occasion that I make a meal for myself; if I did, it would probably lack a certain je ne sais quoi. I love to cook and bake, but as my sister has often pointed out, I’m one to follow a recipe. This probably comes from my lack of experience testing around in the kitchen, throwing in a bit of this and a pinch of that.

I’ve never invented a recipe, but adding onto something that I’ve previously had or REinventing something is a feat that I feel I could accomplish. Mac & cheese is one of the simplest classics from my childhood. As I start to reinvent recipes, I’m sure I’ll take bits and pieces from the culinary geniuses in my life to make something that’s my own.

Below is a collage I made. I’m a neat freak and love when everything has a place. Polyvore lets me do just that, so expect many more collages in the future! For more information about these recipes, visit the links below.

Comfort Foods: Mac & Cheese


Madeline: Lost in Paris

May I just first say that I am very proud of my clever blog post title which is also the title of my photo album on my Facebook. Thanks to Ludwig Bemelman, bien sûr.

I still can’t believe that I can say I’m in Paris, eating croissants daily, overdosing on unpasteurized cheeses, seeing my big sister every day. I haven’t lived with her since I was in the 3rd grade and she was in the 9th, so being able to share so many Parisian experiences with her is something I’ll always be extremely thankful for.

She makes dinner for her boyfriend and me every night, not only because she is a wonderful cook, but also because eating out in expensive Paris should be a rare and appreciated occurrence. We’ve had a mélange of dishes, from Minestrone to Endive and Apple salad. I’m eagerly awaiting the tartiflette tomorrow night along with a real King’s Cake to celebrate Epiphany.

Nonetheless, my cooking duties have been put on hold since I’ve been spoiled by my sister’s culinary skills. But I’m itching to get back into the kitchen, not necessarily to take over my sister’s cooking ability, but perhaps to introduce her boyfriend to some American desserts. Homemade oreos? Donut holes? Chocolate covered strawberries? Flourless chocolate cookies? Homemade Twix bars? He and I, obviously, share a love of chocolate. But sadly, I’ll have to figure out a way to substitute out one of my FAVORITE things in the world which he can’t stand: cinnamon.

Hopefully my next post will include something a bit more “nutella.” I must mention, though, that the “netflix” aspect of this blog may dwindle soon, as I cannot get Neflix in France. But, nonetheless, I may have an occasional movie review for something I can find on YouTube. (P.S. A shout out to my sister who sent me the link to a childhood favorite of ours!)

Thanks for sticking with me, and I’ll be updating soon about ma vie parisienne!

Homemade Cheez-Its

Cheese and crackers will always be one of my favorite snacks. Whether it was a cheddar and a Triscuit or melted mozzarella on toasted baguette, it was always a snack my mom had waiting for me when I got home from school. In college, I can’t really afford to be buying bricks of cheese for my snacking pleasure. So I decided to combine the snack into one and make homemade Cheez-Its. I used Sargento slices of cheddar that I got in bulk at BJ’s and only needed a half a stick of butter, some flour, and salt. It’s an easy snack that had my friends impressed and didn’t break the bank!

Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Ala Mel