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

Liebster Nomination

The reason I started my blog was to scrapbook things I love and being able to share those things with my friends and family (whose newsfeeds I bombard with links to this site).

But what I love even more is hearing from followers I don’t know personally. It feels like getting a comment in your yearbook from someone you didn’t know as well- it has a whole different meaning.

I recently got a nomination from Preconcept (a blog with GREAT travel photos) for the Liebster Blog Award. Here are the rules taken from Preconcept’s post:

  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (make sure you tell them you nominated them!) and ask them 11 questions.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated you!

Thanks again for the nom, Preconcept! Here we go!

11 Random Facts

  1. I’m 1/2 Sicilian, 1/4 German, 1/8 Irish and 1/8 Portuguese.
  2. I’m super afraid of anything really big/ really small (eg. heights; the whale at the Museum of Natural History in NYC; bugs)
  3. I have an unhealthy number of episode of Sex and the City on my computer.
  4. My biggest pet peeves are bad grammar, small noises (like people clicking their gum or flicking their fingernails), and rudeness.
  5. I’m a neat-freak.
  6. I am the youngest of 4 siblings, and we all are about 2 years apart. My whole family is extremely close.
  7. I spent the first grade in San Francisco and dream of moving back one day.
  8. I was Pippin in my all-girls school production of Pippin. The one time I had a lead in the play, I got sick for all of the performances.
  9. I got a 5 on my AP Photo exam. But I’m pretty convinced the Canon Rebel I used did most of the work for me.
  10. I hate everything about mayonnaise- the taste, the sound, everything.
  11. When I grow up, I want to be my mom (who’s even more fabulous than Jackie O).

Preconcept’s questions for me:

1. If you had to choose 3 countries where you see yourself living what would they be?
-US, France, Italy
2. Do you prefer coffee or tea?
-COFFEE! I’ve been drinking it every morning since I turned 16.
3. What’s your favourite song when you’re travelling?
-Depends on where I’m going! Volare/Vitamin C (I was obsessed with Lizzie McGuire); New York State of Mind/Billy Joel; Home/Michael Bublé
4. If you had to recommend one book, what would that be?
-The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5. What is your favourite cuisine around the world?
-I’m always in the mood for Italian, but Indian is definitely a favorite!
6. What are the five things you would never leave home, if you were going on a big trip?
-A good book; my camera; Burt’s Bees chapstick; umbrella; a journal
7. Do you prefer the countryside or a big city?
-I was born and raised in NYC so I feel at ease in big cities…though I need some peace and quiet on retreats to the countryside
8. Which city would you recommend me to visit and why?
-Prague is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. I also loved Verona!
9. What is the best thing about the place you live in?
-Best thing about New York: the people- it really is a melting pot of cultures
-Best thing about Paris: the ability to wander and never need to take the same street twice
10. Why did you decide to write a blog?
-As a way to scrapbook my experiences
11. If could only eat one thing forever what would that be?
-Apples with peanut butter (my two favorite things in the whole world)

My 11 Nominations Go To…

1. Tomato Kumato
2. The Coyote Thistle
3. Pitches and Pros
4. Diva Eats Italia
5. The Daring Gourmet
6. A Caffeinated Brunette
7. Jade Laughs a Lot
8. My French Heaven
9. Cooking for Keeps
10. Garnish with Lemon
11. From A to Zoe

I’m going to do my questions for you 11 a bit differently…This or That!

1. Coffee or tea
2. Mac and cheese or Ramen
3. Mac or PC
4. Chocolate or vanilla
5. 1940s or 1960s
6. Pizza: thin crust or deep dish
7. Bunny-sized elephant or elephant-sized bunny
8. Movie or TV show
9. Newman or Redford
10. #1 food you’re picky about
11. #1 movie of all time

Crawley Cornbread

Even from across an ocean, some things never change. I still crave American classics like peanut butter. I still check the American iTunes Top 10 hits. And up until this Sunday, I still followed the American schedule of Downton Abbey.

My mom planned the most amazing vacations for us when we were little; visiting Jane Austen’s house in Bath, staying in castle-converted hotels across Ireland, and living for 3 weeks in a small house in the Cotswolds were some of our adventures. Needless to say, I inherited her obsession for the European countryside. After watching every film adaptation of Austen’s books, including owning all 5 episodes of the Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth series of Pride and Prejudice on VHS and then on iTunes, I thought nothing could get better. Then came Downton.

Downton instantly became a classic in my house. Its beautiful and factual elegance, Maggie Smith’s quick remarks, and the gripping story lines make it a consented hour of silence in my house. My sister and her boyfriend are more Doctor Who-fans than of watching the Crawleys’ lives unfold, but I was still able to steal an hour and a half away from my Parisian life to watch the season finale of my British-indulgence. This show is the epitome of “expect the unexpected,” because every episode throws you something new and exciting. (P.S. I’m DISTRAUGHT. No new episodes of Downton Abbey until January 2014?! Is Masterpiece slowly but surely trying to kill me?!)

Cornbread became a staple in my life ever since I could crack eggs and pour milk into a powdery mountain of Jiffy. By the time I turned 10, I stopped using a measuring cup, for I had made it maybe 100 times and was trusted to get it right. But making it homemade makes it a different comfort food. The trick is to purée the milk with the can of corn that are called for in this recipe; the cornbread will be almost melt-in-your-mouth moist (for lack of a less annoying word) every time. As I substitute cornbread and coffee for a more Downton-style scone and tea, I will certainly eagerly await the return of the best television show of all time. That’s a fact, not a statement of opinion.

Recipe via Tomato Kumato

cornbread          cornbread

Indian Summer

“There is a time of year in New York when, even before the first leaf falls, you can feel the seasons click. The air is crisp, the summer is gone. And for the first night in a long time, you need a blanket on your bed.”
– Carrie Bradshaw

It’s funny how siblings can be so in sync even when they are over 4,000 miles away. Fall is my favorite season, and though it is still like Indian Summer in Elon, NC, I’m anxiously waiting the days when I can wear chunky sweaters and scarves carrying warm coffee and snuggling up to blankets. My sister, who writes Tomato Kumato, obviously feels the same way: she wrote about the same thing just this week.

Though she’s in Paris and I’m in Elon, I can’t help but love that we’re on the same page. This time of year is really beautiful. Physically, yes. Autumns aren’t the same without watching the leaves in Central Park change or taking drives through Connecticut, hypnotized by the orange and red leaves and sudden hint of someone lighting their fireplace. But it’s also beautiful in a theoretical sense. January 1st marks the numerical new year, but September holds a similar meaning. I don’t think January 1st will ever compare to a new academic year: a grade older, more school uniform privileges, and a heavier workload. And it’s the fall days that you treasure most in anticipation of the harsher winter ones.

In celebration of the crisper air, I decided to make tomato soup for me and some of my friends. Accompanied with a signature grilled cheese, this tomato soup is the definition of comfort and is a perfect transition to fall.

Recipe inspiration via Martha Stewart, but more so, Mom