Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recipe: Fabulous Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

It is so easy to make your own salad dressings!! You can make a variety of different dressings easily depending on your mood, by just having a few key good quality ingredients on hand.

-Olive oil (extra-Virgin, experiment with oils from different places, like Italy, Spain and Portugal)
-or another kind of oil for something more exotic (sesame oil, avocado oil, grape seed oil, or a variety of nut oils)
-salt (experiment with different kinds, sea salt, Fleur de sel, or more exotic types like smoked or volcanic or pink!)
-fresh citrus juice (squeeze fresh lemons, limes, oranges, blood oranges - even try a combination)
-vinegar (try different kinds such as balsamic, red wine, white wine, regular white, fig or raspberry)
-mustard (if desired, try Dijon or with whole seeds)
-fresh ground pepper (black, white, multi-colored peppercorns)
-shallot (small piece, diced)
-fresh herbs (small amount, chopped - like rosemary, or thyme for a marinade)

Mix together in a small bowl using a fork with a ratio of 2/3 oil to 1/3 acid (citrus & vinegar combined). Use only a spoonful of mustard, a pinch of salt, and pepper to taste. Feel free to add some fresh chopped herbs and shallots if desired.

You will love these homemade dressings on all your salads! They can also be used as marinades for meat including chicken, beef and fish.

Hint: You can combine all of the ingredients in a leftover jar, and just shake to mix! Then you can keep this in your refridgerator an pour from there when you want to use the dressing.

Fabulous French Bistro in Paris Near the Louvre!

This place is fabulous! Amazing food, nice people working there, and you won't even believe how inexpensive the prices are! I think the best part is the ambiance - wooden floors and tables, dim lighting, menu items written on chalkboards, and mirrors all around - it feels like you are in a French movie! This place is right by the Louvre, so you can eat here after a day of looking at art and feel très français indeed! I went with a friend and we enjoyed Steak Tartar, a huge Salad covered in various kinds of duck, of course a pichet of red wine, and Profiteroles for dessert (the most amazing chocolate sauce!)

Bistrot Victoires
6 rue la Vrillière
75001 Paris

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Recipe: Easy Chicken Fajitas!

I love the flavors of Mexican food! These fajitas are delicious and quick to make.

-chicken breast (as many as you would like to cook)
-1 large yellow onion (sliced in long pieces)
-1 each: green bell pepper, yellow pepper, red pepper (sliced in long pieces)
-1 lime (juiced)
-1/2 orange (juiced) -optional
-soy sauce (1 TB)
-shallots (small piece, diced)
-hot sauce (few drops, or as much as you like based on your own spiciness preference)
-olive oil, pinch of salt

In a medium sized bowl, combine shallots, lime and orange juice, olive oil, soy sauce, hot sauce and salt. Add chicken breasts. Marinate in refrigerator over night, or for about one hour.

In a pan, heat some olive oil (about 1 TB) then add chicken and sear on both sides (remove from marinade and put chicken into pan, save marinade for use later).

Once seared take chicken out, and add onions and peppers. Cook on high for a few minutes, then add chicken and marinade. Cook until peppers are soft and chicken cooked well.

Serve with Easy Mexican Rice (recipe below) and black beans, with a spoonful of sour cream or crème fraîche. If you have tortillas you can also serve them alongside, warmed up.

Recipe: Easy Mexican Rice

It is so easy to make Mexican style rice! No matter where you live you can find the basic ingredients to make this tasty dish!

-shallot (small piece, diced)
-salsa (any kind with tomatoes)
-olive oil, salt

Sauté shallots in pot until clear. Add dry rice and cook a few minutes until it is clear (you can stir a bit to avoid burning). Add 2x water to the amount of dry rice used - put several large spoonfuls of the salsa into the container you will use to measure your water - it will count as part of the liquid. Add a tiny pinch of salt. Stir all together. Cover and cook over very low heat 20 minutes, or according to the instructions for your rice, if different. If you want, you can add some frozen green peas before putting the lid on to cook.

Paris - Fabulous Winter Romance!

Paris is still romantic in the Winter too! Great excuse to bundle up in a cute stylish coat and boots, and take a walk through the little streets to take advantage of the winter "Soldes" (twice yearly sales at all the stores in France)! Or, make a museum date at the Louvre or Musée des Arts Décoratifs next door to it, and have fun walking through the Tuileries garden!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fabulous Flower Arrangements

For a pretty look to brighten up your room, why not make a simple flower display! Be creative in your choice of vase - this is a wine carafe from the grocery store that was on sale for €1.50! Any type of colorful flowers will be perfect! If the stems are long that is no problem (no need for a giant tall vase that will have no where to store it!) - just cut the stems down for a modern, artistic look.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Recipe: Fabulous Mini Pizzas with Goat Cheese!

These are so easy to make and ready in no time!

-pita breads (any number you want to eat, can be white or wheat)
-tomato sauce (any kind of pasta sauce will work)
-shredded cheese (gruyere, mozzarella, or Parmesan)
-cheese rounds (goat cheese medallions or slices of fresh mozzarella)

Turn the oven to a high setting. Layer the sauce, shredded cheese, then cheese rounds on top of the pitas. You can drizzle a bit of olive oil, sprinkle some chili pepper flakes, or add some fresh basil if you want as well. Pizzas are ready once all the cheese is melted.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cergy in the Winter

Cergy is a town outside Paris, accessible on the RER train, where ESSEC Business School's main campus is located. It has a completely different feel from Paris, like you are out in the countryside!