Josh and I are taking off for our adventure in Europe today! Though I can hardly wait to get back and tell you all about it, right now I’m most excited just to be there… sippin’ on good wine and enjoying the foods of France and Italy. While I’m gone I have scheduled some extra special posts for you so stay tuned here and on theSLCfoodie!
My friend Annalise and I recently teamed up to make a traditional French breakfast staple, beignets. We met up one morning, hungry I might add, and came up with this divine recipe for lemon beignets topped with a strawberry vanilla sauce. As my first attempt at beignets, I feel like they turned out pretty darn good. And I can’t help but think that I might be eating something similar in France right now as you read this!
Two is better than one in the kitchen. Some may argue with me but I’m sticking to my philosophy. I would rather cook with a friend or my husband any day than cook alone. Now, there are definitely days when I see cooking as therapeutic and a good independent activity but for the most part, I see it as a fantastic way to connect and socialize.
When I do cook with a friend I love to hear their stories of food, family and cooking. Annalise delighted me with the stories behind many of the items around her kitchen. Her yellow walls leftover from a previous house owner grew on her, as they contrasted the bright blue and white china that hung nicely upon the color. Her special blue dishes were reminiscent of her mother’s kitchen, she said. Ones that she may not have normally picked out but because of their specialness they fit right in along her wall. She went to great lengths to get some of the plates, even dragging one in her luggage all the way from Prague.
I love her detail and purpose in decorating her kitchen. Her stories made me want to march right back to my home and hang up more significant treasures: photos of family, items passed down from generations, or things that remind me of a time and place or a relationship… a vacation, my wedding, a dear friend. What do you have hanging on the walls of your kitchen? Mine is covered in stamped wallpaper, which I do love, and there’s a small space hanging up aprons, some made by my mother and others I’ve collected over the years. Whether I’m cooking with a friend or alone, my kitchen is my sanctuary.
- 1 cup water
- 8 Tablespoons butter (1 stick)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Chop the butter into cubes then combine the water and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. When the butter has melted, stir in the salt and sugar. Remove from heat and add flour, stirring until smooth.
- Place the saucepan over high heat and cook, stirring continuously, until smooth mass forms and the bottom of the pan is coated with a thin film (indicating that the flour is cooked).
- Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and let cool slightly. Add the eggs one at a time, beating the batter until smooth. Grate lemon zest of one lemon over the dough and stir to combine. Let the dough rest , covered at room temp, for 1-2 hours.
- Heat the oil to 365 degrees in a deep skillet. Drop pate a choux dough, by tablespoons, into the hot oil and fry on both sides until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. (We found that the balls turned themself over the the oil). Drain on paper grocery sack or paper towels.
- Serve hot, sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with Strawberry Sauce.
- 2 cups (450 grams) strawberries, sliced
- 1 cup (230 grams) sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine the strawberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the balsamic vinegar and vanilla extract. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce coats the back of a spoon with the consistency of maple syrup. Let cool. Serve warm or cold.