Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie (Hachis Parmentier Vegetarien) Recipe

Lulu, my husband, loves French food. Unfortunately, French cuisine does not have a lot of vegetarian options. So I decided to make a vegetarian version of one of the classics of French cuisine.

Scottish folks may claim Shepherd's Pie as their own invention, but it it is an unambiguously French version of the dish that was created for Louis XVI by the proprietor of an apothecary, named Parmentier. Louis the XVI was so taken with the dish that it became a royal staple.

The main differences between the Scottish and the French dishes are that in Scotland, contains a vegetable medley and is made with stewed mutton, in  the French version, there are no other vegetables besides potatoes and the meat of choice is ground beef, not mutton.


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Homemade Waffles Recipe

Homemade Waffles

05.15.09 by Jackie

Waffles are a great way to say I love you. There is something about the warmth, the color and the texture of homemade waffles that is beyond compare.

We make them pretty often in our home, especially on weekends but they still maintain an allure that gets everyone in the house gathered around waiting in anticipation.

Maybe it's the steam coming off the waffle iron that is so mesmerizing. I don't know. What I do know is that if you make a plate of waffles smothered in butter and maple syrup for that special someone in your life, they will definitely appreciate it .


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Double Chocolate Madeleine Tea Cakes with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

The girls had a bake sale at school and needed some help preparing their contribution. Instead of buying cupcakes at the supermarket, I thought it'd be a good opportunity to teach them some valuable life skills. And by life skills, I don't just mean cooking; madeleines are so good that being able to make them qualifies as a life skill.

We decided to make a chocolate madeleine batter and add some mini chocolate chips. To balance with the chocolaty flavor, we topped the miniature sweets with a mango cream cheese frosting.

We ended up making a 150 of them for the bake sale but I think only about 100 of them actually made it to the bake sale! You can of course cut the recipe in half if you want to make fewer.

Chocolate Madeleine Miniature Sweets
These are the mango cream cheese versions, the one in the middle are the cherry cream cheese ones.


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Mint and Cardamom Flavored Arnold Palmer (Lemonade with Iced Tea) Recipe

An Arnie Palmer is quite refreshing on those dog days of summer. The drink is named after the American professional golfer, Arnold Palmer. Legend has it that while golfing in his country club in Colorado, he requested that lemonade be added to his iced tea but the bartender initially refused.  After some cajoling, the bartender finally relented. And thus the Arnold Palmer was born.

I infused some fresh mint from the garden in the tea and some cardamom seeds in the lemonade. You can of course either just make a Morrocan tea or a cardamom lemonade but the combination of the two is simply divine.

This drink is dedicated to our friend Scott who is an avid golfer. Summer is on its way and I bet he's going to be back on the greens very soon. Scott: I promise that next time you stop by the house, I'll make an Arnold Palmer for you and Lulu.


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Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

The idea of a gluten-free chocolate cupcake came up during a dinner with friends. Laura's husband has a gluten allergy and was telling me the challenges she faces. I found out that she often uses chickpea flour as a replacement for all-purpose flour.

Chickpea flour is common in savory dishes in Indian cuisine and is the main ingredient in paratha, a flat Indian bread. I was concerned that its heavy, grainy flavor would be too prominent and overwhelming for a dessert. I added a wide variety of flavorings like fresh ginger, cinnamon, rum, Medjool dates and of course chocolate to cover this up. The result was a dense chocolaty cake that has the internal consistency of fudge. The addition of cherry cream frosting is a nice complement to the fudgy cupcake and adds a bit of moisture to cover up any remaining grainy texture of the chickpea flour in the cupcake.


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