Tag Archives: food

Playing in the Kitchen

Stoney really liked the Catalonian “tortillas.” So much so, that he tried a hand at making his own. No recipe, just playing.

potato and onion mixture, chopped

potato and onion mixture, chopped

I think he got remarkably close to our Barcelonan breakfast.

Stoney's first onion potato tortilla.

Stoney’s first onion potato tortilla.

He added some spices, but it still wasn’t quite as flavorful as the real thing. Next time we’ll experiment some more. It isn’t real pretty, but it looks a lot like the one in Spain.

My slice of tortilla with toasted baguette and a drizzle of olive oil.

My slice of tortilla with toasted baguette and a drizzle of olive oil.

The next morning I tried a new scone flavor I had been considering: pumpkin scone with maple glaze. It is very lightly pumpkin, because I have to use the fresh pumpkin, rather than the canned puree.

We almost ate them all before I remembered to take a photo!

We almost ate them all before I remembered to take a photo!

I do think my favorite meal to cook is breakfast!


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A Little Bit of Mexico, Sort of

Good TexMex is hard to find in the United States outside of Texas. In fact, good Mexican food can be a rare jewel in any state north or east of those bordering Mexico itself. The further north you go, the blander it often becomes, and the further east, the more Cuban its influences (which isn’t necessarily bad, just not Mexican).

Now imagine the needle in the proverbial haystack Mexican food of any stripe becomes in Europe. (And no, Spanish food and Mexican food are barely related, so not the same at all). If you find an eating establishment professing Mexican ethnic cuisine, you go out of your way to give it a try.

Welcome to Vaquero!! This little surprise is tucked back in the ville of Colomiers.

Bienvenidos, amigos! At least the decor is familiar.

Bienvenidos, amigos! At least the decor is familiar.

It looked like a Mexican restaurant. That was nice. It runs on French hours, though, so it didn’t open until 7:30, and we were among the first people in the restaurant. I think it will prove to fill up once the French dinner hour really gets under way.

The food tasted kind of Mexican and cumin-y, and kind of French. Considering how everything even I cook at home, when using all French ingredients, also tastes a little French, this should not be surprising. It was also kind of spicy. See a trend here?

Not a great picture in the lowlight, but the overflowing stuffing in the taco is not to be missed.

Not a great picture in the lowlight, but the overflowing stuffing in the taco is not to be missed.

My son was not impressed with the tacos. The beef was mixed with corn and black beans, and was sort of sweet and thick. He called them meatloaf tacos. No denying they had a sort of Mexicany flavor, though.

Yes, I always mix my refried beans into my rice. No, I'm not weird. Not very, anyway.

Yes, I always mix my refried beans into my rice. No, I’m not weird. Not very, anyway.

My own plate was a quesadilla, with mushrooms. I liked it; it was pretty good, although kind of French (they love them some mushrooms). The refried beans were the black bean variety.

So easy to be a salsa hog here.

So easy to be a salsa hog here. If you can’t find the tiny bowl of salsa, no need for a magnifying glass, just click on the photo to see it larger.

See the little bowl of salsa beside Stoney’s “enchilada”? Folks, it was good salsa. It was also the salsa for the WHOLE TABLE. Yes, you read that right, accompanied by a similarly scaled bowl of flour tortilla chips. The salsa was the best, most Mexican food in the whole meal, and this is how much we get? If I cry, will it come in a larger portion?

All in all, I would be happy to go back and try something else. I am thinking the fish of the day will probably be pretty good. Not TexMex, but when you’re this far from home, getting even this close feels good!

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A Peachy-keen Celebration

Yesterday we celebrated my younger daughter’s graduation. It was quite a milestone! In one sense, it was a long-awaited relief, and in another, very sudden and unexpected. Late in the spring semester of her junior year, she decided to graduate even earlier than her already early December date. If she jumped through hoops 1, 2 and 3 by certain dates, and got all her paperwork in order with the state, she would be able to enter college this fall (missing all financial aid deadlines, unfortunately), beginning her very long post-high school education journey. It has been kind of a stressful few months, but we truly have something worth celebrating!

The reception was designed around her university school colors, yellow and black, and her pre-med goals. I picked yellow and gold zinnias from my garden and grouped them with store-bought white spider mums, and wrapped a stethoscope around the vase. I had also taken a painting she had made for her bedroom which she didn’t care for and painted an EKG screen over it. Yellow and black streamers draped around added to the atmosphere.

We offered pigs in a blanket, 7-layer Mexican dip, and peaches and cream cupcakes, which I found here. The recipe lists light or dark brown sugar, but I wish I had used the dark brown; the cupcake was very mild tasting. It was delicious, but a little too subtle. I think I would add a little more powdered sugar to the brown sugar icing, too. Such a delicate cupcake could have handled a sweeter icing. I look forward to trying again with these adaptations! The cupcakes were topped with hearts and stethoscopes in honor of her aspiring future as a cardiologist, and WSU for her school, in a black glitter gel icing.

Congrats on your exciting new adventure, precious daughter!

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The Peach Festival

When my daughter dragged me to Texas, it was so she could attend the Parker County Peach Festival. While this is a fun little small town festival, it is also the HOTTEST one of the year. Misting tents and early attendance keep it fun rather than torturous. There is always a variety of entertainment in the shade.

fiddle playing

Even if the clogging, music, or dancing isn’t your thing, pretending it is may be worth the seat out of the intense Texas sun!

"SOOO happy to hear the fiddle, Mom!"

All kinds of crafts and food vendors fill the streets. I bought an espresso cup bird feeder on a stick that I just love, although the birds will have to be content to find only seed in it. I always find somthing to surprise me; this year it would be the booth raising funds to grow awareness of and fight breast cancer with the Tshirt slogan “Squeeze your peaches; save your life.”

Trying to get cool after a festive morning.

Of course there is peach tea, peach lemonade and limeade, peach cobbler (regular and dutch oven), peach ice cream, peach preserves, peach salsa, and, well, peaches. Oh, and Dublin Dr. Pepper! I bought 20 pounds of peaches and have sliced and frozen and refrigerated until I am delightfully sticky, and these won’t last us any time at all. I am thinking I should have bought more!

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