Southern “Cassoulet”

Southern Cassoulet

Last week, I read a touching tribute to one amazing grandfather on Seek the Best Blog. When I mentioned my grandfather was also from the South, Lady G suggested that I share my family’s favorite meal and a little background behind it.

At the age of eight, I traveled with my relatives back to the South. It was a magical time on the family farm where my brother and I chased fireflies, drank sweet tea on the porch, and ate to our heart’s content. I remember the importance my grandfather bestowed on giving thanks for every meal. Though I miss him dearly, he taught me from humble beginnings comes great things.

Today, my father and I share a special love for Creole Cuisine. Southern Cassoulet combines southern comfort food with traditional French methods of slow-cooking beans. Serve with a tangy mustard, my grandfather’s favorite condiment, and you have food for the soul. Continue reading

Coconut Bread Pudding

Coconut Bread Pudding

The second that I finished interviewing author Zoë Ferraris, I had to try Umm Ali. After multiple attempts to perfect the recipe, and about a million calories later, I think I have a winner. The best part is, the dessert looks deceptively fancy. By using frozen puff pastry, it cut down the prep time by half. Umm Ali would be a fun sweet to make for a Finding Nouf book club party. You can find out more about Zoë Ferraris’ page-turning mystery here. Continue reading

Good Morning Smoothie

Goodmorning Smoothie

It’s one of those rainy spring mornings again. To wake up, I made an antioxidant-packed smoothie bursting with fresh citrus and ginger. If you’re fighting a cold, I read that you could also add a small amount of cayenne pepper to the smoothie. I’m not sure if I’m that daring in the am. 🙂 If you give the cayenne a try, let me know. Continue reading

Citrus Salad

Citrus Salad

I found blood oranges at the market today. It’s the first time I tried them, and I realized they’d taste wonderful in a colorful citrus salad. The combination of citrus and fresh greens made such a simple and pretty springtime salad. It’s so easy to make; you could double the recipe and serve it at a party. Continue reading

Q&A with Bestselling Author Zoë Ferraris

Finding Nouf Q and AAs I continue to pursue my passion for writing, I’ve been wondering: who are some of my favorite authors’ role models? What influenced their work? Do they have a go-to recipe that connects them back to the country they wrote about?

Hopefully, by featuring Inspirational Authors, you’ll have more books to add to your reading list. Perhaps they will also inspire you.

The first author that came to my mind was award-winning novelist Zoë Ferraris. I’m incredibly grateful that she would take the time to share a little bit of her story with us. Her bestselling mystery, Finding Nouf, dives into the complexity of searching for a missing sixteen-year-old girl in the veiled society of Saudi Arabia. Continue reading

Lumaconi with Almond Ricotta and Spinach

Lumaconi with Almond Ricotta and Spinach

Lumaconi pasta comes from a beautiful town overlooking the Amalfi Coast. Legend has it that a young pasta maker fell in love with a fisherman’s daughter. To impress her family, and win her hand in marriage, he invented a new pasta inspired by seashells called “Lumaca di mere.” Traditionally, the pasta is stuffed with ricotta and baked like lasagna. It’s one of my favorite recipes, and I hope it becomes yours too. Continue reading

Greek Parfait

Greek Breakfast

I love parfaits in the springtime when it’s still a little too cold for smoothies. The breakfast parfaits I had in Greece were made with goat’s milk yogurt and honey. To make this parfait healthier and reduce the cholesterol, I blended plain non-dairy yogurt with a frozen banana and added a little vanilla powder to sweeten it up a bit. Top the yogurt mixture with antioxidant-rich berries, pomegranate seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, and pistachios. It’s a fun recipe to make with children and a great alternative for dessert. Continue reading

Greek Caesar Salad

greek-caesar-saladA party pleasing salad

I love bringing this dish to family get-togethers. Trust me, the creamy dressing combined with roasted chickpeas, homemade parmesan “cheese,” and crispy romaine hearts is a crowd pleaser. It’s dairy free, gluten free, and packed with good-for-you ingredients. Sometimes I make two batches, so we can have it at home the next day. Continue reading