Thai Chili Sauce

Thai Chili Sauce

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My little sister and fellow Cooking Spot contributor Nathalia of Creatively Conscious was married this fall in the loveliest wedding ceremony up in the pine-dotted Sierra.  She and her husband Loren then took off for an epic honeymoon of honeymoons to travel the world together for 7 months hand-in-hand. It really doesn’t get any more lovely or romantic than that.  It has been like a dream to be able to follow their adventures through their Instagram “Lov3_is_Key” and their Blog, LoveIsKey.net.  But, better than that, Loren and Nathalia invited family members to join them along the way.  I poured over their itinerary with my husband’s large atlas spread on the floor in front of me, my calendar to the right and my computer to my left, tracing what would be their epic journey, trying to decide where in the world would we fly off to see them, fantasizing about all the wonderful places, the amazing food and the people they would meet.  I knew a few things for certain, I wanted to be with my sister for a holiday, traveling can be hard and so can being so far away from your family so this was a priority. If I could make at least one holiday feel a little bit like home, I would have achieved my goal.  Also I wanted to go somewhere new, somewhere I thought I would never go, an adventure to top all adventures.  There it was, staring me in the face; my work calendar was clear, the tickets not too pricey and a holiday to boot.  So with the true attention to detail and care of a Virgo, I double, no triple checked the tickets and with a deep breath that felt like it came from my toes, I clicked the charge button and we were booked.  My husband Matthew and I would join Loren and Nathalia for 10 days in Thailand.

We had the most amazing adventures, we found ourselves wandering in and out of the epic markets of Chiang Mai.  We got lost in a tuk tuk, driving through Chiang Rai trying desperately to break through the language barrier and find a restaurant our research assured us would be glorious.  We ate on a roof top hotel with drinks that glowed as Bangkok twinkled some 60 floors below us quietly in the night.  We trekked through the jungle for two days from long tailed boats to the backs of elephants and then on our own feet marching, clinging, to the barely there path through the hills and valleys of northern Thailand, to explore the hill-tribe villages and the people that still thrive there.  We stayed in boutique hotels along peaceful rivers and big swanky hotels with the superb Thai service you read about.  Oh and we ate…and ate…and ate.  The food.  Oh dear lord the FOOD! For breakfast, lunch, and dinner we sat at tables full of the local dishes, bowls of curry, plates of rice pasta, ladles of spicy soups and always cold refreshing Thai beer to wash it down.  Passing spoons or forks across candle-lit tables, or over children running through the market streets or sliding dishes across bistro tables, all sharing and ogling over the presentation, the colors and the flavors.  Always on the table were peppers, sauce and condiments.  You could make the same bowl of breakfast noodles taste completely different from one day to the next by simply adding a little more of this or a little more of that.  Thailand certainly makes our restaurant table trio of ketchup, mustard, and tabasco to a sad and depressing shameful table presence.

After falling in love with the food and especially the dried chilies and sauces that dotted every table, we made sure to fill our bags with as many chilies as customs would allow.  However, these are not hard to find stateside, thank goodness for modern marvels! You can purchase them online and at most Asian markets.  I have enjoyed making a few sauces with the chili’s we brought back and scooping the spicy goodness into soups, pouring it over eggs, and generally sprinkling it on just about anything I put in my mouth.  My favorite use has been in my homemade Gluten Free Noodle Bowl that I shared on Marcella Rose’s a few weeks ago.  Now you can simply grind up these stunning peppers husk, seeds and all, and serve that dried, or mix it into a sauce.  Or you can remove the seeds to sprinkle on your pizza perhaps, or use the seeds to pack the heat into sauces.  I am going to share two sauces with you and I do hope you try them both to spice up you next meal!  These are of course variations as almost every restaurant, family or person may have their own favorite way of making these sauces.  So be brave and bold and make it your own! Read more and find the recipes at Cooking Spot

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Prik Namsom:

  • For Recipe just click the link to visit My Cooking Spot!

Jaew:

  • For Recipe just click the link to visit My Cooking Spot!
  • IMG_7191

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Keep it spicy,

Marcella Rose

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Target Gift Card Giveaway!

We are so excited to bring you another fun giveaway from the fabulous contributors of My Cooking Spot and My Crafty Spot! It’s almost spring time and we know you have tons of things on your list to decorate your home, stock your pantry, etc! So we are giving away a $130 giftcard to one lucky reader as a thank you for your loyal support of our blogs!
CLICK HERE TO ENTER! 
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contributors

The Speckled Palate | A Savory Feast | Butcher’s Niche | An Alli Event

Marcella Roses | Natasha Red | 3 Little Greenwoods | The Crumby Cupcake

Just Mom Matters | The Blue Eyed Dove | Flowers in My Hair

The Wetherills Say I Do | My Creative Days | My Cooking Spot | My Crafty Spot

CLICK HERE TO ENTER! 

Beer Tasting Party {Gluten Free}


Beer tasting party

A very dear friend of mine had an epic move recently.  Leaving behind a life in Chicago that she had cultivated for years to turn the chapter on new adventures.  She has taken a huge step boldly and courageously and is such an inspiration to me. She set off in style because, of course, she is fabulous.   I was lucky enough to get to see her around the holidays in the city she had called home for years and where many a high tea, oysters and martinis, and memories were made together.  I was sad not to be able to see her off, to throw her a goodbye celebration, to help her pack, or just to be there, as moving is one of the big stressors in life.  Psychologists say it’s only rivaled by death; shocking!  I found my mind drifting to thoughts of her constantly, worried about her drive over snowy roads, thinking about how her felines would adjust and of course, missing her all the while.  I wanted to do something she would enjoy and having recently turned to a gluten free lifestyle, I started thinking of recipes I could do to honor her.  Then it came to me.  Gluten Free Beer Tasting.  Perfection.  She is a fantastic hostess and I thought what a wonderful way to celebrate new adventure and make new friends by throwing a brassy beer bash that even those with sensitivities to gluten could enjoy.  So, from almost 2,500 miles away I threw a beer tasting party in her honor.

What I love about a tasting party is it gets people talking.  No one pulls out their phones, or talks about work, people are talking about the experience, the flavors; the tastes.  It’s a great way to mingle together different groups of people and a fantastic way to spend an afternoon if I do say so myself.  You don’t need much to make it happen; a few small glasses, a few bottles of brews and an open palate! I did a blind tasting at my party.  I feel that this makes people more adventurous, you may think you don’t like IPAs but are you really giving the beer a chance if you already have that opinion set?  Blind tastings make us a little more open to trying things that we may already think we either like or don’t like.  I used votive candle holders for my tasting cups.  I found them to be the perfect size and priced even more perfectly! I grabbed a few mini chalkboards and whipped up a little tasting template you can download here if you don’t want to make your own.  I choose 2 gluten free beers and 2 ciders for the people opting out of gluten and 4 beers of varying styles for the gluten indulgers.  I began with a lighter beer, like a pilsner, then a red ale, an IPA, and a stout.  If you need help picking out beers, someone on staff at the grocery store is sure to prove valuable and if you can’t find anyone, take a leap of faith! After all it’s just a taste!

I used old paper bags, cutting them to wrap around each label and numbered each 1-4 to correspond with the numbers I chalked up on the little boards.  Then set out your snacks in little bowls and get to tasting and talking.  Give your guests a little score card or note book so they can write up notes and when you reveal the beer they can be sure to write down their favorites to purchase later.  I have included my template below for you to use at your Beer Tasting Party.

Beer tasting party

Beer tasting party

Beer tasting party

Perfect place setting - Beer tasting party


The Menu

Blue Cheese with Cayenne Pepper Honey

Gluten Free Pretzels

Balsamic Candied Nut Mix

Salt and Pepper Popcorn

Balsamic Candied Nut Mix - Beer tasting party

Balsamic Candied Nuts

  • Preheat your oven to 350 and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Crack one egg in a mixing bowl and whisk
  • Add two tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon aged balsamic and 1 teaspoon salt to egg
  • Mix in 2 cups nuts (I used a mixture of cashews, pecans, and almonds)
  • Spread onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes
  • Let cool and break up any large clumps of nuts and serve – store in an air tight container

Blue cheese and cyan honey

Salt and Pepper Popcorn

  • Pop ¼ cup popcorn melt ¼ cup of butter and toss to coat
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cayenne Honey

Mix 2 tablespoon honey with ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Beer Tasting Card

beer tasting party

Gluten Free Snacks - Beer tasting party

Beer tasting party

Beer tasting party
Caveman Blue Cheese with Cyan honey - Beer tasting party
Beer tasting party

Beer tasting party

Beer tasting party

To friends and beer,

Marcella Rose

Beer tasting party

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Nothing makes me happier than blog requests.  I think it’s for the same reason I love to cook and feed people; I love taking the time and thinking about the delight and pleasure my guests will get out of the meal that I am preparing.  It’s my truest expression of love, with each turn of the spatula, each kneed of the dough, each slice of the knife, I am thinking of who I am preparing the meal for.  How to cater to their tastes, how to make them smile, to nourish not just the body but the soul and the spirit and with this act of love, I in turn, am nourishing my own self as well; feeling full not just from the meal but of love and gratitude for being able to give the gift of food to friends and readers.  Really it’s a win-win and then, a great meal too! So when a reader or a friend requests a recipe, I can’t wait to take the time to blog it.  My co-worker and friend Ellie, has been patiently awaiting this recipe after a party at my home.  I was worried I wouldn’t have enough food for the crowd that was about to descend upon the house so at the last minute I took stock of my pantry and saw that I had all the makings of Butternut Squash Soup.  Then one- two- three, soup’s on!  This recipe is simple but oh-so filling. It shines as a first course but has enough oomph to stand alone as a main dish and is perfect for those gluten free and vegetarian guests and loved ones.

Butternut squash is incredibly versatile.  The creamy texture works great in many dishes but it reaches its full potential in soup form.  It’s so velvety and dense; it doesn’t need a lot of work or added thickeners.    You can make Butternut Squash Soup with just the squash and onion but I love to add in tart, crisp apples and a sweet potato.  I feel these two extra ingredients take this recipe to the next level of yum.  Fresh herbs make everything better so try not to use dried sage if you can help it but in a pinch it will do.  With simple recipes, the quality of the ingredients is even more important.  Finally, whenever I make a soup, be it a broth based soup like chicken noodle or a creamy soup like this one, I always, always sauté my ingredients, it pulls out the flavors and it makes all the difference in the world.  So take the time to brown your veggies before you add broth and simmer them down. You will be left with a soup that you will make you want to lick the bowl when you’re finished.

All the making of a fine pot of soup

butternut squashperfectly easy to peel sage beautiful sagele creuset full of soupButternut Squash soup

You will need:

  • 1 butternut squash, cubed*
  • 1 bunch of sage minced
  • 2 apples cubed
  • 1 onion minced
  • 1 Sweet potato cubed
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth**
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup cream or half and half (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

How to:

  • Heat butter in pan and add onion, cooking for 3 minutes or until translucent
  • Add squash (reserving 1 cup of cubed squash), potato, apples, and sage and sauté for 10 minutes
  • Add broth and bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer until vegetables are soft
  • Pour chunky soup into blender and puree
  • Pour pureed soup back into pot and add reserved cubes, simmering until reserved cubes are al dente
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and cream if desired
  • Serve

*How to prep your butternut squash:  Slice in half and remove seeds; with the flesh side down, use a peeler to remove the skin and then slice into cubes.

** For Marcella Rose’s simple chicken broth recipe click here

Soup’s on,

Marcella Rose

Butternut Squash Soup

Beet and Kumquat Salad

beet and kumquat salad

Beet and Kumquat Salad is my new favorite thing.  It’s so bright and so beautiful; it simply begs to be eaten.  This is also a perfect winter salad, utilizing the zesty citrus and cold storage beets, combining in an unlikely duo for a delectably seasonal way to start your next meal.  This salad really pops on the plate but the fun doesn’t stop there.  It also packs as much fun for the palate as it does on the plate.  There are so many exciting textures in this salad that your mouth will love it as much as your eyes.  The smoky earth of the roasted beet paired classically with creamy goat cheese from my favorite local micro creamery is perfection.  Add to that the crispness and tang of endive tossed with your favorite flavored vinegar, I used blood orange vinegar here, topped with the crunch of fresh matchstick beets and a zing of zest from the kumquats and there is a party in your mouth.  I love kumquats and every year when they come into season I get excited to play with them in the kitchen.  What I love the most about them in this salad is enjoying the skin as well as the juicy flesh; it packs a punch of flavor and nutrients, perfect to keep that end of the season cold away!

This salad is easy and fun to assemble, the only time commitment coming from roasting the beets.  You can buy beets pre-roasted if you are in a pinch or you can do it yourself.  I place mine, skin and all, in tin-foil and roast at 400 for about 45 minutes.  Then remove from the oven and let cool slightly before handling.  You can then peel the skin off with your fingers just like that.  I love the way they bleed onto your fingers staining them with their sweet earthy goodness.  I loved using different types of beets for this salad, the classic Ruby Queens for the roasted portion of this salad and the bright and fantastically colored Chioggia for the raw matchsticks.   “Eat your colors”, words of wisdom from my mother.  Well this salad is sure to make her smile and I hope it makes your taste buds dance!

beet and kumquat salad endive paper thin slices of roasted beet local goat cheese baby kumquats all in a row colorful raw beet beet and kumquat salad

You will need:

  • One roasted beet*
  • One beet cut into matchsticks – I used Chioggia
  • 1 Head of endive – separated and washed
  • ¼ Cup goat cheese
  • 4 Kumquats sliced
  • 1 tablespoon infused vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons good olive oil
  • Fresh Mint
  • Salt and Pepper

How to:

  • Using a mandoline or sharp chef’s knife, slice roasted beets paper thin and place on plate
  • Crumble goat cheese and arrange kumquats on top of roasted beets
  • Toss endive with vinegar and place on plate
  • Top with matchstick beets
  • Drizzle with Olive Oil and sprinkle with mint leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

beet and kumquat salad

To eating the rainbow,

Marcella Rose

beet and kumquat salad

3 Course Valentines Dinner

the Main course -  Valentines Dinner

I am the kind of girl who loves a holiday.  Give me a day to celebrate and I am already planning the meals and thinking of decorating the house.  Life is hard sometimes and the daily grind can be well …daily … and grinding.  When we have an excuse to make a day special or to just give it some attention, I think it’s a beautiful thing.  So a day to celebrate love?  Well how could you not just love that!  Even if you don’t have a partner, you can celebrate the love you have for your girlfriends, your family; hey why not celebrate the love you have for yourself!

I do understand the animosity toward the commercialization of this holiday and I get it that going out to dinner can be a pain when that is what everyone else in town is also doing.  So to avoid both, I give you the 3 Course Valentines Dinner.  This year why not give the gift of a home cooked meal?  Open a bottle of wine, lock the doors, and make this dinner for your lover.  The way to the heart, after all, is through the stomach they say!

What if you don’t have time, you say? What if you aren’t a great cook, you tell me?  Well, Marcella Rose has you covered.  This meal shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to make; ten minutes the night prior or in the morning for the dessert.  It’s elegant, easy, and is sure to impress your guest for the night.   So easy that you, yes you, you handsome devil, you could make this for your lady!  This recipe is for two but it’s simple to double if you want to invite your girlfriends over.

I start with a Butter Lettuce and Pink Citrus Salad to cleanse the pallet, serve this with a glass of bubbly or a glass of scotch or heck, both; it’s Valentine’s Day after all.  Then you move to a perfectly Roasted, Herb-rubbed Rack of Lamb with Mint Mashed Red Potatoes and Broiled Asparagus.  For dessert, slow down and enjoy a Tart Cherry and Salted Chocolate Personal Pie and maybe a few kisses too.

romantic dinner for 2 Citrus and bitter leaf salad with blood

Timing is everything, in love, in life and especially in cooking, so here is how to time this meal so you aren’t in the kitchen fretting, but staring across the table into the warm glow of candlelight in your lover’s eyes.

  • Make the dessert the night before, again this should take 10-15 minutes tops, then throw it in the fridge to chill over night. Right before you serve, drizzle with chocolate and Himalayan Salt.  (You can also make this in the morning, it needs maybe 4 hours in the fridge to set but really, it’s delicious even unset.)
  • 30 – 40 minutes before you want to eat, start the rest of the meal.
  • Mix up your herbs for the lamb and slather it on letting rest for a few minutes while your over pre-heats
  • Place the potatoes in cold water on high-heat on the stove
  • Throw in your lamb (see cooking directions below) and set your timer for 20 minutes.
  • Prep your salad, waiting to drizzle with citrus juice and olive oil right before serving
  • Prep your asparagus
  • Set your table and remember our lessons from Clueless, lighting is crucial
  • 5 minutes before your lamb is done, dress your salad
  • Turn off your potatoes, drain off the water and place them back into the pot with the butter, mint, salt and pepper, cover with a lid, this will keep them warm while you enjoy your salad
  • Pull out your lamb, tent with foil to rest for 15 minutes
  • Turn on broiler for your asparagus
  • Pour you and your guest(s) a glass and enjoy your first course salad
  • Once you are done with the first course, your lamb will have rested and be perfect for carving
  • Throw in your asparagus to broil while you prep the potatoes
  • With a masher, lightly smash your red potatoes incorporating the mint, salt and pepper and butter that have melted.
  • Remove asparagus, carve lamb and serve your second course
  • Your Personal Pies are in the fridge from last night. Whenever you are ready, take them out of the fridge, garnish with chocolate sauce and salt and serve

light pink hydrangeas to give a little love in these jeweled bottles

Tart Cherry and salted chocolate tart

Tart Cherry and salted chocolate tart Tart Cherry and salted chocolate tart the making of a perfectly light and pink salad pink grapefruit and blood orange
Citrus and bitter leaf salad with blood


Citrus and bitter leaf salad with blood asparagus broiled asparagus with sea salt and olive oil

broiled asparagus with sea salt and olive oilRoasted herbed rack of lamb and mint mashed potatoes roasted herbed rack of lamb Roasted herbed rack of lamb and mint mashed potatoes

You will need:

Tart Cherry and Salted Chocolate Personal Pie

  • 1 container Nosa Tart Cherry yogurt – or 8 ounces of your favorite
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • Graham Cracker crumbs
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 small ramekins
  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Pink Himalayan Salt

Butter Lettuce and Pink Citrus Salad

  • 1 Head bitter lettuce
  • 2 Tablespoons flat leaf parsley
  • 1 Pink Grapefruit
  • 1 Blood Orange
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Roasted, Herb-Rubbed Rack of Lamb

  • 1 “Frenched” rack of lamb*
  • 2 Tablespoons Rosemary
  • 3 Cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon salt

*”Frenching” refers to removing some of the meat off the end of the bones.  It’s fairly easy to find at your local grocery store or ask your butcher. Also can refer to a type of kiss I hope you get this Valentines Day.  

Mint Mashed Red Potatoes

  • 2 handfuls small red potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh mint
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Broiled Asparagus

  • One Bunch asparagus
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions :

Tart Cherry and Salted Chocolate Personal Pie

  • Preheat over to 375
  • Place two tablespoons of butter in each dish
  • Microwave on high until melted
  • Scoop in about ¼ of a cup of graham cracker crumbs into each dish and mix well
  • Using your fingers, press the crumb butter mixture to the bottom and sides of dish creating a crust
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes until golden
  • While baking, mix together yogurt and mascarpone cheese
  • Once crusts are done, scoop half of the cheese/yogurt mixture into each dish
  • Refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours
  • Once ready to serve, drizzle with chocolate sauce and salt

Butter Lettuce and Pink Citrus Salad

  • Place several leaves of butter lettuce on a plate with parsley
  • Cut grapefruit and orange into segments reserving the tops and arrange on lettuce
  • Using tops of citrus squeeze out the juice onto the assembled salad
  • Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, serve

Roasted, Herb-Rubbed Rack of Lamb

  • Preheat over to 450f
  • With a food processor, process the salt, rosemary, balsamic, olive oil and garlic until they’re incorporated and minced
  • Place the lamb in a roasting pan with the meat facing up and slather with herb mixture
  • You can allow this to “marinate” for about an hour while you prep the rest of your dinner for added flavor, or just pop in the oven
  • Roast the lamb for 20 minutes for rare or 25 minutes for medium-rare.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes, covering with tin foil
  • Slice the ribs off and serve.

Mint Mashed Red Potatoes

  • Fill pot with cold water and add potatoes
  • Bring to boil
  • Boil until tender when pierced with a fork (15 minutes)
  • Tear up mint leaves and add to strained potatoes with salt, pepper and butter

Broiled Asparagus

  • Snap off fibrous end of asparagus and arrange on a sheet pan
  • Drizzle with olive oil mix and place under broiler for 3-5 minutes until roasted
  • Remove from broiler toss with salt and pepper, serve

To Loving love!

Marcella Rose

The final course - Tart Cherry and salted chocolate tart

Homemade Chicken Stock

Make your own chicken stock, to add depth and flavor to your favorite recipes

We are in the throws of winter.  It is blistering cold, the storms are sweeping our country and even if you are not blanketed in snow you still may not be spared from the cold and flu bugs that are flying around.  During this time nothing makes me feel more at home and like I can weather any storm, be in sleet, snow or bugs, than homemade stock.  The wind whips at the windows as the rain pours and the fog rolls in, but on the stove simmers a broth.

Winter or not, stock is a staple every kitchen needs.  You can certainly pop into your grocery and purchase some but once you make it yourself and taste the difference, you’ll never go back to store bought again.  What I love to do is make a large batch and freeze it in small containers of 1-3 cups so that when a recipe calls for broth, there I have it, measured out and ready to throw into a pot to thaw.  Making stock is as easy as one-two-three; fill a pot with water, throw in some bones and vegetables, simmer for two hours, salt and pepper to taste and done.  You can use the tips and unusable bits of carrots, celery and onion as well.  Most of the time I have a bag in the freezer full of these odds and ends that I throw in, so when I have some beef or chicken bones I throw in the bag of ends and “poof”, stock for all!  You can make stock out of any bones, pork, beef, chicken, or make it vegetarian with just vegetables.  The whole goal is to simmer out the nutrients and flavor in your stock ingredients to make a broth rich, full of flavor and dense in nutrition.

Try your finished stock in your favorite soup recipe or my favorite recipe for Homemade Ramen 

Make your own chicken stock, to add depth and flavor to your favorite recipes

Make your own chicken stock, to add depth and flavor to your favorite recipes Make your own chicken stock, to add depth and flavor to your favorite recipes

You will need:

  • 2 carrots
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 2 onions
  • 4-6 quarts of water or enough o fill the pot
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A bundle of herbs, like rosemary, sage and thyme – you can use dried as well.
  • Bones

*I will sometimes throw in a whole chicken carcass after I have roasted it and served for several meals. This week I had two big bone in breasts that I had cooked for previous meals that I threw into my stock.

**Also you don’t need to use fresh veggies you can use odds and ends as well.

How to:

  • Throw all the ingredients into a pot
  • Bring to boil
  • Lower the temperature to a simmer
  • Simmer for two hours
  • Add salt and pepper to taste

Simmer it up!

Marcella rose


Make your own chicken stock, to add depth and flavor to your favorite recipes

Quick Pickled Vegetables

Quick Pickled Vegetables

Thank goodness for my friends. Really and truly, I get so much inspiration for my blog Marcella Rose’s from the fantastic meals and moments I spend with my girlfriends. It’s been hard for me since I moved away from New York and the strong group of fabulous women that I was lucky enough to call my friends.  I have been on the search since arriving in Southern Oregon and recently met yet another amazing woman.  We had dinner at her place a few weeks ago and she made spiced chicken on the bone, seared and then baked on top of cinnamon rice with loads of fresh chopped herbs, a stunning raw beet salad with fresh cracked walnuts, and baby spring greens; it was like heaven. Just what you are craving on these cold winter evenings; all spicy, hearty, and warm, full of root vegetables and baby greens, grown in warm greenhouses through the long winter months. To start, she had laid out some stunning cheeses and some quick pickled carrots. I love setting my table in the summer months with quick-pickled veggies for a fresh crunchy addition to picnics and barbeques alike but had never thought about quick-pickling root veggies in the winter months. It’s genius!

For the full blog and recipe visit My Cooking Spot! 

Quick Pickled Vegetables Quick Pickled Vegetables
Quick Pickled Vegetables
Quick Pickled Vegetables Quick Pickled Vegetables

Happy pickling!

Marcella RoseQuick Pickled Vegetables

The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free}

The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free}

I have this memory that I fantasize about constantly.  It starts, like many tales you hear of restaurant dreams.  It starts with this noodle place in London.  You would queue up to order, then sit down at one of these long family tables and wait.  The air was full of ginger and the aromas that come from homemade broth.  You would sit waiting, salivating, anticipating what was to come…the Noodle Bowl.  A bowl brimming with brothy, noodle goodness so fresh and fantastic you felt like you hadn’t lived until that very moment.

I have been dreaming about this noodle shop for years, but I finally ran into fresh rice noodles at Trader Joes.  I don’t know why it never hit me…I could…wait…I couldn’t.  Yes I could!! I could make my own noodle bowl! I could do it!!!  So I bought the noodles, found in the prepared food refrigerated section of Trader Joes and went home to test my culinary skills.  What I ended up with was nothing short of a miracle.  It was… it.  IT was the noodle bowl.  I have now made it 5 times and I could barely wait to share it with my readers.  It’s easy, it’s quick, it’s gluten free; it’s heaven in a bowl.  So let’s just get right to it.

Serves 2

The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free} The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free} The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free}
The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free}


You will need:

  • 6 cups homemade chicken broth – store bought will do in a pinch
  • 2 Tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 package rice noodles – the Trader Joes brand comes with two in a package
  • Shredded chicken reserved from your homemade broth or pre cooked
  • Bock Choy – chopped
  • Green onions – Chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Gluten free Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Asian spicy sauce (Sriracha)

The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free}

How To:

  • Place stock in a pot and add ginger and shredded chicken
  • Bring to a boil
  • While stock is coming to a boil, make sauce
  • Mix equal parts Gluten free Soy Sauce, Sesame oil and hot sauce and mix
  • Once stock has come to a boil add rice noodles and cook as directed on package
  • 1 minute before the noodles finish, add bok choy and green onion
  • Boil one minute more
  • Ladle into bowls dividing evenly (or not J)
  • Spoon in desired amount of sauce and serve.

Happy slurping!

Marcella Rose

The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free}

Le Negociant – A Classic Aperitif Cocktail

Classic Aperitif Cocktail - Le Negociant

I wanted to share with you one of my favorite cocktails from over the holidays. I love using the time spent with family and friends as an opportunity to try out new concoctions and this holiday season I stumbled upon a winner, the Le Negociant.

There is something quite enjoyable and beautiful about an aperitif. For those of you who aren’t hip to the term, an aperitif is an alcoholic drink served prior to a meal to stimulate the appetite. If you read into cocktail lore the first aperitif came onto the scene in France in 1846 by the French chemist Joseph Dubonnet who created an alcoholic beverage to help people tolerate the bitter taste of malaria-fighting quinine.

Classic Aperitif Cocktail - Le Negociant

One of the most popular quinine beverages produced in France at the turn of the century was called Byrrh. Though Byrrh has never left the shelves of bars in France, it is only recently enjoying popularity here in the states, and I thank my lucky stars it is!  This delicious beverage is a blend of red wine and quinine with added flavors coming from orange peel and coffee. Now you can serve this slightly bitter beverage on ice or to make it more palatable, and delicious, there are many a vintage cocktail you can brew.  Classic Aperitif Cocktail - Le Negociant

Today I am sharing my personal favorite classic Byrrh Cocktail the Le Negociant. It features one of my favorite spirits, St. Germain. This stunning and bright liqueur is still made in an artisanal fashion from elder flowers lovingly gathered in the glorious hillsides of the French Alps that are then bicycled (I know it can’t possibly get any more fabulous now can it?!) to a location where they can be quickly macerated while the bloom is still fresh and the sweet flavor is at its peak brilliance. This creates a liquor that is bright and slightly sweet and perfect for mixing many notable cocktails like the one I am sharing today.

Le Negociant

  • 1 ounce Byrrh
  • 1 ounce St. Germain
  • 1 ounce Rhum Agricole – Rum made from sugar cane
  • The juice from have a lemon
  • Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass
  • Garnish with lemon


Classic Aperitif Cocktail - Le Negociant Classic Aperitif Cocktail - Le Negociant Classic Aperitif Cocktail - Le Negociant Classic Aperitif Cocktail - Le Negociant

To your health and your appetite!

Marcella Rose

Classic Aperitif Cocktail - Le Negociant