Since I’ve Been Gone…


KatWe have acquired a new kitty.  I named him/her Kat!  He/She is beautiful.  Our other acquired cat, Fred, did not take too well to this.

apples

applepieMy boyfriend is a Good Ole Boy and thus, requires apple pie.  This is my first apple pie EVER.  The Boyfriend approved.  Crust from here .  The apple mixture was purely made up as I went about.

Apple Pie Filling
4-5 Gala apples, peeled & sliced
1 tsp lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup of sugar
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg (optional)

Peel and slice apples, sans the core, of course.  Place in bowl.
Zest and juice lemon.  Add to sliced apples, with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Mix thoroughly.  Add to pie crust.  Bake 45-55 minutes.
The apples were still quite firm, not really sure what to do about this.  Suggestions???

baierouge1

I recently got to check out Baie Rouge in French St. Martin.  It was packed with French locals, but still absolutely stunning.  It is surrounded by cliffs on both sides and as you can see from the photo, pretty rocky.  Towards the cliffs on the right is apparently some amazing snorkeling and an arch you can swim through.  I didn’t get to explore as much as I would have liked due to the crowds, but definitely would not mind taking our inflatable raft out there!  There are two tiny beach restaurants/bars.  My friends and I had burgers and fries at Chez Raymond . The bar boasted the BEST bar man on the island, who made frozen drinks with fresh bananas, cantaloupe, pineapple and LOTS of rum.  We sat at the bar long enough to get two free samples of the BEST bar man’s melon/pineapple daiquiri and the “Raymond Special.”  The gorgeous views, clear waters, and picturesque cliffs makes Baie Rouge my new favorite beach spot!  I cannot wait to go back!

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Views from Pinel Island

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feets

Essie “First Timer” on my toes

Last week I had my first visitor from home!  As a result of Ronny’s visit, I got to further explore the island and do a lot of the touristy things the Boyfriend and I previously passed on.  On Monday, we drove from Cupe Coy to Cul de Sac on the French side, to take the $7 ferry to Pinel Island.  The ferry ride was quick (less than 10 minutes) and the view was great.  It was $20 for two chairs and an umbrella–unnecessary, as I was mostly snorkeling NEAR the turtle grass.  I have a phobia about swimming over it!  The water was shallow, with great visibility.  I saw a small school of fish, but nothing exciting (but, then again, I didn’t get past the turtle grass).

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Lunch at one of the beach restaurants (that also sold us the chairs/umbrella) was a bit hefty.  Shrimp kebabs, fries, salad, and a Diet Coke was about 25 euro–that is about $33!  For lunch!  Outrageous!  Delicious!  But, in the end, not really worth it.

Ronny and I spent Thursday morning exploring French St. Martin’s capital, Marigot.  We had breakfast and coffee at the famed French bakery, Sarafina’s .  We explored the morning market, which consisted of fruit and spice vendors.  FYI:  this fruit is extremely overpriced due to the high tourist traffic, and moreover, they probably thought I was one.  Five bucks for a pineapple?  No.  No, thank you.  I had already  made the mistake of purchasing  $5 coconut water, which probably cost the vendor NOTHING.  Grr..

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View from the top of Fort Louis

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Marigot is the best spot on the island to make you feel as if you have transported to France.  It is abound with expats and French bistros, cafes, and bakeries.  Also remaining from the French colonial period is Fort Louis.  Ronny and I trekked to the top amidst intermittent raining.   It was quite windy at the top.  I, for sure, thought the wind was going to blow Ronny’s slight frame right off the mountain!  Thankfully, it did not.

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For lunch, we ate at Rosemary’s on the Marigot Bay waterfront.  This little “lolo” was recommended by Anthony Bourdain, whom I love, here .  We shared a plate of Creole conch, Creole shrimp, and stewed fish.  Everything on this plate was AMAZING.  By far, the best conch ANYTHING I have had on the island.  It was perfectly tender and well-seasoned.  I highly recommend this lolo, even though it is extremely touristy!

Until next time,
S…

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Valentine’s Day


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Photo Feb 14, 1 27 21 PM

FYI:  I FORGOT TO PUBLISH THIS ON VALENTINE’S DAY.

I have always wanted to bake bread.  The process has always seemed daunting to me.  It is almost like a part-time job to make up the yeast, let it bubble up, let the dough rise.  Blah Blah Blah.  My eyes glaze over.  That is not the life for me.  But today, I felt it.  I woke up at 7:20 am—6:20 eastern and 5:20 central time!  I made The Boyfriend a breakfast consisting of an onion/bell pepper omelette, turkey bacon, toast and jam and fresh coffee!  Then, I sent him off to school with Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies and Salted Caramel Brownies to share with his friends!

So at this point, it was like, 7:50 am and I had yet to drink any coffee.  I figured I would just go back to sleep.  No.  I watched two episodes of Girls and then The Boyfriend came home from class.  He brought back flowers and candy AND MY FAVORITE….Diet Dr. Pepper….which is $7/12-pack here.  Outrageous, right?  Riight.  I was pretty giddy about it.  Anyhow, I decided, as a labor of love, to attempt bread-making.  I had decided on Focaccia.  I wanted to make Spago Las Vegas-esque Focaccia (yeah, riiight).

This is what I came up with:

Mine came out a little pale, but I plan on reheating it for dinner later.  Hopefully, I can acquire the expectant golden hue.

Focaccia
(adapted from Becca Bakes )

1 package dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp honey
2.5 cups AP Flour
1 tsp sea salt, plus some
lots of olive oil
¼ large yellow onion, sliced medium thick
¼ large red onion, sliced medium thick
2 small shallots, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1-2 tsp dried rosemary
6 cherry tomatoes, halved

Mix together first three ingredients in a medium bowl, let it sit for about 10 minutes.  It should be foamy at the top.

Stir in flour, 1 tsp fine sea salt and ¼ cup of olive oil.

Remove mixture from bowl onto a floured surface.  Flour the dough and knead until smooth.  Place in another oiled medium bowl in a warm area for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, cook onions in olive oil over medium-low to medium heat.  After the onions turns translucent, add the shallots and garlic.  Continue to cook over medium-low/medium heat.  Do not burn or over-caramelize them—they will cook more in the oven.

They should look like this:

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After 1 hour, the dough should have doubled.  Preheat oven to 450.

Place the dough in an oiled 9×13 baking pan and spread out to cover the pan—do not overwork.  I used a pyrex casserole dish, because that is all I have!  Anyway, poke holes with your fingers and drizzle some olive oil over the dough.  The original recipe says to wait about 20 minutes.  I waited about 30.

Spread the onion mixture over the bread.  FYI:  I mixed my rosemary in with the onion mixture.  Plop some cherry tomatoes around in the mixture.  FYI:  I squeezed the seeds out from the tomatoes.  Those are disgusting and I don’t want anything to do with them.  Sprinkle the top with course sea salt.  I had to add more after mine baked.

Bake 15 minutes for a normal baking pan or 20-25 for casserole dish!

Cool completely. Serve. Enjoy!!!