About Johanne Lamarche

I am French Canadian by birth, a periodontist by profession, and a creative soul by nature. I live in Berwyn, Pa with my husband, 3 teenaged sons and one cat where I love to cook, garden, paint and entertain. This blog will share some of my passions for creating a beautiful life at home.

Dutch Baby Pancake

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Dutch Babies are puffy golden oven-baked pancakes that are often called German pancakes.  Once the batter is made, the pancake bakes itself in the oven and is served directly from the baking dish. Coming out of the oven it is just gorgeous so have your guests ready for the wow moment as it deflates quickly.  The Dutch name was coined by Manca’s Cafe in Seattle Washington in the first half of the 20th Century and is probably an misnomer for the autonym “Deutsch”.  Whatever it’s origin, it is an absolutely delicious breakfast which lends itself to personalization.  I made mine with lemon and orange zest as I was serving it with fresh berries.  This was my first time making a Dutch baby and it was so easy and much less messy than conventional pancakes.  Happy New Year!

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Cheesy Broccoli-Bacon Soup

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There is a wonderful tea room, A Taste of Britain, near where I live and it is a favorite lunch spot with friends.  Although they make wonderful scones, tea sandwiches and offer a lovely selection of loose leaf teas, their soups and salads are outstanding and what I usually order.  Recently I enjoyed a delicious broccoli-bacon-gruyère soup that was out of this world!  Thick and creamy with a hint of smokiness from the bacon, it was memorable.  I tried to recreate it here.  My version has no cream with the thickness coming from giving the soup a whirl in the blender.  Use a good melting cheese such as gruyère or aged cheddar.  Finish the soup with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and grated cheese.  Soup’s on!

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Fudgy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

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Break out the stand mixer!  “Tis the season for baking cookies. This year I’m adding these chocolate crinkle cookies to the family favorites.  The recipe was very easy and with only 10 minutes in the oven, super quick.   The cookies are not only pretty, they are ooey-gooey-fudgy good and sure to please the chocolate lover.  The dough needs to be refrigerated at least 3 hours so plan accordingly.  I chilled mine overnight.  The pretty crinkle sugar pattern is created when the dough expands during baking and the sugar dusting splits apart.  Happy holiday baking!

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Longwood Gardens Christmas 2017

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No holiday is complete without a visit to see the seasonal display extravaganza at Longwood Gardens in Kenneth Square, Pennsylvania.  The crown jewel of the gardens is the conservatory.  This year’s theme is “C’est magnifique!” and the décor is done in a French style reminiscent of Versailles.  The floating display is designed like a French parterre garden with thousands of floating Granny Smith apples, cranberries and walnuts arranged in a deconstructed fleur de lys design.  A Christmas table is set as if in a palace with its adjacent winter wonderland outdoor terrace garden. At every turn, there are surprises that delight every sense.  Trees are decorated with fleur de lys, giant castle keys and mirrored sun ornaments, a nod to Louis XIV, Le roi soleil, who was known for his vanity.  Towering Christmas trees made out of succulents are spectacular creations.  Another tree constructed of 400 fragrant orchids takes the breath away.  Giant pointsettia topiaries are nothing short of stunning as are the towering pointsettia trees. It was difficult to edit my photos for this post, it was all so magical.   Join me for A Longwood Christmas! The enchantment continues to January 7th.  Check the website for details. Continue reading

Dark Chocolate Flourless Torte with Blood Orange Ganache

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This rich chocolate torte is almost too good to believe.  With just 3 ingredients which come together in a few minutes, it is decadent and very satisfying with a texture reminiscent of lush chocolate fudge.  Baking the cake in a water bath helps keep it moist.  There is no added sugar in the recipe and the sweetness comes exclusively from the chocolate you use.   I find dark chocolate sweet enough but if you prefer your dessert sweeter, go with milk chocolate or maybe half milk/half dark.   It is a decadent dessert so cut it in small slices.  It will easily serve a dozen guests.   To change it up from my usual recipe, I added a layer of ganache on the top of this version simply made by melting a Godiva dark chocolate-blood orange chocolate bar right on top of the warm cake.  So easy!  To finish it up, I sprinkled candied orange peel all over the top and served fresh orange slices on the side.  A truly special dessert for holiday entertaining.  Love the chocolate and orange combo of flavor but don’t want to fuss with the chocolate ganache layer and candied orange peel?  Just add the zest of 1 orange to the batter and serve with fresh orange slices.  Did I tell you the cake can be made up to 4 days in advance???

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Curried Cauliflower-Pumpkin-Black Bean Warming Stew

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As we head into the holiday season, here is a recipe to keep you eating nutritiously in between all the excesses of this time of year.  Chock full of veggies and warming spices, this is a thick stew-like soup that will fuel you with loads of antioxidants, protein, vitamins and minerals,  great fiber and wonderful flavor.   It will keep you satisfied and energized throughout the holidays.  It can be frozen in smaller portions. Substantial enough to enjoy as a meal, it is a fragrant bowl of goodness to keep you nourished during this stressful time of year.  Top it off with shredded coconut, pomegranate arils, toasted pumpkin seeds or big dollops of yogurt.

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Stuffing in a Bundt

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“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” John F Kennedy

Although I can roast a gorgeous herb turkey, for me Thanksgiving is all about the sides.  Stuffing and cranberry sauce are personal favorites.  Our family likes stuffing baked inside the bird.  When it comes out, it doesn’t look so pretty.  I saw a picture of stuffing baked inside a Bundt pan and thought I’d try it.  To make it, make your favorite stuffing as usual ( ours was a cornbread, sausage and apple stuffing) and save about 10 cups.  Whisk 4 large eggs in a cup of chicken or turkey broth and mix into your stuffing.  This will be the binder of the ingredients.  If it seems dry, add a little more broth.  Transfer to a generously buttered or oiled Bundt pan and press down with your hands to get a uniform density.  Bake at 350F, middle rack, uncovered,  for 25 minutes.  Invert on a platter and serve cut into slices.  Presentation dilemma solved!  This stuffing will command the attention at your Thanksgiving table, as it should!  This stuffing pleases both sides of the stuffing debate:  it is moist enough to please those who like the stuffing cooked inside the bird yet will appeal to those who swear by stuffing cooked outside the bird.  Great as a leftovers too.

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One section of my stuffing broke off and had to be pieced back in, showcasing the importance of really greasing up the Bundt pan before baking the stuffing.  Sorry for the blurry picture!

I made the stuffing in a Bundt a second time with a leek-pecan-sausage-apple white bread stuffing using Uncle Ben’s stuffing mix. I made it a little drier this time.  It did not stick to the pan and was so beautiful on the Thanksgiving buffet table.

Coming out of the oven.

Inverted on the serving platter.

Show time!

Happy Thanksgiving!