Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

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Rhubarb has the power to evoke wonderful childhood memories for me.  I have always loved it and  find all kinds of ways to use it while it is in season.  This classic cake boasts a whole pound of spring rhubarb on top of a fluffly moist honey cake. Although the original recipe on Delish.com was a vanillla cake, I changed it to be a honey cake with cardamom spice which I find such a winning pairing of flavors with rhubarb.  Enjoy rhubarb season!

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Take-out Tuesday, September Soup & Squash Croutons

The French Gardener Kitchen has been a little quiet as we are getting ready to move to temporary housing during some construction work in our home. This recipe for a very unique and flavorful soup comes to you from one of my favorite bloggers, Jenna@ The Painted Apron. Enjoy!

The Painted Apron

A double treat’s in store today, a lightened up chowder made with roasted yellow squash and corn, topped with crispy bacon

September soup with squash and corn thepaintedapron.com

AND Parmesan Squash Croutons!

salad with squash croutons

Let’s make the croutons first so we can nibble on them while the soup simmers

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All you need is some tempura batter mix, the old fashioned Parmesan cheese in the signature green bottle, or any finely grated Parmesan, and some oil for frying

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Dip in batter, coat with Parm, and fry!

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Sprinkle with kosher or sea salt

Parmesan squash croutons thepaintedapron.com

Try not to eat them all while you’re making the soup  😋

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Roast squash slices on a parchment lined sheet until done, 20 minutes or so at 400

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Give it a rough chop

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While the squash is roasting, fry bacon until crispy and saute the onion and celery in bacon drippings until soft

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Stir in flour making a thick roux, and then add 2 cups of the broth…

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Warm Roasted Tomato and Israeli Couscous Salad

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As winter sets in, are you dreaming of summer’s sweet juicy tomatoes? Roasting the tomatoes available during winter concentrates their sweetness, enhances their juiciness and is a sure fire way to coax a bit more of that summer taste.  Plan ahead as the tomatoes are slow roasted for 2 hours at low temperature in the oven.  A surprising addition of fennel and cumin seeds to the tomatoes add a big dose of flavor.  Israeli couscous gives the salad a nice texture and its nuttiness is enhanced by flash-frying  it first to a golden color before boiling it.  The salad comes together with a mess of arugula and a simple vinaigrette.  This recipe comes to me from my niece Vanessa, a gifted cook, who spoiled me with a fantastic dinner during a recent visit to her home in Tampa, Florida.  It is originally from the acclaimed LCBO magazine of Ontario, Canada’s Liquor Board. The salad makes a delicious side to grilled fish or chicken. It’s a little bit of summer in every bite, even in cold January!

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Top 10 Reader Favorites of 2015

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Happy New Year!  Did you make resolutions?  Have you broken them yet? Before I make my new blogging resolutions,  I love looking back at what posts resonated most with readers in 116 countries around the world in this past year.  My most loyal readers are in the USA with Canadian and the U.K. readers not far behind. I was surprised by the top 10 posts.  They tell me you like gardening topics, fast and healthy weeknight family style cooking, easy desserts with healthy ingredients and entertaining inspiration.   If you would like to suggest topics for  2016 content, please write me in comments below.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.  I am enriched by each and everyone  of you.  Here are the top 10 posts of 2015!

#10. Raspberry Panna Cotta Cake

#9. Fall Garden Tour

#8.   Summer Entertaining

#7. Roasted Eggplant Stuffed with Figs, Stilton and Pecans

#6. A Dozen Cookie Recipes

#5. Triple Lime and Yogurt Mini Bundt Cakes

#4. Deep Dish Butternut Squash Quiche

#3. Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs with Brussel Sprouts Leeks Mushrooms and Bacon

#2  Biedermeier Flower Arranging

Drumroll, please!  Presenting the top post of 2015:

#1 No Water Flowers

Did your favorite post make it on the top 10?  Were you as surprised by these selections as I was?

Happy New Year!

If you missed it, Reader Favorites of 2014.

(Title image found on Google)

Roasted Poblano and Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese

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With fall around the corner, thoughts turn to comfort dishes.  Nothing like mac ‘n cheese for the quintessential comfort dish.  With the addition of roasted poblano peppers, bacon and a crumb topping this dish will appeal to adults and kids alike.  The poblanos add very mild heat to the dish.  To kick it up a notch, use hotter peppers such as Italian or Hatch peppers.  The mac’ n cheese is rich and creamy with layers of smokey flavors.  Easy to make, it is a perfect marriage of creaminess and depth of  flavor imparted from the smokey bacon and peppers. Using a larger corkscrew pasta rather than traditional macaroni really increases the ratio of creamy cheese sauce to pasta.  In  mac’n cheese, that is a very good thing!  This mac’n cheese is fancy enough to serve to company, if you’re willing to share!

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Pizzeria Beddia: Believe the Hype!

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When Bon Appétit magazine declares the best pizza in America is in your backyard, you’ve got see for yourself if it lives up to the hype!

At Pizza Beddia there is no phone, no preorders, no chairs, no slices, no restroom.  Cash only. Whole pies only. One size only.  Maximum of 2 pies per party.  40 pizzas per night sold.  2 small tables for stand-up dining.  BYO. Open Wednesday to Saturday 5:30 pm-10:30pm.  On several recent summer days, my husband determined to get one of these pizzas and see why it was declared the Best Pizza in America.  And days it took!

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The dreaded sign that turns hundreds of hungry customers away!

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Asparagus and Caramelized Shallot Deep Dish Quiche

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The recipe for this quiche was born from what was available in the fridge at the time, the way most of my cooking usually goes.  Caramelized shallots layered in the bottom of the quiche add a depth of flavor which does not over power the tender spring asparagus. Continue reading