Thursday, July 3, 2014

Most Memorable Meals & 6 years old


I love blogging.
It keeps me sane.
It's someone to talk to everyday (you), and it forces me to be creative and always on my toes (in the kitchen).

"What is the BEST thing you have ever eaten?", people ask me that question all the time.

I don't know, there are so many delicious things I have eaten over the years, it's hard to choose.

Most of the special, memorable meals I have enjoyed have been while traveling or eaten in my grandmother's home many years ago.

One meal that immediately comes to mind was eaten with my boyfriend (now husband), in my early 20's in Lenox, Massachusetts during a blizzard.

We went on a ski trip to the Berkshires and almost didn't make it because of the weather.

We stopped in a little country inn with candlelit tables and people cross country skiing in the street at night, we had a perfect window view of the dreamlike scenery.

I know I ate a pasta dish and drank some red wine, but the food is not what mattered. The evening was magical, and 27 years later, I still remember it. It was beautiful.

Another time, starving in the old city of Montreal, looking for food, we stumbled into a butcher shop where the sign read Boucherie/Charcuterie.


They had a little back room with red & white checkered tablecloths and French pork products hanging from the ceiling. We ordered at the counter and I had a vegetable and Gruyere sandwich on a gorgeous baguette w/ French mustard wrapped in paper, my husband had a sandwich of duck rillettes and mustard.
It was the best sandwich I have ever eaten to this day.

Another memorable meal was a gorgeous al fresco dinner at my friend Sharon's beautiful home in Normandy, where her husband cooked up a simple meal as if he were a professional chef....the beautiful table setting, the magnums of Bordeaux, the French countryside air (sans bugs) and the company as well as the fantastic food made this a memorable evening.


As for food in restaurants, the most recent was in Philadelphia, where the meal at Zahav, a modern Israeli restaurant was amazing and memorable, and the same goes for that ridiculous roast chicken for 2 at The Nomad in NYC stuffed w/ foie gras and truffles, certainly memorable.


So much food, so little time.
Life is too short to eat bad food.

I try and make every meal count (maybe not memorable!).

This recipe blog started 6 years ago as a way to keep track of my recipes for myself as well as for my friends.

I hope you are creating some memorable meals in your kitchen or during your travels and that this blog helps you to do so.

For my 6th blog anniversary, I am giving away 3 copies of my new favorite cookbook A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry (watch out Ottolenghi).


This book is so gorgeous, it's as if it was written for me personally, I want to make everything in this book.

Just leave a comment telling us your most memorable meal (and your name!) and 3 lucky winners will receive a book!

Thanks for reading me all these years and have a happy, safe 4th of July.

xo

45 comments:

Jan Beaty said...

Stacey, I love your blog...it's the first thing I read every morning! I trust your taste and your writing. I've made your Salmon w/Mustard Crumb Crust numerous times over the years for guests, and it's always good...people love it! I'm glad to hear that you still enjoy blogging. I sure would miss you if you stopped. Jan Beaty

Anonymous said...

My most memorable meal was at my good friend's home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she made the world's best crab cakes, grilled corn on the cob, and a fresh green salad, which we ate as the sun set on the water. Oh, and there was great wine, too!

The book looks wonderful - hope I win!

Thanks,

Beth Tulloch

Anonymous said...

Hi Stacey,
I started reading your blog this past winter when i was craving for a French far breton(I was born in Paris but raised in Montreal Canada).I was looking for that french taste and texture.I tried your recipe and WOW all my teenage memories came back !Even my 2 children said wow mom its like being in Paris again !
thank you for sharing, and since then i read you every morning(even on vacations) and i tried most of your recipes..and honestly they all turn out so good and healthy, that i share them around me...
have a wonderful day.
PS;Last night i tried your spicy honey chicken tights..delicious..
nathalie B

Katie C. said...

Happy blog-a-versary!

You are right, it is very difficult to pick a best meal. In fact, I can't. It's just too mind boggling. It's also like someone with ocd - oh, look something new...

Can I still be counted in for the give away?

Susan said...

Hi Stacey, My most memorable meal was when I was a young teenager. We used to go into NYC to dinner at Pierre Au Tunnel where I would get the same thing, always, which was escargot and frogs legs. I will never forget that tiny downstairs French restaurant dark, inviting and such amazing french food. Sadly they are now closed but it was a big part of my childhood food memories.
Thanks for letting us share, Susan

Natalia B said...

Your blog is bookmarked on my computer and it's one of the first things I read each morning. On many days I use your daily recipe to prepare a meal for my family. I love your ideas of pairing interesting food ingredients and my family often asks where I came up with the recipe - Stacey Snacks, of course!

In 2002, my husband and I were celebrating an early 15th wedding anniversary in Paris. It was my 2nd trip to France and we wandered into the Saint Germain Des Prés, which became my favorite Parisian quarter. We found a small little restaurant and my husband asked for the "non-smoking" section (hah!). They must still be laughing about that one, but did seat us in the basement of the restaurant which had one table. I found this incredibly romantic! The cheese and meat fondue were the best we've ever had, paired with a dry white wine. Now when we make fondue at home, we fondly remember that magical evening in Paris!

Peggie said...

I agree life is too short to eat bad food. My favorite (most recent) meal was one I made - beef burgundy. Not exactly Julia's version, but pretty close.
I certainly enjoy your blog. And I agree that vacations should always be taken in France.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Happy anniversary Stacey. I've been reading your blog almost since the beginning and I totally trust your taste. I've bought cookbooks you have recommended and made many of your dishes. I especially enjoy your posts about France.

One of my most memorable meals was in Provence at one of Patricia Well's favorite restaurants - Le Bistrot du Paradou. Patricia wrote about the restaurant and the owners in her cookbook "Le Provence Cookbook" and included some of their recipes and photos. I brought a copy of her cookbook to Provence because we had a kitchen at our disposal during our trip, so I took it along to lunch. Jean-Louis Pons, one of the owners, proudly announced the moment he saw the book, "J'adore Patricia Wells.

Jean-Louis was so gracious, took us in the kitchen, introduced us to his wife Mireille, who is the chef, & they both signed their pictures for me. Later during lunch Jean-Louis came over to our table and asked if he could borrow my cookbook. My husband and I watched him take the book to another table and show it to an attractive lady who turned out to be cookbook author Fran Warde, who he introduced us to after lunch. What a special day. People ask me what I took to Provence and I always answer "Patricia Wells." :)
Sam

Susan Murphy said...

Hi Stacey,
I am setting thinking what meal do I remember that was the best and it keeps coming back to my mom's Sunday night dinners her Leg of Lamb with mint jelly! her Roast Beef with yorkshire pudding!
Love her stew chicken!! ...but it has to be her Meat Pies!!! they were to die for!!! read you every morning at work!! I have a basket of your recipes love them all! THANKS

gourmet goddess said...

Congratualtions on 6 years of blogging - and above all making it interesting.

My most memorable meal was so simple and rustic that I can still taste it close to 20 years on . My very good Italian friend's mother made "ceci and orechietti" with a touch of Italian olve oil and a broth perfumed with bayleaves .

I know ridiculously simple - nothing Michelin or 5 star here - but just simple rustic, quality ingredients .

Keep up the wonderful writing, rants and MCG postings - and please tell me that you are planning a book in the near future.

take care
gg

Fabiana said...

Stacey, one of my most memorable meals was this past January. I was in Mammoth Lakes eating with my sister with my sleeping 1 year old at a little place called Toomeys. There was snow outside and we sat and enjoyed lobster taquitos and drank lots of presecco. It was wonderful. Between the atmosphere, great food, being with my sis and the fact that my son slept the whole time (which is so rare), this was memorable!!

Love, love, love your blog!!!

Fabiana

Lisa said...

There are too many good meals to thinks of but I find that when you are in the company of good friends and family it is always the best.

By the way, hope to go to Zahav next month when we are in Philly.

Happy 4th of July!

Lisa Walker

Pia Aliperti said...

Stacey, one of my most memorable meals was at a restaurant at St. Simons (an island in GA). The food was really good (stuffed salmon with spinach and mushrooms with risotto on the side) but also being with my family in a place that always relaxes me made the meal even more delicious.

My favorite recipe to make at home (I learned it from you!)is your roasted cauliflower with parley, almonds,and olives. It's wonderful every time.

Congratulations on your anniversary!

SueZ said...

One of my most memorable meals (there are many, aren't there?) While in college, and still living at home, I was rewarded after a long shift with an unusual dinner made by my parents. It was steamed artichokes dipped in melted butter(never had them before) and crispy fried fish. Simple and memorable.

Gail said...

My most memorable meal was on Capri. We hiked up 1,000 steps (counted them) to our hotel where our lunch was waiting for us.

They served the most delicious eggplant parmasean I've ever eaten then and since. I can still taste it.

The setting also helped!!!

Sara said...

Happy 6th, and thank you for the recipes, antiques and inspiration.
Aside from an ill-judged multicourse gutbuster on my honeymoon, my most memorable meal is the one I make for my birthday every year: morels, an asparagus fava bean salad, spinachy half-moon pastries (Marcella Hazan) and lemon tart for dessert.

jdb4dog said...

I look forward to your blog everyday and have since I met you in Aix!
I have made many of the dishes you talk about and look forward to your blog with my morning cup Monday thru Friday!
Happy anniversary!

Tracy S said...

Happy 6th!! Your blog is the first things I read in the morning; I always look forward to your posts!

My most memorable meals seem to center around family members teaching me how to cook as a child. My grandmother taught me to make sunny side up eggs when I was eight, and I always think of her at breakfast. I remember picking vegetables in my uncle's garden, and him letting me watch and help cook them.

I also have great memories of vacation dinners with my husband- a restaurant on a cliff in Cabo, a tucked away place with mind blowing carbonara in Florence, etc. But you're right- the best pat is those you share it with.

Janice said...

Congratulations! I often tell my friends "Stacey is a gal we'd hang out with"-- your tastes in food and wine are much like ours.
One of my most memorable meals was in Normandie, with my parents who asked me to take them and act as translator. We had the most amazing plateau de fruits de mer I've ever had. But best of all was sharing it with my folks. Priceless!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Is it really 6 years? I think I've known you for most of them. What's not to like about Stacey Snacks? We can count on her every day for something amazing coming out of her kitchen, she's a blogging machine I don't know how she does it daily! Plus she's the hostess with the mostess,she takes us on her wonderful travels and all her restaurant eats, she's a locavore and appreciates home grown food, she loves good wine and her adorable husband Henry, and on top of everything else she's beautiful inside and out! I'm proud to call her my friend, Happy 6th!

xox

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Oh what would we do without dear Stacey to wake up to each day? Keep on keepin' on - you're the only one I know who can keep us all interested day in and day out. This post is a great way to engage your readers, as always. As others have said, the most memorable meals involve who you're with, even though I appreciate a good meal as much as the experience. But I'd have to say one of my most memorable meals was enjoyed on an island off the coast of Sardinia, just after we helped the owners haul in a bunch of fish, including octopi. The wife made a stew in the galley using the fish heads and fregula (like Israeli couscous.) Oh, that was after she thrashed the octopi on the rocks to soften them, and made the best octopus salad I've ever had. Then the husband grilled the fish bodies over a fire he made on the beach, while we jumped off the boat for a swim. After filling our bellies with the tastiest fish ever and glasses of wine, we all took a nap on the beach before heading back to the mainland. A day I'll never forget.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Has it really been six years? Wow, how time flies. I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog back when. I have two most memorable meals. #1 was 40 years ago at the Four Seasons in London. I was a young kitten, just learning about fine dining. It was an experience I will never forget for as long as I live. #2, was last year in Maui. Mama's Fish House. The ocean, the palm trees, my husband, sunset and the freshest (and tastiest) fish I've ever had. It cost a pretty penny, but worth it. I might never go there again, but I will always remember it.

nutritionlady said...

Most memorable was the first family Thanksgiving dinner prepared by my vegetarian daughter with me as her "Sue" chef and the subsequent ones as she made her way to being a vegan. Any meal prepared by her or my son are memorable as I they are well thought out and expertly prepared. I taught them well.

Anonymous said...

My most memorable meals are the casual ones around my table with family and friends. The ones that stand out the most were the every Sunday night meals with my Mother and children around the table. For years my Mother would join us every Sunday night (and some in between) and now that she is no longer with us I really miss those dinners. Actually, we all miss those dinners!! I really enjoy your blog and have just passed it along to friends so they could sign on to it!! They were all excited to try the roast cauliflower salad that I was raving about. Thanks!!

Lynn BB said...

My top meals are with family and friends. This New Year's Eve when we discovered that all of the college students had their own plans, I invited our best friends to come over for dinner. I got in my head that I should do a take on the 7 fishes dinner that Italian families have on Christmas Eve. We had 5 fish courses, planned at around 3:00 in the afternoon and it was great!

Amy V. said...

One of my most memorable meals was when I was 12 and requested for my birthday dinner at the Highlawn Pavilion, the beautiful restaurant overlooking NYC in my hometown of West Orange. We had driven by the scenic restaurant countless times and I wanted in. I think this meal began my love of food. I recall that I had duck for the very first time and that everyone had a fantastic meal. But what really stands out for me is being surrounded by my family at the table overlooking the beautiful view and everyone enjoying our fancy dinner. Great food, fantastic scenery, good company = memorable meal :) - Amy

Patsy said...

There's something about eating with your bare feet in the sand. Possibly a link between your toes and your taste buds?? Probably not, but it's hard to beat a barefoot sunset dinner on Mykonos of grilled fish, greek salad and ice cold white wine.

Lisa Faley said...

Great post :o) Favourite meal you ask? Tough question for sure!! Like you, the meal comes with a memory of the surround and the people I was with.... here are some that popped to mind...

My sister's Lamb Cassulet - takes her days to make and you can taste the love she puts into it.

Perfect roast chicken with that crack and pop the skin has at first bite.

Apple Strudel in custard sauce at a small roadside restaurant my husband and I stopped at on the drive from Germany to Austria.

Miriachis Mexican Restaurant in Toronto - we stopped in while shopping for furniture (just happened to be Cinco de Mayo!) and had the best most authentic Mexican meal with ice cold corona. FAB!

Thanks as always Stacey for your blog, sharing and quick wit! Always a pleasure reading!!
Bisous!
Lisa Faley

Anonymous said...

Hi there
I have been following your blog for the last year or so and I truly find it inspiring for those middle of the week dinners. My husband loves being a guinea pig! We have absolutely loved everything we have made suggested by you.
One meal I will remember for a long time is a meal that we hosted for my husband's 50th birthday. There were 10 of us for dinner, each couple knew one other couple but not the rest of the group. The mix turned out to be perfect. The ice was truly broken when one of our guests brought birthday hats and horns and they were laid at each place setting. When everyone sat down the fun began. The wine flowed, the food was catered, there were lots of laughs all around. We didn't want the night to end. It was a great evening spent with friends who also made new friends. Wonderful!
Keep up the good work!
Rose Blamey

kimberly torpey said...

...wow where to start? Most memorable meals are great food, family, friends, so many factors. Some of my favorite...with all my family around the table for a great meal prepared by my son...he was a great cook. We lost him 6 years ago. Love for family and great food go hand inn hand. Great food is even better in the right moment and with the right company. Salut!

annette said...

Hi,Stacey! Found your blog recently through Content in a Cottage and wish that you and Rosemary lived in my hood! Many years ago while living in New Mexico my husband and I had lunch in an old mining town near Santa Fe.I really can't remember what I ate,except for the soup which was their signature dish.Everyone received it upon being seated and when leaving were given a postcard with the printed recipe for The Tiffany Saloon Bean Soup.I make it every winter and I'm transported to this table near the fireplace with our sleeping baby daughter in a basket carrier at our feet. About a month after visiting we read that the historic Tiffany Saloon burned to the ground!Thanks for your cheerful blog which has become my "go to" every morning along with Content in a Cottage,

AuntBeth said...

Had lots of great meals was one we had in Florence. It was truffle season, the owner told us he had been out in the morning with the dogs harvesting. I had a simple pasta with white truffles. It was transcendent!

Lisa N. said...

I remember rolling out the dough for the apple strudel on my Austrian/Hungarian Grossmama's enamel top table in the apartment upstairs from our house in Lake Hiawatha - so paper thin I never understood how it held all that delicious stuff we layered on it -- sliced apples (in three varieties, nuts, and the struesel makings. And her secret was the slightly bad buttermilk for the batter.

We'd then have a simple meal of "noodles & potcheese" while the apple strudel baked - boiled egg noodles topped with a mixture of cottage cheese and sour cream sprinkled with salt and pepper. I think that was where my love of cooking and food was born.

I've had a few remarkably exotic meals of course too -- eating by candlelight in the middle of the bush in Tanzania -- a "green banana soup" that was unbelievable and cooked by a 5 star chef right there in the middle of the Serengeti with the lions roaring off in the distance comes to mind -- but the smell of that strudel baking and my Gu-mama as we called her -- teaching me about dough and how to use leftovers so as not to waste (for instance frying up the leftover bread-crumbs and egg mixture used to bread the pork schnitzel to make something she called "dechtel mechtel" really feel like what "most memorable" means sto me.

Hope you are enjoying summer -- a few more weeks till the first tomato sandwich!

Lisa

Lilmonsh said...

Hi Stacey!I am so grateful to have fallen upon your blog several years ago when doing an online search for how to roast red peppers => (yes, i was quite the novice in the kitchen back then.) You have since taught me how to do so much more than roast veggies. Your recipes have become our staples (cod on peas, salmon on asparagus, lemony chicken, frankie's meatballs to name a few of our favorites!) Thank you for helping me nourish my family so deliciously!

One meal that I think of often happened while I was a college student studying abroad in Costa Rica. It came after a full day of adventuring. We had just arrived to an island called Tortuguero. We were tired, refreshed from a well earned shower, and hungry! We sat on a rustic deck overlooking the water, enjoying the sounds of the forest, and were served roast chicken with fresh sliced tomatoes. Simple but divine!
Hilla

Rosie said...

On the 4th, congrats on your 6th! My most memorable meal was the most simple and elegant... Lunch in a castle in the Dordogne region in France. Surrounded by family in the most exquisite setting, we enjoyed a sampling of eggs with cepes ( the chef brought out a basketful of cepes mushrooms to reveal their freshness and aroma that was spellbounding), fois gras, assortment of cheese, variety of crepes, and the piece de resistance...crusty bread with REAL butter! The eggs and butter in France can't be beat!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your Bloganniverary! I enjoy reading your blog. I've made many of the recipes but I think my favorite is your cherry cake.
I have many food memories of family gatherings,cooking with my children
food from our travels.
I still remember a grilled pork chop I ate in Portugal on our honeymoon 41 years ago from a tiny neighborhood restaurant. It was sublime.
My most memorable meal was a lunch we had at Badia a Coltibuono near Gaiole in Tuscany. We were on a trip to celebrate our anniverary.
The weather was beautiful, the setting lovely, the staff was gracious and the food and wine for each course was perfect. Best of all was my simple dessert of a basil and lemon sorbet. My husband and I were very pleased by this spontaneous detour!
Alison V.
(I thought I sent this very early this morning. Please delete if it is a duplicate.)

Susan..... said...

A bus ride from Marseilles to Cassis took almost 2 hours traveling over a huge mountain it criss-crossed likea snake up one side and down the other. Not knowing eateries in France close from 2-6 in the afternoon, we were starving when we finally got there. Walking along the beach we found nothing open for lunch until we got to the last restaurant. The owner was just clearing the tables when we asked (practically begged!!) him for anything he could serve us.
He sat us down with apologies that all he had was the last of a pot of bouillabaisse liquor, some vegetables and bread.
Was one of the best lunches we have ever eaten and loved it so much we rented a car and drove back the next day. Turns out he comes to Texas every year to visit friends and he understood our unfamiliarity with French eating schedules and was happy to feed us.
Happy 6th Anniversary! I also have a cookbook that I love as you do yours. Soon as I finish all the recipes in mine I might have to start yours.
Here's to another great year.

bibliomichelle said...

Congratulations on your blogiversary! I'm not a huge follower of cooking blogs, but I really, really enjoy your recipes and perspective. I've tried so many of your recipes (most recently the roasted fennel salad) and they've all been great.

Most memorable meal was when I was studying abroad in Paris while I was in college. Our program administrators went through the trouble of making us a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and I just sat there in amazement and thinking, hmm, I never really liked turkey anyway. I was wondering what the rest of Paris was doing on an ordinary Thursday night! So I guess I don't remember the food, just the company and my thoughts.

Michelle in Massachusetts :)

Melodie Monberg said...

When I graduated from high school (in Kenya) we flew to the US via Israel. A week-long trip sround that beautiful country...my favorite meal was a falafel made in the Old City market by a street vendor. Amazing!

Linda said...

My most memorable meal was my first meal in Paris with my husband. We were upstairs in a little café, it was raining, and from our table by the window we could see Notre Dame lit up. I don't remember what we ate, just the feelings. Linda

Anonymous said...

I was fortunate to be a guest at the French Laundry. A 15 course meal with wine pairings. It was a first for a lot of food tastes, along with the impeccable service. Our hosts were fabulous - thanks so much Hannah and Dave! The scenery was gorgeous - it was definitely memorable. Thank you to Stacey for this inspiring blog.
Rebecca L

Wuda B said...

My most memorable meal out-on-the-town was with my late husband at Charlie Trotters In-the-Kitchen celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary. He didn't live to see our 10th. It was a truly magical evening.

He and I cooked a lot of "gourmet" meals together and I've since taught my new husband to cook! So many good meals, so little time . . . . Love your site. I cook from it a lot! Thanks

Margaret said...

Happy 6th Stacey! Thank-you for another wonderful inspiring year of amazing recipes, sharing your food passions, discoveries and places! I'm looking forward to your Paris 2014!
I love everything about food and savor every bite in life with memories of many memorable meals!
A simple though precious memory- visiting my daughter in Ottawa - one Sunday I had joined her for a hike with the outdoor club, following we shopped for a seafood fish stew at the Byward Market and then came back and cooked it together! Her kitchen smelled doubly good as she was also making a ratatouille for her lunches the following week! We opened the bottle of wine we had bought in Montreal together the weekend before and along with crusty bread devoured our memorable feast!

Happy food adventures and writing Stacey... your cookbook looks terrific :)
Margaret from B.C.

Margaret said...

Hi Stacey, in my above comment, I should of wrote, " we shopped for the ingredients for a seafood fish stew " ( the Byward Market has a nice fishmarket! )
Thanks,
Margaret from B.C.

Lori Kintz said...

Stacey. I love your blog. Inspiration in every post. Thank you!