A Taste of Europe

Delicious recipes for the curious cook!

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This weekend I took a tour of European cuisine right from the comfort of my own kitchen.  It was a rainy, damp Saturday and I wanted to take advantage of the weather as an excuse to stay inside and experiment with some dishes I haven’t cooked before.  I decided on two recipes from two of my favorite cookbooks- Barefoot In Paris and My Father’s Daughter and chose dishes that are inspired by both France and northern Italy for a truly European dinner.  

First, I made Ina Garten’s puff pastry with spinach, which is a fairly easy, vegetarian dish filled with warm spinach, cheese and onions that is reminiscent of a savory croissant.  It’s technically considered an appetizer, but if you’re only feeding a few people it can be used as an entree, as my fiance and I did.  A few things to note- Ina is not one to shy away from butter and cheese and, while I love her for that, I found the dish didn’t need as much as she instructed.  I cut the butter down to about 2 tbsps and I eyeballed the cheese to about 3/4 cup and it was just fine.  It’s a matter of preference but I found that I still had more filling than I could use, so cutting down some of the ingredients is probably best!

Next, I wanted to make a unique and delicious side to accompany the pastry but wanted to try something I hadn’t done before.  My fiance and I both like artichokes, but typically don’t have them on their own and I certainly have never made them at home before (aside from in a dip or on a pizza), so I gave Gwyneth Paltrow’s marinated artichoke hearts a try and they didn’t disappoint! They are flavorful but light enough to be the perfect side dish without feeling stuffed.  Instead of using bread cubes, I opted for some shredded parm, but either would be delicious.  

Feeling curious for a taste of Europe? Give these dishes a try this week!

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