Perfectly Provence

Travel June 6, 2016

We were fortunate enough to attend a delightful wedding at the breathtaking Hotel Crillon Le Brave, outside of Avignon. We did not want to leave this magical place. Every bite of food served was so full of flavor. Plus the pool was heated to 85 degrees. It was heaven.

Coconut and Black Sesame Chia Seed Pudding

Recipes April 27, 2016

Hot rice dumplings filled with sweet black sesame paste, often served with sugar syrup and sprinkled with fragrant Osthmanthus blossoms, was a childhood favorite. A honey sweetened black tahini topping to overnight coconut chia seed pudding brings back the flavor of the somewhat indulgent treat growing up. Black sesame is also an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, and iron.

Serves 4


Chia seed pudding:

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup white chia seeds

1 1/2 cup coconut milk

1 1/4 cup coconut water

2 tbs honey

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp  salt

Black sesame topping:

3 tbs black tahini

3 tsp honey


Combine coconut, chia seeds, coconut milk, coconut water, honey, vanilla and salt. Mix well. Spoon into 4 small ramekins or dishes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

For topping, combine tahini and honey.

Spoon topping over pudding, add berries of your choice. Enjoy!

Coconut Taro Cake

Recipes March 30, 2016

Had fun making this light Coconut Taro Cake. Taro root is a bit of an acquired taste, and I love it! This recipe can be vegan and gluten-free. The light creamy frosting is made from whipped coconut milk.



1 can coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)

5 or 6 small taro roots to make 1 1/2 cup of taro puree

a little soy, almond or regular milk

3 tbs olive or coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (1 tsp for cake, 1/2 tsp for frosting)

pinch of salt

1 cup flour (I used gluten free)

1 tbs coconut flour

purple food coloring (optional)

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp shredded coconut


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil 2 small baking tins, line with parchment paper, and oil again.

To prepare the taro, use gloves to peel the taro root with paring knife. Gloves are necessary because raw taro contains a skin irritant. Cut taro into similar sized cubes, and steam for 30 minutes. Puree the steamed taro using a blender, adding a little bit of your choice of milk if it gets to thick.

Measure out 1 1/2 cup of the taro puree, and put back in blender. Add oil, maple syrup, and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract and blend.

In a separate bowl, add dry ingredients and mix with a large spoon. Add the taro puree mixture, food coloring if using, and stir to combine. Spread the mixture into the pan and smooth top with spatula. Tap pan on counter to remove any bubbles. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Place cake into refrigerator for at least an hour before frosting.

To make the frosting, take refrigerated coconut milk can and flip upside down so bottom is now up. Open with can opener and pour out the liquid. Spoon out the remaining solid coconut milk into bowl and whip with a hand held mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Mix again.

Frost and layer cake and top with shredded coconut. Keep refrigerated and enjoy this guilt free dessert!

Vanilla Marshmallows

Recipes December 24, 2015

This season calls for hot chocolate, even though it feels like spring in the Northeast! To top off the beverage, what about homemade vanilla marshmallows? These soft, fluffy, and light marshmallows are incredible and surprisingly to make. The only special equipment you’ll need is a candy thermometer. Optional: a marshmallow pan.


2 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting

3 cups granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin

4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Spray a 9 x 13 x 2″ baking pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray, then coat generously with confectioners’ sugar.

In a large saucepan, stir 3/4 cup water, the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Insert a candy thermometer and, without stirring, bring to a boil, then cook until the mixture reaches 240′ F, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour 3/4 cup water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle the gelatin over the top, and stir on low speed so that the gelatin softens.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually pour the hot sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture, then blend, gradually increasing the speed to high, until the mixture is fluffy and stiff, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn the speed to low, add the vanilla, and mix to incorporate.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Let the marshmallow sit at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours, until firm.

Fill a bowl with 2 cups confectioners’ sugar. Invert the pan onto a smooth work surface and unmold the marshmallow. Lightly coat a serrated knife with nonstick spray, then cut the marshmallow into 12 or 24 squares, depending on your preference. Pull apart the squares and toss each marshmallow in the confectioners’ sugar to coat all over. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe from The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith Day.


Kimchee Jjigae

Recipes November 13, 2015

In Korea, it is an autumn tradition to make kimchee, a spicy fermented cabbage that is full of gut-friendly probiotics, to last the winter. A favorite way of mine to eat it is in kimchee jjigae, a warming bowl of stew. This recipe includes American cheese which adds a creamy texture. Cheese was one of the products introduced to Koreans by American GIs in the 1950s. After making a batch of kimchee a couple of days ago, we used it to prepare some jjigae today and it was a perfect lunch on this blustery day.

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This recipe is adapted from Marja Vongerichten’s The Kimchee Chronicles


2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1/2 lb of thin-sliced beef sirloin (if you prefer, you can freeze beef for up to 2 hours at home and then thin slice)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup coarsely chopped yellow onion

3 cups coarsely chopped kimchee including some liquid (sour kimchee is preferable for its strong flavor)

1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce

1 – 3 slices of American cheese depending on your taste

5 scallions, thinly chopped crosswise (so that you have rings)

Thinly sliced Japanese nori or Korean gim for garnish (about 1/4 cup)

Cooked rice

Heat sesame oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Add beef slices, salt and pepper and stir until browned (5 – 10 minutes).  Add chopped onions and kimchee and stir until well mixed. Add enough water to cover the beef and kimchee mixture (about 5 – 6 cups of water) and bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce heat and simmer until kimchee and onions are soft and soup has thickened (about 20 minutes).

Stir in fish sauce, cheese and 1/2 of scallions. Simmer for another couple of minutes until the cheese has melted. Sprinkle generously with sliced scallions and nori over jigae and serve. Serve with rice.

Three Layer Apple Cake

Recipes November 6, 2015

Although nothing beats biting into our fresh apples picked from the orchard the other day, I was so excited to bake something with them! I ended up making a three layer cake, with a caramel buttercream. It was a tricky frosting for me, incorporating egg whites and brown sugar that is heated, and not sure this turned out right. I’d recommend sticking with a simple buttercream if you’re not feeling adventurous. However, this cake was delicious!

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Three-Layer Apple Cake

Ingredients for Cake:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups packed light-brown sugar

2 large eggs

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, two coarsely grated and two diced

Ingredients for buttercream:

4 large egg whites

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into peices


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8-inch-round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter, then flour paper and sides (tapping out excess); set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, and eggs until well combined; fold in grated and diced apples. Add flour mixture; mix just until combined. Divide batter among prepared pans; smooth tops.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 20 minutes, then invert onto wire racks; peel off parchment. Invert cakes again, and let cool completely on racks.
  4. Make buttercream: In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, whisk together egg whites, sugar, and salt until sugar has dissolved remove from heat. Using an electric mixer on medium, beat mixture until fluffy and cooled, about 15 minutes. Increase to high; beat until stiff peaks form. Reduce to medium-low; gradually add butter, beating until fully incorporated, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Assemble cake: Place on layer on a serving plate; spread top with buttercream. Top with another layer; spread top with buttercream. Top with third layer; spread remaining buttercream over top of cake. Refrigerate at least one hour (or up to four days). To serve, bring cake to room temperature; slice with a serrated knife.

Recipe from John Barricelli, host of “Everyday Baking” (John’s Three-Layer Apple Cake)