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As part of my Valentine’s pressie to S, I decided to make a big ol’ romantic stew.

Now, stew may not necessarily conjure images of  lovey-dovey couples and island vacations, but I sincerely believe that when that stew involves lobster tails and fresh Dungeness crab and slow-simmered tomatoes, you’re definitely getting in the ballpark. So that’s what I made – a little Cioppino for my fella on this Valentine’s day…

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The other night, I felt like cookin’ up a big fancyish dinner, so I invited one of my favorite SF couples over for an impromptu mini-dinner party. The menu consisted of the following:

Smoky Fish Chowder w/ Chorizo
Chocolate Whiskey Pots de Crème
Macarons w/ Raspberry Ganache

As you can probably imagine, the chowder was definitely the easiest, so I’ll start with that one!

This is yet another Real Simple recipe (with modified spicing of course), tomato-based, one-pot & utterly delicious! I was smart this time and procured myself some tasty Spanish Chorizo, which is the dried/cured type that usually comes with the ends tethered together. The chorizo imbued the  broth with a lovely spiciness that raw chorizo just can’t provide. So I’m officially converted – cured chorizo for stews from here on out!

Started out by preparing the ingredients… One package of Spanish chorizo, about 8 oz, sliced…

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It’s been cold & rainy for a week and mama needed some chowda. So I made some!

Thanks to RealSimple magazine (which we lovingly refer to as “RealSquare”), I finally came across a recipe for Sweet Corn & Shrimp Chowder – one of my favorite chowders! Yay! I modified it just a bit, on account of RealSimple’s ingratiating habit of under-seasoning, and it turned out super delicious! And relatively inexpensive to boot!

First, I started out with some good hearty ingredients:

1 lb of potatoes (I like red potatoes, but it’s all about preference!)

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It’s been pretty cold by SF standards lately, so I figured it was time to indulge in one of my favorite wintertime foods… homemade beef stew! I’ve always loved simple beef stews – they fill you up, super easy to make, and they’re usually pretty cheap due to all the simple produce involved. Safeway was having an unbelievable sale on beef, so I got a 3 lb chunk of delicious chuck pot roast for only $3.45!!! “Good grief,” I exclaimed to myself, “that is some cheap beef! Let’s make a stew!”

I got that bad boy home and set to chopping it into about 10 hearty chunks. Browned them in some olive oil and butter and then set to chopping up the veggies. Usually I like to include baby bella mushrooms (my cheapie mushroom of choice), but I was all out, having used the rest of mine for the previous night’s breakfast-for-dinner omelette. So this time, I used a nice big red onion, celery, carrots, and turnips.

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Know what’s delicious? French food. I adore French cooking, partly because of the prodigious use of butter, but mostly because of all the effort and time that goes into so many of their traditional dishes.

I’ve never really attempted to make anything French that requires hours or prep and cook time, so I thought I’d give it a shot with one of my favorites… coq au vin. Got a lovely recipe from Le Creuset’s UK site and set to it…

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Hi, I’m Lauriebot!

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