cauliflower soup

creamy cauliflower soup

After a non-existent summer followed by three weeks of sunshine in October, I’m sad to say that winter is knocking on our door here in Switzerland. Luckily for me, I traded in the cold and rainy summer days in Geneva for two weeks in sizzling Thailand for our honeymoon, where we enjoyed the warmth of the beach and came back with sun-kissed skin and a full belly thanks to all the great food we ate.

But all good things come to an end–our trip was over in the blink of an eye and we found ourselves back in Geneva with 15 degrees Celsius less. To keep ourselves warm during an unusually cold August, I began to explore the art of soup-making with all sorts of vegetables, ranging from tomatoes and pumpkins to leeks and cauliflower. What’s so great about soups is the fact that they freeze really well, making them the perfect candidates for those days when you’re in a rush to eat or simply uninspired to cook.

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pâte brisée

pâte brisée

I have a confession to make: I sometimes rarely make my own pâte brisée from scratch. Switzerland’s supermarket chain Coop makes a fantastic pâte brisée to fill up with your own ingredients, and I always find myself driving over to buy it when I’m thinking about making a quiche. When you come home tired from work at 7 pm to a hungry husband, the last thing he wants you to do is spend two hours in the kitchen preparing dinner. But when I have free time, I like to cook everything from scratch, making even my own pâte brisée for dinner.

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artichoke feta tomato and olive pie

artichoke tomato feta and olive pie

When a Jewish girl gets married in Panama, she receives a wonderful cookbook called El Secreto del Buen Sabor  (The Secret of Good Taste), which comprises a selection of recipes ranging from appetizers, soups and salads to fish, poultry, desserts and more–basically everything to turn her into the best home chef.

The Jewish community in Panama is a melting pot of cultures, with families coming from a wide variety of origins. El Secreto del Buen Sabor was created by a group of women who wanted to share their recipes inspired by the four corners of the globe–Latin America, Mexico, Syria, Turkey, China and more–and it is precisely this melting pot of cultures that makes this cookbook so interesting and worthwhile having in your collection. You’ll learn to make everything from basic Panamanian rices and Asian salads to the most delicious French soufflés and Italian desserts to impress your family and guests.

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peanut butter cookies stuffed with nutella

Every time I bake cookies, I think about this one story that my mom tells about me baking cookies with her at almost two-years-old when she was pregnant with my little sister. I mean, younger sister, as she is already 23 years old! How time flies. So it was an afternoon back in Taipei, my birth city, and I was watching the cookies bake in the oven. At two, 10 minutes can seem like a long, long time, so I asked my mom every minute “When will the cookies be ready?” Sweet as my mom is, she answered with a smile each time without losing patience, “Soon, mi vida, soon…” After seven minutes I couldn’t wait any longer and explained in baby talk, “Oh, I see, it’s just like baby. Baby takes a long time to make too. We have to wait!”

At 24, waiting for cookies to bake still seems like a long time, and every time I put them in the oven I just can’t wait to see the result. Will they be soft? Crunchy? Gooey? What if I left them one minute too long, will I have ruined it all? Tastewise, I know they’ll be great, given that I try the batter—and fight with my sister over who gets to wipe out the bowl with the spatula—before baking them. And if the batter isn’t right, I’ll tweak it until perfect.

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