New Macaroon Boutique

Charleston has been gifted with a new Parisian bakery - Macaroon Boutique. Located in the heart of downtown, its difficult to pass by this boutique without being lured inside by the wafting smell of fresh pastries as you approach 45 John St.
Charleston INSIDE OUT explains,
The little luxuries, light and crisp egg white and almond on the outside and soft and smooth in the center, have long been the amour of the French. But, recently the coquettes have been stealing hearts on this side of the Atlantic and soon arrive in Charleston. Paris native, Fabrice Rezzo has been perfecting his macaroons for 27 years, since he was 14 years old.
Dark Chocolate Fleur de Sel cookie and a Pistachio Macaroon
Lucky for me, Fabrice and his wife are regulars at FIG restaurant where I work here in Charleston. Having recognized me from the restaurant and after my attempt to speak french with him and his wife, Fabrice handed me a free bag of Dark Chocolate Fleur de Sel [salt] cookies with my purchase of a bag of macaroons! Mmm, my experience was nothing less than sublime - each bite into these delectable treats was heavenly.

Mexican Smörgåsbord... if there ever was one.

Who doesn't love saying the word "smorgasbord?" In the traditional sense a "Mexican Smorgasbord" is a contradictory statement. Latin-infused dishes displayed and served in a Scandinavian style buffet (multiple dishes of various foods served both hot and cold)?
Although, in hindsight, most Mexican meals are also served family-style with multiple dishes served along a buffet - I guess I just love using the word smorgasbord.

Almost once a week I get an intense craving for Mexican food, it never fails. Therefore, I always keep a stock of ingredients to satisfy my craving: limes, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, salsa, tortilla chips, cilantro, corn or flour tortillas, and of course Cholula hot sauce.

Milena instigated the fiesta this week by inviting me over to make mango salsa with plantain chips. So I packed my own bag of ingredients and headed her way to start our summer off with a delicious smorgasbord of Mexican snacks.

Black Bean and Spinach Quesadillas with Goat Cheese

Tasty Thai

After a hard week, consisting of four final exams and three long (late) nights at work, Sunday couldn't come fast enough. I was definitely in need of some quality girl time and therapeutic cooking.
So I grabbed my can of coconut milk, some fresh ginger and spices, and the last half of my Dove chocolate Easter bunny and headed to Milena's house to make a delicious meal.

This Coconut Curry recipe is simple, fresh, and light. It was delicious served over the broiled tilapia! Milena had tons of romaine heart lettuce that she wanted to use so, instead of rice, we served the fish curry on a salad. In order to make the coconut curry serve as a dressing, we added brown rice flour to thicken the sauce. When serving over rice, omit the flour so that the curry is like more fluid.

Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut-Curry Sauce Recipe: From Cooking Light Magazine
Yield: 4 servings

* 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, divided
* 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
* 1 cup chopped green onions
* 1 teaspoon curry powder
* 2 teaspoons red curry paste
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
* 1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk + 2 Tbsp brown rice flour (to thicken)
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)
* 4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
* Cooking spray
* 3 cups hot cooked basmati rice (we used Romaine hearts to make it a salad)
* 4 lime wedges


Preheat broiler.

Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add pepper and onions; cook 1 minute. Stir in curry powder, curry paste, and cumin; cook 1 minute. Add soy sauce, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and coconut milk; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.

Brush fish with 1/2 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve fish with sauce, salad (rice), and lime wedges.

Baked Chocolate Coconut Milk Custards

I have been waiting a month for the perfect recipe to unveil itself to me so that I could use my dark chocolate bunny from Easter. My mom admitted to "specializing" my Easter basket this year, AKA all dark chocolate! Dark chocolate eggs, exotic dark chocolate bars, and of course a solid Dove dark chocolate bunny. So truth is I ate half of the bunny before this recipe, but it ended up being the perfect amount for our custards. Also, in light of being economical, we were able to divide the single can of coconut milk and use part for our curry and a cup for the custards.

Baked Chocolate Coconut Milk Custard Recipe: From Lisa's blog

Preheat oven to 350

1 1/4 cups coconut milk
3/4 -1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chopped
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt


Heat the chocolate with the coconut milk in the top portion of a double boiler just until melted and smooth. Whisk mixture, careful not to let it burn. Remove from heat and cool. Once cool, add chocolate to a food processor along with the eggs, salt, and vanilla extract. (If you are using the vanilla pod, add it to the chocolate milk mixture instead). Pulse until blended and frothy.

Divide mixture between 6 small ramekins or 4 larger ones. Place ramekins in a large rectangular baking dish, transfer to middle oven rack, and fill just about halfway with water.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the center is just set.

*End Note: This recipe would be even more delicious if topped with Cinnamon Whip Cream! We attempted to make homemade whip cream with a single whisk but failed miserably due to the absence of a real mixer.