De Ma Cuisine

Reviews Archive



November 2015



Rachel Reviews – iDevices Kitchen Thermometer Mini

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I was told, when asked by iDevices to showcase a Kitchen Thermometer mini, that it is “the perfect kitchen companion as it allows you to set the desired temperature and focus on other things”. So true. But, I was so fascinated by being able to watch the temperature of the chicken that I roasted, as it rose steadily, that I kinda just stood there staring at my phone. Maybe after I’ve used it a few times the novelty will wear off.


I use a thermometer in the kitchen all the time. I use it to check the internal temperature of bread, of re-heating leftovers, and roasting meat. I rely on it for yogurt making and other precision cooking. It is an essential kitchen tool. If I had to go down to a bare essentials kitchen, I’d be ok as long as I had a cast iron skillet, a sharp knife, The Flavor Bible, and a kitchen thermometer.  

 I’m always a little bit wary when it comes to raw meat in the kitchen. But, the iDevices thermometer takes all of the guesswork out of the cooking process. No more “cook until the juices run clear”. Just set to a safe temperature (using the preset options or set your own) and you’re good to go. The probe indicator changes color as it gets closer to the desired temp. So even if you’re not watching the app, with a quick glance you can see if your food is close to being done. It’s magnetized, so it can be out of the way, but close enough to see. When the food comes to between 5-20 degrees away from being done (you can set it to your preference) there’s an alert. This gives you plenty of time to finish up the rest of the meal so everything will be ready at the same time. There’s another alert when the food is to the desired temperature. You could set it to the bell alert and use that to call the family to dinner. 

I’m happy with this thermometer and can’t wait to use it again. I plan to try it on bread as it bakes and will definitely have it on hand while we cook thanksgiving dinner. 



September 2015



Rachel Reviews – Domestic Chíc

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Kristin Sollenne’s first cookbook, Domestic Chíc: A Fashionably Fabulous Guide to Cooking & Entertaining by the Seasonsis a well laid out, beautifully photographed book. I made the mistake of flipping through it for the first time late at night when I was starving. I wanted to make everything!

What I Love About Domestic Chíc


It’s Laid Out Seasonally and It’s Heavy on the Fruits and Veggies

When I read that Kristin’s “main philosophy is farm-to-table with a focus on clean ingredients and keeping it simple”, it seemed like a book that was right up my alley. We eat seasonally, so I appreciate it when cookbooks are laid out that way (she’s even got a produce guide at the beginning of each season so we know what to expect at that time of year). It makes it a lot easier to figure out what to make with the fruits and veggies that we have on hand. We eat a lot of fresh produce, so it’s always great to have new ideas for how to use it. There are lots of creative options that aren’t just the same old same old dishes.

It’s Organized by Menu

We love to host dinner parties. So it’s great to have menu ideas right at my fingertips. They are listed by theme, but also by season. She’s got decor ideas and sometimes even a suggestion for the perfect type of music. I could totally identify with the California Dreamin’ menu – I grew up in Ontario, Canada and always wanted to live in California. I would have loved to have a dinner planned around this fabulous state.

The Photography

I’m a sucker for great photos of food. It’s inspiring to see food that’s styled well plus, I like to get a visual of what I’m making. I’m a lot less likely to try a recipe if there isn’t a photo. Thankfully, in Domestic Chíc there is a beautiful photo for each recipe.


Some of the Recipes that I’ve Tried or Can’t Wait to Try


Garlic Parmesan Olives

This recipe reminds me of the olives we would eat with a glass of wine while we waited for our food at the café around the corner from our flat when we visited Paris. And even if it didn’t, you can’t really go wrong with garlic, basil, olives, and Parmesan cheese. 😉

Cucumber Bisque

I’m always looking for creative ways to use cucumber.

Melted Brie with Fruits

Kristin, you had me at “melted brie”.

Spinach Spaghetti with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I love the simplicity of pasta, tomatoes, and garlic with a few extras like pine nuts, parsley, and good olive oil.

Prosciutto and Melon

I didn’t think I wanted to try melon with anything else, because it’s so good on its own. But this summer I’ve been convinced.

Chicken Piccata

Since we don’t eat a lot of meat, when we do I want it to taste incredible. This sounds like just the dish for our next chicken purchase.

Sollenne Family Rice Balls

I have a note in my phone to make these soon. They sound amazing!


I love chickpeas, so the idea of using chickpea flour is intriguing. I can’t wait to see what this tastes like, and I especially like the suggestion to sandwich it between a baguette. I like almost nothing more than a good baguette with something delicious sandwiched inside.

Herb-Baked Cauliflower

Cauliflower is about to be in season. I can’t wait to try this.

French Onion Soup

Soups are my favorite food to make and eat. And French Onion Soup is one of my all-time favorites. When we visited Paris we made sure to try it as often as possible.

Warm Seasonal Vegetable Salad

Roasting veggies is my preferred way to eat them. They get a deep, rich flavor like nothing else. I could just eat roasted veggies for a meal and be perfectly content. I like that this recipe instructs you to boil the veggies first. Gives them a head start on the cooking (which is great for root veggies like beets).

Clam Chowder

We spent a week of our honeymoon on the coast. Ever since, Clam Chowder has been one of those nostalgic foods that I’ve always wanted to learn how to make. Now I can.

Festive Scones

I’m not much of a baker, but scones I can do. These sound like they will be perfect for a cold and cozy morning during the holidays. We’ll drink too much coffee and steam up the windows with the heat from the oven, and I’ll bet we won’t be able to resist a bite while they’re still hot from the oven.

French Toast Stuffed with Bananas and Blueberries

My first thought when I saw this was that Tim would love this. I just baked some bread and we have bananas. I have to try it.

Lemon Pancakes

Anything with lemon zest is a winner to me. And pancakes are one of my favorite breakfasts. I love to make a big batch on the weekend and then freeze them for the weekdays. They can be reheated in the toaster oven in no time.

Tenderloin with Peppercorn Butter

Steak and butter. The end.

And now I’m starving.

(A copy of Domestic Chíc: A Fashionably Fabulous Guide to Cooking & Entertaining by the Seasons was provided by the publisher for this review.)



February 2015



Rachel Reviews – The Vegetarian Flavor Bible

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I have to admit that I was a bit biased when it came to The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. I’ve been using The Flavor Bible for years. It quickly became a well used kitchen tool. I have come to trust Karen and Andrew’s insight completely. So when I heard that there was a second version, a vegetarian edition, I knew that I would love it. I just knew.

And I was right. It’s phenomenal. I use it for everything from recipes for blog posts, to dinner party menus, to what to use to top our pizza. It’s definitely one of the most valuable kitchen tools that I have.

Every kitchen should come equipped with one.


What I Love About the Vegetarian Flavor Bible

It’s Alphabetical 

Each letter is highlighted throughout the section, so it shows on the side of the book, making it easy to find what I’m looking for.

The Amount of Information

In the original Flavor Bible they have information about the season, taste, weight, tips, volume, and techniques. In the new Vegetarian Flavor Bible, they also provide guidance on flavor, nutritional information, cooking techniques, facts, botanical relatives, and more. It’s obvious that a lot of work went in to this book. The result of which is that food has become more understandable and accessible.

The Quantity of Ingredients

I have yet to look for an ingredient and not find it in this book. From goat cheese to spelt berries, burdock to ramps, kelp noodles to liquid smoke. You name it, and I’d guess that it’s in there.

(Since we don’t eat exclusively vegetarian, I have the older Flavor Bible to reference when I want to pair foods with meat.)

The Paring Suggestions 

In both versions of the book, I’ve loved that they’ve gone beyond the extensive list of what to pair an ingredient with and have taken three or four ingredients and put them together. You really could just flip to a page, point to an ingredient, go down to the “Flavor Affinities” section, and plan your next dinner party accordingly. All they’ve left for you to do is prepare the food and do the dishes.


The Photography

I’m a sucker for a great photo of food. While they’re plentiful in both, for some reason I forgot to notice them in the first book. Maybe it’s the white cover on the newer one that just feels so clean and lets the photo stand out. The photos on the interior pages seem to jump out at me too, maybe more noticeable because the front cover caught my eye from the get-go. In any case, whatever the reason, they’re beautiful, and I’m always happy to have a well photographed book as a part of my collection.


The Flavor Bible and The Vegetarian Flavor Bible have taught me so much over the years. Without them, I never would have thought to pair black pepper with apricots, cilantro with lentils and sweet potatoes, or apples with bulgur wheat. They’ve given me the confidence to try new things, expand my culinary horizons, and cook my heart out.

A copy of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible was provided by the authors for this review.



January 2014



#TimAndRachGoToParis2013 – What We Ate

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Paris-WhatWeAte-2When we talked about the trip before we left, all I could think about was the food. And it didn’t disappoint (with the exception of one calzone and the pâté that I just couldn’t force myself to like). We were blessed by so much more than the food though. But, food is where we will begin.

We spent three weeks in Paris and in that time, I cooked dinner just once. I’ll admit, as much as I love to cook, it was really nice to have a break.

So we ate out a lot.

I won’t bore you with every detail of every single meal (you’re welcome). But, here are a few highlights.

We ate baguettes every day. They might be what I miss the most about Paris. Not joking. I have refused to eat “French bread” since we’ve been home. It is not the same. I was given a kitchen scale for Christmas so I can finally try to make my own baguettes. Wish me luck! They’re harder to make than I’d expected (more about that in the Cooking Classes post).

We ate a lot of butter. (We also walked about 3-5 miles a day…) Amazing, salted, European butter. The best butter is obligatory when eating a French baguette. Our first meal in Paris was at La Chope. We ordered ham sandwiches and got a baguette with butter and ham. Not what I’d expected. It was better. The sandwiches were simple and delicious. I had mine with my first glass of lunchtime wine, a rosé. We ate (trying to convince ourselves that we weren’t exhausted), watching people through the window. There was a man selling oysters in front of the café. People would walk up and get a sample. Most bought some too. It felt like everyone had a baguette in their bag. I knew we’d come to the right place (because of the baguettes, not the oysters… not my favorite).




We ate a so many little cafés that I’ve lost track. Most were great, a few were just good, some were more touristy. Our preference was to dine at the ones where we felt a little out of place, but got along just fine. (Note: We didn’t experience any of the “French rudeness” that people talk about. I speak French, but Tim doesn’t. However, he tried. The server would come over to take our order and Tim would ask me how to say something, I’d translate it, and he’d repeat it to the server. All the while the server knew what we were both saying, but waited patiently for Tim to finish. My French was corrected and also complimented. We thought the French were incredibly kind people.) Our two favorite restaurants were like this and we ate surrounded by the locals, enjoying real French food.

Our favorite favorite favorite experience was at a little bistrot called Au Bon Coin, located at 49 rue des Cloys, Mairie du 18e, Paris, France. We had been in Paris just two days. We were finally getting over our jet lag and feeling a little more normal. We walked a few minutes from our little rented flat and decided to try it for lunch. It was crowded. We found a table at the back and sat down. We waited, sipping water, for menus that never came. I tried to translate the menu that was scrawled on the wall. But, even after taking 12 years of French (a long time ago), there was a lot missing from my vocabulary. The server came over and we ordered what the guy next to us was eating, with glasses of vin rouge (red wine). It looked like some sort of beef with potatoes and green beans. Seemed safe enough. It was the best meal (we went back 3 more times and ate the same thing). My goal for 2014 is to attempt to duplicate it. They may have other things on their menu, but I don’t care. I only want this. (Tim tried the Boeuf Bourguignon once. It was good too.) The beef was pink, pretty rare, but so tender and delicious. The potatoes were exactly as amazing as they’d looked. Crispy and so piping hot that I burned my mouth in my need to eat them all as quickly as possible. I need to have them in my life on a regular basis. (They might be the thing, food-wise, that I miss the second most about Paris.) The green beans weren’t the star, but they were good enough. I guess you need something to bring the meal back down to earth.

But, the food wasn’t the only reason we loved that meal. The man sitting next to us started talking to us. Eventually ending up at our table (we were at a table for 4 – note, don’t do this if you are only 2, and want to continue your meal just the two of you, they will seat someone beside you). The server said (in French), “Don’t worry. He’s nice.” and plopped his plate down next to Tim. So we continued our conversation, noticing that the older woman, who’d come in with her dog, was paying attention to us. She joined in on the conversation. I think we sat there for an hour with them, with me trying desperately to understand them and remember anything that sounded like French to say in response (while silently cursing my lack of motivation during the hours and hours of French classes that I’d taken in school!). Anytime anyone asks us about our favorite experience in Paris, this is what we tell them. Au Bon Coin is what we consider “our place” in Paris.




Our second favorite restaurant was another little bistrot‚ just around the corner from home, called Le Brio, located at 216 rue Marcadet, 75018 Paris, France. We made friends here too, this time with the server. A sweet college student who took the time to explain the entire menu to us in English. We ate here a number of times and spent hours at their tables with our books, chatting, watching people, and eating a lot.

Our last, including our last evening in Paris we ate here. I tried the croque monsieur and we finished off the evening with some delicious chocolate cake and champagne. This place that we would see every night as we walked home from the metro felt like home.



There was another meal that was simply incredible. It was at a café by the marché aux puces (flea market) that we went to. We didn’t have the opportunity to go a second time, but it was one of the best meals that we had in Paris. The café is called Café Le Paul Bert and is located at 20, Rue Paul Bert 93400 Saint Ouen, France. Our entire meal can be seen in that little cast iron pot. It’s chicken with the creamiest, most delicious rice, and the softest carrots imaginable. I need to discover their secret. I may have eaten (almost) the entire serving. You know when something is so good that you really shouldn’t stop even though you know you should? Yeah, that happened here. But, since we would almost always walk again after a meal, I don’t remember feeling overly full. Winner.


There were a number of other noteworthy meals and experiences that took place around food.

I discovered is that I do not like pâté.


I do, however, never tire of soupe a l’oignon (French onion soup). I can’t remember how many different places we tried it. Some places make it with dehydrated onions, some put the bread and cheese on the side, some make it with so much cheese there’s a huge plomp of it at the bottom of the bowl. Most were good, one or two were great. I think my favorite was at a café next to the Shakespeare and Company bookstore (although I’ll admit I felt a little sick after, maybe because it was so incredibly rich… but it was worth it).


We tried many crème brûlées. They were all surprisingly different from one another. Some thick, some more of a crème anglaise, some with a super crunchy layer of brûléed sugar. You almost can’t go wrong here.


We were told that we had to, at some point, try the nutella crèpes. We were wandering around one evening and found a street vender with this simple treat and ate it for dinner as we strolled down Rue Cler.


We made coffee at home some mornings and drank it while eating croissants, baguettes with beurre, or pain au chocolate. But, it wasn’t nearly as good as the café‚ crèmes that we drank at the cafés. We never once ordered a regular cup of coffee. I’m not even sure if you can. If you order a café, you get a tiny cup of espresso. Who knows. C’est un mystére.


I had two burgers in Paris. I’ll admit, I needed a burger and frites. Buuut, they were not from McDonalds. 😉 And, they were very good. In fact, I ate frites quite a few times. The Parisians sure know how to fry a potato.



I sometimes have a hard time buying something at a restaurant that I can make at home. Since I have successfully made Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon twice, I have no need to pay someone else to do it. But, that didn’t stop me. I mean, I was in Paris. What’s more Parisian than that (besides baguettes and many other things)?!


The one place that we didn’t eat that I was really disappointed to miss out on was Les Deux Magots. I’d read about Julia Child eating there in My Life in France and really wanted to eat there too. It was closed for renovations. Sigh. Oh well, guess we will just have to go back.


Now that I’m absolutely starving for all the foods I can’t have, I’m going to go make some popcorn for dinner.

Baguettes are on my to do list this week. It’s a must. I need some bread and butter.

Part two of our Paris adventure will continue next week.




December 2013



Rachel Reviews: Quenelle

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Quenelle_4780RTSmI have a problem with some aspects of LA living. One of them is that I don’t find it acceptable that it’s even close to 80 degrees F in December. I know that many people disagree. I’m entitled to my opinion.

However, one benefit to having a warm day in December: I can go eat ice cream with my friend Jo, of Waterfall Creative.


We went to one of my new favorites: Quenelle. Quenelle, meet everybody. Everybody, meet Quenelle.

If you need to stop reading right now to go get a treat, I understand.


Here’s what I like about Quenelle: the owner was there. He seems like an easy-going, relaxed guy. He served us our ice cream. He made sure we had the right flavors (after many samples), explaining that they give so many samples because they want to be sure the customer gets their perfect flavor. It worked for me.


I went in planning to order the Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows (one of their many dairy-free flavors). It sounded yummy and tasted great (I couldn’t tell it was dairy-free, it was creamy and delicious). But, I thought I should try a couple others just in case… Strawberry Shortcake (whoa, yum!) and Crème Brûlée (oh wow!!)… I still got the Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows, but I couldn’t resist a scoop of the Crème Brûlée, which was definitely the winner. It had ribbons of caramel throughout. I almost shouted each time I got a mouthful of that amazing, chewy goodness. I’m a sucker for caramel.


It’s a little shop (but cute and quaint), so plan to get your ice cream and take a stroll down Magnolia Blvd. They only take cash, but somehow that just adds to the charm. It feels like a place straight out of the “good old days” when things were homemade and there was pride in the quality of a product.


Tim loves ice cream, so I had to bring him a treat. I chose the Bourbon Eggnog (as he totally hearts both) and I had to make him try the Crème Brûlée… He enjoyed while I sat next to him, hoping for a bite, but not wanting to ask. He offered me one. What a nice guy. I could go for another scoop today. Especially since I’m having a bit of a disconnect in my brain, thinking about creamy, dreamy ice cream, but smelling the beans that are cooking for tomorrow’s Chili.

Happy Eating!


(Photos of me taken by Joanna of Waterfall Creative. All other photos taken by me.)