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Traditional Apple Frangipane Flan

Featured Recipes

Travel

La Provence, France

The cuisine of Provence resembles Italian, Greek and Mediterranean cooking more than traditional French fare. Seafood, fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits are often prepared simply and there is great emphasis on local, fresh and high quality ingredients. The dry Mediterranean climate makes it ideal for grazing sheep and goats, and near the coast, there is an abundance or fresh fish and seafood.  
The basic ingredients used in Provencal cuisine include olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes, which are generously used in almost every dish. Other common ingredients include olives, sardines, sear urchins, rockfish, octopus, rouget fish, loup fish, tuna, sea bass, anchovies, red snapper, red mullet, monkfish, shrimp, crab, mussels, scallops, oysters, goat, lamb, eggplant, bell peppers, onions, potatoes, fennel, lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini (courgettes), cabbage, asparagus, and artichokes. 
Vegetables are often used for making soups, baked, or grilled, flavored with herbs, and drizzled with lots of olive oil. They are also often eaten raw in salads. Fruit is eaten as a dessert or snack. Local fruits include strawberries, cherries, apricots, peaches, grapes, apples, oranges, lemons, dates, figs, and melons of Cavaillon. 
Fresh and dried herbs are used extensively in Provencal cooking and the most common are parsley, basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, savory, marjoram, and thyme. Other common seasonings include capers, aioli (garlic mayonnaise), rouille (chili and garlic mayonnaise) anchoiade (anchovy paste), saffron, tapenade, lemon juice, and wine vinegar.   
Wheat is used for making breads like whole grain loaves, crusty baguettes and pizza. One of the most popular snacks in Provence is the pan bagnet, which is a sandwich filled with tuna, tomatoes, peppers, and olives seasoned with olive oil dressing. Beans are also a common feature in Provencal cooking and are included in stews and soups or are baked with other ingredients. The most commonly used lentil is the Puy lentil.
La Provence, France
Herbalist Deb Friedman discusses how to manage your stress levels with herbal tea, including how to select the herbs. Herbal teas, which are made to deal with stress, are made from herbs called nerviness. These are herbs that support and nourish your nervous system. You can buy most nervine herbs in a health foods store either as loose tea or tea bags. Herbal teas are made from the leaves, flowers, and sometimes stems of herbaceous plants. Chamomile is a small daisy like flower, which helps with stress and also aids digestion. In addition, Lemon balm is also an excellent tea for stress and digestion. It has a very nice lemony mint flavor. The milky tops of oats are very nourishing to the nervous system. This specific herb can be very beneficial for stress long term. Try smelling and closely looking at the herbs before purchasing them at a health foods store.  (Series 2 of 8)
Selection of Herbs for Herbal Tea
Les Roches, Le Lavandou, France

Le Lavandou is a commune in southeastern France in Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Cote dâAzur region. The name is derived from the fragrant lavender flower, which is abundant in the area, and is sometimes thought to come from the Occitan term for lavoir (a public place for washing clothes) lavandor. A seaside resort town, Le Lavandou has fine sandy beaches, a dreamy seaside fishing port, and an active yacht marina. Every morning, a fish market is bustling with people and the freshest seafood can be purchased there.  
On a hilltop, overlooking the countryside, Chateau Les Roches sits in an ideal setting perfect for relaxation and romantic occasions. In the Maures range plunges its last counter-forts into the Mediterranean and unveils, in a roundabout and circuitous way of its creeks, a peace haven like a rocky and watery flower-vessel, the hotel des Roches and its exotic gardens. The daily fishing catch is directly served in the plates of guests, with its pilchard sardines, its domestic beds with pastis, a relish of spinach beet and a Provençal specialty of pine-seeded covered tart. At the distance from the Archipel of the Isles d'Or, an ecological paradise for migratory birds offers numerous small beaches.
One of the best places to stay and dine in the Cote dâOr, Les Roches is a beautiful country residence with stylish interiors and luxurious guest rooms. Every room in the chateau has a splendid view of the surrounding countryside that can be seen from the elegant French windows or balconies. Within the premises is a main building where the guest rooms and gastronomic restaurant are located, and a Gardenerâs Cottage, which is a self-catering accommodation that can be booked for weeklong stays.      
Les Roches restaurant offers two set menus including regional specialties and vegetarian options made from seasonal and local produce, five nights a week. Every Tuesdays and Wednesdays freshly baked bread and cold cut platters are served.
Les Roches, Le Lavandou, France
Portofino, Italy

A former fishing village and a favorite vacation spot of the rich, famous and chic, Portofino is one of the most beautiful and photogenic places on earth. Located in the Italian Mediterranean, this resort town has some of the finest cuisines and most luxurious accommodations in the area. The secluded atmosphere creates a romantic and peaceful setting for those who desire natural scenery for meditation and total relaxation.  Since the late 19th century, Portofino remains to be one of the most exclusive locations and glamorous places on the Ligurian coast.     
When in Portofino, the best thing to do is to relax, wine, dine and walk around the small city. Take in the immaculate views of the coast while sipping wine less than a meter from the sea. There are a couple of small shops in the harbor area where you can buy regional foods and reasonably priced wines. Several posh boutiques carry the latest designer clothes and accessories from some of the luminaries of Italian high fashion like Gucci, Armani, Pucci, Zegna, and Ferragamo. There are also boutiques selling unique items like Murano glass jewelry. Tourist ships and kiosks sell the usual souvenir items like t-shirts, magnets, and beads.   
Restaurants abound in the Portofino harbor serving mostly regional specialties and Mediterranean cuisine, from Italian comfort food to haute cuisine and fine dining. Family-run pizzerias offer great food at affordable prices and warm and friendly service.  When dining in the Italian Riviera, take note that lunchtime is between two and four PM and dinner wonât begin until 8 PM. You can have breakfast late in the morning or close to brunch. Weekends at Portofino can get very busy since it is a popular weekend destination for yacht and line cruisers and travelers. Make reservations if you wish to dine at a particular restaurant.
Portofino, Italy

Cooking Recipe Videos

There are many ways to improve your cooking skills: reading great cookbooks, taking cooking classes, and good old fashioned practice in the kitchen are traditional methods. But these days, online cooking recipe videos are another excellent resource for aspiring chefs. Here's how to get the most from the cooking videos you encounter.

Find Them

There are lots of cooking recipe videos out there, but not all are created equal. Before you spend time watching any, consider the source. If you want to widen your cooking horizons, videos featuring famous chefs are a must. Such chefs might include television personalities (who may or may not have formal cooking backgrounds), cooking legends (like Julia Child, Graham Kerr, and Wolfgang Puck), or Michelin star-awarded chefs who've impressed the cooking world with their expertise and talent.

Live Demos

Once you find cooking recipe videos by esteemed chefs, you will probably discover you learn the most if you watch the videos more than once. In the first viewing, you'll likely only get the overall picture of what the chef is doing. If you watch the video once or twice more, you may notice and remember details you didn't before.

Bear in mind that you're not just learning how to make a particular recipe. You're also hoping to learn cooking techniques you can rely upon for other dishes. For example, you might see a Michelin chef chop up food in a faster, simpler way than you've ever seen before. Or you might see how a meal is flambéed. Or you might learn a new way to cook meat so it's crisp on the outside and tender and juice on the inside. There is nothing quite like a live demo, to make those techniques stick in your brain and come to life next time you are in the kitchen.

Share it

Although cooking recipe videos are helpful and educational, they're also fun. You can make them even more entertaining by sharing them with friends. What does your best friend think about trying to make a flambéed meal with you? Does she have a funny story to tell about attempting this on her own? Does your work mate drool over gourmet desserts as much as you do? Are you and your friends inspired by a certain video to try a pot luck gourmet party? Let cooking videos be part of you and your friends online entertainment, and you'll have fun while you improve your cooking skills.

Try it Out

After watching cooking recipe videos, it's a great idea to make the recipes in your own kitchen. The best cooking video websites also have printed recipes to go along with their videos. Print one out and give the recipe your best go.

Or, you could just try out one or two techniques you learned by watching a great chef. For example, maybe you've never tried blanching vegetables before. After watching a chef demonstrate this on a video, you can try the technique almost any time you're preparing veggies.

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