Earlier this year, Gregg and I had our kitchen cupboards and woodwork recoated. The job was long overdue and desperately needed to be done. Our kitchen is well used and that means nicks and scratches occur with great frequency. When the cupboards that were originally white started turning a creamy shade of off white, it was time for an update.

One of the decisions I had to make for this project was whether or not I would remove the wallpaper that is used as an accent on my kitchen walls. I love this wallpaper because it reminds me of a very special time. It was the summer before daughter Rachel started culinary school at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha. She went with me to pick out the paper for that kitchen redecoration. We found a white, gray and black checkered print paper with a French menu lightly written across the surface in a very pale beige. The border featured chefs stirring and cooking away. We declared it perfect for our little kitchen and I still love it.

However, as much I love this paper and the memories attached to it, I figured it was dated and I should remove it although it was in very good condition. I reluctantly decided I would remove it and paint the small area that it covered. I was not looking forward to this task at all nor was I looking forward to not seeing that paper every day.

I was rescued from my good intentions when I walked into three different stores and saw black and gray and white buffalo print dishes, wall hangings, table coverings and kitchen décor. All of it matched my wallpaper perfectly! My paper wasn’t dated at all– it was perfect for the here and now. I was so grateful and I didn’t remove it and I’m still enjoying it.

The menu on my wallpaper is fun and shortly after I hung it, I found recipes to translate the words on the wall to food on our plates. I have three recipes based on this menu from the wall that I would like to share with you today.

The first recipe was already in my recipe file. It was the main course of a dinner that Gregg and I had at our good friends Dale and Jeannine’s house years ago. She served Chicken Cordon Blue and it was fantastic. I asked for the recipe that night and Jeannine graciously gave it to me. I made it again after I hung the paper and many times afterward. It has become a family favorite.

The second recipe for Gateau aux fraises or strawberry cake is an easy take on whatever concoction a French chef would make using that name. If you do a web search for gateau aux fraises, you get many cake recipes that would make the effort put into my version seem pretty small. Since I am not French or a chef, I’m just fine with this one. I make it whenever I can find fresh strawberries at a reasonable price on my grocer’s shelf. That used to be limited to spring but lately, I’ve made it at other times of the year.

The third recipe for Mousse de Chocolate is a recipe that can be served at the fanciest dinner party but your family will love it too. This is mousse that a French chef would serve with pride, but so can you. It is so simple and so delicious it should be in everyone’s repertoire.

Quote of the Week: Boy, those French; they have a different word for everything! — Steve Martin.

Satisfy your cravings with our weekly newsletter packed with the latest in everything food

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Ellen Lund of Fremont is a freelance food columnist.


Load comments