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Frenchie and a Peach Summer Salad

18 Aug

Summer local peachesScenes from SoCalWhat can I say? When the peaches from Georgia and South Carolina are abundant, salads, tarts and cobblers become staple items on the kitchen counter.

Mixing peaches and tomatoes is one of my favorite food pairing.

It’s a bit unusual but when you think about it more it just makes sense.

Blueberries and lemon.

Honeydew and cucumber.

Strawberries and basil.

… et maintenant, les pêches et les tomates.

Honey-roasted cherry tomatoes Near San Diego, CA Colorful Charlotte's 4th Ward Out and about in SoCalI started to make this salad before I left for Southern California.

It followed me all summer long so far.

Picnic on the grass under giant trees.

Warm summer dinner on the balcony.

Friend’s evening garden party.

Sunday pot luck by the river.

Or on-the-go for a light lunch.

I like it a lot, if it wasn’t obvious already, and I hope you will too!

Coronado Hotel in San Diego Light, sun and food Longing for the oceanPart of me still feels like I am on vacation when I make it.

It has summer written all over it.

In fact, it screams bright blue skies and sunny golden hues.

Encore un peu de salade?

Oui, avec plaisir…

Temecula, CA green patio The colors of summer Manhattan Beach California scenery, feet in the water.Ruby red, bold yellow, leafy green.

Summer in a plate.

A salty sweet combination to make and enjoy over and over.

There is just something light about it that reminds me of the feeling I had when eating at Fishing with Dynamite on Manhattan Beach.

I don’t know if it was the light, the space, the many bright windows or the food, but it was a delicious summer experience.

And eating this salad directly from the salad bowl with your feet up outside in the heat is also highly recommended.

Coast to coast from CA to MA Temecula vines Beautiful Georgetown in DCA perfect summer saladPeach and Tomato Summer Salad with Ginger Tarragon Vinaigrette

serves 6-8

2 lb (900 g) of ripe tomatoes – mix and match as much as you can – I use big red tomatoes, small red, yellow, and black cherry tomatoes

9 oz (255 g) of ripe peaches – cut in wedges

4 oz (115 g) of black olives

20 basil leaves – roughly chopped

4 Tbsp of olive oil

1 Tbsp of raspberry vinegar

1 teaspoon of mustard

1.5 teaspoon of maple syrup – or honey

1×1″ (2,5 cm x 2,5 cm) of fresh ginger – peeled and cubed

15 tarragon leaves

4 oz (115 g) of feta cheese – crumbled

a handful of pine nuts

freshly ground pepper

Cut, chop, slice the tomatoes to end up with a variety of different cuts: wedges, small slices, pieces, halves etc. I like to halve the cherry tomatoes and cut the bigger tomatoes in wedges.

In a big bowl, drop half of the tomatoes, peaches, black olives and chopped basil leaves. Keep the rest separate for now.

In a small food processor, mix all the ingredients for the vinaigrette: olive oil, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, fresh ginger and tarragon leaves.

Pulse until the vinaigrette is smooth, emulsified and the ginger and tarragon are well blended. Add more fresh ginger or tarragon depending on taste and strength of the herb.

Pour half of the vinaigrette over the salad in the big bowl. Mix delicately.

Add the rest of the tomatoes, peaches and black olives on top. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped basil leaves.

Sprinkle the salad with the feta cheese, pine nuts and ground pepper.

With a big spoon, add small dollops of the vinaigrette over the peach and tomato salad.

Put the left over vinaigrette in a pourer and serve next to the salad for extra helpings.

Georgetown lime house


Frenchie and a Spring Tartine

24 Feb

Spring isn’t for another 24 days but it seems it already settled in the southeast.

In the cool of the evening, you can already feel the calm and serenity of the elements.

The birds came back during the day and they welcome the sun at dawn.

This isn’t without saying that one winter here looks completely different from a Boston winter – except for those 2 days of snow.

The joyful white blanket of winter that I miss so very much.

And just like that it disappeared – sliding back into spring.

The thrill of traveling near and far in January – the first month of the year, the first trips of a new year.

Charleston, San Francisco, Sonoma.

Family, work and friends.

Colors to capture, smells to remember, landscapes to observe, new memories to make.

Elusive treasures, little fragments of happiness.

And even though spring has arrived at my house early and unannounced, I thought it best to celebrate this new season in the kitchen as well.

A green tartine for a bright spring.

Smoked Salmon/Prosciutto Tartines with Edamame Horseradish Spread

1/3 cup (50 g) cannellini beans

3/4 cup (100 g) edamame – shelled

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1 small shallot – chopped

1/2 cup (30 g) of arugula – packed

1/4 cup (60 ml) of olive oil

1/8 cup (30 ml) of walnut oil + more for drizzling

3 teaspoons of freshly grated horseradish root (note: if you are sensitive to horseradish, 3 teasp. will only give a slight faint after taste. Add more as needed depending on preferences)

1 Tbsp of sesame seeds

5-6 oz (140-170 g) of smoked salmon or prosciutto

freshly ground pepper

multicolored baby beets – raw and thinly sliced

crusty country bread – thinly sliced

In a food processor, add the beans, edamame, salt, shallot, arugula, and olive oil.

Pulse for 20 seconds until it turns into a paste.

Add the walnut oil and horseradish. Pulse for another 5-10 seconds.

Spread the edamame horseradish spread on lightly toasted bread slices. Top the tartine with smoked salmon (my favorite) or prosciutto and raw, crunchy baby beets thin slices.

Sprinkle the tartine with more sea salt, freshly ground pepper and an extra drizzle of walnut oil.

Frenchie and une Partie de Campagne

4 Sep

Frenchie à la ferme !

Une partie de campagne in August with 100 strangers for a “celebration of community, cuisine and culture”.

The Underwood Family Farm in Lawndale, NC was the stage.

We were the willing actors participating in this end-of-summer Sunday supper.

A gently paced 6-course supper with Serbian and southern influences.

And of course, a French twist as well – a trou normand in the middle of the event with a plum brandy.

It is the kind of event where everything is perfect.

The light, colors, people, animals, details and flowers.

And of course the food.

A kind of event that truly marks the celebration of all things festive.

An artfully crafted sendoff to summer.

A time of year when a light soft sweater is needed at the end of the day as the air feels cool.

Cool air but warm faces as we ate with the setting sun in our eyes.

The people responsible for this gathering and appreciation of meeting friends around the dinner table are Relish Carolina.

They’ve been able to create their own food family and followers like me come to celebrate with them the art of bringing people together around dishes and stories.

And it was only fitting that the first course of this  dinner à la campagne was a chilled cucumber soup with goat cheese panna cotta, chive oil and mint.

Cold cucumber soup has been on the menu almost every week at my house this summer.

A recipe to share here to celebrate this Relish Carolina event.

We all experienced great dinners before.

When everything seems to flow so well and guests are no longer guests but family.

When the food keeps appearing on the table – coming from nowhere and everywhere.

When laughing out loud while getting a second serving of hickory roasted pork shoulder is perfectly fine.

The Underwood family dinner was that kind of moment.

With magic words and food combinations that sound something like olive honey ginger vinegar.

Smoked tomato purée.

Sorghum molasses-peach BBQ sauce.

Kabocha squash sherbet with candied bacon.

And homemade blueberry pie.

A big merci to the hosts and organizers…

… until next year and next season!

Chilled Cucumber Summer Soup with Honeydew

1 lb (500 g) of cucumber – peeled, seeded and diced

16 oz (450 g) of honeydew – diced

5 scallions – chopped

2 garlic cloves – minced

3/4 cup (about 20 g) of mint – chopped

2-3 Tbsp of lemon juice

2 Tbsp of olive oil

2 Tbsp of coconut cream

1/2 teaspoon of paprika

11 oz (300 g) of fromage blanc – replace with Greek yogurt if needed

sea salt and pepper

In a food processor, add and combine all ingredients and purée finely.

Taste for salt and pepper.

Place in the fridge and serve chilled with thin slices of cucumber on top and a sprinkle of paprika.

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