Tag Archives: Salad

Frenchie and an Ode to Summer

27 Aug

Traveling by plane high above the clouds warmed up by an unobstructed hot summer sun through the small oval window.

A morning walk barefoot in the grass – a garden in July by the ocean.

A southern dinner party at a friend’s house surrounded by lush trees and summer noises.

A green coconut milk pistachio ice cream scoop in a red bowl one afternoon on the balcony.

A thin book eagerly devoured, a poem by Wilde, on a bench in a Mexico City park. The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

A red plum tart with Grand Marnier cooling in the shade next to a plastic container of freshly picked blackberries.

Summer…

First summer in Charlotte. First summer in a new region.

Expectations, hesitations, and the unknown. Will it be as hot and humid as described?

A time for adventures and discoveries through the neighborhoods – familiar ritual of exploring a new city as if I was traveling.

The sunlight catching the shiny plants on the beautiful southern porches.

Exciting moments as everything around me becomes more familiar.

A quick birthday getaway to Charleston, SC where the humidity and scorching heat could not be avoided.

An escape back in time.

An enchanting condensed world with so much charm.

It felt as though I was back in Boston for a weekend – with a southern twist.

Cobblestones, colorful old doors, gardens, bicyclists and a cosy atmosphere.

Trekking calmly through the small streets expecting the unexpected.

Quel charme !

And did I mention that the food alone is worth a visit?

Husk, F.I.G. or The Cocktail Club captured my taste buds and proved to be wonderful additions to the birthday plans.

In keeping with the southern destinations – going a bit further south, it was time for this couple to get married.

Back in Mexico to explore the big city.

I don’t know if “sprawling” could well describe the feeling of walking in the city. Giant maybe?

Energized and colorful.

Historic and very modern.

And this slight cool breeze I did not expect.

The reception matched the local colors.

Shrouded with love and great friendships with the sprinkling of Mexican food.

Creating the pages of memory lane one twinkling eye after another.

And we all felt it when it was over – can we do it all over again?

And summer wouldn’t be the same without the simple small pleasures of watching the sunset in Newport, RI or marveling at a farm in southeast Wisconsin.

It feels as if you’re seeing with your whole body.

A certain complicity with the other onlookers – not our first sunset but it could very well be.

Simple dinners too. The French are keen on fresh, light and colorful summer meals.

A cold red and golden beet salad with garlic and curly parsley.

The traditional summery grated carrot salad with olive oil and a dash of lemon juice.

Et pour ce soir ? Une autre salade de carottes râpées !

And every week a new twist to the salad – juste pour essayer, to give it a try.

Et bientôt l’automne…

But summer kept me busy.

More than just a taste of it, summer came, settled and enthusiastically made me embrace it with each mouthful, scenery and encounter.

And what best way to enjoy summer but on the grass with a picnic basket and the love of your life?

Merci l’été…

Grated Carrot Salad with Black Radish and Fennel

12 oz (350 g) of carrots (about 3 big carrots) – peeled

1 black radish (8 oz – 200 g)

1 fennel bulb or 2 small bulbs (5 oz – 125 g) – cored

7 Tbsp of olive oil

the juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon of Champagne vinegar

sea salt and pepper

4 Tbsp of curly parsley – chopped

1 Tbsp of tarragon – chopped

With a food processor, grate the carrots and black radish. Place the grated vegetables in a bowl.

With a mandoline, thinly slice the fennel bulb (1.5 mm – 1/16″). Set aside.

Prepare the vinaigrette and whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice and vinegar as well as the sea salt and pepper.

Pour the vinaigrette over the grated vegetables and mix until well coated.

Add the slices of fennel on top, cover and place in the fridge until cold or ready to serve.

Before serving, add the herbs, mix and serve.

Frenchie and the Mint-Infused Quinoa Tabbouleh

7 Jun

The move to Charlotte still fresh in my mind and France was already calling me.

A quick trip for a milestone birthday, a family visit and to recharge my French batteries.

And despite the gray, rainy, drab spring weather covering Europe throughout the month of May, we found the time to cook, visit, laugh, eat and use our umbrellas.

Many photos, memories and the story of a tabbouleh.

Magically, the sun came out at two distinct times during the trip.

As we were about to sit down for the birthday lunch – shinning brightly in the garden, calling us to delay lunch time and play in the garden.

And during a Parisian weekend as I explored new places and discovered new bites.

The feeling of being stuck inside when it’s cold and rainy outside.

The joy in everyone’s eyes when the call of the first sun rays hit the windows.

Tous dehors !

And with the amount of bouton-d’ors – buttercups – sprinkled in the fields showing us yellow dots all around, it was a celebration of all things yellow, happy and bright.

Despite all this, I still managed to enjoy the changing seasonal menu of L’Alchimie.

The quaint and quirky setting of Colorova Pâtisserie along with their tempting pastries.

The elegant design and honey-roasted pigeon at Le Quinze.

A very green matcha (green tea) financier in a newly opened 1950-1960s vibe Café Loustic for a quick goûter with my twin from another life – the lovely Lost in Cheeseland.

And an unusual mango éclair sprinkled with pansies at L’Éclair de Génie. When art meets food.

And then came the tabbouleh.

A secret but not-so-secret recipe.

Inspired by a recipe from “T.”.

A spring dish, a green plate, a yearly tabbouleh to prepare around that time of year.

A tabbouleh inspired by many springs. By a lifetime of many springs.

Rain, cold and gray – et si on faisait un taboulé ?

Yes, let’s make a tabbouleh! Un taboulé de couscous.

I knew I had to make something similar when I got home. A quinoa version.

And a southern maple cider vinaigrette with mustard was truly a good pairing as a way to celebrate new influences.

Mint-Infused Quinoa Tabbouleh with Peas and Maple Cider Vinaigrette

for 4-6

2 cups + 1/3 cup (553 ml) of water

50-60 mint leaves (whole) + 30 extra leaves (chopped)

3/4 cup (110 g) of peas, fresh or frozen

1 cup (200 g) quinoa, uncooked (white, red, or mixed)

1 Tbsp of summer savory, chopped

1 Tbsp of lemon thyme, chopped

1.5 Tbsp of flat-leaf parsley (or chervil), chopped

7 Tbsp of olive oil

1 teaspoon of strong French mustard

2 Tbsp of maple syrup, medium amber

4 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar

sea salt and pepper

4 Tbsp of unsalted, dry toasted slivered almonds

zest of 1 organic lemon (optional: add the juice of the lemon for an extra lemony flavor)

Prepare a mint herbal tea-like water as a base for cooking the peas and quinoa later.

Bring the water to a boil with 50-60 mint leaves in a saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes. Cover with a lid, remove from the heat and infuse for 15-20 min.

Squeeze out the excess water from the leaves with a spatula or a spoon and discard the leaves.

Bring the mint herbal water back to a boil. Cook the peas for 2 min, if frozen, or 3-4 min if fresh.

Strain the peas in a colander and over a bowl – do not discard the mint water and keep it aside in the bowl.

Run cold water over the peas in the colander to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Put the mint water back in the saucepan. Rinse the quinoa throughly in cold water. Place the rinsed quinoa in the mint water and bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed – about 10-13 min.

When done, fluff the quinoa with a fork and let cool in a bowl.

Prepare the vinaigrette in a small bowl by whisking the summer savory, lemon thyme, parsley and oil together. Whisk until well mixed.

Add the mustard, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar, sea salt and pepper while continuing to whisk.

Pour the vinaigrette over the cooked quinoa and mix well.

Add the peas, almonds, remaining chopped mint leaves and the lemon zest. Mix delicately so the peas don’t get mashed.

Cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve cold.

Frenchie and Los Angeles

4 Feb

Los Angeles as it has been described to me so many times before is a love-it-or-hate-it city.

Most comments and descriptive remarks I hear about L.A. tend to be negative overall – at least in my experience.

I happen to fall in the other category of people – I love it!

This time I got to stay in and experience the Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Little Armenia areas.

A radical shift from the most popular and touristy neighborhoods.

There is something about the city that makes me happy and smile.

It’s not the sun nor the weather.

It’s not the eclectic mood that resonates through the city either.

Its diversity.

Its liveliness.

The picturesque aspect of its undeniable allure.

Scenic it is!

And this is what makes me want to come back every single time.

The artsy and bohemian-like Los Feliz was a perfect new stop for me to discover.

A walkable area – I know, hard to believe in L.A.! – with hints of a moody Brooklyn, NY meets Italian tile roofs and Art Deco meets Adobe style homes.

Alluring yet still a bit scrappy.

Wonderfully luxurious yet very much bobo.

A sense of community in a city that sprawls across 469 square miles (1,215 km2).

And to fight the Boston winter blues, a fresh salad to remember coastal L.A.

Bursts of flavors with Balti seasoning, currants and a drizzled citrusy vinaigrette.

A salad to keep sunny memories alive until the next visit.

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Currants

serves 4

for the vinaigrette

1 Tbsp of olive oil

2 Tbsp of grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon of Champagne vinegar

zest and juice of half an organic lime

1 teaspoon of honey

half to 1 teaspoon of mustard

sea salt / pepper

a sprinkle of ground coriander

for the salad

4 Tbsp of pumpkin seeds

1 Tbsp of olive oil

1 Tbsp of Balti spice or seasoning

2 green zucchini – thinly sliced like ribbons

2 yellow zucchini – thinly sliced like ribbons

4.5 oz (127 g) of Gruyère – thinly sliced

2-3 Tbsp of Zante currants

2 Tbsp of flat-leaf parsley – chopped

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Whisk until the emulsion thickens.

In a small bowl, mix the pumpkin seeds with the olive oil and the Balti spice until well coated.

In a small hot pan over medium heat, toast the pumpkin seeds until “noisy” – 2-3 minutes. When you hear them pop, put them back in the bowl and let cool.

Arrange the zucchini slices on a plate with the Gruyère slices.

Sprinkle the currants, parsley and the cold toasted pumpkin seeds.

Drizzle the vinaigrette on top and serve.

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