Lemon & Artichokes | egg & dart blog
Food & Recipes

Artichokes with Lemon & Fresh Basil Vinaigrette

Artichokes with Lemon & Fresh Basil Vinaigrette | egg & dart blog

We’ve survived the heatwave.

Last week was rough. As I already bemoaned on Friday, we had several days of 100°F weather or nearly. It meant that I really had to think ahead and maximize those precious morning hours when I could have the windows open. But even so, it was just too hot to turn on the stove or the oven even in the morning some days.

Artichokes | egg & dart blog

Luckily I managed to come up with a pretty decent plan for the week and grouped all my cooking into Monday morning and just a few extras Thursday morning after the market. It really made such a difference not only to not have to risk raising the temperature when I had worked so hard to keep the heat out as much as possible, but also to have something cool and refreshing to look forward to at the end of the day.

Chilled Cucumber Soup | egg & dart blog

One meal in particular hit all the right notes for me: a chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup sprinkled with chives, Artichokes with a Lemon & Fresh Basil Vinaigrette, and toasts spread with goat cheese. What’s a soup without something to dunk after all? The soup, adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe, is simply made in the blender and the artichokes I steamed on Monday and pulled out of the fridge a while before dinner to bring them to room temperature. A glass of rosé (always rosé) and I promise the depth of the heatwave will ease just a bit around you.

Artichokes with Lemon & Fresh Basil Vinaigrette | egg & dart blog

Chilled Cucumber & Avocado Soup

adapted from Jamie Oliver Magazine

Serves 2

1 c. full-fat plain yogurt

juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 cucumber, chopped

1 avocado, peeled and chopped

salt & pepper to taste

a small handful of chives, chopped

Place the first five ingredients in the blender in that order. Putting your liquids in first will help make blending easier. Blend until smooth adding a little water to thin if needed. Season to taste. Chill until needed. Serve with chives and a drizzle of olive oil over the top and toasts spread with goat cheese for dipping.


Artichokes with Lemon & Fresh Basil Vinaigrette

Serves 2

I love using both lemon juice and zest because the zest adds even more lemon flavor but has a softer, less acidic flavor.

2 globe artichokes

zest of 1/2 a lemon

juice of 1 lemon (about 2 scant tbsp.)

1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

as small handful of basil leaves to serve

Prepare the artichokes by removing the first few layers of tough leaves, chopping off the stem to make a flat bottom, and cutting the top flat as well. Trim the tips of any leaves that still have their thorns. Quarter each artichoke and rub them all over with a half of a lemon to prevent browning. Steam until the hearts can easily be pierced with the tip of a knife, about 30 minutes. Cool, then with a teaspoon, remove the choke from the heart of each quarter. Chill until needed.

To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, olive oil, and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, arrange the artichokes in a bowl on their backs so the hearts act like little bowls to catch the dressing. Pour the vinaigrette over the artichokes and top with fresh basil leaves.

Artichokes with Lemon & Fresh Basil Vinaigrette | egg & dart blog

Enjoy!

Any favorite cool dinner classics of yours I should know about?

xo,

A.

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Food & Recipes

Roasted Red Pepper & Tapenade Tart [1×3 Ways]

Red Pepper and Tapande Tart |egg & dart blog

In the U.S. today is Memorial Day and in France it is Pentecost Monday but I think either place, it is officially picnic season! So I’ve got the perfect recipe for you to bring along to those picnics – easy, brightly flavorful, and quick!

This is the first recipe in a new series: 1 X 3 Ways. The idea is to offer up some of my simple ways of using the same element to make very different dishes. I often throw together easy meals using bits and pieces I find in the fridge or cabinets and simple is often times the best kind of meal! So this series will bring you three different riffs on one ingredient, starting with puff pastry today.

Red Pepper and Tapande Tart |egg & dart blog

Roasted Red Peppers |egg & dart blog

Here’s the thing, I hesitate to call this a recipe it is so simple! But that is part of what is so delightful about it, you don’t have to spend forever in the kitchen for big flavor. Using bright basil and green olive tapenade and sweet roasted red peppers makes a humble tart with lots of interesting dimension. Generous amounts of fresh basil before serving make it sing! I love this kind of savory tart with other little treats, cheeses and cured meats and pickled things, served with a simple green salad and a glass of rosé you’ll have the absolute perfect lazy summer evening meal!

Red Pepper and Tapande Tart |egg & dart blog

Roasted Red Pepper & Tapenade Savory Tart

Serves 4

If you can’t find basil and green olive tapenade, which I realize is quite specific, look for any green olive tapenade as the traditional black olives would be too strong here.

– 1 x 250g package of puff pastry (thawed if frozen)

– 1 – 2 roasted red peppers, depending on their size, cut into thin strips

– 2 1/2 tbsp. basil and green olive tapenade

– 60g fresh mozzarella, half an average sized mozzarella ball

– olive oil

– a good handful of fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 210°C / 410°F with your baking pan turned upside down in it. Preheating the pan with the oven will give you a beautifully crisp crust and turning the pan upside down will make it easy to slide the finished tart off onto a cutting board. This is the same technique I use for pizza; using a pizza stone if you have one would be fantastic as well.

Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of your baking pan and lightly flour it. On the parchment, roll out your pastry into a rectangle about 1/2 cm / 1/4″ thick. Being careful not to cut through the pastry, lightly score 1 cm / 1/2″ in from the edge all the way around then, using a fork, gently prick the center section of the pastry all around to prevent air bubbles.

Spread the tapenade over the center of the pastry (inside the lines you scored) with the back of a spoon. Arrange your pepper slices on top however you like, either randomly or in a loose pattern like I did. Top with the mozzarella torn into pieces and drizzle the tart and edges with a tiny bit of olive oil.

Using a small cutting board slid under the parchment to help you lift it, transfer the tart to the pan in the oven, taking care not to burn yourself! Bake until puffed and golden and most of the moisture released by the cheese has disappeared, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven by sliding the parchment and tart onto a cooling rack or cutting board and let cool to just warm. Top with a generous amount of fresh basil and enjoy!

While this tart can be made ahead, I would definitely recommend making it the day of because refrigerated it losses all its lovely crispness.


I’ll have a second recipe for you in the series next week. In the meantime, are there any ingredients you’d be interested in seeing used three ways? I’m curious to hear what you think.

xo,

A.

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Food & Recipes

Raclette Pizza because baby, it’s gettin’ cold outside

Raclette may be France’s best kept secret. At least I had never heard of it before I married into a French family. But it was destined that I would love this winter dish because I love potatoes so much I consider them a meal even when they have no supporting cast. Even when I am sick and nothing else sounds good, potatoes will save me. Or ice cream. But that’s another post.

So when I was introduced to this dish at R.’s grandparents’ home one wintery evening, you can understand it was love at first sight. Raclette is actually a very humble meal: boiled potatoes are served and kept warm in a bowl on top of a raclette machine which is, basically, a tabletop broiler with individual little trays each person can fill up with raclette cheese, which can be plain or have pepper or spices in it, and what ever other goodies they like (cured meats and ham are usually on the table, too) and then warm it under the broiler. When the cheese is melted and bubbling you pour it out on top of your potatoes and the whole thing will disappear from your plate instantly. Magic. With potatoes.

I knew I couldn’t wait a whole year to have another raclette and since we don’t have a machine (or a place to store it – Parisian apartment!) I have made a gratin version in the chez nous in the winter. But in search of cooler weather comfort food last week, I put the raclette formula together with another of our favorites: pizza. I’m just going to say this because I don’t think you really need to know anything else: thinly sliced potatoes, coppa, melty raclette cheese, creme fraiche, and chives. Shall we?

Raclette Pizza

Serves 2

– 1/2 pizza dough (recipe follows)

– 1/4 lb. fingering potatoes, sliced very thinly preferable on a mandolin

– 5 slices raclette cheese*

– 5 slices coppa

– 1/2 c. creme fraiche

– a small handful of chopped chives

– olive oil

– salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven on its highest setting with a metal baking sheet inside turned upside down. Baking the pizza on a preheated sheet will give it a nice crispy bottom and turning the tray over makes it very easy to slide the pizza right off and onto a cutting board.

2. Lightly flour the counter and your hands and start flattening out the pizza dough from the center until it is roughly 5 or 6 inches by 8 inches. You can make it round or rectangular as you like; mine are rectangular to fit the shape of my baking sheet. Once the baking sheet is very hot, remove it from the oven and place it on a heat safe surface. Drizzle the sheet with olive oil and place your pizza dough on it, stretching it gently to about 7 inches by 10 inches. Lay out the coppa slices on the dough followed by the potato slices, slightly overlapping until the pizza is covered. Drizzle the potatoes and crust edges with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Finish with the raclette cheese torn over the top.

3. Carefully put the baking tray back in the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling, about 25 minutes. When it is done, gently slide it onto a counting board and let it cool for just a minute or two before putting dollops of creme fraiche over the top and sprinkling with the chopped chives. You can serve some French cornichon pickles on the side to be extra authentic.

Pizza Dough

-2 1/2 c. all purpose flour

– 1 package dry yeat

– 1 c. warm water (105 – 115°F)

– 1 tbsp. salt

– 1 tsp. sugar

– 2 tbsp. olive oil

1. Mix the warm water, yeast, and sugar together and set aside to bloom for 5 minutes.

2. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and form a deep well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture and the oil in and slowly start incorporating the flour into the wet ingredients with a fork until all the flour has been mixed in. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead until the dough is silky and smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Put it back in the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size. I push this sometimes by putting it in a warm oven and using it in 30 or 45 minutes.

4. Divide the dough in two for the recipe above. It freezes beautifully if you need to. Done!

xo,

A.

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Food & Recipes, Life

Marché Photo of the Week

 

Between colds and travel and rain it feels like ages since I got to the marché on Sunday! Sometimes I can do a quick trip to another on Wednesdays on my way back from a morning appointment but it’s definitely not the same and I miss the atmosphere of our favorite Sunday spot. This week I headed out on my own as R. had some work to do and look the long way home (I spy egg & dart on that column!) with full bags of fresh goods on my back because the sun was glorious. Here’s what I came back with:

pancetta

coppa

(tart, crisp, pineapple-y) apples (!)

potimarron

pears

rustic bread

boule d’or turnips

tallegio cheese

shallots

fresh sage

fennel

parsley

leek

celery

eggplant

garlic

endives

baby salad

And here’s where some of those wonders will go:

Coppa, Apple, and Cheddar Tartines* – Autumn Panzanella – Turnip and Pancetta Ravioli with Crispy Sage –  Chard, Pear, & Gruyère Tart

~

I always use the lazy weekend mornings to plan the week’s menu; I’m not good at planning on the fly every day of the week or running through the grocery store with no list. Besides not having to worry about it each evening, I love looking forward to the meal planned for the end of the day when we slow down (in theory) and find each other again at the dinner table. What are your plans for the week? I’d love to ‘peek’ in at your week’s menu!

xo,

A.

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Food & Recipes

Fresh Green Tomato and Chervil Pasta

Green Tomatoes are relatively new to me. It wasn’t until a year or two ago that I decided I wanted to try them out. They are widely respected in the south of the U.S. and it seems even used in Italy but I think they go about as far as piccalilli in the North and I’ve yet to see one served here in Paris.

But I got the perfect opportunity to give them a go one year when my MIL’s garden was fading and none of us could bare to just let the green tomatoes go. This year, I asked at my favorite marché stand (remember, they sell directly from the farm) and they offered to bring some for me the next weekend. I knew I wanted to make something that tasted just as fresh as they are and when a bunch of vibrant green chervil landed in our caddy at the marché, I thought they could shine together. Have you ever had chervil? It’s lovely and delicate and wonderful in salads too. They even make a soup of it in France.

So, along with some crispy crumbled coppa and Parmesan, we had this super fresh sauce on pasta last week. It couldn’t be simpler! The season for green tomatoes is actually so short that I don’t have a lot of time to play around with them. Plus they will start to ripen on the counter after a few days. But little by little, I’ll try something new each year.

Fresh Green Tomato & Chervil Pasta

serves 4 to 6

5 slices of coppa*

about 3 pounds green tomatoes, washed and cubed

3 shallots, chopped

1/2 cup white wine

1 handful fresh chervil, roughly chopped

2 tbsp. butter (optional)

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan

Linquini

1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat heat. When the pan is hot, add you slices of coppa allowing to cook until they are browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and brown the second side. Remove from the pan to a paper towel lined plate to absorb to extra grease, the slices will be soft but will become crisp as they cool. Pour off and discard all but one tablespoon of the fat left in the pan.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water, and add your pasta to cook according to package instructions. When you drain the pasta, reserve a cup of the cooking water.

3. Return the pan with the reserved oil to a medium heat and add the shallots. Cook until soft and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the white wine and allow to reduce by about half. Had the green tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have softened and begin to break down a little and form a sauce. It you prefer, you can process the tomatoes for a smooth sauce but I like it to be chunky. Stir in most of the chervil, reserve 1/4 to garnish the pasta if you like.

4. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter. You don’t have to add this but it adds a softness and creaminess to the tangy green tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Crumble the crispy coppa slices into medium sized bits. Serve the sauce on or tossed through the pasta and topped with extra chervil and crumbled coppa.

enjoy,

A.

* Coppa is a cured Italian meat. You could also used pancetta or good quality bacon.

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Food & Recipes, Life, Paris

Kale’s French Debut – The Kale Project

Last night we went to the center of Paris for kale. You see, one of the unexpected consequences of being an ex-pat is missing some of our favorite foods from home. Yes, even in this city, a culinary capital. And I’m not just talking about peanut butter and M&M’s with no peanuts, although those are missed too. For me it means fresh corn and rainbow swiss chard, butternut and acorn squashes, cranberries and even tomatillos. Surprising, isn’t it? Well, having been in Paris just one year, Kristen felt the same way about kale and decided to do something about it. She launched The Kale Project and has been working with farmers, distributors, and restaurants to bring kale into the French culinary vernacular. And why shouldn’t it be? France loves cabbage, kale is a close cousin.

So that’s why, last night, we went to the Verjus Wine Bar nestled next to the Palais Royal garden and theater in the 1st arrondisment and celebrated kale coming to France. Verjus created a tasting menu of delicate dishes incorporating kale in each. I admit, we devoured our two little dishes too quickly to capture pictures of them, but here’s a taste of the evening.

happy weekend!

xo,

A.

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Food & Recipes

Bursts of Living and a Roasted Vegetable and Chevre Tart with Herb Salad

I crave interesting flavor. I think I always have because I was the kid that didn’t buy lunch at school and came with a bag packed with such exotic things as tabbouleh and who loved lobster before she could walk. (Actually, that last one may be because I am a Mainer, but still.) There are days when I just need something that is complex but not fussy, something that you taste and know that you are alive. Those little bursts of flavor, of living.

Herbs do that for me. Amazing little leaves with such a wide variety of character. And I use them everywhere I can. In the herbed gnudi with parsley, dill, and chives below, in pureed soups of chervil, or tarragon, basil, and mint mixed into a quinoa, tomato, and feta salad. Mixing them in unexpected combinations makes the possibilities endless and I find that leafy herbs play nicely together and woody herbs, likewise, play nicely together. Of course, you wan always taste them before adding.

One of my go-to recipes for summer is a wonderful tart of tomatoes and goat cheese in a flaky pastry. It’s always refreshing and never disappoints. When the weather went into an end of summer hot streak, I pulled the fresh summer vegetables we had from the fridge and roasted them simply. I knew they’d be a perfect variation on that summer favorite. But I wanted it to stand out even more and served it with a lightly dressed salad of fresh herbs on top. It was perfect. Everyone can help themselves to how ever much of the salad they like, if they are adventurous and want a lot like me, or if they want a little less like R. This is exuberant summer in a tart.

Roasted Vegetable and Chevre Tart with Herb Salad

Serves 6

For the Pastry:

1 1/4 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary or chives

8 tbsp. cold butter, cut into smaller pieces

4-5 tbsp. ice water

  1. Place the butter, flour, salt, and minced herb in a bowl and cut the ingredients together with a pastry cutter or with the tips of your fingers. Work until just combined and add the ice water one tbsp at a time, mixing gently with a fork, until the mixture comes together and doesn’t crumble when you pinch a piece together between thumb and index finger. Gather gently into a ball and flatten into a disk. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

For the Filling:

1 small eggplant, washed and sliced into 1/4″ thick slices

1 small zucchini, washed and sliced into 14/” thick slices

1 red bell pepper, washed, seeded, and sliced into 6 pieces lengthwise

2 small heirloom tomatoes, washed and sliced in half lengthwise

3 tbsp. olive oil

200 g / 7 oz. fresh soft goat cheese

 sea salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C. Place the vegetables , tomatoes cut side up, on a roasting pan. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, using more if necessary but don’t drench the eggplant, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven until them are golden and soft, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  2. Turn the oven heat down to 375°F/190°C. Remove pastry from the fridge and set onto a well floured work surface. With a rolling pin, roll pastry into a circle about 1/4″ thick. Gently fold the dough in half and lay over half of a 9″ removable bottom tart pan. Unfold the dough to cover the pan, fit the dough down into the pan, and trim off any excess around the edges. Prick the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork.
  3. Crumble the goat cheese into the tart crust, making sure to distribute it evenly across the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake the tart shell in the oven until golden, about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  5. Arrange the roasted vegetables over the top of the tart shell.

For the Herb Salad:

1 1/2 c. mixed fresh herbs, such as chervil, dill, and chives, washed

1 tbsp. olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Prepare the herbs but chopping to large pieces, the size of baby lettuce leaves. Place them in a bowl and lightly dress with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, tossing gently with you fingertips to coat the herbs.
  2. Pile the salad in the center of the roasted vegetable tart and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

xo,

A.

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