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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fresh herbs | egg & dart blog
Food & Recipes

Gravlax & Whipped Chive Mascarpone Tartlettes [1×3 Ways]

Gravlax & Whipped Chive Mascarpone | egg & dart blog

Hello Monday! I have just the little thing to get the week going. This is the second recipe in the series of 1 x 3 ways puff pastry and all three recipes just happen to be perfect for the burgeoning picnic season. Simple little goodies, wonderful cheeses, maybe even some rosé? Yes, picnic season, we’re so happy you’re here!

These little tartlettes are fulled with a cool, airy whipped chive and lemon mascarpone and topped with delicate slices of buttery gravlax and bright, fresh herbs. A sprinkling of cornmeal on the parchment paper before baking gives the pastry and extra little crunch, a wonderful contrast to that fluffy mascarpone. Their flavor belies their simplicity really and if you take the plunge and try your hand at your own gravlax, you’ll be rewarded with a truly lovely little bite.

Pastry | egg & dart blog Pastry | egg & dart blog Gravlax & Whipped Chive Mascarpone | egg & dart blog

There are so many twists you could add to these tartlettes, as well. They are of course inspired by the classic lox and cream cheese bagel, so why not try a little tomato and caper salsa dolloped on top with thin slices of shallot? Or delicate crunchy curls of lemon zest, cut into thin slices and quickly fried crisp in a little olive oil. Try other herbs in the filling, parsley, dill, tarragon? A mix? Or set out the mascarpone filled tartlette shells, the salmon, and any toppings you love and let everyone build their own little bite of summer!

Gravlax & Whipped Chive Mascarpone | egg & dart blog

Gravlax and Whipped Chive Mascarpone Tartlettes

makes 8 tartlettes

Try making your own gravlax for this recipe. I promise: it is easy and can be made ahead! However, assemble the tartlettes as close to serving time as possible to keep the pastry nice and crisp.

– 8  slices gravlax or smoked salmon

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

– 1/2 c. mascarpone cheese

– 1 tsp. chopped fresh chives

– 1 t. fresh lemon juice

– zest of half a lemon*

– 2 tbsp. milk

– pinch of salt

– fresh dill, parsley, and/or chives

– a small handful of cornmeal

– olive oil

* Try to get organic when possible, since the zest is being used. Also, if you are a lemon nut like me, feel free to use all the zest!

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 tartlettes 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 sprinkle it with the cornmeal. Roll out your pastry on the counter into a rectangle about 1/4 cm / 1/8″ thick. Cut eight circles out of the pastry using a 3 1/2″ diameter circle cutter then, using a fork, prick the pastry all around. Transfer them with a metal spatula to the parchment and gently press to adhere the cornmeal. Drizzle the edges of each tartlette with just a bit of olive oil. Bake until puffed and golden, around ten minutes.

Remove the tartlettes from the oven and, being very careful not to burn yourself, gently press down the center of each to be flat, using a potholder or the bottom of a glass to do this. Let them cool completely.

In a food processor, combine the mascarpone, chives, lemon juice, and zest. Pulse a few times to combine then add the milk and a pinch of salt. Scrape down the sides of the processor and pulse until whipped and airy, a minute or two, scrapping down the sides as necessary. Be sure not to add any more salt, remember that the gravlax is a bit salty and will add to the seasoning of the assembled tartlette.

Gently spread each tartlette shell with the whipped mascarpone. Top with a slice of salmon and a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Serve immediately.

Gravlax & Whipped Chive Mascarpone | egg & dart blog

See the first recipe in the series here: Roasted Red Pepper & Tapenade Tart

Next week, a sweet ending to the first installment of this series.

xo,

A.

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Food & Recipes

Marinated Feta and a Winter Greek Salad

Winter Lemons | egg & dart

 

I think I mentioned that I’m not always on top of the lunch game. But that tartine seems to have opened the door because I’ve been finding more and more treasures for lunchtime. If I’m being honest, I’d tell you that part of it is probably the recent taming of the fridge, also.  Amazing what wonders having a system and actually seeing what you have in the fridge will do!

 

Marinated feta with winter flavors | egg & dart

 

This salad started with leftover marinated feta cheese from the weekend’s lunches. The endless gray days of Parisian winter had us all craving sunlight and the bright flavor of lemon and citrusy zing of Sichuan peppercorns brought some to of that sun to our table. Marinating feta is really so easy and doesn’t take as much time as you would think to be effective. Even an hour or two will transform the cheese. Sometimes I forget to prepare it a day or two before, like last weekend when I remembered just after breakfast. It still had enough time to make a wonderfully flavored addition to our plates in the afternoon. Lucky me, we didn’t eat it all that Saturday.

 

Marinated feta with winter flavors | egg & dart

Winter Greek Salad with Marinated Feta | egg & dart

 

The marinated feta and its infused olive oil was the first thing to be pulled out of the fridge for my weekday lunch, then Kalamata olives. Greek salad, I thought. But it’s January and tomatoes and cucumbers are just a dream. The just barely ripe, crisp winter pear on the counter seemed the perfect substitute and I quickly chopped some celery to pair with it. Peppery rocket, sliced red onions, deep purple olives, and roughly chopped pistachios – they all came together with a dressing of cider vinegar and the infused olive oil, lemon zest, and peppercorns. A Greek salad for winter. And you know what? I think it really did bring back the sun.

 

Winter Lemons | egg & dart

winter greek salad with marinated feta | egg & dart

 

Lemon & Sichaun Peppercorn Marinated Feta

This recipe is easily adapted to any amount of feta and the amounts given here aren’t

written in stone. Feel free to just toss in small handfuls of seasoning to your own taste.

– 150 g feta cheese

– 1 lemon, organic if possible

– 1 teaspoon Sichaun peppercorns

– 1/2 c. olive oil or more

1. Peel half the lemon into wide strips with a vegetable peeler. Slice each strip length-wise into very thin strips.

2. Crumble the feta into large chunks.

3. Using a high sided bowl, arrange the feta in the bowl with the peppercorns and lemon zest distributed throughout the layers. Pour olive oil into to cover the feta. You may need more or less oil to just cover the cheese. Marinate for at least 1 hour if possible.

~

Winter Greek Salad

Serves 2

– 75 g marinated feta

– 1/2 c. Kalamata olives

– 2 tender celery heart stalks, sliced including leaves

– 1/2 crisp pear, sliced into matchsticks

– 1 shallot or 1 small red onion sliced thinly

– 1/4 c. unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped

– 2 handfuls rocket / arugula

– 2 tbsp. infused olive oil from the marinated feta

– 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1. Divide the rocket between two plates and then arrange the feta, olives, celery, pear, and onions on top. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar and olive oil and drizzle over the two salads. Be sure to include the lemon zest and peppercorns from the oil too!

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