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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Strawberry Millefeuille with Mint Cream | egg & dart blog
Food & Recipes

Strawberry Millefeuille with Mint Cream [1×3 Ways]

Spring Strawberries | egg & dart blog

For this last recipe in the [1×3 Ways] Puff Pastry series I was really craving something light and fresh and full of the gorgeous strawberries of the season. Élie has been eating these by the handful and we have to sneak some for ourselves when he isn’t looking! They are just the right amount of sweet and so, so juicy. To pair with that, I had to have something equally refreshing and simple: mint whipped cream sounded perfect. Layers and layers of mint cream and strawberries: Strawberry Millefeuille with Mint Cream.

Strawberry Millefeuille with Mint Cream | egg & dart blog

Now, this is a really simple version of the beautiful classic millefeuille so don’t be afraid. You could easily make the pastry strips the day before and just stack up all the goodies just before serving. And to be honest, like all the recipes in this series, you can construct this any way you like! Make little individual tartlettes of the ingredients or just one large flat tart if you want it really laid-back. It’s really up to you. Either way, you really can’t go wrong with mint cream and fresh spring strawberries.

Strawberry Millefeuille with Mint Cream | egg & dart blog

Strawberry Millefeuille with Mint Cream

serves 4

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

– 2 tsp. sugar

– 1 c. heavy or whipping cream

– scant 1/4 c. mint simple syrup*

– 1 1/2 c. fresh strawberries, sliced

– small handful of fresh mint 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 pastry 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.

Roll the pastry out on a piece of lightly floured parchment paper the size of your baking tray to a roughly 9″/23 cm by 12″/30 cm rectangle. Sprinkle the pastry with the sugar and lightly roll your rolling pin across to push the sugar into the top of the pastry. Gently prick all over the pastry with a fork. Slice across width-wise to create 4 equal sized strips (roughly 9″/23 cm by 3″/7.5 cm strips). Gently reposition them so there is a little space between each and transfer the parchment and pastry to your hot baking tray using a small cutting board slid underneath to help you support it. Bake until puffed and golden and the sugar has melted and turned glossy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

To make the mint cream, whip the cream to stiff peaks using your preferred method (I like the blender but watch it like a hawk or you will end up with butter!). Adding it in two batches, gently fold the simple syrup through the whipped cream. Chill until needed.

To assemble, layer roughly 2 1/2 tbsp of mint cream on one of the pastry strips and top with 1/3 of the strawberry slices and a few small mint leaves scattered about. Place the next pastry strip gently on top and repeat the mint cream, strawberry, and mint applications. Repeat for a final layer then top with the fourth pastry strip. Serve immediately with the extra mint cream in a bowl on the table because can you ever have enough of that? Be sure to use your sharpest knife and lightest hand to serve.

* Mint Simple Syrup: Bring 1/2 c. water and 1/2 c. sugar to a boil with a handful of torn fresh mint leaves in a saucepan. Remove from heat and let infuse until the syrup has cooled. You can also use this on ice cream or mixed in sparkling water for a homemade soda.

Strawberry Millefeuille with Mint Cream | egg & dart blog

See the previous recipes in this edition of [1×3 Ways] Puff Pastry here: Roasted Red Pepper and Tapenade Tart & Gravlax and Whipped Chive Mascarpone Tartlettes

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

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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summer ferns | egg & dart blog
Life

2014

Élie | egg & dart blog

Here’s the essential: we have a baby boy, Élie John François. He jumped the January 11th gun and decided December 26th, 2013 sounded better. Now, 15 months later, I am sitting here and trying to think where to begin, what to include, in this post about our life since then.

But how can I even begin to talk about all the ways big and small we’ve changed and grown and had fun! And been tired. Oh so tired for months! It’s all worth it a thousand-fold. To say we are completely smitten is, as for any new parents, a complete understatement. It is amazing how life managed to bring us just the most wonderful little light for our family. We could never have dreamed of a more perfect match.

Élie | egg & dart blog

And we’ve already had so many wonderful experiences with this little guy – we’ve played the tourist in Paris with visiting family, we’ve trekked to some of our favorite summer spots in the south of France, and we were able to celebrate his first birthday at my home in Maine with his American family.

Plums on the tree | egg & dart blogFamily | egg & dart blogSummer Ferns | egg & dart blog

All the while we’ve been working hard on this apartment, our home. It has so many challenges but we love it here. The work isn’t done and I am looking forward to sharing all those details because making home, designing spaces, is such a passion of mine, just as much as what I serve on our table. Our previous apartment didn’t have as much room for me to stretch those muscles and so I’ve been so excited to design a space that is truly us on this new canvas. I’ll finally be able to share more ‘dart’ along with the ‘egg’ here! Starting Wednesday, I’ll introduce you to what we started with, where we are now, and what my vision is.

Summer Field | egg & dart blog Élie | egg & dart blogÉlie | egg & dart blog

In the mean time, you can catch up even more over on my instagram which has been my mini-blog when I couldn’t be here. I’ve thought long and hard about what I want to write here but maybe I’ve done too much of that. Let’s get going!

Candied Clemintine Tarts | egg & dart blog

xo,

A.

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Food & Recipes

Donut Peach Crisps or Saving Hopeless Fruit

Nectarines are what I dream about all year. In fact, before we even started dating, Romain and I forged one link in our bonding with our common love for our favorite fruit. And when the weather warms in the spring, while I’m happy to be patient about the seasonal march of produce, stone fruit are the one thing I start becoming very impatient for. Then when they come, well, I believe could eat them exclusively for every meal! All of which explains why I start to get a little panicky as their season fades.

I have a fruit guy, a seller at the marché, who isn’t a producteur (because they are hard to find for fruit here) but who sells very carefully chosen fruits and always from France during the season. I trust him and his fruit. For the past couple weeks, I’ve been asking him in a worried tone every Wednesday at his stand, “C’est bientôt fini pour les nectarines? Pour les abricots?” (Is it almost over for nectarines? For apricots?) “Ah, oui. Oui. C’est fini, la.” Yes, yes, it’s pretty much finished now. So in the panic of finding fewer and fewer of these lovely things at his stand each week, I buy them by the pound. Where as the lady in front of me will order 5 peaches, I will order 3 kilos (at 2.2 pounds the kilo). And we’re eating them, broiling them, roasting them, freezing them, turning them into jam. Because we’ll need just a little reminder now and then of their goodness to get us through the winter. Won’t we?

But here’s the thing, sometimes you don’t go to your trusted fruit seller. Or it is really just too late in the season. And you find yourself with a handful of fruits that will start to wrinkle before they will ever ripen. That’s where I found myself with four donut peaches last weekend. I wanted to save them (we can’t waste peaches now!) but eaten raw they would have been so disappointing. So I thought of Romain’s favorite dessert, cut the peaches in half, and mixed oats, butter, flour, and sugar with a pinch of lemon zest.

And here’s what you do with your stone fruit that won’t ripen: you make individual fruit crisps with them. Very simple, very fast, and so good that the Frenchman, who, despite having a favorite type of it, eats dessert so rarely that when he says yes to one I ask him if he is sure, well these are so good that he asked for more. In fact, I had to hide these two to photograph! That’s testimony, people. Try them.

Donut Peach Crumbles

makes 8 pieces, for 8 servings or 2 if you invite a Frenchman

ingredients

4 donut peaches

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup rolled oats

25g or 1 1/2 tbsp. chilled butter, cut into smallish pieces

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest

large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

whipped cream (optional)

a handful of unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped (optional)

~

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a baking pan with parchment.
  2. Cut the peaches in half across their width and, if they are easy to remove, remove pits. You can leave them in, and I did, just be sure to tell the recipient that there may be a pit in the center. Arrange the halves cut side up on the baking pan.
  3. Place the rest of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and, either with your finger tips or a pastry cutter, combine until it creates large crumbly chunks and the ingredients are incorporated. Divide this mixture evenly over the tops of the halved peaches.
  4. Bake in the oven until the tops are golden, about 30 minutes.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature topped with fluffy whipped cream and little gems of chopped pistachio.

Miam!*

xo,

A.

*”Yum!” in French. Isn’t it funny to translate sounds?

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Food & Recipes, Loving

Roasted Tomatoes & Loving

I love roasting tomatoes and freezing them to save for winter. For one thing, it’s so quick and once they are frozen it’s easy to just pull out however many you need without defrosting too much. Sometimes, with canned tomatoes, I worry about not using an opened jar up fast enough and then losing it. But when I freeze these, I can just reach and and grab three for a tart or a whole bunch for chili. It’s the best of summer stretched through to the cold months! And it’s starting. This morning it was quiet and a hint of the coming coolness was coming in the windows so I roasted this year’s first pan of sweet heirloom tomatoes. Now, we just have to see if any of them actually make it into the freezer! There’s pizza on the menu tonight. (Edit 9/10/12 – check out some tips on how I roast and freeze these tomatoes at the bottom of the post.)

Here are some of things I’ve been loving this week:

  •  I really love the shape of this sweater and I bet it would be easy to come up with a similar handknit.
  • I’m starting to get that end-of-the-summer-season obsession with stocking up for the winter. Maybe it has something to do with both Romain and I agreeing that the time just went by so fast this year thanks to early cool weather and lack of vacation time. In any case, I just keep adding recipes to my must-preserve list.
  • True loving: My good friend (and bridesmaid!) Lindsey is trying to come up with enough funds to rescue sweet Meena, a street dog with a prior leg injury, from the dangerous life she’s been living around Lindsey’s fiancé’s neighborhood in India. These poor animals are unwanted and impossible to get locals to adopt and, unfortunately, often abused. She’s scrabbling to find some solutions before she has to leave, hopefully, with Meena. As an animal lover my heart goes out to both Meena and Linds. If you think you can, you can donate to Meena’s cause here.
  • Summer may be coming to an end but I’ve got ice cream on the brain and am dying to experiment with some flavors. When we were in San Francisco we made it to The Ice Cream Bar (amazing) and I have dreams of starting my own ice cream shop in Paris. This city needs a shake-up on the ice cream scene!
  • The new Sweet Paul Magazine issue is live! If you don’t know it, check it out. This issue is packed with inspiring Fall ideas and my list of things to try just got quite a bit longer.

I know this week was kind of quiet on the blog but it’s because I’ve been busy behind the scenes working on some fun posts for the coming weeks. So keep you’re eyes peeled for next week!

happy friday!

Any great weekend plans?

xo,

A.

Edit 9/10/12 – I had a request on the Facebook page about my tips for roasting and freezing and wanted to share them here too. First, use tomatoes that are ripe and sweet and not massive in size. Wash them and halve them the long way. Place them on a parchment lined roasting sheet but not so close that they are all touching, this is important later. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh pepper and drizzle them with olive oil. Roast in a 425°F/220°C oven for 25 to 30 minutes (for small to medium tomatoes) or until they start to get a little color on the edge and they are puffed and juicy. When done, take them out of the oven and leave on the roasting pan to cool completely. If they have released a lot of liquid, spoon this off the pan. Once cool, place the pan with the tomatoes in the freezer and when the tomatoes are completely frozen you can pluck them off the pan and store in a freezer bag. By keeping them from touching and spooning off any liquid, you’ve made it a lot easier to get off the pan once they are frozen. If they are persistent in sticking to the pan, try running a little hot water on the bottom of the pan and the tomatoes will pop right off. Now you have roasted tomatoes that are easy to pull individually from the freezer bag. When I typed all this out on Facebook, I shortened ‘tomato’ to ‘tom’ and in the words of Julia: “It will be such a treat to have them in the winter like you say (when you are PINING for fresh toms!)”

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