Weekend Suppers With Friends: Fresh Market Tabbouleh Salad, Seared Lamb Chops With Olive Chimichurri & A Warm Mushroom Salad

15

Monday, November 17, 2014


Tabbouleh Salad
During fall and the holidays, it's all about cozying up and having with friends around our table. We make a fire, text a few friends and start cooking, gathering, and setting up a feast. We take special care in making sure no one goes to a cold house and a lonely dinner. Weekend suppers with friends make the moment during the holidays creating long lasting memories of their own.

Everyone is relaxed and ready to extend the weekend by a few hours nestled around a table filled with good food and conversation. Meals vary depending on the mood but a few sure ingredients remain the same, by heritage or taste. Charcuterie, good crusty breads, nibbles of cheese and olives, fish or grilled meats and plenty of fresh and colorful sides. And if you are invited to our house, you know there will be olives involved.

Lamb Chops With Olive Chimichurri
One recent Sunday afternoon, we decided to gather new friends and have an olive themed dinner. Sundays are definitely meant for cozy dinners. A last hooray before the week starts all over again. 

Any gathering we host start with an antipasto tray revolving around a few good cured meats, some burrata or other cheese, pickles, seasonal fruits, green and black olives of sort. My favorites remaining kalamata, tiny shriveled oil cured or plump marinated black olives and pickled garlic stuffed green olives. I am the one eating olives like they are M&Ms. That's where my heritage shows through. Provence is never far away from any dish I cook.

We followed with pan seared lamb chops with kalamata chimichurri sauce, a colorful market fresh tabbouleh salad with black olives, heirloom tomatoes, persimons, cucumber, radishes and thinly sliced red onions. All dressed in a creamy parsley vinaigrette. My favorite of the evening was a warm mushroom salad with olives and thyme filled with lobster mushrooms, chanterelles and portobello mushrooms. So so good. I want to make it again with a poached egg on top for a simple weeknight dinner or brunch.

Antipasto
Laughs. Good food and wine. Plenty of stories to go around is how I love spending a weekend evening. It doesn't matter whether our friends are good cooks and want to participate. We just like to get together and share stories and memories around a good meal. If you have an anecdote at the ready, there is definitely a plate awaiting you at our table!

How do you enjoy some down time with friends and foods during the busy holiday season? Curious minds (mine!) want to know! Enjoy the recipes below and please share with me and Lindsay Olives what makes your holiday moments special and enter their holiday sweepstakes (link here). 
Disclosure- yes, this post is in partnership with Lindsay Olives, but opinions are my own. Mushroom Salad

Littleneck Clams With Chorizo & Spicy Tomato Gazpacho

7

Friday, November 14, 2014


Clams With Chorizo
It's clear that in the South the weather has no idea how to behave or what to dress for right now. It's ok. I can make pretend for a couple days that this is a prolonged Indian summer just as well as being able to put on a turtleneck or a scarf. I'm always in love with this time of the year especially where I reside now. The colors of Autumn, the brisk change in the air and everyone's behavior to keep cozy is something I truly relish.

The South can be surprising though and after almost 18 years here, I still find myself oscillating. One November day can be in the high 70s and the next can dip to the low 40s. Which is why I rarely rely on the temperatures to cook the seasonal foods I love. I could be waiting a long time to make a hearty pot roast and would never stop making cold soups or ice creams... 

Thus, it's not uncommon for us to have a warm and hearty dish such as these Littleneck Clams With Chorizo and Potatoes one evening and a refreshingly cold Spicy Tomato Gazpacho with a couple of boiled eggs for a light Saturday lunch within the same week.

The South may seem to have its own slower pace but don't be fooled, we're quick to adapt our cooking repertoire when necessary. Just like we keep flip flops and sweaters very close to one another....

Rustic Apple Tart With Hemp Seed Crumb Topping

15

Saturday, October 04, 2014


Apples
First morning with a clear crisp chilled air. Not the first weekend with apple pie on my mind. Oh yes, it's definitely apple season. And pumpkins, squash and long simmered dishes. Well, being in the South, we have to make pretend it is Fall because hot days and short skirts are lingering on. It only took the temperatures to dip by 5 degrees for my cravings for a good pot roast, like my mom makes, to resurface.
 
Apple Orchard
This morning. It's apples I have on the brain. Vanilla applesauce. Rice pudding with poached apples. Bakes apples with plenty of nuts and a drizzle of honey. And of course Apple Pie. My grandmother's apple pie (with a little twist). There was one thing my grandmother was famous for in my family and it was her pies. She had a knack for pie crusts. She had such a way in the kitchen. Everything I know about food and cooking comes from my grandmother and my mother. The way they cooked and baked, created menus and gathered friends around the table.
 
Apple Tarte Prep
Her apple pie was something not to be missed. A crispy buttery and slightly sweet crust, a layer of vanilla bean studded applesauce and plenty of apples slices on top, with a touch more butter and sugar on top. A dollop of creme fraiche, served room temperature and you would find silence around the dinner table, as well as plenty of smiles and happy bellies.


Apple Tarte
Today looks like an odd day in the weather pattern for the coming days, one with a light breeze, bright blue skies and a little cold in the air. I am taking full opportunity by cranking on the oven and making pie. A hot cup of tea and I am getting in the mood for Fall. Alabama is really beautiful in the fall. I didn't expected it last year (Charleston has two seasons, hot and hotter!) and I am really looking forward to seeing the seasonal color of nature in all its glory. Orchards are full and giving of all kinds of gorgeous apples, market stands abound with all varieties of squash imaginable.
 
Apple Orchard
I usually do not veer far away from the way Mamie Paulette used to make her apple tart. This time, however, I did by adding hemp seeds instead of nuts to the crumb topping I usually put on my tart. It added a nuttiness without being overpowering. I also skipped the applesauce layer Mamie traditionally used in hers. Not being lazy, truth is, we ate most of it before there was enough left for the tart. I'll have to tell you about it soon. This thing will make you swoon, get a skip in your step. It's a daily dose of happiness in itself.
 
Apple Tarte
As soon as the tart came out of the oven, it was like Mamie Paulette was here again. Her big warm heart, sharp wit and larger than life joy for life. 

A balm for the heart, for the cook and for the friends gathering at our table. 

Grilled Baby Artichokes With Chimichurri

10

Tuesday, September 09, 2014


Atrichokes
With the last days of summer right around the corner, there have been dinners on the patio after dinners on the patio. Friends, neighbors, just us. It's been lovely. Truly. A balm for the soul. Summers are a bit harder on me than any times of the year. Summer is the time when we have entire months back home devoted to vacationing. Just that. It's another mind set. Another way of doing things. And while I knew my family was gathering at our chalet in the Alps or just moving about France, I worked straight through the summer.
 
Artichokes
Every morning this summer, I would sit on the patio here in Alabma and listen to the sound of cicadas, a light breeze brushing my cheeks. A tease really, often quickly replaced with smoldering heat and humidity. I'd often close my eyes and I could almost feel home. I could almost hear my nieces running around in the garden, jumping off into the pool, laughing wildly with their friends, and the cicadas. Always a sign of being home. And warm evenings with lots of grilling involved.

One thing I try not to do all summer long is turning the oven on. Where we are now, it basically heats up the whole dining and living area, bringing the smoldering heat inside for hours. So off to the back deck we go! Lots and lots of fish, meats and vegetables did end up being grilled, charred, slow roasted and smoked. Finger licking good stuff.
 
Chimichurri

One thing I grew up eating were steamed artichokes and vinaigrette. While vegetable soup was a staple starter in our house, my mom would often make steamed artichokes during the summer. As well as her proscuitto and melon salad. But that's for another time... With nostalgia tugging at me these past few months, I took it upon me to take familiar dishes that reminded me of time spent with loved ones and gave them a more current flair. Current to the temperatures, our way of living in the heat and our tastes at this moment. 

Grilled baby artichokes with chimichurri sauce became an easy side our starter to many a dinner, shared with friends or just the two of us. They require a bit of prep and maybe a bit messy if eaten with a fork and knife which in my opinion is a plus... Just grill, grab and dip... They make a great snack too when watching a movie on a lazy Sunday evening or during any sport related weekend.


artichokes plated 2

Roasted Carrots With Creme Fraiche & Za'atar & Roasted Plums With Honey & Whipped Cream

13

Monday, August 18, 2014


Carrots
It's been a while since I visited my own blog, let alone write anything on this page. What can I say? I gave myself an unintentional break by enjoying the most of summer off line. There has been much cooking and photographing but not much free time to sit down and blog about it all. With longer days and gorgeous evenings here, there have been many impromptu dinners al fresco with friends, long chats with the husband in the evening and one thing leading to another...I felt a little tug at giving myself a little break from blogging. With Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so much part of our daily lives, it's easy to rely on those to keep in touch with everyone out there.

Roasted Carrots
Truth is, I miss you guys. If you are still around. I miss being here and letting my thoughts take shape through the keyboard. Work is busy and can take the fun out of a few hours spent editing and sharing recipes and pictures. Balance. Always something to strive for. Nothing makes me happier than cooking a bunch on the weekend and photographing dishes for a future post and then the routine sets in and that post takes a back seat. One week, two weeks and soon turns into almost three months...

Needless to say, I have a whole bunch of recipes and photos to share with you!

Plums
Weekly visit to the amazing farmers market we have here in Birmingham often result in simple yet delectable recipes and musings in the kitchen. Our favorite snack on the weekend early this summer was market fresh carrots, briefly roasted served with creme fraiche and a good sprinkle of za'atar. Our current favorite dessert is roasted plum with local honey and a dollop of soft whipped cream.

Roasted Plums

Tartelette All rights reserved © Blog Milk - Powered by Blogger