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Jahresarchive: 2011

Braised Artichokes With Olives & Feta, a Lavender Buttermilk Tart & A Cookbook Giveaway!

Baked Artichoke Hearts With Olives & Feta


I’ve had the chance to travel to the West coast and back twice in the last couple of weeks and twice I had high hopes of experiencing some lower, nice Fall-ish temperatures. I was ready. Sweaters picked. Scarves tied up to my purse. Instead, it was tank top and summer dressed that ended up in my suitcase. It felt exactly like what October is here in the South. A soft stroke of the sun, a lull of breeze in the trees. A delicious moment.

Since we never really get a transition between seasons, it’s always a bit difficult to feel in an autumnal mood with food and recipes. I do, however, like to get in the kitchen and try to conjure up some wicked good Fall recipes whenever possible. It most often involves roasting, slow simmers, braising. Warmth and aromas filling the house with the comfort of nostalgia and the promise of another season ahead. Yes, it does make me mellow.

Artichokes


One of the dishes I made recently that really invoked Fall as I knew it back home was artichokes, braised with plenty of onions, lemon, olives, thyme and feta. I did not vary much, if at all, from the original recipe I found in a magazine my mom sent me. I usually ad lib the recipes I read but this one was too intriguing to pass up.

When it comes to artichokes, we usually fix them two ways: steamed ad served with vinaigrette to dip or barigoule (barigoule is the name of a certain kind of mushroom in Provence by the way). We had this with sauteed scallops one night which turned out to be a perfect match. Hearty and light. Not quite Summer anymore and not yet Fall either.

Baked Artichoke Hearts With Olives & Feta


I made the artichoke dish the evening before a trip to Portland last week and fully expected to have some leftover for B. to warm up while I was gone but we almost polished the entire thing with our dinner companions that evening.

Tonight, I prepared a Lavender and Buttermilk Tart for tomorrow’s dinner, right on the eve of my departure for New Hampshire. I am teaching two food photography and styling workshops at the bi-annual creative retreat Squam Art Workshops. I like for Bill to have a little something sweet while I am gone. In moderation right now because I’m pretty much here and gone for another couple of months for various work projects.

Lavender & Buttermilk Pie


The tart is from Holly Herrick's newly released "Tart Love: Sassy, Savory and Sweet" and for which I was honored to be commissioned to do the photography. I must tell you why I dig this book so much. Beside the fact that I am thrilled of the work that the designer and publisher did with the photos and lay out, I am completely enamored with all the recipes in this book. Holly is not only a prolific recipe writer but a darn good one to boot. Her flavor combination were at times intriguing but always spot on and a sure success. Trust her to know what flavors and tastes work together and in what quantity.

The woman is an amazing chef. Her pastry crust is flaky, rich, easy to make and easy to roll and re-roll without ending with rubber. The recipes are creative, fun and quirky at times: Feisty Shrimp & Grits Pockets, Salad Nicoise Tart, Raspberry Creme Brulee Tartlets, Butterscotch & Caramel Apple Tarts. I love her titles as much as I love that Holly’s personality and love of seasonal produce comes through each recipe.

Lavande


I could talk about the tarts in this book for hours. I loved making all of them as much as I loved photographing them. Whether you are a novice or an advanced cook, you will find more than ten tarts you can start baking right from the start. Seriously. If you are nervous about making a tart crust, Holly takes you through each step with care and ease. If you wish you had more interesting or just some new/other tart fillings in your repertoire, this is also the book for you.

Trust me. I just received my "official" copy the other day and I have rediscovered, with great excitement, recipes I had cooked just a year ago. I am thrilled to give away two copies of Holly’s book, Tart Love. Fresh from the press, tested, tasted and approved by yours truly. And my husband and about everyone in the neighborhood when I was done taking the tarts mug shots, ahah!

Tart Love

Photos from Tart Love: Sassy, Savory and Sweet. © Helene Dujardin 2011

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is to:
– leave a comment at the end of this post. One entry per person, duplicates will be rejected and anonymous will not be accepted (unless you are my mother, but she knows better…!)
– Please allow 48 hours for your comment to be moderated and to show up on the blog as I will be traveling this week.
– The giveaway will close Sunday September 18th 2011, at midnight Eastern time

Keep your eyes peeled for other reviews and giveaway of the book as some bloggers have graciously offered to take it on a virtual launch tour! Could not be more excited for Holly to give her hard work the recognition it deserves.

Lavender & Buttermilk Pie



Braised Artichokes With Onion, Olives & Thyme, barely adapted from Saveurs (France)

Serves 6

Ingredients:
2 lemons
6 baby artichokes
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 red onion, sliced
1/2 cup white wine or stock (vegetable or chicken)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
6 sprigs of thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon vinegar

Directions:
Turn the oven to broiler setting. Slice one of the lemons horizontally and spread the slices on a baking sheet line with parchment paper. Place under the broiler until the lemons turn a bit dark on the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Fill a large bowl with water and the juice of the remaining lemon. Cut the top of the artichokes and remove the outer leaves almost down to the core (only the softer leaves should remain). Save the leaves to steam later and snack on if desired.
Cut the artichokes in half and clean the inside of that fuzzy part (in France, we call this the "hay"). Cut each half once more and place each quarter immediately in the lemon water to prevent oxidation.
Heat up one tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauteeing pan and cook the onion for about 5 minutes, until tender.
Add the artichokes to the pan, the white wine (or stock) and the same amount of water (1/2 cup). Season with salt and pepper according to your preference. Cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook another 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
Place the artichokes and onions on serving plate, randomly add olives, feta cheese, lemon slices and chopped thyme. Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and the vinegar. Check the salt and pepper if necessary.

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Lavender & Buttermilk Tart, adapted with permission from Holly Herrick’s Tart Love: Sassy, Savory and Sweet.

(Serves 6 to 8)

Tart Crust:
2 1/4 cups White Lily all-purpose flour (or other brand if White Lilly is not available)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of sea salt or kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 tablespoons ice-cold water, or just enough to hold the pastry together

At least 30 minutes before rolling and baking (or up to one day in advance), prepare the pastry. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a plastic blade, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse rapidly, 40 – 50 times, or until the butter is blended into the flour and is coarse and the butter is the size of small peas. Gradually, add the water in a small trickle, with the processor running. Continue adding just as the pastry starts coming together in the shape of a loose, crumbly ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Form into a disc, about 1″ high, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.

1 egg wash – yolk, pinch salt, splash water, blended together

For the lavender infused buttermilk:
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup whole cream
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers or lavender leaves (available at most gourmet specialty stores and some groceries)

For the custard dry ingredients:
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

For the custard wet ingredients:
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
1 teaspoon best-quality vanilla extract

Prepare tart crust. Chill 30 minutes (or overnight), and roll out into your preferred tart pan, creating a little border above the rim of the pan itself. Chill 20 – 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the prepared shell on a baking pan and partially blind bake the pastry by placing a piece of parchment paper on the bottom crust, filling it with dried beans or pie weight and baking for about 10 -15 minutes. Let cool and remove weights and paper. Brush down the pastry with the egg wash, and return to the oven to finish baking until golden brown, another 10 minutes. Remove the pre-baked shell from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350F. Allow the shell to cool slightly at room temperature.

Meanwhile, infuse the buttermilk with the lavender. Combine the buttermilk, cream and lavender flowers in a saucepan, whisking to combine. Turn the heat on high and bring up to a low boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to steep five minutes. Using a fine sieve, strain the infused buttermilk into a medium bowl and refrigerate to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar and salt), whisking to combine. In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Whisk the eggs for one minute until light and lemon-colored and fluffy. Whisk in the butter and vanilla. When the buttermilk has cooled to body-temperature or cooler, it’s time to add it to the wet mixture, slowly streaming into the egg mixture and whisking to combine. To finish the custard, stream the milk/egg mixture into the dry ingredients mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the custard into the prepared tart shell. Bake 35 minutes or until the custard has browned to a light tan and the custard still quivers to the touch. Remove from oven and cool for at least one hour before slicing.

Announcing A Three Day Food Photography & Styling Workshop in Los Angeles

workshopbannerdujardin-1


Something exciting has been brewing behind the scene for a little while…now it’s time to let it out: my awesome photography agency Primary Reps, led by my agent Chris has been working hard to put together a fantastic 3 day workshop in Los Angeles this November.

Apricots & Honey Panna Cotta


The deeds? Three days packed with information on camera work, lighting, composition, and a professional stylist will be there to talk about the demands of that side of the job. Chris arranged for one day to be spent on location where we will take our cameras out of the studio and right into the heart of the matter.

Workshop L.A


Besides the intensive training, there will also be guest speakers throughout the weekend including a digital tech from Digital Fusion, art buyers from a local ad agency, as well as a photographers rep, all sharing valuable insight into the business of food photography.

Workshop L.A


The workshop is limited to 10 students so you can be sure to have the perfect one on one time to practice, share, ask, get feedback and improve.

Yep. Intense. Informative. You will walk away with a wealth of ideas and your creative juices flowing…

For more information on the schedule, rates and how to register, check out this page.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Workshop L.A

Conchiglie With Roasted Beets and Pineapple Sage & Watermelon Shiso Sorbet

Conchiglie With Roasted Beets & Basil  © Helene Dujardin 2011


Catching up. Been wanting to catch up with everything since I came back this weekend. With both our schedules on the “busy on repeat” button in August and September, catching up is done on the fly. Early morning chats. Late night chats. With a text. Or a note left intentionally in a back pocket.

We pass each other often lately. We catch up. We appreciate the early morning hours when the pups are still snoring and we can talk seriously or giggle like children. I am traveling a lot for work lately, with his blessing and support. He’s been so busy rehearsing and playing gigs that he’s had very little to notice I was gone. Sort of…

Edible Summer Rainbow


I love that we both feel well enough in our shoes that the investment we are making in our works and creativity, the time apart working in different cities, the long nights playing music, all this is never tough. It makes us sigh and we do miss each other but it’s the kind of absence that makes us keep focused and positive.

It’s not always rosy, easy peasy and always fun but it is what it is. The best part is that our choices let us combine what we need to do with what we absolutely love to do. We are ok with it until we crave that catching up time. I see a couple of date nights in our near future and if you have any movie recommendations, send them along by the way!

Roasted Beets © Helene Dujardin 2011


It’d be easy to let good meals be forgotten or to let nutrition be a distant thought. Meals on the go or TV dinners are not something I usually keep around. Not only do I love to cook but there are a few little health issues that have us stay away from made up meals. I love to shop the farmers market too much and stock up more than I should even before I head out of town.

To make sure we get good foods in our bellies in the midst of everything else going on, I like to fix big bowls of pasta bursting with lots of fresh vegetables we just picked at the market. I love adding roasted beets, lots of fresh herbs. My pineapple sage and basil are growing wild so they end up in almost everything we cook. A drizzle of pungent olive oil. I might add a bit of chorizo or leftover shredded roasted chicken depending on what we have that needs to be used.

Conchiglie With Roasted Beets & Basil  © Helene Dujardin 2011


It’s nothing fancy but it’s wholesome and packed with everything we need to keep going. Another staple is this soup I posted recently. I think I make it about two to three times a week right now. It is so silky and so easy. Whether we cross paths or have the time to sit down and eat together, a bowl of pasta for lunch and a bowl of soup for dinner have been good sound choices to have ready.

Shiso Sorbet  © Helene Dujardin 2011


One thing though…we can’t park away our sweet tooth. Given the temperatures above the 100s here, I tend to shy away from the oven. The ice cream machine has been churning pretty much non stop. Lots of frozen yogurts, sorbets and other experiments have been going on in the frozen department. It’s been fun and interesting to say the least.

Shiso


One of our latest concoctions and addictions has been Watermelon Shiso Sorbet. I never would have expected to find Shiso at the market but the same vendor who had purslane one week also brought in shiso and I got giddy as a five year-old given a new toy. I’ve been reading and hearing lots about it and could finally experiment on my own. A new find at the market and I am happy. I am easy that way…!

This sorbet is the perfect ending to a long day. It packs a punch of interesting flavor combining the summer flavor of watermelon and citrus with the minty touch of the shiso. Slightly exotic. Highly refreshing. A few spoonfuls shared at midnight is everything the doctor ordered after a long hard worked day…

Shiso Sorbet  © Helene Dujardin 2011



Conchiglie With Roasted Beets and Pineapple Sage:

Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish

3 small red beets
3 small golden beets
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
one bag (14oz) gluten free conchiglie (or your favorite shell pasta)
1 small red chili pepper, chopped
freshly chopped pineapple sage or basil

Preheat the oven to 375F. Peel and halve the beets. Layer them on a baking sheet and drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 15-20 minutes until the beets are soft and a little brown on the edges. In the meantime, boil the pasta until al dente. Drain and place in large bowl. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil, add the chopped pepper, the beets and the chopped herbs. Toss and eat right away. This is perfect at room temperature.

Watermelon Shiso Sorbet, adapted from Tara’s Plum Shiso Sorbet on Tea and Cookies.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh shiso leaves
One pound watermelon, cubed

In a small saucepan, cook the sugar with the water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the shiso leaves. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
In a blender or food processor, puree the watermelon with the syrup until smooth. Process in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Away In Seattle…

Seattle Cookbook Shoot


This week of cookbook styling and shooting is over. Grueling. Exhausting. Exhilarating. Soothing. A nice change of pace for me to prop and play with food. I loved every minute of it and enjoyed being in the moment but I admit, I can’t wait to get back behind the camera.

Seattle Cookbook Shoot


Working with Clare was just about the awesomest time I have had this summer. It was almost like sharing a brain. Of the good kind. The one without a misplaced ego. Clare called, asked me to style and I did just that. But the way we think and how we similarly sensitive and sensible to photography we are, made it a breathe to navigate the plate and the photograph.

Seattle Cookbook Shoot


Never the words "working together" have had as much meaning as they have this past week. Without spoken words or the feeling of stepping over, we worked together. Clare, Jeanne and I. About thirty five of the seventy five recipes that Jeanne included in her book had to be photographed. That’s thirty five recipes to be made every night for their beauty shot the next day.

Seattle Cookbook Shoot


Every night, Jeanne and I would do a perfectly orchestrated ballet of pans and whisks to bake the recipe for the next day of shooting where Clare would work her magic with the camera. Both Jeanne and I know our way around a pastry or a cake but baking for a shoot is slightly different and thankfully there was plenty of wine and good food to help us push through each night after a long day of shooting.

Seattle Cookbook Shoot


We all hit a wall at some point but we worked through them together and pushed through. Always feeling like the other helped a little. I never felt anything but support and kindness. We made a team. "We’re number two! We’re number two!" Because it’s not about us. It’s not about being number one. It’s about coming together to give Jeanne's book the best photographs. I can’t wait for you to see the book next year when it comes out!

Seattle Cookbook Shoot


I stayed with Jeanne, I stayed with Clare. I met them both in their element. I felt home. I was able to get to know them in their crafts and their thought process. I am sad to leave two wonderful talented ladies. I am sad to leave friends. I am happy to get home and share this week with my husband. Hurricane Irene, please be nice…it’s been a long week….!

Red Currants

My little homage to Clare’s blog header

Soul Satisfying Roasted Cauliflower, Leek & Garlic Soup and Lemon Fritters

Lemon Fritters


I seriously feel like starting this post with "oh what a week…!" to the tune of "oh what a night.." At least, just listening to it makes my feet move under my chair. That’s a good thing. I am allowing myself to make room for a giggle and a laugh. It’s been such a week for friends and family, near and far. And us trying to navigate the waves and splashes.

Today my heart is a complete split of heavy and light. I guess I could spend the next couple of paragraphs telling you why. But honestly, I am tired of those funky vibes I have experienced all week. Mine included. These two posts will update you on why I have been quiet and reflective lately. And why today I still can’t put the broken pieces of heart back together. I’ve done my kicking and screaming, even if only in my head but I have also welcome every opportunity to change my mind today. That much funk always drives me up the wall. Or to the kitchen actually!

Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup


I cooked a lot over the last few days. Always therapeutic. I’ve made a bunch of good for the soul comforting foods. I also made some pretty aromatic dishes to soothe my bronchitis. I packed a few containers full of good and healthy recipes for Bill while I am gone this week. Stirring soup very effectively took my mind away on vacation for a few minutes. Zesting and juicing lemons filled the space with invigorating energy.

Whisking batters, roasting vegetables, hearing the motor of the food processor happily whirl away. Listening to the sizzle of the oil when my friend Laura and I made lemon fritters one night she came over for dinner. It never gets easier, it just gets different. One thing for sure is that friends and keeping busy are always great ingredients to make things better.

Lemon Fritters


I hate that work is taking me away this week and I won’t be home with the husband and the pups for a good ten days. I also love that my kind of work gives me the chance to do something a bit different than my usual week. See, I am leaving in the morning and heading out to Seattle for a shoot. My friend Clare Barboza is shooting Jeanne Sauvage’s (from The Art Of Gluten Free Baking) first cookbook on gluten free holiday baking and she asked me to come do the styling. As I told them both earlier, I am very much looking forward to rest my photographer’s eyes and put my styling goggles on for a week!

Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup


I love Clare and her photography, I love Jeanne’s recipes (and I get to meet her chickens!), the publisher (Chronicles) and it’s Seattle! My last visit was a bit short there so I am looking forward to a longer stay and some fun happenings! Our shooting and baking/prep schedule is packed (just as my suitcase!) but you can bet I’ll do my best to find time for a little fun!

I hate to leave Bill with the pups, that’s a given, but I hate to leave him without something comforting to eat, especially the first night I am gone. When I made a Roasted Cauliflower, Leek and Garlic Soup the other day, he asked that I made another batch to store away while he’d be alone with his books. I am kinda sad I can’t sneak a cup on the plane with me. It’s really good. Don’t let its creamy grey color fool you…there is nothing bland or blah about this soup. Creamy, toasty, garlicky. Silky.

Lemon Fritters


When I wasn’t feeling good this past weekend, I texted Laura that I had absolutely no appetite. She texted me back a very worried "really? nothing?" I know.…worried me too actually. I am never one without an appetite, even sick. I paused for a second and thought "actually…lemon fritters sound really really good right now!". We rarely do fried anything but that fried little pieces of dough were always in my grandmother’s arsenal remedy when we were sick. It worked back then. And it worked again this time!

Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup


Good friends, good food, good drinks and tons of good laughs sure made me feel better on all front this past week. I wish mending the world troubles would be as easy as writing a prescription for each but that’s always a start…

Roasted Cauliflower, Leek and Garlic Soup:

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer, 4 as an main dish

Ingredients:
1 small head of cauliflower
1 whole head garlic
2 leeks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 to 1 cup water, or veggie or chicken stock

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375F (convection) and position a rack in the middle.
Trim the outer leaves from the cauliflower head. Cut in quarters, remove the core, and cut the cauliflower into medium size florets. Place on a large baking sheet.
Cut the garlic head in half, place on the baking sheet with the cauliflower.
Trim the white part from the green stalk of the leeks. Keep the white part and cut into medium sized chunks. Wash well under water and place also on the baking sheet.
Drizzle with the oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20-25 minutes.
Let cool slightly. Place in a food processor, start running the machine and add enough water to have a creamy soup. Re-season if necessary with salt and pepper. Serve.

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Lemon Fritters:
Make about 20 to 30 small fritters

Ingredients:
1 -2 cups canola oil
1 cup sugar
zest and juice of one lemon
2 eggs
1 cup millet flour
1 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup milk

Heat oil in medium large cast iron pan until temperature reaches 375F.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, juice and eggs until well blended. Add the millet, rice flour and baking powder, along with the milk. Mix well until the mixture is smooth. Drop by large spoonfuls into the hot oil. Do not over crowd the pan or it will lower the heat too much and you will end up with soggy fritters. Let cook for 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Comforting Recipes: Quinoa, Watermelon & Feta Salad, Roasted Pepper & Ricotta Tart, Peach & Nectarine Granita

Quinoa, Watermelon & Feta Salad


We’re back home. Everything and everyone is getting back to normal. Groceries, laundry, walks with the pups. And yet, everything’s different. Every move taken and every thing said is tinted with a veil of deep sadness and compassion.

As some of you may have learned, one wonderfully kind and talented food blogger, Jennifer Perillo, lost her husband suddenly this past weekend. I did not know Jennifer well. We had met briefly at several conferences in the past. We were Twitter and Facebook friends. We did not live close. We did not email. We did not talk on the phone. Yet, if I could wrap my arms around her today and hope it helped a little, I would.

Roasted Pepper & Ricotta Tart


Over the year, I have come to deal with the fact that I don’t care that much of August. I have a love-hate relationship with August actually. My brother passed away in August. My grandmother too. It’s my mother’s birthday in August. And my grandfather’s too. He’s 101 this year by the way. Talk about witnessing life and mortality.

I am finally ok with August being a crappy month for myself. I hate, hate, hate the fact that now it will be a difficult time for Jenny and her daughters. I, and others who have lost dear ones, know the journey ahead. And we hurt inside for Jenny and her daughters already. How to make it better? How to make it easier?

Peaches


Just like finding a few dishes prepared for you when you come back from travels, or finding the fridge a little fuller than when you left. Just like noticing a full basket of fruits on the counter and a "welcome home" note; we can be there for Jennifer and her family just the same.

Those little gestures mentioned above done by my mother in law right before we walked in the door, were immensely appreciated and resonated deeply within us. Caring for one another does is not about climbing the highest peaks or diving the deepest sea. Little gestures. A meal. A note. A walk. A hug. Expressing respect. And compassion.

Quinoa, Feta and Watermelon Salad


When I went back home to my brother’s funerals, I came back to many cards of condolences, many phone calls and texts. I also had many friends drop by with a bite to eat. They knew food was the last thing I wanted. I wanted to disappear. I was numb. But mechanically, I ate the dishes they brought over. It was sustenance. I let Bill rocked me too sleep many many nights. It was a necessity. I still sleep as little now as I did then.

For weeks, life was on auto-pilot but I do remember the comfort of sharing memories with people who came over with a giant green salad or a pint of sorbet. I remember those moments gently pulled me out of this quiet space I had made for weeks. The comfort of my neighbor Camille’s voice as she scooped her famous peach granita into little cups for us and her kids. The warmth of the oven touching my cheeks as I opened it to retrieve the first tart I had made since…since Thierry had left us.

Roasted Pepper & Ricotta Tart


Normalcy mixed with extraordinary circumstances. Jennifer and her family are going through this as I write it. They need us, our thoughts, prayers and memories of them for those who knew them. They need them now but they will need them months and years form now. Thankfully, and because the food community and humanity in general is pretty damn grand, reaching out to them is already happening.

Erika from Ivory Hut, who went through her own tragedy last year, losing everything in a house fire, is gathering the troops to help out. A care package program is being organized for those who are not in Jennifer’s area so a little piece of love and care can be delivered now and for months to come right to her doorstep. Locals are also organizing a relief effort to show her that not only we care but we are here for her.

White Nectarines


To get more details and to lend a hand and a comforting gesture, please email Erika at erika@ivoryhut.com

My heart is heavy for the Perillos right now. But it is also full of hope. I know there will be many a smiles in their future even only through the solace of your thoughts and words for them.

When someone around Bill and myself is going through tough times and could use a night off, we volunteer to take care of their kids, their pups or we just drop off a collection of dvds and a good meal. It’s small compared to the void we cannot fill but it’s a start. Food I can do. Which is why I am sharing three recipes (click on "continue for recipes" that are good options to bring to someone who might need a little comfort and a lot of hugs.

Peach & Nectarine Granita


This post is dedicated to Mikey, Jennifer and their daughters. We don’t know each other all that well, but I really wish I could change your August. Now and forever.

Please read this.

Quinoa, Watermelon and Feta Salad:

Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish

When it comes to food and comforting friends with a little something to nosh on, I always gravitate towards dishes that can easily last a few days and only get better with a bit of time. Lately, we have been feasting on bowls after bowls of Quinoa, Watermelon and Feta Salad many days in a row. Sometimes with a poached egg on top. In the heat of the summer, this salad is not only healthy and light but also super refreshing.

Ingredients:
1.5 cups quinoa
3 cups water
1 cup watermelon, rind removed and cut into small cubes
2 oz feta, crumbled
2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped thin
1/3 cup loosely packed mint, chopped thin
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:
In a large saucepan, bring the quinoa and water to a rolling boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pot halfway and cook until the water is completely absorbed and the quinoa is translucent (about 20 minutes). Let cool completely.
When the quinoa is cooled, add the remaining ingredients and fold carefully. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

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Roasted Red Pepper & Ricotta Tart:

Serves 4 as a light main dish.

Another dish that I always find easy to fix, transport and leave in someone’s fridge or freezer for them to reheat easily and quickly is a gluten free Roasted Pepper & Ricotta Tart. Accompanied by a green salad and you have something satisfying and nourishing. A little balm for the heart. And the belly.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
5 tablespoons (70gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette (or pinch red pepper flakes)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
3 egg yolks (save one white for the filling)
pinch salt
1/2 cup (80gr) brown rice flour
1/2 cup (60gr) millet flour
1/4 cup (30gr) sorghum flour
1/4 cup (40gr) potato flour
(or 1.5 cups of all purpose flour if not using gf flours)

For the filling:
3 to 4 bell peppers of various colors (red, yellow, orange)
1 cup ricotta
1 egg white
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Prepare the crust:
In a mixer, whip together the butter, piment and mustard on medium speed until light and airy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Mix until incorporated. Add all the different flours and mix briefly. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured (use more rice flour) board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between two sheets of plastic to fit your preferred tart pan. If the dough tears while you roll or/and transfer into the pan, just patch it with your fingertips. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
You can freeze the dough for up to 3 months and prepare it up to 4 days in advance.

Prepare the filling:
Method 1:
Preheat the oven to 400F and then roast the peppers until their skin turn black, remove from the oven, place then in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let them cool completely. Remove the plastic, and peel the skin right off the pepper, seed them too and cut them in halves or at least fairly large pieces.

Method 2:
Blacken the skin of the peppers over an open flame such as a gas stove or grill. Place then in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let them cool completely. Remove the plastic, and peel the skin right off the pepper, seed them too and cut them in halves or at least fairly large pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, egg white, salt and pepper. Layer at the bottom of the prepared tart shell. Layer the roasted pepper pieces on top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

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Peach and Nectarine Granita:

Makes enough for 8

Since it’s August, and it’s still mostly to very warm just about anywhere, I got to say that the most comforting thing for me and many others I know, is still to dig my spoon in soft soothing ice cream. Or sorbet. Or granita. In this case, I was pressed to use the four peaches and nectarines we still had from our trip to the market before heading down to Florida. So easy to make and since it’s stored in the freezer, it’ll be there anytime you need a little cooling treat.

Ingredients:
2 peaches, skin and pit removed
2 nectarines, skin and pit removed
1/4 cup honey
juice of one lemon
1 cup Greek yogurt or creme fraiche

Directions:
In a food processor, puree all the ingredients together. Place in a large baking dish and freeze. After two hours, run a fork along the length of the dish, breaking up the fruit mixture into a granita. Repeat the process every hour or so for about 4-5 times until the mixture is completely frozen but you get a shaved ice consistency all the way through. We like ours chunky but the more times you run your fork in the mixture, the thinner the shavings will be.

Fig "Gateau de Riz", Miso Salmon & A Refreshing Apricot Cherry Cocktail

Gateau De Riz Aux Figues Copyright © Helene Dujardin 2011


The excitement of coming home is often trumped by the reality of an empty fridge. Rarely in my family actually. Back home, we have this tradition to invite the weary travelers for dinner so that they don’t have to worry about getting groceries, cooking while unpacking and sorting laundry. They also know that they can start recounting their trip and everyone will listen and partake.

The meal is nothing fancy, nine times out of ten it will be a quiche and a salad, a fruit and some yogurt. There may or may not be a cocktail or aperitif before the meal and a few many pictures looked at after dinner. The whole idea is to get together and pay attention to the ones around us, listen and smile along with them. It’s good for the soul.

Figs


Bill’s family is not like that. Nothing negative in my saying this, it’s just what it is. It’s not something they do. I am ok with that. When my in-laws were still traveling, I would do it for them. I think they thought it was "another cultural difference". I heard that comment a lot at first, always in a jovial way. And yes…there are lots of things that we do differently. But we like getting together around a good meal just the same, also.

When we travel, I try to have something easy waiting for us in the freezer. That way, I can just put them in the oven or on the stove and start unloading, sorting laundry, and all the fun stuff associated with "home atmosphere re-entry". I am not this organized for everything but I do notice that I am when there is food involved. On se refait pas…one doesn’t change!

Salmon Dish Ingredients Copyright © Helene Dujardin 2011


I know that even if we have great meals while traveling, we will have a hunkering for seafood, plenty of clean and light flavors, a big plate of vegetables, and something sweet to end. It’s nothing fancy but it comes together easily while we find our bearings at home again.

Miso Salmon Copyright © Helene Dujardin 2011


I like to fix us something that packs a punch in the healthy department such as salmon. After days on the road, it makes me feel like I am bringing all our levels back up in a flash. By the time we are done unpacking and everything is sorted out, my fish is ready to cook, which takes virtually no time, and the vegetables are just crisp and al dente.

For dessert, while I am completely fine with a piece of fruit and a yogurt, I like something that brings me closer to home, even if only in my thoughts. Something that I know my mother or grandmother would have made for the travelers coming home that day. One of the things my grandmother was an ace with baking was her fruit tarts and her riz au lait (rice pudding). These are comfort food for me.

Gateau De Riz Aux Figues Copyright © Helene Dujardin 2011


One day my aunt and uncle were coming back from their vacation, she started preparing a meal for them and plopped me on the stool next to her so I could watch her waltz with pots and pans and work her magic with ingredients. She decided to turn her rice pudding into a rice pudding cake. Gateau de riz is truly a home cook’s dessert in France. Almost an institution. She found the recipe and we made it our own. With figs. Lots of figs from the market. And lots of whipped cream. She loved whipped cream. I do too.

To this day, everytime we go away on travel, I either prepare a galette loaded with fruits (so they won’t go bad while we are gone) or a "Gateau de Riz Au Lait" and park them in the freezer. Once back home, I just sprinkle either or with some sugar, heat it up in the oven and by the time we are done with dinner, dessert is warm and ready for us. And we are ready for bed!

Rainier Cherries


In about 48 hours, and in between two photo gigs, we are taking another road trip (shorter this time) to Orlando, Florida. On Disney ground. And it’s not even a vacation and I’ve never been to Disney. I am teaching t at the USCPA Annual Conference. They revamped lots of their sessions and asked that I teach a couple of workshops of Food Photography & Styling. I am really honored to be among chefs who are small business owners and entrepreneurs and who get together to share knowledge and information. I am taking an extra day to do "the Disney thing" and get it out of my system though!

Apricot and Cherry Cocktail Copyright © Helene Dujardin 2011


This past Sunday, as I poured over both our packed schedules for August and September, trying to secure itineraries, airfares and hotels, my brain just about exploded and I exclaimed "Oh boy, I need a drink!". I like an aperitif once in a while but I was really thirsty was something light on the alcohol content(I did not want to book a flight to Seattle while I was supposed to head out to New Hampshire!) and refreshing against the heat and humidity around.

Apricot and Cherry Cocktail Copyright © Helene Dujardin 2011


Luckily, friends were coming over for dinner to celebrate my friend Holly Herrick’s Tart Love almost-book release (she had a review copy to show me my photographs "in action")and I had the perfect excuse to try this Apricot and Cherry Breezer cocktail from Bakers Royale. I marinated the apricot juice with dark cherries the first time (depicted above) which made it a really cool shade of red-purple. It hit the spot perfectly! Refreshing, light and not completely boozy that you can’t function. I saved the extra in an ice cube tray to thaw and use up as needed, mandated, prescribed or required…! This cocktail will be the perfect thing to have next week when we get home and unpack. To repack almost instantly.

Cheers to you and to August! It is definitely a busy month to us all as we try to wrap up the summer…but nothing that can’t be helped with good food, good cheers and good people!

Gateau De Riz Aux Figues Copyright © Helene Dujardin 2011



Gateau De Riz Aux Figues, adapted from this one from Elle A Table:

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:
1 cup short grain rice
1 cup water
1 can coconut milk (14oz)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
6 large eggs
20 small figs (more if necessary to cover surface of cake, mine were really tiny)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan, bring the rice, one cup water and half the coconut milk to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover and let cook until all the liquid has been absorbed (about 20 minutes). Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, mix together the remaining coconut milk, brown sugar and the eggs until well blended. Add the rice and mix until everything is well incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
Cut the figs in half and arrange them on the cake. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown. Eat warm…it’s nicer.

Miso Salmon With Ginger Vegetables:

Serves two

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons brown miso paste
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
Two 4-oz salmon fillets
sesame oil
1/2 red bell pepper (I used a couple of mini ones)
1 cup snow peas
2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine the miso, sesame seeds and half the grated ginger. Rub the salmon fillets with that mixture. Heat a large saute pan and sear the salmon for about 4 minutes on each side in a little sesame oil.
In the meantime, prepare the vegetables: in a large saute pan or wok, heat a little sesame oil again and cook the red bell pepper and snow peas along with the garlic and remaining grated ginger until al dente.
Serve with the salmon.

Apricot Cherry Breezer:
Click to get the recipe on Bakers Royale.

Lemon Verbena Macarons, Sharing Passions & A Giveaway!

Lemon Verbena Macarons


Hard to believe that one week ago, last Sunday, we were basking in the heat of Oklahoma watching our first rodeo, enjoying the last bit of our trip to pioneer country.

Macaron Workshop - Pioneer Woman's Ranch

I’m from the South of France. I talk with my hands. A lot…

A ranch. Wild horses. Cows. Stray dogs. And cats. Night skies that fill your soul of everything good and infinite. Sunrises so intense they almost paralyze your thoughts. And your words.

Lemon Verbena Macarons


Food. Lots of it. Cameras clicking away. Spatulas folding fast and furiously. Strangers who became fast friends. Happy banter. Wine. Late nights and shooting stars.

Saint Louis

Downtown Saint Louis.

2850 miles driven. One macaron workshop. One food photography workshop. Lots of pictures taken and archived. Lots of coffee. Lots of time spent catching up with Bill as we drove through Memphis, Pawhuska, Saint Louis, Nashville, Asheville. We reveled in the immensity of this country. We anticipated with excitement our time off together at the ranch. We smiled the whole drive back to Charleston. We had fun. The trip gave us back every bit of ourselves we put out there. To strangers and to each other.

Lemon Verbena Macarons


I loved that Bill saw me in my element and that now he understands why I get so involved and so quiet everytime I do and leave a workshop or a conference. I invest everything I’ve got in the people coming to learn. I am spent. Emotionally, verbally. It was great that he saw the dynamics and spirits of the people attending. Now he gets it. And he gets why it is so important for me to pay it forward. Continually.

Macaron Workshop - Pioneer Woman's Ranch

Darcy, Helene, Krystin.

Seeing a dozen people go from mildly intrigued to slightly nervous and completely giddy at the idea of learning a new skill like macaron making is priceless. The act covers much more than just piping and filling pretty cookies. It covers essentials of pastry science that would be Harold McGee or Shirley Corriher approved. Things that explain incidents or successes with other cookies and recipes.

Macaron Workshop - Pioneer Woman's Ranch

Mandy and my editor Courtney.

Answering people’s questions about photography. Seeing people with different levels of interest and skills just pick up their camera and compose and shoot food all afternoon was balm to the heart. They teamed up, they geeked out, they giggled. They got frustrated. They got creative. I was thrilled that my editor at Wiley, Courtney came for the weekend too and saw the book in action so to speak!

Macaron Workshop - Pioneer Woman's Ranch


It was a moment that went beyond taking a picture or making a story. A sense of community developed bringing us closer. It made them want to share what they had learned that day. I told them they should. I do! It’s the key to a happier soul.

Saint Louis

Saint Louis.

We drove to Oklahoma with clear chatty anticipation of the weekend and we drove back to Charleston in silence. Memories already making room in our hearts and bumping around in our heads.

Horses On The Road To The Lodge


Thank you to everyone who came with open minds and open hearts, who came for one thing and left with three others. Thank you to Ree for opening her home to a bunch of strangers and for the time spent with us in the middle of family sickness and cookbook deadlines.

Ree At Work

Ree shooting a recipe for her new cookbook.

It was a colorful weekend. And I am not only talking about the macarons! It was hot sure, but for us it was actually a heat we could sustain as it was humidity free. The moment we stepped out of the car in Charleston, it felt like a steam oven. Come to find out, it was especially beneficial to my plants this whole time and I walked into an oasis of overgrown basil, thyme, oregano, pineapple sage and lemon verbena. Happy, happy!

Lemon Verbena


In an effort to keep the plants trimmed and well and to accompany this post, I made a batch of lemon-lemon verbena macaron the other night. Light and summery. They are perfect with a glass of lemonade as a little pick me up in the blistering heat of summer.

Lemon Verbena Macarons


One last thing and there is a giveway to go along…

I rarely travel empty handed and I had brought goodie bags to all the attendees to help them with macarons making (aprons, spatulas, food coloring, etc…) and each attendee also received a copy of Plate To Pixel. I don’t know how it happened but I came home with an extra goodie bag and I want it to find a good home so I am putting it up for grabs today.
The bag contains:
– one apron (similar to the ones worn by the attendees in the pictures above)
– spatula, pastry tip, pastry bag
– powdered food coloring kit (8 colors)
– one signed copy of "Plate to Pixel, Digital Food Photography & Styling"

To enter: leave a comment here between today, Sunday July 31st and Tuesday August 2nd, midnight (Eastern time). No anonymous entry. One comment per person. That’s it! Easy peasy..

Lemon Verbena Macarons:

Makes 25 to 30 filled macarons, depending on size

Ingredients:
For the shells:
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)
1 tablespoon loosely packed lemon verbena leaves
90 gr egg whites (use egg whites that have been preferably left 3-4 days in the fridge)
25 gr granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon verbena

Directions:
Place the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the lemon verbena leaves and mix until blended. Sift if desired (helps keep the shells smooth in appearance).
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.
Add the nuts and powdered sugar to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with the finely chopped lemon verbena. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 280F.
Bake the macarons for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool.
Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store the shells in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks (longer and the sugar starts to seep out which makes them sticky). Fill the macarons and let them mature in the fridge at least 48 hours prior to eating them.

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling:
8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
zest and juice of one lemon

In bowl of electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar on low speed, until very smooth with no lumps. Add the lemon zest and juice and mix until well blended. Pipe or spoon about a tablespoon into the center of each macaron shell and top with another shell.

Snapshots From A Weekend On The Ranch…

Horses At The Lodge


We are on our way back from our road trip to Oklahoma and Ree, The Pioneer Woman’s Lodge where I shared with her readers two of my passions, cooking and photographing. We are in Nashville for the night but I could not wait any longer to post a few snapshots before I write a more detailed post later on. Ree wrote the nicest and funniest post about it here and made me wish I could give everyone a hug again!

Horses…Lots of them. Wild horses. This is the first image I saw before pulling in the driveway to The Lodge where we would stay the weekend. Bill and I arrived a day before the attendees to get our bearing, get some work done, take pictures and get Bailey the puppy situated. I texted Ree we were riding speechless at the immensity of the landscape before us. And its beauty.

Lodge Mud Room


We know oceans. This was ocean of grass and waves of hills. As far as the eye could see. We were tired and beaten up by the road trip but all our aches evaporated the minute we pulled into the driveway. The Lodge is grand. Spacious. Cozy. Comfortable. Huge. Styled. Welcoming.

Buster


We put our bags down, grabbed our cameras and headed back out the door. We wanted to catch the Golden Hour. Right before the sun goes down. We were met by Buster one of the strays hanging out on the property. Buster stayed with us throughout the evening, checking things out. Such a cool and sweet puppy. Yes, I wanted to take him home.

Bailey & Buster


Bailey and Buster became instant friends and they were inseparable on our little walk in the heat and golden glow of the prairie. Thanks to Buster and his nonchalant ways, Bailey’s lack of assurance with the horses vanished in minutes. They were really like two old pals hanging out.

Lodge Dining & Living Room


One thing about The Lodge is that it’s spacious. Better not realize you need to get back to your room after you reached the kitchen. On the other hand, it is so beautifully decorated that there is something to read or look at all major intersections!!

Night Sky At The Lodge


Marveling at the sky above us. For once, we could see the Big Dipper. The Milky Way. Shooting stars. Things we can’t see or not as well where we live. We stayed up late to take some shots. We could not go to sleep. All our senses were going crazy. I felt overwhelmed. In a good way.

Night Sky At The Lodge


Many times on the trip we pondered the thought of bringing a blanket outside and sleeping under the stars.

Lodge Inside


Who can resist waking up to a kitchen with such a light? Dang! No wonder Ree loves shooting there so much now. In my head I could not stop hugging the islands, countertops, stoves and ovens.

Group At The Lodge


Look at that mighty fine bunch of macarons bakers and photographers! The dynamic of the group was pretty awesome and flowing easily. Lots of good laughs and jokes flying around.

Macarons


There were a lot of macarons baked and photographed that weekend. We had some great successes and some serious ka-plunk but we all shared and learned that day. Would not have it any other way!

Observing ...


On this trip, I also went to my first rodeo. I also observed lots and lots of cowboys. Always fascinating.

Sunset At The Lodge


This sunrise still fills my heart. The colors that accompanied us as we left The Lodge the other morning. Magical.

Ree


This lady. Her warmth, generosity. Her singing and her laughing. Her jokes and her curiosity.

I’ll be back with more pictures from the workshop later this week. Have a great rest of the week everyone!

Summer Fare: White Nectarines Pineapple Sage Galette, Chanterelles Tartines & Quinoa and Fig Tabouleh

White Nectarines Galette


Don’t judge but a slice of this white nectarine galette has ben breakfast for the past two days. Tomorrow also. Even though we are taking a road trip cross country, B. requested I’d pack the galette along for the ride. I am not that interested in breakfast usually. Unless there is pie. Or eggs and bacon. These would seriously get me in trouble. As a gourmande through and through, I’d happily sit down and cut myself a not-so-shy piece of pie if you’d let me. Especially when filled with juicy white nectarines from the farmers market.

White Nectarines


The moment I took this one out of the oven, I made another one. Certain that we would appreciate waking up to share a piece while sipping our coffees. We are indeed on the road, heading to The Pionneer Woman’s Ranch. The macaron and photo workshop weekend is finally here! And well, instead of spending time in airport, airplanes and muttering over missed flights and too short connections, we decided to pack up the van and take a littlelong trip out West.

White Nectarine Galette


I did leave a few goodies and cookies for the house sitter but not this pie. Nor the leftover sautéed chanterelles we shared for lunch under the shade of a huge oak tree in the middle of nowhere Alabama. Nor did I leave the couple of servings of the quinoa and fig tabouleh our gluttonous selves could not finish the night before we left. All three were packed up and enjoyed quietly. And well.

Chanterelles


It’s been ages since Bill and I went on a long road trip together and when I mentioned the trip to Ree he turned to me with a big bright smile “I am free that week! Let’s just get in the car and see the country!”. I gotta love his enthusiasm because if you know me, you also know that I fall asleep the minute I get in the car. There is something with enclosed spaces that make me go “ka-plunk” asleep. I feel terrible about it. Really!

Chanterelle tartines


There is nothing I enjoy more than having the time to catch up with Bill as we pass through towns along this big vast American soil. I just love this place. Its complexities and diversity. Its textures and personas. So far, I am doing good on this trip. Proof is that I am writing this as he drives. We have been able to catch up on family stories as we drove through South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and now Mississippi.

Chanterelle Tartines


We just enjoy those rare moments now when both our schedules allow for some free time together. What can I say… Fourteen years have passed since our first excursion together and we still dig just being with the other. In the moment. And I want to believe it’s not only because of the delicious foods I pack up when we head out.

garlic


These four recipes are perfect for a picnic, on the side of the road, at the local park or even on a hot day at the beach. They pack easy and well and last a while since they are better at room temperature. As I was preparing them, I wanted nothing less than to set aside some time to pull out a blanket in the backyard and have an impromptu picnic by the creek. But there was more cooking to be done before heading out!

Chanterelle tartines


When Jason at the market said he’d have freshly picked chanterelles, I literally jumped in my seat. My mind going only in one direction. Chanterelles sauteed in butter with garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Served on toast with a sliver of pecorino. That’s all I could think about. This is by far my favorite way to enjoy wild mushrooms.

Tomato Zucchini Salad


This salad of heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced zucchini and feta is actually a take on a salad I ate while in Salt Lake City during a pot luck. The original version featured zucchini, sliced thin, with feta, dill and a drizzle of olive oil. I loved the combo so much that I started my own riff on it as soon as I got home. My advice? Make more than what you think you will need. You’ll eat it all. And more!

Quinoa and Fig Tabouleh


The quinoa and fig tabouleh is an interpretation of a recipe from Elle a Table. I was intrigued by adding figs to a savory grain salad. Figs and savory are opposites and harmonious at the same time. Such a perfect fruit to pair up with tomatoes, mint and lots lemon juice! We are full blown in fig season down here and I can’t stop filling my basket with them.

Figs

Quinoa and Fig Tabouleh


I think the most doubting soul that the combo would work was Bill but as soon as I was done taking those pictures, I handed him a spoonful and before I knew it, I was almost prying the bowl from his hands so we would have some left for dinner! The tabouleh also works great with millet or other whole grains.

Galette


I will try to post some pictures and updates of the weekend on the ranch as soon as I get back, if not sooner! Have a great rest of the week!

White Nectarine Galette:

Makes one 6-inch galettes

Ingredients:
For the crust (pate brisee)
2/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup superfine white rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
(or you can use 1&1/4 cup all purpose flour instead of the 3 flours mentioned above)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
8 tablespoons butter, very cold and cut in 1/2 inch dice
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup ice water
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water (to brush on the top crust)
Or milk to add some color to the crust
chopped nuts for topping (optional)

For the filling:
4 small white nectarines
1 tablespoon pineapple sage, freshly chopped (or mint, lemon thyme, lemon balm, etc…)
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions:
Prepare the crust
In a large bowl, mix together the millet, rice and sorghum flour. Add the powdered sugar and mix. Add the cold butter and mix with a pastry cutter or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough comes together in a ball. Flatten into a disk in between your hands and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes (you can make it the day before too).

In the meantime, prepare the fruit:
Cut the nectarines in half and remove the pits. Cut each half in thin slices. Mix them together in a large bowl with the herb, honey and cornstarch. Let stand 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
When ready to assemble, roll the dough in between sheets of plastic to about 1/8-inch thick to make a rough 9 to 10-inch circle. Place the nectarine slices inside that circle. Bring the edges over the fruit to create a 2-inch border or so and repeat the procedure until a complete border is created. Brush with the egg wash or some milk if desired (adds color to the crust), sprinkle with nuts with desired, and bake for about 30 minutes.

—————————————–
Chanterelle Tartines:
For 2 hungry people

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
half a pound fresh chanterelles, cleaned of dirt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf pasley
salt and pepper
thin slices of pecorino or other hard fragrant cheese.
Freshly toasted whole grain bread

Instructions:
In a large sautee pan set over medium high heat, melt the butter until it sizzles. Add the mushrooms, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and cook until nicely colored, about 8-10 minutes.
Let cool slightly and spoon a bit of that mixture onto pieces of toast with a little sliver of cheese. Serve warm.

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Tomato Zucchini and Feta Salad:

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.

Ingredients:
3 tomatoes (heirloom if you can), cut into small cubes
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, shaved
1/3 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
salt, pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:
Combine all the ingredients together and let sit in the refrigerator at least a couple of hours before serving so all the flavors have time to meld together.
———————————
Quinoa and Fig Tabouleh, adapted from Elle A Table:

Serves 6 as a side dish

Ingredients:
1.5 cups dry quinoa
3 cups water
6 large figs or 10 small ones, diced
3 tomatoes (heirloom if possible), diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts included
1/3 cup to 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh mint
juice of two lemons
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions:
In a large pot, bring the quinoa and water to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered until all the water has been absorbed (about 20 minutes). Remove from the heat, fluff with a for and place in a large bowl to cool for 20 minutes.
Add the figs, tomatoes, green onions, mint, lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and the oil. Let sit at room temperature for another 20 minutes and refrigerate after that if not consumed right away.