I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by friends and family or just chilling. We loved being able to share the day with a few different groups of people, plopping from one dinner to another and a glass of Champagne to a glass of wine, surrounded by the warmth of a good fire and a few good hugs.
The cray-zee schedule has officially started! Well, I kicked it off a week ealier than previously planned and I am quite glad I did. We all know that it’s not because you have one important thing on the agenda that everything else takes a backseat. Every bits and pieces of life that you are trying to juggle all want a spot on the passenger seat while you are trying to drive without knocking other people over. One thing that helps me keep focused is good nutrition. Sweet or savory. Salads especially.
I always try to take time out to fix myself a proper lunch and eat by the window without any incoming noise. It helps recharge my internal batteries and ensures that I don’t forget all the other things and people around me. When my friend Tara mentioned this salad from The Breakaway Cook I instantly started craving daikon radishes. I never think about adding them to my shopping list but I have done so three times in the past week. This salad? I made a version of it just about as many times. The one pictured here is probably my favorite.
It’s loaded with good stuff, it’s refreshing, it’s tasty and it’ll bring you good juju for the day. Ok, I am making this last bit up but I felt energized and ready for another 12 hour shift right after eating it. The beauty of salads is their endless possibilities for adaptations. Eric makes his with daikon radishes, pomegranate seeds, avocado, edamame, orange pepper. Mine included daikon and red radishes, avocado, watercress, carrot and pomegranate seeds. It’s the end of the season here for those but I needed them for work and had leftovers.
I decided to start working on the photography for Carrie’s book a bit earlier than planned, mostly to find a rythm and properly organize my time. The experience has been nothing short of amazing so far. It’s a lot of work to cook, style, shoot, edit that many savory and sweet recipes but loving my job makes it easy to invest every bit of myself in it. Everything I have made so far has been refreshing, succulent, different, easy to prepare. You could say I am biased since I have a stake in it but trust me, even if I had zip involved, I’d still couldn’t wait to get her book pronto.
And then there are all the other things in between like more gigs, friends, house, dogs, invoices bills and taxes (grrr….). You know what I am talking about. Some of you even have children to juggle into the mix. We only have a couple of very active and very snuggly creatures! I can’t promise lenghty blog posts and towering piles of groovy macarons in the next couple of weeks but I can promise there will always be something good to eat, savory or sweet.
I think I’m getting a hunkering for a tart. It’s been a while. Can’t live off salad alone, although this one is on repeat on my plate this week.
Refreshing Daikon Radish and Watercress Salad:
Serves 2 to 4 depending on your appetite.
1/2 daikon radish (8-inch piece)
1 bunch red radishes (about 8)
1 small bunch watercress
1 small ripe avocado
vinaigrette of your choice
Wash and slice thin both kinds of radish and the carrots. You can use a mandolin if you want. I don’t have one so I just used a very sharp knife. No matter what you use, watch out for your fingers!
Wash and pat dry the watercress.
Cut avocado into small dices and seed the pomegranate.
Arrange everything in a large or individual bowls and drizzle with the vinaigrette.
Le P’tit Coin Francais.
Salade Composee De Radis et Cresson:
1 morceau de radis chinois (20cm environ)
1 botte de radis traditionels (environ 8)
1 petite botte de cresson
vinaigrette de votre choix
Coupez les radis et carottes en tranches fines a l’aide d’une mandoline ou d’un couteau. Lavez et essorez le cresson. Coupez l’avocat on petit des et recuperez les graines de la grenade.
Disposez le tout dans un grand ou plusieurs saladier et assaisonez avec la vinaigrette.
Today is my brother’s 34th birthday so "Joyeux Anniversaire Arnaud"!
I had a serious craving for carrot cake or muffin or cupcake last night so I figured I would make a small batch and send him one via this blog as a token of my love and friendship.
I don’t mean to get all too sugary sweet but I am fortunate that over the years our relationship evolved as well as it has and from being bickering sibblings with a short age difference we are now able to go on vacation together, share a kitchen and forget about the small stuff. I only wish, now that I have finally discovered what a great guy he is, that we did not live that far away from each other as he and his family are in Toulouse, France.
Back to the recipe…I often precook vegetables on the weekends for the days I have late evening training sessions and the last thing I want is to spend one more minute on my feet. I remember I had cooked carrots, broccoli and cauliflower in the hope I’d get around to making pretty vegetable purees or souffles one night…did not happen so when I opened the freezer and found 2 cups of cooked pureed carrots the only thought that came to my mind was "carrot cake"…Eh Doc! At least I am getting my vegetables in…!
I had bookmarked the recipe ages ago and just got around to doing it, killing two birds with one stone by celebrating a birthday and indulging a craving. I decided not to use nuts or other fruit such as pineapple or raisins in the filling because all I wanted to taste was the sweetness of the carrots, but feel free to add them if you fancy them. Thank goodness I ended up giving most of them to the neighbors because I could have easily polished off a whole tray!
Carrot Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting, adapted from Joy of Baking:
Makes 12 cupcakes
2 cups cooked and mashed carrots, cooled
2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup (240 ml) canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 stick (115 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 350 and spray a muffin pan with cooking spray. I did not use muffin liners but feel free to do so.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
In bowl of electric mixer, beat the eggs until pale. Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light colored. Add the oil and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Fold in the carrots and chopped nuts. Evenly divide the batter among the muffin tins and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
In bowl of electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter, on low speed, until very smooth with no lumps. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth.
Decorate with nuts or coconut or anything you like.