pan-seared salmon circles (tournedos de saumon)

February 26th, 2013

 

 

pan-seared salmon circles (tournedos de saumon)   with avocado

turning dinner around one steak at a time

pan-seared salmon circles
(tournedos de saumon)

 

 

Taking the same old and making it new is the inspiration for this week’s simple pleasure: pan-seared salmon circles (tournedos de saumon). Read the rest of this entry »

preserved Meyer lemons

January 21st, 2013



close up shot of Meyer lemon with salt and a glass jar ready to be preserved 

preserved Meyer lemons

 

 

makes 1 large Le Parfait jar (34 ounces)fresh lemons on a wood table

 

 

what you need:

10-12 Meyer lemons
~½ cup kosher salt
fresh lemon juice (as needed)
1-2 bay leafs 
10 black peppercorns
French thyme or lavender (optional) 
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

 

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terre à terre

January 14th, 2013

mushrooms, black truffles and terre à terre;  mushroom soup with truffled straws

mushrooms, black truffles and terre à terre
mushroom soup with truffled straws

It became our holy grail; a sort of “Da Vinci Code” chase by default. I am not talking about a religious relic or an art piece. I am talking about soup. Over the holidays, the daily soup special on every Parisian menu seemed to be velouté de champignons (cream of mushroom soup). Miam ! The problem was this: by the time we headed out to eat, the mushroom soup was gone. It happened a few times. Even twice in one evening. Frustrated, we became obsessed (and I vowed not to cook for the week, at least I tried). Finally, we managed to get our rumps in gear earlier and we finally had the sought-after mushroom soup. As I watched my friend, a Paris first-timer, enjoy his soup, made with French butter and fresh cream, I was inspired to recreate it (a bit healthier and vegetarian) and combine it with another one of his new favorite things and that thought inspired this week’s simple pleasure: mushroom soup with truffled straws.

girl with mushroom earring Read the rest of this entry »

falling leaves in Paris and autumn simplicity on your plate

November 30th, 2012

 

paris fall leaves man with dog

falling leaves in Paris and autumn simplicity on your plate:
scallop “macarons” with chanterelles and thyme

I have only seen it snow once in Paris and the snow didn’t stick. This year while Paris has seen a couple rainy and “see your breath” chilly days, overall it has been beautiful and 5 or 6 degrees Celsius warmer than usual for late November. Parisians have been out in droves, profiting from the gift of warmer weather. Although the holidays are approaching, right now it is not holiday decor which covers the city, but blankets of golden leaves. Watching Parisians play in the leaves (and the city workers haul mounds of the leaves to compost piles) I thought of the poem Gathering Leaves by Robert Frost where he talks about the lightness and the “harvest” of falling leaves. I wanted to “harvest” leaves. In particular, I wanted to capture  the color scheme and lightness of these golden leaves and the flavors of autumn and put it on a plate in a simply way. That thought inspired this week’s simple pleasure: seared scallop “macarons” with chanterelles and fresh thyme. 

scallop “macarons” with chanterelles and thyme

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“Newdorf” Salad (the Waldorf salad revisited)

November 1st, 2012

 

A new version of the Historic Waldorf Salad. The Newdorf

“Newdorf” Salad
(Waldorf salad revisited)

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lentil sky, ghostly fish

October 18th, 2012

 

 ghostly fish in black lentil night sky  (braised black cod on Beluga lentils with fresh thyme)   

lentil sky, ghostly fish:

ghostly fish in black lentil night sky 
(braised black cod on Beluga lentils with fresh thyme)

Prepping whole Dover soles for a fish class involved, among other things, removing the large, flat, flesh-colored heads (with both eyes on one side of their head) from their flat bodies. Fillets to be used for the class; the heads and bones for fish stock. 

 

Dover sole fish parts for fish stock

Call me whimsical, but I see everything in terms of food and everything around me leads to culinary inspiration or at least a food analogy. Perhaps it was the Halloween decor, the Halloween-themed fair at my childrens’ school, or the monster movie we recently enjoyed, but the dozen separated fish heads lying on white parchment paper resembled human ears which then reminded me of the painter Vincent van Gogh (who offered his own severed ear to a prostitute). Thinking of his painting Starry Night, I became inspired to turn his masterpiece on canvas into an edible Halloween-themed meal. Food-obsessed, I am. Instead of swirling stars that we reach through death (as he believed) I thought of a Halloween “scary” sky made of creamy, earthy black lentils with contrasting flying ghosts made of white fish and flowing trees of fresh woodsy thyme sprigs. It was at that ghoulish moment, surrounded by fish heads and thinking of van Gogh, this week’s (spooky) simple pleasure was born: ghostly fish in black lentil night sky (a/k/a braised black cod on Beluga lentils with fresh thyme sprigs). 

This week savory. Next week sweet. “Bon(e)” appétit !

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Fruit, Neruda and enjoying the silence

October 3rd, 2012

fresh autumn figs with balsamic caramel,  fleur de sel and pomegranate seeds

Fruit, Neruda and enjoying the silence:
fresh autumn figs with balsamic caramel, 
fleur de sel and pomegranate seeds

Fall fruit reminds me of Pablo Neruda. Actually, his writing and in particular, the compilation of selected poems (translated by Stephen Mitchell) entitled: full woman,fleshy apple, hot moon. How wonderful is a man who appreciates both the honest curves of women and the beauty of seasonal fruit and can artfully write about both. 

 

figs pears and grapes

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fresh figs with balsamic caramel, fleur de sel and pomegranate seeds

October 3rd, 2012

 

 

fresh autumn figs with balsamic caramel,  fleur de sel and pomegranate seeds   

fresh figs with balsamic caramel, fleur de sel and pomegranate seeds

 

 serves many happy people

(makes approx. 11 ounces caramel sauce)

  

fresh autumn figs with balsamic caramel,  fleur de sel and pomegranate seeds

 

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lobster “roll” (California style)

September 24th, 2012

 

lobster “roll”  California style
(mille-feuille de homard à la Californie)

serves 4

what you need:

lobster 
4 lobster tails 
1 cup seafood stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 sachet (1 bay leaf, fresh Italian parsley, fresh cilantro, black peppercorns, 1 strip lime peel)

salad
1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
1-2 apples, thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 Asian pear, thinly sliced, seeds removed
1-2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
1-2 tomatoes (preferably Green Zebra), sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced

dressing
2 teaspoon gros sel de Guérande (or sea salt)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
⅓ cup olive oil
¼ cup avocado
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh minced Italian parsley
pinch piment d’espelette
freshly ground black pepper (as needed)

lobster apple and avocado ingredients

garnish
pinch piment d’espelette
pinch minced fresh Italian parsley Read the rest of this entry »

seeing things from the downside-up and the inside-out

August 20th, 2012

 Pont de L’Archêveché bridge paris 

seeing things from the downside-up and the inside-out: 
melon and honey-ricotta cannoli (with raspberry coulis)

It is the combination of a famous bridge in Paris and a honey bee crashing our dinner party which inspired this week’s simple pleasure: melon and honey - ricotta cannoli (with raspberry coulis). Also this week, peach and tarragon clafoutis. Both recipes make the most of summer’s end. 

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