Chickpea Salad with Sweet Peppers and Herbs

This is another great salad that can be made a day ahead. I got the recipe from Elizabeth Bard’s Picnic in Provence. This is her second book on her life in France, while sharing recipes.

1 red pepper and 1 yellow pepper thinly sliced

1 yellow and 1 red onion thinly sliced

pinch of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground Spanish nora peppers or good quality smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon harissa ( North African hot pepper paste) or a pinch or two of hot pepper flakes

1/2 cup of olive oil

3 cups of canned chickpeas ( 2 14 ounce cans) drained

black pepper

a good pinch of coarse sea salt

1 cup packed flat leafed parsley, with stems finely chopped

1 tablespoon packed fresh mint finely chopped

lemon slices for garnish

Preheat oven 350F

In a large casserole dish combine the peppers, onions, and dry spices (mint and parsley add later).  Pour olive oil and combine. Roast in oven for 1 hour, stir a couple of times.

Meanwhile rinse the chickpeas in hot water. Take the time to rub off the waxy skins..

Remove the peppers and onions from the oven, stir in the chickpeas. Add salt and pepper. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then stir in the parsley and mint. Serve with slices of lemon to squeeze on top. Serves 6.

Farro with Asparagus, Kale ,Roasted Mushrooms and Hazelnuts

I found this recipe when I was researching what kinds of salads can I make ahead of time for our cookout. It’s on Foodnetwork.com  by Rachael Ray.

You’ll need:

Salt and Freshly ground pepper

1 1/4 cup of pearled farro

1 1/2 pounds of mixed mushrooms, here she mention hen of woods but I could not find them so I just got what was available

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

3 to 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped

2 shallots, chopped

1 bundle of thin asparagus trimmed and cut at in angle

1 small bundle of flat Tuscan kale also called Lacinato or dinosaur, stemmed and finely chopped

freshly grated nutmeg

1/3 cup of dry sherry or Marsala

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

lemon juice for serving

sherry vinegar , optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt and cook the farro to tender 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, toss the mushrooms with about 1/4 cup of olive oil to coat lightly, season with thyme. Roast in oven till deeply fragrant and brown. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in pan over medium-high heat add garlic, asparagus and shallots and cook till tender crisp. Add the kale till wilted season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Toast the nuts in a dry pan till brown and fragrant.

Drain the farro and combine with the vegetables in a bowl. Let it cool, can be served room temperature. The mushrooms  can be reheated and then added along with the nuts. I didn’t do that, I served all at room temperature. If it’s dry you can add sherry vinegar, a little lemon juice and or olive oil.

Potato and Green Bean Salad with Pastis Vinaigrette

This is one of the salads I made for our cookout over this holiday weekend. I will post the others later. I made it the night before and added the dressing a couple of hours before serving and let it get to room temperature. The recipe is in Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard. Which a great read by the way. It serves 4-6, but it can easily be doubled.

2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon pastis (an apertif, liquorice test) or anisette

1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil or more up to 1/2 cup to taste

1 1/2 pounds of small red potatoes, halved or quartered

3/4 pounds of haricots verts, extra thin green beans, blanched (I don’t blanch them as I do like them less crunchy)

1 small red onion, minced

1/2 cup of flat-leaf parsley chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1/2 cup of black nicoise olives

Combine the first 7 ingredients for the dressing in a glass jar or airtight container. Shake vigorously to combine.  Place the potatoes in a pot filled with salted cold water. Bring to a boil and cook them till tender about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the beans and blanch them in salted water for 4 minutes so they will be bright green. Pat dry with paper towels.

Drain the potatoes, place them in a bowl add the onions, parsley, thyme, olives and beans. Add the dressing and refrigerate for an hour. Let it get to room temperature and serve.

Chez Toutoune’s Mussels with Cream Sauce

I made this dish last night for dinner and it was delicious! Even though I am of Cuban heritage, I love and appreciate French cooking. I’ve been to Paris twice and fell in love with the Bistro’s, the culture and fashion.  It really is my favorite city. Okay back to the food.  I got this recipe from Patricia Wells Bistro cooking.  Here it is. Serves 4.

2 large egg yolks

1/2 cup of creme fraiche or heavy cream ( used creme fraiche)

2 pounds of fresh mussels

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 cup of dry white wine (good wine, the one you drink) she made suggestions in her book

2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves

2 shallots minced

freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 225 to warm the four soup bowls and the soup terrine.

Combine the egg yolks with the creme fraiche in a small bowl, whisk till blended and set aside.

The mussels I bought were from Whole Foods, they were pretty much clear of sand, but I did rinse them well with cold water.

Melt the butter in a large skillet with cover over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook till soft about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mussels, wine, and thyme. Increase the heat to high and cover. Stirring a couple of times. It usually takes about 5 minutes for all the mussels to open up. Throw the ones that didn’t.  Remove from the heat and with a slotted spoon scoop the mussels into the warmed soup tureen cover and place back into oven.

Strain the mussel cooking liquid with a cheese cloth, this was to strain any sand. But I do remember watching Ina Garten on the food channel she pour water over the mussels or was it clams (?) and added flour and the sand was at the bottom of the bowl oh well I did follow the recipe. Return the mussel liquid to the pan, that’s been wiped off.   whisk in the creme fraiche and egg yolk mixture and reheat the sauce enough but not boiling. Pour the sauce over the mussels and sprinkle pepper and parsley.

Grilled Flank Steak with Pomegranate salad

I found this recipe in a clothing catalog. It’s from Chef Charlie Palmer. I substituted the chicory for arugula for my own personal taste.

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Serves 6.  What you will need:

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon of paprika

2 ( 1 1/2 to 2 pound) flank steak

salt and pepper

1 pound of heirloom tomatoes cut in half lenghtwise

1 small head of chicory well washed tough ends removed, chopped

4 ounces chopped toasted walnuts (I dried toasted them over med heat)

1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds

pomegranate dressing

POMEGRANATE DRESSING:

2 tablespoons of pomegranate  molasses

1 tablespoon of orange juice

1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic

1/4 walnut oil

salt and pepper (whisk all together in a bowl)

Combine oil, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, garlic and thyme in a bowl whisk and blend well. Massage the paprika on all sides of the meat place in a glass baking dish and rub the marinate. Cover with plastic and set aside for an hour.    Grill the steaks turning occasionally for 12 minutes for rare or 15 medium rare. You can make the salad while cooking, or what I do is prepare everything before hand so I can keep an eye on the steaks. I added the dressing to the salad before serving.

When the steaks are done cut on the bias into thin strips place on platter with all the juices. Lightly coat the salad with the dressing and place along the steak. Serve immediately.