Cook the Book Fridays – Fresh Herb Omelette

Vancouver's "Snowpocalype" was pretty at times.

Happy New Year! I hope 2017 brings plenty of good things, though it’s sure to be a challenging year, as well. My December was hectic and celebratory and my blog schedule suffered as a result. I don’t regret it at all, but I did miss keeping up with my friends at Cook the Book Fridays. So, I’m catching up on most of the dishes I missed in December, along with posting about our very first selection of 2017.

Fresh Herb Omelette

Fresh Herb Omelette

After all the complicated dishes, rich holiday favourites and baking, baking, baking, a simple omelette was a wonderful way to usher in a new year of cooking together. I’ve often skimped on butter when making omelettes, but faithfully using the quantity specified in this recipe gave this omelette the kind of crust and soft, fluffy interior I’m only used to at restaurants. No more skimping on butter for me.

Pissaladière

Pissaladière

I first made Pissaladière when I was cooking through Around My French Table with French Fridays with Dorie, way back in 2011. It’s a dish I don’t revisit often enough, so I was glad to have a reminder of how much I like this onion, anchovy, and olive tart. I’m not sure I can choose between the two versions. I like them both, though it is convenient that David’s dough doesn’t require an egg – with the number of eggs I ran through during holiday baking, that was probably more important than it would be in the summertime.

This is something I like to make for company, but I was on my own for it this time around. I didn’t “minify” it, though. Instead, I made the full recipe, pulling it out when it was fully baked, but not as browned as I like it. I cut it into squares, put one back in the oven to brown, and put the rest into the fridge in a covered container, once they’d cooled. That gave me several days’ worth of this delicious treat, each slice of which was just as good as the first, once it got its second round in the oven.

Grated Carrot Salad

Grated Carrot Salad

This is another dish that was also tackled by the French Fridays crew when I was cooking through Around My French Table, but this version skips the raisins and nuts, focusing on carrot, herbs, and a lemon-mustard dressing. I’m all in favour of that. Simple salads that go with almost anything else you’re serving aren’t just the stuff of January resolutions – they’re year-round necessities that make meals shine.

I’m looking forward to catching up on everyone else’s posts from December and I’m also looking forward to what’s in store on the blog in the next few weeks. There will be a chocolate tasting to tell you about and a risotto recipe or two to share. I’ll be updating you on the progress of my spider plant and making good on my intention to share more about community this year. In these times, I think it’s good to celebrate the ways in which we come together, don’t you?

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.

Holiday Cookbook Reviews – Scratch

tomato-chickpea-and-rice-soup

I received a review copy of Scratch from Raincoast Books. Nevertheless, all opinions in the following post are my own.

My introduction to the Rodale family came through the stack of Organic Gardening magazines beside my Dad’s favourite chair. What I learned from them has guided the way I eat and shop, and the choices I make in my backyard gardening experiments.

So, I was curious to see what Rodale Inc. CEO Maria Rodale‘s approach to food would be in her new cookbook, Scratch.

I was happy to discover that Rodale’s food philosophy is much like my own, emphasizing a variety of fresh, seasonal foods in preparations that are weeknight easy and full of flavour. On the weekends, I may take the time to learn new techniques, prepare an elaborate meal, or take on a multi-day baking project, but for the rest of the week I want food that is as simple to prepare as it is tempting to eat. What I don’t want are “15 minute meals” that rely on processed food or skimp on taste.

It’s that middle ground that Maria Rodale is passionate about sharing. Her cookbook is like a peek into her kitchen’s handwritten recipe books and card files. These are the recipes that her kids ask for, or have developed themselves. They’re recipes collected from extended family, memorable restaurant meals, travel, and house guests. They’re the recipes that add up to an everyday life that’s full of meals made from scratch.

homemade-crackers

She’s pared down her recipes to the essentials, both in ingredient and technique, to make them accessible to new cooks and attractive to busy ones. From the sampling I’ve done so far, this method hasn’t sacrificed flavour or healthy ingredients. Her homemade cracker recipe is a perfect example of this – finding only complicated, time-consuming recipes online, she developed her own version that captured the taste and crunch she wanted, simply and quickly. It’s a basic recipe that’s good just as it is, or can be used as a canvas for any flavour you crave. I took one of Rodale’s variation suggestions and sprinkled za’atar on mine. They’ll be great in soup, but I’m also enjoying snacking on them right out of the tin I’ve stored them in.

Her food is rooted in her Midwestern upbringing, but it’s also firmly planted in the 21st Century. There are classic American recipes like glazed ham or chicken noodle soup, alongside recipes that make use of today’s global palette of ingredients, like Vietnamese rice paper rolls or quinoa kale, and sunflower seed salad. The salad was the first recipe I tried when the book arrived and it’s perfect for lunchboxes or a buffet side dish.

quinoa-kale-and-sunflower-seed-salad

It’s also one of the recipes in the book that accommodates gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian eaters, in a book that doesn’t exclusively cater to either. That’s another aspect of this cookbook that reflects the way I cook – I’m a gluten-loving omnivore, but many of the people in my life eat differently than I do and I’ve grown accustomed to cooking for a variety of food needs. Scratch is full of recipes that easily accommodate these diets, without resort to specialty ingredients or complicated substitutions.

Another recipe that is naturally vegan and gluten-free is Rodale’s Tomato, Chickpea, and Rice Soup, which the publishers have been kind enough to allow me to share with you.

TOMATO, CHICKPEA, AND RICE SOUP

My yoga teacher, Holly, taught me how to make this soup, and it’s delicious. She based it on a Marcella Hazan recipe she found online, but of course we modified and simplified it a bit. We made it on a cold winter’s day, and it was the most heartwarming, soul-satisfying soup you can imagine. Don’t worry about the amount of oil, it gives the soup a lovely richness. Feel free to add more stock if you prefer a thinner soup.

Serves 4 to 6

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 can (14 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
  • Leaves from a few sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock, store-bought or homemade (page 111)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • Grated Romano cheese, for serving
  1. In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the whole cloves of garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until golden.
  2. Carefully add the tomatoes and lightly mash them with a potato masher to break them down a little. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Add the rosemary and chickpeas, increase the heat to medium, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the stock, the pepper flakes (if using), and salt and black pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Ladle two-thirds of the soup, including the garlic, into a blender and process until smooth.*
  5. Return the puree to the pan with the remaining 3 cups stock and bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the rice is cooked. Divide among bowls and pass grated Romano at the table.
    * This step is totally optional, but results in a lovely thick, smooth soup.

There aren’t very many ingredients in this soup, but it’s full of flavour. Simmering the tomatoes in garlic-infused olive oil brings back a bit of summer to them and partially pureeing the soup makes it as silky as though it were made with cream. I garnished mine with garlicky breadcrumbs, as I had them on hand, but it would have been just as delicious without any garnish at all. That said, it would be fantastic with the grated Romano called for in the recipe, too.

This recipe is easy enough for a beginner, but appealing to experienced cooks – so many of us would reach for short grain rice when making soup, but Arborio rice makes it so much richer and more filling. There are other recipes that are geared toward novices, like Rodale’s simple grilled cheese, but I keep dipping into this book for gems like her celery with brown butter and toasted almonds. It helped me to happily eat down my overabundance of celery this fall.

Scratch is the perfect cookbook to give to a young adult striking out on their own or even a teenager who wants to learn their way around the kitchen. But it’s also a lifesaver for busy working adults who are disenchanted with recipes that promise speed, while sacrificing quality and flavour. And for those of us who want to eat healthy whole foods, but are uninterested in the latest food fads and unafraid of a little bit of everything in moderation, this book is on point.

Rodale’s go to cookbook was the Joy of Cooking and she’s produced a contemporary book in the same spirit – one that can guide you from novice to experienced home cook, while remaining a resource for years to come.

Scratch by Maria Rodale

Raincoast Books has been generous enough to offer a copy of Scratch to one Canadian reader. You can find the giveaway here and enter until December 22nd: Win a copy of Scratch*

Gift Giver’s Guide: For the weeknight chef, the family feeder, the kitchen novice, and the organic eater.

Come back next week for a review of a book that will turn you into a confident crafter of all things baked.

*This giveaway is open to residents of Canada. You must have a Canadian mailing address. The winner will be required to answer the following skill testing question: 15 X 12 =_____ This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability. Winner(s) will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. Entrants must provide a valid email address where they can be reached. Each of the winners must respond to the email announcing their win within 48 hours, or another winner will be chosen. No purchase of any product is required. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send us an email!

You can find links to the rest of my Holiday Cookbook Review Series giveaways here. They’re all open until December 22nd.

Cook the Book Fridays – Butternut Squash Crumble


Holiday dinner season starts this weekend in Canada, just in time for the markets to start filling with this year’s autumn harvest. Growing up, we always had yams or squash on our holiday table, but they were never the storied candied yams with marshmallows that I heard about from other families. My mother preferred to roast them and mash them with just enough butter, brown sugar, and nutmeg to enhance their natural flavour. It’s my favourite way to eat them still.

So, I looked at this week’s recipe carefully, worried that it skewed to the dessert on the dinner table side of things. But, this recipe makes the most of butternut squash’s savoury affinities, while using its sweetness to balance the dish. The crisp is a mixture of bread crumbs, Parmesan, and polenta, seasoned with sage and held together by butter and egg. Underneath, the squash is infused with homemade chicken stock and flavoured with thyme and shallots.

As much as I like sweet crumbles, with almost any sort of fruit, I’m excited to have met its savoury cousin. Now that I’ve given it a test-run, it can graduate to prettier baking dishs and shine on holiday tables this year, and I suspect, for years to come.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.

Cook the Book Fridays – Gazpacho with Herbed Goat Cheese Toasts

Gazpacho

The way I’ve been eating lately feels like summer’s last hurrah. I picked the last of the beans from my garden, leaving a few to dry on the vine for seed. Here and there, there are rogue zucchini and cucumbers left lurking in the garden, and I’m just about ready to make green tomato chutney.

Happily, I’ve still got a big bowl of ripe tomatoes on the counter, so my summer harvest isn’t quite spent. Most of them are destined for roasting, if they don’t get eaten out of hand first. Some more were set aside for this week’s Cook the Book Fridays selection, gazpacho. David describes it as an “icy-cold liquid salad” and it’s a perfect description. It also showcases the late summer flavours of tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper in a way that makes me long for summer to begin all over again.

I skipped the traditional slice of bread that’s used to thicken the soup, for a gluten-free version, and I don’t think the consistency suffered that much. My breadless gazpacho is in good company, including
Martha Rose Shulman
‘s version in the New York Times. I’ll make David’s version as written when I’m serving gluten-friendly eaters, but it’s nice to know it works so well for gluten-free eaters, too.

Rosemary-Oregano Goat Cheese Toasts

I served the soup in shot glasses, for a grazing Friday night supper. There was hummus and gluten-free crackers for M. Vegan. For me, the croutons for the soup became tartines, instead, slathered with goat cheese mixed with rosemary and oregano from my garden. And we both worked our way through a plateful of crudités.

I’m glad that squash and chanterelles are starting to appear, to assuage the pain of summer’s disappearance, otherwise, this meal would have put me into a winter’s-long funk. Even so, I’m glad there’s some soup left for tomorrow. I’m going to savour the last few tastes of summer for as long as possible.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.

Baking Chez Moi – Cornmeal & Berry Cakes

Cornmeal and Berry Cakes

Muffins and cupcakes went through faddish phases and now are disdained by those who fancy themselves food sophisticates. But, little cakes have their place. They can be frozen and enjoyed over time. Their single-serving size might suggest individualism, but nothing speaks of sharing as much as a container full of them. A large cake is impressive, but it can also have a gatekeeper (like the poor host who served 1 centimetre by 1 centimetre pieces of cake to people he wanted to insult). Even mini-cupcakes are inherently polite and egalitarian.

They’re especially convenient for someone like me, who gets the urge to bake whether or not there are people to feed. My freezer is filled with projects savoury and sweet, awaiting occasions for sharing or celebration.

Some of these little cakes are going into the freezer, though fewer than usual. Sweet olive oil and polenta cakes are hard for me to resist. These also include a considerable portion of butter and are flavoured with lemon, blueberries, and a pinch of cardamom. The recipe calls for raspberries, but their season is over, so I used blueberries instead. The cardamom was a last-minute addition.

I over-filled the muffin tins, so they’re not as pretty as they might be. I think when people taste them, they’ll forgive me. I also think that those who turn their noses up at little cakes might find themselves betrayed by their sense of smell – I can’t imagine anyone being able to turn these down just because they’re cupcake-shaped, can you?

You can find the recipe here and if you really can’t stand the idea of a small, round cake, fret not – the recipe is really meant for mini-loaves.

You can find the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie crew’s entries on this recipe here or here, along with posts about July’s other selected recipe, Summer Market Galette. And here’s the link for any other recipes members chose for this week’s Rewind Post.

Cook the Book Fridays – Cherry Tomato Crostini

Cherry Tomato Crostini with Herbed Water Buffalo Cheese

I spend the hottest part of the summer negotiating with myself over when I can turn on the oven and for how long. As much as I love stone fruit pies, roasted corn, and all that heat can bring to summer’s produce, I am not built for hot weather (or cold, but at least turning on the oven in winter helps alleviate my weaknesses). I should probably take up grilling, since I’m not sure how my neighbours would feel about my visualizations of an outdoor kitchen.

Cherry tomatoes ready for roasting

One thing that can motivate me is high summer’s tomatoes. I love roasted tomatoes. I usually slow-roast them, but David Lebovitz‘ quicker method is so good, I might just start using it all the time.

Roasted cherry tomatoes

I had a meeting in the backyard while the tomatoes were in the oven, so the heat was only a factor when I was taking them out. I ended up leaving them in a little longer than the recipe calls for, inadvertently, but they came out just the way I like them – soft, jammy, and a bit browned. I roasted them with thyme and rosemary, lashings of black pepper and a little sea salt. They are sweet and savoury in perfect measure.

Making herbed water buffalo cheese

That was today’s primary activity in making this week’s Cook the Book Fridays selection, but I started preparing this dish yesterday. To make the herbed cheese, I bought some thick, Greek-style yogurt. It was supposed to be goat’s yogurt, but the only containers I could find were huge and the yogurt inside seemed runny. So, on a whim, I used water buffalo yogurt instead. It’s milder than goat, so the finished cheese is less tangy than it would have been, but I really like the results. It’s more like labneh than a soft cheese and it’s perfect for this recipe.

Herbed Water Buffalo Cheese

I’ve made chèvre before and loved it, but this recipe is much more likely to be made regularly. It’s easier and can be used in many of the same ways as soft cheeses like goat cheese. Mixed with garlic, shallots, cayenne, and herbs (I used basil, flat-leaf parsley, chives, and thyme), it made a perfect foil for the tomatoes.

The last step was the easiest, but it required a little fortitude. I’d been out in the heat, running errands, and the last thing I wanted to do was turn the oven back on to toast the bread. It was worth it – who can argue with toast that’s been slathered in olive oil before going into the oven and then rubbed with a garlic clove on its way out? But I might cheat tomorrow, if it’s as hot. Toast can be brushed with olive oil on its way out of the toaster, after all.

Cherry Tomato Crostini with Vegan Cream Cheese and Gluten Free Bread

I actually made this two ways – one version with gluten-free bread, vegan cream cheese, and the roasted tomatoes; the other with the French country bread, the herbed water buffalo cheese, and the roasted tomatoes. The second one was for me and I loved it. The first one didn’t go over as well – the vegan cream cheese wasn’t a perfect match for the roasted tomatoes.

I’ve got enough of everything to do it all over again tomorrow. And if I use my toaster cheat, I won’t have to turn the oven on at all.

If you want to try this yourself (and if you have summer tomatoes available, you should), you can find the recipe here: Cherry Tomato Crostini with Homemade Herbed Goat Cheese. But, buy the book – everything in it is stellar.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David LebovitzMy Paris Kitchen.

Garden Succotash with Cornichons

Garden Succotash with Cornichons

In high summer there are few things that make me as happy as pulling fresh food out of my own garden. Well, maybe a delivery from my parents of Chilliwack corn and whatever they’ve been growing in their own garden.

When that coincides with a delivery from Maille Canada, I start feeling ecstatic.

Maille Cornichons with Caramelized Onions

Maille was kind enough to send me a jar of the newest edition to their range of cornichons – Gherkins with Caramelized Onions. Knowing how good their cornichons are is a liability. I found it difficult not to open the jar before I’d settled on a recipe to use them in. This would have been a very different post then, as they don’t last long around here.

Willpower prevailed and I came up with a version of one of my favourite side dishes, succotash, to showcase the flavour of these wonderful cornichons. Succotash is one of those infinitely variable dishes that can stray very far from its original components (corn, lima beans, and tomatoes), while still retaining its character.

I’ve made a really good winter slow cooker version with edamame and frozen corn, but my favourite time to make it is right now, when the best of the summer’s corn is at its height.

I love corn on the cob – who doesn’t? But fresh corn has so much more to offer – I eat it raw in salads, cooked with the cob in soup, and sliced off the cob in almost any dish I can work it into.

As for cornichons, I’ll eat them straight out of the jar, but love to add them (and their brine) to salads, meat dishes – or again – any dish I can work them into.

These cornichons are flavoured with caramelized onions in a brine rich with grape must, wine vinegar, and mustard and coriander seeds. They’re delicately piquant and provide a perfect acid that enhances the fresh summer flavours of this succotash without overwhelming them.

In winter, I want a succotash that’s almost a stew, but in summer I like to add raw vegetables (like cherry tomatoes) to the mix. It’s much more like a warm salad and the brine works with the sauce provided by the corn, Roma tomato, and butter beans, to act like a vinaigrette.

We ate the succotash with roasted new potatoes and beets and steamed green beans – all fresh from the garden. It made for a hearty vegan meal. But, this could easily act as a barbecue side. It would be particularly great with grilled pork chops or chicken, along with a piquant potato salad

It’s also adaptable to whatever you’re bringing home from the fresh markets or pulling from your own garden. The green beans could have easily been added to the succotash, the butter beans replaced by Lima beans, Borlotti beans, or edamame. But don’t skip the cornichons or their brine. You’d regret it.

Garden Succotash with Cornichons again

Garden Succotash with Cornichons

Makes 6-8 servings

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 ears (4 cups of kernels) fresh corn
  • 2 398 mL (14 oz) cans of butter beans
  • 1 sweet pepper (any colour), diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, coarsely diced
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 6 Maille Cornichons (Gherkins) with Caramelized Onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 Tbsp brine, from the jar of cornichons

Cut the kernels from the cob using a chef’s knife, while standing the corn cob in a large bowl. Slowly slide the knife under the kernels, keeping as close to the cob as you can (and keeping your fingers well out of the way). Discard the cobs and set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or pan. Add the onion, with a pinch of the salt, cooking until translucent and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute or two more, until soft.

Turn the heat to medium-low. Add the corn kernels, butter beans, sweet pepper, Roma tomato, and thyme sprigs, with the salt and a generous grinding of fresh black pepper. Stir well. Cook until the corn is barely tender and all ingredients are heated through, about 7-10 minutes.

Remove the thyme sprigs. Add the cherry tomatoes and cornichons, with a tablespoon of brine from the jar. (Make sure you get some of the caramelized onions along with the brine.) Mix well and serve immediately.

Overhead view of Garden Succotash with Cornichons

I will be tracking down these cornichons as soon as this jar is empty. They’re a staple in my cooking and on my snack table, too. They’ve taken their place alongside the Maille’s mustards that fill almost an entire shelf on the door of my refrigerator.

But, you don’t have to live vicariously through me – these cornichons are in wide release across Canada. And if you live in Metro Vancouver, you’ll also soon have an opportunity to sample some of Maille’s more exclusive offerings, in person. Maille is going to be bringing their Flavour Studio to New Westminster’s Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest on August 20th. They will be holding culinary workshops and mixing custom gourmet mustards. Their exclusive fresh mustard will be on tap and headmaster mustard sommelier Harry Lalousis will be there to demonstrate ways to embellish your cooking with Maille’s mustards.

I’ll be there and I’ll be writing about the day shortly afterward, so if you don’t join me, you’ll have to settle for experiencing it all vicariously. I know what my choice would be.

I received a jar of Maille’s Gherkins with Caramelized Onions from Maille Canada, but received no other consideration. All opinions are my own.

Cook the Book Fridays – Apricot Crumble Tart

Apricot Crumble Tart

How often have I said, today’s assignment is in the oven as I write? Probably a little too often. But, here I am again. I’ve been meaning to make this tart all day, but have fallen down several rabbit holes along the way. First, there was shopping to find the perfect Rosé to go with the pickerel my parents generously shared with me (it’s a Prairie fish – properly called walleye – and one my father particularly loves, so it’s especially lovely that they passed some along to me). After that, there was weeding the garden, and a coffee on the Drive with Kevin.

Then, there was the main distraction of the day. A week or so ago, Melissa of Food Bloggers of Canada asked if any of us used bullet journals. I’d missed the phenomenon entirely and have been spending spare moments trolling Pinterest and Instagram, Boho Berry and Tiny Ray of Sunshine, in a quest to figure it all out. As it turns out, it’s not all that different from the ‘Everything’ books I used to carry around, with less angst and more concision.

Everything Books

I’ve fallen for the trend, more or less, and have started carrying around a Leuchtturm1917. It’s not a bad thing. I’ve never been a good fit for a traditional dayplanner – my work and creative outlets don’t fit nicely into those evenly divided spaces. I’d moved to keeping everything in my phone or in my head, which is convenient, but doesn’t have the satisfaction or brainstorming potential of analogue notebooks. So, this diversion has turned out to be a welcome one.

One of the first things I did was set up a section for blog planning. It’s been a little quiet around here, with many analogue-life upheavals and changes in the works. Things have settled down now and my capacity for writing, cooking, creating, and exploring has returned. So, my new planner is justifying its purchase quite quickly – thank goodness for positive reinforcement.

Even more positive is the return of my desire to get into the kitchen. My parents sent along some beets with the pickerel, I gathered some radishes from my garden, and picked up some mushrooms and new potatoes from the fresh markets along Commercial Drive. The vegan entrée was sage-roasted mushrooms and we shared roasted potatoes, beets, and radishes. Tomorrow, there will be corn on the cob and salad with lettuce, radishes, and cucumbers from my garden. My cooking mojo returned just in time for high summer’s bounty.

Lemon Dill Panko Crusted Pickerel

And for the next few days, there will be this delicious tart for dessert. Our markets are full of enormous, juicy BC apricots right now and the timing was perfect for this tart. David’s tart dough baked perfectly and the simple crumble topping is all that’s needed to complement the goodness of the apricots.

My mother is coming back on Monday for a visit. I’ll be hard-pressed to save some long enough to share with her.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David LebovitzMy Paris Kitchen.

Cook the Book Fridays – Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing

Raw Veggie Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing

What better time for a classic summer salad than a weekend bookended by two national holidays? Slaws are classic picnic and barbecue food and this one stands up to any I’ve tried. This recipe is also a blueprint for enjoying slaws year-round, with an host of suggested vegetables and fruits to complement its garlicky dressing. This time, I chose red cabbage, green onions, radishes, flat-leaf parsley, and some tarragon fresh from my balcony garden. In winter, I might choose broccoli or Brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, and red onion.

The dressing is truly garlicky, calling for two full tablespoons of garlic to one cup of mayonnaise. I made a vegan version, using vegan mayo, and it translated quite well. Vegan mayos have improved immensely over the last few years, I’ve found. I quartered the dressing recipe, made half the quantity of salad, and still had some dressing left over. It will be gone quickly – it’s so good, it could serve as a dip. It’s a terrific combination of garlic, red wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard.

Raw Veggie Slaw

I’ll be adding this dressing to my regular rotation. I can’t remember the last time I bought a bottle of salad dressing. There are so many great scratch recipes for them and I like being able to make dressings in small quantities – that way, they never go to waste, unlike past bottled dressings that expired long before I could finish them.

I hope my Canadian and American friends are enjoying their long weekend and those in other parts of the world have a relaxing weekend, too.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David LebovitzMy Paris Kitchen.

Cook the Book Fridays – Fattoush

Fattoush

I don’t think of salads as diet food. It’s what I was raised to do, but the days of wan supermarket lettuce, with its limp produce aisle cohorts are long gone. These days, lettuce is early summer fare, along with freshly-dug radishes and scallions. It’s not quite time for tomatoes and cucumbers, but today’s fresh market offerings are better than the supermarket fare of yore (yore being the late 20th Century).

Salads are a broader category for me now, too. Shaved Brussels sprouts or cabbage might go into a winter salad, roasted tomatoes and eggplant into a high summer version. But right now, salads look a lot like the ones in my elementary school picture books – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, radishes, carrots – they’re all fair game.

Fattoush with za'atar

Tonight’s salad is fattoush, which adds a healthy dose of flat-leaf parsley and mint to a mix of romaine, onion, radishes, and cucumbers. It’s tossed in a lemony, garlicky, mustardy vinaigrette and finished with grindings of black pepper and a sprinkling of sumac. I’m out of sumac, so I substituted za’atar. I’m glad I did, because there’s lots of sumac, but it also adds a burst of thyme and sesame.

My bowl included pieces of pita that had been brushed with olive oil and crisped in the oven. The gluten-free version included crispy rice crackers instead. Both were full of flavour.

There will be many more summer salads this year, but I’ll be revisiting this one regularly, perhaps as soon as tomorrow.

Fattoush on a wicker tray

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David LebovitzMy Paris Kitchen.