Leek, Bacon, and Mushroom Quiche

Quiche with leeks, bacon and mushrooms

 

quiche with leeks, bacon and mushroom

 

photo 3

 

Last night around 10 pm, I remembered that I had invited a friend over for lunch……uh oh.  I had completely forgotten, and didn’t have anything in mind or ready to prepare.  So I looked in my fridge and pantry……and voila!  I love that you can make a Quiche out of basically anything.  Just as long as you have the mains, which are flour, eggs, cream and cheese, it doesn’t matter what the fillings are.  I think that it’s versatility has made it a mainstay in my house!.  So these were the ingredients I had in my pantry and fridge, but feel free to swap any of the ingredients for the ones you have on hand.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

For the crust:

250g all-purpose flour

150g butter, chilled and cut into 1 inch cubes

1 tsp salt

1 egg

1 tbsp cold milk

For the filling:

1 leek, halved and thinly sliced

2 slices bacon, julienned

1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained

1 egg

3 egg yolks

300ml heavy cream

1 1/2 cups Emmenthal (swiss cheese), grated

1 tsp salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

pinch of nutmeg

 

In a large bowl, add the flour, salt, and butter, mix with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse sand.  Add the egg and milk, and mix with your hands until it forms a ball.  Flatten it with your hand into a disk, and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make the filling.  Saute the leeks and bacon together over low heat for about 10 minutes until soft and bacon is cooked but not crispy.  Let cool.  In a large bowl, mix the cream, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add the leek mixture, and half of the grated cheese.  Mix well and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 190C (375F), take dough out of the fridge and place on a counter dusted with flour.  Roll out the dough into a disk that is about 2mm thick.  Place in a buttered tart or springform pan, cover with plastic and refrigerate for another 20 minutes.

Take the dough out, and with a fork pinch all over.  Cover with parchment paper and place pie weights or beans in the pan.  Cook in the oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 170C (350F) and remove the parchment and pie weights, and cook for another 5 minutes.

Take out of the oven, and sprinkle the remaining cheese onto the bottom of the crust, and then add the filling mixture.  Cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until it is set but still has a slight wobble.  Let cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.  Serve with a green salad and basic vinaigrette!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Tarragon, Mushroom, and Leek Tart

Tarragon, Mushroom, and Leek Tart

 

It’s starting to cool down a bit here, not enormously, but in the evenings there is a slight chill in the air;  for me, that means that I can start using the oven more often, and I love it!

I have an obsession with all the ingredients of this tart, but the most recent one is tarragon.  I had never tried it before a couple of years ago, it really isn’t an ingredient readily available in Miami or the Bahamas.  After moving to Spain I started noticing it in the market, and wondered if it tasted as good as it smelled.  I think it is a definite acquired taste, but I liked it more and more every time.

photo (28)

This is a very simple tart to make, but just because its simple doesn’t mean it isn’t elegant enough to serve at a dinner party.  I love these types of meals, unfussy, rustic and über delicious.  Perfect to serve as a starter, or as a main with a simple lamb’s lettuce salad.

Here’s what you’re going to need:

For the shell:

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small squares

1 1/2 tbsp lard

2 – 3 tbsp ice water

 

For the filling:

2 leeks, thinly sliced

2 tbsp butter

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced (cremini or white)

2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

3/4 cup tarragon, chopped

3 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup Gruyère or comte cheese, grated

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

Pre-heat the oven to 425F (220C).  In a medium bowl place the flour and salt, mix well.  Add the butter and lard, and with your hands or a pastry cutter, mix until all the fats are incorporated.  Add the water, one tbsp at a time, and mix with your hands to form a ball, and just until the dough sticks together.  Add more water if needed (but I only used 2 tbsp).  Wrap in plastic film, and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Roll out dough on a clean and floured surface.  Roll out to about 1/8 thick, and place in tart mold, trimming the edges.  Cover with aluminum foil and put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  Remove from freezer, and add pie weights or beans, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Uncover and bake for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium low heat.  Add the leeks and cook until softened, about 5-6 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, thyme and salt.  Raise the heat to high and cook until the mushrooms have let out their liquids and it has evaporated.  Add the tarragon cook for another minute, then take off heat.  Let cool.

In a medium bowl, add the eggs, cream, cheese, black pepper and nutmeg.  Mix well.  Add the cooled mushroom mixture.

When your tart has finished pre-baking, lower the oven to 375F (190C).  Place the mushroom mix in the tart shell, and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.  Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Asparagus and Red Pepper Quiche

photo

 
Spring has definitely sprung, and as the days grow warmer in Madrid, it’s time to eat lighter and take advantage of nature’s bounty.  Asparagus is something that I look forward to every year, especially since my daughter absolutely loves them.  Yet I find that I seem to prepare them in the same ways, lightly sautéed either with eggs, parmesan or just a simple vinaigrette.

This year, I was going through a book that I have not opened in a long time.  My copy of Michel Roux’s “Pastry; Sweet and Savoury” has been sitting on my shelf for years.  I always leaf through it, and promise myself that I will try some of the recipes, yet I think I have only made one before.

I remember I bought the tart pan for this recipe specifically a couple of years ago, because the picture in the book struck me for its beauty.  I was a bit wary though, because the many times I had read the recipe, it seemed quite complicated.  I wasn’t wrong.  But what I didn’t realize, was how wonderful and delicious it is.  So yes, it is time-consuming, but I think if you tackle it bit by bit then it will become infinitely easier.  It isn’t hard, just laborious.

The result is a Quiche so elegant, so refined and bursting with spring flavors.  I hope you will try it too.  Oh, and the pastry is to die for.  ‘Nuff said.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Adapted from Michel Roux’s  Pastry; Sweet and Savoury

1 recipe short crust dough (follows)

40-45 medium asparagus stalks

salt and freshly ground pepper

5 red peppers, semi-confit (recipe follows) 600g total weight before confit

1 egg

1 egg yolk

200ml whipping cream

pinch of nutmeg

6 dill sprigs

Roll out the dough to 3mm and cover the elongated tart pan.  Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 190C, poke the dough in the tart pan and cover it with parchment and pie weights (or dried beans if you don’t have pie weights).  Bake for 20 minutes.   Lower the heat to 170C, remove pie weights and parchment and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and proceed with the filling.

Trim asparagus to 10cm to fit the tart pan ( do use a ruler).  Reserve bottom stalks for soups or frittata.  Steam until just tender, about 3 minutes.  Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.

Chop the already confit peppers, and set on a paper towel to drain off all the oil.  Place evenly on the baked tart pan.

In a medium bowl, mix the egg and the yolk with the cream, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Pour 3/4 of the cream mix onto the peppers.  Carefully place the asparagus, 2 by 2 horizontally facing opposite sides in your tart pan.  Spoon the rest of the cream mixture on top.  Bake in oven for 30 minutes.  Take out of the oven and place over a rack to cool for 20 minutes before unmolding.

With a spatula, lift the Quiche on to a plate.  Place the dill springs on top, and serve warm.  You can accompany it with a side salad for a perfect spring meal.

SHORT CRUST DOUGH RECIPE:

250g flour

150g cold unsalted butter, cut into small squares

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 tbsp cold milk

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients.  With your fingertips, start mixing all the ingredients until it resembles wet sand.  Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to a week.  You can also freeze it for up to 3  months.

CONFIT RED PEPPERS RECIPE:

600g red peppers (if not for this recipe, you can use whatever color you want, or a mix)

600ml of olive oil

2 thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

1 rosemary sprig

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 tsp black or white peppercorns

Roast the peppers, in the broiler or on a grill.  Char the skin all over, then place in a plastic bag for 15 minutes to cool and sweat.  Remove skin and seeds.

Heat oil in a small stock pot to 70C (very very low heat).  Add all the ingredients plus the peppers and cook for 30 minutes.  Let cool, and if not using immediately, place the oil with all the ingredients in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are going to use them.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Saveur Magazine Classic Recipe No. 32 – Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garclic

Saveur Magazine Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

This is a recipe I have been so intrigued to try for a long, long time.  It is in one of my old cookbooks, and I just never got around to it.  When we started this challenge, we decided that each of us would get to pick a recipe for the week.  This was Paolo’s choice, and I was really excited because I was finally going to be able to try it.

As a dish, it is fairly easy to make.  The smells as you cook the chicken, then the garlic, are absolutely wonderful.  Now, as for the finished dish…..hmmm.  We all decided that it was much too garlicky.  My daughter was not so pleased, and Paolo isn’t such a huge fan of garlic as I am.  Honestly, we were all not as impressed as what we were expecting.  I had high hopes for this. But I think if you switch it up a bit and follow my other cookbooks recipe, it would be less pungent and more velvety.  In the book it calls for you to leave the garlic unpeeled and bake the chicken in the oven for an hour and 45 minutes.  That said, onto the recipe and our rankings!

Overall taste points: 5.6 / 10

Difficulty:  Easy

Availability of Ingredients: Easy to find

3 tbsp olive oil

1 3-4 lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces

Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

40 cloves of garlic, peeled (you can use up to 100 cloves)

1/2 cup dry vermouth

3/4 cup chicken stock

1 tbsp. chopped tarragon ( I used parsley because I couldn’t find tarragon yesterday)

Heat oven to 350F.  Heat oil in a 6qt Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to pot and cook, turning once, until browned, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to an 8″ x 8″ baking dish; set aside.  Add garlic to pot; cook until browned in spots, about 6 minutes.  Add vermouth; cook, scraping bottom of pot, until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.  Add stock; boil.  Transfer 1/4 of the garlic to baking dish; mash remaining into stock.  Pour over chicken, bake until chicken is glazed and tender, 15-20 minutes.  Garnish with tarragon.  Serves 6-8.

 

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Gratin Dauphinois – Potato Gratin Dauphin Style

Gratin Dauphinois

I love gratin dauphinois.  I’m kind of obsessed with it.  I remember as a kid, seeing the commercial’s for Betty Crocker’s Scalloped potatoes, and thinking, why won’t my mom make this for me?  (It’s the same feeling I had for the snoopy sno cone machine.)  No matter how much I begged and pleaded, my mother would NOT make scalloped potatoes, nor did they ever purchase the sno cone machine for me.  (I swear, I still want one.  And and easy bake oven).

But I digress.  When I started to cook myself, I made this.  Wow.  I was mystified at the fact that something so easy could be so good.  It really is a sophisticated dish, fragrant and flavorful.  Decadent, warm and seriously addictive.  Because I had left over sliced potatoes from Saturday nights dinner, I made this to go with the Osso Buco, which I will post tomorrow.

So, if you are so inclined to indulge, here’s what you’re going to need:

1 clove of garlic, minced

3/4 cup milk

6 tbsp heavy cream

1 lb russet potatoes, sliced thinly with a mandoline

Salt and White Pepper to taste

2 pinches of cinnamon

4 pinches of freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375F (190C).  Add the garlic, milk and cream to a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the sliced potatoes, salt and spices.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring and coating the potatoes carefully.

Butter a baking dish.  Add the potatoes and smooth the top.  Bake until golden brown, about 45-50 minutes.  Serve hot!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Cabbage Gratin

Cabbage Gratin

Poor cabbage.  It always gets relegated to some type of sauerkraut or slaw.  I personally adore cabbage.  And since you can’t just buy a bit, and using up the whole head when the recipe calls for a cup or so, you are left with that soccer ball in your fridge, begging to be used every time you open it up.

I wanted something different to what I am used to preparing with cabbage.  I didn’t want to make a salad, or a soup.  I wanted to see if it could be used in a side dish that wasn’t just braised with apples!  So, I picked up a really great cookbook of mine, called “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone”  by Deborah Madison.  It’s a hefty tome, with 720 + pages of recipes.  It really is a bible for all things veggie!

Cabbage gratin

So, to my delight, there were quite a few recipes for cabbage that are completely new to me.  I found this one to be really interesting.  But, I decided to change it up a bit, one because I want to lose a few pounds before I go to my best friends’ wedding this January.  And two, because now when I read a recipe, I can judge if it needs a little extra umph to it.

cabbage gratin

So, instead of using cream in the original version, I swapped it for some greek yogurt.  And then I added some ground chipotle powder, which is my new favorite spice.  It adds a smokiness that you can’t get from any other spice, and the perfect amount of heat.  So, for all of you that are watching their weight, I did the math, and a serving of this is a whopping 150 calories!!!  I was so pleased that something that tastes really decadent can be eaten guilt-free. I also topped it with a teeny bit of grated Gruyère cheese as soon as it came out of the oven.  It is super simple to make, so the prep time is minimal, and all you have to do is wait about an hour for it to come out of the oven, and voilà!  You’ve got a delicious, healthy and low-calorie side dish!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Low- Calorie version:

Olive oil spray and freshly grated Parmesan for the baking dish

1 1/2 lbs of green or savoy cabbage, diced into 2 inch squares

1/3 cup flour

1 cup skim milk

1/4 cup greek yogurt

2 tbsp tomato paste

3 eggs

3 tbsp finely chopped parsley or dill

2 tsp chipotle powder or spicy paprika

Salt and freshly milled white pepper

3 tbsp grated Gruyère cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).  Spray the gratin dish with the olive oil and coat with the parmesan cheese.  Boil the cabbage, uncovered, in salted water for 5 minutes, then drain.  Rinse, then press out as much water as possible.  Whisk the remaining ingredients until smooth, add the cabbage, and pour the mixture into the dish.  Bake until firm and lightly browned, about 50 minutes.  Top with the Gruyère when it comes out of the oven.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

Buckwheat Crepes with Smoked Salmon, Onions, Dill Cream and Crispy Capers

After I saw Girl in a Food Frenzy’s post on Crepes, I knew I had to make some.  I love Crepes.  I love them sweet, but I especially love them savoury.  What makes me love them even more, is their versatility.  And buckwheat?  Well, I love that too.  Yes, I am in a loving mood.

I don’t really know why I don’t make them more often, they are one of my daughter’s favorite things, and once you make all your Crepes, they keep really well in the fridge and you can re-heat them in a cinch.  I think I am going to have some for lunch, with cheese, sautéed onions and mushrooms.  And I have more ideas up my sleeve, but that is for another post folks!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

6 Crepes, Recipe (Courtesy of Girl in a Food Frenzy)

300 g Good quality smoked salmon

1 medium red onion, sliced

1 cup light cream

1 bunch dill, chopped

2 tbsp capers, drained

2-3 tbsp olive oil

Fresh Ground Pepper

Make the crepes, set aside.

In a small bowl, place the sliced onions and a teaspoon of salt.  Start “massaging” the onions with the salt until they start to sweat and soften.  Set aside.

Heat the cream with the dill, and add some fresh pepper.  Set aside.

In a small sauté pan, heat about 2 tbsp of oil, fry the capers until they start to pop and crisp up.  Make sure you are far away from the pan, because when they pop, you could burn yourself with the oil.  Strain, and set the capers aside.

When you are ready to serve, in a large non-stick frying pan, re-heat the crepes.   While they are still in the pan, add a little bit of the onions, and add a couple of slices of the smoked salmon.  Fold the crepe and place on a plate, drizzle with the dill cream, and top with the crispy capers.  Repeat with all the crepes.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

 

A night in Collioure, France

So after our post-lunch walk and a bit of shopping, we hopped back in the car to our final destination for the night, Collioure, France.  Funny thing is, I wasn’t even going to take them there.  My original thought was to take my family to Cadaques.  But on the Thursday night after we had rented the car, I got on the internet and tried to find a place to stay.  There was NOTHING in Cadaques.  By this time I was getting nervous.  All the websites kept on offering us rooms in Roses, which is a seaside town 25 km from Cadaques, but not exactly the place you want to stay.  The only draw Roses has, or had, I should say, is that it is home to El Bulli, which is now a center for investigation and learning,  Culinary investigation that is.  Then I remembered that my business partner had talked about this little town right across the border of Spain.  He was always waxing poetic on its beauty, so I thought I would give that a shot.  And we got lucky!  We found an incredible hotel for 170 euros per night, for four people!  At that price, (43 euros per person) we didn’t care if someone had to sleep on the floor.

So, anyhow, we began our drive up, and were pleasantly surprised on how near it was to Spain.  This region of France is called Pays Catalan, although it is in the Languedoc-Roussillon.  Between the 10th and 17th century, France and Spain fought over this region like rabid dogs.  So although it is undecidedly French, it has many Catalan influences everywhere.

We finally arrived at the hotel, and were amazed at its beauty.  Les Mouettes is a wonderful place to stay out of the hustle and bustle of the main town, but only 2km away.  We had 180 degree views of the ocean, and there was a fantastic pool to boot.  But, we wanted to head into town to explore and then grab a bite to eat.  So we drove in, and were “oohing” and “aahing” at the beauty of it.  Little did we know.

As my uncle and I were waiting for my aunt and her friend to finish shopping, we continued to walk towards the port.  We came across this little square, that was just spectacular.  The photos do not do it justice.  Behind us (from this vantage point) there was a large stone arch.  We could see the water, so we slowly meandered down towards it, and as we passed through the arch, we both looked at each other with mouths agape.  The port of Collioure is one of the most breathtaking vistas I have ever seen.  Its half-moon beach flanked on either side, to your left by a church, whose bell tower dates back to the middle ages.  And on our right, was this massive Fort, that housed the Kings of Majorca from the middle ages until French occupation.

I was flabbergasted.  I couldn’t stop turning my head, akin to a tennis match, and thinking to myself, we are really lucky.  Walking a little further on to the beach, you realize there is another half-moon bay behind the fort, and high up on a hill behind it there was an old windmill, and higher up another fort with a watchtower.

Then if you turned completely around, in the distance, on two mountain peaks, were another two other watch towers.  It was truly, truly amazing.  I’m not going to get into the history of it, but if you want to browse and read a little about it, you can look it up here.  We ran back to grab my aunt and her friend like two excited school children to show them the sights.  After a round of 1,000 pictures, we began to look for our restaurant for the night.

I had been warned that Collioure was expensive in terms of food, but nothing could be farther than the truth.  We decided to eat in the little square above, and found a great little place, which I don’t remember the name of, and had a menu worth 14.90 euros.

It was a simple dinner, but exactly what we wanted.  We got a salad to start, unfortunately, we all tucked into our salads so fast that no picture was taken.  But mine was Salade Collioure, which had anchovies, white anchovies, olives, tomatoes, rucola, lambs lettuce, and a gorgeous balsamic vinaigrette.  It was simple, but delicious.  My aunt chose to have an incredible salad, whose name again I do not remember, but it was full of orange slices, white asparagus, hearts of palm, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, avocado, tomatoes, and of course, tender lettuce.  Then along came our mains.  Oh heaven!  We all chose to have the Bavette a L’Echalote avec Pommes Frites.  That’s basically flank steak with a caramelized shallot and red wine reduction sauce, and of course, french fries.

It was perfect, it was exactly what we wanted on that wonderful, magical, oh so Francaise night!  The meat was cooked to perfection, Au Point, and the fries were crispy without being greasy.  Needless to say, we didn’t eat our side salad.  I mean, how much lettuce can a girl have?

Dessert was amazing too, there was a choice of Ice Cream, Fruit Salad, Crema Catalana (which in my head I wailed, NOOOOOOO!  I prepare crema catalana on almost a daily basis for my classes, so it is so not what I want to eat.) and Ile Flottante.  Of course I chose Ile Flottante, which translates to Floating Island.  It is beaten egg whites, or meringue, that is quickly poached, and then placed over Creme Anglaise, basically custard.  It was all topped of with a caramel sauce.

It was delicious.  I was so happy, humming between bites.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had this dish, and my belly was congratulating me on such a wise choice.

After dinner, as per European custom, we took a long walk along the seaside, walked around the Fort to the other half-moon bay.  We meandered, taking in the sights and sounds, of families and couples strolling just like us.  It was a magical night.  It was exactly what we were hoping for, but more than we expected.

The next morning, we woke up to rain and choppy wind.  It was COLD.  I did not bring anything to warm me up, since the week before we had been in a heat wave, and ended up having to buy a sweater so we could visit the fort.  Here are some pictures of the fort, and the only history note I will leave you with is this, cause I think it’s super cool.  The fort was briefly occupied by Louis the XIII and his musketeers, and D’Artagnan fought in the battles with him here.  Now how cool is that?

This is a must see for any traveller.  Collioure is absolutely worth a visit for longer than a day.  And if you are looking for somewhere to stay, I recommend Hotel Les Mouettes.

 

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Apricot, Blueberry and Rosemary Galette

To me, summer means stone fruit and berries.  Mouth-watering cherries, peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums.  Ripe and succulent blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and the such.

Yesterday at our market, we overdosed on these.  We bought about 20 apricots, those fabulous flat peaches, which they call Paraguayos here, nectarines and blueberries.  I was pretty certain we couldn’t consume all that fruit before it goes bad…..but that is us.  We see things and we want them, thinking that we are going to go on a fruit fast or something.  But not so, because well, you know about how much food I brought back from Switzerland.

Since Sundays are our official lazy days, I figured, why not make a galette?  It is such an unfussy dessert, I love the free form crust, flaky yet consistent enough to hold all that fruit.  I chose to make the dough with rosemary, because my little plant is doing quite well, and I love rosemary in savoury and sweet dishes.  I also decided to fill it with apricots and blueberries.  That way, I am sure none of our fruit will go bad.

This is really easy to make, feel free to add any other herbs to your dough to make it your own.  And for these lazy summer days, nothing is nicer than a no-fuss galette with a glass of lemonade or iced tea.

Enjoy!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

For the galette:

Makes 2 disks

3 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

16 tbsp butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, chilled

2/3 cup ice water.

1 small sprig of rosemary

2 tbsp of sanding sugar

1 tbsp cream

Filling:

6 apricots, halved, and then slice the halves in two.

a handful of blueberries

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the flour, sugar and salt.  Mix on low-speed with the paddle attachment.  Add the butter, and mix until incorporated, and looks like wet sand, but there are still some big chunks of the butter that are visible.  Add the rosemary and mix.

Add the ice water all at once, and mix until incorporated.  Don’t overmix.  Gather the dough, and shape into two balls.  Wrap in plastic and shape into disks.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Take out the dough, and roll out one of your disks to whatever shape you want, square, rectangle, round.  Place on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment.  Arrange the fruit in the style that you most like, and then fold up the sides.  With a galette, you are the artist.  If you only want a tiny little peek of what’s inside, make the borders 4-5 inches.  If not, a good rule of thumb is stick to two inches.

Press some of the sanding sugar onto the borders of the dough, and sprinkle a little bit on the fruit.  Brush the entire galette, fruit and all, with the cream.  Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Let cool a little before serving.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Nicoise Salad

How can you not love this salad?  It’s not really a salad, it’s a complete meal.  Of course, there are thousands of variations of Nicoise, and I don’t pretend mine to be the authentic one.  But, it’s my take, and I loved every bite of it.

When summer rolls around, I crave something that is cold, yet hearty.  But just the connotation of the word hearty to me is warm food.  But I think this is the equivalent of that for summer.  It really is a whole meal on a plate.  My version is chock full of vine ripe “Raff” tomatoes, green beans, new potatoes, red onion, tuna, boiled egg, and chickpeas (yum!), topped with a parsley pesto vinaigrette.  This combination is so satisfying and nourishing.  I truly enjoy making and then gobbling up this “salad” with a nice piece of crusty bread.  And really, it is quite easy to make.  Yes, you have to boil ingredients separately, but if you prepare beforehand, it is simple.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 2

2 hard-boiled eggs

3 new potatoes

80 g string beans

1 can of tuna, oil packed, drained

1 small red onion, sliced

100 g chickpeas, boiled and cooled. (or from a can or jar)

1 tomato, sliced

For the parsley pesto vinaigrette:

1 large bunch Italian parsley

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

4 tbsp grated Parmiggiano Reggiano

1 tsp lemon juice

1/8 cup olive oil

juice from 1 lemon

Arrange all the ingredients for the salad however you want.  I chose just for the picture to separate them, but it makes a really nice presentation if you have guests over.  You can even bring it out to the table without dressing, and then add the parsley pesto.

In a blender, pulse the parsley, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, the garlic, salt and pine nuts until a fine paste.  Then add the parmesan and lemon juice.  Sprinkle about 2 tbsp of this over the veggies, and then dress with the rest of the olive oil and lemon juice.  Toss to coat.

Reserve the rest of the pesto to use on bruschetta, fish, pasta, whatever your heart desires!

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I do, and you can feel good, because its super duper healthy!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla