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Beet salad for the sweet tooth

5 Apr

Candied Almond Beet Salad

Image

  • Arugula
  • 3 Prepared whole beets
  • Mandarins (optional)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Fresh lemon
  • 2 cups almonds
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar

If you are looking for a vibrant and scrumptious salad than here you are. The Candied Almond Beet Salad is very easy to prepare and can be altered to your own taste.  It also serves as a very visual compliment to any meal, with ruby red beets providing a stark contrast to the leafy green arugula.  And if mandarins are in season, a few slices would also pair very well.  To tie it all together I made simple lemon vinaigrette and drizzled it over top (keep some on the side if you choose to add more).

The only real cooking involved was making the candied almonds, which proved to be really easy to make but quite difficult to not eat.  Click for the recipe.  I chose not to add the cinnamon to the dry ingredients mixture.  I also chopped the almonds if you are buying them whole.  If you choose to buy whole almonds, a tip is to cover them with one hand while you chop so they don’t fly across the kitchen.  Make these first to allow cooling time.

With this done, you are now ready to prepare the rest of the salad.  I used ready to eat whole beets from the store.  Cut them to your desired size. If you are using mandarins as well, I recommend making them the same size pieces.  Than prepare plates with a handful of arugula in a mound shape and scatter the beets, almonds and mandarins around in a circular motion to spread evenly.

Lastly is the dressing.  Start with good olive oil, 2 Tbs, and squeeze a quarter of a lemon.  Wisk them together and taste.  If you like the taste than you are ready to drizzle, if not add more lemon or olive oil, salt, pepper, etc.  Raspberry vinaigrette I imagine would also go well.

Have fun!

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Mushrooms in the closet

6 Feb

I love meat. Duck, pork ribs, carpaccio, hot and burning wings, I am a meat eater.  I can not resist to thin slices of saucisson for the apéritif or a fried bacon pizza. Roasting chicken at the market makes my mouth watering and even if I love pet rabbits, I also like them with apple cider, prunes and raisins. And yet, I had a homemade veggie burger this week. A veggie burger that tasted like meat. Except that it was not beef but the cap of a Portabello mushroom grown in the closet of my apartment.

In NYC, it is trendy to grow your own vegetables, brew your own beer or make your own cheese and yogurts. It is part of the new « homemade». So when A. said that he wanted to grow mushrooms, I was not so much surprised. After all, he had been growing mint and basil on my tiny balcony in Toulouse, why not mushrooms in NYC?

Growing mushrooms in an apartment is a funny thing. First he had to set up the closet, a sort of walk in closet where we put our coats or shirts. Call it dorm room life. He also had to control the humidity. Once the nest was ready, he prepared the growing materiel. It led to some funny morning discoveries : the mushroom kit in the bathroom (again, temperature control), hay boiling and cooling in a big pot on the stove, newspapers all over the kitchen to make papier mâché, pounds of wet coffee grounds in the kitchen sink… But the most interesting is to answer the questions of family and friends : no, we are not growing THAT kind of mushrooms, and yes, they grow in the closet.

Finally, last week he got his first three babies : more than one pound of meaty tasting Portabello. Very good in a morning omelet, delicious in a veggie burger with balsamic vinegar, cheddar, onion and spinach.

La purée de Mamie

13 Jan

Personal memories linked to a special cook or a special meal from the past can be a stereotype or a common topos in food writing (this is what Dianne Jacob suggests in her book Will write for food evoking editors’ exasperation with these stories). But I am convinced that they are worth sharing. So let’s get tummy nostalgic for a moment…

One of my favorite meals is smashed potatoes. It comes from the days of my grandmother (the inspirational grandmother is what constitutes the cliché; but we love our grandmothers and they deserve being remembered one way or another). She used to cook the exact same lunch every Saturday: a juicy beef steak cooked in a big piece of margarine and ground pepper, lettuce salad with shallots vinaigrette and smashed potatoes. She would serve me a piece of steak and then creamy potatoes, digging a hole in the middle and pouring in some of the meat sauce. Usually I would go back to the pan and take more sauce as the purée would disappear from my plate.

Smashed potatoes are easy to cook but the result always varies depending on the ingredients used to flavor them. Even if she was not using any specific recipe, I know from memories of watching her preparing the meal while listening to the 1pm news on TV that she would mash the potatoes with milk, then put a large piece of margarine with salt and ground pepper. I am not sure but I think she would also add some whipped cream. At the end, she topped it with an egg yolk to give it this beige color and link the whole preparation into a very creamy one. I use to complain to my mom that her mashed potatoes were not as good as her own mother’s. My grandmother always answered vaguely about what made it so special. Maybe she did not know herself, but I am still very convinced she had a secret. The smell filling up the small apartment, the consistency and the well known taste of it constitute a vivid memory. I was never able to cook the same mashed potatoes or make that sauce by myself, nor was I able to taste it again anywhere.

Years later, I had the chance to taste mashed sweet potatoes during my first Christmas in an American family. Sweet potatoes are not a common ingredient in France and I must admit I was a little bit skeptical about it. I know the tendency of Americans to sweeten everything, from mustard to chicken.  And the idea of mixing it with marshmallow was a total affront to my grandmother’s meat and margarine sauce. But what I discovered enchanted my palate: creamy, with a slight sense of maple syrup, the mashed sweet potatoes were not only savory but good looking with the marshmallows on top, alike a lemon pie topped with small meringues.

I forgot to ask the cook the recipe so it will stay a mysterious tasty memory, alike my grandmother’s mashed potatoes.

Hello tummy!

9 Jan

A collection of hungry tummies stories…

Why write about food, simply put because Tummy boy and Tummy girl love it. They love eating, and they love eating good: rich and creamy dairy, fresh vegetables and fruits, fish, meat or anything they can’t pronounce.

From this blog they just want to document their food experiences in creative way through Reviews (Tummy tips), Food history (Tummy traditions), Recipes (Tummy treats) and Travels (Tummy trips).

If you enjoy this make a comment or just keep reading!