Tag Archives: salad

Wheat Berry Salad + Merveilleux

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It’s Friday! I will be sharing two Cook the Book Fridays recipes with you today. I had intended to make the dessert, called Merveilleux, for Valentine’s Day, but I was sick with a nasty cold that week and just didn’t feel up to making it. The Wheat Berry Salad is the “official” recipe of the week.

Wheat Berry Salad with Radicchio, Root Vegetables, and Pomegranate

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Wheat Berry Salad with Radicchio, Root Vegetables, and Pomegranate is just like it sounds. Cooked wheat berries are tossed with roasted root vegetables (I chose butternut squash because I found a bag of pre-cut squash that was just the right amount for the recipe), wilted radicchio, parsley, pomegranate seeds, and a citrusy vinaigrette. I made half the recipe and ate it for lunch over the course of two days.

So, Wheat Berry Salad with Radicchio, Root Vegetables, and Pomegranate was only OK for me, but it’s not the fault of the recipe. This type of salad just doesn’t do much for me and I would have never chosen to make this one if it weren’t for Cook the Book Fridays. That said, it did make for a satisfying lunch.

Merveilleux

I mentioned above that I had planned to make Merveilleux for Valentine’s Day. Well, my husband’s birthday was the following week, so I made it for that special event instead.

This year’s birthday was a fun one because our daughter is finally starting to get excited about birthdays (hers and others). She had been looking forward to Daddy’s birthday, so I decided to capitalize on her interest and get her involved. I took her on a special outing to select Dad’s gift and card, then she helped me wrap the gift and signed the card. She was so excited to give him the gift on his birthday. And of course he loved receiving it from her.

Making Merveilleux was quite an involved process that took a good part of the day. I wasn’t really sure what I was even making. This recipe would have benefited from a photo of the finished product.

Basically, Merveilleux is two vanilla meringues filled with a coffee-flavored cream, then covered in that same cream, and coated with finely chopped chocolate. It was very messy to make and my finished products were not very pretty (I don’t think I got the cream stiff enough). The one pictured above was the prettiest and the rest were far less beautiful. The treat pictured below was a simplified Merveilleux that I made for my daughter.

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These were delicious! The coffee cream was so good, and I ended up eating quite a bit of it straight out of the bowl. I only made 4 filled Merveilleux, but I enjoyed eating the rest of the meringues on their own. BUT, I’m not sure it was worth the mess and effort. Perhaps Merveilleux is one of those treats best purchased from a pastry shop in Paris.

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You can find the recipes for Wheat Berry Salad with Radicchio, Root Vegetables, and Pomegranate and Merveilleux in David Lebovitz’s book, My Paris Kitchen.

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Grated Carrot Salad

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After taking a month off from Cook the Book Fridays, I am back with a simple, yet classic, salad. According to David Lebovitz, you won’t find this salad in most traditional French cookbooks because it is so commonplace, it’s assumed that everyone knows how to make it.

Grated Carrot Salad is as simple as it gets: grated carrots are tossed with a simple dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, salt, Dijon mustard, sugar, and herbs (I used parsley).

We thought this salad was only OK. It lacked flavor, or something. Perhaps it was the lemon I used? It wasn’t the freshest…  My husband added raisins to his serving and liked it much better. I think it brought back memories of the carrot salad he grew up on.

On the plus side, this salad is easy and can be made ahead. It would be perfect for a potluck or picnic.

If you are interested in trying Grated Carrot Salad for yourself, you can find the recipe on page 123 of My Paris Kitchen. There are also a couple of variations on David Lebovitz’s web site. Here is one: French Grated Carrot Salad.

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Cook the Book Fridays – July Recipes

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It’s summer! That means school’s out, fun activities, and running around town. It also means less blogging (for me, anyway). Not only do I spend more time with my daughter (a good thing!) and less time on the computer (also good!), but my routine is disrupted. Even if I have the time, I have trouble fitting blogging into my summer reality. I have come to terms with all this, but I do miss checking in with my Cook the Book Fridays friends.

I am back this week with a double post of both CtBF July recipes! I was late on the slaw because I wanted to make it on the Fourth of July, and then didn’t getting around to writing about it until now.

First, let’s talk about the Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing:

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I love this recipe because it is more of a formula than a recipe. David lists a bunch of different veggie options and gives us an idea how much we should end up with at the end. Use what you like, leave out what you don’t like! Also, it’s a great way to use up the random leftover veggies languishing in the fridge.

When I made this recipe, I used a combination of cabbage, carrots, broccoli, and radishes. I was going for more of a classic slaw. It would be fun to experiment with different combinations.

I liked this slaw and will definitely make it again!

Next up, Buckwheat Crêpes with Ham, Cheese, and Egg:

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The name of this recipe pretty much tells you what you need to know. First I made crêpes out of buckwheat flour (they are technically called galettes when made out of buckwheat). I got to pull my little-used crêpe pan out of the pantry for this! It definitely made the job easier. My pan is only 8 inches rather than the 10 inches the recipe calls for, but I found that using the full 1/4 cup of batter was the perfect amount. 

After the crêpes are made, then they are filled with prosciutto, grated Emmenthal cheese, and an egg. We were instructed not to break the yolk, but I prefer my yolks cooked through, so I blatantly disregarded the instructions and broke my yolk! The sides of the crêpe were supposed to be folded over the filling, but because of my smaller crêpe size I was not able to do that. 

I made this savory filled crêpe for my lunch one day and enjoyed it. I am not sure I enjoyed it enough to make crêpes just for this, but I would certainly make it again if I had leftover crêpes.

I hope you are all having a great summer!

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Fattoush

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I have to confess I am not a big fan of making salads. I love eating salads, and I often order them from restaurants. But I find making salads to be tedious, so I usually just throw together a boring, mediocre salad at the last minute. I think it’s in part because I spend all my effort making the main dish and I just don’t feel like preparing the veggies. And if I have to wash the lettuce too? Forget it! Bagged lettuce is my friend.

This week for Cook the Book Fridays we made a Middle Eastern salad called Fattoush. It only took a little more effort than I usually put into a salad, and the results were worth it.

The ingredients are a mix of familiar and unfamiliar. The familiar: romaine lettuce, green onions, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, parsley, mint, radishes, and a lemon vinaigrette. The unfamiliar: ground sumac and toasted pita bread.

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I made his and hers salads, to suit our different tastes. My salad followed the recipe to a tee. My husband had only the veggies, added grated cheddar, and used his usual blue cheese dressing.  I served the salads with leftover chicken kabobs. Perfect!

I loved the combination of flavors in this salad, and the pieces of toasted pita bread were a fun alternative to croutons. The lemon vinaigrette was good, and I would make it again for any salad. Will this experience will help me put a little more effort into making tasty salads? We’ll see…

This post participates in Cook the Book Fridays, an online cooking group currently making our way through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. Join us if you’d like!

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Cook The Book Fridays: Winter Salad

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Happy Friday! I am very excited to announce a new project/feature on my blog: Cook the Book Fridays!

Ever since French Fridays with Dorie ended, us former Doristas have missed cooking together each week. There had been some discussion about starting a new book together, and finally Katie of ProfWhoCooks took the plunge and got us started. Thanks Katie! Our first book is My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Since we are just getting started, this is a great time to join in if you are interested. Check out the “official” site for the recipe schedule and rules: Cook the Book Fridays. The more the merrier!

Our debut recipe is a simple salad called Winter Salad. A thick dressing is made from crumbled Roquefort cheese, Greek yogurt, chives, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss it with sliced Belgian endive, and top with a few more chives.

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I haven’t eaten Belgian endive very often, and when I tasted a bit of it I was a little unsure of a whole salad made from it. But the dressing did wonders for the flavor and I really enjoyed the salad. My husband thought the salad was “too blue cheesey” and he likes blue cheese, so I would say this salad is for blue cheese lovers only.

The one issue I had with the salad is that the dressing was very thick, making it difficult to toss with the Belgian endive. I’m wondering if others ran into the same problem.

You can find the recipe for Winter Salad on page 98 of My Paris Kitchen. I encourage you to buy the book!

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FFWD: Next-Day Beef Salad + Orange-Almond Tart

Orange-Almond Tart

Happy French Friday!  This post marks quite a milestone! With the make-up recipe I did this week, I am now 100% caught up on French Fridays with Dorie! Bring on the final 7 recipes! (Sorry for all the exclamation points…can you tell I’m excited?)

So, we’re going to talk about two recipes today. This week’s recipe, Next-Day Beef Salad, and one from quite some time ago, Orange-Almond Tart.

Next-Day Beef Salad

Next-Day Beef Salad

For some reason I put off trying Next-Day Beef Salad because I thought it required leftover beef tenderloin from Boeuf à la Ficelle. Turns out you can use pretty much any leftover beef. I used top sirloin, but I can see how something a little more tender would be better.

This salad was created when Dorie made an attempt at clearing out a variety of leftovers.  She gives us a specific recipe, but also gives us permission to play around with it.

The recipe starts with the beef and a simple dressing of mayonnaise and mustard.  I added in green onions, Picholine olives, cornichons, grape tomatoes, and red bell pepper. Tossed together, I served my salad on a bed of mixed greens.

This was good!  I really enjoyed the flavor of the mustard dressing with the beef.  This is a great recipe to keep in mind when you have leftover roast beef and want to use it for something a little different.

Orange-Almond Tart

Orange-Almond Tart

The group made Orange-Almond Tart way back in February 2011. I chose not to make it at the time because we just didn’t need to have a big dessert.  If I had known back then that I would be on track to complete every recipe from Around My French Table, I might not have skipped it.

Orange-Almond Tart

Orange-Almond Tart is a riff on the classic Pear and Almond Tart.  It still has the pâte sablée crust and the almond cream, but the pears are replaced with oranges.

Why did I wait so long to try this tart? I knew I would like it because, you know, dessert. But I didn’t expect to love, love, love it! I loved the unexpected burst of orange juice. The flavor went so well with the creamy almond filling and the tender, sweet crust. Making this tart was a reminder how much I like Dorie’s Sweet Tart Dough recipe.

There you have it!  I look forward to finishing the final stretch of recipes with 100% completion!  Have a great weekend!

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FFWD: Citrus Two Ways

Happy Friday!  It has been a strange week here at the From Scratch household. Between a third week of Christmas break (yes, my daughter’s school district has a 3 week winter break…), head colds, and cable/internet/phone problems, things just didn’t feel normal around here.  This is a long way of saying I didn’t make this week’s (dreaded) French Fridays with Dorie recipe.  I will make it next week when things are hopefully back to normal.  Instead, I will catch you up on a couple of recipes that I made in December but haven’t had a chance to write about.  Let’s get started!

Orange and Olive Salad

Orange and Olive Salad

Orange and Olive Salad. This is one of those recipes from Around My French Table that I was dreading the most.  It just didn’t sound good to me. But, since I’m committed to trying every recipe, I carried on.

Much to my surprise, I liked it!  I especially liked how refreshing the orange seemed with it’s drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. I also liked the onion with the orange.  But I found my mild Niçoise olives did nothing to add to the flavor of the salad.  Perhaps a saltier kalamata would have been better?  Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised!

Pan-Seared Duck Chicken Breasts with Kumquats

Pan-Seared Chicken with Kumquats

Next up is Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Kumquats.  Except I used boneless chicken breasts. This recipe is all about the kumquat sauce and I knew my family would prefer chicken over duck.

Despite my change to chicken, I followed the recipe pretty closely. I made the sauce and candied kumquats as written.  The chicken was pan-seared skin-side down just like the duck would have been, but then I kept it in the pan and roasted it in the oven until cooked through.

This was good!  I had never cooked with kumquats before and it was fun trying something new.  The sauce was good with the chicken and my husband loved the candied kumquats.  I would make this again.

If you are interested in what the dreaded recipe for this week was (and don’t want to wait until I write about it next week), you can find out here.  Here’s to a good weekend and a more normal week ahead!

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Vanilla Vegetable Salad

Vanilla Vegetable Salad

I was skeptical about this one from the start.  I mean, I love vanilla.  In puddings and cakes and other treats.  But in a salad dressing?  I wasn’t so sure… But, in the name of French Fridays with Dorie I gave it a go.

At least it was simple to make: First I made ribbons of carrot and zucchini with a vegetable peeler.  These and a couple handfuls of mixed greens were tossed with a dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, and vanilla (along with some salt & pepper).

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So?  Meh.  I am not a big fan of ribbons of vegetables.  I find them hard to eat and a little too much like rabbit food.  And the vanilla in the dressing, while subtle, seemed like it didn’t belong.  My husband felt the same way I did.  Actually, I was curious if he would pick up the vanilla in the dressing.  As he tried he said, “Is there vanilla in this?”  I guess he noticed.  But it wasn’t a good thing.

They can’t all be winners, can they?  Next month is looking up; all the October recipes sound delicious to me.  Stay tuned to see what they are!

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Hélène’s All-White Salad + Leek and Potato Soup

Helene's All-White Salad

I am running a day late for French Fridays with Dorie because we have a sick girl in the house.  I had to pick my daughter up from school early yesterday; it seems she has a cold.  My poor little girl is so congested!  Unfortunately my husband and I are not feeling optimistic about our own health, but so far neither one of us is ready to admit we have the cold too.

We will be discussing two FFWD recipes today:  Hélène’s All-White Salad and Leek and Potato Soup (a make-up from the early days).  Let’s start with the salad!

Hélène’s All-White Salad

When Dorie’s friend Hélène opened up a restaurant, she created a bunch of “color-themed” salads.  The all-white salad was Dorie’s favorite.  It contains celery, apples, mushrooms, and Napa cabbage, tossed with a yogurt-based vinaigrette.

All-White Salad

This one had mixed results in my house.  I thought it was fine, and would eat it if it were given to me, but I probably won’t make it again.  My daughter doesn’t usually eat salads, but I gave her some as an experiment.  She picked out all the apples.  My husband declared after one bite, “I won’t be eating this one again”!

I think I would have liked this one better with a different type of apple.  The Granny Smiths were too tart for my taste.  Also, my dressing was a little bitter.

Leek and Potato Soup

The Leek and Potato Soup fared better.  The French Fridays group made this one early on and it had received mixed reviews.  I read some of the old entries to figure out what people didn’t like about it, and how I could make sure it was a success for us.  Very helpful!

Leek & Potato Soup with Bacon

I didn’t change much.  The main issue is that Dorie tends to like thinner soups.  Leek and Potato seems like it should be a bit heartier, so I reduced the liquid by 2 cups (I used 3 cups broth & 2 cups milk vs. the 4 cups/3 cups called for).  Also, I didn’t have whole milk, so I used half 1% milk and half heavy cream.  The cream definitely added a nice richness to the soup!

Leek & Potato Soup

This soup can be served chunky or smooth, with any number of toppings.  I chose smooth, blending it with my immersion blender and leaving it slightly chunky.  For dinner the first night, I topped it with Gruyère cheese and bacon.  Everything tastes better with bacon!  For lunch the next day, I just used Gruyère and chopped parsley.

I am so glad I had the wisdom of the Dorista’s who made this before me!  We enjoyed the soup and I would definitely make it again with my changes.

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This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie, and online group cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.  We don’t share recipes, but I encourage you to get this wonderful book!

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Hearts of Romaine with Sugar Snap Peas and Green Goddess Dressing

Hearts of Romaine with Green Goddess Dressing

A few weeks ago my husband and I celebrated my birthday by going to one of my favorite restaurants, 4th St. Bistro.  The meal was delicious as always.  I particularly enjoyed the salad I ordered: Hearts of Romaine with Sugar Snap Peas and Green Goddess Dressing.  Topped with thinly sliced radishes and a few chives, it was delicious and refreshing!

Salad and Salmon

I don’t often try to recreate dishes I order in restaurants, but this salad was so good, and seemed pretty straight-forward to copy.  I already had a recipe for Green Goddess Dressing, so I started with that.  Adding the proper veggies was a snap.

Romaine Salad

This salad came very close the restaurant version and I enjoyed it very much.  I hope you enjoy it too!

Hearts of Romaine with Sugar Snap Peas and Green Goddess Dressing

Print Recipe

  • One heart of Romaine lettuce
  • 4 oz. sugar snap peas
  • 1 radish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • ½ cup Green Goddess Dressing (recipe follows)

Chop the Romaine into bite-size pieces.  Cut each snap pea into 3 – 4 pieces.  Thinly slice the radish.

Place the Romaine and snap peas into a large bowl.  Toss with Green Goddess Dressing to taste.  Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary.

Place salad in serving bowl or on individual plates.  Top with radish slices, and sprinkle with chives.

Serves 2

Green Goddess Dressing

Adapted from Greens Glorious Greens!

  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onion, white and green parts
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend for 1 to 2 minutes.  Taste and adjust for sweetness and seasonings.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Makes about 1 cup

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