Ultimate Bistro Salad: Salade de Laitue

Ultimate Bistro Salad: Salade de Laitue

Ultimate Bistro Salad:
Salade de Laitue

Living whole heads of Bibb lettuce, high quality vinaigrette components, and the synergistic combination of a few fresh herbs result in a deceptively simple yet exquisitely balanced salad, one that is the best imaginable of its kind. Period.

Chef Thomas Keller writes in his fabulous bistro cookbook Bouchon, “The word laitue comes from the Latin word for milk, from the milky juices some lettuces can exude. Hearty, buttery Bibb leaves are a good example of the rich juicy quality lettuce can have. They’re so big and rich, in fact, that this salad almost qualifies as a meal in itself.”

Atelier Atalore, Las Vegas

Salade de Laitue Recipe

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Latkes with Farmer Cheese

Latkes with Farmer Cheese

Latkes with Farmer Cheese, Two Ways

Sweet with Pomegranate Arils
Savory with Fresh Herbs

Happy Hanukkah!

A jug of olive oil, which held enough oil to last for one day, burned for eight when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated. So we eat foods fried in olive oil to commemorate that ancient miracle. As far as symbolic foods go, potatoes fried in oil are pretty much everyone’s favorite.

This year I’m serving my latkes two ways, sweet and savory, both topped with farmer cheese. My favorite, Lifeway Farmer Cheese, is a cultured soft cheese made from an old world recipe with a distinctive tangy flavor, and it’s packed with probiotics to boot. You might say farmer cheese and latkes are a match made in heaven…

Latkes with Farmer Cheese

Latkes with Farmer Cheese

Latkes Two Ways

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Rose-Shaped Heart Healthy Olive Oil Cake

Rose-Shaped Heart Healthy Orange Olive Oil Cake
Rosemary and Toasted Almonds

For my upcoming heart-healthy picnic by the sea I was looking for a dessert that was very tasty, would travel well, and be cholesterol free and good for the heart. Mario Batali has a divine olive oil and orange cake, but alas, it is made with whole eggs. Here, I tweak his recipe and substitute three tablespoons egg white plus one tablespoon olive oil for each whole egg. I add ground flaxseed, fresh rosemary for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, and toasted slivered almonds which are full of vitamin E, plant sterols, fiber, and heart-healthy fats.

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Black Garlic Risotto with Peas

Black Garlic Risotto with Peas

Black Garlic

The flavors and texture of black garlic are so unique. It did not taste like I had expected. It was like a garlic candy; sweet, and slightly savory, with subtle garlic notes and a jelly-candy texture. The deep color and flavor is the result of a month-long aging by a special high-heat fermentation process. It has umami flavors of molasses, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and licorice. For more information and a recent culinary history about Black Garlic, go to blackgarlic.com.
Risotto Recipe

I started with this wonderful olive oil from the California Olive Ranch, 2009 Olio Nuovo, a gift from the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival. It was one of the oils we tasted at Michael Tuohy’s Olive Oil Tasting seminar. We learned from Michael to use this oil now, when it is young. Olio Nuovo: A “living liquid” bottled at time of milling, it has a thick texture and rich flavor.

Heat 1/2 c. olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Add a finely chopped onion. Sauté until light golden brown.

Add 1 1/2 c. arborio rice and stir until each grain is coated with oil. Add 1/2 c. white wine and cook until the wine has evaporated. Add about 5 c. hot chicken stock gradually as absorbed, stirring continuously until the rice is almost al dente.

Add sliced black garlic and continue stirring, adding the final stock, until the rice is al dente.

The black garlic gives the rice a deep caramel color.

Cook peas separately, then combine peas with risotto.

Black garlic imparts such interesting and complex flavors to this risotto.

Crispy, juicy pork chop optional.