Palate Pleaser: Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary

Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary

Palate Pleaser: Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary

Fresh ripe California Black Mission Figs are frozen overnight then run through my trusty vintage Champion Juicer. The result is pure fig, but you would swear it is gelato. The texture is extraordinarily creamy and custardy. I add a whisper of rose water to add to the mystery. Then the frozen fig is topped with salty marcona almonds, fresh piney rosemary, sweet rose crystals and a slice of fresh California Kadota fig. Petite glasses of this palate pleaser are presented on a platter lined with fresh fig leaves and rose petals.

Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary Recipe

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A Celebration of Green: Herbed Fettuccine, Spinach-Poached Egg

herbed fettuccine spinach-poached egg
A Celebration of Green

Herbed Fettuccine, Spinach-Poached Egg, Artichoke Heart
Asparagus, Baby Heirloom Tomato, Shredded Parmesan, Raw Pepitas
Tarragon, Marjoram, Thyme, Chervil

I simply cannot go to the Farmers Market without bringing home load of …everything green. Yesterday’s haul included tomatillos, asparagus, artichokes, raw pepitas, spinach, chervil, jalapeños, chervil, chives, little green tomatoes, sage, basil, tarragon, summer squash, thyme, marjoram. And probably more.

green pasta concept

What shall I do with all this GREEN stuff? Pairing with pasta sounds good…but not all the produce can end up in the final dish. It has to be balanced, the herbs and other ingredients have to harmonize. Alas the tomatillos, summer squash & jalapeños will be saved for another day. Asparagus stays. I’ll use marjoram for pretty floral and subtle lemony notes, tarragon for its sweet anise-like spice, thyme for pungency and earthiness, and chervil for its bright green color and lacy texture.

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Le Pique-Nique

le pique-nique
Le Pique-Nique

Poached Duck Foie Gras au Torchon
Pistachio Crust, Pickled Bing Cherries, Lemon Curd
Lavender Fleur de Sel, Pink Peppercorns

Arugula & Mint Salad, French Baguette

duck foie gras au torchon

“The great thing about foie gras is that it’s foie gras…

You don’t have to do anything to it. It’s a luxury on its own,
and your job is to try to make it show what it really is.”

— Thomas Keller

Foie Gras au Torchon

What is served cold and completely overindulgent? Poached Duck Foie Gras au Torchon.

A whole lobe of duck liver is wrapped in the same muslin torchon in which it had been poached.

Torchon means “dish towel” in French,
and is the perfect vehicle for transporting foie gras to le pique-nique. 

Simply remove the torchon and slice the foie gras into discs, then roll the edges in pistachio nuts.

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Swiss Chard Falafel Burger

swiss chard falafel burger

Swiss Chard Falafel Burger
Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado, Hummus
On a Toasted Ciabatta Roll

Besides the obvious, BLT stands for Bistro Laurent Tourondel. This French Chef and his restaurant empire were my inspiration for our monthly Cooking Club challenge to build a sandwich around three ingredients that start with the letters…BLT, other than bacon, lettuce, and tomato.

I did attempt to follow the challenge rules, but my combinations of B, L, and T foods were uninspiring. And I simply cannot share something here on Taste With The Eyes that I don’t consider fabulous in one way or another. So I turned to a cookbook on my shelf BLT Bistro Laurent Tourondel for help. The Chef melds classic French bistro fare with the American steakhouse style. He poetically reinterprets the dishes in an uncomplicated manner with flavor and flair.

The idea for my reinterpreted BLT sandwich comes from a different source however, an item on his menu at restaurant BLT Burger in Las Vegas, called a Veggie Falafel. I had no idea what ingredients were in his falafel, but it was wonderfully green! With lettuce, tomato, avocado, and hummus. So, here I present my version…a Swiss Chard Falafel Burger.

Now, why go through all the trouble to make a superior vegetarian burger then add bacon to the sandwich? Why indeed. Vegetarian friends will love this swiss chard falafel burger, and why not add bacon for my carnivorous friends who believe bacon makes everything better. Which one are you?

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Not Your Ordinary “Chopped” Salad

brussels sprout lentil salad, tahini vinaigrette

shaved brussels sprouts & french lentils
bacon, dates, apples, pistachio nuts
tahini apple dressing

You’re not tired of green are you? I hope not because this brussels sprouts and lentil salad is savage! (Irish slang for brilliant, great). It was a do-over. The first attempt at our monthly challenge was a sad failure. It had all the right components ~ fresh ingredients, color, flavor, texture. But alas, pretty as it was, there was no harmony. That dish simply did not sing.

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A Heavenly Dinner Featuring Truffle Carpaccio

cucumber carpaccio, truffle carpaccio, gourmet attitude

First Course:
Cucumber & Truffle Carpaccio with Bucheron
Olive Oil, Verjus, Fleur de Sel, Chives

ilet mignon, mushroom duxelles, potato cake, truffle carpaccio, bordelaise reduction

Second Course:
Filet Mignon Wrapped in Speck
Duxelles with Truffle, Potato Cake, Creme Fraiche, Truffle Carpaccio
Painted Bordelaise Reduction

Jupiter aligned with Mars. Our Creative Cooking Crew challenge for the month of February was to put an imaginative spin on “meat & potatoes.” A gift of Truffle Carpaccio arrived in the mail. My dear friend and savvy cook, FA, was coming to town. Meat. Potatoes. Truffles. Sounds like a party. Dinner party.

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The Vegan Gutbuster

creative cooking crew, vegan sausage recipe, hearty vegan sandwich, gutbuster

The Vegan Gutbuster Sandwich
In Honor of My Alma Mater, The University of Illinois

Homemade Vegan Italian Sausage on a Toasted French Baguette
Green Bell Pepper, Onion, Mushroom, Tomato
Spicy Tomato Sauce, Vegan Mozzarella, Basil Chiffonade

Last summer my Alpha Phi sorority sisters met in Champaign, Illinois for a PHI-abulous reunion. Over 80 members who graduated between 1976 and 1982 took a trip down memory lane for the weekend, we visited some of our old haunts, and had a blast reconnecting and rekindling old friendships. We slept and ate in the sorority house, so fun ~ and our contributions for staying there helped to raise funds for the chapter. Thank you for the hospitality, ladies!

alpha phi university of illinois

One of the fond memories from our college years was pizza. Garcia’s Pizza. And the Gutbuster was their famous 3/4-pound slice with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. Something we all remembered with affection…It had been many years since I even thought about the Gutbuster, but since our reunion weekend, I have been pondering a makeover of our beloved pie.

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