Happy Valentine’s Day
Beet, Lentil, Strawberry Salad
With Yogurt, Hazelnuts, and Radicchio
The inspiration for this Valentine’s Day salad came from our lunch at Hell’s Kitchen Las Vegas where we thoroughly enjoyed a salad course of roasted golden beets over Greek yogurt with kumquats (fruit), pistachios (nuts), and a white balsamic vinaigrette.
Here, red beets are also served over Greek yogurt with beluga lentils, freeze dried strawberries (fruit), toasted hazelnuts (nuts), radicchio and Gordon Ramsay’s beet dressing.
The vibrant red salad is perfect for Valentine’s (or any other day for that matter) with sweet, savory, earthy, bitter, nutty, and creamy notes. It’s a symphony of color, flavor, texture, and crunch.
❤️ Valentine’s Day Salad ❤️
Continue reading “Beet, Lentil, Strawberry Salad”
Jacques Pépin’s Salade à la Crème
His Limited-Edition Signed Print Called
In another one of his ever-charming Facebook videos taped in the kitchen of his Connecticut home, Jacques Pépin prepares a simple salad in the style of his maman, using cream instead of oil for the dressing. In it he makes the point that many are alarmed by using cream, but he notes that oil is actually much higher in calories… It reminded me of a hilarious and now famous quote by his meilleure amie, Julia Child, “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”
The salad is delightful in an old-fashioned French way, and since the dressing is very simple, I like to serve interesting salad greens with it. These were Radicchio, Petite Red Oak, Green Tango, Green and Red Little Gem.
Jacques began painting in the 1960s when he moved to New York City to work in the restaurant business. He enrolled at Columbia University to improve his language skills and also signed up for an elective in painting.
On The Artistry of Jacques Pépin, he offers some of his original artwork and signed, fine-art prints for sale. A portion of sales go to support culinary education and sustainability.
Inspired by the Chef/Artist, I decided to photograph the salad in the style of a still life painting with roses, including one of his pieces from my growing collection.
Jacques’s Salade à la Crème Recipe
Continue reading “Jacques Pépin’s Salade à la Crème and Limited Edition Signed Print”
Russian Shuba Salad Verrines
AKA Fur Coat Salad
My Nana (paternal grandmother) was born in Kiev in 1894. She was an excellent cook, but she never served a Shuba Salad…most likely due to the fact that it was invented after the time her family fled to escape the pogroms when she was a young girl.
The story has it that sometime in the early 1900s, a restaurateur in Moscow named Anastas Bogomilov created the dish to calm and satiate his rowdy vodka-drunk customers.
Striking, super-flavorful, layered Shuba Salad is often served for Christmas and New Year’s now, and traditionally made with chopped pickled herring. Although I am a fan of pickled herring, here I substituted an appetizing fish with broader appeal, smoked salmon. Today, January 7th, is Orthodox Christmas – celebrated in Russia, Ukraine, and many central and eastern European countries as well as other parts of the world. It’s time to enjoy some Shuba!
The dish’s intriguing name “Herring Under a Fur Coat” is translated to English from seledka pod shuboi or shuba. Shuba means fur coat in Russian, here the fish is nestled under a coating of fluffy soft vegetables and dressing.
Nana did wear a fluffy Russian Sable Fur Coat to protect her against Chicago’s harshest winters, but alas, despite my Russian ancestry, there was no Shuba Salad in my youth…but I am more than happy to have discovered it now.
Fur Coat Salad Recipe
Continue reading “Russian Shuba Salad Verrines”
Old School House Salad
Iceberg Lettuce, Tomato Wedges, Cucumber
Red Onion, Radish, Italian Dressing
When I was contemplating the ingredients for my Old School House Salad, the kind my mom served in the 60s and early 70s, there could only be one type of lettuce, Iceberg. Nice and crisp Iceberg ✅. Apparently iceberg aka crisphead, shipped on ice, was the only variety of lettuce that traveled well via train across the country back then. Especially from California to Chicago…
Cucumber ✅ Red Onion ✅ Radish ✅. And when it came to tomatoes, we always had tomato wedges in our salad. But curiously enough, nary a cherry tomato in sight back then. Turns out, cherry tomatoes did not become ubiquitous until the 1980s. Our tomatoes were medium-sized, red, round, and tasty. Tomato Wedges ✅. And I do recall that my dad liked Peperoncini ✅.
Italian dressing came in a bottle, made by Wish-Bone. It sat in the center of the dinner table along with bottles of Thousand Island, French, and Russian so everyone could dress their own salad their way. No Ranch though, Ranch dressing didn’t become popular until the early 1990s. Hidden Valley Ranch was first marketed as an herb & spice packet to mix with mayonnaise and buttermilk at home. It wasn’t even sold as a bottled dressing until 1983.
Also absent from our house salad – carrots, celery, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, olives – and I don’t think we ever had an avocado in our Chicago home until the early 70s when we “discovered” Mexican food. We did eat a lot of black olives though, they were served on a relish tray, not in the salad.
Old School House Salad Recipe
Continue reading “Old School House Salad”
Socca (savory chickpea pancake)
Topped with a Salad of Spring Lettuce
Egg, Feta, Radish, Chili, Olives, Dill, Lemon, Tahini Sauce
Socca, a savory chickpea pancake, is known as Nice’s original street food. Often served au naturel in Provence, cut into shards as snack, pleasantly with a glass of chilled rosé. Socca can also be served with all kinds of toppings for a delightful lunch. It is usually baked on a large round flat copper pan in a wood-burning oven.
In this recipe, nontraditional cumin and smoked paprika added to the batter mimic the smokiness of a wood-burning oven. And a non-stick skillet on the stovetop stands in for the copper pan and makes cooking the socca a breeze.
Socca As A Snack with Rosé
Continue reading “Socca (savory chickpea pancake)”