Salad and Company

There is nothing better in this world than good friends and good food. The combination of the two is what I consider my “happy place”. So, naturally, I had to write a post that brings the two together. I love a big salad that has a little bit of everything. The way I prepare a salad is by looking at the fridge, taking whatever looks good to me at the moment, toss¬†in a bowl and hope that it will taste good in the end.

I told Kate (my partner in crime) that I have the perfect salad for a fun morning. While my kitchen is undergoing some cosmetic changes, I showed up at her doorstep with a basket full of goodies.

We had a lovely time, and  for the first time since forever, it was warm outside enough for me to wear shorts!

Kale, Beets, Green Beans and Tuna Salad (for two):
2 Small heads of lettuce, chopped (I like to use one red and one green, doesn’t matter what kind)
5 Kale leafs, chopped
1 Can of Tuna in olive oil
1 medium size Beet, peeled and 1/2-inch diced
4 “Almost” hard boiled eggs, halved lengthwise
A nice size bunch of Green Beans
Olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. Wrap the beet in tin foil without peeling and place in a baking pan, bake for about an hour until tender. Allow to cool and peel.

Boil eggs for 5-6 minutes. Place  green beans in rapid boiling water with a pinch of salt for 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Place the lettuce and kale in a large salad bowl and add the beets, green beans and tuna. Drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar and toss well. Arrange the eggs gently on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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Photos by Kate Bolt


Easy Fix

On my previous Book Worm post I shared snapshots of my favorite books. This post is about a recipe from the cookbook “OTTOLENGHI”. ¬†Yotam Ottolenghi is an Israeli chef who owns a group of restaurants in London. Along with his head chef, Sami Tamimi, he published two other cookbooks: “Jerusalem” and “Plenty”. I am a little bit obsessed with his books. I find his recipes simple, easy and delicious. Follow them and you have a bullet proof dish!

That being said, I must confess that I like “minimum work – maximum show”¬†recipes! Oh, and that I don’t really need to follow them step-by-step, but can make a few shortcuts. I’ve prepared the following dish several times: as part of a brunch, a light vegetarian dinner or lunch date with a girlfriend.

Here is the recipe with my notes, enjoy and bon apetit!

Sweet potato galettes

3 Sweet potatoes, about 12 oz/350 g each.

9 oz/250 g puff pastry

1 free range egg, lightly beaten 

6 1/2 tbsp /100 ml sour cream

3 1/2 tbsp /100 g aged goat cheese

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1 medium-hot chile, finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C. Bake the sweet potatoes in their skin for 35 to 45 minutes, until they are soften up but still slightly raw in the center (check by inserting a small knife). Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel and cut into slices 1/8 inch /3 mm thick.   Note: I peel the sweet potatoes and cut them in advance. I layer them on a cookie sheet, and bake them for about 20 minutes. Taking this shortcut makes this recipe a quick prep and in my opinion does not influence the taste. 
  2. while the sweet potatoes are in the oven, roll out the puff pastry to about 1/16 inch / 2 mm thick on a lightly floured work surface. Cut out four 2 3/4 by 5 1/2-inch / 7 by 14-cm rectangles and prick them all over with a fork. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper, place the pastry rectangles on it, well spaced apart, and leave to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.¬†Note: I¬†use “Pepperidge Farm” puff pastry sheets¬†which¬†comes in two folded¬†squares. I¬†just cut each¬†square¬†into half. If I am in rush I skip the wait in the fridge.¬†
  3. Remove the pastry from thE fridge and brush lightly with the beaten egg. Using an icing spatula, spread the thin layer of sour cream on the pastries, leaving a 1/4-inch / 5-mm border all round. Arrange the potato slices on the pastry, slightly overlapping, keeping the border clear. Season with salt and pepper, crumble the goat cheese on top, and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and chile. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through. Check underneath; it should be golden brown. Note: I often make this dish for my husband and girls, so I omit the pumpkin seeds and chile.  
  4. While the galettes are cooking, stir together the olive oil, garlic,¬†parsley, and a pinch of salt. As soon as the pastries come out of the oven, brush them with this¬†mixture. Serve warm or at room¬†temperature. ¬†Note: I use a Cuisinart Mini Prep Processor to chop the¬†parsley¬†and garlic together. I am a big¬†parsley¬†fan so I use a nice size bunch. The Mini Prep is my “go-to” kitchen tool for all herbs. It makes chopping a¬†quick¬†task.

I hope you will enjoy it with your family and friends!

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 All photos are taken by Kate Bolt