Tout de Suite

Hello long lost readers. It’s hot as hell in Washington, DC, so when it came to making a French-themed fete for Bastille Day, Coq au Vin was out of the question. Essentially anything Julia Child would make was out of the question. We needed light, refreshing, and fresh. So the dinner I ended up making was more of a French-inspired dinner, but with lots of good stuff from all over.

It began in the early afternoon with some prep. Pate Brisee in a food processor, i.e. the best kind:

I also made some basil sweet syrup (more on that later…)

And of course, very slowly caramelized onions

The meal commenced with this plate of goodies (with Manchego, Havarti, Jarlsberg and Feta)

It continued with a little appetizer of stuffed fried zucchini blossoms  (I stuffed them with red onion instead of shallots)

It went on to this onion tart

But we couldn’t help and have a drink before digging into the tart. My sous-chef/best-friend/cocktail-master/benetton-twin made this gorgeous Blackberry Caipirinha

Which was a perfect summer drink

And then proceeded to pull the tart out of the oven, burn my arm really badly, drop the tart face down, which meant we ate this instead. It was still delicious but a bit on the salty side.

Luckily, the faux Niçoise was still real pretty

Dinner ended with delicious grilled peaches, honeyed mascarpone, and the delicious basil syrup (an amalgamation of three recipes which worked real well)

And to all, bon nuit!

The day after

Happy thanksgiving to all! And if you’re reading this, thank you so much for supporting the Ivy Gourmet and me, it means a lot.

I had the amazing privilege of being invited to spend Thanksgiving with my friend Maud Arnold‘s family. In her grandma’s house in DC I always meet the nicest, most talented, interesting people, and this time was no different. It’s also a place with lots of delicious food, and Maud, in addition to be an internationally renowned tap dancer, is also a killer baker, so I had to bake to impress, and so I made this cranberry cake:

I was a bit worried about the fact that the cranberries are completely unsweetened, but it turned out that they came out perfectly tart

Of course, I did dust it with confectioner’s sugar

Even Iza, Maud’s amazing grandma, approved

But then on the day after thanksgiving, I was totally in the mood for cooking. But what do you eat on the day after you stuffed your face?
Well, here’s the answer. You make this delicious, unusual, refreshing brussel sprout slaw. I didn’t mandolin the brussel sprouts, because I have the tendency to usually send my fingers down the mandolin, but I just chopped it with a knife, and it was just as good. HIGHLY recommended.

I also made this pasta which has one of my favorite combinations: butternut squash, leeks, and goat cheese. I’ve made a risotto with those three before, but this may be better, and the orecchiette pasta holds the sauce really well. Also, HIGHLY recommended.

And, since the weekend was shot anyways, I made dessert. This is a delicious corsican cheese goodness, that tastes unlike anything you’ve ever made, and only has 5 ingredients. You guessed it, HIGHLY etc…

Bagwet (and a recipe!)

A boy in front of me at the bread line at the farmers’ market this morning asked the bread lady for a Bagwet (reading the sign very carefully and really wanting to say it right), and it was adorable. The market was crazy good this morning, so much so that I got a few things that I have never used/eaten (rainbow chard, parsnips with their greens (still to be explored)). I also got what is probably the last batch of rhubarb of the season, some good looking peppers, and a bagwet.

Food as still life

So what do you do with swiss chard? I didn’t know either. So I made a recipe up. Yes, I did. I don’t do this very often, and I was pretty worried about what will come of this experiment. But, luckily, the potentially disastrous frittata/crustless quiche came out delicious. Recipe follows at the end of the post!

It all starts with some “Woah! Double Rainbow” chard

and mushrooms

Sautee those babies together

While it was in the oven, I chopped some onions

Which went into the pumpkin-feta scone dough, for which there is also a recipe, though that wasn’t mine (I replaced chives with green onions, and made up my own “mixed spice” with some ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon, but take it easy, this is a savory scone)

When everything was ready we sat outside

And had some pear, goat cheese, and spinach salad

and the frittata (recipe follows, keep scrolling!)

and the scones!

Sample plate 1

Sample plate 2

This meal made 5 girls very happy, but you could easily feed closer to 10 people (well, maybe not 10 men).

Double rainbow frittata
Preheat oven to 375
Sauté 1/2 onion in some olive oil
When onion is soft, add 4 finely chopped garlic cloves
Add the leaves from 6 stalks rainbow chard (just leaves, please)
And two handfuls of chopped mushrooms
Stir in some salt and pepper, and stir until the leaves are wilted, and most of the moisture of the mushroom and chard has evaporates
Let cool

In a bowl mix 3 eggs, a cup of half and half, salt, pepper, and a bit of nutmeg. To that add 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar and 1/2 cup shredded parmesan.

Mix in the veggie mixture into the batter, and throw in a 9″ round pan. Sprinkle some more cheese in top. Bake 35 minutes, let cool a little bit so it can settle, and serve. Nom nom nom.

Belated Rosh HaShana

This year I celebrated Rosh HaShana twice, once without any food but ample drinks, and a second time, belatedly, with my two favorite goyyim, true lovers of Matzah Ball Soup.

It all started with a trip to the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market, my new neighborhood market.

For snacking, I made my mom’s Moroccan tomato salad– it has Anaheim peppers, garlic, salt, and some canola oil. It’s super hot, but you can’t stop eating it.

Then making chicken broth (with some aromatics, carrots, onions and chicken)

Eventually some matzah balls went into that, too

By far the most exciting thing that I made were stuffed zucchinis. These are my grandma’s recipe, and are my favorite. In fact, I like them so much, that I have always dreaded making them. But, after I saw those round little zucchinis at the market, I couldn’t resist.
I got some grass-fed beef

Emptied the zucchinis

Stuffed them with a mixture of meat, onion, potato, and parsley, then egged and bredded them and pan fried them

Finally I cooked them in a sauce made of onions and the cores of the zucchinis. They cook a long time on low heat, and despite being slightly labor intensive, are incredibly delicious. Can’t wait to make them many more times in the winter.

For dessert we had a peach cobbler, and that was also a hit.

In fact, it was so good that we got distracted and forgot to photograph it before devouring it

My guests were a bit late, so I also got to take this picture:

Shana Tova and Happy Eid to all who were celebrating this weekend. I hope your year is filled with friends, family, and delicious food.