I haven't been very enthused about salads in general for a few years, and even juicy tomatoes at the height of summer perfection can bore me. Maybe absence could make this heart grow fonder, but I'm drowning in tomatoes right now.
When I am sick of salads, I go back and watch an old episode of Julia and Jacques and feel inspired again. My favorite part is when Julia ventures to claim that only the French truly know how to make a salad. Jacques pauses modestly before conceding that yes, the French do it best.
The other day I didn't have 30 minutes for inspiration, so I looked at Mastering the Art of French Cooking. A vinaigrette is so simple, but sometimes following a recipe gives me the confidence that what I'm making will taste good. So here are the proportions Julia Child recommends for a simple vinaigrette.
Ingredients and Directions:
1/2 to 2 Tablespoons wine vinegar or a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
6 Tablespoons olive oil
Big pinch of pepper
Throw it all in a jar with a lid and shake it to combine. Just before serving, you can add a few tablespoons of minced herbs such as parsley, chives, tarragon, or basil. I used basil.
There is nothing earth-shattering or original about tomatoes drenched in a vinaigrette, but once in a while a return to simple things helps you fall in love with them again. The tomato salad was exceptionally delicious. Bon appetit!
Pronounced "jew-vedge", this hails from the part of the world formerly known as Yugoslavia. This is home cooking at it's best- simple, nutritious and rich. The miracle of this dish is that I made a mistake, turned off the oven halfway through cooking, and came home three and a half hours later to perfection. My kids have activities every afternoon right now, and I don't get home until around 7. I will be making this dish as often as my family will eat it.
I found this recipe in Elisabeth Luard's The Old World Kitchen: The Rich Tradition of European Peasant Cooking. It was published in 1987, so it's hardly the hot new thing, but it is a good thing. The directions were so simple I reread them again and again because I kept thinking that I had left something out. No- it's just that easy. And did I mention delicious?
My kids abhorred the eggplant, but my sympathy is limited. Your family, your call. This needs at least an hour and a half to bake.
1/2 cup olive oil (it's rich, not greasy)
2 sliced onions
3-4 cloves of sliced garlic
2 pounds of boneless lamb, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
salt and pepper
2 pounds of chopped mixed vegetables (bell pepper, zucchini, green beans, eggplant)
1/2 cup of rice
1/2 pound sliced fresh or canned tomatoes
Options and Alterations:
You can leave out the meat and add feta cheese during the end of the cooking. You can switch out the vegetables for whatever is in season. You can substitute chicken for lamb. You can use 4 peeled, sliced potatoes instead of rice. You can also add some cumin to the spices. The original recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, not the paprikas that I used.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!