The Secret Ingredient (Parsley): As-Good-As-Cole Slaw Cabbage and Parsley Salad

RECIPE: As-Good-As-Cole Slaw Cabbage and Parsley Salad
Green Cabbage and Parsley Slaw

Green Cabbage and Parsley Slaw

I’m so excited about this month’s unsung hero: parsley.  I know, I know.  But hold back that skepticism.  Parsley is on the rise, and it’s not being shy anymore!

There was a time when I didn’t like parsley. Not even a sprinkle on the plate. What? Did the chef think that I couldn’t taste it? Continue reading

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Recipes, Salad, Series, Soup & Salad, The Secret Ingredient, Vegetarian
 

Red, Red Spanish Chorizo and Seafood Stew for Valentine’s Day

RECIPE: Red, Red Spanish Chorizo and Seafood Stew
Red Spanish Chorizo and Seafood Stew

Red Spanish Chorizo and Seafood Stew

Mr. English and I are celebrating our fifth Valentine’s Day together today.  I say today, because long ago we decided to start observing on the thirteenth.

We were both students at Oxford on our first Valentine’s day, and we’d been dating about four months.  We went to this really lovely restaurant called Gee’s.  It’s an old Victorian glass greenhouse converted into a restaurant.  Really cool.  There we were, a couple sandwiched between couples.  We could hardly even talk to each other without feeling like we were having pillow talk with six other people. Continue reading

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes
 

Spanish Yellow Rice to Serve with the Spanish Valentine’s Day Chorizo and Seafood Stew

RECIPE: Spanish Yellow Rice
Spanish Yellow Rice
serves 4, to go with the Red, Red Spanish Chorizo and Seafood Stew

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups Bomba paella rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette
  • A nice pinch of saffron
  • 4 cups water or chicken, seafood, or vegetable broth or stock
  • Salt

PROCEDURE
In a nonstick saucepot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the rice, and stir to coat.  Toast the rice until it just starts to turn golden brown.  Add the spices and the water or stock.  Season with salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover and lower the heat to low.  Cook, covered, for 20 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is fluffy.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Recipes, Sides, Starches, Vegetarian
 

French in a Flash: Artichoke and Green Olive Pantry Tapenade

RECIPE: Artichoke and Green Olive Pantry Tapenade

Artichoke and Green Olive TapenadeWhen I come home late from work, as I have been lately, I don’t really want a full dinner.  I don’t want to spend an hour in the kitchen, and I don’t want to spend an hour at the table.  I want something vibrant and light and life-giving.  Something that will get me till morning, and brighten up my evening.  No more, and no less.

This tapenade is my weeknight winner.  It’s unorthodox.  Most tapenades starts with black niçoise olives.  This one uses briny, bright green olives.  And, even more unique, while olives are usually center stage in tapenade, this tapenade is a double act of green olives and artichoke hearts.  The artichokes add their own texture and flavor, and they cut through that strident saltiness of the olives with a mellow Mediterranean creaminess.  I make a point to use the artichokes and olive that can sit for weeks in jars or cans in your pantry.  The rest of the flavors are always on hand and easy to keep: anchovy paste, herbes de Provence, garlic, Parmesan, lemon, and parsley.  For me, those are all pantry items that I have at home always.

So when, like tonight, I come home at nine o’clock wondering what I will scrape together, I have this bright, vegetal, versatile thing that I can whip up in the food processor in five minutes.  Then, I can pile it high on toast, mix it with canned tuna, dollop it on grilled fish, smash it with melty mozzarella in a Panini, or serve it with crudités and a well-deserved glass of white wine.  That is truly French in a flash, in a pinch.

Excerpted from my weekly column French in a Flash on Serious Eats.

Artichoke and Green Olive Pantry Tapenade
serves 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium clove of garlic
  • 3/4 ounce excellent Parmesan
  • 1 14-ounce can of artichoke hearts in water or brine, drained
  • 1 12-ounce jar pitted green olives, drained
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley

PROCEDURE

Blitz the garlic and Parmesan in the food processor until they’re smashed to smithereens.  Then, add all the other ingredients, and pulse for a chunky tapenade, or run until smooth.  Serve with lightly toasted excellent bread.  Or, put in a Panini with fresh sliced mozzarella, or spoon over grilled fish.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Cheap, Dips, Spreads, Preserves, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Vegetarian
 

French in a Flash: Bright, Light Paris Mushroom Salad

RECIPE: Bright, Light Paris Mushroom Salad
Paris Mushroom Salad with Parmesan, Parsley, Lemon, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt

Paris Mushroom Salad with Parmesan, Parsley, Lemon, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt

I’ve always marveled at the simple fact that no matter what I do to myself in Paris, I always lose weight.  And I do a lot to myself while I’m there.  I do cheese-stuffed crêpes.  I do Berthillon ice cream sundaes (can’t get enough of that raspberry whipped cream).  I do pain au chocolate for breakfast, and tarte au citron for dessert.  I do brioche.  I do frites.  I do steaks and cheeses and whole baguettes.  I do rillettes.  And confit.  And tartare.  And I always come home two pounds lighter.

I think I’ve figured it out.  Aside from the fact that walking every which way in Paris is just about the most enjoyable form of exercise on God’s green earth, I also eat a ton of salads.  There is a produce stand (if you can call it a stand–it’s half indoors) a block from my old apartment, where I still stay whenever I visit.  It’s always brimming with a tumble of seasons vegetables, and baskets of Tiffany-caliber berry gems.  You just have to eat them.  Some of my favorite recipes are the salads I invent when I’m in France.  Carrots with Dijon and walnuts.  Pears with Roquefort.  Peppers with roasted garlic.  And mushrooms with parsley and lemon.

Champignon de Paris sounds far more glamorous than button mushroom, but they’re one in the same.  As anyone who’s been to Paris will tell you: presentation is everything.  The city is there to be glimpsed.  The people, the buildings, the pastries.  They all know an eye will eventually turn and rest on them, and they are always ready.  A salad of champignons de Paris is no different.  Slice the humble mushrooms beautifully and thinly in a food processor, then chuck the parsley and cheese in right along with them.  Turn the whole bowl over, and top with lemon zest, olive oil, some bright wine vinegar, sea salt, and cracked black pepper.  It’s not your everyday salad, but it’s so simple and clean and bright.  I actually don’t think button mushrooms are good for much else.  But they’re PERFECT for this.  Bon app.

Excerpted from my weekly column French in a Flash on Serious Eats.

Bright, Light Paris Mushroom Salad
serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2- to 2-ounce chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 9 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, wiped clean
  • The zest of 1 lemon
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt

PROCEDURE

Fit your food processor with the thin slicer attachment.  Push the Parmigiano Reggiano through first, then the parsley, and then the mushrooms.  Remove the slicing disc, and put a serving plate over the food processor bowl.  Invert the bowl, so the mushroom salad comes out with the mushrooms on the bottom and the parmesan on top.

Zest the lemon over the salad and top with cracked black pepper to taste.  In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, and salt until emulsified.  Drizzle over the salad and serve right away.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Salad, Series, Soup & Salad
 

The Secret Ingredient (Avocado): Gooey Avocado Panini with Brie, Mozzarella, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Basil

RECIPE: Gooey Avocado Panini with Brie, Mozzarella, Sundried Tomatoes, and Basil
Brie, Avocado, Mozzarella, Sun Dried Tomato, and Basil Panini

Brie, Avocado, Mozzarella, Sun Dried Tomato, and Basil Panini

I love a good grilled cheese, and this is just the grilled cheese to end all grilled cheeses.  Everything stuffed inside the crispy toasted crunchy ciabatta loaf is soft and oozing and melted, from the buttery avocado to the creamy brie to the milky mozzarella.  Just think of all the soft, melting, stringy, oozy potential locked just in those three ingredients.  Then, punctuate the flavor with chewy-salty-sweet olive-oil soaked sun dried tomatoes, a spritz of bright lemon, and a blanket of summery fresh basil leaves.  Could anything be more magnetic and irrefutable than this sandwich?

This sandwich concludes our month-long study of the avocado.  We’ve blended it in dressing, served it simply and naturally as a whole fruit, chopped it into a chunky salsa with charred rare tuna, and finally warmed it and melted it with cheese in the ultimate panini.  Here are some interesting fact about my favorite avocado, the Hass: did you know that the Hass avocado is a berry that was first grafted in 1926 (what did people do with their corn chips before 1926!?)?  The tree was patented in 1935, and was the first tree to be patented, period.  Avocado has more potassium than a banana, is high in fiber, high in healthy fats, and has been said to combat cholesterol and cancer.  All I have to say is, do you really need an excuse?  Just eat avocado!

Excerpted from my weekly column The Secret Ingredient on Serious Eats.

Gooey Avocado Panini with Brie, Mozzarella, Sundried Tomatoes, and Basil
serves 2 to 4

Brie, Avocado, Mozzarella, Sun Dried Tomato, and Basil PaniniINGREDIENTS

  • 1 12” ciabatta, halved horizontally
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil or sundried tomato olive oil
  • 4 3/4 ounces fresh sliced mozzarella
  • 3 3/4 ounces sliced brie
  • 12 sundried tomatoes
  • 8 big basil leaves
  • 1 Hass avocado, sliced or mashed
  • Squirt of lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper

PROCEDURE

Drizzle the insides of both halves of bread with oil.  Arrange the mozzarella on the bottom half, and the brie on the top half.  Fill the inside with sundried tomato, basil leaves, and avocado.  Season the avocado with a squirt of lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Stack the two halves into a sandwich, and put on a hot Panini press for about 10 minutes, until the bread is crusty, and the cheese is melted.  Cut into quarters and eat hot!

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Easy, Eat, Recipes, Sandwiches, Series, The Secret Ingredient, Vegetarian
 

French in a Flash: Creamy Asparagus, Basil, and Crème Fraîche Velouté

RECIPE: Creamy Asparagus, Basil, and Crème Fraîche Velouté
Asparagus Velouté

Asparagus, Basil, and Crème Fraîche Velouté

In the dead of winter, I can feel just that: dead.  I let myself eat macaroni and cheese and carrot cake with wild abandon, and though comfort food may feed the soul, it doesn’t do much for the body.  Sunday night, after a weekend filled with steak and ale pies and bourbon, it was time to reboot.

A velouté is normally a thick sauce, or by association, soup.  It means “velvety.”  Thick, creamy, soft but substantial.  I find if you simmer sweet shallots, asparagus, and basil in just enough vegetable broth for two, and then whiz it up in a blender, you get that same velvety texture that you’ll find in much heavier, creamy, decadent soups, with a lot more vitamins and a lot fewer calories.  I add a couple of spoonfuls of crème fraîche for tang and a little more body, but you could go without if you’re deeply virtuous.

I may have missed the start of the year to be good, but there’s always the start of the week.

Excerpted from my weekly column French in a Flash on Serious Eats.

Creamy Asparagus, Basil, and Crème Fraîche Velouté
serves 2

Asparagus VeloutéINGREDIENTS

  • 1 shy tablespoon olive oil or butter or a mixture of both
  • 1 extra large shallot, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and diced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 5 large basil leaves, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche, plus extra for serving

PROCEDURE

Heat the butter or olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium-low heat.  Add the shallot and sauté until soft and fragrant, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring often.  Add the asparagus and vegetable broth and season with salt and pepper.  Cover the pot, and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the asparagus is very tender: 10 to 12 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender, and add the basil and crème fraîche.  Purée until completely smooth.  Ladle into bowls, and top with a dollop of crème fraîche and a chiffonade of fresh basil.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Soup, Soup & Salad, Vegetarian