French in a Flash: Camargue Red Rice Salad

RECIPE: Camargue Red Rice Salad
Camargue Red Rice Salad

Camargue Red Rice Salad

A few summers ago, I spent a day in the Camargue, a part of France that had, for some reason, completely eluded my knowledge of the country.  Cowboys.  French cowboys, that ride around on snowy white horseback, in a flat grasslands, herding.  I had always thought that we Americans had the monopoly on cowboys, but as it turns out, that is not the case.  Beautiful crystalline salts are dried out in the sun.  And restaurants serve stews made of the bulls herded down the grasslands.

That is where Camargue Red Rice comes from.  I am a rice fanatic: a simple food that I am content to eat simply, with just a pinch of that Camargue salt.  I recently discovered Camarge Red Rice at the supermarket: it looks like grains of long-grain black rice merged with brown basmati rice, and turned a deep russet red.  It has a chewy texture, and a delicious mild but present flavor.  I cook it as the French do, like pasta, in a huge pot of salted boiling water until it is al dente, and then I drain it in a colander.

Finally, for this salad, I toss it with everything green: a lemony green parsley and olive oil sauce, little jewels of zucchini and haricots verts, slivers of green olives and walnuts, shards of scallions and fresh raw spinach.  It is so full of flavor and health and texture that you can’t help but love it.  Serve it room temperature next to some roast chicken or charred whole fish, and you’re in business.

You can find Camargue Red Rice online, but if you can’t use it for whatever reason, try a wild rice blend, or some forbidden black rice with this recipe.

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

Camargue Red Rice Salad
serves 4 to 6

Camargue Red Rice SaladINGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups Camargue Red Rice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium zucchini, small dice
  • 1 cup chopped haricots verts
  • 1 1/2 cups flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • 40 French green olives, such as lucques or picholine, pitted and chopped
  • 2 cups spinach, chiffonade
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

PROCEDURE

Boil the rice just as you would pasta, in a large pot of boiling salted water, for 30 minutes, or until it is tender, but still has a firm texture.  Add the zucchini and  haricots verts, and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Drain the rice and vegetables together.

While the rice and vegetables are draining, roughly chop the parsley, and add it to the food processor with the olive oil and salt.  Run the machine for 5 minutes, until you have a very green parsley oil.  Add the lemon juice and some pepper, and then add all the sauce to the rice, along with the scallions, and toss well.

Leave the rice salad to cool completely to room temperature.  Just before serving, toss in the olives, spinach, and walnuts.  Serve at room temperature alongside poultry or fish, or as one of many vegetarian salads.

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | 1 Comment
Share

Categories: 60 Minutes, Cheap, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Salad, Series, Sides, Soup & Salad, Starches, Vegetarian
 

Thanksgiving Redux: Autumn Apple Sangria

RECIPE: Autumn Apple Sangria
Apple Sangria

Autumn Apple Sangria

Aside from my champagne toast, I don’t like to have straight wine with my Thanksgiving dinner.  I like just a touch of sweetness to cut through all the savory turkey.  And stuffing.  And potatoes.  And sprouts.  And beans.  Something bright and bubbly to break through the parade.  I always serve cidre buché, or corked cider.  It’s a term that applies to dry apple cider from Normandy or Brittany, cheap even though it comes in bottles that are strangely reminiscent of champagne.  Dry, but still apply.  This cocktail is even more fun.  I soak slices of green apples and grapes in white wine and Calvados, a Norman apple brandy.  Simple syrup and seltzer add sparkle and sweetness.  Something to toast with, and to.

Autumn Apple Sangria
serves as many as you want.

Apple SangriaHow to Make My White Apple Sangria

Boil 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water for 3 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  In a large pitcher, pour a cold bottle of white wine and Calvados to taste.  Add in slices of Granny Smith apples and halved green grapes until it's quite full of fruit.  Allow to sit in the fridge, covered, for a few hours.  Add a bottle of seltzer and the cooled simple syrup to taste.  Stir, and serve cold.

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | Leave a comment
Share

Categories: 15 Minutes, Cocktails, Drinks, Easy, Eat, Recipes, Vegetarian
 

Thanksgiving Redux: Maple Cracker Jacks

RECIPE: Maple Popcorn and Peanuts
Maple Cracker Jacks

Maple Cracker Jacks

I love Cracker Jacks.  And they somewhat inspired this popcorn.  I bubble up maple syrup until it forms a caramel, and then toss it with air-popped popcorn and toasted salted peanuts.  I let it set and get sweet and crunchy, then I scoop it into cellophane bags and give it to my guests to take home with them–if they can wait that long.

Maple Popcorn and Peanuts
serves a crowd

Maple Cracker JacksHow to Make My Maple Popcorn and Peanuts

Boil 1 cup of maple syrup to 235 degrees F.  Toss in about 9 cups of freshly popped plain popcorn and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of salted, roasted cocktail peanuts.  Toss well and carefully with a silicone spatula.  Spread the mixture on parchment-coated baking sheets sprayed with nonstick spray.  Allow to cool completely.

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | 1 Comment
Share

Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Desserts, Eat, Recipes, Vegetarian
 

Thanksgiving Redux: Bitter Greens Salad with Dried Cranberries, Goat Cheese, and Spicy Maple Vinaigrette

RECIPE: Bitter Greens Salad with Dried Cranberries, Goat Cheese, and Spicy Maple Vinaigrette
Bitter Greens Salad with Cranberries and Goat Cheese

Bitter Greens Salad with Cranberries and Goat Cheese

My friend Jessie’s mom inspired this salad.  She’s forever coming up with gorgeous combinations of seeds and proteins and fruits and nuts to put in her salads.  She even adds wasabi peas–totally genius in a salad.  This one is particularly festive, as I toss baby spinach, arugula, and radicchio with dried cranberries, walnuts, and crumbed goat cheese.  A quick maple-Dijon dressing adds sweetness, spice, everything nice.

Bitter Greens Salad with Dried Cranberries, Goat Cheese, and Spicy Maple Vinaigrette
serves a crowd

Bitter Greens Salad with Cranberries and Goat CheeseHow to Make My Bitter Greens Salad with Cranberries and Goat Cheese

Mix one part white wine vinegar with two parts olive oil.  Add Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper to taste, and whisk together.  In a large bowl, toss together baby spinach, baby arugula, chopped radicchio, walnuts, dried cranberries, and crumbled fresh goat cheese.  Lightly dress the salad, and serve right away.  Corn bread croutons wouldn't be a bad idea!

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | Leave a comment
Share

Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Recipes, Salad, Soup & Salad, Vegetarian
 

Thanksgiving Redux: Smoked Turkey, Munster, and Lemon Baguettes

RECIPE: Smoked Turkey, Munster, and Lemon Sandwiches
Yura Turkey Sandwiches

Smoked Turkey, Munster, and Lemon Sandwiches

These are inspired by my favorite sandwich at Yura on Madison.  Chewy skinny tiny baguettes (or you can cut up big ones) layered with thinly sliced smoked turkey breast, Munster cheese, romaine lettuce, vine tomatoes, and lemony mayo.  Tie them with twine, and serve them with Terra sweet potato chips.  Simple, but gorgeous and hip.

Smoked Turkey, Munster, and Lemon Sandwiches
serves a crowd

Smoked Turkey, Munster, and Lemon SandwichesHow to Make My Smoked Turkey, Munster, and Lemon Sandwiches

Buy as many fusettes or baguettes or ficelles as you want for the amount of people you're having.  Slit them open horizontally.  Mix together mayonnaise and lemon juice and lemon zest to taste.  Season the mayo with salt and pepper.  Lightly mayo both sides of bread.  Layer on sliced smoked turkey from the deli counter, sliced Munster cheese, halved leaves of romaine lettuce, and just a couple thin slices of vine-ripe tomato.  Use as much or as little of any ingredient as you like.  Serve with sweet potato chips for a Thanksgiving redux.

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | Leave a comment
Share

Categories: 15 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Recipes, Sandwiches
 

‘Twas the Night Before: Thanksgiving Redux

RECIPE: Spicy Thanksgiving Turkey Meatballs
Yura Turkey Sandwiches

Smoked Turkey, Munster, and Lemon Sandwiches

Tonight was a strange Thanksgiving Eve.  Instead of doing my giant shop, vacillating between Brussels sprouts and green beans and then deciding to get both because, come on, it’s Thanksgiving—I was at the London Whole Foods, buying boxes of already-cooked sage and onion stuffing, Brussels sprouts with chestnuts, haricots verts with shallots, butter mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, two pumpkin pies, and of course, roast turkey.  In living memory, I have never not cooked Thanksgiving.

Bitter Greens Salad with Cranberries and Goat Cheese

Bitter Greens Salad with Dried Cranberries and Goat Cheese

I have my traditions.  I always make cream of cauliflower soup, and pomegranate mushrooms.  We always open a bottle of expensive champagne, and go around toasting all the things we each are thankful for.  I put on my apron, and pad around the kitchen barefoot, listening to Ella Fitzgerald.  I sit down one night in the days before, and eat an entire pumpkin pie by myself instead of dinner.  Thanksgiving, always days after my birthday, is my favorite holiday.  Frankly, it’s the only one we ever celebrated growing up.  When I was very young, I hated turkey, and I begged Maman to make me hotdogs when she had the whole family around our expanding antique table that we would stretch out in the big foyer of our little New York apartment.  I would eat them on the floor in the next room, in front of the fire with our little King Charles Spaniel Michou, nestled somewhere between his fur and the carpet.  But I loved the holiday so much, that year by year I forced myself to eat the turkey, until lo and behold, I love it.  Mind over matter, I always say.

Maple Cracker Jacks

Maple Cracker Jacks

So it feels weird that I’m not going to be with my family tomorrow.  Or my friends, who all descent upon Florida as the cold creeps up the back of the North.  Mr. English and I are going to come home to our ready-cooked feast after work, and eat at our little pine Ikea table, a far cry from Maman’s antique inlayed with leaf after leaf for guest after friend after relative after guest.  There won’t be pomegranate mushrooms, or cauliflower soup.  But for me, it’s still like the night before Christmas must be for everyone else.  As I put my little boxes away of stuffing and sprouts, stacked neatly in my under the counter fridge, I shivered in the anticipation of getting to open them.  And tonight, as we sat watching TV, Mr. English and I shared not one, but two anticipatory slivers of pumpkin pie.  Because like any great holiday, the Eve is as worth it’s salt as the day itself.

Gwyneth's Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

Gwyneth's Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

Last Thanksgiving, I hosted a “night-after” party.  I invited all my friends and their boyfriends (and Mémé, always the life of the party) over for Thanksgiving redux.  I made turkey meatballs, stewed with bell peppers in arrabiata sauce, served in mini French baguettes.  A salad of greens and cranberries and goat cheese.  Maple-coated popcorn.  Sandwiches of smoked turkey, Munster cheese, lettuce, and lemon mayo inspired by Yura on Madison in New York.  Sweet potato chips.  Cranberry Jell-O shots.  Apple and Grape White Sangria with Calvados.  And finally, Gwyneth Paltrow’s pumpkin ice cream pie.  It made real Thanksgiving look out of season.  Engagements were announced.  Bottles of alcohol ran dry.  The meatballs were the hit of the season.  We sat around the couches in Maman’s living room, Chinet plates scattered around an enormous marble coffee table, laughing.  Eating.  Smiling.

I was thankful for them.  That is my toast every year.  Thankful for my friends and my family.  When I count my blessings, I know which ones to count first.

Apple Sangria

Apple Sangria

Which is why I just put my bottle of Champagne in the fridge.  It may sound hokey, but as I walk out tomorrow in a strange country, full of people who don’t realize it’s the best day of the year, far from everyone but one in my life, I will be thankful that I have so many to think of, and thankful to think they are thinking of me.

As they say in jolly old England,

Cheers.

Thanksgiving Friends

At last year's Thanksgiving Post-Eve Party

Last year, I took some candid photos and casual recipe notes to share with you a year later.  More recipes to come throughout the day…

Spicy Thanksgiving Turkey Meatballs
serves a little crowd

Spicy Turkey MeatballsHow to Make My Spicy Turkey Meatballs

Follow your favorite meatball recipe.  This is mine.  Substitute ground turkey (not the super lean kind, just regular ground turkey) for the meat, and forget about the spaghetti and mozzarella and any extras like that.  Form the meatballs into small, Swedish-meatball-sized balls.  Drizzle the meatballs with olive oil, and bake at 425 degrees just until golden brown on the outside (they don't need to be all the way cooked through, or they'll dry out).

In a large stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat.  Roughly slice 2 yellow onions into half moons, and sauté them until they're soft.  Drain a large jar of roasted red bell peppers, and sliced them.  Add the peppers and 1 large jar of Arrabiata sauce (recommended: Mario Batali; if you like it really sauce, add 1 1/2 jars) to the pot.  Add the meatballs to the pot, and simmer, lid on, for 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve with toasted split baguette rolls.  Spicy, hearty, fluffy, and delicious!

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | Leave a comment
Share

Categories: 60 Minutes, Eat, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes
 

The Secret Ingredient (Turmeric): Gobi Gobi

RECIPE: Gobi Gobi
Gobi Gobi

Gobi Gobi

Here is this week’s The Secret Ingredient, the last installment on turmeric.  I am a die-hard aloo gobi fan.  But this is my version, newly minted and a little different.  No potatoes, just lots of cauliflower with fresh ginger, garlic, chili, and cilantro, with some turmeric and cumin to spice it all up.  I toss it with a spoonful of butter at the end.  Unorthodox, but pale gold and lovely.

I am an enthusiastic frequenter of Indian restaurants, and I never leave without having Aloo Gobi, potatoes and cauliflower, cooking with coriander, cumin seeds, a bit of chili, and of course, turmeric, which gives it that golden kiss and earthen flavor.  It is an incredibly simple recipes as far as Indian dishes go, which I admittedly find unfamiliar and daunting in the kitchen.  I personally have more time for cauliflower than potatoes, so I made this my Gobi Gobi (which means cauliflower) recipe, all soft florets, earthy turmeric, a whole chili, smoky cumin seeds, hot fresh garlic and ginger, and piles of fresh cilantro.  It’s bright and light, but different and interesting and unexpected, especially if served in a non-Indian context, like along side seared fish or roast chicken.

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

Gobi Gobi
serves 2 to 4

Gobi GobiINGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh garlic
  • 1 green chili, split down the middle, seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 small heads of cauliflower, split into florets
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

PROCEDURE

Heat the oil in a wide sauté pan over medium heat.  When the oil shimmers, add the turmeric, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, and chili.  Sauté just until fragrant—about 30 seconds.  Add the cauliflower and season with salt.  Add 2/3 cup of water, and cover.  Simmer, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.

Take the lid of the pot, and allow any remaining water to evaporate over high heat, and then allow the cauliflower to take on an ever-so-slight golden age by searing in the dry pan for just 5 to 7 more minutes.  Toss with the butter and cilantro, and serve.

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | 1 Comment
Share

Categories: 30 Minutes, Cheap, Eat, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Sides, The Secret Ingredient, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Vegetarian