Le Macaron Frappé Milkshake for Bastille Day

RECIPE: The Macaron Frappé

Some celebrations of Bastille Day are big and fun and fabulous, like watching the Can-Can dancers perform on the bar in the old Florent in NYC.  Some, much more low key, like playing pétanque with Mr. English and a bottle of dry Breton apple cider in the garden.  The point is, July is a very patriotic moment, and just like I dragged Mr. English to Pitt Cue at ten o’clock last Thursday to take a bite of Americana on the Fourth, so must I do at least a little something on the Quatorze.  A tip of my hat, or my béret, to my heritage.

I can’t think of any better way to celebrate in the dead of summer heat (even here in London!) than with this utterly ridiculous iced extravaganza of a drink.  If you think of Bastille Day as the end of the bread-and-water regimen (although, if it was French bread and water…) of prison, then this pool of decadence couldn’t shout independence any louder.  The Macaron Frappé.  I buy macarons, and whiz them up with ice cream, milk, and ice, for a thick, cold, creamy, and decidedly unique riff on a milkshake.

I usually make this with either pistachio or orange flower macarons--my two favorites.  The flavor of the macaron itself flavors the frappé very lightly, and then there are the almondy crunchy crumbs that disperse throughout.  The little pellets of perfectly diamond-hard ice.  The swish and swirl of the milk and ice cream.  It’s insane!  Part granita.  Part milkshake.  Part Frappuccino.  Part Ladurée.  No French patissier could condone it.  But it is beyond bon.  I prefer it to regular milkshakes because it has more texture and interest from the macaron, but it’s also lighter, cut with ice and flavored so delicately.

And, you could adapt it like maman does, and go crazy: pair coffee macarons with coffee ice cream.  Pistachio with pistachio.  Raspberry with raspberry sorbet.  For me, the vanilla lets the macaron shine through best, but who am I to dictate your frappé?  It is independence day, after all.

Happy Quatorze, mes amis!

Macaron Frappé Up Close

Check out that texture! Like a creamy French-American granita.

As featured in FrenchEntrée’s 100 French recipes to celebrate 100 issues of FrenchEntrée magazine

The Macaron Frappé
serves 1

Macaron FrappéINGREDIENTS

  • 1 macaron (about ½ ounce), in any flavor you like
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup of ice (about 8 ice cubes)

PROCEDURE

Put everything in the blender, and whiz until you get a slushy.  Crumble extra macaron on top as a garnish, and serve with a straw.

NOTES

If you can’t find macarons, amaretto cookies make a good substitute.

You can also change up the flavors: do a coffee macaron with coffee ice cream, or pistachio with pistachio.  Or, do a raspberry macaron or lemon with vanilla ice cream.  The possibilities are endless.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Desserts, Drinks, Easy, Eat, Frozen, Recipes, Virgin
 

Crottin de Chèvre and Roasted Cherry Tomato Tartine with Fresh Herbs and Honey

RECIPE: Crottin de Chèvre and Roasted Cherry Tomato Tartine with Fresh Herbs and Honey

Crottin and Tomato Tartine

It was a surprise sunny Sunday afternoon here in London, and I wanted to make something to match.  I had that Poilâne bread I’d picked up when I passed by the shop last week.  Slightly past its peak, but perfect for a crisp tartine.  I’d recently been reunited with an old favorite I’d somehow forgotten about when I was in Paris a few weekends ago: warm salad with crottin de chèvre.  Remember when that was so popular in those California-style salads?  I had kind of gone off it, but after a reunion at Les Deux Magots, I realized I was the one missing out.

So, on Sunday, I made this little version.  I put cherry tomatoes and olive oil under the broiler until they popped and charred and wept tomato juice everywhere.  Then, I broiled the crottin into the bread, and spooned the tomatoes over the top.  Then fresh herbs: little lovely leaves of globe basil that I love getting this time of year, and fresh thyme, had I had any.  Sea salt.  Black pepper.  And, finally, a crowning drizzle on honey–thyme blossom if you’ve got it.

It was fresh, salty, sweet, hearty.  And the best part was the way the tomatoes burst like soft-boiled eggs, exploded their delicious freshness all over the plate.

Crottin and Tomato Tartine

As featured in FrenchEntrée’s 100 French recipes to celebrate 100 issues of FrenchEntrée magazine

Crottin de Chèvre and Roasted Cherry Tomato Tartine with Fresh Herbs and Honey
serves 2

Crottin and Tomato TartineINGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 2 Crottins de Chèvre (about 5 ounces total)
  • 2 large or 4 smaller slices of good pain au levain, such as Poilâne
  • Globe basil or thyme leaves
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • A drizzle of honey, preferably thyme flower!

PROCEDURE

Preheat the broiler with the oven rack in the top third of the oven.  Toss the cherry tomatoes with the olive oil and a good pinch of salt, and spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Broil for 5 to 10 minutes, until they have just begun to soften and char and burse.  Pour the tomatoes and their juice into a bowl, and set aside.

Slice each crottin into 4 discs, and arrange them on the bread.  Place the bread on a rack inside a rimmed baking sheet, and broil just until the corners of the breads toasts and the cheese softens: 2 minutes.  Place the tartines on a plate, and top with the roasted tomatoes and their juice, salt, pepper, leaves of fresh basil and / or thyme, and a very light drizzle of honey.  Devour immediately.

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

Tender Turkey Meatballs with Grilled Zucchini

RECIPE: Tender Turkey Meatballs with Grilled Zucchini

Turkey Meatballs with Grilled ZucchiniI have to say, I am PARTICULARLY proud of this recipe.  And I feel like it is very Summer-Sunday-Night-Supper.  I only wished it weren’t so filling, so I could have eaten more of it.

Lately, I’ve really been on the pescatarian train.  But sometimes I just want to say, to hell with it, I want me some Mulberry Street spaghetti and meatballs.  I feel like this is an excellent compromise (Mr. English is probably scoffing that I’m even attempting the word–I’m very all or nothing!).  A bed of thick slabs of grilled zucchini, marinated in olive oil, herbs, and garlic, piled high with bold, juicy, and tender meatballs, stewed in really good tomato sauce (I buy the best jarred one I can find to keep this in my weeknight repertoire).  I made this around 9:30 the other night, and we crashed on the couch with big bowls of steaming meatballs, watching TV.  It was epically wonderful.  The meatballs, aided by their breadcrumbs, and stuffed full of meaty flavor with the Worcestershire and ketchup and herbs and garlic, were fork-fall-apart perfect.  And the zucchini was a nice fresh summer counterpoint, instead of a bowl of spaghetti.  I was so proud!

I was only disappointed that I couldn’t fit the last meatball into my stomach.  I hate to waste something so good.

Tender Turkey Meatballs with Grilled Zucchini
serves 2 to 3

Turkey Meatballs with Grilled ZucchiniTurkey Meatballs

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound ground dark meat turkey
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • S&P
  • 1 24-ounce jar of tomato sauce
  • Fresh globe basil leaves for garnish

PROCEDURE

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until just combined.  Form mixture into 8 meatballs, and place on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Transfer to a sauté pan with the tomato sauce, and simmer, covered for 25 minutes, adding water if the sauce becomes too thick.  Serve over the zucchini, topped with fresh basil.  (I wouldn’t complain if you wanted to shave over some good Parm or Pecorino either!)

Grilled Zucchini

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons herbes de Provence
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • S&P

PROCEDURE

Slice each zucchini into 4 long planks.  Toss with olive oil, herbes de Provence, garlic, and S&P.  Place on a hot grill pan, and sear 5 minutes on each side.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Eat, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes
 

Old-Bay Blacked Salmon with Greek Yogurt Tartare Sauce

RECIPE: Old-Bay Blacked Salmon with Greek Yogurt Tartare Sauce

Old Bay SalmonI got home late last night, craving something healthy, hearty, and full of Americana.  I brought one of those little tin tubs of Old Bay back on my last flight, thinking I might conjure up some homemade fish sticks or something like that.  But last night, confronted with a slab of fresh British salmon, I decided to go a different route.

I slathered the Old Bay on the salmon, and blackened it in a pan, finishing it off simply in the oven.  I have a really soft spot for the single ‘side’ of salmon that you divvy up around the table.  This wasn’t quite a side, but for me and Mr. English, it had the same effect.  And to go with it, a Greek yogurt tartare sauce stuffed with cornichons, green onions, parsley, and lemon.

I love that smell of Old Bay–nothing quite like it, is there, kind of sweet, fresh, briny, and savory–charring in the pan.  I love the bite and coolness of the yogurt tartare (I actually exclaimed to Mr. English that I may never go back to mayo–we’ll if that lasts, but this was a great sauce).  And I served with with Bon Appetit’s Snap Pea and Cabbage Slaw.

It was the perfect dinner.  Bright, filling, and I think pretty healthy!

Old-Bay Blacked Salmon with Greek Yogurt Tartare Sauce
serves 2 to 3

Old Bay Blackened SalmonINGREDIENTS

Old Bay-Blackened Salmon

  • One 1-pound piece of skin-on, boneless salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoons olive or canola oil

Greek Yogurt Tartare Sauce

  • 8 cornichons
  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley
  • The juice from 1/4 lemon
  • One 7-ounce container of 2% Greek yogurt
  • S&P

PROCEDURE

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Rub the salmon all over with the Old Bay seasoning.  Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and quickly add the oil.  Add the salmon, flesh-side-down, and sear for 5 minutes.  Carefully flip over, and put in the oven for 10 minutes for salmon that is cooked through.

For the yogurt tartare sauce, blitz the cornichons, scallions, and parsley in the food process until roughly chopped.  Add the lemon juice, yogurt, salt, and pepper, and blitz until combined but still just a bit chunky.  Serve together with lemon wedges!

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

Where I’ve Been…

RECIPE: Wholegrain Fusilli with Organic Arugula Pesto and Haricots Verts

As some of the regular readers may have noticed, I haven’t been here for a while.  Because it’s been a while, and because it’s certainly not permanent, it’s time I told you why.

In January, fresh back from Marrakech and ready to report all the amazing eating I had done there, I came down with a very bad gastrointestinal infection.  Not the best thing to develop when you’re a food writer, especially if it escalates, which it did.  I developed something called POTS, and what that meant, simply put, is that every time I got up—to stretch, to get a glass of water, to walk to the bathroom—my heart rate would triple and I would collapse.  Not fun.  Terrifying, in fact.

After a barrage of tests that took several months, I was finally diagnosed, and able to start my recovery.  The great thing about my POTS is that it can self-correct and eventually go away, and after nearly six months, I am finally getting close to back to myself.  But I’ll never forget when I first got out of the hospital, and came home wanting to make dinner for Mr. English and my mother.  The Ditalani with Chickpeas and Garlic and Rosemary Oil in Bon Appetit looked to die for, but after ten minutes of standing by the stove, I realized I couldn’t go on.  It would be months before I could eat close to normally, and even longer before I could boil a pot of water.

As someone who had always lived to eat, I was suddenly put in the position of having to eat to live.  The treatment for POTS is oral—salt and water.  I was in the position of having to force myself to keep down miso soup and yogurt, begging my mom to just let me not eat today.  Was that really me?  I had never before been in the position to really regard food as a lifeline, rather than as a hobby—indulgent and pleasurable.

Don’t worry, this is not going to turn into an eat to live website, full of seaweed crackers (although, those are kind of good…).  But I have started looking at food and my body differently.  What once was should, is now must.  I now have to drink three liters of water a day.  I now have to exercise every day.   And I now know what it feels like to be truly sick—the feel the separation between your core you, and your body, when they no longer work together.  It just made me look at food and the body and health differently, and I’m really enjoying the new perspective of loving food for what it is: delicious, wholesome, wonderful fuel, as I rediscover what it is to really eat.

While I have every confidence that I and this site will get back to where we were in 2012, for the coming weeks and months, I will be keeping things a bit more simple, and maybe, you’ll notice, a bit more wholesome.  But don’t worry—I’m still me, and if it’s not good, we’re not eating it.

I hope you’ll love the food that I put together, and I hope we can get back to sharing that and this place.  Thank you to all the readers who emailed asking where I was.  I’m sorry it took me so long to tell you, but I didn’t want to burden this happy place with anything less than a happy story.  Which this is.

Santé!  To health, happiness, and tomorrows full of terrific meals.

To kick it off, check out this recipe I’ve been making–a healthy riff on the classic pasta with pesto, potatoes, and green beans.  It’s a wholegrain fusilli tossed with an organic arugula and basil pesto with roasted haricots verts.  It’s delish, and cinch to throw together at night.  Leftovers make a great pasta salad for lunch.  Bon app!

Fusilli with Arugula Pesto

 

Wholegrain Fusilli with Organic Arugula Pesto and Haricots Verts
serves 2 to 4

Fusilli with Arugula PestoINGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound whole grain fusilli
  • 1/2 pound trimmed haricots verts, halved crosswise
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups organic baby arugula
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, chopped walnuts, or chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus some extra
  • S&P

PROCEDURE

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Toss the haricots verts with a little bit of olive oil, S&P on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Roast for the beans are tender and just starting to char–5 to 8 minutes.  Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.  They should be done around the same time.  Reserve a cup of the cooking liquid, and drain.

Meanwhile, whiz together the garlic, arugula, basil, nuts, oil, and salt and pepper in a food processor, scraping down the sides as needed, until you have a nice smooth pesto.

Toss the pasta, the haricots verts, and the pesto together in a large bowl, adding pasta water if you need to loosen the sauce.  Eat up!

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

Sea Scallops Baked with Sweet Butter and Endives

RECIPE: Scallops with Butter and Endives
Scallops Baked with Butter and Endives

Scallops Baked with Butter and Endives. You must dip the bread into that butter!

Every time Mr. English and I are in Paris, we never miss an opportunity to eat at Le Comptoir, our favorite restaurant, just down the street from where we used to live when I was in cooking school. It’s become a lot more popular than it was back then, but the food remains, in my opinion, the best in Paris. Their scallops with endives is one of the best dishes on a menu packed with best dishes.

The dish is unpretentious, but unexpected: five giant sea scallops from Brittany, still on their enormous half shells, tucked under a blanket of soft, roasted endives, anointed with bubbling sweet butter. The sweetness of the scallops and the butter is gently counterbalanced by the bitterness of the soft endives. Breathtaking! And it only takes three ingredients and about 20 minutes. Paris, je t’aime! Continue reading

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series
 

Chunky Cherry Tomato Shrimp Puttanesca for Two

RECIPE: Chunky Cherry Tomato Shrimp Puttanesca
Chunky Shrimp Puttanesca

Chunky Shrimp Puttanesca

I love the flavor of pasta, but sometimes, I don’t want to eat pasta. Do you know what I mean? I get pasta guilt.

I’ve fallen hard for this dish. A super fresh puttanesca sauce, made from throwing olive oil, cherry tomatoes, olives, garlic, a fresh chili, capers, oregano, and lemon zest together, and used to poach a ton of giant, tender, meaty shrimp (I always keep jumbo peeled and deveined shrimp in my freezer for just such an occasion as this). The sauce is spicy and bright, and all those salty classic puttanesca ingredients go so naturally with seafood. I grill up some rustic bread, rub it with garlic, and dig in. Another super easy, slightly different one-pot wonder for you and your beloved after work this week.

Chunky Shrimp Puttanesca

From my weekly column Dinner for Two on Serious Eats.  Check it out every Friday!

Chunky Cherry Tomato Shrimp Puttanesca
serves 2

Chunky Shrimp PuttanescaINGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
  • 1 Fresno chili, seeded and sliced or chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 35 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • The zest of half a lemon

PROCEDURE

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the garlic and chilies, and sauté over medium heat just until fragrant.  Add the capers, olives, and anchovy paste, and stir around.  Add the tomatoes, clamp the lid on, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Use a potato smasher to smush the tomatoes.  Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook until opaque—about 5 to 8 minutes.  Toss in the oregano and lemon zest, and serve with grilled bread (rub with garlic for extra kick!).

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series