French in a Flash: Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

RECIPE: Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese
Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Who says watching TV is bad for you? Just last weekend while I was watching the Food Network I saw an idea that I loved: a recipe that combined strawberries and goat cheese. I use goat cheese in sweet dishes all the time, but I have never done the reverse of putting strawberries in savory. I tried it by combining two restaurant classics: crispy warm goat cheese salad and raspberry vinaigrette.

I started with the warm goat cheese salad we all know and love from every bistro in America. The fresh chèvre is coated with panko, and fried until crisp and oozing. If you want to save a couple of steps and calories though, the salad would be just as good with some goat cheese crumbled over the top.

Then, instead of raspberry vinaigrette, I concocted a strawberry vinaigrette thickened with fresh strawberries and honey. Toss it with baby spinach leaves and crunchy pine nuts, along with more sliced strawberries and you have a salad that is sweet, tangy, and full of character. (I know strawberries aren’t in season, but the flavor of the vinaigrette makes up for it.)

I had the salad for lunch. It turned out that watching TV was very good for me—this time, at least.

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese
serves 4

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Goat CheeseIngredients

  • 6 ounces fresh goat cheese log, cut into 4 1-inch medallions with a string of dental floss
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 12 strawberries, divided
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 ounces baby spinach salad
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • Vegetable oil for frying

PROCEDURE

  1. Bread the goat cheese medallions.  Coat each round in egg, and then in panko.  Place on a parchment-lined small rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Make the dressing.  In a blender, combine 4 strawberries, diced, vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper.  Purée until smooth and thickened.
  3. Assemble the salad.  Thinly slice the remaining 8 strawberries, and toss with spinach, pine nuts, and a bit of vinaigrette (you may have some vinaigrette left over).
  4. Fry the cheese.  Heat about 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, or enough to thickly coat the bottom of a small skillet, in a small skillet over medium heat until the oil shimmers.  Fry the cold goat cheese medallions until golden and crsip, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side, using a slotted fish spatula to turn the cheese in the pan.  Place on top of the tossed salad, and serve immediately with baguette alongside.
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Categories: Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Salad, Series, Soup & Salad, Vegetarian
 

The Secret Ingredient (Vanilla) Part I: Sweet Vanilla Iced Tea

RECIPE: Sweet Vanilla Iced Tea
Sweet Vanilla Iced Tea

Sweet Vanilla Iced Tea

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Whenever I go for ice cream, I always have a hard time ordering. I know what I want, but I never get it. I go for pistachio, or cookies and cream, or some flavor of the week—because I’m paying for it and it’s fattening and I shouldn’t get something so vanilla.

But that’s all I want: vanilla.

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Categories: Drinks, Easy, Eat, Recipes, Series, The Secret Ingredient, Vegetarian, Virgin
 

Franglais: American Onion Soup

RECIPE: American Onion Soup
American Onion Soup

American Onion Soup

Get the whole story at The Huffington Post.

Food to me is medicinal. And in our modern world, we take medicine for both mind and body. A book of soup recipes is like the pharmacy aisle in a supermarket. You have everything you need right there to cure what ails you.

Do you remember Chicken Soup for the Soul? I never understand that title. Chicken soup is something you take when your nose is stuffy, like soup Sudafed. It’s proven to work, but it’s certainly not a hot water bottle for the aching soul. No, when your soul aches, when someone else gets the promotion, when you place the losing bid on that beautiful apartment, is what you crave vegetables and white meat chicken? I don’t think so.

French onion soup is my favorite prescription for mild depression and aching souls. Winter is not just flu season, it’s also I’m-so-depressed-when-will-I-see-the-sun-again season. Onion soup is a crock of beef stock, earthy, ancient, homey. And yet, it is sweet and light and delicious. In my family, we always eat soup with bread and cheese on the side. This cuts the middleman: the bread and cheese are on the soup. The bread floats like a little raft, preserving the bubbling cheese from the molten sea of soup below. And the cheese oozes and droops, and as you pull it back with your spoon, you reveal a hot tub of healing, a pot of sippable Prozac, and life becomes generally satisfying and uplifting. French onion soup is the hearth. It is the home. It cannot help but make you happy.

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Categories: Eat, Franglais, Recipes, Series, Soup, Soup & Salad
 

French in a Flash: Provençal Mussels and Clams over Shells

RECIPE: Provençal Clams and Mussels over Shells
Provençal Clams and Mussels over Shells

Provençal Clams and Mussels over Shells

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

It seems to me that French food gets a really bad reputation around New Year’s. And, I’ll admit, where there’s smoke there’s fire—I do keep at least one pint of heavy cream in my fridge at all times and cannot imagine that life would be worth living without it. Or butter. Or brie. Or Roquefort. No! It’s too horrible to consider.

But let’s not be so provincial, when we should be being Provençal. While some of the classic comforts of northern France may be contrary to some New Year’s resolutions, the food of Provence, in the south, is our own personal French diet cookbook full of vegetables, tomatoes, herbs, olive oil, and seafood.

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

French in a Flash: Black Truffle Pasta

RECIPE: Black Truffle Angel Hair
Truffled Angel Hair

Truffled Angel Hair

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

I love New Year’s Eve—the idea of starting over, starting fresh—but I hate New Year’s parties. Waking up with a hangover is, for me, about the worst way to start fresh. So most years I make an extravagant but simple dinner at home with my favorite friends—Mr. English, of course, sometimes some of the girls, sometimes some of the famille—and I always make the same thing: Perrier Jouet champagne, black truffle pasta, and chocolate cake. (Black truffles, by the way, are the French ones.) Everyone goes around and shares their resolution, and there are glittery hats and the ball dropping on the TV. Could anything be better?

I chill the champagne and buy the cake, but I cook the pasta—not such a big deal when all you have to do it boil water. It feels extravagant, but it neither breaks the bank nor your back. With any luck, it is a preview of the riches to come in the new year. I hope, if you’re like me and 1 a.m. is your New Year’s bedtime, that this will help you toast 2011.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches, Vegetarian, Vegetarian
 

Franglais: Pan Bagnat Tuna Fish Sandwiches

RECIPE: Pan Bagnat Tuna Fish Sandwiches
Pan Bagnat Tunafish Sandwiches

Pan Bagnat Tunafish Sandwiches

Get the whole story at The Huffington Post.

There is something so perfectly American about the tuna fish sandwich that it’s hard to imagine the French having anything to do with the stuff.

The tuna fish sandwich just might be the first dish I ever mastered. When I was young, I would break out the can opener, and my recipe has never deviated since: albacore in water, lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper, on sliced oatmeal bread. While I attempted many high-fallutin’ dishes way back when, this was probably my only signature dish. With my nose in the air (as it should be in a kitchen full of canned fish), I was convinced no one could make it as well as I could. And I ate it all the time, sharing scraps with the family cat.

The French tuna fish sandwich is slightly more ornate. The Pan Bagnat, or bathing bread, has all the flavors of a Niçoise salad on a bun: tuna, hard-boiled egg, lemon, olives, anchovies, lettuce, tomato, vinaigrette. When I had it, it was plain chunky tuna, lemon mayonnaise, hard boiled egg, anchovy fillets, black olives, lettuce, and tomato, sold like a deli tuna fish sandwich at a bakery for hungry lunchers.

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

The Secret Ingredient (Marmalade) Part III: Marmalade and Stinky Cheese Tartines

RECIPE: Marmalade and Stinky Cheese Tartines

Marmalade and Stinky Cheese Tartines

Marmalade and Stinky Cheese Tartines

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

I saved the best for last. Of all the secret ingredients of 2010, marmalade has been my favorite. It really does add that secret oomph, and it’s nearly impossible to match its depth of flavor. And it is my favorite not least of all because I don’t usually like it (although I have loved reading the comments of those of you who do!). It just goes to show you (or rather, it just goes to show me) that one should always try to eat new things. Perhaps I’ve found my New Year’s resolution.

And while we’re on the topic of New Year’s, this is about that time where you might be digging for great cocktail party and entertaining recipes. For me, I could eat my whole day’s worth of meals in tiny, punchy bites at a finger food cocktail party. Canapés and cheese plates are my idea of culinary heaven. So I combined them.

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Categories: Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Bread & Butter, Eat, For a Crowd, Recipes, Sandwiches, Series, The Secret Ingredient, Vegetarian