1 family. friendly food.

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I’m sitting here with a cup of tea, herbal, no sugar.

Normally, I’d be sitting here with a cup of coffee: 1 level teaspoon coffee, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, only 1/2 cup boiling water, 1/4 cup 2% organic milk. Coffee is a scientific formula to be followed very, very closely. It’s that important! Are you as crazy as I am about coffee?

I had no coffee in the past 8 days.

I love coffee.

But I’m on a Detox program.

21 days.

Have you ever tired a Detox?

I used to think it’s for plain weird people, health fanatics, or sports fanatics (no, not the kind that sits on the couch and watch it on TV while drinking beers and eating chips). But now I’m doing it.

I have some health issues. Some have been going on for 2 years, some for 1 year. I went to plenty doctors (like 4 different PCPs, 2 allergists, etc etc…) but no one had a clue what’s going on (of course not all doctors will admit it!). And they couldn’t offer something that helped besides antihistamines and steroid creams. (The doctors themselves told me that steroid creams are not so good to use. Hmm. A paradox.) Well, the antihistamines and steroid creams don’t solve anything anyway, they just make it quiet for a short while until they no longer have any effect while the problem still exists.

One thing led to another and I found myself meeting a nutritionist and a naturopathic physician.

I believe in the power of food to affect our physical, mental, and behavioral health since I studied Physiological Psychology about 20 years ago. I believe in the substance-psyche connection, and what is food if not the fuel we put into our bodies?

Is it a logical connection that if you put bad things in your body bad things come out like allergies, rashes, fat, headaches and migraines…?

Also, as a blogger, I’ve seen blogs and met bloggers that had health issues that with a change of diet started feeling better/problems gone. (Like Cannelle et Vanille, Tartelette, Gluten free girl and the Chef, Healthy Recipes and more). This only reinforced the notion that I should investigate further in that direction.

8 days of Detox.

No coffee, no sugar, no bread, no oil, no alcohol, no meat, no potatoes…

Yes more fruits, yes more veggies, yes to nuts, yes to lentils and to an exciting new opportunity to heal and get strong.

I’ve been feeling better, lighter.

I realized yesterday that I am also more calm! Wow.

As a bonus, I lost a few pounds! Wow.

I’m hopeful that the bothering issues will be gone by the end of the Detox—that we’ll have to see but the signs so far are encouraging

Half of the tea finished—I admit, it’s not that exciting to drink tea with no sugar.

Now it’s time to shake, shake, shake… Time to make my daily shake with fresh fruits and some greens. It’s yummy.

And then, it’s a sunny day, I’ll go out for a 20-30 minutes walk-run combo.

And then, I’ll start exploring what my lunch and dinner new daily creations are going to be today.

More to come…

Tags : , Categories : Detox, Health, Healthy Food, Inspiration, Power and Food Comments 2 Comments

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I feel elated. I made this concert happen!

It was so much fun to be present at sound check time—a producer’s prize.

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Never in my life had I thought that one day *I* will produce a concert!

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But opportunity knocked and I took a chance.

And it was AWESOME. These two—Aya Korem and Adam ben Amitai—are extremely talented.

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And super-nice people.

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Here’s one of Aya’s songs—one of my favorites:

 

 

And here’s one of Adam’s songs—A very popular one (It has been watched over 268,000 times on YouTube):

And here are some matzo balls for you, if you celebrate Passover.

Forgive me for re-using an old recipe, however the photo is fairly brand new… We don’t wait for Passover to make it. My son is crazy about this soup and keeps asking for it every few weeks.

The “secret” recipe is here.

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And here’s the dessert I’m going to make for the holiday dinner.

(Again, sorry for “recycling” this old thing) It became a tradition to make a Pavlova for Passover. Here’s the recipe.

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Happy Passover and Easter to you all!

N

Categories : Holidays, Music Comments Comments Off on Concerts and holidays
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I have never in my life planned to produce a concert.
But that’s exactly what I have been doing in the past 3 weeks.
For the first time in my life, I had/have 1 month to produce a show.
Lots of butterflies in my belly.
Lots of nights I wake up at 3 AM and think till dawn and then jump out of bad to get to work, but not out of anxiety.
Surprisingly, I am hardly stressed at all. I love every second of it.
I’ll tell you more about it soon.
In the meantime, here’s the flyer with the details. Followed by a few songs—you gotta listen to those!
More about the singer in this interview, click here.
I hope to see you there.
For tickets:
San Francisco, 3/29:

Seattle, 3/31:
N
Aya Korem Promo

The talented young
Israeli musician in a
SF south-bay show

In 2006, released her debut album, “Aya Korem”. The album reached gold and Korem was voted “female artist of the year”.In 2008 came out her second album, “Safa Zara” (“Forgein Language”). a More mature and complex album, that established her as one of Israel’s top singer-songwriters.In june, 2011, her third, “Lealef et hasusim” (“Taming the Stallions”), came out. An independent, self produced album (Korem walked out on her label at 2009) and now is considered, unanimously, by the critics, her best so far, and one of the best pop albums of the recent years in Israel.
Date:
San Francisco South Bay – Thursday, March 29

Seattle – Saturday March 31
Tickets
San Francisco:

Seattle:
www.broshproductions.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwcqkdn0LA8&feature=related

and
Got to go now Smile Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Categories : Music Comments Comments Off on Producing a concert

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I’ve been noticing French “things” in my vicinity lately. Pretty, tasty, tempting, and so alluringly French.

It started with the little café at the market followed by Gauguin’s exhibition at the museum.

Then at home, on the couch, on a Friday night, a cute movie with Juliette Binoche (French actress) and Steve Carell. Ah, Juliette, Juliette, you are one of a kind.

I love Steve Carell too. He is not French.

Then, I discovered financiers. I’ve said enough about them.

An urge to bring back to life my rusty French (Which I have studied for 5 years but that was 15 years) emerged and I bought a kit for home study. The 5 CDs kit.

And then, La Tartine Gourmande’s cookbook came out with all that beautiful French-inspired food and heavenly, most gorgeous flatware from Paris in every photo, u-la-la.

And just about now you must be losing patience ‘cause you want to know who won the cookbook, right?

But first, for those who are going to be disappointed, I give you this love song by the wild Iggy Pop. He sings it with his American accent. It’s mesmerizing and it give me goosebumps (Although goose bumps are funnier, don’t you think?)

The winner was chosen by a random kid who was asked to pick a random number from 1 to 33, and the winner is……………… Annie.

Annie, look for an email from me.

Thank you everyone. I’ll try to arrange more giveaway for you in the future. I loved to hear what you’re all eatin’ for dinner Winking smile

Categories : Bite size, Giveaway Comments 2 Comments

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If you read my La Tartine Gourmande cookbook review you know how much I love this book. Well, guess what?

(Are you guessing?)

I asked the publisher, Roost Books if they would send me a copy to give to one lucky reader and they said yes! And they will ship it worldwide. And that reader can be YOU!

If you want the book—and believe me, you want it—all you have to do is write a comment that says “I want it, I really do”, or “Pick me! Pick meeeee!”, or you can tell me what you had for dinner.

If you happen to see this announcement on my Facebook, Twitter, or in an email, you have to go to the blog post to put in your comment so go to this link >>> La Tartine Gourmande cookbook giveaway, yay!

That is all.

A random “winner”—although you are all winners to me Smile –will be announced on………… Tuesday, March 6th, 2012, in the evening.

************* 3/6/21012: comments now closed. ************

Categories : Giveaway Comments 33 Comments

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“How many cookbooks do you have anyway?” my boy asked me the other day, followed by, “And how many (food) magazines?”

I never counted, but there are 2 full bookcases. “Don’t worry”, I told him. “Son, one day all this will be yours and your sister’s. 50-50”

I bought my first cookbook at 10. The second one when I was a 20-something student. As you can see, it started as a rickle but over the years turned into a flood of books, an uncontrollable urge to grab a pretty cookbook and take it home with me. It especially worsened in the past decade.

I’ll be honest. I don’t love all my cookbooks equally. Some did not make it past the first date. Some were abandoned after I gave them a second chance. Some are waiting patiently to be used. Some books are the kind a person is supposed to have, like the big fat Bon Appetit Desserts cookbook. (It weighs 6.4 pounds!) I baked 2 cakes out of it and they were just, eh, not that exciting. So what am I supposed to do? Tell me, should I give/donate/toss it away? Do you want it?

But some cookbook I really love and get attached to (like these for example—a partial list…). I will keep them forever.

Recently, to control my cookbook-buying habits, I’ve decided to only buy cookbooks written by people I know or have met, and to those that are particularly, irresistibly gorgeous. And so today, dear people, let me introduce to you my newest cookbook—it’s that irresistibly gorgeous!!!

tartine gourmande book

Just by looking at the cover you can see how pretty it is, but don’t judge a book by the cover! It’s even prettier inside. I was so excited about it that I even got my blogging friend from Holland, Simone, to buy a copy and cook something “together” with me.

And the recipes… The recipes… I believe this is the first cookbook that I have cooked multiple recipes from, one right after the other, and I just keep going because I loved them all.

I love the colors, the photography, the styling—they are so vivid and beautiful. The food, French-inspired—especially the portion size, I must add a Smile here—includes an excellent variety of vegetarian and gluten-free recipes. The food is light on the stomach, as are the photos on the eye. There is a nicely sized chapter for desserts too—always a good thing.

I am truly inspired. Also because the author started as a blogger and look how far she got!

Now I’ll tell you what I made, and then there’s a recipe.

I baked these tartlets:

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and I baked brown butter pistachio and poppy seeds financiers and chocolate and hazelnuts financiers (The recipe for those are on her blog, click here)

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and I stirred celeriac, white sweet potato, and apple soup (I found a similar recipe here) as well as the carrot and red lentil soup

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and I roasted the lemon and honey-flavored chicken

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My conclusion: I think this cookbook is a keeper. Here’s a link to Amazon to buy it.

I better get a second copy so the kids won’t have to fight over this one copy when it’s time to inherit my cookbooks collection. Don’t think they will share or take turns without a fight. Hmm.

Now let’s see which recipe/s Simone tried out and what she thinks of the cookbook.

***

Coriander-flavored carrot and zucchini tartlets

Makes six 4 1/2-inch tartlets

For the dough I used my No-roll quiche crust. This time with 13 tablespoons of butter and 6 small tartlets pans instead of an 11-inch tart pan. IMG_1168

For the filling, I used Beatrice’s recipe

Excerpted from LA TARTINE GOURMANDE by Béatrice Peltre, (c) 2012.  Published by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston. www.RoostBooks.com (Instructions written in my own words).

3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
5 tablespoons crème fraiche or heavy cream
Sea salt and pepper

In a bowl, beat all those together. Set aside.

***

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 thyme twigs
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, divided
2 packed cups finely grated carrots
Sea salt and pepper
1 small yellow or green zucchini, finely grated
4 oz. (120 gram) manchego cheese, thinly sliced >> I used 6 thin slices
3 oz. (90 gram) soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled >> I used Brouson

Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees.

In a medium frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the thyme and 1 teaspoon coriander, cook 1 minute. Add the carrots, some salt and pepper and cook 2-3 minutes until carrots are soft. Transfer to a bowl to cool, discard the thyme.

In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon coriander, cook 1 minutes. Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper, cook 1-2 minutes until it softens. Remove to a bowl and let cool.

Divide the egg batter: Mix 3/4 with the carrots and 1/4 with the zucchini.

On the bottom of each tartlet pan (with the dough laid in it, of course!) place 1 slice of manchego cheese. Then, spoon the carrots around the edges, leaving room in the middle for the zucchini. Repeat with all 6 tartlet pans adding the zucchini after you’re done with the carrots. Top each tartlet with goat cheese crumbles.

Place the tartlets in a large baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

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Tags : , Categories : Food books & Cookbooks, Inspiration, Main dishes/entrées, Party Food/Potluck, Recipes, Savory recipes, Tarts and pies Comments 1 Comment

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Allow me to tell you about a new love in my life. They are called financiers.

From Wikipedia,

“A financier is a small French cake… The financier is a light, moist teacake, similar to sponge cake, and usually contains almond flour… The basis of the cake itself is beurre noisette (brown butter), egg whites… Financiers are often baked in shaped molds. The name “financier” is said to derive from the traditional rectangular mold, which resembles a bar of gold. Another theory says that the cake became popular in the financial district of Paris surrounding La Bourse du Commerce (the former name of the Paris stock exchange).”

Interesting.

I first found them in this gorgeous blog. After I tried a second recipe for financiers, I got hooked. Forever, I’m afraid. Why?

In short, I think it’s the combination of easiness + greatness + airiness.

There’s the technical side: No need to use a mixer, just mix by hand. It takes 10-15 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes later you have cake that makes the house smell great all the way into the garage.

There’s the portion size: It’s just perfect. Not too small, not too big which means no guilt feelings about eating cake on an ordinary weekday. Trust me.

There’s the taste, of course, and texture factors: almonds or any other nuts are the main ingredient.

To those who prefer recipes for mix-by-hand cakes, this is the perfect recipe for you!

Grab the recipe for these chocolate and hazelnuts financiers here. The only thing I changed in the recipe was to use whole wheat flour (you can use all-purpose flour too) because I don’t have amaranth flour. Yet.

Beware though, you might fall in Love.

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Tags : , , , , Categories : A cake for the weekend, Cakes, Dessert, Party Food/Potluck, Recipes Comments 4 Comments

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Every passing year I get more cynical about Valentine’s Day. Maybe it has something to do with growing up? Or with being middle aged? I believe I see the world more clearly as I get older, that I am becoming wiser, but who knows?

I’ve been married for 10+ years and I’ve had kids for 8+ years. We’ve been through 11 Valentine Days already. We’ve done the chocolates, flowers, dinners, candles, cards, gifts, etc before. It’s not that exciting, not to mention surprising, any more.

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In those passing years we’ve had our ups and downs in our relationship—it’s not all rosy, you know. Adding kids to the equation means less romance and couplehood time. I learned to fantasize less and get more efficient and realistic.

And the cynicism? The heart-shaped balloons, the roses, the chocolates, the cards in every corner in every store around Valentine’s Day… C’mon… Who are we kidding here? They all make me feel like there’s a Perfect Valentine’s Day recipe I’m supposed to follow, or more frightening, a hidden social law I’m supposed to obey… I’m too old for this. (Or am I a middle-aged rebel? Hmm.)

But the other day I went grocery shopping—how mundane and boring—and with all that REDNESS around me, the strawberries (“Not in season”, I took note) looked particularly red and when I sniffed them suspiciously they smelled sweet (“What were they injected with?”, I thought) so I decided maybe it’s time to dust off the fondue pot which I’ve never used (We got it as a gift about 10 years ago) and spoil my family with strawberries dipped in chocolate, and why not throw a cake in it too?

So I baked a cake—a vanilla-chocolate marble cake with chocolate chips and cocoa nibs (for crunch), to be exact

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And I baked gorgeous carrot-zucchini tartlets from my newest cookbook for dinner (More about those in the next post)

(No, I did not expect the kids to eat them)

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And I started to get a bit excited about V Day. So I packed 2 slices of the warm cake for the kiddies to surprise them when picking them up from school.

“Happy Valentine’s Day”, I chirped and handed the cake to my son.

“It tastes like chips”, he decided.

“You mean, potato chips?”

“Yes. But I love chips, so that’s good.”

O-Kay…

Next, the little one.

She got in the car with an attitude that had nothing to do with me or her brother. I handed her the cake.

“Here you go, a little sur-priiiise for youuuuu. Happy Valentine’s Day!”, I sang.

“It doesn’t taste good”, she declared without even opening the box!

Oh, man…

Inhale, exhale.

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The evening did not progress so well either with continuous bickering between brother and sister. “Can’t you stop fighting and teasing each other? It’s VALENTINE’S DAY TODAY!”, I yelled.

And then I found a few lil’ things to be mad at my husband as well and the two wine glasses (I poured the more expensive stuff for V Day night) were left untouched.

Well, I did have one glass to drink before and filled mine for a second round >>> This is the fine line between enjoying wine and turning into an alcoholic, I thought. It’s the mood you are in when you are drinking!!! A fine line, I tell ya.

So, now what ?

I’m back to being as cynical about Valentine’s Day as I was on Monday, 2/13/2012 pre 3 PM.

This is reality. Well, my reality at least.

There is no happy ending to this little story. That’s reality, folks.

But I will tell you more about those tartlets soon–I promise—so you can’t say that I am not an optimist! After all, tomorrow, there is another day.

Oh, wait, I think someone used that line before…

Oh, well, let them eat cake.

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Categories : Family, Holidays Comments 5 Comments

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Don’t I wish.

But I can pretend.

Use my imagination.

The grey sky and rainy, chilly day sure help.

And sitting in a little café where the walls are the color of Dijon mustard does too.

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Where the menu is written (mostly) in French—jambon, maison, saucisson, plate du jour…

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Avec l’atmosphère différente

Where the waitresses have a not-from-here-accent

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And the coffee is perfectly smooth (no need to add sugar) with a milky foam on top

(As soft as whipped cream)

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It’s warm and cozy and lively inside

But every time someone opens the door a chilly brrrr-eeze blows the napkin from my lap

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A house-made, hot right out of the oven quiche with leeks and roasted tomatoes—the filling so fluffy, how do they do that?—that sells out in 10 minutes, warms me up

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As does the view of a hot skillet with salt cod, potatoes, and cream sauce

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Or a perfect paté

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It starts to feel as if it’s not only pretend

I’m in Paris

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When we take a brisk walk in downtown grey

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On our way to the musée to see l’exposition de Gauguin

(No photos allowed inside)

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Just like it was in Paris, 15 years ago—I will never forget.

(Back then I had a un chapeau rouge (red hat), now a coat)

A morning that started with café au lait and fresh, made that morning, croissant, followed by a visit to Musée d’Orsay on a gray September day

All I have to do is wait a few years until the kids grow up enough to appreciate a trip to Paris…

Kids! Grow up!

In the meantime, I dream.
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Categories : Seattle/Pacific NW, Travel Comments 3 Comments

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The dinner at Spur included 1 cocktail with grapefruit juice + 5-course dinner, each course with grapefruit in it. I’d say, that is a bit too much grapefruit for one night.

To me, grapefruit is the forgotten/neglected fruit. The one most people walk by at the store without really seeing, the one no passerby would reach a hand to fondle. How many people have “grapefruit” on their grocery shopping list? Raise your hands.

I did not eat or drink grapefruit juice this winter before the 1/28 dinner. I do like grapefruit and it’s bitter taste—it’s… different than the other fruit.

Than I got an email from the grapefruit PR woman who arranged the dinner. It had a list of things one needs to know about grapefruit (and Spur’s salad recipe). I’d say, the combination of “Grapefruit” + “Need to know” caught my attention (and so did the recipe!). I have never put those two together.

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The Top 10 things you need to know about Texas Grapefruit (Unedited):

1. Rio Star Grapefruit, a very red, sweet grapefruit, is grown in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

2. Texas Citrus is harvested October through May of each year. It is a winter fruit.

3. February is National Grapefruit Month!

4. Texas Grapefruit is the state fruit of Texas

5. Grapefruit got its name because it grows in a cluster, just like grapes.

6. The very first red grapefruit EVER was a natural mutation found on a pink grapefruit tree in South Texas in the 1920’s.

7. 1/2 a grapefruit has 100% of the vitamin C you need for the day. Vitamin C supports your immune system and protects you from getting sick.

8. Rio Star grapefruit delivers a nutrient found only in certain plants, called lycopene.  Lycopene is an antioxidant, which means that it helps protect our body’s cells.

9. Rio Star Grapefruit is SO sweet, you can use it to make many different types of recipes. Salads, desserts, entrees…you name it!

10. You can store a grapefruit in a cool area for up to 2 weeks or in your refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.

If you know what’s your state’s fruit, raise your hand.

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OK, so now that you know what you need to know about the fruit, we can move on to a salad recipe with some in it. Although, I admit it, I don’t believe that the “salad” + “recipe” combo go together. A salad doesn’t need a recipe. My salad philosophy is–Yeah, I really thought about it a lot—that you put what you like and as much as you like in your salad. You are your salad’s boss. Like arugula? Go for it. Don’t like it? Don’t use it. Love blue cheese? Go ahead, get wild and use it generously. Hate it? Use goat cheese instead. Etc etc etc. It doesn’t really matter.

What I expect from a salad “recipe” is more a list of recommended ingredients with lots of room to maneuver and improvise.

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Radicchio and grapefruit salad with nuts and dried cranberries

This is my short and simplified version to Spur’s salad (See below).

Makes 4 servings

1 head radicchio (all I could find was chioggia radicchio that you see in the photo)
4 handfuls arugula/sorrel/any leafy salad green you like
2 red (red) grapefruit, peeled and cut into segments
about 1/4 cup blue/goat cheese, crumbled
about 1/2 cup candied pecans, chopped
chive, chopped

Put all those in a bowl.

For the vinaigrette*:
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and black pepper to taste

Whisk, or shake in a jar, the vinaigrette ingredients.

* If you like a sweeter vinaigrette to counterbalance the bitter radicchio, try the orange marmalade one in my NY Times winning salad.

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If you’re up to trying Spur’s recipe (unedited), here you go:

Castle Franco Radicchio Salad with RioStar Grapefruit
Recipe by Spur Gastropub, Seattle, Washington
Serves 4; prep time 45 min

1 large head castle franco radicchio
¼ lb French sorrel
2 Texas Rio Star grapefruit, peeled and cut into segments
2 oz Oregon blue cheese, from Rogue River Creamery, slightly frozen to slice on a mandolin.
1 cup pecans
1 cup powdered sugar
1 small bottle plum wine
1 tbsp salted plum vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup 70/30 canola olive oil blend
2 oz dried prunes
1 shallot, very finely diced
.5 oz chive, thinly sliced
.5 oz picked parsley, very finely chopped
Fresh lemon juice to taste
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste.

For the vinaigrette.
Place the dried prunes and plum wine in a saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat until prunes are rehydrated and softened, and the alcohol has cooked off. Place in a blender, add Dijon mustard and plum vinegar. Blend until smooth, then add oil slowly to emulsify. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice as needed

For the pecans:
Blanch in salted water for 3 min, strain, pat dry and toss in powdered sugar. Fry in a shallow fryer at 350 until shiny, about 2 mins. Remove to a non stick surface to cool.

For the Salad:
Chop radicchio and sorrel into bite sized pieces, toss with shallot, parsley and chive. Add dressing, salt and pepper to taste.
To Finish:
Place the dressed salad into bowls, garnish with Grapefruit, candied pecans and thinly sliced blue cheese.

Tags : , Categories : Fall and Winter, Party Food/Potluck, Recipes, Salads Comments 1 Comment