Anchoïade

This traditional summery sauce is served with crudités, which are basically raw vegetables. Usually some radishes, fennel, Belgium endive, or any other crisp vegetable you enjoy eating raw. It can be served as an appetizer, on a large platter shared between guests, or as a light lunch on individual plates.

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Infused with garlic and anchovies as the main ingredients, anchoïade is a rather strong flavored sauce. Only a small amount suffices to fully savor its distinct taste.

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Ingredients:
A bunch red radishes
1 fennel bulb
2 carrots
1 cauliflower
2 Belgium endives
4 oz anchovies preserved in oil
1/2 cup first cold press extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic (can use only 2 cloves if too strong)

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Clean radishes by trimming the greens and bathing them in a bowl of water, changing it a few times until the water is clear.

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Trim the ends and cut the radishes in halves or quarters. Set aside.

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Wash and cut the ends of the endives to unfold the leaves. Keep trimming the ends that hold the leaves together to easily separate them as you get closer to the center. Set aside.

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Peel and cut carrots in long sticks. Set aside.

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Cut the bottom leaves of the cauliflower and core the center.

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Cut off each floret starting from the bottom, and separate from the main stem going around.

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Cut each floret into smaller pieces. Set aside.

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Wash and cut the fennel bulb in half. Then slice thinly. Set aside.

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Start arranging vegetables on plate.

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Gather the anchoïade ingredients. Again, you may use less garlic and more olive oil depending on your personal preference.

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Peel and cut garlic in half. Place the cloves in the food processor fitted with a steel blade and process till finely chopped.

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Add the anchovies to the bowl containing the chopped garlic and process till smooth.

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Scrape down the garlic/anchovy mixture and place the cover back on top.

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Feed the olive oil through the neck of the cover while processing to fully incorporate. Taste to decide if you would like more olive oil.

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Pour the anchoïade in individual serving dishes.

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Finish arranging vegetables on plates. Place the anchoïade in the center.

20130805-095349.jpg if you are serving as a lunch, you might add a couple hard boiled eggs.
Enjoy!

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Spicy Chickpea Herb Salad

The simplest and fastest to way to make a last minute picnic to go, quick meal for impromptu lunch guests, or side dish/salad to accompany a main dish.

20130705-212427.jpg This recipe includes a variety of herbs as we would use in the south of France for a flavorful meal and also some jalapeño in addition to the garlic for an additional kick the American way.

20130705-212511.jpgingredients:
2lbs cooked chickpeas (if dried, soak them the day before and cook them in salted boiling water)
1 orange pepper (I typically like using red but the red peppers at the market were not organic so I picked an organic one over the color)
1/4 jalapeño pepper
2 garlic cloves
A handful of each herbs: parsley, basil, chives, thyme
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp grape seed oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper, about 1/4 tsp each
4-5 oz arugula

20130705-213407.jpgStart by mixing the salt, pepper and mustard.

20130705-215259.jpgAdd vinegar and mix well to dissolve mustard.

20130705-215341.jpgPrepare two garlic cloves and 1/4 jjalapeño pepper.

20130705-215428.jpgRemove the white lining and seeds from the jalapeño.

20130706-065736.jpgPeel garlic, slice in half and remove the inner part.

20130707-151744.jpgCrush the garlic and cut the jalapeño in thin stripes.

20130707-151835.jpgChop both finely.

20130707-151937.jpgAdd to the mustard and vinegar.

20130707-152034.jpgMix well and seaside.

20130707-152111.jpgGently remove the thyme leaves from the stems. set aside.

20130707-152153.jpgPrepare parsley leaves and basil leaves by removing the stems and clustering them together, stacking the basil leaves on top of one another.

20130707-152239.jpgChop all the herbs finely, including the chives, parsley and julienne the basil leaves. Set aside

20130707-152320.jpgPrepare the orange pepper by cutting it in half, remove the stem, further cut into quarters and remove the inner white skin and seeds.

20130707-152541.jpgSlice each quarter into strips and dice.

20130707-152647.jpgAdd the grape seed oil to the vinaigrette.

20130707-152741.jpgMix in the orange pepper and let marinate a few minutes.

20130707-152823.jpgAdd the chickpeas and herbs.

20130707-152907.jpgMix thoroughly. The salad can be prepared ahead at this time and refrigerated.

20130707-153007.jpgBefore serving, add arugula. If taking on a picnic pack arugula separately and add at last minute.

20130707-153156.jpgMix the arugula with the other ingredients to ensure it is well coated with the vinaigrette.

20130707-153245.jpgTo serve as a lunch meal, you might add some avocado

20130707-153345.jpgor heirloom tomatoes. Enjoy!

Lemon Mahi Mahi with Rhubarb Ginger Sauce and Fresh Mango

Rhubarb was not common in the south of France when I was growing up, yet I have always been attracted to it, both because of its color and taste. Here, the mango brings a delicate sweetness to compliment the tangy rhubarb ginger combination as an accompaniment to grilled Mahi Mahi.

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Grilled Mahi Mahi served with rhubarb ginger lemon sauce and fresh mango. As a dinner, the plate is finished with some lentils and steamed broccolini. A great source of vitamins, perfect eaten hot or cold, and can therefore be enjoyed as a picnic.

20130615-075532.jpg Ingredients:
1 lb rhubarb
2 lemons juiced and zested
2 tsp fresh ginger grated
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup water
Lemon mint
1 mango
4 fresh Mahi Mahi steaks
Himalayan pink salt, freshly ground pepper.
3 Tbsp grape seed oil

20130615-075619.jpg Zest the lemons on a dish wide enough to contain the Mahi Mahi steaks side by side. Add 2 Tbsp of grape seed oil, salt and pepper, mix well.

20130615-075728.jpg Press fish into the lemon zest mixture on both sides, and refrigerate to marinate while preparing the rhubarb sauce.

20130616-164857.jpg Wash the rhubarb. Remove the green leaves. Cut the stems into small piece, about 1/2 inch each.

20130615-080145.jpg Grate the ginger, leaving the skin on the root after washing it.

20130615-080258.jpg Combine the juice of the lemons, ginger, honey, water and salt in a medium size pot and place on medium heat.

20130615-080347.jpg Add rhubarb, mix well, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.

20130615-081501.jpg As the rhubarb is simmering, it should still be bubbly. Stir the mixture occasionally.

20130615-081536.jpg As it is cooking, the rhubarb will naturally turn into a purée. Continue cooking until it is sweet enough to eat, still maintaining a certain tangy taste which will be soften when paired with the fresh mango.

20130615-081723.jpg To prep the mango, lay it on its side and cut it horizontally above the flat large pit inside. Then turn it with the cut side down and cut the other side the same way. Discard the pit and peel the two separate sections of the mango, keeping only the flesh.

20130615-081814.jpg Then either slice the mango thinly or cut it into medium size pieces.

20130615-081925.jpg Preheat the grill for the Mahi Mahi. When the grill is hot, place the Mahi Mahi steaks onto the grill for a few minutes on one side. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the pieces.
If you do not wish to grill the fish, you might also sautéed it in a pan with an additional tablespoon of grape seed oil.

20130615-082127.jpg Once the second side is grilled, serve with the rhubarb ginger sauce and fresh mango, add lemon mint and enjoy!

Mussels in Orange, Tomato and Saffron Sauce

A pairing of simple and pure ingredients, where the acidity of the tomatoes and oranges plays with the aromatic sweetness of saffron. This is more of a sauce than a broth, which allows me to enjoy each bite with more generous serving of tomatoes. This consistency is great to serve as an appetizer.

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The technical aspect of this recipe resides in peeling the tomatoes and removing the seeds for a smooth, velvety texture. If you wish to make an express version of this recipe, you can omit this step. However, when time allows, try to make this version and note the difference, mostly in texture.

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Ingredients:
2 – 2.5 lbs mussels
4 tomatoes
1 shallot
4 oranges or 1 cup orange juice
1 lemon
Fresh thyme
A few threads saffron
2 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste

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Saffron has a unique and distinctive flavor. It is most widely known to be an essential ingredient of paella, and marries particularly well with seafood in general. It can also be used to flavor desserts. Because of its strong flavor, only a few threads suffice.

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Peel and finely chop the shallot.

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Mark the tomatoes with an X on top with the tip of a knife.

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Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and plunge the tomatoes for 30 seconds.

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Remove the tomatoes as soon as the skin around the X starts to separate.

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Let them cool enough to handle. Peel them. That should be a very easy process.

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Quarter them. Remove the seeds from each section under running water.

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Place them in a colander as you go through the process and once they are all drained, chop them and set aside.

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Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the chopped shallot and cook for about two-three minutes on medium heat.

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Add the tomatoes and orange juice. Continue to cook on medium-low heat…

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… until the tomatoes are almost puréed.
Add thyme and saffron and let sit to infuse the flavors. Now the sauce is ready for the mussels. Raising the heat to high, and when the sauce starts bubbling, add the mussels at once. Only add the ones that are closed and discard the ones that are open. Cover for a few minutes until all the mussels open under the heat. Now discard the ones that remain closed.

20130517-220550.jpg Season lightly as necessary. Mix to serve and add lemon juice. Enjoy!

Grilled Scallops with Blood Orange Vanilla Sauce

Simplicity is the essence of this recipe. Simple ingredients. Simple preparation. Simple presentation.

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Perfect as an entree. Served with freshly cut sections of blood oranges and a few chopped chives. I like to accompany this dish with steamed broccolini, or sautéed fennel.

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Ingredients:
12 fresh sea scallops
6 large blood oranges or 8 small ones
1 vanilla bean
1/4-1//3 cup olive oil
Small bunch chives

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Squeeze 4 of the large blood oranges (or 6 of the small ones). You should have between a cup and 1 1/3 cups of orange juice.

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Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.

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Scrape the seeds from the inside of the vanilla bean. If the bean if fresh and plump, you will have more of a paste. Otherwise, the seeds will appear detached and more powdery.

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Blood orange sauce ingredients ready to be combined.

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Place the ingredients in a saucepan.

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Whisk together to incorporate the oil into the juice and slightly emulsify.

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Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30-40 minutes.

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Meanwhile, prepare the remaining blood oranges by cutting the skin ‘à vif’. This means to cut off the top of the orange with a serrated knife down to the flesh. Then continue to cut around carefully removing all the white part and exposing the juicy flesh of the orange.

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Once all the skin of the orange has been removed in this way, the sections are ready to be severed from the center.

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Cut each section of the orange by slicing the serrated knife down, next to the thin membrane separating each section.

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Keep slicing down on both sides of each orange section, and the pieces will come free. Continue doing so all the way around, and you will end up with the beautiful slices separated, and the membranes will remain attached to the center of the orange.

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Set the beautiful slices aside for presentation.

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When the sauce is reduced and has a smooth consistency, remove the vanilla bean.

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To cook the scallops, brush a little olive oil on each side. Be sure the grill is very hot before placing the scallops on it.

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Once the markings are showing, turn them over to finish cooking the other side. The scallops should just be seized so that they remain tender inside. Be sure not to over cook them otherwise they’ll become rubbery.
Serve immediately, three to four scallops on each plate, accompanied with fresh orange sections. Pour the sauce over them, and sprinkle with finely chopped chives. Enjoy!