Cabbage and Mango Salad

Light and easy. Raw cabbage paired with fresh mango and dates in a citrus vinaigrette. Crisp, refreshing and sweet.

20130913-162719.jpg Perfect as an appetizer or side salad. The simplicity of the ingredients makes it simple to create and healthy to enjoy.

20130913-162839.jpgIngredients:
1/2 cabbage
1 mango
8 pitted dates
1 lemon
A few springs of basil
4-5 tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground salt and cracked pepper

20130913-163138.jpgSlice the cabbage thinly.

20130913-163214.jpgThen chop it roughly.

20130913-163300.jpgCut the mango horizontally by laying it flat on a board lengthwise. Slide the knife on either side of the middle pit.

20130913-163337.jpgThen slice each half.

20130913-163432.jpgAnd remove the skin on each piece.

20130913-163609.jpgCube the slices.

20130913-194901.jpgMeanwhile in a large bowl, squeeze the lemon juice, and add salt and pepper.

20130913-194938.jpgAdd the olive oil.

20130913-195033.jpgWhisk all ingredients together until completely homogenized.

20130913-195114.jpgSlice the dates into small pieces.

20130913-195156.jpgChop the basil by laying one leave on top of another and thinly slicing.

20130913-195245.jpgAdd the cabbage to the bowl containing the citrus vinaigrette.

20130913-195327.jpgAdd all other ingredients.

20130913-195405.jpgCarefully mix well. 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!

Chilled Asparagus Soup with fresh Basil

Chilled soups are always refreshing in summer. This recipe is a non-dairy creamy soup, basically puréed with almond milk. It is particularly popular with friends who have dairy restrictions in their diet, or people who simply enjoy a lighter version of creamy soups.

20130630-115840.jpg The chilled asparagus tend to have a more delicate flavor when mixed with potatoes which act as the binding agent in the soup. If you wish to enhance the asparagus taste of the soup, add a little cumin (optional).

20130630-115930.jpg Ingredients:
2 lbs asparagus
1 large shallot
2-3 small potatoes
1/2 jalapeño pepper
2 garlic cloves
1.5 oz fresh basil
1/4-1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
2 cups water
2 cups almond milk
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon rind for decoration

20130630-145516.jpg Remove the seeds and white/silver lining of the inside of the jalapeño pepper

20130630-145651.jpg Cut the jalapeño in strips and dice finely.

20130630-150113.jpg Peel, crush and chop the garlic finely. Peel the shallot preserving the roots to hold it while chopping. Slice it horizontally, almost reaching the roots, then vertically like an onion, and finally, chop it vertically again but in a perpendicular direction.

20130630-150230.jpg Heat about 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pot and add the chopped jalapeño, garlic and shallot. Lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes. You might add the cumin at this time if using.

20130630-150343.jpgWash, peel, and slice the potatoes. Cut them in sticks and dice them in small even pieces so they cook faster and evenly.

20130630-152557.jpgAdd potatoes to the pot and continue cooking on low heat.

20130630-152644.jpgIf the ends of the asparagus are thick and woody, it is best to snap the ends off between your fingers rather than cutting them with a knife. By snapping them, they naturally break off at the point where the tender part of the asparagus meets the woody part. Discard the woody parts.

20130630-153925.jpgThen, trim the tips by slicing them individually at a diagonal to preserve a naturally elongated design.

20130630-154010.jpg Cut the asparagus stems in about 1-inch pieces, add them to the pot along with 2 cups of water and moderate salt. Bring to a oil, lower the heat and simmer about for 8-10 minutes, until the asparagus stems are cooked.

20130630-155308.jpg Separately, bring a small pot of generously salted water to a boil and plunge the asparagus tips for a few minutes until they begin to be tender yet slightly firm to the touch.

20130630-190438.jpgRemove the asparagus tips from the boiling water and place them immediately in an ice bath. This will stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color.

20130630-190515.jpgDrain them as soon as they are cool and reserve.

20130630-191527.jpgOnce the asparagus stems and potatoes are cooked, place in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

20130630-191608.jpgProcess until smooth and let cool a few minutes.

20130630-191647.jpgAdd the basil leaves at this time and process further until the leaves are incorporated into small pieces into the soup.

20130630-191728.jpgAdd the almond milk one cup at a time and process to blend perfectly.

20130630-191800.jpgPour into a bowl, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

20130630-191842.jpg Meanwhile, cut a long piece of lemon rind with a small pairing knife.

20130630-192342.jpgRemove the extra pith (white part) that might be left attached to the rind.

20130630-192422.jpgCut thin strips (‘julienne’) and reserve.

20130630-192459.jpgSet up the lemon rind and asparagus tips to serve.

20130630-192602.jpg When pulling the chilled asparagus soup from the refrigerator, check for seasoning, add salt and cumin if necessary, and some finely ground black pepper. Place a ladle a of chilled asparagus soup in individual bowls or cups, decorate with the asparagus tips and lemon rind strips.

20130630-192643.jpgChilled asparagus soup, here served with a grilled fig. Enjoy!

Curried Zucchini en Cocotte

Individual ‘en cocotte’ zucchini dishes, offer a feast for the senses with a singular presentation, and a light and flavorful combination of zucchini, pine nuts and almond milk, highlighted with the fragrance of curry, fresh basil and garlic.

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I have always liked the combination of zucchini and curry and decided to update it by adding pine nuts and basil. If you are not specifically looking for a lactose free dish, feel free to add some goat cheese. Otherwise, using the almond milk here renders a delightfully light dish, full of flavors. The individual servings of ‘en cocotte’ add a nice personal touch for each guest.

20130602-100508.jpg
Ingredients:
4 small zucchini
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp curry powder
3 eggs
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 oz basil
Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

4 mini Le Creuset cocotte (or similar) with lids.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

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Wash and cut the zucchini in 1/4 inch slices. Chop garlic finely.

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Place zucchini, garlic and curry in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Toss the bowl to completely coat all the zucchini slices with the combination of garlic and curry mixture.

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Place an extra large sauté pan (with very wide diameter at the bottom) on medium-high heat. Add some olive oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan.

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When the olive oil is hot, add the zucchini mixture, spreading the slices across the entire bottom of the pan.

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Cook, tossing occasionally for about 15-20 minutes, until the zucchini is mostly cooked. Some slices will have become softer, but the majority should still be firm.

20130602-101354.jpg
Place pine nuts in a separate dry pan over medium-low heat and toss frequently to ensure even roasting.

20130602-101444.jpg
Slice the basil in a ‘chiffonade’, by placing all the basil leaves together and then slicing thinly.

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Place a row of zucchini, topped with roasted pine nuts and basil in the bottom of each ‘mini cocotte’, this layer should fill about one third of the cocotte. Continue alternating zucchini, roasted pine nuts and basil until filled almost to the top. Be sure to reserve about 20 zucchini slices for topping the cocottes decoratively prior to baking. Also reserve some of the basil chiffonade and a few pine nuts for the last touch prior to serving.

20130602-101639.jpg
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs together in a bowl. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.

20130602-101741.jpg
Add the almond milk and mix thoroughly.

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Pour the egg and almond milk mixture over the top of each cocotte filled with the zucchini using a small ladle.

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The mini cocottes should be almost filled to top but not quite, leaving enough room for one last row of zucchini slices and moderate rising during baking.

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Top with overlapping zucchini slices.

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Cover the mini cocottes with their lids.

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Place them on a baking sheet and bake for about 50-60 minutes in a 350F oven. If you use the convection option of your oven, then diminish time appropriately by checking after about 25-30 minutes.

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Fully cooked mini zucchini cocotte out of the oven. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving as they are burning hot when coming out of the oven.

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Decorate with extra basil ‘chiffonade’ and a few roasted pine nuts. Serve and enjoy!

Lemon Basil Broccoli Soup | Vegan

A fragrant and light soup, very simple and quick to make.

20130424-175325.jpg
This soup is a favorite for the simplicity of its ingredients and of making it. It is best eaten immediately, to preserve the freshness of its taste.

20130427-213330.jpg Ingredients:
2 heads broccoli
1/2 yellow onion
4 cups water
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 once fresh basil leaves
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste

20130428-154941.jpg Cut the broccoli in small pieces and roughly chop the half onion.

20130428-155216.jpgPlace the olive oil in the bottom of the pot on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and gently cook over medium-low heat for a few minutes.

20130428-155253.jpgAdd the broccoli, water, salt and cover.

20130428-155630.jpgBring to a boil and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, with the cover on.

20130428-155943.jpgMeanwhile, prepare the garlic. Peel the cloves, cut in half and remove the inner stems.

20130428-160101.jpgPlace the basil leaves and garlic in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Reserve a few of the smaller leaves for decoration.

20130428-161021.jpgProcess until the garlic and basil form a rough paste.

Add the cooked soup and continue to process in batches.

20130428-161405.jpgAdd the lemon juice at this time.

20130428-161514.jpgThe soup should have a slightly rough consistency. Adjust seasoning by adding salt if needed.

20130428-170602.jpgServe in bowls, decorating with lemon zests and a few basil leaves. Enjoy!