Kale with Black Olive and Pine Nuts

Since living in Chicago, I have discovered and enjoyed a wide variety of cabbages. My influence from the south of France infuses ingredients commonly used in provençal cuisine, so here I have paired kale with black olives and pine nuts. This recipe is quick, simple and only requires a few ingredients one typically has in the kitchen, and….delicious! I hope you savor the results.

20130908-063304.jpgKale is an excellent vegetable with great health benefits. It is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Choose kale that is deep in color and firm. I prefer to use it either raw or briefly sautéed, as in this recipe, to preserve the maximum benefits.

20130908-063352.jpgIngredients:
1/2 lb organic kale
1/2 organic white onion
1/4 cup pine nuts
8-10 olive oil cured black olives from Provence
1 Tbsp grape seed oil
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

20130908-063456.jpgPeel, slice and chop the onion finely.

20130908-063629.jpgHeat the oil in a large pot and add the onion. Cook until translucent.

20130908-063708.jpgMeanwhile, mince the kale finely.

20130908-065845.jpgAdd the to the pot and simmer a few minutes. Add salt and pepper.

20130908-065935.jpgChop the black olives. Peel, crush and chop the garlic.

20130908-070137.jpgAdd olives and garlic to the kale. Stir and simmer a few minutes longer.

20130908-071124.jpgDry roast the pine nuts in a pan.

20130908-071156.jpgAdd them to the kale, mix well, serve as an accompaniment, and enjoy!

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Green Peppers and Summer Tomatoes Salad

In our bright and sunny Ardèche summer days, my grandfather would come back from ‘le potager’ (vegetable garden) with the deliciously ripe tomatoes and green peppers he had just picked.
When I received the beautiful long and light colored green peppers and varieties of tomatoes from the farm this week, they reminded me of those Ardèche days and my memory was instantly bringing their flavors back to my taste buds. This is one of the simplest and easiest salads to prepare and most delicious so long as you have fresh farm ingredients.

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Some days we would add a few filets of anchovies to complete the plate. With or without the anchovies, the salad is full of flavors, with the crunchy freshness from the green pepper and the juicy sunshine bursting out of the ripe tomatoes.

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Ingredients:
4 slicer tomatoes
12 Juliet tomatoes
2 cups Sun Gold tomatoes
4 green peppers
A few springs fresh rosemary
12 anchovy filets (optional)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

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Slice the tomatoes thickly and evenly to form a bed on each plate.

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Core the green peppers, rinse them under running water to remove seeds.

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With a long and thin slicing knife, cut the inner white membranes being sure the leave the outer skin intact.

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Thinly slice the green pepper to create rings showing their outer shapes.

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Start to display sliced tomatoes and green peppers on plates.

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Quarter the Juliet tomatoes. Remove the stems of the Sun Gold tomatoes.

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Artfully arrange all the tomatoes on the plates.

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Remove the fresh and tender rosemary leaves from the stems.

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Chop them finely. Also chop the garlic.

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Place mustard, chopped rosemary, garlic, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Mix well together.

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Add vinegar and olive oil. Mix vigorously to fully incorporate all ingredients.

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Drizzle rosemary vinaigrette over the plates. Sprinkle with extra chopped rosemary.

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Add anchovies if using and enjoy!

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 Basil Broccoli Soup | Vegan

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

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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!

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!