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Monday, July 30, 2012

Hibiscus and Zucchini Flowers

I was very concentrated on making them appear, and they suddenly appeared in my kitchen! 
The sweet smell is already tickling my senses.
Zucchini Flowers? 
These traveled to my mouth all the way from Strasbourg, thanks to my cousin.  It's surprising when you know what they are, but it is an excellent snack.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

The 'O' Tomato

The letter O can mean many things.  Organic.  Oh my...
In this case, it is both.
There is nothing quite like something grown in a garden, for personal use (not for mass production).  It is planted as a seed, cared for and nurtured as it grows into a little sprout, then a plant, then it is given crutches to help keep it's back straight.  It is watered daily and given sunshine.  It is observed until ripe, and then it is tenderly picked, 
 
lovingly prepared, and eaten with delight.
I've had home grown tomatoes before, but nothing quite like this.  It hardly seems a myth that the north of France doesn't get as much happiness from it's sunlight.  This Lyon grown tomato is bursting with flavor, not too acidic, just the right sweetness.  It hardly needs seasoning, it just needs to be enjoyed.
Unless you grow your own, you never know when the next O tomato will come into your life, so savour this one.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lime Bathed Scallops

I somehow forgot how much more space limes take up in my heart compared to lemons.  Yes, it does make a difference.  Although here in la France, instead of the difference (other than the excellence of a lime) being which tree in the yard you are going to yank fruit from, it is the space it will take up in your weekly budget if you are a big citrus seasoner, which I most definitely am.
When mixed with things as incredibly sexy as FRESH scallops and basil, you can just about have a party in your plate, drifting into your brain through your nostrils, and the highlight of it all in your mouth.  No need for board games or guests tonight!
Ingredients for 1:
6 - 8 fresh shelled scallops
1/2 lime
1 clove garlic, grated
dozen leaves fresh basil, minced
1 shake red pepper flakes
1 tbsp EVOO
fresh ground pepper
1 ripe vine tomato
Directions:
1.  Delicately place the scallops on a plate and sprinkle with pepper, garlic, lime juice, and basil and refrigerate while you prepare your tomato.

2.  Cut your tomato into desired sized pieces.  Sprinkle with some salt, pepper, lime juice, and basil.
3.  Heat a frying pan and lay the scallops one by one while respecting the personal space of each.  After approximately 2 minutes, flip each scallop over one by one with your fingers and cook for another 2 minutes.  The scallops should be medium rare.  Adjust cooking time to your liking.  I'd actually eat them raw, but it's nice to have a little warmth mixed into the pleasure.
Serve beside the tomatoes and spend your evening in bliss.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Anchovies in a Blanket

They are there, sleeping in their cozy little grilled eggplant blankets and basil sheets.. right next to their naked grilled bell pepper friends.  They have no idea they're about to be devoured by raging happy hour guests...shh don't wake the anchovies.
This was fun to make and a pleasure to eat.. easy, but you have to get your hands dirty and watch the oven a bit, because I didn't time the cooking.  I tried, but then I kept forgetting what time it was when I started.
Ingredients:
1 eggplant, sliced
1 can anchovies in olive oil, drained
2 cloves garlic, grated
zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
fresh pepper
fresh basil
enough EVOO to brush each eggplant slice front and back
Directions:
1.  Delicately lay the eggplant slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle some pepper, zest, and grated garlic all over.
2.  Brush each slice with a bit of EVOO.
3.  Turn over, and repeat.
4.  Pop in oven 200°C/400°F (eh it's approximate), maybe 10 minutes, then take out and flip over.  They're done when they're not raw, but not burnt either.
5.  Open a can of anchovies.  If possible without the bones.
6.  On each slice, lay a leaf of fresh basil, and a half anchovy (depending on the size).  Roll it up and keep on going.  I started using toothpicks to keep them nicely rolled and after the 5th or 6th one I said F it and went toothpick free.
7.  When everybody is laid down in their eggplant blanket, squeeze that half lemon over the plate in a swirling motion.

These were a hit, especially with the grilled bells (same deal as the eggplant but without all the flipping).  I'm pretty sure a bit of mozzarella would add a nice texture as well.
I served these with cherry tomatoes, radishes, cocktail mussels, and saucisson..
All that was missing was some heat like stuffed jalapeƱos..
I love happy hour!

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Chicken en Papillote

This was pretty good last time with the Tilapia, so I did it again and switched out the fish for chicken and used thin slices of eggplant to sandwich in the filet of chicken.  I also ditched the cilantro and added almonds and garlic for a kick.
Excellent!

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Soba

My Epicier had real Japanese soba.  So real that the instructions on the package are in Japanese, so I have to wing it.  The soba are green!  I love the stuff from that place.  I always come home with something new and exciting.  There is always something in hand to stimulate one or more of my 8 senses.
Serves 2
Ingredients:
1 small package soba (100g)
handful leftover cooked chicken
1/2 zucchini, julienned
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 grated clove of garlic
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp sesame oil
fresh ground pepper
splash of soy sauce
splashe of sriracha thai sauce
Directions:
1.  Place everything but the soba in a bowl and let marinate.
 2.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the soba 3 minutes, then transfer to iced water (to stop the cooking).

3.   In a wok, cook the marinating mixture about 5 minutes (just to heat through and make the zucchini tender)
4.  Drain the soba and add to the wok.  Stir fry a bit, then breath in the lovely aroma of ginger and garlic.

Eat with chopsticks.  Very important.  If you don't know how to eat with chopsticks, LEARN!

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