Thursday, November 11, 2010

it's cold, it's raining, it's French!

Once in a while, everyone needs a good rainstorm. Rain either inspires me to bake delicious treats, or barely move from the couch. This past week, I choose the latter.  With my youngest at my side I indulged in an afternoon of hot tea and Charlie Brown specials as rain pounded our windows.  Wanting to continue our quiet afternoon but not wanting to order a pizza, I gladly attempted another recipe from Around My French Table appropriately titled Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux translation: Roast Chicken for Lazy People.

Roast chicken is one of my favorite meals if only for the mouth watering aroma. Resting on two slices of bread, this low maintenance chicken shared tight quarters with onions, carrots and potatoes and roasted to perfection. After a mere ninety minutes in the oven, the family, happy to be in front of our fireplace,  came together and enjoyed this simple and delicious meal.  How wonderful it felt to take a break from the maddening schedules of our daily grind; even more wonderful is a meal that actually celebrates this break.  For me, this simple meal alleviated any guilt from spending an afternoon on the couch and reminded me to enjoy the people for whom I spend hours in the kitchen.

Any leftovers? We nearly devoured the entire bird in one sitting; however the leftover meat added to a wonderful lunch the following day when tossed with fresh arugula and an equally low maintenance dressing.   Consider this the salad dressing for les paresseux.

Dijon Salad Dressing:
Food Network Magazine November 2010
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp white wine vinegar
3 TB olive oil
salt and pepper
  1. In a small bowl combine the mustard and vinegar.  Whisk in the olive oil and season to taste. 
*For the roast chicken for les paresseux and other fantastic recipes, I encourage you to purchase Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table available via My Loves on Amazon. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No soup for you... please?

So, in the past month I have cooked up quite a storm... just never posted!  Yes, in the midst of fender benders, weddings, northern vacations and life in general my blog simmered on the back burner.  However, in time for the busiest cooking months of the year, I am back.

This past weekend, I began Thanksgiving preparations by roasting poultry and making stock.  A productive weekend, however the constant smell of roasting birds and boiling vegetables made the entire household hungry for something solid and non American.  Our ex-patriot spirit found refuge in a Green Lentil Curry from Food & Wine January 2010 issue.  Voted one of the best new vegetarian dishes of 2009, this recipe transforms your soup-bound pantry staples into curried delight.

Green-Lentil Curry
Recipe Created by: Madhur Jafrey
Active: 30 minutes  Total: 1 Hour
1 tsp finely grated ginger
1 garlic clove
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
3 TB canola oil
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 small shallot (I used green onions)
1 TB tomato paste mixed with 1 TB water
1 1/4 cup dried green lentils
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
4 ounces green beans cut into 3/4 inch lengths
4 ounces kale, stemmed and leaved finely chopped
1 medium carrot, thickly sliced
1 cup finely chopped cilantro (I used flat leaf parsley)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

  1. In a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, coriander and ground cumin.  Stir in 1/4 cup water to make a paste.  In a small skillet, heat the oil until shimmering.  Add the cumin seeds and cook over moderately high heat for 5 seconds.  Just until sizzling.  Add the shallot and cook stirring, until lightly browned about 1 minute.  Add the spice paste and let cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook until thick, about 1 minute longer.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the lentils with the turmeric and 5 cups of water; bring to a boil.  Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are barely tender.  Add the green beans, kale, carrot, three-fourths of the cilantro and the cayenne and season with salt.  Cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender, 15 minutes.  Scrape in the spice paste and the remaining cilantro. Simmer for five minutes and serve. 
Served in a bowl of stemmed basmati rice with a warm piece of naan, this is the perfect cure for your soup rut!