Fresh & Seasonal

salad-263x300.jpgPatricia Wells’ “Bistro Cooking” is a staple in our kitchen. The hearty, fresh, robust, easy-to-follow recipes were inspired by the famous bistros in France and, now, we could make them at home.

So, I was incredibly excited when Patricia Wells’ Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season arrived on our doorstep. It was summer. And she was Patricia Wells. And she understands that salad as a meal isn’t simply two slips of lettuce and a tomato from the garden. It’s salad as a meal!

The salmon gravlax with potato and parmesan galettes. The idea that you could make salmon gravlax at home was incredibly appealing. Okay, it takes three days, but it’s really fun and it’s completely delicious. And what could be wrong with potato and parmesan galettes?! The lobster salad with green beans, apple, and avocado is divine. (My method, order a really large lobster at a restaurant because you’re celebrating something and bring home the leftovers for a salad!) But you can also buy two small lobsters (which aren’t that expensive in the summer) and make the whole thing at home.

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Imagine a chef who spends six months a year in a restaurant making food for the fussiest guests and six months in a tiny galley kitchen with a rickety stove and barely any counter space. Meet David Tanis of Chez Panisse. His recipes are mostly pretty easy, but rely on the best quality ingredients.

Bookmarked recipes: Celery, radish and watercress salad with walnut oil, Buckwheat galettes with ham and cheese, Black sticky rice pudding with coconut cream.

Why?
It's fascinating to see the way a restaurant chef cooks at home, when he wants to, to please himself and his friends.

Who?
Anyone who has access to fantastic quality ingredients and wants to learn how to make them shine.

Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables

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If the sun-drenched yellow of summer sweet corn or the regal purple of ripe blackberries makes you flutter with anticipation, then the stunning new book, Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables, by Cheryl Sternman Rule, is for you.

Arranged by color, Ripe takes you on a dazzling visual journey of produce, in all its natural glory. The book begins boldly with audacious red and pink (beets, rhubarb, strawberries) and ends serenely with calming white (cauliflower, coconut, turnips). In between it travels through orange and yellow (corn, pineapple, nectarines), green (broccoli, edamame, fava beans) and purple and blue (bluberries, eggplant, plums).

Each fruit and vegetable is beautifully photographed by Paulette Phlipot. Some like the exposed heart-shaped red strawberry, the water-dappled kale leaf and the once-bitten green apple remind us what real food porn looks like. Phlipot does the impossible: she makes celery look sexy.

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recipes italian
Excerpt from Recipes from an Italian Summer by The Silver Spoon Kitchen, a collection of 400 never-before-published recipes that capture the essence, ease and freshness of Italian cooking. With beautiful photographs of the Italian countryside and many of the dishes, this book will inspire you to create your own perfect summer event.

Cooking outdoors is the perfect way to entertain during the summer months, and the scents and sounds of cooking on the barbecue create a wonderful appetite for a feast. Another advantage is that cooking on a barbecue means that nobody has to spend their time in the kitchen. A good barbecue should be very simple, and only requires good-quality ingredients to be grilled over hot embers, seasoned with salt and pepper, and perhaps drizzled with a little extra-virgin olive oil.

In Italy, the ancient Chianina breed of cattle produces steaks so highly prized that strict rules accompany the technique for grilling them, such as never pricking the meat with a fork so that tasty juices cannot escape. There are also many fish and vegetables that can be grilled very successfully, such as radicchio, eggplants, shrimp, and sardines. These are often cooked with fresh herbs and dressed simple with lemon and extra-virgin olive oil.

The recipes here can also be cooked indoors in a broiler, if a barbecue is not available. All they need to accompany them is a sald and some good bread.

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power-foodsYou’d never know by looking at my chubby exterior, but during the week we focus on a variety of healthy meals at home in an effort to balance the overindulgence, tastings, and big dinners that usually fill our weekends. And even if it weren’t for this health focus, if anything it’s to give my palate a rest from overactivity. But that doesn’t mean I enjoy sacrificing flavor because I do not; I need meals that incorporate great tastes as well as make me feel fantastic.  When I read that the editors of Whole Living Magazine were compiling their best recipes that feature the healthiest ingredients possible I knew I’d be in for a treat. And Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients doesn’t fail.

The book contains recipes that incorporate key ingredients that are not only delicious but good for you — things like berries, tomatoes and nuts. These foods have a tremendous impact on our health but none of that means a thing if you can’t find ways to actually prepare them and like them, a key to maintaining a successful diet. Power Foods gives you hundreds of ideas, but a favorite thing for me is the inclusion of the book’s Golden Rules, a collection of best practices for shopping and the kitchen.

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