Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pigging-Out in Cleveland


I have been wanting to go to the Greenhouse Tavern for quite some time now. Attending a Browns game with my husband seemed an opportune time. After a Saturday morning of Ruhlman & Ramen with Genevieve, I headed to the hotel to wait for Kevin while digging into my new cookbooks. While the primary goal for eating at Greenhouse Tavern was to 'research' it as part of a Weekend Getaway to Cleveland in the 3rd edition of my Insiders' Guide to Columbus, I am also putting together a culinary 'soil-to-table' Wanderlust Tour. GT fits the bill. 
Kevin turned up a few hours later for round two of pigging out. And I do not use the cliche 'pigging out' lightly, as Chef Jonathan Sawyer is best known for all things porcine. Even Michael Ruhlman said "have the pig"... I had no idea what that meant until we were seated and I saw a well picked-over pig head on the neighboring table. Not for me, but there was plenty of other pork on the menu. Needless to say, I was excited for this culinary experience. 
Chef Sawyer is known for his masterful use of locally sourced products and farm-to-fork philosophy. Also, Greenhouse Tavern is Ohio's first (and I believe only) certified Green Restaurant. It was named Bon Appétit Magazine's Top Ten Restaurants in America and Chef Sawyer named Food & Wine Magazine's Best New Chef in 2010. The restaurant's ambiance is easy and warm. In keeping with the green theme, much of the decor uses recycled products, including the hanging lights which are made of bicycle wheels. The biggest impact is the mouth-watering aroma that punches you in the face as soon as you walk through the door. 

GT Pinot Noir, 2007
First line of business... wine. The GT's house Oregon Pinot Noir seemed a light, friendly choice for the array of dishes to come for the next 3 hours.  We opted for the Chef's Menu, which allows a choice of starter, second course, entree, and side dish. And at $44 is a great value. Little did we know Chef would send out a few additional items from each category. And so the  onslaught of food began...
Foie Gras Steamed Clams
I suppose Chef thought we were playing it safe when I ordered Foie Gras Steamed Clams (w/ butter, red onion brûlée, late harvest viognier vinegar & grilled bread) and Kevin ordered Pan Fried Padron Peppers. I have been on a bit of a shellfish odyssey lately and these clams were awesome. Silky, earthy. We sopped up every drop of broth with crusty bread. Still, he sent out plates of Crispy Hominy (w/ pork skin cracklins, pickled red onion & lime juice) and Devils on Horse Back (w/ Dee-Jay’s bacon wrapped dates, almonds, bitter chocolate & roasted fresno pepper). Each showcasing powerful flavors and textures.  
The Crispy Hominy was my favorite of the starters. 
Kevin discovered he likes dates. Devils on Horseback.
Now for the Greenhouse Tavern Crispy Chicken Wings Confit which claim supremacy over their sister-restaurants. Mind you, Kevin had not tasted the Noodlecat (Chef Sawyer's casual ramen noodle restaurant) miso bbq wings that G & I had for lunch. To my mind, the Noodlecat wings reign supreme only because I prefer saucy wings. Still, the GT chicken was exceptional and I understand the general consensus of love. 
Crispy Chicken Wings Confit w/ roasted jalapeño, lemon juice, scallions & garlic
While waiting for the entrees, we were given a platter of Pommes Frites, which were pretty darn good. Not greasy, not too crispy, and extremely aromatic with herbs and garlic tucked throughout the fries.
Aromatic Pommes Frites w/ raw garlic, rosemary & aioli
We were torn between several entrees. Kevin ordered the Pan-Fried Pork Chop Saltimbocca-- we HAD to have pig and it lived up to the Pork King's reputation. Succulent meat over pureed potatoes and red-eye gravy (which contains a shot of espresso). How can you go wrong with pork wrapped in pork (ham)?
Pan-Fried Pork Chop Saltimbocca
I left my selection to the chef. The 40 Clove Heirloom Garlic Roasted Half Chicken was strongly recommended. I had no idea what we were in store for when the server came to our table 45 minutes later with the pièce de résistance... a chicken wrapped in brioche and dramatically flayed open to reveal the insides all neatly chopped and cooked with herbs-n-such. I was only half-joking when suggeting they try this with a turkey for Thanksgiving. There are no words for how much food came to our table. I kept apologizing for not being able to eat it all...  
40 Clove Heirloom Garlic Roasted Half Chicken
40 Clove Heirloom Garlic Roasted Half Chicken
Nearly three hours and 8 or 9 courses later... after lively conversations with the owners, sous chef and wine guy... it was insisted we have dessert. We strategically ordered the smallest sized dessert, which was the Buttered Popcorn Pot de Creme. Figured we could muster down a piece or two of grown-up popcorn... but again, Chef called our bluff. Along with the caramel and sea salt covered popcorn came a huge slab of  Dobos Torte-- a glorious 7-layer vanilla cake w/ chocolate butter cream, meringue & citrus. Obviously, there was a little room left, because we managed to eat most of it. Heavenly cake. 
Dobos Torte
When our consumption had finally reached its capacity, we were taken on a tour of the lively kitchen, which contains several tables and a small bar for guests to enjoy the action (on a first-come, first-serve basis). Then we paraded up to the rooftop bar overlooking the Fourth Street entertaiment district (note: Michael Symon's Lola - the little round sign to the right). We purchased a few gift cards and bottles of wine, hoping to share the Greenhouse tavern experience with friends. After consuming a mountain of food, we welcomed the 3-block walk back to the hotel. I am grateful we Ohioans have access to high-quality food from such a creative chef; one who respects his ingredients and offers his customers a truly meaningful culinary experience. My only regret? Not having two stomachs!

We had a few hours to kill on Sunday morning, but given we ate until 11 PM on Saturday night, breakfast was not on the radar... until we wandered into brunch at the Ritz. I more or less went from food coma to food coma on this little getaway. 

Now THIS is my kind of tail-gating :-)

The Bloody Mary buffet allows you mix in your own sauces and other accountrements... 

You know you're in Cleveland when.... even the Ritz serves 'Pittsburgh Sucks Hot Sauce'. It was quite good.

Just shaking my head... classy.

And then there was football. The Browns won. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Reflections on 9/11, Edinbugh, Scotland

Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh
This photo was taken on September 11, 2001 in Edinburgh, Scotland where I was living and was supposed to fly back to the States that same day. But needless to say, that didn't happen. I watched as the flags were rearranged on the Balmoral Hotel. 
After watching a few documentaries this week about 9-11, it got me thinking (How can any footage not be thought-provoking?)-- I haven't reflected on it much in recent years & that it happened a decade ago is mind-blowing. In retrospect, I can say it was 9-11 that prompted my decision to (eventually) move back across the pond. I had been living between Scotland and France in 2001, and was in fact, due to fly home from Edinburgh that very afternoon. 
September 11, 2001 was as equally gorgeous in Edinburgh as it seemed to be in NYC. A perfect sunny morning. Business as usual. My former flatmate, Stella, helped me put a few things in a storage unit and dropped me off at St. James Mall in downtown Edinburgh to pick up a few last things before catching my flight home.  Much of what was unfolding is recognizable- even on the streets of Edinburgh- in hindsight. It was around 2PM (the UK is 5 hours ahead) and, as we drove toward the Royal Mile, we noticed clusters of people standing on the streets; primarily around the government buildings. Camera crews were outside Parliament and all along the Royal Mile. We even joked about the unusual flurry of activity... chalked it up to the Queen being in town. (I even snapped a picture and will upload it soon.)

After being dropped off at St. James Mall, I noticed a hoard of people clustered around a few TVs pushed up against an electronics store window... "meh! Football." is exactly what I muttered while scurrying off to pick up an over-sized piece of luggage. Another oddity... the mall was silent. 
This is an image from the mall's website.
I never shopped so fast in my life. 15 minutes to buy the suitcase, trousers, jacket, and shoes I had been eyeing up for a month. It all came clear while rolling along with luggage in tow back past the electronic store. I had 2 hours to get to the airport. Loads of time to stop and see what everyone is gawking at on the tele. Little did I know we were watching the world change. It took a while to figure out why NYC was billowing smoke. There was no TV back at our flat, so I was thankful the electronics store pushed a bunch of TVs up to the window and turned the mute/closed caption on. So I along with about 20 others watched breathlessly as a surreal event unfolded in real time. Dead silence. Nothing seemed scary yet. Just confusing and sad of course, a plane crashed into the WTC.  I had a plane of my own to catch, but couldn't tear myself away from the TV.  We watched as the second plane hit the towers and that's when it came clear I wasn't flying home that day. Something in my gut said it was bad. Really bad. Then the towers collapsed. Sickening to see. A sweet, older gentleman (of whom I have not thought about in 5 or 6 years), named Rori, watched my stuff as I stepped outside to use my cell phone, which was sans signal inside. I can't remember exactly how many messages I had, but it was 35 or 45 messages from 3o different people. Family. Friends. Colleagues. Everyone knew I was flying. Where to? Where through? Where are you? That was the confusion and uncertainty of the time. One of those messages happened to be a flight cancellation. The airspace over London had been shut down indefinitely (=3 days). Edinburgh, too, put a lock down on the government buildings and the airport. Not. Going. Anywhere. 

Arthur's Seat from Edinburgh Castle
I had been staying with Stella, who was presently holed up in the basement of a library (also sans phone signal) nor did she own a TV, so I parked myself (and all my baggage) for the next 3 hours at the Balmoral Hotel bar where every TV carried some news coverage of the story. It still seemed unreal. Frankly, I felt very disconnected from my home, family, America in general. But later that evening, an extraordinary group of international people whom I knew from the University of Edinburgh, gathered at a friend's house- he had a giant TV- to listen to Bush deliver a speech that sent shivers of national pride (and sadness) up my spine. After watching the entire tragedy unfold on a TV in a mall, with strangers, I wondered how my perspective of 9-11 was shaped by not being here with my family and friends. But looking back, I wouldn't change a thing.  Opinions of an historic, world-changing event was shared with friends from all over the world... there were no less than a dozen countries represented in this one room. It was both enlightening and poignant to learn of different perspectives. All were horrified and saddened, but not all were necessarily shocked beyond belief.  A few were angry and ended up in verbal fights. Very heightened moods...  We all decided to sleep it off.

The craggy castle cliff
It took several days to sort out my flight because I bought a cheap ticket through the Student Travel Association (STA) and, let's face it. I wasn't exactly their priority customer to get on the next flight home. In fact, I didn't come home for two more weeks. For as many people as I knew (and spent time with) over the next few days, I felt disconnected and introspective and wanted to be alone. At this stage in life, I was researching Scottish castles and it was instinctual to go to a castle when I wanted time to myself. Edinburgh Castle is seemingly impenetrable, unmovable, safe.... like the Twin Towers.  I wandered around the castle imagining what it was like being inside, while attackers were trying their darndest to scale the impossible crags. I kept comparing this castle to the WTC and then something struck me. A comment about how a formidable fortress such as Edinburgh Castle was taken by stealth and not by storm. I guess having two planes crash into iconic NYC buildings is more or less a 'storming' of America, but still, it was pretty darn stealth.  I had to go somewhere else. Strangely, the castle didn't make me feel very safe. I wondered if this was the general mood everywhere. Uncertainty.
And so, I went to the Highlands for a while... Inverness, Drumnadrochit, Nairn, Ullapool... amazing outpouring of sympathy (and whisky) by the locals.
Reflections Part 2 to come...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Latest Obsession- Philip Johnson Glass House, 1945

The Philip Johnson Glass House was a remarkable achievement when it was completed in 1949. Inspired by Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House (Ill.), its exterior walls are of glass with no interior walls, a radical departure from houses of the time. It began a fifty-year odyssey of architectural experimentation in forms, materials, and ideas through the addition of many new "pavilions"—Guest House, Lake Pavilion, Painting Gallery, Sculpture Gallery, Ghost House, Studio, and Visitors Pavilion—and the methodical sculpting of the surrounding forty-acre landscape. 

Visionary Glass House in New Canaan, CT,
designed1945-49 by architect, Philip Johnson & David Whitney

Friday, April 15, 2011

SALAD AS A MEAL: Four week challenge recap

I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Salad as a Meal challenge and having the opportunity to connect with the other bloggers who are wonderful food-loving writers. I'll list the links to their food blogs at the end of this post. Though the end draws nigh, I am not sad because I'll continue to use this amazing cookbook and blog about the recipes.  My favorite recipes to date have been the Vietnamese Chicken, Socca and the Potato Galette. I was most surprised with how filling the Rancho Salad is and that I took a liking to peas because of the Spring Salad. There's a dozen more recipes I intend to make throughout the summer using herbs and vegetables from our garden. Watch for future Salad as a Meal blogs, but for now, I have an idea.... read below to learn what the next round of blogging entails.  

 Thanks everyone for following and commenting. And don't forget, Sunday April 17,  I'll be posting the final winner of a copy of Salad as a Meal. Good luck!

And the winner is.... Deborah Thompson

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Good Narrative. Good Recipes.

I love stories. Especially when they involve food and/or travel. In my opinion, a good cookbook MUST have a good story behind it.  If it doesn't, I lose interest in everything about it, including the recipes.  One thing I'm most fond about Patricia Wells's cookbooks is their readability. She's a fine story teller and goes to length to include the history or background of a dish. Her opening narratives are welcoming, as if she is having you to dinner, yet still read like fine prose. Not what one might expect from your average cookbook, but something I've come to appreciate and admire about hers.  

I've been enamored with Patricia Wells's cookbooks for the past decade. They've taught me a lot about technique and the reasons why it is important to do things certain ways. Some techniques stick, others... well, let's just say I'm not always good at following directions. But I'm getting better. The first of her books I purchased 14 or 15 years ago was Simply French. I love French cuisine, but let's face it. French cooking comes across rather intimidating, especially to novices.  Wells spent several years in the kitchen of the great, Michelin-laden Chef Joel Robuchon, translating his craft into recipes that can be used in "everyman's" kitchen. This everyman has used every one. Successfully and unsuccessfully. Simply French taught me the processes and principals of cooking, which help make complex recipes more approachable. I read this cookbook years before I ever owned a copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. So to my mind, Patricia taught me to cook. I am presently revisiting this cookbook because my culinary skills have significantly evolved since I first bought it. Not to mention, I'm better at following recipes.  I'll probably end up blogging about this.

At Home in Provence, a collection of farmhouse recipes is indeed my favorite of her cookbooks. It squashes that idea that French food should be drowned in oil and heavy sauces. They can be, but not always. The cookbook is loaded with flavorful, aromatic, homey recipes and luscious photography. She also uses an occasional rebellious technique, as far as traditional French cooking goes. My kinda cooking!  Chapters are dedicated to pastas and salads and breads, proving that French cuisine can be relaxed, yet abundantly flavorful. This particular book inspired a series of classes my sister and I will teach this spring and summer at Upper Arlington's Lifelong Learning; one of the country's largest adult enrichment programs. View the link here, if you'd like to register.

One of the more recent additions to my cookbook collection is, Bistro Cooking, which was published way back in 1989 and contains 200+ recipes from bistros and small family run restaurants throughout France. It's a simple, well-written cookbook with recipes that exude the warmth and coziness brought to mind by the word "bistro." I embrace Wells's preference for hearty, homier recipes and this book does not disappoint. I'll be trying my hand at a ratatouille recipe this weekend. The first I'll be making since buying the cookbook, because I have been busy for the past month participating in a cookbook challenge celebrating Patricia Wells's new book, Salad as a Meal. 

I just participated in a month long challenge making at least three recipes per week for four weeks from the Salad as a Meal cookbook (SAAM). I will not go into too much detail here as there are about a dozen blogs just prior to this entry about the extremely fun and gratifying experience that I and seven others were selected to blog about.  Like her other cookbooks, SAAM offers a fun, story-telling narrative with stories about each recipe, where they came from or a little about the region. Overall this cookbook's recipes show a huge range in the definition of salad, with which I wholeheartedly agree after making nearly twenty of them. When it comes to fabulous story telling and darn good recipes Patricia Wells continues to be my culinary hero(ine)!!
SALAD AS A MEAL challenge wrap-up tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Provençal Ham & Cheese Bread - by Mandy Jones

My sister, Mandy (with whom I teach cultural-culinary classes) ended up getting a copy of the Salad as a Meal cookbook and (aside from the socca and chicken salad we made together two weeks ago), her first go at a recipe was the Provençal Ham and Cheese Bread, which has been on my radar from the start. She has so kindly sent over her pictures and comments for blogging purposes.  In her words:

It was a cinch to make...took about 5 minutes to prepare and get into the oven.  I set the time for 25 minutes like the book called for but it took an additional 5-7 minutes longer.   We used low sodium ham because of my diet restriction and it was still yummy, but the lack of extra salty flavor was obvious.  Next time, I'll use regular ham.  The olives gave it a nice kick against the subtle Petit Swiss Cheese. For a little extra zing, my husband Brian added a splash of Tobasco to his piece. Because of its egginess, it seems like a breakfasty type of bread to me. However, I'm eating it for dinner!  And we're drinking a California zin with it... The Prisoner.  OMG...such a heavenly wine. It's so bold, but smooth.  Love, love, love it!  My new fav!!

Thanks Mandy, for participating in the challenge! I will eventually make this bread and will be sure to use regular ham. Also, I believe I saw a picture of a bottle of The Prisoner on one of my fellow blogger's site. Beth- from Dining & Dishing- apparently likes it too.  

Click here to purchase: 

Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season [Hardcover]

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Week Four of the Salad as a Meal Challenge: Hummus

I HEART HUMMUS and have made it countless times over the years, so to whip up this recipe was going to be a cinch...   or so I thought. Once again, it was the pilot and not the plane. The recipe is fabulous, but I overloaded the blender with too many chickpeas and realized I didn't have my food processor handy, so it turned out really thick initially. However, after packing it up in containers, taking it home and reprocessing it with the proper blending tools, the hummus turned out DELISH.  Suppose you'll see a theme this week too. I've been on a chick pea kick and made the Socca (chick pea crepe) recipe from Salad as a Meal cookbook.
One thing I can say is that I enjoyed following the recipe for a change. In a decade of experimenting with hummus, I've made really good batches and some awful ones.  In my early hummus making days, I often went too heavy on the garlic but we've remedied that.  Sometimes, in the summer, I make it very lemony. A personal preference. This time I just followed the firections and it turned out traditional and beautifully smooth and tasty. Drizzle a little oil on top with some cilantro. Just add pita. Perfect for dipping. I saved some of the thicker hummus from the early batch to use as a spread on pita pocket sandwiches, which went over well. I'll certainly use this Salad as a Meal recipe as the base for my future hummus endeavors-- of course, adding more lemon at times and possibly adding bits of chopped roasted peppers or garlic.

This is one the recipes several of us latched onto. Click my fellow bloggers names to see how their versions of hummus turned out: Hillary Davis of  MarcheDimanche and our lovely Beth of Dining and Dishing.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Socca It To Me: Chick Pea Crepes

Photo: Mandy Jones. All rights reserved.
Socca (chick pea flour crepes) transports me to another time and place. Anyone who has eaten Socca somewhere in the French Riviera will admit the regional specialty can become seriously addicting. I can't imagine a better way to spend an hour than sitting in the Nicoise market with a pile of peppery socca and a goblet of local rose. 

In fact, all I spoke of before our trip to Nice this past December was how I can't wait to have socca. I now chastise myself for waiting almost the entire first week before indulging in some (although I was feasting on other fabulous delicacies- like duck terrine). But, we more than made up for it in the subsequent 2 weeks.  I lived and studied in Nice. Travel to Nice for vacation. Conduct tours through the French Riviera and Provence.  I've eaten socca all over the region and well into Italy. It's not all the same. My favorites remain in Nice.  

Nothing beats a plateful of ragged torn-up bits of socca from Chez Thérésa in the Nice flower market. Her famous crepes are made a few blocks away in the restaurant and carried via bicycle to her fire breathing 50 gallon drum from which she serves eager customers until they run out. Then there's Lou Pilha Leva, tucked in the heart of Old Town, where tourists and locals chow socca and pissiladiere (onion tart) while sitting elbow-to-elbow at picnic tables. It's an authentic street food experience, but the best socca (in my opinion) in Nice, is Chez Pipo, near the marina, where they serve massive soccas 'raked' across the top for extra crispiness. Worth the effort to visit.

Socca is traditionally baked in a huge copper pan in the oven, which is why they aren't commonly made at home. Also, socca are much crispier than regular crepes, therefore no filler required. I would describe them as thin pancakes with crispy (sometimes even burnt) edges and burnt bits in places. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a heavy handed dose of course, ground black pepper.  Let there be socca.

Photo (steel pan): Mandy Jones.
Photo (steel pan): Mandy Jones.
I was excited to see this recipe in Salad as a Meal. Before reading Patricia Wells's description of salad, I might not have ventured to refer to socca as 'salad', but with her expanded definition, I agree this is a light and refreshing meal. No matter how full (or not hungry) I might be, there's always room for socca. I enlisted my sister Mandy, who also has been to Nice, to help whip up a few batches. She and I are teaching a series of cultural-culinary courses at Upper Arlington's Lifelong Learning this spring and The Great Crepe Escape (register online) is our first. Socca is on the menu, so this was good practice. We'll likely use the SAAM recipe in class.

We made several batches in a variety of pans able to withstand 450 degrees in the oven.  The best success came with our regular steel crepe pans, which we heated for 5 minutes in the oven before pouring the batter. KEY--- a sizzling hot pan ensures even cooking.  That's they way they do it in France. We also tried a using less and more batter. Our third batch turned out quite good and we chose to cut the socca neatly into triangles (as the Italian do) rather than tear it apart.

Photo (Paella pan): Shawnie Kelley
As I read the intro to Patricia's recipe, I learned she uses a custom made copper socca pan, about the same size as a paella pan. Light bulb! I have one, so I made a batch in our paella pan, which would have turned out good had there been more batter to make it slightly thicker and pancake-like. Edges crisped up nicely and it tasted OK, despite being too thin. 

Photo (Paella pan): Shawnie Kelley
I've used several socca recipes over time and the Salad as a Meal recipe turns out as tasteful as those you can buy in a Provençal market. It might take trial and error to get them to the proper consistency, but it's a worthy and delicious undertaking... 
 * Find chick pea flour at Whole Foods or Indian grocers, like Patel Brothers on Sawmill Road here in Columbus.

My fellow bloggers who also made socca are Kate Kurtz of Urban Food Producers and Hillary Davis of Dimache Marche, who also made the falafel from the cookbook. It all turned out lovely.... Shelby Kinnaird of DiabeticFoodie blog had to trek far & wide to find chick pea flour, but has joined the Socca Club with a blog offering the most nutritional information of us all. 

Click here to purchase: 

Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season [Hardcover]

Sunday, April 10, 2011

On the Eighth Day of Salads...

One of my fellow bloggers, Hillary Davis of MarcheDimanche made this recipe and took the mouthwatering pictures. Click here to read what Hillary had to say, but I'm thinking this might be a great recipe to use up Thanksgiving turkey leftovers.

Photo by Hillary Davis. all rights reserved
Poached Turkey Breast Salad
with Lemon, Capers, Cornichons &Mint
My good friend Carol Allen so raved about this cold marinated turkey breast, I had to ask for the recipe! I have  adapted it a bit and find that the simplicity and ease of poaching a whole turkey breast makes it ideal for salads for a crowd. And if you are not a crowd, a portion of the poached turkey can be sliced thinly and dressed while the rest can be cubed and used in any recipe calling for poached or roasted chicken. Serve this with a simple
tossed green salad.


1 boneless turkey breast (about 4 pounds)
1 large onion, halved (do not peel) and stuck with 2 cloves
3 carrots, chopped
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
A 1- inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled
4 plump, moist garlic cloves, peeled, halved, and green germ removed
6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
Grated zest of 2 lemons, preferably organic
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup extra- virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon imported French mustard
6 small spring onions or scallions, white part only, trimmed, peeled, and cut into very thin slices
12 Cornichons (page 290), thinly sliced
1/2 cup Capers in Vinegar (page 289), drained
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, cut into a chiffonade, for garnish

1. Place the turkey breast in the stockpot and add enough cold water to cover by
1 inch. Remove the turkey to a platter. Add the onion, carrots, bay leaves, salt,
peppercorns, ginger, garlic, and vinegar to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Carefully lower the turkey into the pot, reduce the heat to a bare simmer, and poach,
covered, for 1 1/4 hours.

2. Remove the pot from the heat and let the turkey cool in the liquid, uncovered, for
30 minutes.

3. Drain the turkey and discard the poaching liquid and solids.

4. Prepare the marinade: In a bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, juice, oil, and
mustard. Stir in the spring onions, cornichons, and capers.

5. Place the turkey in a sturdy resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade into the
bag. Seal the bag and turn it back and forth to coat the turkey. Refrigerate for at
least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

6. At serving time, remove the turkey from the bag, reserving the marinade, and place
it on a cutting board. With a meat slicer or a very sharp chef’s knife, cut the turkey
into paper- thin slices. Arrange the turkey slices on a platter. Moisten the turkey with
the marinade. Garnish with the mint, and serve.

WINE SUGGESTION: I enjoy a lively Chenin Blanc here, such as the Vouvray from Domaine

Click here to purchase: 

Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season [Hardcover]

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On the Seventh Day of Salads... Cilantro-Flecked Heirloom Tomato Soup

Certain soups are just as well considered a salad in liquid form... I will forever think of vegetable soups, gazpacho or pureed soups made from peas, squash or, in this case, heirloom tomatoes as salad. I made this soup for a small group of freinds, along with Chicken Salad with Green Beans and Lemon Yogurt dressing sandwiches- another wonderful recipe from the Salad as a Meal cookbook for which I posted a chicken salad recipe in an earlier blog. Our soup turned out a little thicker than I suspect it should have because I didn't have the right blending tools, but it had fabulous flavor nonetheless.

Cilantro-Flecked Heirloom Tomato Soup

In the summer months, I keep a batch of this soup on hand in the refrigerator, and I often sip a glassful for breakfast. Light, refreshing, and full of flavor, it hits the spot any time of the day. It matches beautifully with a salad as a meal made up of nothing but chunks of fresh garden tomatoes drizzled with a touch of Basil-Lemon Dressing (page 319). Yes, tomato soup with tomato salad. When they are ripe and ready, never too many tomatoes in my book!

1 1/2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored and quartered (do not peel)
1/2 cup imported Italian tomato paste
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground piment d’Espelette or other ground mild chile pepper
2 tablespoons best-quality sherry-wine vinegar
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus extra for garnish (I use a variety of cilantro called Delfino)

Combine all the ingredients, except the extra cilantro leaves, in a a blender or a food processor. Add 1 2/3 cups water and puree to a smooth liquid. Taste for seasoning. The soup can be served immediately, but the flavors benefit from ripening for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours, refrigerated. Serve in soup bowls, garnished with cilantro leaves. (Store without the garnish in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reblend at serving time.)

Food processor or blender? In most cases, the food processor and blender can be used interchangeably. But for many soups—especially those that are made in quantity, such as this tomato soup—I find the blender is more accommodating. Even large food processors tend to overflow with a larger volume of liquid. And while the food processor purees, the blender can turn soups into a thicker, emulsified liquid.

Selecting the best tomato paste: Be sure to read the ingredients label when purchasing tomato paste. Many domestic brands contain sugar and other sweeteners. Brands from Italy generally contain nothing but tomatoes and salt. In this recipe in particular, where a quantity of tomato paste is used, the pure version is a must.

Click here to purchase: 

Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season [Hardcover]