To Refresh and Delight Both Your Eyes and Taste Buds …
This spectacular and naturally sweet combination of fruits can easily adapt to serve and please you year-round, depending on what’s currently in season. Just combine and/or replace one kind for the other as needed. And if caramelizing sugar either freaks you out or is a step you don’t have time for at the moment, you can always easily dress the arranged fruit with only a tablespoon of sugar stirred to dissolve in the Grand Marnier with a little fresh lemon juice for balance. Then the reserved orange juices could always embellish flutes of sparkling wine for making mimosas to keep everyone in high spirits!
To Dance Around Your Palate …
These simply dressed up and quickly cooked carrots not only offer a contrasting flavor refresher, …
… but also add a bright spot of color to any dished up plate.
To Celebrate Spring Baby Vegetables …
What could be more heavenly? These are just the basic proportions, so feel free to double the recipe. I always do! And besides simply reheating any intentional extras later, just to keep things lively, you can always combine them with good broth to simmer and then purée together for an instant version of that comforting classic, leek and potato soup. Ta da!
For a Palate Pleasing Treat …
There’s nothing new about just wrapping slices of prosciutto around asparagus spears. But when you further embellish such ready companions with these quick additions, this classic combo evolves from delicious to simply divine. We had it the other night as a first course before hot bowls of creamed leek and potato soup, but you could easily make a meal of it. And for a further match made in heaven, might I suggest a loaf of Meyer Lemon Rosemary bread from Petaluma’s own Della Fattoria to round things out nicely?
To Warm Your Hands, Heart and Soul —
Looking for inspiration? When it comes to hot chocolate (and so many other delights), I first found mine decades ago in a Paris café, and then more recently had it confirmed in Biarritz, the birthplace of modern chocolate, where this photo was taken. The recipe below is the version I had created in response here at home in California, and all these years later, it remains a house favorite. But no matter where you are in La Belle France, chocolat chaud never shows up just as warm milk merely flavored with a little sweetened cocoa. No, it’s a serious indulgence that invites you to dive deep into the essence of this luxuriously noble bean. So why not treat yourself to the real deal? And then sit back to savor each sip as you watch the lights come on — both inside, out, and all around. Mmmmm…
To Help You Easily Make the Most of Summer —
While so many of us love eating salads, I’ve been amazed to learn from my students how many people dread making them — especially the dressing part. But when we have sweet, juicy, truly vine-ripened tomatoes to count on all season long, you can throw together both the dressing and the beginning of your salad in a matter of minutes. And did I mention how heavenly this creation both looks and tastes? So go for it! (Then the rest of the year you can depend on my Casual Recipe for Citronette to see you through; see link below.)
And So Many Variations on the Theme —
It’s Spring after all, so why not make the most of these quick and easy-to-prepare lentils from the southwest of France? Both the taste and texture can hold their own, but they also welcome good company. Use as a hot or cold main or side dish, either solo or combined with vegetables and/or meaty bits.
This Time of Beans —
They were Rancho Gordo Mayocoba heirloom beans, gently simmered into silkiness with a generous mound of caramelized mirepoix, and further enriched with the additional layers of flavor and texture in pulled chunks of the intensely sweet, hot and smoky barbecued braised Thistle beef and pork rib meat we had left over from our son’s birthday party.
When It’s Raining Lemons and Our Palates Need Refreshing —
Feeling seasonally dulled down after all the holiday excesses, lingering long dark nights, cloudy skies and looming taxes now due too soon? Fortunately, sunny citrus fruits always seem to arrive in the nick of time to reawaken our senses like the flush in a sneak preview of spring. And year round, this truly simple dressing is always dependably clean and bright, as well as extremely versatile. What with no concerns about which vinegar(s) to choose in the making of a vibrant vinaigrette, this citronette leaves you free to focus only on the acid (in lemon and mustard) versus salt balance. So just whisk it up and tweak as needed to please your own taste buds and particular brand of mustard. Then make the most of it as your reliable go-to with both tender and hearty greens, asparagus, artichokes, baby leeks, new potatoes, carrots, cabbage, salads of all kinds, seafood, poultry…