“The peas are green! Spring has begun! Long live Venice!” The April 25th Venice tradition is for the Doge (the Chief Magistrate) to taste a spoonful of the city’s most famous dish, Risi e bisi, in public to annunciate the start the Feast of Saint Mark. Risi e bisi (Rice with Peas) marks the start of spring – join Bijouxs in celebrating this little jewel of dish. Continue reading Risi e bisi (Rice with Peas)
Yes, small victories count. Planting a small crop of lettuce provides salads for weeks, then sow more seeds and voila, lettuce appears. The simple Mesclun mixed variety is my favorite and produced this simply beautiful Victory Garden Salad a little jewel from the garden.
VICTORY GARDEN SALAD
Celebrate, a small victory in my garden. As always, starting with the freshest most healthy ingredients are keys to a great salad. Now, residing in a tiny cottage in the central coast, life has changed. No more sprawling garden, space in my yard is a premium. I have three small areas to grow my garden favorites. Since space is so limited I have narrowed it down to a few of my favorites. First on my list is growing lettuce for salads, from which I create a multitude of dishes, much more than just salads. For years I have been growing mesclun greens mix.
Mesclun is a Provençal word that describes a mix of tender salad greens and many times includes herbs. The name comes from “mesclular” which is a mixture, which describes this mix of lettuce, also sold as spring mix. It is frequently served in restaurants and widely available in the supermarkets. However, growing your own lettuce is easy and very rewarding. When you feel like a salad just go out and clip some fresh greens, no waste and many of varieties are “cut and come again” meaning if you clip the leaves more new leaves appear. Almost anyone can have a small victory garden, you can grow this lettuce in a 12”inch pot, perfect for apartment dwellers. A volunteer nasturtium joined the party.
Spring mix greens are in every store now. They are very tender and must be handled with care. Also, they tend to have a short life in the refrigerator, another reason to grow your own greens. In looking for a salad recipe the first chef to really feature these greens was Alice Waters, from her I take my lead.
Gently wash greens and place in a salad spinner then roll them loosely in a clean kitchen towel and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. They are best used the same day, but can usually survive overnight, but not much longer.
My favorite dressing is French, made directly in a wooden salad bowl, then topped with the greens and brought to the table, ready to toss and serve. This dressing is my everyday dressing, my go-to in the kitchen. This real French dressing is simply made by place a small clove of garlic in a wooden salad bowl, with a pinch of salt and pepper and mashed into a paste using a wooden spoon. Dijon, red wine vinegar are added and mixed, then olive oil is whisked by hand until the dressing comes together. Voila, a perfect salad.
Salads, can we ever have enough recipes? This lovely little jewel originates from Charcoal in Venice Beach. Citrus season makes this a perfect time for this salad with blood oranges and grapefruit, tossed with arugula, radicchio and French feta, a healthy and delicious little jewel.
I am a L.A. born and bred girl now living along the beautiful central coast. I have tried to utilize our extended down time by cruising through all of my cookbooks, hundreds in fact. Eat. Cook. L.A. brings recipes from many of my favorite haunts in L.A. like this salad. Sadly, with the downturn, many of my favorite restaurants have closed. I am happy though to cook recipes from L.A.’s great restaurants in-between cooking and creating my new No. 4 Beautiful Food By Design Cookbook.
This is a favorite time of year. The winter citrus crops bring that bright spot to winter, vibrant color while we wait for Spring. There are so many choices, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit and blood oranges just to name a few. California citrus are exported for enjoyment all over the world.
SEASONAL ARUGULA CITRUS SALAD
I have lightly adapted the original recipe, substituting a few of my favorite ingredients such as Sherry vinegar & olive oil. French feta is my favorite but a Greek Goat milk feta will work just as well. Use baby arugula, or better yet grow your own. My garden is just beginning to produce lettuce. It is wonderful to go out and collect lettuce for your evening salad. I have other citrus salads on the website, such as Beet, Citrus and Olive Salad,Blood Orange and Fennel Salad, and a classic Orange & Olive Salad. All deliver the fresh California forward flavors.
Some like it hot, and sweet, two of my favorite flavor profiles. The humble baked sweet potato takes on a spicy sauce, a light & easy weeknight recipe. Sweet-Hot Baked Potato, keeping things simple in the Bijouxs Little Jewels Kitchen. Continue reading Sweet-Hot Baked Potato
Back to the basics here in the Bijouxs Kitchen these days. Basic food made with healthful ingredients is at the top of my cooking list. One of my on-hand basics are compound butters–they glam up the most humble of dishes, little jewels from the kitchen. Bijouxs Basics: Everything Butter.