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Victory Garden Salad

Victory Garden Salad

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.

Victory Garden Salad

GROWING MESCLUN

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.

MESUCLUN SALAD

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.

Victory Garden Salad

Grown your own Victory Garden Salad. Stay well.

 

No. 446Recipe Card Posted on Leave a comment

Brioche Toast with Goat Cheddar & Apple Mostarda

 Brioche Toast with Goat Cheddar & Apple Mostarda | Bijouxs Little Jewels

A grilled cheese sandwich remains a classic little jewel in the kitchen, but a thick slice of brioche toast with melting cheddar cheese, topped with a sweet-savory apple mostarda is a new little jewel to savor.

TOAST RECIPES

There are many ‘toast’ recipes out there, you know the avocado kind. This toast version takes the favorite grilled cheese in a new direction. The inspiration for the flavors of this sandwich comes from apple pie topped with cheddar cheese, a classic. Here a buttery slice of brioche bread is topped with a tart goat cheddar, put under the broiler, then topped with sweet-savory apple mostarda, think chutney. A buttery-rich sandwich to love.

 Brioche Toast with Goat Cheddar & Apple Mostarda |Bijouxs Little Jewels

MOSTARDA

Mostarda is a typical condiment of Northern Italy, usually made by caramelizing fruit with sugar and mustard. These condiments are great accompanying roasts and on the cheese plate. The most famous mostarda recipe is the one from Cremona, made with figs and pears known as Mostarda di Mele, which is widely available online, and also combined with many types of fruits. I discovered a mostarda recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks and restaurants in L.A. Apples and rosemary lead the flavor profile, since I was gifted a bounty of apples a mostarda made sense. This condiment is delicious, versatile and simple to prepare.

 Brioche Toast with Goat Cheddar & Apple Mostarda |Bijouxs Little Jewels

 Brioche Toast with Goat Cheddar & Apple Mostarda | Bijouxs Little Jewels

 Brioche Toast with Goat Cheddar & Apple Mostarda |Bijouxs Little Jewels

BRIOCHE & CHEDDAR CHEESE

After discovering I could make a wonderful tea sandwich loaf via the pro Nancy Silverton, I though I’d try her brioche, also in a favorite cookbook. I baked the brioche in my pullman pan that I used to bake her Tea Sandwich Loaf. The bread was lovely, although my oven has hot spots and uneven heating which makes it a challenge not to over-bake.

Brioche Toast with Goat Cheddar & Apple Mostarda | Bijouxs Little Jewels

 

Whether you bake your own bread or pick up a wonderful loaf from the bakery, this sandwich topped with the Apple Mostarda is a little jewel. Stay well.

No. 445Recipe Card Posted on Leave a comment

Seasonal Arugula Citrus Salad

Seasonal Arugula Citrus Salad |Bijouxs Little Jewels

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.

L.A. RESTAURANTS

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.

CITRUS SEASON

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 | Bijouxs Little Jewels

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.

Seasonal Arugula Citrus Salad | Bijouxs Little Jewels

Wishing you a happy and safe new Spring.

No. 443Recipe Card Posted on 4 Comments

Pixie Poppy Seed Cake

Pixie Poppy Seed Cake | Bijouxs Little Jewels

Oh my darling Clementines, you are in season again. Now residing in the central coast citrus circle, the crops are plentiful, especially my favorite Pixie Clementines. What better way than to use in a cake and even better use the whole fruit, Pixie Poppy Seed Cake, the sweetest season. Continue reading Pixie Poppy Seed Cake