Category: salad

To paraphrase Alice Waters, the difference between good lasagna and great lasagna is in using fresh, thinly-rolled pasta. And I agree. Try to avoid those boxes of thick noodles with the curly edges on the grocer’s shelf if at all possible, but if you must use dried pasta, search for the Barilla brand noodles which are thin and flat.

The sauce that I created for this dish is made of fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers, summer squash, garlic, and carrots–chopped, diced, or shredded and simmered together until thick. Half of the mixture is blended into a puree and the rest is left in its chunky state which adds heft to dish. Layers of sauce, pasta, and cheeses (in this case ricotta and pepperjack) are sandwiched together to make for a tasty vegetarian entre.

Garden Vegetable Lasagna Chez Edouard
Garden lettuce, haricots vert, and cherry tomato salad with shallot-red wine vinaigrette
Yeast roll

Vanilla ice cream with fresh peaches and pecan cookies


The main course for this menu is an adaptation of a James Beard dish presented in his book Beard on Pasta.* I have often remembered his introduction to the recipe: “I first had this at a dreary hotel in Genoa that was tolerable only because the kitchen knew how to do a few brilliant dishes. The tiny waxy new potatoes bathed in basil kept me there long after the beds and plumbing should have driven me away.”

The recipe originally intrigued me because it involved the combination of two starchy ingredients, pasta and potatoes, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the two worked quite well together. But as is my usual practice, I have made changes to suit my own tastes. I like pesto as a “hint” in cooking, but I’m not overly fond of the sauce bathing a dish. And it’s rare that I have enough basil on hand to create it in the traditional way. So my rendition involves what I call deconstructed pesto. The pasta and potatoes are tossed with just enough extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic to achieve a light coating and then the dish is garnished with toasted pine nuts, a light chiffonade of basil leaves, and some grated Parmigiano Reggiano. I have omitted the cream that Beard calls for in the dish, preferring instead to dress the salad with a creamy buttermilk dressing.

Housemade fettuccine with roasted new potato wedges and deconstructed pesto
Salad of baby lettuces from the garden with green beans and buttermilk dressing
Yeast roll Chez Edouard

Housemade peach ice cream with pecan crisps

*Beard, James. Beard on Pasta. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1983.

An Apology and a Menu

To my faithful followers, I apologize for the lull in my recent posting to the blog. Never fear however, because I am dedicated to this project even if there are occasional lapses. Tonight’s menu may seem a bit ubiquitous on the surface, but you have my assurance that this is rather different than what you might think at first. The tuna salad is probably not your mother’s rendition (since I decided to be a bit creative with tonight’s version). And the sides are easy, quick, and filling on a night when you don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Not gourmet cuisine by  any stretch of thought…simply a good meal.

Tuna salad featuring diced, hard-boiled egg, minced onions, dill pickle, and spicy peppers, with cubed pepperjack cheese and house-made mayonnaise seasoned with ground chipotle served in a split mini baguette
Quick baked beans Chez Edouard: canned Great Northern beans seasoned with catsup, dry mustard, paprika, black pepper, and minced onions and garlic slow-baked in the oven
Organic potato chips seasoned with sea salt and black pepper
A tsatsuma tangerine topped with sunflower seeds and a drizzle of melted chocolate

Here in the western burbs of D.C., it was yet another winter day that started with snow in the early morning hours, transitioned to a lull during which no precipitation occurred, and then ended with a dreary drizzle of rain with temps never climbing above 40 degrees F. So, I decided to make something I had not made in a while and don’t think I have posted before—Vegetarian Jambalaya Soup.

The ice cream is my creation, featuring a mix of vanilla ice cream custard and orange juice blended together before being chilled and then frozen in the ice cream maker.

Chez Edouard veggie jambalaya soup of aromatic vegetables, diced red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, black-eyed peas, vegetable broth, and rice, seasoned with paprika and a dash of hot sauce
Baby lettuce salad with my sister’s homemade pickled okra and my house-made
buttermilk ranch dressing
Cornbread muffins

House-made creamsicle ice cream with walnut cookies

If you have been following my blog, you know that I am an advocate of using a slow cooker for dishes that are best simmered for lengthy amounts of time over low heat—particularly during the fall and winter. Unlike traditional recipes for beef stew, I include quite a few Southwestern elements in this dish: green and red bell peppers, chipotle chilies, tomatoes, and hominy. Stews exemplify the description of “one-dish
meals” and normally I wouldn’t recommend much in the way of side dishes, but in
this case a bed of steamed rice lends a nice touch as does a small salad with a cooling dressing to counteract the heat of the stew: both in keeping with the Southwestern theme of the menu.

Southwestern stew of braised beef cubes, sweet red and green peppers, smoked chipotle chilies, tomatoes, spices, and hominy served over long-grain rice with croutons of Chez Edouard bread toasted in the oven with a topping of pepperjack cheese
Romaine lettuce salad drizzled with house-made ranch dressing

Tangerine ice cream with white chocolate chunk cookies

A Memory Menu

A bit over 20 years ago, I was called upon to not only cater the food for my sister’s wedding reception, but also to create the wedding cake, AND to sing at the ceremony. PHEW! This took months of advance planning, preparation, and practice, but as you can see I survived. The menu for the reception involved heavy hors d’oeuvres for 100 guests and included 15 different “nibbles.” While planning the menu, I queried sis about her favorite foods. One of her responses was “pizza.” I toyed with the idea of making little two-inch pizzas, but the logistics of last minute baking and prep was just too much to handle given the scale of the party and everything on my plate. So, I came up with the idea of creating miniature quiches that would have fillings of my sister’s favorite pizza toppings. These could be made ahead, frozen, and reheated at the site of the reception. I suppose folks liked them—there were none left at the end of the evening! Thankfully I’m not making miniature hors d’oeuvre sized versions of this dish tonight. A regular-sized quiche is perfectly fine thank you!

“Pizza” Quiche featuring sauteed onions, red pepper and garlic, diced pepperoni and sun-dried tomatoes, sliced black olives, and mozzarella cheese
Mixed salad greens with red wine vinaigrette

A late night snack of fruit salad

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