Unexpected Summer Salads ....

While you might expect summer salads to be comprised of garden fresh plump, ready to burst red tomatoes or bright orange hot peppers and roasted corn--our summer here in Normandy has been a complete mix of sun and showers, a few warm rays, but mostly windy, chilly and half-way summery.

So the 'summer' that we have has so far has inspired fresh summer ingredients with a few cooler weather ones, topped with warm melted goodness--(and a hefty side of 'tartine' with 'chevre'!---for comfort!)

Here is a salad that marries the warm with the cold--and fits our summer perfectly!  Maybe yours too!

Warm Chard & Beet Salad with Red Onion and Goat Cheese

A huge bundle of colorful chard
Red onion
Steamed beats, chopped and chilled
Thin slices of steamed and chilled zuchinni
Feta or French goat cheese 'chevre'
Red wine vinegar
Fresh garden herbs; thyme, basil, savory and parsley
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Clean the chard and remove the ribs, chop and prepare to saute first in 2 tbs olive oil while you set the leaves aside.  Add 1/4 chopped red onion and once tender, add the remaining leaves of chard until wilted.

In a large 'saladier'  mix cubbed beets with zuchinni, 4 tbs red wine vinegar and salt and pepper.  Add chopped herbs and combine with warm chard mixture.  Lastly top with crumbled goat cheese.  

A baguette 'tartine' with cheese and fresh basil makes a perfect summer lunch--on a warm or chilly summer day!

Bon appetit!


This past weekend was an eating extravaganza!  A foodie-weekend ... a food-a-palooza!  What else is there to do when it is pouring rain for the 65th consecutive day--windy, dismal .... not summer.

After creating the carrot-soup (c-o-l-d carrot soup), comfort food was needed to start out the weekend--and although Friday night is usually 'Pizza-Night' in our home, it was trumped by the fact that there was a canard-magret in the fridge begging to be cooked and so it became duck-breast on thyme-mushroom risotto....

Next up ...something more 'fun' for Saturday--it was Bastille Day and the traditional BBQ was nixed again due to the on-going showers.  But inside the house it was festive and spicy with Buffalo-Wings made with HOT harissa sauce and fries....(so very French--non?)  Oh- well French Guy did make a sauce of roguefort and feta for it!  (A little French?)

 Sunday was all about seafood---the big plan being that we would sit outside and fire-up the 'plancha' and grill our lunch.  Yet again, no.  Rain. (Are you getting the theme here?) But, we managed to cook a few delicious 'ecrevisses'...the fancy French way to say Crayfish--and once again French Guy stepped up and this time braved the rain to quickly cook up sardines--which were spicy and crispy--all of this topped simply on brown rice with tangy pickled zucchini and yellow squash.

And finally to end the weekend.... first a 'cake' made with almond flour, vanilla bean and apricots..... which we ate with vanilla ice cream....

 ... but before that, in honor of my Japan-o-phile Oldest Garcon (temporarily? obsessed with all things Japanese--he even convinced French Guy to take him to the Japan-Expo is Paris last week!)  and also because Middle Garcon could eat anyone---(including the biggest sumo-wrestler) under the table with the amount of sushi he can consume .... there you have it--- homemade sushi for dinner that we ate standing in the kitchen as it was made..... très casual!

So here it is Monday morning -- and culinarily--I think I can speak for everyone in the family to say that our tummy's are satisfied!  (and so is my styling eye and my shooting finger!)  Afterall-- a well rounded weekend includes family, food, and  ...  photography!

And this morning .... a more simple start.  Gluten-free toast with 'buche blanche de chevre' and a big dab of strawberry jam--made by Bonne Maman---not moi.

Happy Monday mes amis!  Hope your weekend was full of food---and SUN.

Summer Carrot Ginger Soup with Fresh Herbs

It has so far, been a very dismal summer in Normandy.  I have to say that summer cooking really has not been inspired by balmy-breezy-beach days or sand between the toes BBQ's.....and the last 'summer vegetable' that you would think I would gravitate to would be a carrot   ....

But truth be told, even though it is a root vegetable and available year-round, in a cold soup it shines with vivid flavor and talk about amazing color!

It's natural pairing with another root vegetable, ginger brings a snappy almost citrus flavor to the soup and topped with fresh herbs and plain yogurt, it has a snappy and fresh taste!

 Chilled Carrot Ginger Soup

3 cups grated carrots
4 cups fresh carrot juice
3 small shallots
1 tbs. grated ginger
1/2 cup creme fraiche and/or plain yogurt
fresh herbs

In a saucepan, saute shallots in 1 tbs olive oil.  Add grated carrots and sweat for 5 minutes. Add carrot juice and grated ginger, salt to taste and continue to cook for about 30 minutes on medium heat. (Do not let the soup boil, you want to completely cook the carrots until they are tender, but you do not want a cooked or over-cooked carrot taste.)  Allow soup to come to room temperature and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until completely smooth.  Blend in creme fraiche and refrigerate the soup until chilled.  Garnish with plain yogurt and herbs.

Serving ideas:  If not eaten as a soup-course, the soup is a great appetizer 'shooter' in a small glass, or served in recessed cucumber cups.

It may be the only kind of sunshine I see for a while longer!  But I hope not!

Come on summer!  We are waiting for you!