Someone around here jumped the gun here on early harvested tomatoes and I came home the other day and found a bowl of les tomates Campari in a little paper sack, in the kitchen.
Results tagged Herbs from David Lebovitz
A week or so ago, my French other half was under the weather. And it wasn’t until that point that I learned that not everyone understands the healing power of chicken soup. So I made a Poule au pot (chicken cooked in the pot) with carrots and little bits of pastina (pearl-shaped pasta) floating around in the broth, and stopped at the market to pick up a bunch of fresh dill to chop into it.
Fresh herbs are widely used in French cooking and available in Paris markets, although some are hard to find, especially oregano, marjoram, and sage. Others, like thyme, rosemary, and tarragon are sold in generous bunches, as well as fresh dill. Although I’ve always wondered what people in Paris do with all that fresh dill since you only rarely see it on menus, unless it’s paired with salmon.
It was hard to explain the appeal of dill with chicken soup, but not only did the soup work its magic, the dill was a surprise hit. However I had half a bunch left over and since wild salmon isn’t so abundant, but cucumbers are, so I decided it was Tzatziki time.
It always curious to me, when I see “French breakfast radishes” in the states. I know that’s the name for them, according to seed packets and so forth. Or perhaps it’s just in my particular circles. But I’ve never seen anyone offer – or even eat – French ‘breakfast’ radishes for breakfast in France.
Still, the French do eat a lot of radishes. (In fact, they were one of the first things I wrote about on the site after I arrived in Paris.) And with good reason: their radishes are excellent. And because radishes are so popular, they’re often sold in bunches of two at a slightly more attractive price than if you were to buy just one. Radishes in France are often two-toned numbers, glowing red at the stem end, and ruddy white by the thread-like roots.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to use up things I already have in the cupboard, plus eat seasonally, plus make things that are relatively easy to make – and this salad fit the bill on all counts. It combines tahini with wild rice and used up some of the marvelous root vegetables that I can’t help buying at the market, even though I should be using up what I’ve already got on hand. It’s not the prettiest salad in the world, but compared to what I didn’t show you of my refrigerator, that bowl should be hanging in the Louvre.
Speaking of which, I’m only going to give you a glimpse of my jam-packed refrigerator (and I mean literally, there are over a dozen jars of assorted jams in there) because I don’t want my refrigerator scrutinized. Not that I’m ashamed of having a bottle of bbq sauce and some store-bought feta, but, well, my refrigerator is sort of a disaster at the moment, and I’m hoping to take care of that shortly. (Although I’ve been saying that since November…of 2007.)
The other day, I was looking at the overload of tomatoes that I bought as the season was winding down as the end of summer nears. But I realized that I was being gradually shoved out of my small kitchen by them, so I oven-roasted the louts with garlic and herbs to reclaim a few precious inches back of kitchen counter space. Yet when they were finished, I looked in my refrigerator, and there wasn’t any room in there either. So I was left holding a bowl of roasted tomatoes that needed to get used up.
Coincidentally, I also had a round of yeasted dough in my refrigerator from a batch of recipe testing that hadn’t found its meaning as something else yet—as experimental leftovers are want to do. So I took it out, which made room for the tomatoes – but then I realized that was defeating the purpose, so I decide to use both of them. (Am still stunned to see some vacant space in my refrigerator. But I may keep it empty as a constant memento and testament to my frugality.)
Much of what gets called Tabbouleh bears little resemblance to what Lebanese Tabbouleh is. When I moved to France and began eating in traditional Lebanese restaurants, I was served bowls heaped with fresh herbs, a few tomato chunks, and very, very few bits of bulgur (cracked wheat.) Unlike what is served as Tabbouleh in many places – which is often a bowl heaped with bulgur with a few tomatoes and bits of parsley and mint flecks in it – the cracked wheat is meant to be more of a garnish, and I’ve come to love traditional Lebanese Tabbouleh, which is a green, herbal salad with a touch of spices.
Anissa Helou is a highly acclaimed cookbook author and culinary guide, who I was fortunate to visit the market in Sharjah with, and I asked her to share her recipe for Tabbouleh in this guest post by her. Literally, right after I tossed in the dressing, I could not stop eating it. You will flip out when you try this. -David
by Anissa Helou
It’s not summer yet but I have just bought my first good tomatoes, a variety called Marmonde, large and ridged with a green tinge running through the top which faded within a couple of days. The texture of this variety is firm without being hard, and they don’t go mushy as they ripen making them ideal for Tabbouleh, where you need firm but ripe tomatoes.
Tabbouleh has now gone truly global but before the world discovered and adopted it, it was one of very few dishes that the Lebanese could claim as their own – there has been a tussle for the last few years between Israel and Lebanon as to who owns tabbouleh!
I’d been planning for this trip for years, ever since I first laid my hands on a copy of Baked, the cookbook. Quite a few baking books come out and a lot are really good, but this one spoke to me. I mean, each and every dessert sounded like something I not only wanted to bake, but wanted to eat. As in right away.
As I read through the pages, I have to say that I fell in love with everything in there, from the Baked brownies to the Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cake. With those swirls and swirls of shiny, dark chocolate, I just wanted to dive right into that cake headfirst. And I know this might get me into a little trouble, but I found I had a sweet spot for the authors as well.
I was entranced because Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis of Baked share with me a similar sensibility about desserts: we seem to agree that forceful, dynamic flavors, trump elaborate presentations, and prefer to let just a few great ingredients shine. Unfortunately it took me about a year after I read their book (and an interesting bus ride from Manhattan) to get there, but it was worth the wait.
I have a really dumb habit of always wearing flip-flops, or similar sandal-style shoes, then discovering that I have to do something really precarious a little while later. I remember scaling down rocky cliffs at beaches and almost killing myself, as well as assorted other idiocies attempted with rubber-clad feet. Really, it’s amazing I’m still alive.
Like the flowing robes, sandals are part of the uniform in many Middle Eastern counties, so I took advantage of the warm weather (and freedom from packing all those socks), and donned sandals when we headed towards the market in the Emirate of Sharjah.