Summer Salad: Warm Bean and Bacon

More cooking with Jacques! So salads are not just greens in dressing. This recipe sounded interesting and as I had most of the ingredients on hand I made it.

  • 1 can (15 ounces) small white beans, drained
  • about 2 ounces of bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons malt vinegar (I ran out of balsamic)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Fry up the bacon in cast iron skillet and then add the onion and garlic. Add the beans and stir to warm. Blend the rest of the ingredients together and toss together. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Fresh parsley is better than dried. I was able to add fresh parsley to the leftovers. This would be fabulous with fresh spinach mixed into it. It was yummy. And a few days later I mixed up the dressing by itself to use with a green salad.

Summer Salads: Garlicky Romaine

I could call this “cooking with Jacques” except this did not call for any cooking, except for the brief sautéing of the croutons. My Jacques Pepin Essential Pepin cookbook has lovely ideas for salads. What are salads but tossing oil and vinegar with greens? And a few other raw vegetables…and much more! Our go to salad greens are romaine lettuce and baby spinach.

I had all the needed ingredients for this “garlicky romaine with croutons”. Apparently in the spring I made homemade bread all of which we did not consume. I am of the school of thought to not waste food so I cut the remaining bread into crouton-sized cubes and froze them. Now I have the perfect recipe for them.

  • 3 Tablespoons oil
  • 2 1/2 cups 1-inch pieces “stale country bread”

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet; cast iron works well here. When oil is hot add the bread and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally to turn the cubes. Although at first I thought this was too much oil, it worked out very well for the 4 minute sauté.

  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic; I used minced garlic from a jar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon mustard; Jacques calls for grainy mustard. I used spicy so as not to have three opened jars of mustard in my fridge.
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

I mixed the dressing ingredients in a small jar. I used half to dress the heart of romaine that I put into the bowl. We added a generous helping of Romano cheese as well. Romaine seems to call out for parmesan or Romano cheese in our household.

This is a tasty garlicky dressing. I was able to use this salad for two meals without making more dressing or croutons. This makes sense in that the recipe says it serves four.

chocolate roll

Baking with Jacques! I was looking for a “light” dessert and thought a cake roll with jam filling might fit the bill. I was at first thinking of citrus flavors but the Essential cookbook had this chocolate roll which sounded simple enough to make. Well, melting chocolate, separating eggs, whipping egg whites in separate bowl might be a tad fussy but so would being able to roll the cake without breaking. I read the instructions several times to become confident this would not be problematic. Here is my adaptation.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 4-6 ounces dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 tablespoons very strong coffee

I melted what chocolate I had on hand. I separated the eggs into two mixer bowls. I poured a quarter cup of prepared coffee and added a teaspoon of espresso powder. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a cookie sheet pan with buttered parchment paper.

Put water and sugar in small saucepan, bring to boil and cook for 2 minutes making a light syrup. Slowly pour this over the egg yolks while mixing vigorously for 5 minutes. This should be fluffy, smooth and pale yellow in color. Add the melted chocolate and mix well.

Whip egg whites into firm peaks. Add one-third of this into the chocolate mixture mixing vigorously. I used a hand whisk to do this in order to mix in the chocolate that had gathered at the bottom of the bowl under the egg yolks. Carefully fold in the remaining egg whites just until blended.

Smooth the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes until set. Let cool to room temperature and then cover with plastic wrap. When completely cool this will be filled and rolled.

Traditionally this is filled with whipped cream. I used a jar of Sour Cherry Preserves. It took the entire 8 ounce jar. After removing the plastic wrap, spread the filling on the cake. Then beginning with the longer side roll gently removing the parchment paper as you go along. Use large spatulas to move the cake to a serving platter. I cut it in half to do that.

I am happy to pronounce that this came out nicely. I sprinkle powdered sugar on the top.

Serves 8 and I cut it into serving size pieces and we enjoyed this for 4 nights. It is very rich. Adding a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream would work well here.

Summer Salads: “Carrot and Sunflower Seed Salad on Red Leaf Lettuce”

I was reminded by a recent routine doctor visit that one should increase plants in one’s dietary choices. Okay, what do I have available to work with to create veggies and fruits for meals? Carrots and frozen blueberries. Needless to say I did not use the blueberries in a salad, but set them to thaw to make a crumble later. In the past I had enjoyed carrot salads and I decided that a French carrot salad would be worthwhile. So I looked in my Jacques Pepin Essential cookbook and found several carrot salads and had to choose. So I chose this one even though I did not have sunflower seeds, nut oil, or red leaf lettuce! Nor sherry vinegar! I planned to serve this on a bed of spinach.

  • 3-4 cups shredded carrots; this was about 6 small to medium; peel first
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds as substitute for the sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed garlic; 2 teaspoons sounded like too much
  • 1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onion
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 5 Tablespoons canola oil; I should have used olive oil but didn’t

I peeled the carrots and used a food processor to shred them. I chopped the onion, this was 1/2 of a smallish Vidalia. I put these in a bowl with the sesame seeds. I mixed the dressing ingredients and poured over to mix and set this in the fridge to meld the flavors. Aren’t I fancy!

I served this over chopped fresh spinach. It was tasty but a bit dry. So I fixed another portion of the dressing (olive oil this time) and mixed it in. This will then dress the greens instead of leaving them a tad dry.

And it was good. However, another lesson: Hubby does not particularly care for carrot salads. He might like the sweeter version using orange juice and raisins.

Summer Salads: not my mother’s potato salad!

I decided to make potato salad. Mom made hers with Miracle Whip, boiled eggs, and pickle relish. I perused several cookbooks and found too many ideas, as usual. I thought a vinaigrette would be nice for a change. Most of these are for warm potato salads but, “what the hey”, I’d try it for a cold dish. The following is a conglomeration from various recipe books, none more than another.

  • 6 medium potatoes, approximately 2 1/2 – 3 inches in diameter
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 radishes, sliced
  • 1 green onion, chopped using both white and green parts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste

I scrubbed the potatoes and put the whole potatoes with the skins in a pot to boil expecting this would prevent me from overcooking them. It did. When done (I did not time this–just stuck a fork through the center) chop into inch or so pieces. Place in bowl with the chopped celery and green onion. Mix the dressing, pour over, and stir. Done!

This was not a hit. Hubby said “it’s okay” but did not like it that much.

So I repaired the remainder by adding:

  • 2 more sliced radishes
  • 2 more sliced green onions, white and green parts
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

This repaired version was much more enjoyable. Lesson learned: Hubby likes creamy potato salad.