French Endive & Green Apple Salad

This salad is so hearty and refreshing. It’s a huge crowd pleaser and a great palate cleanser. It’s typically a winter salad, but I’d recommend it any time of year. It’s a meal in and of itself, but great with a side of soup, or in the picture below, a French Tartiflette. Mmmm….lots of potatoes and cheese. 🙂

Give this salad a try and you’ll really impress your guests. It’s a good one to have on hand for about 2 days. Just leave out the mushrooms and dressing until you’re ready to serve. If you sprinkle the apple slices with a little lemon they’ll be less likely to brown over the 2 days, if you decide to use this for a meal prep day.

French Winter Alpine Meal. Yum!

Yields: 6 cups salad

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

 

  • 3 endives
  • 2 cups of mâche (or mixed baby greens)
  • 1-2 fennel bulbs, depending on size
  • 1 green apples
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 3-4 ounces button mushrooms (any white mushroom)
  • 1/2  small white onion
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic or champagne vinegar
  • 1- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, according to your taste
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon honey

 

Directions:

Cut off the ends of the endives and then slice once lengthwise. Place flat side down, and continue to slice into 1-2 inch pieces. Place in a salad bowl with mâche or mixed baby greens

Thinly slice the fennel bulbs and add to the salad bowl. Rough chop the walnuts. Cut the apples in half and core them. Slice into thin slices. Thinly slice the mushrooms and finely dice the onion. Add everything to the salad bowl and toss to combine.

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, add the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and black pepper. Whisk to combine well. Toss over salad and serve.

You can also make this salad a few hours ahead and chill it. Just wait to add the mixed greens or mâche and the vinaigrette until time of serving.

Summer Squash, Tomato, Goat Cheese & Mustard Tart

This is a beautiful, French-inspired, summer tart. It’s a great way to use up all that extra zucchini and yellow squash laying around this time of year. 🙂 Make the most of it before it’s all gone for the season!

What the final tart looks like. Yum! 🙂 (This was right before we took two slices, left the kitchen for 5 minutes, and when I came back my dog had eaten about half of it. 🙁 Lesson learned…again.

Roll out the crust and gently place in tart pan. Carefully form to the pan and smooth out any folds. Leave a little extra crust around the edges to allow for the crust to shrink up a bit.

Sliced veggies and rounds. At this point you would place pie weights in the crust, poke it with a fork a few times in the flat part of the crust and then bake it for 12-15 minutes. (I forgot to bake it before spreading with mustard in these pictures, so please bake it before adding any filling.)

There is one mistake in this picture. Please bake the crust for 12-15 minutes before spreading with mustard and adding the other fillings.

Here is the filled tart before it goes into the oven. You can use any kind of goat cheese or cow’s cheese that you like. I also dotted it with fresh rosemary and sprinkled the top with a little salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Yum! The taste of summer. 🙂

Tomato, Zucchini & Goat Cheese Tart

Yields: 2 tarts

Serves: 8 as an entree, 16 as a side dish

Ingredients:

Crust

 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 6-8 tablespoons cold (ice) water

 

 

Tart

 

  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 5-6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 12 ounces goat cheese
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Cornmeal Crust

Cut butter into ½ inch cubes. Stir flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt into a bowl. Add butter cubes and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or use your fingers until the mixture resembles small peas.

Add the cold ice water by starting with 4 tablespoons. Incorporate that water into the dough. Add 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is a soft consistency, and pliable, but not too sticky. You want it to come together into a ball.

Place the dough in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Assembling the Tarts

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Divide the chilled dough in half. Roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thick and gently form to tart pan. Pierce gently with a fork and place pie weights on the dough. Repeat with second crust. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully remove the pie weights without burning yourself.

While the crusts are baking, slice the zucchini, yellow squash and tomato into ¼ inch slices. Slice the cheese into chunks and pull the rosemary off the stems.

When the crusts come out of the oven, spread them with a layer of mustard to your liking. At least thinly cover the entire crust. Then layer with multiple layers of the vegetables. Top with pieces of goat cheese and sprinkle with rosemary. Sprinkle with a few small pinches of salt.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown and the fully cooked through. Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper. Serve hot and enjoy!

Strawberry Lemon Clafoutis

Mmm…summer is officially here and strawberries are bursting with flavor! Take advantage of the fact that they’re cheaper right now and they taste the best they will all year long! Make strawberry cakes, smoothies, put in your oatmeal, add to yogurt and ice cream…dip them in chocolate and just savor their wonderful sweetness all by their lonesome. 

I decided to make a twist on a classic French dessert that is usually made with cherries. This recipe was inspired byJulia Child’s Cherry Clafoutis Recipe (pronounced: clah-foo-tee). It’s wonderful either hot out of the oven or chilled and is a wonderful addition to any summer party. Great to make a day ahead and serve chilled after dinner. 

It’s kind of a custard and is SO easy to put together. Give it a try and let me know how you like it. I’d LOVE to hear about your variations. Check tips at the end for ways to experiment with different fruits.

Strawberry Lemon Clafoutis

Yields: 1 (9 inch pie pan) clafoutis

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar (divided in half)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or almond extract)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 12 ounces or 2 cups strawberries
  • Zest of half of a lemon

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9 inch pie dish or circular baking pan. Ceramic or glass is best. Cut off the strawberry tops and them into quarters. Zest the lemon and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine milk, ¼ cup sugar, eggs, vanilla or almond extract, salt, both flours and lemon zest. Blend well with an electric blender.

Pour about ⅓ of the batter into the greased pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes. The bottom will start to cook, but it will not be solid. Remove from oven and gently add the strawberries. Sprinkle the other ¼ cup sugar on top. Pour the remaining batter over the fruit.

Return pan to oven and cook for about 1 more hour. Check the clafoutis at 45 minutes for doneness. It will be finished when a toothpick comes out clean, but it won’t be brown when it is finished cooking.

The clafoutis will naturally deflate after being out of the oven for a few minutes. You can garnish with a sprig of fresh mint if you’d like, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar for a pretty effect. It is delicious served hot or cold. Keep refrigerated if not serving immediately.

The Empowered Kitchen Tips:

Plums, peaches, apricots, other berries or cherries can all be substituted for the strawberries. You could also experiment with adding orange or lime zest, ground cardamom, cinnamon or other spices to create new flavors.

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