Make this incredible Lebanese bowl featuring Tabbouleh, hummus, falafels & so much more.
Let’s be clear. Blogs are blogs. Power Point Presentations are not. According to my more seriously-minded techie pals, PPP are something else entirely. They are more, well, seriously minded. Humph!
After watching a PPP listing ten potential benefits of them, we seemed almost on the same page. I especially honed in on (1)Broadening visual impact; (2)Improving audience focus; (7) & (8) Building Spontaneity & Interactivity and (10)Increasing Wonder.
Traditionally Lebanese Tabbouleh is a green herbal salad with a touch of spices and a dollop of grains.
Call me crazy but I think it’s all about those Bullet Points. This week’s post screams for bullet points, emoji style. So let’s do it. Give it a read… seriously.
👩🍳 GRAND RAPIDS was GRAND
Shortly before Thanksgiving, as usual, I bid farewell to Colorado. While it’s a 650-mile drive through Utah and Arizona to Henderson, Nevada, where I’ll be for the holidays, it’s no chore. The iconic landscapes of sandstone buttes, arches and mesas visible throughout my drive are gloriously breathtaking.
In 1976 I was in Kansas City for the Republican Convention when Gerald Ford was nominated. That’s why I saved his library for last. As you can see, I am on the floor of the Convention and rather awestruck by Dan Rather.
After arriving in Henderson, I grabbed my bag, boarded an Allegiant jet and flew to Michigan. Where. It. Was. Snowing. Gerald Ford’s Presidential Library is located in Grand Rapids. His was the last of the thirteen libraries administered by the National Archives for me to visit. It’s been a five-year project which has taken me and friends accompanying me to California, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Texas, New York, Massachusetts and Michigan. (Hoover. West Branch, Iowa 1962.)
This statue is at the Ford library entrance.
Suffice it to say, it was thrilling to visit Ford’s museum, not only to reach my goal but also because in 1976 I attended the Republican Convention in Kansas City when he was nominated. Even better, the Library’s staff supervisor and her cohorts were excited for me.
I’d filled out all the appropriate forms and we’re just getting ready to put the last Presidential Library stamp in my Passport Booklet.
I am the 75th person to visit all 13 libraries. There were gifts, an engraved crystal paperweight with a commendation to follow from the Archives. Who knew? Next stop: Chicago, 2020
This is the stairway ladder to the rooftop of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon which enabled 978 Americans and 1,120 Vietnamese to board helicopters and escape to American ships waiting offshore on April 29/30, 1975.
👩🍳 EYE SPY the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
The small white dot you see below is the 360’ International Space Station that was launched in 1998. Since Year 2000, 230 astronauts have flown in this habitable artificial satellite. Only the moon and Venus are brighter in the night sky. NASA has a free App, Spot the Station, showing when it will pass over your location.
During the Thanksgiving holidays, in Bishop with my family, we saw a video of the three ISS astronauts wishing Americans “Happy Thanksgiving.” So our family (three generations) was ready, willing and looking to return those wishes when the ISS flew over at 6:04 pm last Friday evening.
Melissa spotted it first. Sounds crazy but we hollered and waved. In 1961 I remember Alan Shepherd being the first American to fly into space. He flew 116 miles high before safely returning to earth. The flight lasted 15 ½ minutes. I can only imagine what Clara and Emma will see during their lifetimes. Thanks, Jane Carey, for introducing us to this App.
👩🍳 TABBOULEH & the INCREDIBLE LEBANESE BOWL
David Lebovitz’s idea of Tabbouleh is a ‘bowl heaped with fresh herbs, a few tomato chunks, and very, very few bits of bulgur (cracked wheat.)’ He’s borrowed this recipe, our CooktheBookFridays choice this week, from highly acclaimed Lebanese chef Anissa Helou. David claims it’s not only authentic but highly addictive. I agree. Recipe below.
I substituted 1/2 cup cooked Quinoa instead of bulgar to make it gluten-free. Click this Link for the many ways to serve or enhance Tabbouleh. Using inspiration provided by the Minimalist Baker, I created this Incredible Lebanese Bowl.
My friend, Dipika Rai, makes the most delicious falafels. To be honest, every delicacy she makes is delicious. We haven’t yet made falafels together so I improvised.
Sometimes it’s all about the box, the box, the box. Of the two, I prefer Knorr.
TABBOULEH by Anissa Helou, from A Paris Kitchen cookbook
(TIP: This is a large amount of Tabbouleh. I halved the recipe and adjusted the other ingredients to my taste. Even so, I added a 1/2 to 2/3 cup of Quinoa, more than the recipe specified.)
1/3 – 1/2 cup of fine bulgur (I used Quinoa but any grain will work))
3 medium firm ripe tomatoes, diced into small cubes
2 spring onions or scallions, trimmed and very thinly sliced
14 ounces flat-leaf parsley, most of the stalks discarded, leaves washed and dried
2 cups mint leaves, washed and dried, no stems
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
salt to taste
juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Using a grain of your choice, prepare it according to its directions.
2. Put the diced tomatoes in a bowl to drain and set aside while you prepare the herbs.
3. Using a sharp knife, grab as much of the prepped parsley and mint as you can handle in a bunch, and slice them very thin, to end up with nice, crisp slender strips.
4. After draining the tomatoes of their juice, put in a large bowl. Add the spring onion or scallions and herbs.
4. Sprinkle the bulgur all over. Season with the cinnamon, allspice and pepper. Add salt to taste.
5. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings (you may need more) if necessary.
6. Serve immediately. (I ate this salad for 3 days. Of course, “immediately” is the best.)
Over the holidays we enjoyed the company of 9-10 Wood Ducks at Stephen & Melissa’s pond. They are among the most stunningly beautiful of all waterfowl. They are also very secretive and skittish. We kept a low profile so they would hang around. They did. Two males and one female (L).
Since the mid-1990s, with a time out for Michael-care, I’ve been a volunteer wilderness ranger in the Colorado Rockies. During those 25-some years my life has changed dramatically but the one constant has always been my ranger gig.
UDON NOODLES, ARUGULA & RED PEPPER SALAD
Hitching myself to Smokey Bear’s wagon was a bit of a stretch. Never considered a rough-and-tumble outdoorsy girl, our 1988 move to Aspen was a reach beyond my bubble. What I soon developed, however, was an affaire de coeur with these mountains that’s never waned.
Today’s post is an abridged answer to the question I’m most often asked, “What do you really do?”
In early June we combine patrols with field trips to reacquaint ourselves with the floral and fauna. (Our memories are not what they used to be!) L to R: Deb and Phil Overeynder, Jane Battaglia who also works in Arizona’s Santa Catalina National Forest and me at the East Maroon Trail portal.
BUT FIRST, IS ANYONE HUNGRY?
The East Maroon Trail always has wonderful springtime/early summer flowers. Discovered in 1820 on Pike’s Peak by mountain climber Edwin James, the Rocky Mountain columbine (Columbine Aquilegia caerulea) is Colorado’s state flower. Do you know your state flower?
This week’s recipes, UDON NOODLES, ARUGULA & RED PEPPER SALAD and RASPBERRY ICE CREAM with TOASTED WALNUTS, could be your summer menu’s superstars.
I’m planning to share this Udon noodle salad at two upcoming summer potlucks. What works with this recipe is anything. Most veggies on hand will play well in this salad. Don’t forget to change up your noodles. Soba noodles (buckwheat) and Udon noodles (wheat) offer two distinct taste experiences. The constant here is the citrus Ponzu sauce used in the dressing.
Serving homemade ice cream to your family/guests speaks volumes: “You are special.” Today’s ice cream maker is not your grandparents’ cranky relic. Ice cream is easily pulled together. Even recipes for sorbets and granitas are simple to follow. Don’t let summer fly away without dusting off your ice cream machine. (Both recipes are below.)
GET YOUR SMOKEY ON
To score a moose sighting is a thrill that few people experience.
BUT these are depressing times for the Colorado mule deer who takes an eye candy back seat to moose, bears and elk.
Let’s start at my story’s finale. Last year, through the efforts of 40-50 dedicated volunteer rangers, our Forest Conservancy contributed 10,685 service hours which translated to an in-kind donation value of more than $278,000. We interacted with more than 60,000 trail users and 320,500 visitors to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area. That’s our job. That’s what we do.
These kids we met on the East Maroon trail are having such a good time. “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir
To keep updating our skills, every summer the Conservancy, a non-profit partner to the USFS, brings in experts from our Colorado universities/government agencies/NPOs to teach courses on flora and fauna, geology, life zones, and the like. When I’m not hiking, I’m often in the classroom or field attending these sessions. We all maintain First Aid/CPR certification but every year, like many other volunteers, I take a refresher course.
Last week the Conservancy sponsored a birding field trip. Everyone pictured here is a volunteer ranger. Birding at Aspen Music Festival’s new Bucksbaum Campus is a special treat for us. (Hey, Kay, this photo is for you.)
By mid-June, however, it’s time to get online and begin scheduling patrols to cover the 102 official trails located in our Ranger District. We communicate throughout this busy 4-month period via our website which is our lifeline to all ranger-related information, updates, bulletins and trail reports.
My office. (Liz Berg, For you and your sisters.)
Hiking with Phil, a utilities engineer who has overseen the city’s water, electric and streets departments throughout his career, is always a treat. Ask him a question, he pulls out his map and we find the answer together.
Although I patrol alone on nearby trails, we pair up for wilderness hikes. Our main responsibility is to maintain a safe, friendly environment for visitors and our wildlife residents. Of course everyone hopes to spot a moose or bear. In an odd twist, it’s often most difficult to protect the wildlife from the tourists.
I was hiking an East Aspen trail last week and was startled by this Mama and Baby Moose who were enjoying a mid-morning snack. I quietly backed down the trail and all was well. There are signs throughout Aspen’s East End cautioning residents about moose sighting and to keep dogs on leashes.
If there are illegal fire rings, we dismantle them. Signs or trees down? We report it. Trash? We carry it out. With full-on fire restrictions already in place, we’ll be on the lookout. Our backpacks are always loaded with equipment and materials to cover all possibilities. (We have a must-carry checklist.) In fact, we’re trained to do everything but law enforcement. It’s a responsibility. I’m always wary.
Author and bird expert, Rebecca Weiss, R, who is a naturalist at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies led the Conservancy’s birding field trip.
When the day is done, we file a comprehensive online report which not only goes to Marcia Johnson, our executive director, but also to the USFS and our colleagues. Then it’s homeward bound to my next major activity: Good Night!
Why do I get up at 5am to go birding? Because this little guy, a Green-tailed Towhee, is waiting to welcome me. That stunning rufous cap just makes me laugh.
UDON NOODLES, ARUGULA & PEPPER SALAD adapted from Jessica Merchant, How Sweet Eats
If you haven’t tried Ponzu sauce (and, I hadn’t), look for it at your local grocery store. It’s ‘an intense soy-like sauce that is simultaneously sweet, tart, bitter, and salty.’
1/3 cup Ponzu sauce
1/4 cup sunflower oil or vegetable oil of your choice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2-1 tsp kosher salt
8oz. Udon noodles (options: Soba or rice noodles)
2 cups sugar snap peas, cut into thirds
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
3 green onions chopped, both white & green parts
3 cups arugula
1 heaping cup chopped cilantro
1. Mix dressing ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside. Dressing can be refrigerated overnight.
2. Cook the udon noodles according to the package. Add noodles to an ice bath to chill. Then drain.
3. Toss the red pepper slices and green onions in the bowl of dressing. Add the noodles, sugar snap peas, almonds, sesame seeds, arugula and cilantro. Toss until well combined.
4. Serve cold (refrigerate for at least 30 minutes) or at room temperature with additional toasted sesame seeds and slivered almonds and freshly cut limes and avocados.
Tip: 1. For more heat, mince a small Fresno pepper into very small pieces and add to the salad ingredients.
RASPBERRY ICE CREAM with TOASTED WALNUTS, by David Lebovitz,The Perfect Scoop
Makes 1 Quart
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups strained raspberry puree (directions below)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Raspberry purée: Purée 6 cups of fresh raspberries or 6 cups of defrosted frozen raspberries in a food processor. Press them through a mesh strainer with a flexible rubber spatula, or use a food mill. Set aside.
2. Pour the cream into a large bowl, set a mesh strainer over the top and set aside.
3. Warm the half-and-half and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan.
4. Whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm half and half/sugar mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Then, scrape the warmed egg yolks mixture back into the saucepan.
5. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
6. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Mix in the raspberry puree and lemon juice, then stir until cool over an ice bath.
7. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
8. Pour it into your ice cream freezer and make it according to the manufacturers directions.
9. After making the ice cream, mix the roasted nuts into the raspberry mixture before placing it into your freezer to harden.
When Emma, now 17, was born I found and framed this vintage Smokey Bear poster. Although it was replaced by singer Taylor Swift followed by her own photography, she still is quite the nature girl.
PANISSE PUFFS FROM MY PARIS KITCHEN BY DAVID LEBOVITZ
Last summer my USFS volunteer colleague, Deb, was on bus duty at the Maroon Bells pick up station. It was July, peak tourist season and we were overwhelmed by the crowds, sometimes welcoming over 1,000 visitors each day. The Bells, a priceless treasure, is the most photographed site in Colorado/Rocky Mountains.
YELLOW-BELLIED MARMOT (WHISTLE-PIG) – Plump and furry, these mammals are crowd-pleasers. Often sunning on large boulders near the road to the Bells, they attract the attention of bus-riding visitors. One male and several females with babies live in each colony.
After work, during our drive home together, we discussed our day. I was concerned about the crowds and the ramifications of that. Deb wasn’t having it. This is what I remember her saying…..
“This morning I talked to a woman who was boarding a crowded bus,” Deb told me. “She was wearing a sari, was from India and very excited about seeing the Bells. I remember feeling badly that the crowds would probably lessen her experience. Later I saw her getting off a bus so I walked over and asked how she liked it.”
Enthralled might be the right description, Deb recalls. She said, “It’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, I will never forget it.”
CHICKEN & TOMATO SALAD with SUMAC & HERBS
That conversation has stuck with me as I often remind myself we all interpret Life through different lens and with varied expectations. That includes those 78 million tourists who visit Colorado each year.* This blog offers me the opportunity to share my Life as I live it….. through every angle, twist and turn. My hope is that my lens can always be rose-colored, my glass half-full and your expectations met.
Mama Cordilleran Flycatcher built her nest on the window ledge of a USFS outhouse. After her babies are born and have fledged, the 5-6″ Cordillerans will fly to their winter habitat in Mexico.
THESE BABY WESTERN WOOD- PEEWEES ARE WAITING FOR MOM TO RETURN WITH FOOD. WWP’S FIND A HORIZONTAL BRANCH AND BUILD CUP-SHAPED NESTS THAT ARE BOUND TOGETHER WITH SPIDER WEBS.
COOK the BOOK FRIDAY – Panisses Soufflées
PANISSE PUFFS – A SUCCESS STORY
Panisse Puffs could be David Lebovitz’s homage to the popover (America) or Yorkshire Pudding (England). My attempts at those classics were duds. Inedible. I feared our high altitude would crater this baking project also. Miraculously the puff gods prevailed, those darlings inflated and were delicious. Blend these together in 15 minutes. (So easy.) Pop in the oven for 35 minutes. Slather, if you wish, with butter, honey or jam. Sublime. For success, just follow the recipe below and my tips.
WHILE I DON’T MIND RISING EARLY, I DO MIND MORNING BIRDING ADVENTURES IN THE MOUNTAINS. IT’S ALWAYS COLD AT DAWN AT 9,500′. FOR THIS ROARING FORK AUDUBON TRIP LED BY MARY HARRIS, WE FIRST CELEBRATED TWO BIRTHDAYS. CARROT CAKE FOR BREAKFAST.
CHICKEN & TOMATO SALAD with SUMAC & HERBS
Last week the New York Times featured a Mediterranean-flavored salad by California chef Sara Kramer. I’m a Yotam Ottolenghi fan. This recipe reminded me of those featured in “Jerusalem”, an award-winning cookbook by Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. So I gathered the ingredients and made lunch for myself and The Gant’s front office staff.
I wasn’t sure the spices in the salad dressing, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cardamon, sumac, along with chile oil, would appeal to the young staff. Although they all seem to have a healthy respect, understanding and appreciation of good food, they insist there isn’t much they won’t eat. This was a test.
I loved the sophisticated flavors mixed into this salad. It was a winner for the younger crowd also. Like many of Ottolenghi’s involved recipes, I’ve suggested tips for simplifying this salad and cutting down on prep time without losing any taste. Click on the link for the recipe.
PIKA – THIS LITTLE GUY’S FAMILY HAS SURVIVED FOR ABOUT 15 MILLION YEARS. A LITTLE RESPECT, PLEASE. THESE BELOVED MAMMALS ARE SMALL, SHORT-EARED, WITH NO VISIBLE TAIL AND DO NOT HIBERNATE. MY FAVORITE. Susan Brisbois Foster photo
“WHAT BIRDS EAT,” A FOREST CONSERVANCY FIELD CLASS TAUGHT BY DAVE LEATHERMAN.
PANISSE PUFFS by David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen
⅔ cup chickpea flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo & Fava Flour available at Whole Foods, mail-order or markets that carry his products)
⅓ cup flour (I used Hungarian High-altitude Flour)
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg white
1 TBS salted or unsalted butter, melted
¾ tsp sea salt or Kosher Salt
1/4 freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cumin
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper
BAKE THESE PUFFS IN THE OVEN FOR 35 MINUTES. DO NOT PEEK.
1.Preheat the oven to 425 degreesF. Put the popover mold in the oven in the middle position. Have a baking sheet ready for it to sit on in case the mixture spills over.
2.Combine all the ingredients in a blender until completely smooth.
3.Take the mold out of the oven and brush the insides well with melted butter. Quickly pour the batter into the molds, put them in the oven. Decrease the temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for 35 minutes or until puffed up and brown. Serve immediately, while warm..
1.Don’t be tempted to open the oven before they’re ready.
2. You may use a standard muffin tin but the puffs won’t rise as high.
3. If you have any puffs leftover, slice them vertically and fry them quickly in a little olive oil until brown on each side. Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (for a sweet treat) or salt (for a snack at cocktail hour.
CHICKEN & TOMATO SALAD with SUMAC & HERBS adapted by the New York Times from Chef Sara Kramer, Kismet, Los Angeles
FOR THIS SALAD, GRILL/COOK A SPATCHCOCKED CHICKEN, CUT A CHICKEN INTO 8 PIECES OR, FOR EASE, BUY A ROTISSERIE CHICKEN AT YOUR MARKET.
1.For a shortcut, stop by the market for a rotisserie chicken.
2. What distinguishes this salad from others is its dressing. Be sure to skim the fat off the chicken juice. I found the shallot or onion power to be unnecessary. I used chili sesame oil. You will make more dressing than is needed so taste frequently as you pour on and toss the mixture.
3. Brush your mold well with melted butter (in addition to what you used in the mixture) or spray as directed. (I used a Pam butter spray.)
4. Serve at room temperature with a rose or, even better, Kramer suggests, a resiling.
*In 2015, nearly 78 million tourists visited Colorado, pumping more than $19 billion into the economy. (State of Colorado statistic)
BIRDERS STEP ASIDE FOR THE COWBOYS FROM T-LAZY-7 RANCH.
SALADE LYONNAISE (Frisée Salad with Bacon, Egg and Garlic Toasts)
Count on it. The day I drive back to Aspen, after a winter absence, it is always snowing. My last Thursday’s arrival didn’t disappoint, a real blizzard. But after picking up my keys at The Gant’s office and corralling Dan, who drew the short straw, we got my car unloaded. Home, very sweet Home.
JIMMY CARTER PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY & MUSEUM, ATLANTA
My friend, Ardyth Sohn, and I spent a week in Atlanta seeing this library and other historic sites before my returning to Colorado. It was a 2-mile walk from our hotel to the library so Ardyth and I spent some time relaxing in a beautifully landscaped area of the 35-acre park.
This past week of unpacking and resettling gave me pause to kick around my gypsy-esque lifestyle. Let’s just admit it. Are there many women, enjoying their seventh decade, who load six-months of Life into a car and hit the road each year? Seriously? Even I am realistic enough to realize this is not a long-term lifestyle. But while I can, I will. I do not yet have a Plan B.
We walked The Freedom Trail to The Martin Luther King Historic Site which included a museum, his home, Ebenezer Baptist Church and the Kings’ resting place with an eternal flame.
This exhibit commemorated the 5-day, 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery.
Ever find yourself thinking, “When I have time, I want to read this or go here or do so-and-so.” Those musings usually wander to the back burner and are sometimes never realized. Although BucketList is not my favorite term, since Jack Nicholson’s and Morgan Freeman’s 2007 film with that title, many of us seem to have one. Bravo for us.
My favorite museum was Atlanta’s new Center for Civil & Human Rights which opened in 2014. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt is among those honored on the “DEFENDERS” WALL. Opposite this wall is the “OFFENDERS” WALL filled with tyrants and oppressors. This Center very accurately shows the challenges we face today.
On display at the Center, this bus shows all the Freedom Riders arrested in 1961.
“Those ‘back burner’ thoughts, the ones the brain isn’t quite sure about yet, may cook the slowest yet they often manage to be the tastiest when they come out.” Criss Jami
Since I like to eat, Ardyth made reservations at some wonderful restaurants. In Columbus, where her daughter, Cody and son-in-law, Trent. live, we had inside info and our two dinners were memorable. Here, I am having Cuisses de Grenouille while another frog, legs intact, looks on.
Today’s post is about realizing three of my back burners that have percolated to reality:
BB #1 – READING with EMMA
Last Christmas I discussed with Emma, a high school sophomore, my reading along with her the literature she was assigned in her second-semester English class. I’ve been wanting to re-visit some classics. She was game and that’s why this winter I re-read Hawthorne’sThe Scarlet Letter, Night by Elie Wiesel and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Seeing these three books through the lens of a 15-year old teenager is an exquisite gift. Reading her essays, especially her thoughts about Night, entitled “Silence” will always remain with me and is another bond to be continued despite our 900-mile separation.
Andersonville National Historic Site: The largest and most famous of 150 military prisons of the Civil War, Camp Sumter, commonly known as Andersonville, was the deadliest landscape of the Civil War. Of the 45,000 Union soldiers imprisoned there, nearly 13,000 died. At its most crowded, it held more than 32,000 men.
BB #2 – PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY Project
In the early Sixties, while attending summer school at the University of Iowa, I went to nearby West Branch to see the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, one of four managed by the National Archives & Records Administration. I remember being so enamored I promised myself I would visit all four. Although the number of libraries has grown to thirteen, in 2013 I decided, if not now, when. Many of you readers have shared this adventure with me. Just before returning to Aspen, I flew to Atlanta with my Colorado friend, Ardyth Sohn, to visit Jimmy Carter’s library, my 12th. I’m sharing our week-long adventure through photos in this post. Last stop, Grand Rapids, TBD.
The Prisoner of War Museum at Andersonville is a brutal reminder of how cruel war is.
BB #3 – COOKtheBOOKFRIDAYS: SALADE LYONNAISE
Ten years ago I flew to Lyon, France, for a week-long seminar on La Résistance. Lyon was a major centre of the French resistance during WW II. Besides this extraordinary learning experience, I also was shocked to realize Lyon, home to renown chefs Paul Bocuse and Daniel Boulud, is underrated as a gastronomical paradise. Quite often Parisians will even grudgingly admit it’s #2 to their #1. Famous for their bouchons, “gut-busting restaurants where food is brought to the tables in big earthenware bowls and rustic terrines,” says David Lebovitz, my favorite meal was Salade Lyonnaise. I promised myself I would return home and re-create this delicious frisée salad with bacon, egg, and garlic toasts. Now, ten years later and merci mille fois to Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen cookbook, I am doing just that.
During our return to the Atlanta airport, Ardyth decided I should see Montgomery’s historical sites and the Rosa Parks museum. A detour, to be sure.
We also toured CNN’s Center’s national headquarters in Atlanta, found our way to Margaret Mitchell’s house where she wrote Gone With the Wind and spent a day in Warm Springs at FDR’s Little White House. A busy week.
SALADE LYONNAISE (Frisée Salad with Bacon, Egg and Garlic Toasts) by David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen
(Serves 4 to 6)
Salad-Ingredients for Garlic Croutons:
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
1 clove garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
1 1/2 cups cubes or torn pieces of bread, about 3/4 inch in size
Sea salt and kosher salt
Salad Dressing Ingredients:
4 tsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons water
2 teaspoon peeled and minced garlic
8 to 12 new potatoes
sea salt and kosher salt
2 cups diced, thick-cut bacon, smoked or unsmoked
8 cups loosely packed frisée or escarole leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or fresh chives
Freshly ground pepper
4 poached eggs or 4 hard-cooked eggs (the French prefer a softer yolk than most Americans do), peeled and quartered
1. To make the croutons, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook until it’s deeply golden brown. Be careful not to burn it. Remove the garlic. Add the bread, stirring the cubes in the oil, turning them frequently. Add a sprinkle of salt and a dribble more oil if necessary, until the bread is brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve. (NOTE: May be made 1-2 days ahead and kept in tin container.)
2. To make the salad, put the potatoes in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Add some salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to a low boil and cook for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a sharp knife. (NOTE: If done in advance, cook them slightly less, and let them rest in the warm water for up to 45 minutes.)
3. While the potatoes are cooking, fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until just starting to crisp. Drain the pieces on a plate lined with paper towels.
4. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, 1/4 tsp of salt, the oil, water and garlic. (NOTE: This can be made 1-2 days ahead and kept, refrigerated, in a glass jar.)
5. To assemble the salad, slice the potatoes and add them to the bowl along with the bacon and toss gently. Add the frisée, parsley, and some black pepper. Add the croutons and hard-cooked eggs (if using) and toss very well. Divide among four salad bowls. If using poached eggs, slide one on top of each salad and serve.
Although it’s not traditional, I sometimes add 2 cups of crumbled blue cheese to the salad at the last minute, omitting the eggs.
TIP: If you’d rather not make the salad, still try the croutons or the salad dressing sometime. Both are wonderful.
CooktheBookFridays is an international food group cooking its way virtually through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen cookbook. If you’d like to join or see what my colleagues are making, go here.
Bourbon & Roasted Walnut Vanilla Ice Cream, before the roasted walnuts are added.
Can you spare five minutes to be silly? In these somber times we still need to step outside our life box of concerns and shake it up. You have lots of happy breaths stored beside those worried and stressful ones. Just dig deeper and gulp.
Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing
It’s CooktheBookFriday, time to share the exceptionally-talented David Leibovitz’s recipes with you. From his My Paris Kitchen cookbook, Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing and Galettes Complètes (Buckwheat Crêpes with Ham, Cheese and Egg). Because it’s homemade ice cream time, I pulled out his popular The Perfect Scoop cookbook and made vanilla bean ice cream embellished with booze. Why not? Bourbon and Roasted Walnut Ice Cream is so adult.
Galettes Complètes (in process)
Before the yummy food, let’s do silly. Recently, while on my 7,500-mile junket, I was Ms. Michelin, spending considerable time planning and researching my itinerary. Remember Michelin’s three-star system for recommending sights:Worth a trip; Worth a detour; and Interesting? Doing that certainly enhanced my experiences this past winter and challenged my limits.
Three baby Great Blue Herons are searching for Mom who is supposed to be bringing them food. Northstar Preserve 2016
This summer it occurred to me I should check out my own back yard. Although I’ve lived in Aspen since 1988, were there activities I’d missed or sites unseen? If not now, when? While most of you do not live in my Valley, these suggestions might trigger local adventures of your own. Wiggle out of your comfort zone. It’s healthy.
Mule Deer in Velvet Northstar Preserve, 2016
Here are five To-Dos-This-Summer from my List:
1. Music Appreciation, MUS-120. Dr. Thomas Buesch, Colorado Mountain College – Since moving to Aspen I’ve taken liberal arts courses from Dr. Buesch, the best of college professors. His summer 10-week music course, given in conjunction with the Aspen Music Festival, is always oversubscribed. This year I jumped in early, committed to the task and I’m all ’bout that bass. (IN PROCESS)
2. The contemporary Powers Art Center, designed by architect Hiroshi Nanamori of Japan in 2014, is located in a cow pasture in nearby Carbondale. The art center showcases Jasper Johns’ works on paper and is a memorial to the life of art collector John G. Powers, a longtime Valley resident. Worth a visit. (TO DO)
Marci Krivonen photo
3. Independence, Colorado. In the late 19th century about 300 people lived in this ghost town. Located 12 miles from Aspen, at 10,900’, Aspen Historical Society guides give engaging daily tours at this National Register Historic Site. (TO DO)
4. PokémonGo, an outdoor, free smart-phone game. Load it. Play it. (IN PROCESS)
5. First Aid/CPR Class. Whether you’re almost 15-years old (I’m talking to you, Ms. Emma) or a Baby Boomer, take an American Red Cross-sanctioned First Aid/CPR/AED day-long class. I took a course, sponsored by the USFS, in June and was surprised to learn new methods and utilize life-saving equipment. It’s a responsible thing to do for yourself and others. (DONE)
Before you start making your own summer list, here’s the lowdown on this week’s recipes.
RAW VEGETABLE SLAW with CREAMY GARLIC DRESSING by David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen
Why this works: Slice or chop up a 6 cup combo of veggies you already have in the fridge. Cabbage, endive, kohlrabi and fennel are a nice touch. I use the leftover dressing for dip.
Two main course servings/4 side salads
1 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups sliced, chopped or shredded raw vegetables, any mix of:
cabbage, red or green
radicchio or Belgium endive
broccoli or cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoon chopped chives, plus more for garnish
1. To make the dressing mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic, mustard and pepper in a small bowl until smooth. Cover and chill. May be made 2 days ahead.
2. In a large salad bowl, mix together the raw vegetables. Add the parsley and chives. Toss with the dressing and mix well. Garnish with parsley and chives.
3. Serve immediately.
This adult Cooper’s Hawk, maybe Dad, maybe Mom (cannot tell) is waiting for me to leave. Not happy I am near the babies, I only stayed 5 minutes.
BOURBON & ROASTED WALNUT VANILLA ICE CREAM adapted from The Perfect Scoop, David Lebovitz
Why this works: Leibovitz’s vanilla ice cream recipe is my choice…always. To add this grown-up touch is fun.
About 1 quart
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 TBS Bourbon (or, Licor 43 or, your choice)
2 cups of walnuts, roasted and chopped coarsely
1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Using a paring knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warmed milk. Then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for 30 minutes.
2. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the heavy cream into the bowl.
3. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice.
4.. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Gradually pour some of the infused warmed milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks and milk back into the same saucepan.
5. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
6. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Add the vanilla extract and stir over the ice until cool.
7. Stir in the bourbon. Refrigerate to chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.
8. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
9. After the ice cream is churned, stir in the roasted, chopped walnuts. If not serving immediately, put back in the freezer to harden more.
Making buckwheat galettes
GALETTES COMPLÈTES (Buckwheat Crêpes with Ham, Cheese, and Egg) by David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen
Why this works: There are some gems I want to leave to the Pros and that’s how I feel about crêpes. Still, making this recipe, Galettes Complètes (Buckwheat crêpes with ham, cheese, and egg) was a worthwhile cooking experience. Try experimenting with buckwheat flour using this recipe or Dorie Greenspan’s Buckwheat Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche or from the multitude of buckwheat flour recipes on Pinterest. To be correct, a crêpe is made with white flour and a galette with buckwheat flour.
The galette, made with prosciutto, grated cheese, and an egg, is quite rich in taste.
CooktheBookFridays is a virtual international group making its way through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen cookbook.To see what others have mixed up this week or to join, go here.
FATTOUSH, THIS WEEK’S RECIPE FROM MY PARIS KITCHEN BY DAVID LEBOVITZ.
Can you handle a How-To List? Realizing you’re involved in your own lives, I can hear heavy sighing. Take a deep breath. Grab that leap of faith. Today’s post is loaded with gems of wisdom. Lifesavers. For you. And, loved ones.
ROSE LEVY BERANBAUM’S FRESH BLUEBERRY PIE FEATURED IN FOOD 52’s GENIUS RECIPES cookbook.
It’s also CooktheBookFridays. Our recipe is Fattoush, David Lebovitz’s ingenious salad loaded with ‘a jumble of ingredients.’ This healthy Middle Eastern dish was the opening act of a recent dinner which included Baked Salmon with Parmesan Herb Crust, Sugar Snap Peas, homemade bread and fresh Blueberry Pie. Get this. The blueberry pie is magical and doesn’t seep. No oozing issues.
BAKED SALMON WITH PARMESAN HERB CRUST, SAUTEED SUGAR SNAP PEAS AND HOMEMADE BREAD.
Let’s get started. First, Life on the Safe Side.
Automobiles have never mattered to me. Cars were to go and return. Michael handled the family vehicles. Several years ago the chore became mine. Ignorance is not bliss. My Henderson neighbors helped me purchase cars. The Gant guys showed me how to raise my hood to add window washer fluid. That they did this repeatedly without a smirk, I will always be grateful.
This past winter I took a 5-month solo road trip, traveling 7,500 miles in a 2008 Lexus. My entire trip was accident free, no police encounters and no on-the-road unpleasantness. Chalk that up to first-timer’s luck but also preparation and a vehicle that purrs.
A CAR IS JIUST A MACHINE BUT THIS LEXUS WAS MY BEST BUDDY THIS WINTER. IT’S AGING WITH SOME BUMPS AND BRUISES BUT SO AM I. WE ARE A GOOD TEAM.
My car now matters to me. Since purchasing it I have methodically maintained 5,000-mile maintenance check-ups. Everything that’s ever happened to my Lexus is paper-filed in a folder underneath the driver’s seat. My Life on the Safe Side List begins with confidence in your transportation. Whether a new or experienced driver, traveling alone or on long road trips with others, here are safety reminders to enhance your ride:
1. Be sure your car is ROAD READY. Check your glove department for up-to-date documents, Swiss Army knife, flashlight, power bar, pen, paper and meds, if necessary.
2. For emergencies, think about buying a AAA 76-Piece Excursion Road Kit (my choice) which includes car and first aid needs. Add a blanket. My hiking backpack includes survival gear.
3. Buy a can of Fix a Flat Tire Aerosol. If you are not comfortable with a donut tire, throw a spare in your trunk.
4. Pack water, snacks and foods of choice. A cooler, if you wish.
5. Join AAA or another road assistance program.
6. Wanderlust is romantic but planning and mapping your travel, especially if alone, is responsible. I own a Garmin. I program it, mark a map and also print out directions.
7. AAA’s planners helped me plot my presidential library research trips. They will assist with your journey and send you TripTiks, free personalized itinerary books.
8. Two-digit Interstates often go directly through cities. Three-digit Interstates go around them. Odd-numbered highways run north to south and even-numbered ones run east to west. (Go Nomad)
THE GREAT HORNED OWLET IS GROWING AND CAN EVEN FLY. MOM AND DAD ARE INTO TOUGH LOVE AND ARE SLOWLY WEANING THE BABY AWAY FROM THEM.
9. If your gas tank is 1/2 full, think about a fill-up. Never go below 1/4. Every night fill your tank, clean your windshield and toss any accumulated trash in your car. Just do it.
10. When driving, lock your car. Fasten your seatbelt. Drive only 5 miles over the speed limit, no more. Do not drink and drive. Not one drop.
11. Charge your cell phone at night and keep a car charger available. If you must text, pull over. When I’m on the road, I text my daughter 3 times a day.
12. I just started checking in with a “Guess where I am now?” cell photo text. Even if she cannot guess the locale, she knows I’m safe.
13. I do not have Satellite radio so entertain myself with Book CD’s. The downside is I become too engrossed. On a recent drive, I was fighting the 1781 Siege of Yorktown, pitting George Washington against General Cornwallis, and completely missed an exit. That added 28 additional miles to an already weary day.
14. Don’t neglect the many signs noting nearby photo opportunities, historical sites and important places. Every state is proud and touts them. Keep your phone and camera handy for an unexpected adventure.
I EXPERIENCED MY OWN MEMORABLE ADVENTURE THIS WEEK ON MY FIRST VOLUNTEER USFS RANGER DUTY. I HIKED THROUGH SNOW AND FALLEN TREES BUT FINALLY REACHED BEAUTIFUL WELLER LAKE.
15. I start early in the morning, about 7 or 8am, and stop in late afternoon. Keep track of pesky time zones. No to night driving.
16. I always have a destination in mind and make reservations. Try to choose motels/hotels in safe, secure locations. Park your car near lights. Rely on the clerk and on-line assistance for restaurant choices.
17. Remember where you park. Whether at a mall, tourist attraction, hotel or parking garage, recognize where you’ve left your car. Take a picture as a reminder.
18. Notify your credit card companies of your travel plans.
19. Do not overpack (my downfall).
20. This year why not leave your political bumper stickers at home. Especially when traveling alone, you don’t want to attract attention nor court comments.
(Thanks to Solo Traveler, Road & Travel and Go Nomad for on-going road trip advice.)
DESPITE HUNDREDS OF HIKERS/BIKERS ON SMUGGLER MOUNTAIN, THIS TINY WREN IS BUSY BUILDING A HOME.
When making this salad, don’t leave out the ground sumac, a tart spicy powder used in Middle Eastern cooking. If you can’t find it locally order it from Pensey’s, The Spice House or other on-line sources.
FATTOUSH by David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen cookbook
Makes 6 servings
2 large or 4 small rounds of pita bread
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing the pita
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
8 cups torn or wide-cut ribbons of romaine lettuce
4 scallions, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into large dice
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1/2 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground sumac
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put the pita breads on a baking sheet, brush them evenly with olive oil, and toast for 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
3. In a large serving bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, garlic and mustard. Whisk in the 1/2 cup of olive oil.
4. Add the lettuce, scallions, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, mint and radishes. Toss the salad, adding 1 teaspoon of the sumac and a few generous grinds of pepper.
5. Crumble the pita into irregular pieces that are slightly larger than bite-size and gently toss until the pieces of pita are coated with the dressing. Sprinkle the salad with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sumac and serve.
TIP: I only used half of the lemony garlic dressing.
FRESH BLUEBERRY PIE by Rose Levy Beranbaum, from FOOD52 Genius Recipes cookbook
THE MORNING AFTER, FOR BREAKFAST I ADDED SOME LEFTOVER WHIPPED CREAM AND FINISHED THE PIE. HERE’S PROOF THAT THE JUICE REMAINED IN THE BERRIES AND DIDN’T SEEP OUT ONTO THE TART DISH.
INGREDIENTS: (little sugar and thickeners are used in the filling)
1 tablespoon egg white, lightly beaten
4 cups blueberries, rinsed and dried
1/2 liquid cup and two tablespoons water, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F at least 20 minutes before baking.
2. Make your crust of choice or buy a pre-made product. Roll the pastry to fit into a pie or tart pan. Cover it loosely and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour and a maximum of 24 hours. To bake it, cover with parchment so it fits and fill it with rice or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully lift out the rice or beans with the parchment. With a fork, prick the bottom and sides, and bake 5-10 minutes more, or until the crust is pale golden. Check after 3 minutes and prick any bubbles that may have formed.
3. Cool the crust on a rack for 3 minutes, so it is no longer piping hot, then brush the bottom and sides with the egg white — this will help keep the bottom crust from getting soggy.
1. Measure out 1 cup of the blueberries, choosing the softest ones. Place them in a medium saucepan together with the 1/2 cup water. Cover and bring them to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Set it aside.
3. When the water and blueberries have come to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes or until the blueberries start to burst and the juices begin to thicken. Stirring constantly, add the cornstarch mixture, the sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer for a minute or until the mixture becomes translucent. Immediately remove it from the heat and quickly fold in the remaining 3 cups of blueberries.
4. Spoon the mixture into the baked pie shell and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving. When set, the berries will remain very juicy but will not flow out of the crust.
5. Serve with whipped or ice cream if desired. This pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Baked Salmon with Parmesan Herb Crust by Add a Pinch (linked here)
CooktheBookFridays is a virtual international group making their way through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen cookbook.To see what others have mixed up this week or to join our group (it’s fun), go here.