Cooking in Paris When the Temperatures Soar

Tomato and Radish Salad with Whipped ChevreMonday (Lundi)                High 95
Tuesday (Mardi)                High 97
Wednesday (Mercredi)     High 97
Thursday (Jeudi)               High 97

When I looked at the weather app on my phone this morning, the temperatures above are what I saw. Paris is having a “canicule”—a heat wave! It certainly determined what I wanted to cook this week. No turning on the oven–salads and chilled soups will be on the menu instead.

A salad that I tasted recently at a fabulous Left Bank restaurant, Le Bon Saint Pourçain, was the inspiration for our lunch today. The image of halved cherry tomatoes, paper thin shavings of radish, and sliced red onion served with whipped chèvre was still dancing around in my head. The cool refreshing flavors as well as the vivid colors of this dish were appealing, but I also appreciated that all the ingredients were seasonable, and readily available in my neighborhood markets. Continue reading

Easter Lamb with a Twist

Photo by Susie Cushner

Photo by Susie Cushner

My son and I have been on the phone several times this week planning Easter dinner for our family. We’ve been back and forth about what should anchor the meal—baked ham, roast lamb, or even grilled steaks. Even though not all of our family is crazy about lamb, I’ve been campaigning for delectable racks of lamb served with whipped goat cheese and roasted cherry tomatoes.

This recipe, which I created several years ago for my book, Sunday Roasts, is elegant, yet simple. The racks are marinated in a classic mix of olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic, then quickly browned and roasted until rosy pink inside. What sets this dish apart from others, though, is its unusual garnishes. Roasted cherry tomatoes and dollops of creamy whipped goat cheese scented with lemon and fresh dill make perfect partners for the chops. Continue reading

Swiss Chard – A Great Side Dish for Fall

asTurnip greens and collards were familiar staples at our table when I was growing up in the South, but Swiss chard, another nutrient-packed green, was never on the menu. Not until many years later, did I discover this delicious, leafy vegetable. Chard comes in green, red, and yellow varieties and is available throughout the year, but right now it’s at its peak in my farmers’ markets and local groceries.

Mediterranean cooks have long used chard imaginatively, but I only recently started cooking with this vegetable that ranks as one of the healthiest in the world. Like spinach, it can be sautéed with garlic, added to vegetable soups, or baked in a casserole with a creamy sauce, all with tempting results. Continue reading