Tag Archives: Baby Greens

Eating Well and Sharing the Love with Mom

Gougeres_Foodie for TwoI bet you wonder what I have been up to, huh?  Well, in January I visited Phoenix and spent Super Bowl Sunday with Mom.  After spending a few days with my sister, it was Mom’s turn.  When we all arrived, we were greeted with mouth-watering smells drifting out from the kitchen.  Mom had made some Gougeres (small, delicate cheese puffs – recipe below) that were flavored with smoked Gruyere and rosemary and still hot from the oven!  We opened a bottle of Prosecco, toasted each other and sipped while we savored every bite of the gougeres.  Mom and I had already decided our menu before I came out and it wasn’t the traditional Super Bowl fare.  Instead, we planned out a fun menu with a gourmet flair:

Gougeres with Smoked Gruyere & Rosemary – Ponte Prosecco

Castelvetrano Olives

Baby Greens with Warm Brie & Apples and Toasted Bread

Grilled Chicken & Vegetable Skewers

Boston Cream Pie

The fun didn’t end there – the next evening we attended a glass making class at Circle 6 where we made heart shaped paperweights.  It was fun and scary at the same time because I was working with red-hot material (always under the protective guidance of the experts).

Circle 6_Foodie for TwoAfter collecting some molten glass on the end of an iron rod, it is moved over to the always-fired-up furnace (protective eyewear required) and continuously rolled, the rod is removed and the glob is rolled in color chips, and it is heated again.  Then you move to a seat so you can knead the glass a few times with large tweezers to mix the colors.  The glass glob is transferred to a mold, pressed down, released and transferred to a kiln to fire.  It was a blast.  Mom and I actually swapped paperweights because I liked how her colors came out better than mine.  It’s now on my desk at work as a reminder of my visit.

Now, back to our Sunday Super Bowl menu ……….

Brie, Honey & Pistachios_Foodie for TwoOur first course was an incredible salad of Baby Greens with Warm Brie & Apples (adapted from Barefoot Contessa recipe).  It’s easy to put together with brie wedges that are drizzled with honey and chopped pistachios, then heated in the oven until soft and almost oozing.  The baby greens are simply dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and pepper, and the warm cheese tops the salad.  Toasted French bread slices make for the perfect scoops and add just the right crunch.

Warm Brie Salad_Foodie for Two

Dinner was simple with chicken and vegetable (yellow bell pepper, red onion and cherub cherry tomatoes) skewers.  We marinated the chicken in a mixture of olive oil, white wine, honey, garlic, salt and pepper.  After we were done assembling the skewers, the sauce was drizzled over for extra flavor while cooking.

Chicken & Veggie Skewers_Foodie for Two

It was delicious and the perfect light finish to the meal.

Dinner_Chicken Skewers_Foodie for Two

My childhood favorite dessert is Boston Cream Pie and Mom makes the best!  In fact, it was usually my birthday cake when I was a kid.  Straight from the Betty Crocker cookbook, it is a white cake filled with homemade vanilla pudding and topped with a thick chocolate icing.  It is a treat for me because I can’t seem to make the cake at this altitude, so it’s not often that I get to enjoy it.  I wish I could dig into a piece right now!

Boston Cream Pie_Filling_Foodie for TwoHere are some action shots of Mom adding the homemade pudding to the cake (above), and covering it with chocolate goodness (below).

Boston Cream Pie_Top & Icing_Foodie for Two

Boston Cream Pie_Icing_Foodie for Two

Logo Foodie for TwoEat well and share the love!

Gougeres with Smoked Gruyere & Rosemary (print)
Adapted by Mom from About.com/Rebecca Franklin
Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cook Time: 30 minutes / Total Time: 40 minutes

1 cup water
8 tablespoons butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups Smoked Gruyere cheese, grated
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves, plus 2 teaspoons for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, bring water, butter, and salt to a rapid, rolling boil. Make sure all the butter is melted, and then add flour. Stir the mixture for 20-30 seconds, until a sticky dough ball forms and begins pulling away from the sides of the pan. Reduce heat to low-medium heat and cook, stirring, for 90 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, along with cheeses, seasonings and rosemary. Place heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, 1 inch apart. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. The gougeres are done when they are a deep golden brown and puffed.

Sprinkle with chopped rosemary and serve immediately.

Olive Jar & Olive Spoon_Foodie for TwoA surprise gift from Mom – a beautiful jar filled with Castelvetrano olives and an olive spoon attached!

Hearty Summer Salad with Roasted Potatoes, Haricot Vert & Sauce Vert

In a selfish attempt to extend the memories from our recent trip to the Napa valley (see my last post), here is a salad inspired from a meal I had at a restaurant in Healdsburg.  It was made with local ingredients – baby greens with fingerling potatoes, haricot vert (French green beans – they are sweeter and more tender than regular green beans), a poached egg – which I asked them to omit – and drizzled with a tarragon green goddess dressing.  My brain is always on food hyper-drive so when I see a scrumptious looking and intoxicating smelling plate of food, I immediately go into how-can-I-recreate-at-home mode.  Instead of the green goddess dressing, sauce vert came to mind which is a creamy dressing with fresh herb flavors – more on that in a minute.   And hard-boiled eggs would most certainly replace the poached.  With such beautiful, fresh ingredients how can you go wrong?  It’s a hearty salad full of fresh and sweet flavors that is a satisfying meal at home.  

I used a mixture of baby spinach, baby arugula and some mâche (a delicate little salad rosette, with a nutty and bright flavor) The greens are topped with some roasted baby gold potatoes and haricot vert, slices of white and red radishes, hard-boiled eggs, black Cerignola olives (yes, I have an olive addiction), some chopped Marcona almonds and it was all drizzled with the rich sauce vert.  Believe it or not, it is a filling salad that won’t leave you hungry in a few hours.  The salad would pair nicely with a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or even your favorite Pinot Noir.

Now for the sauce vert that I used for the dressing – it is a versatile sauce that adds fresh flavor to many dishes.  The recipe came from my catering days and I have modified it for a home version.  It’s pretty simple to make in the food processor or blender; the base is mayonnaise and sour cream with fresh basil, tarragon and thyme, baby spinach and baby arugula (typically just spinach is used).  The result is a creamy dressing with fresh, herbaceous flavors.  And the addition of arugula gives it a nice little zing.  The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for about a week (store in a sealed container).

Remember my belated birthday post about Vegetable Shots at the Bergman’s?  The sauce vert would be a great substitute for the dressing/dip.  And did you catch one of my most popular posts – Gourmet Tuna Melts?  Mixed in with the wild-caught canned tuna, the sauce vert would make it even more gourmet.

Whether it’s a weeknight or weekend meal, this Hearty Summer Salad is a nice alternative from the usual fare.

Eat well and share the love!

Hearty Summer Salad with Roasted Potatoes, Haricot Vert & Sauce Vert
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves two foodies

4 to 5 baby gold potatoes (or fingerling or baby red)
Handful of haricot vert (about a 3 inch bundle)
Olive oil
Fresh cracked pepper
2 hard-boiled eggs
3 cups baby salad greens (used spinach, arugula and
Sauce Vert Dressing
2 small radishes, thinly sliced and cut in half (used white and red)
Cerignola olives
2 tablespoons Marcona almonds (roughly chopped)
Sauce Vert/Dressing
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sour cream
2 cups baby spinach and arugula
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves
2 stalks fresh tarragon, leaves removed and stalk discarded  
2 stalks fresh thyme, leaves removed and stalk discarded (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup milk (used 1%)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Roast the potatoes
Wash and dry the potatoes.  Rub potatoes with olive oil and season all sides with salt and pepper; place on foiled lined tray.  Roast in a toaster oven (325 degrees F) or oven (375 degrees F) for 30 to 35 minutes until golden and knife tender.  Let cool and cut each potato into four wedges.

Roast the haricot vert
After the potatoes have cooked for 25 to 30 minutes, drizzle the haricot vert with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add to the foil-lined pan with the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.

Hard-boil the eggs
High-altitude technique: This works perfect for me every time and doesn’t create the green ring around the cooked yolk – a sign that it was cooked too long.  Add eggs to small sauce pan and cover completely with cold water.  Put saucepan on stove and turn heat to medium high.  Bring water to a light rolling boil and reduce heat to medium, just enough to maintain the light rolling boil.  Cook for 11 minutes, making sure heat stays consistent and the eggs don’t move too much in the water.  Transfer eggs to an ice bath (bowl filled with water and ice) and let cool about 5 minutes before peeling. 
For those not at high-altitude, try this link: Melissa Clark/perfect hard-cooked egg

While the vegetables are roasting, make the Sauce Vert
Add the ingredients in the order listed to a food processor (or blender).  Blend until well incorporated and sauce is smooth, about 1 minute.  With motor off, scrape down sides with a rubber spatula a few times.  Dressing will keep in refrigerator, in tightly sealed container, for up to a week.

Assemble Salad
Add the salad greens to a large platter.  Drizzle with a bit of dressing and toss lightly.  Around the edges of platter, add the roasted potatoes wedges, hard-boiled egg halves, radish slices and olives.  Fan out the roasted haricot vert and place in one corner of platter.  Drizzle salad with more dressing, scatter the chopped Marcona almonds around and add a pinch of salt and pepper.

A giant artichoke sculpture at Robert Mondavi gardens