Most people start their diets in January. Apparently we start our diets when we finally can't find a pair of pants that fit that aren't jammie pants. Both of love to eat and it's not like we are overeaters but eating with little to no exercise definitely puts weigh on you. I can't give up my butter, cream or bacon but I can make some concessions when the hubby says can we eat a bit lighter.
So tonight's dinner is still French inspired but definitely lighter & healthier: salad niçoise. Originally created in the 19th century in Nice, France it was considered "simple food for poor people". It started as a combination of tomatoes, anchovies & olive oil and then gradually grew from there sometimes including artichokes, red peppers, & black olives but excluded tuna & lettuce. ingredients for this recipe were meant to be crisp , fresh & local and many people in Nice are very particular about what goes into a niçoise.
My version is based on French Michelin-starred chef, Hélène Darroze's recipe. She got a lot of slack by the "niçoise purists" for her version & was warned that it is "dangerous to innovate". I say ...Soyez créatif et amusez-vous! (Be creative and have fun!)
Salade Niçoise (serves 2-4)
- 1 can of tuna in water, drained
- 1 cup of black kalamata olives, pitted
- 2 plum tomatoes, cut in quarters & halved
- 4 hard boiled eggs, cut in half
- 1 handful of french green beans, steamed & chilled
- 8-10 petite yellow potatoes, boiled & chilled
- fresh salad mix ( I use locally grown green mixes)
- 2 tsp good dijon mustard preferably Maille
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp local honey
- salt & pepper
- fresh parsley
- zest of 1 lemon
Fill a pot with potatoes & water. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 15-20min or until fork tender. Drain & place in a bowl in the fridge to cool. Next, use an egg steamer to cook eggs to hard boiled stage. Once cooked, place in cool water to stop the cooking process. Peel eggs and place in bowl in the fridge to cool. Next add a bit of water to a pot and bring to a simmer. Then add a handful of green beans to the pot and cook for about 3-5 min. Drain and place in a bowl in the fridge to cool. While all items are cooling, you can mix the salad dressing. In a bowl add mustard, honey, vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper. Whisk until thick & blended. Set aside.
Time to assemble the salad. I like to use a large serving platter. First place the lettuce across the bottom. Then start to add the toppings in sections: tomatoes, olives, drained tuna, green beans. Cut the hard boiled eggs in half and add to the plate. For the potatoes, chop some fresh parsley and add it to the bowl with the potatoes. Add the lemon zest and drizzle with olive oil. Stir and then add to the platter. Season entire platter with salt & pepper. Serve dressing on the side.
Hope you enjoy this healthy, yummy & innovative dish. xo- Jenna
After a very long week preparing for & working our pop up shop, I was in no physical mood to cook. So we ordered some Chinese food (I was craving some good General Tso's chicken) and called it a day. But did you ever notice there is always so much leftover white rice when you do that? Most people throw it out. Not me. I fulfilled another craving I was having... a little something sweet: rice pudding.
I've tweaked this recipe that I based on a number of ones that I have discovered on the internet. It's not too sweet, the texture is just right and it is ridiculously yummy. Rice pudding was one of my Grandpa's favorite desserts and we would always eat it cold with a dash of cinnamon and sometimes some fresh whipped cream. This recipe is actually even better a wee bit warm especially on a cold, snowy winter's day like today. Grandpa would definitely approve and probably eat the whole batch LOL.
It is super easy to make and I hope you enjoy it!
Creamy Rice Pudding
1 1/2 c cooked white rice
2 cups of whole milk (separated into 1 1/2 c and 1/2 c)
1 large egg beaten
1/3 c granluated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 Tbsp softened butter
In a heavy bottomed pot, add rice, 1 1/2 c milk and salt. Stir over medium heat until thick- about 10-15 minutes. Do not let it boil. Next add remaining milk, sugar and egg. Stir until thick and cooked- about 3-4 minutes. Take off the heat. Stir in vanilla paste and butter. Let cool. You can serve slightly warm with a dash of cinnamon or chill completely and serve with your favorite fruit compote and fresh whipped cream.