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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cook With Me: Voila!

They're here already. Those oh so hot days are upon us like so many noisy cicadas. And because you know there's still more to come. I give you, ta da! the salads of summer. Now, perhaps you think a salad is not as appealing as the boys of summer but alas a salad is heckuva lot more dependable. 

Fish Market in Nice's Cours Saleya

So in the bank of summer memories preparing food in the cooler early morning include one when my oldest son, Erick, was born in mid-July. He had boundless energy -- from hour one and he was content in his little baby seat on the counter when we lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He watched the kitchen action like a hawk; water filling pots, stirring, and the sounds of sauteing - but soon enough his little eyes would close as I chopped and diced. It was a magical time. I should have known he would be a chef. 

Erick and Jonas, Arles 2003

As Erick watches Jonas, the Vedel's youngest son, might he be smiling and remembering what it was like to be little and often in deep trouble? And its really not too hard to see, is it, how the summer circumstance to visit another Erick in Arles, France, a chef too, captured young Erick's imagination and held it well. 

Dorette, Rich, Madeleine, and Erick Vedel, Arles 2003

Riz au Gingembre – Ginger Rice

This fabulous summertime salad comes from my colleagues Madeleine and Erick Vedel in Arles, France. Many was the time we toted it on one of C'est si Bon!'s Teen-Chef picnics to visit either Van Gogh’s Sanitarium, an olive oil mill, or kayaking under the Pont du Gard with the Vedel's beautiful culinary tours. The salad travels well and is quite refreshing in the intense cicada/lavender heat of summer in Provence.

Hiking near Forcalquier

300 g. rice, 1 ½ cups (uncooked)
300 g. chick peas, 2 cups (cooked)
15 g fresh grated ginger, 1 tablespoon
2 shallots, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced to a paste
pinches of hot paprika and cayenne pepper
olive oil
pinch of salt

Kayaking Under the Pont du Gard

Cook your rice French style in extra water, then drain.

Next, in a heavy bottomed casserole, sweat your shallots in olive oil. Add in the grated ginger and stir over a medium flame for 5 minutes. Add the rice, and the chick peas. Stir and warm up together for 10 minutes over a medium flame. Salt and taste. Add your pureed garlic, your paprika and your hot pepper, blend them all in. Taste for hotness. If you’d like more garlic or pepper, by all means, add them in.

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