Something’s Fishy! {CtBF}

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I’ve seldom met a fish I didn’t like.  Sure, I like some more than others, but, generally speaking, I’m always happy when fish are on deck.  Sardines often get a bad rap.  I’ve never had a problem with them.  They are Their flavor is strong, but if you’re eating fish, why not embrace its fishiness?

This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays is Sardine Rillettes.  If you want to whip up a starter for fish-loving friends, this fish spread is an excellent choice.

I made sardines rillettes once before when I was participating in French Fridays with Dorie.  Dorie’s recipe was easy, but David Lebovitz’s is even easier: less ingredients to chop.

For his version, canned sardines are pureed with softened butter and cream cheese along with scallions, capers, and a touch of lemon juice.  I was lucky to find boneless sardines at Trader Joe’s which made the recipe even simpler.

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No guests to share with, but we enjoyed the sardine spread on crackers before dinner all week long.  I’m always looking for new appetizers, so I will try to remember this one the next time company is coming.

To make this yourself, you can find the recipe on page 78 of My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz.  My blogging friends’ thoughts can be found by following the links to their posts here.

Happy Friday!

Tomato Mania {CtBF}

gazpacho and toasts

Summer produce is at its peak this week.  We have tomatoes coming out of our ears (no complaints).  My counter is filled with heirloom tomatoes, other field tomatoes and bowls of cherry tomatoes.  I know it’s fleeting so I’m trying to consume my fill of tomatoes while they last.

I’ve been slicing lots of tomatoes for topping toast, sandwiches, bagels, or anything else appropriate.  I’ve been making plenty of salads, the favorites being panzanella (with bread) and Caprese (with mozzarella and basil).  I pull out recipes for tomato tarts.  This tangy Tomato Mustard Tart and this retro biscuity Spicy Tomato Pie are tops on the list.  I’ve stashed some containers of tomato sauce in the freezer for winter enjoyment.  I’ve also become enamored with the roasted cherry tomatoes we made last month.  Before the season’s out, one perfect BLT sandwich is a must.

This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays (yes, I know I’m a little late) is Gazpacho.  That fits perfectly with my current tomato mania.  Early in the season, I make gazpacho with canned tomatoes, but right now, that would be a crime.  I started with a trip to the weekly Farmers’ Market to pick up the vegetables.

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David Lebovitz’s Gazpacho recipe from My Paris Kitchen could also be named “Summer in a Bowl”.  Fresh tomatoes are peeled and seeded, then pureed with a slice of bread to add some extra body.  The tomato puree is combined with finely chopped cucumber, bell pepper, and red onion along with garlic.  A small shot of vodka is added to make the soup taste extra-cold, then chilled before serving.  I found the cold soup to be delicious, but not that different from other recipes I’ve made.  I know it’s traditional to add the bread slice, but I prefer recipes made without it.

The suggested garnish for this gazpacho is herbed goat cheese toast.  Toasted baguette slices are rubbed with garlic and covered with a tangy spread made from goat cheese, olive oil and fresh herbs.  I used lemon basil which added a lovely citrus undertone.  The cheese toasts turned gazpacho into a light meal for me.  And when I ran out of baguette slices, the herby goat cheese was equally delicious on crackers.  The goat cheese spread counts as another winner from My Paris Kitchen.

If you want to make this yourself, check out the recipe on page 121 of My Paris Kitchen.  To see what my blogging friends thought, check out their links here.

Being a bit over-obsessed about using every last drop of ingredients (when time permits), I used this occasion as an excuse to try out this recipe for Tomato Skin Salt.  The skins peeled from the blanched tomatoes are sprinkled with their weight in coarse salt, then dehydrated in the oven to create a seasoning that, judging from the aroma in the jar, will extend summer’s flavors beyond the last frost.

Tomato Skin Salt