Monthly Archives: August 2012

ffwd: minted zucchini tagliatelle with cucumbers and lemon

I can’t believe it’s already the end of August, Labor Day weekend, and, therefore, mentally, the end of the summer. The older I get, the faster the summers (and years, for that matter) pass by. Looking back, it was a good summer. We enjoyed most weekends at our lake cottage, hosting visitors from near and far. We celebrated a family wedding in Delaware, the first for the next generation. We had an enjoyable evening in Boston with my sister Jennifer and her family as they came to town before embarking on a cruise to Canada. The weather even seemed cooperative. I can’t recall many rainy weekends, anyway.

The final “summer” recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was an interesting one: minted zucchini tagliatelle with cucumbers and lemon, a vegetable salad. The recipe indicated that it wouldn’t keep long, so I adjusted this for one zucchini’s worth instead of the full amount.

I got a chance to pull out my Super Benriner. I’ve had it for years, but seldom think to use it. As an accident-prone cook, any device that has “Watch Your Fingers Please” embossed on the plastic casing gives me pause.

The zucchini is sliced into long planks which are then combined with chopped cucumber, onion (I substituted scallion), and lemon zest, then tossed with a light lemon dressing. The recipe calls for pistachio oil. I didn’t have that, nor did I have time to track it down this week, so I just went with olive oil. The final additions are fresh chopped mint and a healthy dose of pepper.

Mint Straight from the Backyard

I think a picture would have helped this recipe. Tagliatelle is wide like fettuccine, not the width of a small zucchini. There weren’t further instructions to slice the thin slabs into smaller strips, so I just went with it as written.

Here’s my verdict on this one. I loved the flavors and the colors. The lemony dressing with the fresh mint was wonderfully fresh. I’m not used to eating raw zucchini, but that wasn’t an issue. I think what put me off were the huge zucchini strips mixed the chopped garnishing vegetables. I didn’t like having to cut up the zucchini to enjoy this. If I make it again, I’ll definitely just chop up the zucchini (without the seeds) along with the cucumber and onion. To me, it would improve on the eating part of the experience.

Typically, we don’t share the recipes for this cooking group, but I found the recipe here on Epicurious.

Of course, you can also find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. You should also check out the other French Friday’s interpretations of this recipe here.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend, all!

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ffwd: peach melba

Peach Melba is a dish I hadn’t thought of in decades. When I was a child, I spent a few days of my summer vacations visiting with my grandparents, by myself. My father’s parents lived in Center City Philadelphia, so it was an urban adventure for a suburban girl. My Gram took me to museums, to lunch, and all around the town. We had a great time. My Pop-Pop worked nights, so each evening, Gram made a delicious dinner before sending him off to work.

Often, for dessert, she would make a special treat: Peach Melba. This is not something I ever had at home, or anywhere else, come to think of it. I’m sure I thought that my Gram invented it. Sliced peaches, vanilla ice cream, and raspberry sauce. Sort of a sundae, but something more.

I was thrilled to see that Dorie had a recipe to share for this dessert. I was game to try it for myself. I poached fresh peaches in a lemony sugar syrup, then boosted the syrup with cassis and vanilla extract which made it blush. For the sauce, I pureed frozen raspberries (from my yard) with a little of the syrup. For the ice cream, I was going to make a batch from Jeni’s Splendid recipe. (Have you tried this? If not, you must! It’s amazing, seriously). As usual, I ran out of time, so opted for Ben & Jerry’s instead.

In a fun glass, layer a spoonful of syrup, poached peaches (I used a quarter), some ice cream, and more peaches. Drizzle with raspberry sauce and sprinkle with toasted almonds. You have a festive dessert, and for me, a very nostalgic one, filled with happy memories of time spent with my grandmother.

Gram and Me (August 2002)

This marks the 100th recipe for French Fridays with Dorie. We’ve been at this for nearly two years, starting in October 2010. Each week, we cook a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. I can honestly say that, even though I am a cookbookaholic, I have never made so many recipes from a single book before. I’ve made 95 of the 100 recipes so far. It’s been a blast, and I’ve “met” so many wonderful people from around the world. I’m glad that the adventure will continue. Cheers to my fellow Doristas and to Dorie Greenspan!

You can check out other Peach Melba experiences at the LYL post for this recipe on French Fridays with Dorie.

P.S. I just diced up a poached peach in mixed it along with raspberry sauce into Greek yogurt. Peach melba was great for breakfast, too!