Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Fresh, Healthy Food

It's always wonderfully reassuring to see how capable our bodies are of trying to stay balanced and healthy. To me the best example is the need for cleaner, brighter food as soon as spring makes its entrance. Like a small miracle almost. Whereas in the winter I crave hearty, rib-sticking meals, come March/April, I'm practically dreaming about tomatoes, raspberries, peaches, aubergines and all those other colorful, vitamin-packed fruits and vegetables. It's such a deep, primal craving that I even cheat and start eating some of those foods before they're even in season! Shame, shame, shame on you Paola!
After months of squash, root vegetables and potatoes, I feel as though I have no other choice. Maybe it's my Spanish/Latina roots. I don't think my great grandmother ever ate so many starchy vegetables and stodgy meals. I'm happy to adapt. Yes. But my warm blood can only take so much winter food.
In my defense, I don't eat as though I'm in the Med every day -- except in the summer, of course -- and especially when I'm in France and have access to the world's most beautiful products.
It's almost the middle of April and although we've been lucky with a few sunny days, it's still too darn cold! But to heck with that! Here's what I've been cooking.
Alain Passard, look away now. 
Couscous with chickpeas, grilled courgettes, fresh herbs and caramelized onions. Topped with grilled vine cherry tomatoes and smoked duck breast, and seasoned with a light vinaigrette.
Thinly-sliced courgettes, onions softened in goosefat, basmati rice and Emmentaler cheese.  
Pan-fried salmon filet served on pappardelle dressed with chopped tomatoes, basil, good olive oil and a touch of mascarpone. 
Mixed leaves topped with smoked salmon, sliced avocado, pumpkin seeds, good olive oil and a few tiny blobs of truffle mayo. This is SO good!
Yogurt topped with stewed rhubarb. I stew about 500g rhubarb in 3 tbsps water and 2 tbsps raw cane sugar. It also makes a wonderful topping for vanilla ice cream.
My beautiful rhubarb, a spring vegetable, so not even that much cheating on my part!

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