Saturday, June 08, 2013

Seasonal Pleasures

Finally! After that endlessly gray, rainy spring, the sun decided to delight us for an entire week! Whether or not that will continue is the question, but while it does, I will be enjoying it to the max! Early walks on a fresh, sunny morning, returning from the market with a basket full of color, barbecues and cool wine, outdoor breakfasts -- there's so much to make me smile and lift my spirits!

Here are some of my favorite foodie tips for sunny days:

  • For a perfect drink, add frozen raspberries to a flute of chilled champagne.
  • Marinate chopped strawberries in a mix of crema di balsamico and cassis vinegar. Serve them over grilled halloumi and sprinkle with chopped mint. Yum!
  • Make pan bagnat for your next picnic. Simply cut a small, round loaf of bread in half, make a dressing with olive oil, vinegar and mustard, spread generously over both halves and top one half with just about anything that screams 'summer'. I love tomatoes, anchovies, red onion, sweet peppers and lots of basil. Then, simply wrap the bread tightly in foil and allow to rest in the fridge (weighed down with something heavy) for at least three hours. Pop into your picnic basket or cooler, cut, and share with friends!
  • Not in the mood to cook, make a simple tomato tart. Line puff pastry with tapenade, tomato, capers and thyme. Bake for 20 minutes in a 200C oven and serve with a salad. That's hardly called 'cooking', right?
  • Keep fruit bowls filled with tempting seasonal goodies. Make a bowl of cherries your evening snack!
  • A tian is a perfect side dish, especially with grilled fish. Line a lightly greased quiche pan with tomatoes and courgettes, sprinkles with fresh herbs and good olive oil, bake in a 200C oven for about half an hour and serve.
  • Have a smoothie for breakfast, and make it with frozen fruit (or vegetables!). My favorite combinations include mango, banana, fresh orange juice and Greek yogurt; spinach, rice milk, bananas and flaxseed; pineapple, coconut water and soy yogurt; and cherries, banana and almond milk.
  • Roast green asparagus, sprinkle with fleur de sel, and serve with aioli.
  • Loosely wrap a handful of salad greens in a slice of Serrano ham or prosciutto, and serve with a fresh strawberry sauce (whizz strawberries with some sugar and a little vinegar in the blender).
  • Try a brochette de magret de canard at your next barbecue: alternate pieces of duck breast with Agen prunes and baguette, brush with herbed olive oil and grill.
  • If you don't grow your own fruits and vegetables, find out if there are farms near you where you can go produce-picking -- it's a lovely experience!
  • Grow edible lavender and add it to crème brûlée, chicken salads, and cookie and ice cream recipes. It's also wonderful in homemade strawberry jam!


Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane said...

Perfect! I love your suggestions and they're great for lazy days.

Paola Westbeek said...

I'm really glad you liked them!! :)

janine@thegoodlifefrance said...

Oh my, strawberries marinated and served like this - heavenly...