Tag Archives: blood oranges

Farmer’s Market Inspired Salad

Standard

Who doesn’t love salad? If your answer was no to that question then you haven’t been looking too hard! There are so many delicious combinations especially in the winter when all the varieties of greens are out to play a staring role in your meal!  January and February bring bountiful blood oranges to California which even a few decades were not grown Here. When Chez Panisse started a delicious revolution people began to demand that farmers grew more than just the average navel.  Blood oranges are only in season for a few months and I definitely try to get the most out of them!

In preparation for a dinner party I went down the road to my local farmers market to pick the best salad combination I could find.  I am lucky to have an amazing farmers market on hand; it is a social gathering, harvest celebration, and market all in one.  I used to get up early and go at 10:30 in the morning, but I soon realized that the deals came nearer to the close. Many stands will offer bargain bags and 1/2 off deals because anything not sold may meet its fate in a compost bin as greens surly do not last long. I now go to my local farmers market around 1, and yesterday I got out with:

2 bunches of broccoli

2 bunches of scallions

1 lb bag of salad

3 bunches of arugula

3 bunches of beets

1 bunch of parsnips

1 shallot

1/2 lb bag of walnuts

5 lb bag of blood oranges

ALL FOR $16 DOLLARS,  let me repeat that organic pesticide free produce for $16 dollars!

This salad was inspired by Alice Waters who in her simplicity creates great flavor combinations.  The arugula adds a peppery flavor to this salad, and the beets and blood oranges balance each other and lift this salad to new heights.  Add a dash of walnuts for that buttery flavor and you begin to see why eating a plant based diet is utterly delicious and healthy.

A side note on blood oranges. They are beautiful, but don’t taste much different from your average orange, I use them here merely for presentation, so if you have other oranges don’t be afraid to throw them into the mix instead!  All of these ingredients were bought that morning at my farmers market, and it really showed! The lettuces were divine with freshness, so pack your reusable bag ladies (and gentlemen) and hit your local far mar to get your seasonal salad! Don’t be afraid to scavenge and let your taste buds do the purchasing, your stomach and health will thank you!

photo-6

Blood Orange, Beet, and Walnut salad with Simple Vinaigrette 

Time: 1 hr 15 min (15 min once the beets are roasted)

serves 6

Ingredients:

3 bunches of beets in a variety of colors greens cut off

2 blood oranges supremed and sliced (see step-by-step below)

a handful of walnuts

a bag of arugula (this doesn’t have to be specific, find a ratio that works for you)

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

For the Dressing:

3 Tbsp canola or high grade olive oil

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1/4 shallot chopped thin

a dash of blood orange zest

salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the beets with tops removed in into glass baking pan, drizzle, and stir to coat with olive oil and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 40min to an hour or until a fork can be placed into the center of the beet without too much trouble.

2. Prep the blood oranges by supreming them. Here is a step-by-step of how to do so. For this salad pay attention to 1:16-1:53 of that video! 

3. Wash, dry, and cut the fresh greens into eatable pieces.

4. To make the dressing combine all ingredients and mix well.

5. Take the beets out of the oven and let cool. Then cut off a little more of the top and and place your fingers around the top and pull down to the bottom to completely remove the skin.  If this does not happen easily they probably need a bit more time in the oven.

6. Mix together all the ingredients and serve immediately!

Shadowing Simplicity in Panisse- Almond Nougatine

Standard

I had two weeks between my trial day and official first day at Chez Panisse.  It was awesome to be back in the kitchen after a brief hiatus, and it was what I remembered and more. I started out my second day at 7:30 in the morning, the earliest I can remember waking up since Brendon and I flew to Minnesota to see his family in early December.  I will have to get used to it, though I am genuinely happy that I am waking up to do something I am passionate about and enjoy…who else gets to say that? (My mother does).

My first task with the other pastry intern I was shadowing was to slice apples for the galette of the day which made with pink lady apples and prunes.  The culinary artist sarah gave her own unique spin on the design and it reminded me in that moment that food is art.

After finishing the apples, we supremed and segmented blood oranges. Before we cut them all we always taste one first, giving it too the shift leader.  The oranges were rather bitter so we soaked them in some caramelized blood orange juice  to make them a bit sweeter.  Supreming citrus is when you take off the peel of the fruit with the knife, and segmenting is cutting out each individual segment of the orange.  The pros at Panisse make it looks very simple, but capturing a perfect sphere is a difficult task…I am sure I will be supreming often and will eventually get the hang of it.  It was then time to get the prunes, deseed them, and roughly chop them for the base of the tarts. It was an easy task and we completed it in minutes.

Next I was set to cut up Brittle for the topping of one of the desserts, I was absorbing so much information at this point that I have no idea which dessert it was to crumble upon.  As I was chopping away, a film crew from some Eastern European country entered and began to film me chopping the brittle. I surely hadn’t asked to be filmed, but I kept silent and stuck to my task…eventually they left me alone.  I am sure I will have to get used to cameras working in such a famous kitchen.  At about 11:30 we bring down one of each dessert to taste so that adjustments can be made to them before lunch begins.  I kept quiet, I am interested in their expressions and the way each pastry chef connects with the food.  Nothing is changed, and everything is impeccable.

20 cored apples, and a lot of small talk later it was time for the best part of the day. Lunch.  I ate a little of everything, chomping my way through food specifically made for the “family”. I made myself an espresso and sat outside on the steps with the other people in pastry enjoying and remembering my slice of heaven.  It behoves you to eat quickly at Chez Panisse, as there is a lot of work to get done. I am finished within 20 minutes and resume my various projects.  An hour or so later, Carrie, the head pastry chef walks in and begins checking in with her staff.  It is like a wave of calm, her demeanor and smile show she is passionate and sincere. It is a breath of fresh air as my shift is a couple hours away from being over.

Then it was time for the dreadful eggs, the task that took me an hour and a half the first day. I was immeasurably better and was able to use the shell to finished in no time at all. Whew, I am getting the hang of this all I thought to myself.

Except…has anyone ever used kumquats?  Sure we all know what they are but they have very little meat inside, and loads of seeds. My task was to cut them thinly deseeding as I went. 4 cups turned out to be what seemed the longest project of the day, and by the end my fingers burned with the acidic juice. I was ready to wash my hands of the project and end the day.  I am exhausted but excited to get up even earlier tomorrow and practice more technique. Until then, here is a simple recipe inspired by Chez Panisse.

photo-4

Almond Nougatine:

Makes 4-6 servings

10-15 minutes

5 ounces Almonds Chopped fine

5 ounces granulated sugar

a pinch of cream of tartar or a squeeze of lemon juice

canola oil

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop the almonds up in to small pieces, this can be done with a lot of knife work, or in a food processor, just take care to not process too much otherwise you will end up with nut butter. Then place them in the oven on a baking tray with some parchment paper.

photo

photo-1

2. Pour the sugar and cream of tartar of lemon juice into a saute pan and heat over medium heat. Watch the sugar, do not stir.  A hot spot will occur where the sugar will begin to turn dark. Wait until the sugar becomes dark like caramel and begin to stir the sugar until there is no more granulations.  After all syrup is a liquid and easy to work with,  turn off the heat and stir until all the granulations disappear.

photo-2

3. Stir in the almonds and work quickly to incorporate the almonds into the syrup.

4. Dump out the almonds on a well oiled counter or oiled marble slab, making sure to use a well oiled rolling pin. Roll quickly until thin as they will dry and cool in no time. Enjoy these after they are rolled, they are an easy and delicious dessert to entertain your guests…or your evening appetite!