Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Today in the Kitchen - Summer's Market Menu

Today was a day to reconnect with someone who took one of my market tours/cooking lessons/lunches last September.  We had an absolutely great time last year visiting Marché Président Wilson, stuffing chicken, making a Hollandaise sauce (ha! inside joke...) & such, her first visit to Paris.  Having fallen in love with this city as many of us do, she is now here on her 2nd adventure.

And so we teamed up again today in the kitchen.  This time we didn't concentrate solely on French cuisine as we had last year.  Anything was fair game.  The only criterion was that it had to be interesting to us and to our potential clients (she also caters).  We decided to do something very French (leeks & vinaigrette), something downright out of the blue (Halloumi, anyone?), and then Pad Thai...because of the love of it and to knock it off the "never cooked before" list.     

Here are today's creations in the kitchen:
Jeaunes poireaux, vinaigrette de noix et citron, oeuf dur râpé
Baby leeks, walnut & lemon vinaigrette, grated egg
Halloumi frit, tomates dété (Joël Thiebault), vinaigrette aux herbes
Fried Halloumi (cheese sticks), summer tomatoes, herb vinaigrette
Pad Thai aux crevettes - Shrimp Pad Thai
My thoughts on these recipes:
  1. The leeks are really nice because tasting a baby leek is interesting in and of itself.  It is something to enjoy while in season, and now is the time.  They are soft and gentle and you can eat most, if not all, of the green part.  (With older leeks, you use only the white parts).   This first course is completely subtle (unlike the other two "in your face" dishes on today's menu)...but sometimes subtle is great.  For a multi-course tasting menu, this would be a stellar beginning...
  2. That Halloumi has become my favorite new thing.  Bye-bye preserved lemon.  You've just been replaced (only momentarily though!).  I can't describe how satisfying this dish is.  It has texture.  It has flavor.  It has color.  Ace in the bucket.  Man oh man.  Can't wait to share this with other willing takers -- you must simply trust what I say!  For any Chicagoans out there, however, if you like'll understand immediately what I'm talking about and I know you will love this.  That's all I have to say.
  3. Authentic Pad Thai - the secret is in the sauce & the organization.  It is comforting and full of contrasting flavors and textures (sweet, salty, tangy, spicy, crunchy, soft...).   I don't expect many customers will request this on their menus since you can go to just about any restaurant and get a great Pad Thai, but I will for sure be repeating this for my husband and friends...très, très souvent!  (But I secretly hope people will order is amazing!)
:/ dma

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