Sole on Leeks with Salad

For six or seven months, I’ve been loving fish cooked in vegetables or with vegetables or as a part of a salad.  Maybe longer.  Just think of it.  Simple white (any color, really)  fish that absorbs the flavor of vegetables, is a complete dish (or almost) when it comes out of the pan,  and lets you eat your carbs at the other meals.  Or not.  To say nothing of getting your however many servings of vegetables.  Right there.  Right then.

I’ve done fish “tacos” this way,  fish salads with proscuitto, snapper in tomatoes, onions and olives, etc.  I even put sole in a spicy broth and felt naughty.  After all, sole is supposed to be…

Well, what is sole supposed to be?  I always think of meuniere when I think of sole.  And I make that fairly often.  Especially for just me.  What’s easier?  While I link to Ina’s recipe for it, really you can make it without a recipe, I’d think.   Very lightly  flour, salt and pepper up your sole, saute it in butter for a couple of minutes,  take it out of the pan onto a heated plate.  Add another tablespoon of butter into the pan, melt, and squeeze in a lemon.  Pour that over the fish on the plate and scatter some chopped parsley on top.  I like another dusting of salt and pepper.  If you have some greens on your plate, the sole and lemon butter will create your dressing.  Et voila, dinner is served in… how many minutes?  And how much sole do you need?  How hungry are you?  1/4 of a pound is ample.  If you buy a half pound, cook it all and eat the rest cold the next day with some green beans or tomatoes.

This sole, however, was a dream before I cooked it.  Fish cooked on leeks and just a smidge of garlic.  Nestled in some greens and a little tomato and yellow pepper for color.  No dressing that’s made ahead  per se, but a dressing is definitely made, once again, by lemon and olive oil.  Quick and healthy and lovely for a hot night.  Add a little Sauvignon Blanc, maybe a bite of bread and butter or cheese,  and there you are!

Sole on Leeks with Salad  serves 2

1t butter
2T olive oil, divided
6 leeks, whites and light green only, trimmed, washed very well, and sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, minced finely
1/4 c fresh parsley, divided
2T fresh chives, chopped, divided
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 # sliced fresh Dover sole
1 lemon, halved
1/4 c white wine or chicken stock
3c salad greens
1 tomato, chopped finely
1/4 yellow sweet pepper, chopped medium

In a large skillet, heat butter and 1T of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add leeks and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often.  Add garlic, 2T of the parsley and 1T of the chives.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Cook another minute or so until vegetables are very wilted and beginning to brown.

Add sole in a single layer over the leek mixture.  Add a little more parsley and chives, along with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Add wine carefully.  Squeeze lemon over all and cover.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until fish is opaque, but still quite tender. 
 Meantime, on a large platter, scatter salad greens and top with chopped tomatoes and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper.  When fish is done, slowly, using a large flat spatula, remove vegetables and fish onto or in the middle of the greens.  Season with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, drizzled over the fish and salad.  Squeeze the other lemon half over the entire platter.  Finally, dust with a last pouf of fresh ground pepper.
Serve with a little seeded bread and salted butter, as well as a few slices of cheese.  A light white wine, particularly Sauvignon Blanc, would be the perfect accompaniment.  But I said that already.
Bon appetit!
Note:  the herbs are all from my garden…  Quite fun to wander around outside, hoping nothing burning on the stove, while I decide which herbs go in which part of what dish.  Some things I just love about summer.
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
Thursday night dinner guests:  Froncie, Julie and Teresa for Grilled Chicken Caprese (another post.)
Froncie is an old college friend; Julie and Teresa are her sisters.  Wow.  What an evening outdoors.
How cool to see an old friend….
We babysit Moss.
He likes it.
Sunbird for brunch.
Someone else cooked!
Why I have goldens.
Summer in the front garden.
Russian sage…bees love it…
Still waiting…
What’s on my counter and in the frig?
Sweet potatoes for a frittata
Fresh mint in a small watering can–for tea
Big gladiolas
New potatoes
Sea salt
new Le Creuset pan; Dave burned up my old 3 qt one:):(
Big hunk of Gouda
Goat’s Cheese
Lemons and Limes
Side of salmon (friends for dinner)
Chuck steak (testing chili for Cooks’ Illustrated)
Oregon chardonnay
Blueberries (making blueberry frozen yogurt)
3 qts of iced tea
Sing a new song; cook some fish,

Asparagus Soup or There’s a New Kid on the Block

I never tire of the SILVER PALATE cookbook.  In fact, I recently saw a perfect hardback copy  at  a used    bookstore and snatched it up to put away for when my paperback copy -almost 30 years old-dies.  Or for when one of my children or good friends loves something I’ve made and I want to hand them their own copy.  My bent-paged, tattered covered, stained, smeared, and spilled-upon copy is one of the loves on my cookbook shelf.  Within are notes, memories of special times,  thoughts, re-writes (heavier salt back then and more ingredients available now), dreams, and just plain stuff that is still fun to look at and/or cook.  Written back when women were just seriously beginning to need a reason to not cook (actually that’s when the shop hit it big in NY), it hit the market with a big keBANG and, I think, opened up a whole world to a whole lotta people.  Funny, huh?

Think of it.  My cookbookshelf before 1980.  Julia.  James. Betty Crocker.  Joy.  Galloping Gourmet.  I think there were Reader’s Digest and Good Housekeeping books my mom threw in when I got married.  I had a recipe box with 4×6 cards and I was a lot better off than many friends who had 3×5 cards.  GOURMET.  BON APPETIT.  I had those.  When I could afford them.

People cooked from newspapers and church cookbooks.  A lot.  More often, people cooked from scraps of paper quickly scribbled while you visited someone else and wanted a copy of a recipe they had made.  Or, as with my Aunt Marie (Dad’s sister), you sat and wrote recipes while she talked.  That’s how I got my grandma’s pound cake recipe.  I never met my grandma; she died about 1938.  Thank God for my Aunt Marie’s memory.   Thank God for my mom’s memory because the imprints in my mind of watching her cook were of the times she cooked out of her head.   Were there copy machines?  Sure, but only in offices or libraries.  And, if you did copy something onto that filmed sort of paper, what did you do with that piece of paper?  If you were a very organized person or a secretary by profession, you might have punched them and put them in a 3-ring binder with your other typed recipes.  Big if.  I met one person like that in my life.  And I cooked.  People didn’t really have typewriters until (or if)  they went to college, and those were wretched machines.  If you wanted to type seriously you used the IBM at work after hours.  If, by chance, you worked.

I thought I had truly made it to heaven food-wise when I made Sheila Lukins’ Cream of Asparagus Soup out of SILVER PALATE.  One of the first times, it was the day before my daughter Sarah’s baptism (86) and I was cooking for a big celebration.  My sister Helen, who flew in for the occasion,  was serving as both sous chef and dish washer.  Not for the first or last time.  It wasn’t just a celebration of Sarah and her blessed baptism in Spokane, Washington, but it was also a celebration at having another live child.  In 1978, God was good indeed and we had our first lovely boy, Sean.    In 1979, I had had a miscarriage.  In 1982, our daughter Elizabeth died—–SIDS–on July 20.  In March of 1984, our son Ryan was stillborn. 9 pounds 2 ounces.  Sarah, an adopted child, was one who might escape our run of horrific luck and live.  Our families came.  We cooked.  We laughed.   We bought a beautiful white dress and shoes.  We celebrated.  We went to church and laughed.  Came home and ate.  And what we ate was from the SILVER PALATE COOKBOOK!  Cream of Asparagus Soup.  Chicken Marabella.  Things that later became very famous, indeed.

And Sarah lived.

Over the interim years, I’ve made that soup many times in many variations.  I’ve switched the veg to broccoli and added parmesan.  I’ve made it cold and I’ve made it hot.  It’s been in paper bowls and china bowls.  It’s been a starter and it’s been a main course.  It’s been cooked for invalids and small children who don’t like vegetables, but who will eat this soup.   This year, it’s in sweet, tiny cream soup bowls Dave bought me for our 36th wedding anniversary last week; he had to buy them used.  (Below @  Margarita at Pine Creek dinner to celebrate!)

 I’m not sure many china manufacturers make them any more.  A gift for someone who loves to make first course soups, something that most people gave up doing before they were born.  But I like a soup to start.  I like the feeling of seeing that little bowl on the table and thinking, “Something besides salad!”  Or, “How warm!”  Or, “How fun!”  Or, “What will it be??”  It’s a smooth and easy start for a meal and can be just as veggie as salad.  People feel very special when you make them a first course soup.

Our friends Susan and Charles came to dinner last weekend; I made nicoise.  (Above at their son’s wedding-Charles is hidden)

Dave grilled tuna for it.  I love nicoise.  So does my sister.  So does Sue.  So does Dave.  I like it with salmon and asparagus, too.  But I like to best with ahi.  I’m so spoiled.  I eat it just as easily with canned tuna, which I did in France with my sister.  For a first course.   Before a huge plate of roasted chicken.  With sweet, ceramic, cold pitchers of white wine.  Ah, France.
But, what for a first course?  I kept having asparagus soup running through my head.  For whatever reason, I wasn’t thinking SILVER PALATE.  I’ve made this so many times that I had to be in the middle of making it, thinking of where it came from, to remember to grab SILVER PALATE and look to see if there really was a recipe for this soup!  It had become my own.  I barely thought about its provenance.  But the more I cooked, the more I remembered… and pretty soon the book was on the counter and I was back all those years cooking for Sarah.  Cooking for Elizabeth, for whom I never cooked (though I cooked, ate, and nursed her), the anniversary of whose death is today.  Cooking for my family; being grateful for not only Sarah’s baptism, but for my own.  Thanks to Tom Trinidad, I now know that.
And, of course, the soup isn’t the same soup as in 1986.   I have more experience in the kitchen, more experience with soup (one of my favorite things to cook), and more experience dealing with the grief of loss and the joy of addition.  By now, I grow lots more herbs and use them differently, though I certainly grew herbs in the 70’s and 80’s when I couldn’t get them in stores like now.  (If you want to pay 4 bucks.) 
 I know now how to get canned broth to taste better; I’ve always made homemade broth, but don’t feel too bad anymore if I don’t.  I now know what a few drops of Tabasco can accomplish and that there is no substitute for onions, carrots and celery.  I know now you needn’t add a ton of whole cream, but can throw on a “T”-tiny (as Susan says) spoonful of sour cream and a few chopped herbs and locate a whole nother planet in that bowl. 
Thanks, God, for the new kid on the block.  For what it taught me about making soup.  For the memory that impressed itself over and over as I recreated this food for more people I love. 
Alyce’s Asparagus Soup
via SILVER PALATE and a few years
1 1/2 medium onions, chopped coarsely
1 shallot, ditto
2T butter or olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced
6T fresh tarragon (or 2t dry), divided
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
2# asparagus, chopped, woody ends in garbage
1 1/2-2 quarts chicken broth, unsalted
6 baby carrots or 3 regular carrots
1 stalk celery with leaves
4-6 drops Tabasco
1/4 c low-fat sour cream
Lemon rind
In a 4 or 6qt stockpot, heat butter or oil over medium-low, and add chopped onions and shallot. Saute about 10 minutes and then add garlic.  Cook another 5 minute or until veg are very soft.  Add salt, pepper, tarragon, parsley, and asparagus and let flavors marry by cooking a minute or two or three, stirring and smelling as you go.  Oh, tarragon.
  Pour in 1 1/2 qts chicken stock and add the carrots and celery.  Drop in the Tabasco. Carefully.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer 40 minutes or so until all the veg are  very tender indeed.  As it cooks, add more broth if it seems too thick.   Taste and adjust seasonings. 
 Carefully puree in batches in blender (hold down top with a big towel) or in the food processor. 
Remove to pan and serve hot or let cool and chill to serve cold.  Top with a spoonful of sour cream and a sprinkle (not too much) of tarragon and a grate or two of fresh lemon rind.
It’s happy.
It’s sad.
Thank God for asparagus soup.
Sing a new song,
Two-Dog Kitchen and New from around the ‘Hood
Including a “New Kid on the Block” in 2010
Emily-home overnight!
Skippito joins the fray.  He belongs to Mary Pat, but will be our cat when she travels.  I guess he’s our 1/3 cat.
Outside with next-door neighbor and herder, Moss.
Moss loves to try and herd cats.
He doesn’t know you can’t.
Trying.  Never giving up.  It’s a good thing.

Summer Lamb Chops or "It’s Too Darned Hot"

I do, I do, I do, I do love lamb chops.  Any time.  But I really love them in the summer when you can grill them up in a few minutes time while you make a salad, warm some bread, or grill some veggies, too.  For a long time, I’ve been looking at harissa with lamb chops (Tyler Florence has a recipe for it in TYLER’S ULTIMATE), and, you know how it is:  You go to cook something you’ve cooked a zillion times (I wish I’d had lamb chops a zillion times.) and you just do it that way for a zillion and one.   Another pass by a harissa recipe and I’d put it aside, sighing theatrically.  This is getting to be like why I don’t make croissants.  (Trust me, just buy them.)   Maybe I had no lamb then.  Who knows.  But this time.  This time.  I did it.  I made the harissa and a little cous cous (redundant, isn’t it?) with sauteed onions and raisins.  I stirred up a big pan of eggplant, zucchini, red and yellow peppers and onions.  Conjured up a bottle of Australian Shiraz (a mistake, but a good mistake) and off we went.  Sounds like a lot of time?  40 minutes tops.  I could be dreaming, but it wasn’t too very long. I didn’t time it.  Here’s the drill for

Harissa Lamb Chops with CousCous and Sauteed Vegetables  serves 4

1.  Roast 2 red peppers under the broiler or grill them until they’re blistered.  No sunscreen needed.  Place them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes.  Meantime, in a skillet, toast 1 t ea whole cumin, coriander and caraway seeds.  Keep the heat low and stir occasionally.   When they smell really good, but aren’t burnt, grind them in a coffee grinder you’ve cleaned.  Into the food processor, throw in a couple of cloves of chopped garlic (trust me, it won’t get it chopped as finely as you’d like; chop it first), the ground spices, and 1/2 a chopped jalapeno-minus seeds and membranes. This sauce will be medium-hot.  If you want it mild, use 1/4 jalapeno.  If you want it ha-ha-ha-HOT, use the whole jalapeno. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch each salt and pepper.  Squeeze in the juice of a whole lemon.  Whirr this mixture up really well by pulsing several times.  When the peppers are “done,” peel the blistered skins away, rolling them in a big towel and peeling afterward, and throw them in the food processor.  Pulse until the vegetables are about like apple sauce.   Taste this and decide if you need more salt, more heat, more acid, etc.  Adjust accordingly.  Set this aside while you grill the chops and fix the rest of the dinner. (Easier:  Used jarred peppers and already ground spices.  Easiest: you can buy a jar of harissa.)

Just a note on the heat of harissa.  I do not like terribly hot things; I’m more interested in spices and flavor.  I made my harissa with 1/4 of a jalapeno and, when I tasted it all by itself, it  still seemed pretty hot.  Once I added it to my chop, however, it tasted much milder.  I added Tabasco.  So remember that the sauce dumbs down with the meat.  Sort of like once you take marinara and put it all over a plate of pasta.  You might want to try it out with something else ahead of time.

2.  Set the table and light the grill if you haven’t done that yet.  Wait while the grill heats (sing your favorite song)  or grill the  6-8 lamb chops (Oil, salt and pepper them first.) Throw them on a hot fire to sear for one minute on each side.  Remove to spot that’s not so hot or turn down flame and cook for another 3 minutes or so on each side for medium- medium rare.   If you want them rare, just cook on a hot fire for 2 minutes on each side.  I think lamb is best medium to medium-rare, but you don’t have to trust me.  If you want it bloody, have it bloody.   Remove chops to a medium-sized platter and cover with foil for five minutes before serving.  Have to leave them there  for 15 while you cook the sides?  Not to worry; they’ll be great at room temp.   In fact, they’re damned good stone cold out of the frig tomorrow if you really get involved in something else.  You could even throw them in a skillet with your eggs. —  Ok, you’re eating them tonight, so just partially uncover so they don’t cook and steam to bits.) 

One important thing.  If you don’t have friends invited to eat these, you won’t be able to chew the bones.  So don’t invite the new boss.  Invite people you know and love.  The bones are what it’s about.

3.  Cous Cous?  Buy a package…And!  Before following the directions on the package, put a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of a 2qt saucepan and cook up 1/4 c chopped onion and 1/4 black or golden raisins with a little salt and pepper.  Add the water and seasonings (I like the olive oil and garlic variety of cous cous) as the package directs and throw in the couscous when the water boils.  Turn off and let sit  covered for 5 minutes.

4.  Meantime (or earlier if you’re that way)  peel and chop an eggplant 1-2″ pieces.  Cut up a zucchini and a yellow squash into 1-2″ pieces.  Ditto 2 medium sweet peppers, red and yellow or orange (no green.)  Ditto 1 medium purple onion.  Into a large skillet, pour 2-3 T olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add veggies and season with a liberal shower of salt and pepper.  Cook for about 6 or 7 minutes and add 2 cloves of minced garlic.  Cook another 5-7 minutes until browned, crispy and tender.  Plate with the CousCous and add a lamb chop.  Top with harissa.  Smile.  All of you.
Wine:  Try a light rose on the edge of sweetness…maybe even a big riesling.  Reds just don’t mix with the heat of the harissa.  Of course, I had to have my own way with the wine and drank red regardless.  Bad me.
Some folks would go the route of beer.  Some would drink sweet tea.  Makes sense.
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the Hood or in my Heart, Including
What’s in my frig?
We hiked the Crags. Phew.  Temps from 70’s that dropped to 54 when the storm arrived.  Nice day, though.   Below:  cheese and cracker lunch by the stream:

Dave picking the cherries.  Not as many as I’d have liked.
A new toy for Dave.
Heather spends the night and helps me cook.  The dogs want to help.
Our once a year rain arrived and we couldn’t grill.

So we made it inside.  Where we…
Grilled chicken. Grilled Eggplant. Grilled Tomatoes.
 Made Whole Wheat Linguine.  Tore off  Big peels of Parmesan and Chopped Basil.
Try it. 
While we cooked:
Not sure what they did, but I’m sure they did it.
Just finished reading  THE MERMAID CHAIR by  Sue Monk Kidd.  What a story…  Guess I missed it when it was published in ’05.  This was our book club book for July.  Thanks, ladies, for a great discussion. 
I’m playing:  “Feels Like Home”  by Randy Newman…
A lot of the Iona Worship Book…
I’m listening to:  George Winston playing Vince Guaraldi.
Recipe spots I’m tuned in to lately:   NYTimes on Wednesdays or online (Follow on Twitter)
All of Tyler Florence’s books
ad hoc at home
SILVER PALATE (the gift that keeps on giving)
my own brain as the produce comes
Dorie Greenspan’s blog
Chocolate and Zucchini blog
David Lebovitz’ blog
Ina Garten when I have time to watch
What’s on my counter? 
California peaches
Yellow and orange tomatoes
Leftover grilled eggplant from lunch
Purple onions
New potatoes
3 kinds of vinegar
2 kinds of olive oil
Kosher salt
Sea salt
2 kinds of pepper
2 kinds of honey
Cochetti zin (3/4 of a bottle)
What’s in my frig?
Blueberries (Just froze 2 gallons for winter)
Parsley-both kinds
Whole carrots
Baby carrots
Lettuce that needs to be composted, but we can’t compost.
We have bears.
Greek salad I made this morning for lunch
Leftover fruit from breakfast already cut
Greek yogurt-a couple of different kinds
Leftover turkey burger w/ colby cheese
Tillamook extra sharp white cheddar cheese
Goat’s cheese
Leftover pizza from Mollica’s
La Baguette whole wheat and 7grain bread
Boiled eggs
Cold Washington State Riesling
Leftover red wine for cooking
Pomegranate juice
It was 95 degrees today.  I think dinner can be found out of the mess above, don’t you?
Sing a new song; eat leftovers

Ribs or Turkey Thighs—Happy Birthday, Dave and Jean!

Summer ‘cueing is one of Dave’s favorite things, I’d guess.  Perhaps it’s one of mine, too.  I  escape some of the main dish cooking (I don’t know from grill-), though I have to come with menus.  I’m sure some husbands will come up with words like,

“I would really like ________________for dinner,”

but not my husband.  He exercises his right to choose in restaurants and not even always there.  Often, I’ll be torn between one entree and another.  To make sure I get to taste both, he’ll order one of them and let me order the other.  I know.  He’s quite a guy.

He can be sure of getting all the beer, though, because I don’t drink beer.  It never fails, however, that if there’s a new beer (stout is his favorite, but ales are up there), he’ll want me to taste it.  A Bud tastes like a Taddy Porter to me, so it’s just wasted.  To be nice, I keep taking a sip, and often say, “Not bad!”  But you probably won’t see me order beer any time soon.  Though I often look at the new 55 calorie can and think, “Why can’t I like that?”
In the last couple of weeks, Dave has grilled ribs (for hours and hours and hours) and turkey thighs (for hours and hours and hours) and I don’t know which I liked better. 
I’d like to get him to write this, but he’s a little busy most days.
Making sure I have my dinner.
Or my breakfast.
I like  pancakes cooked outside.
So, in honor of the Fourth of July and Dave’s birthday ( which is the Third) and my sister Jean’s birthday (the first), I give you Dave’s latest ribs or turkey thighs and, because this is, after all, my blog, my French-Vegetable potato salad.  It goes wonderfully with either and is all you need.  That and a nice jammy (ok,ok) California zin.  Maybe some homemade ice cream.

                                                                Eat this, not that.

Dave and His Ribs and Thighs  serves 6-8  or 4 really hungry folks

2 racks of pork spareribs and  4 turkey thighs
Rub is Memphis Shake from Food Network Kitchens GET GRILLING–we doubled it
  1/2 paprika
   6 T brown sugar
   4 T dried oregano
   4T granulated garlic
   2T ancho (we used chipotle) chili powder
   4t kosher salt
   2t celery salt

Leave rib racks whole and rub all ribs and turkey thighs well with rub.  Refrigerate 2 hours.

Light grill and heat to medium-low (about 250 F).  Lay out ribs , evenly spaced, and cover.  Cook for about  1.5 hours hours, turning occasionally. Meantime, make sauce  and French potato salad (below).  Add  thighs to grill and continue grillin for another 1.5 hours or so until thighs register 170 F on instant-read themometer.  Apply sauce over ribs and thighs with a brush the last 10-15 minutes of cooking.

Sauce:  (GET GRILLING, PAGE 218)
  makes 2 quarts
4 T canola oil
12 cloves garlic, smashed
4T tomato paste
2T chili powder
2 T paprika (we used smoked)
2t crushed red pepper
1/2 t allspice -ground
Double pinch ground cloves
4 c ketchup
4 c water
1 c cider vinegar
1/2 c molasses
1/2 c brown sugar
2T kosher salt
2T soy sauce
2T worcestershire
1T plus 1t dried mustard (like Coleman’s
2t freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves

Heat oil in a large saucepan.Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, paprika, red pepper, allspice, cloves and cook for 3 min until paste is dark and thick.  Add the ketchup, water, vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, soy, Worcestershire, mustard, black pepper, and bay leaf.  Adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the flavors come together, about 30 min.  Remove and discard bay leaves before using.

French Potato and Vegetable Salad with Mustard-Tarragon Dressing

1/2# (24 oz or 9-10 medium) red potatoes–cut larger ones into halves or fourths

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, sprig of tarragon (to flavor water)

1/2# fresh asparagus, chopped

1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-1″ pieces (could use yellow squash)

1/2 ea medium sweet yellow and red peppers (any color combination fine)

1 c broccoli florets, cut into 1/2″-1″ pieces

1/2 small red onion, chopped finely (4-5 tablespoons)

5 spring onions (white and green fine) sliced thinly

Dressing (see below–make while potatoes cook)

In a 4 or 6 qt small stockpot, place potatoes and just cover with water. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper and a sprig of tarragon (or 1/2 t dried). Bring to a boil, lower heat a bit to keep from boiling over, and cook for about 12-15 minutes, until almost, but not quite, tender. (Make dressing. and set aside.) Add asparagus, zucchini and broccoli for the last few minutes. When potatoes are done, pour all into a colander in the sink and immediately pour back into pot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour 1/2-3/4 of the dressing over the hot vegetables. Add the chopped fresh sweet peppers, reserving 2T for garnish. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with chopped spring onions and garnish with the reserved chopped yellow and orange peppers and a sprig of tarragon. Serve warm, at room temp, or cold.

Mustard-Tarragon Dressing

1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced or grated

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

3T white wine vinegar (I like Chardonnay, but any will do.)

9T extra-virgin olive oil (the best you have for this salad)

1/2 t kosher salt and 1/4 t fresh ground pepper

2 drops hot sauce, such as Tabasco

1T chopped fresh tarragon (plus 2 extra sprigs, one for potato water and one for garnish) or 1 t dried

In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard and vinegar. Slowly add olive oil, whisking with all the time or after every addition. Season with salt, pepper, hot sauce and tarragon. Whisk until well-emulsified. Store in a covered jar so you can shake the dressing right before each use.

      Sisters–Helen/left and Jean/right   Happy Birthday, Jean!

Two-Dog Kitchen and the ‘Hood


Start of the herb garden
Porch Tarragon–Will bring it in for fall
Wine group last week
Cherries almost ready!