Friday, June 29, 2012


Kasha Salad 6 5 bis
Be careful of those who pat you on the back. They might be looking for a soft spot to plant the knife.
- Anonymous
Honest hearts produce honest actions.
- Brigham Young

Those who know me are aware of the fact that I cherish honest, genuine as well as selfless beings and look for the deep and meaningful things in life. Superficiality, artificiality, triviality, egocentrism and materialism put me off. I reject all the false values that this modern and unethical society apprizes.

Calculators, manipulators and profitors are my biggest enemies. I fear them like the pest and smell them from a distance. Actually, I make it a rule to stay far away from anything that is shallow or anyone who is toxic, fake and untrustworthy as they can only be harmful to me and drain me of my life force. Negative energies and all forms of parasitism are to be avoided at any cost or they'll bring you down and suck you into their decadent spiral of chaos and destruction.

After having been psychologically abused by my tyrannical parents who exercized their maleficious control over me and could not care less about my person, but prefered to use me as a pawn in their viscious family game, and escaped from my Machiavellian sister's iron grip and mean powers of subjugation, I am finally free of all oppression so I really treasure my new found freedom and fiercely protect it with all my might. I have given enough and refuse to bleed more.

Since I have been deceived and ripped-off quite a few times by despicable individuals who are only interested in misusing others for their own egotistical purposes and evil agendas, I tend to be very careful when it comes to letting people into my existence and trusting them blindly. I pick my pals meticulously. This is the reason why I am not surrounded by hords of "friends" and definitely not the most popular girl on the block. But that's ok with me as I have my peace.

Nowadays, I listen to my heart and follow my instincts. If somebody is devious or something is shady, then I'll feel their bad vibrations and will not let them corrupt or rape my soul as I have understood that nobody can be my master nor that I am accountable to anyone. Power is in my hands and "no" is not a taboo word anymore...

Kasha Mackerel 1 2 bis
Make food simple and let things taste of what they are.
- Curnonsky aka Maurice Edmond Sailland
I want a dish to taste good, rather than to have been seethed in pig's milk and served wrapped in a rhubarb leaf with grated thistle root.
- Kingsley Amis
I detest...anything over-cooked, over-herbed, over-sauced, over elaborate. Nothing can go very far wrong at table as long as there is honest bread, butter, olive oil, a generous spirit, lively appetites and attention to what we are eating."
- Sybille Bedford
When it comes to food, I love my grub to be straitforward and real. Pretentious or unnatural eats have no place at my home nor in my heart. I loathe unneccessarily complicated or pompous dishes and detest industrially processed aliments that have been deprived of their nutritional qualities and are loaded with a multitude of gruesome additives (saturated fats, artificial colorings and sweeteners, preservatives, corn syrup, etc...).

My dinners are seasonal, hearty, comforting, stripped of any chichis, yet they don't lack refinement or aromatic complexity. I try to enhance produces and get the best out of them without ever spoiling their original characteristics. This demands a little understanding of nutrition, some knowledge regarding the ingredients employed, a good dose of patience and a lot of gut feeling. Nothing very esoteric or difficult to accomplish, however it requires commitment and dedication.

Cooking is at once one of the simplest and most gratifying of the arts, but to cook well one must love and respect food.
- Craig Claiborne

Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements.
- Marcel Boulestin

If you are a passionate gourmet who is interested in your physical wellness, then it is absolutely not a sacrifice to relentlessly surf online in order to search for useful culinary information, to spend a few hours experimentig in the kitchen or to follow a healthy diet. Your hard labor will be rewarded and your body will be thankful for treating it like a temple rather than a dustbin. Certainly worth the effort!

Speaking of power foods, the salad that I am presenting today pretty much carries all those characteristics and is not far from perfection. It is well-balanced (contains many essential nutrients: fibers, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fatty acids, antioxidents, proteins and other compounds), extremely satiating, not expensive, fresh, easily prepared and although it appears to be simple, this harmonious tasting meal offers intricate flavors (nutty, herby, pungent, spicy, sweet, smoky, etc...) which will make your palate sing and your tummy smile.

My summery "Kasha, Black-Eyed Pea, Mackerel, Fava Bean, Tomato & Miso Salad" is ideal for a relaxed lunch or supper in the garden/on the balcony and for taking on picnics or bringing to potlucks, parties as well as work. Quirky, practical, energy-ladden and scrumptious!

Kasha, Black-Eyed Pea, Mackerel, Fava Bean, Tomato & Miso Salad
Recipe by Rosa Mayland, June 2012

Serves 2-3.

Ingredients For The "Miso Dressing":
1/3 Cup (75ml) Apple vinegar
1/3 Cup (75ml) Olive oil
2 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs Barley miso
1 Tbs Sweet soy sauce (Kikkoman)
1 Tbs Sweet chili sauce
1 Tsp Runny honey
1 Tsp Sesame oil
1/2 Tsp Fine sea salt
Ingredients For The "Salad":
1 1/2 Cups Raw kasha (buckwheat groats)
1 Tsp Fine sea salt
1 Cup (120g) Fresh fava beans, shelled (method)
260g Cooked black-eyed peas (cooked from scratch or canned)
2x 125g (2x 95g net weight) Canned mackerel
1x Beefsteak tomato, chopped
1 Medium onion, finely chopped
Fresh coriander, to taste

Kasha Fava 1 2 bis
Method For The "Miso Dressing":
1. In a big salad bowl, whisk all ingredients together.
Method For The "Salad":
2. In a medium pan, lightly toast the kasha until golden.
3. Add 4 cups water (~1l) and the salt. Bring to a light boil, then immediatly lower the heat to a soft simmer.
4. Cook for about 8-10 minutes (it should still be a little crunchy - see remarks).
5. Sieve and rince with cold water, then let the water drip off.
6. Once the kasha is at room temperature, add to the bowl with all the other ingredients. Mix delicately.
7. Serve. 

The onion can be replaced by 2 chopped spring onions.
In case you don't have black-eyed peas at home, any legume of your choice will do (white beans, chickpeas, red beans, etc...).
You can also use other fresh herbs: chervil, parsley, basil or thyme.
Don't overcook your kasha, otherwise it'll go mushy. In order to avoid that, keep testing it while it is cooking.
If you like to eat your salad chilled, then mix all the ingredients together (minus the coriander, tomato and fish - you'll add them at the last moment) a few hours before serving and refrigerate. 

Serving suggestions:
Serve chilled or at room temperature and accompany with a glass of quality white wine (Gewürtzraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Chasselas,  etc...) or rosé (Vin Gris, Oeil de Perdrix, Weissherbst, Provence, Gamay Rosé, etc...).

Salade De Sarrasin, Doliques A Oeil Noir, Fèves, Maquereau, Tomate Et Miso 
Recette par Rosa Mayland, juin 2012.

Pour 2-3 personnes.

Ingrédients Pour La "Vinaigrette au Miso": 

75ml de Vinaigre de pomme
75ml Olive oil 
2 Gousses d'ail, hachées finement 
1 CS de Miso d'orge
1 CS de Sauce soja douce (Kikkoman)
1 CS de Sauce de piment douce 
1 CS de Miel liquide
1 CC d'Huile de sésame
1/2 CC de Sel de mer fin
 Ingrédients Pour La "Salade":
1 1/2 Coupes de Gruau de sarrasin 
1 CS de Sel de mer fin 
120g de Fèves fraîches, pelées (voir méthode) 
260g de Doliques à oeil noir cuites (voir méthode - vous pouvez aussi prendre une conserve)
2x 125g (poids net 2x 95g) de Filets de maquereau en conserve 
1 Tomate coeur de boeuf, coupée en dés
1 Oignon moyen, haché finement
Coriandre fraîche, selon goût

Kasha Tree 1 2 bis
Méthode Pour La "Vinaigrette Au Miso": 
1. Dans un grand saladier, mélanger tous les ingrédients ensemble. 
Méthode Pour La "Salade": 
2. Dans une casserole moyenne, torréfier le sarrasin jusqu'à ce qu'il soit légèrement doré. 
3. Ajouter environ 1 litre d'eau et le sel. Porter à légère ébullition, puis immédiatement baisser le feu et laisser mijoter à feu très doux.
4. Cuire pendant environ 8-10 minutes. Le sarrasin devrait encore être un peu croquant (voir remarques).
5. L'égoutter et le rincer à l'eau très froide, puis le laisser égoutter encore une fois afin que toute l'eau se soit évacuée.
6. Une fois que le sarrasin a refroidi (température ambiante), le mettre dans le bol avec tous les autres ingrédients et mélanger délicatement. 
7. Servir. 

L'oignon peut être remplacé par 2 oignons de printemps hachés. 
Dans le cas où vous n'aurez pas de doliques à œil noir à la maison, vous pouvez alors utiliser une autre légumineuse de votre choix (haricots blancs, pois chiches, haricots rouges, etc ..). 
Vous pouvez également ajouter d'autres herbes fraîches dans cette salade: cerfeuil, persil, basilic ou thym.
Ne pas faire cuire votre sarrasin à feu élevé sinon les graines exploseront et vous vous retrouverez avec une purée. Afin d'éviter cela, faites-le mijoter à feu très doux (pas de gros bouillons). N'oubliez pas de régulièrement goûter votre sarrasin afin que vous ne le cuisiez pas trop (perte de son croquant). 
Si vous aimez manger froid, mélanger tous les ingrédients ensemble (sans la coriandre, tomate et le poisson que vous ajouterez au dernier moment) et réfrigérer votre salade pendant quelques heures avant de la servir.

Idées de présentation: 

Servir bien réfrigérée ou à température ambiante et accompagner d'un vin blanc (Gewurtzraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Chasselas, etc ..) ou d'un rosé (Vin Gris, Oeil de Perdrix, Weissherbst, Provence, Gamay Rosé, etc ...) de qualité.

Kasha 1 1 bis

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Borlotti 1 2 bis
- Rive Farmers Market, Geneva -

Bibi June 2012 bis 4 bis
- Reflection (Au Naturel Self-Portrait) -

The first picture was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook". It will be hosted on the 4th of July by her (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).

Friday, June 22, 2012


Thisle 1 2 bis
No recipe today. Just a picture worth a thousand words....
Thistles by Ted Hughes
Against the rubber tongues of cows and the hoeing hands of men
Thistles spike the summer air
And crackle open under a blue-black pressure.

Every one a revengeful burst
Of resurrection, a grasphed fistful
Of splintered weapons and Icelandic frost thrust up

From the underground stain of a decayed Viking.
They are like pale hair and the gutturals of dialects.
Every one manages a plume of blood.

Then they grow grey like men.
Mown down, it is a feud. Their sons appear
Stiff with weapons, fighting back over the same ground.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Flavored Salt 5 5 bis
- Mineral Magic -

Cow 1 7 bis
- Che Bellissima! -

Both pictures were submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook". It will be hosted on the 27th of June by Usha at "My Spicy Kitchen" (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).

Friday, June 15, 2012


Flavored Salt 1 2 bis
Salt is the policeman of taste: it keeps the various flavors of a dish in order and restrains the stronger from tyrannizing over the weaker.
- Margaret Visser
Salt plays an important role in our daily life. Not only is it a vital substance for all living creatures as it regulates the water content of our body, but it is also makes food taste better. Nobody can survive or cook without sodium chloride...

Unfortunately, lately we've been brainwashed into thinking that this crystalline mineral is evil and at the origin of many of our health problems, thus you read everywhere that it must be avoided at any cost. There is absolutely no doubt on the controversial nature of this staple as it never ceases to be vehemently discussed about both in the medical and culinary world. An endless debate.

Anyway, the good news is that it is not your enemy (have a look at this Daily Mail article). Of course, one should always consume it in reasonable quantities* and favor quality, hence it is our duty to steer clear of sodium-ladden and harmful prepackaged or junk food (loaded with nasty sodium) as well as table salt which is extremely bad for you (linked to hypertension and other heart or blood illness), crammed with additives and has been stripped of its essential companion elements (iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and iodine).

Natural sea salt is beneficial for your well-being and highly savory, therefore it is the perfect replacement for that insipid, dangerous, abominable and industrially produced muck (check out this interesting read & this one).
A flavoured salt is one of the simplest and most basic ways of finishing a dish – it’s so easy and tasty, yet hardly anyone does it.
- Jamie Oliver
Although this subject is captivating, I'm not going to speak about nutrition today, but instead I will focus on salt as a flavor exhauster and on how one can use it to create extraordinary, refined and glamorous condiments in order to enhance as well as compliment a dish. You might have guessed it, I am speaking about those colorful flavored salts that are all the rage in the culinary world right now.

* To control your salt intake, add sea salt to your food only after you have cooked it. You'll be able to taste if you're getting too much. In any case, I believe that if you have a need for salty grubs, then it is your organism which commands your cravings...

Flavored Salt 3 2 bis
- Seaweed & Rosemary Made By My Friend Corinne -

Salt and seasonings are my big addiction. I would not be able to live without them as I cannot imagine enjoying a chow that is awfully bland, lacks soul or oomph. My taste buds need to be constantly challenged, otherwise the fanciful eater that I am gets terribly frustrated.

Pungent spice blends are heavenly and elevate cooking to another level. That is exactly what flavored salts do. They are so versatile and can spruce up just about anything, thus they have the power to completely transform a recipe. The perfect addition to your kitchen pantry and a great gift for any occasion.

Nowadays, you can purchase them from any deli, supermarket, corner store and market merchant. They might not be a rarity, but generally bought flavored salts are quite expensive. It is the reason why I highly recommend you to prepare them at home as they cost a lot less and you can let your imagination go wild (no limitations) as well as have buckets full of fun during the process.

In order to facilitate your task, I have gathered some useful information and tips that might come in handy when developing your own formulas...

- Ras-El-Hanout Salt -

Which Salts To Choose:
Coarse or fine sea salts - preferably unrefined (grey) -  as well as gourmet rock salts such as sel de Guérande, Himalyan Salt, Hawaiian Salt, Murray River Salt, Persian Blue Salt, Kala Namak, etc... And why not go for a smoked salt too!
For more information check out this salt glossary.

Which seasonings to employ:
. Dried herbs (curry leaves, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, sage, lemongrass, keffir lime leaves, etc...)
. Whole or powdered spices, lightly toasted or not (cumin, coriander, saffron, vanilla, five spice, garam massala, curry, smoked paprika, allspice, mustard, wasabi, celery, onion powder, garlic powder, etc...).
. Dried mushrooms, ground (porcini, truffle, shiitake, morels, etc...)
. Toasted nuts, chopped finely (almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts, etc...)
. Toasted seeds, chopped finely, if necessary (pumpkin, sesame, poppy seeds, sunflower, etc...)
. Grated zests, dried (orange, lime, lemon, tangerine, kumquat, etc...)
. Dried fruits, chopped (coconut, dried tomatoes, goji berries, etc...)
. Dried edible flowers, whole or petals, ground, chopped or entire (rose, dandelion, lavender, pansies, tulips, violets, geraniums, etc...)
. Miscellanous (coarsely ground popcorn, vinegar powder, dried & finely chopped seaweed, ground cocoa, ground coffee, tea, squid ink, etc...).

In which ratio:
1/4 cup seasonings to 3/4 cup salt.
Nonetheless, you can play around with the concentration of aromas, according to your personal taste.

Which method for combining the ingredients:
In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients (certain ingredients such as nuts, seeds and flowers can be added once the salt has been blended) and give a few pulses, until thoroughly mixed. This will result in a fine mixture.
Some people like coarse-textured flavored salts. If it's your case,
ensure yourself that the aromatic components have been chopped/pounded as finely as possible and then just combine all the ingredients by hand.

Which is the best use for flavored salts:
Sprinkle on chips, potato wedges/fries, salads, steamed vegetables, pasta, meat, seafood, over soups, in sandwiches or incorporate to spreads, dips, sauces and dressings.

Delightful combinations:
. Herb salts - poultry, fish, beef, veal, pork, lamb, rubs, vegetables, soups, stews, braises, stuffings, breads, eggs, rice, pasta, dipping oils, dressings and dips.
. Spicy salts -  beef, veal pork, poultry, fish, eggs, rice, popcorn, soups, stews, rubs, pasta, potatoes, sauces, couscous, dips, dressings and dipping oils.
. Mushroom salt - beef, veal pork, poultry, eggs, rice, popcorn, soups, pasta, potatoes, cream sauces and dipping oils.
. Nutty salts - vegetables, breads, rice, soups, dips and salad dressings.
. Seedy salts - vegetables, breads, soups, dips and salad dressings.
. Citrus salts  - fish, seafood, chicken, potatoes, rice, pasta and salad dressings.
. Fruit salts - tagines, couscous, Middle Eastern dishes, poultry, beef, veal, pork, lamb and rice.
. Floral salts -  vegtables, dressings, dips, beef, chicken, pork, lamb, veal, rice and soups.

Recipes Around The Web:
Indian Spicy Salt by Todd's Blog
Jamie Oliver's Flavoured Salts by The Purple Foodie
Lemon Fennel Chili Flavored Salt by Syrie Wongkaew
Seasoned Salt by Diana Rattray
Smoky Spiced Salt With Orange by The LA Times
Spiced Porcini Mushroom Salt by Gilt Taste
Spiced Salt by Food & Wine
Spiced Salt by The New York Times
Virgin Islands Spiced Salt by The Spice House

Flavored Salt 2 3 bis
- Seaweed & Dandelion Petals Made By My Friend Corinne -

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Cows 2 6 bis
- Geneva Cows -

Tea Cake 5 4 bis
- A Taste Of The Past -

Both pictures were submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook". It will be hosted on the 20th of June by Aparna at "My Diverse Kitchen" (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).

Friday, June 8, 2012


Tea Cake 5 1 bis

In life, I look for miscellanous things that capture my attention, satisfy my curiosity, satiate my hunger for novelty, inspire me and are exceptional. I am not fond of what is mainstream, déjà-vu, bland, characterless, not intellectually stimulating or challenging, so when it comes to the blogs I follow and the people behind them, I apply exactly the same rule.

And speaking about uniqueness and captivatigness, What's Cooking Mexico? is hard to beat. This marvelously exotic site is one of a kind and stands out from the crowd. It is like a paradisiac and welcoming island in the middle of the ocean where it feels good to go as you never fail to spend some relaxing as well as quality moments there.

This Mexico City native is passionate about mouthwatering fares and his country's versatile cuisine. He knows how to fascinate you with his detailed and informative articles that combine history and anthopology, delightfully colorful pictures, traditional recipes and mouthwaterringly fresh, refined, spicy and vibrant dishes. A blog that deserves much recognition.

Having been a big fan of Ben's extraordinary work and buoyant personality since 2008, it is with much pleasure that I have accepted to share my thoughts with his readers and write a guest post for him today. How could I possibly refuse such an opportunity?!

Muchas gracias querido amigo!!!

Tastes are made, not born. 
- Mark Twain 

Taste cannot be controlled by law.
- Thomas Jefferson
 It is interesting to see how our culinary inclinations can change when we grow up and reach our prime, and how certain foods we used to dislike as a child can suddenly appeal to us. Although our soul doesn’t vary during the whole course of our terrestrial existence, we never cease to evolve physically and mentally. Some things are meant to stay the same while others are intended to undergo slight or drastic alterations…

I like to think that, similarly to rare wine, individuals get refined and more subtle/complex with time. The base will everlastingly remain, but it will considerably improve and ripen during the interval between birth and death. As with long-term cellering alcohols, the maturation and quality of the finished product depend on a few important factors such as environmental conditions, its pedigree and the care with which this process has been taken out.
A man's palate can, in time, become accustomed to anything.
- Bonaparte, Napoleon
Not only do our brains go through various transmutations, but also our taste buds and gastronomical repertoire. Our bodies alter constantly, so it is quite understandable that our gustatory cells also get modified and go through major evolutions, thus affecting our feeding habits and transforming us into moody eaters.

Because I was raised in a non-snobby gourmet family who taught me to be thankful for what goes into my stomach, educated my palate by offering me a varied diet, encouraged me to be a daring epicurean and hated routine at the table, the toddler that I was, was fairly uncomplicated and adventurous. I complied to their eclectic nourishing practices without making a fuss or yammering. Everything my parents put on my plate was gulibly swallowed. Not entirely finishing the contents of my platter was not acceptable ]...[

So, if that short introduction made your mouth water and your tastebuds tingle, tickled your curiosity and gave you the urge to read my article, then please hop on over to What's Cooking Mexico? in order to learn more about this "Fruit Loaf", get a glimpse of my pictures, discover my recipe and pay a visit to the lovely Ben.

Tea Cake 15 5 bis
Etant donné que beaucoup de mes lecteurs francophones ne comprennent pas forcément l'anglais et que malheureusement peu d'entre-eux auront la chance de lire mon billet invité et dernier article en date sur le merveilleux blog What's Cooking Mexico? qui appartient au tentueux blogeur mexicain Ben, je me suis permise de traduire la recette qui y figure afin que vous puissiez aussi en profiter car je pense qu'elle pourra vous intéresser (vous pouvez tout de même y jeter un coup d'oeil car ses recettes sont vraiment passionnantes et mon article contient d'autres images que celles exposées ici).

J'espère que mon "
Cake Anglais Aux Raisins Secs" vous plaira car c'est une succulente spécialité British qui nous vient tout droit du Lake District (dans le Cumbria) et dont je me suis enamourée dernièrement.

Comme vous le savez déjà, de part mes racines anglaise je suis une fervente défenseuse de la cuisine et culture britannique qui, à mon sens, est extraordinairement unique, si versatile, terriblement réconfortante, fabuleusement savoureuse, humble et qui n'est en aucun cas insipide, fade, peu délicate ou inintéressante comme le prétendent certaines personnes mal-attentionnées et à l'esprit étroit. Ce cliché est vieillissant, dépassé de mode et plus d'actualité...

Tea Cake 6 2 bis
Cake Anglais Aux Raisins Secs
Recette adpatée de The National Trust Farmhouse Cookbook” par Laura Mason.

Pour 1 pain de 900g ou 2 pains de 450g chacun.

300ml de Thé noir fort, chaud
450g de Raisins secs (sultanines, raisins de Smyrne ou/et de Corinthe)
350g de Farine
2 1/2 CC de Poudre à lever
1 1/2 CC de Mixed spice (voir remarques)
1/2 CC de Sel de mer fin
175g de Sucre brun clair fin
2 Gros (63g) Œufs, battus
3 CS de Lait
1/2 CC d’Extrait de vanille pure

1. La veille, versez le thé chaud sur les fruits secs et les laisser macérer.
2. Le lendemain, préchauffer le four à 170 ° C (325 ° F).
3. Graisser et tapisser le fond de votre (vos) moule(s) à cake rectangulaire(s).
4. Dans le bol de votre batteur, mélanger ensemble la farine, la poudre à pâte, mélange d'épices, le sel et le sucre.
5. Ajouter les fruits macérés (avec le thé), les œufs, le lait et la vanille. Bien mélanger pendant environ 20 secondes, jusqu'à ce que le mélange ressemble à une pâte à gâteau.
6. Verser la pâte dans le(s) moule(s) à cake et faire cuire au milieu du four pendant environ 1 1/2 à 2 heures (ou environ 1h10 pour les deux cakes), ou jusqu'à ce qu'un cure-dent inséré au milieu du cake en ressorte propre.
7. Laisser refroidir dans le moule.

Pour préparer votre mixed spice maison, mélanger ensemble 1 CS de cannelle moulue, 1 CS de coriandre moulue, 1 CC de muscade moulue, 1/2 CC de gingembre moulu, 1/4 CC de tout-épice moulu et 1/4 de CC de clous de girofle moulus.
Ce cake est meilleur lorsque consommé un ou deux jours après sa préparation (bien l’emballer dans du film plastique) et peut aussi être congelé (3 mois maximum).

Idées de présentation:
Couper le cake en tranches assez épaisses et les beurrer généreusement.
Servir avec l'heure du déjeuner et du thé ou même comme dessert et accompagner d’une bonne tasse de thé.

Tea Cake 7 1 bis

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


 - A Bench With A View -

- A Bowl Of Comfort -

The soup picture was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook". It will be hosted on the 13th of June by Cinzia at "Cindystar" (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).

Friday, June 1, 2012


On several occasions I have discussed about eating on a budget* and shared my thoughts, knowledge as well as tips when it comes to feeding healthily and developping tasty menus despite one's sheer lack of money. As a matter of fact, my blog is dedicated to the art of living a humble and harmonious lifestyle that is oriented towards the respect of our bodily vessel and nature (understanding seasons, boycotting industrial food, going local,  etc...).
I firmly believe that it is possible to put together well-balanced and indulgent dishes without having to break the piggy bank. There are numerous produces out there that cost peanuts, are nutritious and gratifying. Quality doesn't always have to be linked to expensiveness (read this post on the subject).

After more than 14 years of subsisting with very little, this frugal existence has become such a part of myself that even if my household's income was fatter and, as a result, it would enable me to cook meat at every meal, I'd still stick to my current dietary habits. Part-time vegetarianism is what suits me best (no elitism here). Having seven carnivorous meals a week would drain me of my energy and transform me into an unfit blob.

Don't get me wrong, I adore beef, pork, lamb, chicken, wild, etc... as much as anybody else and refuse to totally stop enjoying animal flesh, but just as it is the case with bread, my organism would not be able to deal with it on a daily basis. I would put on weight, experience a sensation of heaviness and load my blood with bad cholesterol. 
Anticipation of pleasure is, in itself, a very considerable pleasure.
- David Hume, “A Treatise of Human Nature”
I see absolutely no pleasure in gobbling down steaks, stews and other meaty fry-ups all the time. Delectation comes from anticipation, craving and restriction whereas routine and abundance kill the thrill. Besides, an  excessive consumption of meat is known to have negative repercussions on the environment (read this interesting piece of writing), thus people should be more responsible, less greedy and not take everything for granted.

An alternative source of protein, omega-3, vitamins and minerals is fresh fish (ecologically farmed or fished). Unfortunately, I cannot afford to buy as much of it as I'd like to, so I make sure that I consume enough tinned fish (mackerel, herring, sardines/pilchards and tuna) as well as loads of vegetables, fruits, cereals, seeds, nuts, milk products and most importantly that I regularly incorporate legumes to my culinary creations.
She spent the better part of her dayat work in the kitchen. At home with her mother, meals had been simple - fava beans and olive oil, rghaif and tea, bread and olives, couscous on Fridays, whatever her mother could afford to buy ]...[
- Laila Lalami, "Hope And Other Dangerous Pursuits"
I really love my beans. They are economical, sustainable, salubrious, hearty, delectable, exceptionally nutritional (protein, fiber, vitamins, omega-3 fats, calcium, potassium, zinc and many other essential nutrients) and incredibly practical. Once looked upon as peasant fare, this gorgeous ingredient is nowdays extremely trendy and considered Haute Cuisine. In 2012, it is difficult not to find a chef or person of letters who doesn't focus his/her attention on this wonderful produce and subsequently, blogs and magazines have jumped on the bandwagon too. 

Uncovering new methods of preparing those plant seeds is a hobby of mine. I'm constantly impressed by their versability and cannot get tired of them. This is why I was delighted when Crescent Dragonwagon asked me if I'd like to receive her latest book "Bean By Bean". There was no way I was going do decline her generous offer, especially since I had been eying this interesting publication on Amazon before it was released.

I dare you to browse through "Bean By Bean" and not feel the urge to run to the kitchen and make a delicious pot of beans. With just a bean pot, a wooden spoon, and a few everyday ingredients, Crescent will be right by your side as you make incredible salads, soups, stews, chilis, and more. Long-time bean lovers will find lots of great information. And if you're new to beans, I can't imagine a happier introduction.
- Steve Sando, Founder, Rancho Gordo New World Specialty Food
Crescent Dragonwagon (yes, that's her name!) was born in New York to writer-editor Charlotte Zolotow and the late show-business biographer Maurice Zolotow. She is the James Beard Award-winning author of seven cookbooks, including "Passionate Vegetarian" and "The Cornbread Gospels" as well as children's books, poetry collections and novels. Furthermore, this busy red-haired lady is a contributing editor to "Relish" magazine, has appeared on a few TV/radio programs (Good Morning America, Today, The Splendid Table, etc...) and has concocted her famous specialities for influential personalities such as Hillary and Bill Clinton, Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, Paul Zindel and Betty Friedan.

With her late husband C.D. spent 36 years in the Ozark Mountain community of Eureka Springs in Arkansas where they owned Dairy Hollow House, an acclaimed country inn and restaurant. Today, she lives in her 1795 Vermont farmhouse where she teaches two workshops ("Fearless Writing" & Deep Feast: Writing The World Through Food"), writes, cooks, gardens and grows 4 different varieties of bush beans.

She is indubitably a talented woman and that shows in her well-researched and entertaining recent publication. "Bean By Bean" is chock-a-block full with mouthwatering, inspiring, enchanting, international (Tuniasia, Greece, Hungary, India Japan, France, America, etc...) and step-by-step formulas (200+) for simple as well as sophisticated entrées/starters (dips, spreads, etc...), sides (bread, sauteed vegetable, etc...), main courses (soups, salads, casseroles, skillets, etc...) and sweet treats/desserts (ice creams, cakes, cookies, etc...). Each of them is adaptable (multiple variations) and clearly coded as "meatist", "gluten-free", "vegetarian" or "vegan" - in most cases meat is optional. This amazing compendium overflows with frivolous humor, captivating information (about the science, nutrition and history of beans), masterful tips, lore, anecdotes and lovely quotes.

A highly recommendable and enlightening read. Despite the fact that it contains not one single photo and only offers a handful of illustrations, this substantial and comprehensive cookbook is definitely a keeper and is a must-have addition to every foodie's bookshelf. It is impossible to leaf through "Bean By Bean" without feeling the irrepressable urge to run into kitchen and test one of her fabulous creations (for ex. "Three Sister Salad With Fresh Corn And Zucchini Ribbons", "Lentil Tapenade", "Tanzanian Black-Eyed Pea & Coconut Soup", "Brown Bean Chili With Sweet Potatoes", "Thai Green Curry Of Green Beans, "Green Pepper & Tofu", "Cornbread Pie A La Hippie", "Neo-Traditional Felafels", "Shiitake Mushrooms, Butter Beans & Southern Greens", "Lime Tofu Mousse-Custard", "Red Bean Ice Cream", etc...).

Selecting a course to present on Rosa's Yummy Yums was not an easy task. With so much choice, I had difficulties making up my mind. Anyway, I finally opted for a soup as brothy concoctions are seldom featured on my blog and I thought that it would be a good idea to showcase one of the many divine potages which can be found in this epitome of scrumptiousness. 

Crescent Dragonwagon's "Spicy Syrian-Style Lentil Soup" is subtly spicy, refined tasting and delightfully exotic. Its greatness lies in the elegant blend of contrasting flavors used (pungent/vibrant, piquant, fresh & balmy), its exquisitely velvety texture and vivid color echoing the incredible generosity and magnificence of the Middle East.

As you can quite imagine, it was a big hit with us. We nearly completely emptied the pot at once and licked our bowls clean; not one drop of that heavenly velouté was lost. A soon to become classic at my place!

* Check out my article "3 Ways To Eat On A Budget And Improve Your Health At The Same Time".

Syrian Lentil Soup 4 1 bis
Spicy Syrian-Style Lentil Soup (Shawrbat Addas Majroosha)
Slightly adapted from "Bean By Bean" by Crescent Dragonwagon, Workman 2012.

Serves 6.

1 Cup (225g) Split red lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 Tbs Uncooked rice
1 Biggish carrots, coarsely chopped
1/4 Cup (60ml) Olive oil
2 Large onions, chopped
1 Jalapeño or other fresh chile, stemmed, seeds removed for mildness or left in for heat, chopped
2 Tsp Fine sea salt
2 Tsps Ground cumin
2 Tsps Ground coriander
1/2 Tsps Freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of saffron threads
1/4 Cup (60ml) Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon slices, for garnishing
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnishing

Syrian Lentil Soup 9 2 bis
1. Combine the lentils, rice, and carrot in a large soup pot. Add 2 quarts (8 cups/1920ml) water and bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the chile and continue to cook until the onions are limp and golden, but not brown, about 5 minutes more.
3. When the lentils come to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and let cook, covered, for about 10 minutes. Then stir in all the remaining ingredients except the lemon juice and garnishes. Cover again and cook for about 15 minutes.
4. Cool the soup to lukewarm-ish, then transfer to a food processor and buzz, pausing to scrape down the side of the bowl, until you have a nice thick puree.
5. Return the soup to the pot and reheat it, stirring in the lemon juice just before serving it.

The split red lentils can be replaced by split yellow lentils and the basmati rice by 1 pita bread (preferably stale & torn into pieces).
I didn't have any saffron threads, so I used 125mg ground saffron.

Serving suggestions:
Serve nice and hot with a lemon slice and a sprinkle of cilantro atop each bowl.
You can also garnish the soup with fried onions or fried garlic.

Soupe De Lentilles Rouges A La Syrienne (Shawrbat Addas Majroosha)
Recette adaptée de "Bean By Bean"
par Crescent Dragonwagon, Workman 2012.

Pour 6 personnes.

1 Tasse (225g) de Lentilles rouges, rincées
2 CS de Riz basmati
1 Grosse carotte, grossièrement coupée
1/4 Tasse (60ml) d'Huile d'olive
2 Gros oignons, hachés
1 Piment jalapeño (ou autre piment frais), ouvert, épépiné ou non et haché
2 CC de Sel de mer fin
2 CC de Cumin moulu
2 CC de Coriandre moulue
1/2 CC de Poivre noir fraîchement moulu
Une pincée de pistils de safran
1/4 de Tasse (60ml) de Jus de citron fraîchement pressé
Les tranches de citron, pour la garniture
Feuilles de coriandre fraîches, pour la garniture (selon goût)

Syrian Lentil Soup 8 2 bis
1. Mettre les lentilles, le riz, et la carotte dans une grande casserole. Ajouter 2 litres (8 tasses/1920ml) d'eau et porter à ébullition sur feu vif.
2. Pendant ce temps, dans une grande poêle, faire chauffer l'huile d'olive à feu moyen-vif. Ajouter les oignons et les faire suer, en remuant souvent, jusqu'à ce qu'ils commencent à ramollir, pendant environ 5 minutes. Ajouter le piment et poursuivre la cuisson jusqu'à ce que les oignons soient dorés (mais pas bruns), pendant environ 5 minutes supplémentaires.
3. Quand l'eau des lentilles est en ébullition, baisser le feu et faire mijoter, à couvert, pendant environ 10 minutes. Puis ajouter tous les ingrédients restants
(sauf le jus de citron et les garnitures). Couvrir et faire cuire pendant environ 15 minutes de plus.
4. Laisser refroidir la soupe afin qu'elle soit tiède, puis la transvaser dans un robot culinaire et mixer (racler le côté du bol entre chaque pulsation), jusqu'à obtention d'une purée épaisse et veloutée.
5. Remettre la soupe dans la casserole et la réchauffer, en remuant. Juste avant de servir, ajouter le jus de citron.


Les lentilles rouges peuvent être remplacées par des lentilles jaunes et le riz basmati par 1 pain pita (de préférence rassi et déchiré en morceaux).
Comme je n'avais pas de pistils de safran, j'ai utilisé 125mg de safran moulu.

Idées de présentation:
Servir bien chaud avec une tranche de citron et saupoudrer avec une pincée de coriandre.
Vous pouvez également garnir la soupe avec des oignon frits ou de l'ail frit.

Syrian Lentil Soup 1 1 bis