French Green Bean Salad in Maple Dressing


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Do you have teenage children? I do, I have two. And though I hate that they are grown already and soon ready to leave me, i do enjoy the fact that they are driving on their own. It has truly been a blessing having my daughter drive herself and her brother to school and run errands for me. And run errands, she does… every day. The other day i sent her to get some French green beans for a cooking class and in spite of finding some, she bought some regular green beans, not quite the same taste, or texture. I cooked them the same way I would have my French green beans, but i was not too too satisfied. Any way, we cooked them, we ate them and there were gone.

Because I had another bag in the fridge, i decided to fix a salad with them. Growing up in France, we often had green beans salad with fresh sliced onions. I never was fond of it, that is why I decided that i could use cooked onions instead. I also added maple syrup to my vinaigrette to sweeten the taste of the vinaigrette = Bingo;-) I loved, loved, loved it. I hope that you will give it a try.

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Ingredients for 4-6:

  • 1 bag of green beans ( about 16 oz.)
  • 2 tbsp of Dijon Mustard ( or other strong mustard)
  • 2 tbsp of champagne vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup ( good quality)
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 1/16 tsp of pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 small onion or 1/2 of a large onion to make 1/4 cup of caramelized onions.
  1. Drop 1-2 tbsp of olive oil into a large frying pan and heat it up until it is starting to sizzle. Add the chopped onion and saute it for a few minutes stirring constantly.
  2. Reduce the heat and continue cooking the onions until they are becoming an amber color. It will take at least 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper, stir and set aside to cool.
  3. Rinse the green beans, trim the ends and place them in the round mold. Place the octogonal silpat  on the large round mold. Place the round mold on the microwave and cook it for 4 minutes.
  4. When the beans are cooked, let them cool. Cut them in 1/2 inch.
  5. In  a large bowl, mix all the ingredients to make the dressing ( oil, olive oil, salt, pepper, maple, mustard). Add the cut beans and the caramelized onions and mix well.

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You may add 1/4 cup of toasted pecans, 1/4 cup of gorgonzola cheese crumbled, and 1/4 cup of cranberries ( that you would have previously soaked in water for 2 minutes) for extra flavor and for variation. 

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Well, i have to say that this salad was a winner at my table, even my son and husband went for second. Yeah!!!! And I have enjoyed it so much myself that I have been eating it for dinner and lunch these past 2 days.

I know that i will be serving it for Thanksgiving, easy fast and still yummy;-) I hope that you will give it a try.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Salade Nicoise Revisited


The first time I ordered a salad as an appetizer here in the USA, I was a bit surprised to see all the things that was included. There was cheese, various vegetables, nuts,  even meat amid the greeny leaves. In France, when you order a green salad as an appetizer, it is usually a very plain salad. It does not include many vegetables. I think the reason is because a salad is usually eaten as a ” cleanser” between the main meal and the cheese/ or dessert.

When we eat generous salads such as those we know here in the USA ( Chef SAlad), they are replacing a meal. Those salads are found on lunch menus in the summer, and they rarely have lettuce as their main base. There are two popular salad that you will see on menus in the summer: Salade composee which often has rice as its main base, and salade nicoise that is made with steamed potatoes, steamed green beans, fresh onions and tomatoes. There are millions of recipes out-there, but the traditional one includes red purple onions, artichokes, anchovies, eggs and tuna.

Growing up, it seemed that when we had left-over potatoes, this is what my mom made. I will tell you that I ate so much of it that it took me a while to make it again.  But tonite since I had small quantities of everything, it occured to me that I could make a warm salade nicoise for my dinner with what i had in my fridge.

The French Salade Nicoise is seasoned with a traditional red white vinaigrette but I gave it my twist.

Ingredients for 4: 

  • 12 small red potatoes
  •  about 2 cups bag of fresh green beans or haricots verts
  • 1/2 purple onions sliced very thinly.
  • 1 box of baby tomatoes
  • 2 filet of tuna sashimi
  • 4 tbsp ol balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp of smokehouse maple herb mix from Costco.
  • 1/4. tsp of sea salt.

Rinse the potatoes very well and place them in the large round mold. Add a dash of salt, and a tsp of water. Cover the round mold and cook in the microwave for 6-8 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked but still firm. Let the potatoes cool and then slice them in narrow slices. Set aside. Then place about 2 cups of green beans or haricots verts in the round mold, cover the round mold again with the octogonal silpat and cook for 5 minutes. Set the beans aside.

On a plate, sprinkle about 2 tbsp of the maple and lay the tuna into the smokehouse maple seasoning so that it will be covered with the spice. Repeat this process on all sides.

Place a small frying pan on a hot stove at medium-high, and add 1/2 tbsp of butter. When the butter is sizzling, add the tuna steak and sear it for 1 minute. Season with some salt. Turn it over and repeat so as to sear all sides. Remove the tuna from the pan and set it aside.

In the same frying pan, add the sliced onions and cook them until they are becoming a golden brown. Throw in the pan the balsamic vinegar, the olive oil and 1 tbsp of the maple seasoning, and bring to boil. Turn the heat down to low, add the sliced potatoes, the beans, the fresh tomatoes and stir. Cook this mixture for only 1 minute or 2. Add 1/2 tsp of sea salt. Toss. Plate the “salad” on plates. Slice the tuna in narrow slices, lay them over the salad. Drizzle more sauces over the tuna, et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Hachi Parmentier and Haricots Verts with Sun-dried Tomatoes


On sunday, I usually like to cook a nice gourmet dinner but a lot happened this week-end that made me feel a bit drained. As a result comfort food seemed to be a quick solution to my laziness.

Ingredients for the hachi parmentier for 4: 6 medium-sized potatoes, 2 1/2  cup of heavy cream, 1 lb. of lean ground beef, fresh parsley,  1 medium onion, 1 cup of swiss cheese, 1/8 tsp of garlic salt, 1/16 tsp of pepper, seasoning…

To make the Hachi Parmentier, you will need to make mashed potatoes, you may make them the traditional way cooked in water, or you can cook them in the round mold and save time!!! So peel the potatoes, dice them in small cubes, place them in the round mold. Add 1 tsp of water and a dash of salt, cover the round mold with the octogonal silpat  and microwave for 7-8 minutes. Mash the potatoes with a potato press until it is very smooth. Add the warm heavy cream that you would have previously warmed up in the microwave for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of swiss cheese and stir until the potatoes make a smooth “puree”, not too runny and not too thick. You may need to add more cream if needed. Add the garlic salt, the pepper and stir. Add more salt if you deem it necessary. Set aside. Now you need to prepare the beef that will go in the mashed potatoes. Slice and dice your onion. Saute your onion in a frying pan in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute your onion until golden and translucent. Stir in the beef and cook it until it turns brown. Add 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of fresh parsley ( dry parsley is fine too). Taste and add more seasoning if you think it requires more salt.

Empty half of the potato puree in the round mold. Add the cooked beef and cover the beef with the rest of the potatoes. Sprinkle another 1/2 to 1 cup of swiss cheese and cook in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes to brown the cheese.

While the hachi parmentier is cooking, prepare the haricots verts.

Ingredients for the haricots verts: 1/2 bag of green beans from Costco or 2 small bag of 8 oz. 2 tbsp of sundried tomatoes ( preserved in oil) chopped thinly, 1/2 tsp of basil, 1/8 tsp of sea salt, 1/16 tsp of pepper.

Trim the haricots verts and place them in the round mold. Cover the mold with the octogonal silpat and microwave for 6 minutes. Uncover the round mold, add all the ingredients mentioned above and stir well.

To serve, spoon the hachi parmentier on the plate, add a few haricots verts and serve.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking !!!