Kale Salad with Plums, Roquefort and Walnuts

Kale Salad with Plums, Roquefort and Walnuts-9029

For your consideration: Kale Salad with Plums, Roquefort and Walnuts.  By now it’s hard to believe that there remains a kale stoned unturned.  A few days ago, idling at a traffic light, the bedraggled bumper sticker on the car ahead of me drew my eye. The sun had bleached out the yellow background and faded the text to WRAITH56, and the edges of the sticker had that scalloped, singed effect favored by moviemakers for pirate treasure maps, as though someone had tried to peel away the bumper sticker, gotten disgusted, then said the hell with it.  I had to squint.  EAT MORE KALE.  Good lord, I wondered with a frisson of culinary panic, is kale overexposed?  Not so long ago you could hardly cruise down to the Gap for new underwear or Pinkberry for whatever it is that people buy at Pinkberry without noticing the sea of EAT MORE KALEs around you, as though overnight everyone in town in had joined a spanking new megachurch, and somehow forgotten to tell you.  Have we been kaled to death?  Can STOP TALKING ABOUT KALE bumper stickers be far behind?

Not so fast. Are we over-kaled?  I think not.  Not all important things fit on a bumper sticker: Eat kale, if you’re not already.  It’s really f****** delicious.  

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Fig, Plum and Hazelnut Tart Redux

Oh, cursed keys!  Oh, wretched fingers!  Yes, well, it seems I’ve published this week’s post a few days in advance.  Haha.  Guess what?  It’s a Fig, Plum and Hazelnut Tart.  It won’t show the usual grammatical felicity only possible when I have time to send it to the monks atop Mount Athos for a prepublication …

Fig, Plum and Hazelnut Tart

Fig, Plum and Hazelnut Tart-530-8819

Oh, the things we do, the torments we endure, so you don’t have to.  The week’s Fig, Plum and and Hazelnut Tart didn’t start out as the walk in the park below.  After helping everyone become a tart shell master last week we thought we’d put the technique to good use with a simple fig and mascarpone tart.  However, after half our figs disappeared the night before we were scheduled to blog, we had to rethink our plan.  Nearby Allandale Farm had no figs, but they did have plums.  Voilà fig and plum tart.

Swiss Chard Tart with Gruyère and Anchovies

Swiss Chard Tart with Anchovies and Gruyere-8143

Ceci n’est pas une quiche.  It’s a Swiss Chard Tart with Gruyère and Anchovies.  Quiche sounds so seventies, like the ubiquitous anonymous “white wine” that came into vogue as an alternative to cocktails during the same Swiss Chard Tart-6674culinary epoch.  Boring.  White.  Food.  But a tart, a tart can play.  Sweet or savory, rich or light, it has no rules beyond the obligatory crust, and inclination to use whatever looks good in the market that day.  And what looked good to us was the Swiss chard. So, yes, this is a savory custard tart, but it’s really about the chard. Oh, and the anchovies. The tart doesn’t taste like anchovies–it tastes like chard, with cream and cheese, and something salty and elusively delicious in the background.

Bike. Cook. Eat. Sleep. Provence.

Bike Cook Eat Sleep Provence-6281

Every year Jody participates in a cooking-cycling tour.  People like traveling with what Jody jokingly refers to as a “GCC,” that is, a “genuine celebrity chef.”  Over the course of 5 – 7 days people bike, visit local restaurants, vineyards and artisan producers of local products, and help prepare a multi-course meal based on the local cuisine with lots of instruction and guidance from Jody.  Accommodations are typically cushy.  The biking ability of participants ranges from novice to expert and everybody has a great time.  People abandon any inclination to count calories (and why would you?) after they experience a day of pedaling about the countryside.  Most people return to the US with at least one new discovery–a technique or taste sensation.  The top contenders on this trip were peeled tomatoes and rabbit.   My own favorite was rouget, small red fish from the Mediterranean, undoubtedly delicious in lots of ways, but I can personally vouch for them sautéed in butter with a little lemon and parsley.  Runner up was smoked cod roe, which I’d never even heard of before this trip–creamy, rich, unbelievably good when spread on a fresh baguette.