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Category — Recipes

Creamy Asparagus Soup

This simple soup doesn’t need an onion, a carrot, or even celery. Just a bunch of asparagus, a garlic clove, and a few fresh herbs. Honestly, you can forgo the sour cream and even the chicken broth, adding water instead. Of course, the sour cream and broth add a richness and silkiness to the soup, but in a pinch, no dairy and plain tap water (or as Jacques Pépin always called it in cooking classes; eau de sink) are just fine. And if you don’t have the time to get or have access to fresh herbs, add 1 teaspoon of each in dried form at the same time you add the asparagus to the pot. See, basic and easy breezy.

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March 20, 2020   No Comments

sheltering in place cooking

Hello friends! It’s been a while. A long while! The last time I posted here was nearly 4 months ago. Harmony Boards has been such a wonderful ride this last 18 months but I do miss blogging, posting recipes and feeling connected to you all!

On March 14th, I posted this on my personal Facebook page:

“I’ve wondered what I would do if I was literally stuck in my home for 14 days…

*I would brainstorm new ideas for my business and refresh my websites. I’d actually have time to return to my blog, LesPetitesGourmettes.com, which I have neglected for months!

*I’d clean out closets, cabinets, files, drawers, the garage, the sheds–you name it! What an opportunity to start fresh and start dreaming again!

*I’d choose to see this extra time as a gift, the gift of slowing down and taking stock.

*I’d put on not one ounce of makeup and wear facemasks, and teeth whiteners and moisturizers all day! The next big run and hoarding at the stores are going to be these such items! Why not!?

What would you do with your 14 days? #14freedays

Little did I know that that time would come as quickly as it has. I temporarily closed down Harmony Boards on March 17th and began actually cooking again the next day. (something I have not done much of for many months!) My son, Connor, came over and we made a variety of seven dishes for ourselves and to share with my (almost) 89-year-old dad and with my dear friend, Kim Howard, and her family. More on the Howard family and the events that have been unbelievably devastating to them in future posts.

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March 19, 2020   4 Comments

Hi Shirley

It’s official – I can no longer say, “I’m back,” as a heading to a post. I’ve used that a few times after a planned extended break from blogging. I said, “I’m back!” as recently as last spring. I meant it at the time. I wholeheartedly planned on getting back to blogging on a regular basis, but then life, in the form of a new business, got in the way.

It’s been more than a month since my last post. As soon as summer remotely felt as if it was over, Harmony Boards took off like a speeding bullet and I’ve been non-stop, often working 12-hour days, ever since. I am not complaining! I love it, but it makes finding the time or wrapping my head around doing anything else, very difficult.

That changed with a comment I received from loyal blog follower, former Les Gourmettes student, repeat blog contest winner and friend, Shirley G.

Shirley { 10.20.19 at 8:33 AM }

Hey Linda,
I haven’t seen a blog post from you in a while…is everything alright? Did I accidentally remove myself from your list??? You know I am not the most tech-savvy person around…lol.
Thanks and I miss your posts!
xo,
Shirley

Thank you, Shirley, for the love, for missing me and for giving me the wake-up call I needed! Here’s a recipe with a tablescape that I’ve been wanting to post. It is from a dinner party I co-hosted on Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day. My co-host, Angela, is 100% Italian. So this 100% Irish girl and Angela taught a lovely group of women to make Gnocchi and I made up a big pot of Cacio e Pepe Pasta (literally cheese and pepper) and an even bigger bowl of Panzanella Salad and of course, an antipasto Harmony Board. We sat outside and it was a glorious night celebrating Italian food and the end of a long hot summer.

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October 23, 2019   3 Comments

persimmon tree and jam

In the early spring, I planted a bare-root persimmon tree. The persimmon tree is that stick with a tag on it in the photo above

I planted it because I love to use persimmons on my Harmony Boards in the fall.

The little tree set so many blossoms that I was pinching them off daily.

As the fruit set, I eventually put on netting to keep the birds away.

During one of the recent monsoon storms, part of the netting blew off and ended up high in my Joshua tree on the front side of the house.

This photo shows where the persimmon tree is in relationship to the Joshua tree.

I tried getting it off with the telescoping pole from my pool net, but it is not budging. I guess it’s there to stay.

Anyhow, the fruit I had left on the tree to ripen was weighing down the branches and putting undue stress on the tree, so I picked the majority of the fruit off last week. The persimmons were small, rock-hard and not yet ripe, but I discovered that when I left them at room temperature for a few days, they began to ripen and soften.

The outside was still green but the inside flesh was vibrant orange and sweet. What to do with it all? Jam seemed like the best solution.

I did some research and learned that persimmons do not have a high enough pH value to be safe for water bath canning.

The same article suggested adding another fall fruit, such as pears and plenty of lemon juice. Problem solved.

While I was in Canada with Kim last month, we talked about the dilemma of making jam and all the sugar that is needed. Kim did some research of her own and we learned about Pomona’s Universal Pectin. This brand requires far less sugar.

For instance, I found several pear jam recipes online that used about the same about of fruit as I used in this recipe, but used 4 cups of sugar versus the 1 ½ cups I was able to use because I used Pomona’s Univeral Pectin.

The Pomona’s box also comes with a little packet of calcium powder that you mix with water to activate the pectin. Here is more about the calcium from Pomona’s website:

“Pomona’s Pectin is activated by calcium, so calcium has to be present in the mixture either naturally or added by you. Since most people don’t know the calcium content of their fruit, we recommend a calcium water amount in every recipe to be sure there is calcium in the mixture. If your fruit has calcium in it naturally, you don’t need to add the calcium water.”

One mistake I made was that I didn’t cut the fruit small enough for my small jars. As you can see in the photo above, it wasn’t as much a jam as it was chunky fruit.

To fix that, I transferred the cooked jam to a food processor and used the pulse button to get it to the consistency I wanted. I rectified that in the recipe by called for diced fruit instead of chopped. But if you want do less initial chopping, you can use the food processor after the fact too.

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September 11, 2019   4 Comments

Well, look at me – 3 days in a row!

It’s crazy how often you can post when you have content! Here is the third recipe from Labor Day 2019.

I would absolutely love to have a big shrimp boil one of these days. It’s such an iconic east coast summer meal.

But here in the desert, in the summer, even the thought of standing outside while shrimp boils and then standing over the steaming masses of food poured out in front of you sounds absolutely torturous and horrendous. Maybe in the fall!

Something like any one of these images is the dream. Have a bunch of friends over and just dump it all out for the taking on a long table covered in paper.

This Fall. For Sure!

In the meantime, I made this attempt at a touch of the “shrimp-boil” flavor for our Labor Day BBQ.

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September 6, 2019   No Comments

big burgers

Along with the Corn and Shishito Salad I posted yesterday, I made burgers for the guys on Labor Day. I used one-half pound of 80/20 ground beef for each patty. So yeah, they were BIG burgers! If you’d like to make them more manageable, use about a quarter-pound of beef per patty.

But this recipe is really about the great zippy basting sauce that consists of sweet chili sauce and sriracha. The sauce really makes these burgers sing. Added bonus: Half of the sauce gets mixed with mayo … truly addictive stuff!

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September 5, 2019   2 Comments

Labor Day salad

I had my dad, Connor and Dave over for a Labor Day BBQ and swim this past Monday. Of course, I made a Harmony Board for the occasion.

Another of the dishes I prepared was a quick, easy, healthy and delicious side salad. I’ll be making it again before the summer is over … which, sadly, isn’t for many more weeks here in the desert southwest.

One of the salad’s main ingredients is shishito peppers. Most grocery stores are carrying them now and you can always find them at Trader Joe’s. I forgot to take a photo of the bag before I began slicing the peppers, so this photo is of the bag filled with the stem ends that I was throwing away. Sorry!

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September 4, 2019   2 Comments

pretty in purple

As I mentioned in THIS POST, I do a lot of the shopping for veggies for the Crudités Harmony Boards at Sprouts. My favorite produce available there is the orange and purple cauliflower.

I had one last crudités and one final fruidités board to make the weekend before I left town. (Fruidités is a word I coined to mean a half crudités and fruit Harmony Board)

I store all the cheese, meat and fruit for Harmony Boards in my kitchen refrigerator. I store the vegetables in the garage refrigerator. I keep a list in my brain of what vegetables I had on hand, which in hindsight is a mistake.

Anyhow, I went to Sprouts and bought a load of vegetables, including head of purple cauliflower. Then I came home, pulled out the stock from the garage refrigerator and there was a nearly full head of purple cauliflower. Usually, that would not be of concern, but since I was only 48 hours from hopping on a plane… a problem it was.

In my opinion, there is a nearly perfect way to use up extra vegetables and that is in SOUP! Happily, I also had a few leftover purple potatoes. All these purple vegetables made me excited about purple soup.

Of course, I’ve made cauliflower soup before, but never purple soup. Some of you might be thinking, “What about borscht?” Nope, never made borscht, because I despise beets! Sorry, you’ll have to find a recipe for borscht elsewhere.

Roasted Purple Cauliflower and Purple Potato Soup

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August 19, 2019   2 Comments

summer’s perfect salad

I had a couple of extra busy weekends with Harmony Board orders. So far this first summer of Harmony Boards has been exactly as expected, slow! But for some reason, the first and second weekends of August exploded.

With that in mind, I may have been a tad overzealous about stone fruit season. First I went to Costco and bought a huge clamshells of peaches, red & Rainer cherries and red plums.

A day or two later I was at Sprouts shopping for purple (a purple soup recipe coming for you soon) and orange cauliflower for Crudités Harmony Boards.

It was then when I saw the extensive variety of stone fruit in season and on sale.  There were pink, red and black flesh plums, yellow plumcots, Jupiter peaches, nectarines, white peaches, etc.

As my vacation to Canada with Kim drew near, I knew I had more stone fruit product on hand than I had orders… oops. I was eating overripe plums for breakfast and snacks. Then it was cherries and peaches for lunch and after-dinner dessert.

While I was finishing up my final orders on the weekend before my flight, I knew I had to do more than snack on the quickly ripening fruit. I invited Connor and my dad over for dinner and made this salad.

* In my next post I’ll show you what I did with the remaining bits and pieces of fruit, cheese and veggies before I escaped the heat.

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August 14, 2019   1 Comment

Ribeye Cap

Until it cools off, I am going to be lucky to get one post up each week. Between my work on Harmony Boards, driving around town with deliveries and family commitments, I have zero energy or desire to cook. That’s the greatest thing about living alone, you don’t have to cook if you don’t want to!

With that in mind, I haven’t cooked for weeks, so I had to go back nearly two months to Father’s Day to dig up this recipe and photos.

Of course, there was a Father’s Day Harmony Board. I kept light and fairly healthy since steak was on the menu.

I wasn’t certain what I was going to make for Father’s Day dinner until I went to Costco and saw the special Father’s Day Roadshow they had in the meat section. It was there that I found this beautiful U.S.D.A. Prime cut of meat.

To be honest, I’d never seen or heard of a Beef Ribeye Cap Steak before but it looked beautiful and impressive, so I snatched it right up.

The helpful and kind butcher told me it was his favorite cut and recommended that I grill it over medium-high direct heat for about 7 minutes for this thickness. “Thank you, will do!”

Remember: Be sure to always rest meat before cutting. Especially when using it in a salad like this was. Resting the meat gives time for the juices to get back into the meat. You will lose less juice when you cut it and when you eat it the meat will be juicier and tastier. If you cut it too soon, the juices, which will look like blood, will flow out and that is not a nice look on a salad!

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July 30, 2019   11 Comments