Minted Zucchini Tagliatelle with Cucumbers and Lemon

I love ribbon.  Satin, paper, wired, grosgrain.  It doesn't matter the kind.    In my pastry kitchen I have spools and spools on a dowel to tie around cake boxes.  Each ribbon is "frenched" to add the little notch at the end.  Love it.   Add tissue paper and a nice sticker and I'm all yours.  When I read the title to the recipe, I honestly thought that we were going to make a pasta dish.  Oh contraire!  The tagliatelle are ribbons of zucchini.   It was going to be just plain fun to make.  Fun and really pretty.  Plus, it's fresh, healthy  and so lovely! Poor zucchini.  It gets mispelled, and is one of the vegetables we're happy to see... for awhile.   Then they end up in the office breakroom in a pile looking for good homes.  Sometimes they even end up on your doorstep!   With the help of a mandolin, the zucchini in this recipe is sliced into gorgeous ribbons.  With the addition of  simple lemon viniagrette, cucumbers, mint and lemon the ribbons become a beautiful salad.  This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe makes the zucchini the star.  No mock apple pie, bread, pizza, just simple pretty zucchini.

I feel badly that I can't post the Around My French Table recipes on Fridays.  If you've been following my blogs each Friday, you might want to take the plunge and buy the book - or check it out from the library, if you don't already have it.  It's going to be a classic and I promise you won't be disappointed. Good news.  I'll be making it up to you next Tuesday.  It's a surprise!

When we were in San Francisco, in Chinatown, a shop keeper gave Gary a demo of some super sharp and cool garnishing tools.  He bought three and has been eager to give them a try.  Once I finished with my recipe he asked if he could use the left over pieces.  A few minutes later he brought me the pretty carvings to garnish my plates.   So pretty!


The best tool for making the ribbons is a mandolin.   It's a razor sharp blade to pass the vegetables over.  I have great respect for mandolins.   Injuries from them are deep, fast and almost always require a visit to the ER.   They may perfect for the ribbon making, but only with the guard and slow careful movements.  I'll tangle with the box grater, but never the mandolin.   I got it out, was extra careful, and look at how great the zucchini turned out!


Embrace the gifts of zucchini, and enjoy the bounty of the summer harvest!

Stay tuned for a great dessert next week!

Lime, Honey, Beet Salad - Can't Beat It!

Summer's in full swing.  The corn is growing, vegetables are more plentiful at farmers' markets, and life is very busy!  Summer salads are great.   After a busy day, it's so nice to wash off the garden dirt and have a late supper.  Vegetables, and perhaps something on the grill or quickly sauteed.   You don't heat up the house, or feel too full.    Got herbs?  Here's just the recipe for a hot summer night. This week's French Friday's With Dorie recipe is Lime Honey Beet Salad.  Another one of those love it, or hate it recipes.  It's a salad worth creating the meal around.   We love beets.  And,  the ones we found at the grocery were perfect.  Earthy, deep red and ready for roasting.   It took about an hour to roast three large beets.  I quartered them, covered them with foil, and roasted at 400.



While they were roasting, I prepared the rest of the ingredients.  The green, murky dressing smells amazing!  Lime, Dill, Chive, vinegar and a little oil.   Here's the before mixing photo.



We were really hungry and the salad smelled great.   After I peeled the beets and tossed them in the dressing, they rested while I quickly sauteed the shrimp and we ate the salad just a bit warmer than room temperature.   It was delicious!  Every time we make a simple Dorie recipe that seems like "why is this going to be good?"  the recipe  always exceed our expectations.  The lime, honey and herbs are perfect with the beets.  I added garlic, cayenne and lime juice to the shrimp.  It was a great, simple combination.    This one is a recipe you'll make again and again.   I would serve this to guests anytime.   Warm in the fall with some goat cheese, and cool in the summer.





Mussels with Chorizo - Be Still My Heart!


Hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day.    It seems like Valentine's Day ends the winter holidays, and we can officially start looking toward spring.   It's been a mild winter here, but I'm ready to some simple, spicy springy dishes.   This recipe for Mussels with Chorizo  fits the bill perfectly.    Some of my favorite times with friends have included mussels.   It's so fun to gather in the kitchen around a big steaming pan and a basket of bread.    I remember Tuesdays night  in Madison at an all-u-can-eat Moules and Frittes night at a sweet French restaurant.   So many flavors, and happy memories.

Since Around My French Table arrived, I've had my eye on this recipe.    I love mussels, love chorizo, love garlic, what more is there to say?    My all time favorite mussel preparation is white wine, garlic, butter and little thyme.  The sauce for dipping is SO good.  I've served this a many small parties and people who don't even think they like mussels love them.   The FFWD recipe had stiff competition, but I felt positive given the great ingredients.

I still follow the rule that you should eat mussels during months with "r"  in them.   So May, June, July and August, sorry.   I'm sure the mussels we get are culitivated, and it really doesn't matter.  But it kind of adds to the romance of mussels.   Living in the midwest, it's not exactly the seafood capital, but our fish monger does a great job and we've never had any funky mussels.    Once the mussels are home, I pick through them and toss out any that aren't completely closed.  Before I toss them, I give them a little tap and see it they'll close.  If not, it's adios.   Can't risk eating a bad mussel.

The recipe serves 4, and there are only two of us so I used about 2# of mussels.

The recipe starts with the usual cast of characters. red pepper, onion and lots-o-garlic.

My chorizo was in a plastic tube, and soft.  I cut the tube in half, squeezed it into the pan, then sauteed the chorizo with the vegetables.   Oh the smell!   It's so easy to wrap up the rest and use it another time.


After everything melded together, in went the tomatoes and wine.   I only used one can of tomatoes since there were fewer mussels, and I decided to eat them in bowl with baguette rather than pasta.  I'm guessing there may have been a little more wine.

Here's are the little mussels just after putting them in the pan.

The lid went on tightly for 3-5 minutes, and ta-da!  Here's they are just a few minutes later.

That's it gang!  Into a soup bowl with a nice toasted baguette slices drizzled with some olive oil.    We have a mussel eating tradition which is to use one mussel like a castenet and pinch the mussel from the others shells.   It's fun, easy, drippy and delicious and no silverware is required.    The bread soaks up the incredible sauce.   Just have a big napkins standing by.     At the end of the pot, we had no unopened mussels - success!

I have a plan to make both sauces and have a little mussel fest in March.   We loved this recipe!