Cowgirl Chef: A red, white and bleu menu for the 4th

Posted Friday, Jun. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Mesclun with Gorgonzola and blueberry vinaigrette Makes 4 servings 5 ounces mixed greens or mesclun 1/2 cup Gorgonzola crumbles 1/2 cup blueberries 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted Blueberry vinaigrette, recipe follows 1. Put your salad greens, Gorgonzola, blueberries and pine nuts in a large bowl, along with a big pinch of sea salt and pepper. 2. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the blueberry vinaigrette and toss. Taste for seasonings. Serve right away. Blueberry vinaigrette: 1/2 cup blueberries 1/4 cup of champagne vinegar 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallot Sea salt and pepper 1/2 cup olive oil 1. Put the blueberries, champagne vinegar, mustard, shallot and a pinch of salt and pepper in your food processor or blender and pulse till blended. Slowly drizzle in olive oil. Taste for seasonings. Nutritional analysis unavailable.
Fourth of July flank steak Makes 4 to 6 servings Adapted from a Grace Parisi recipe in ‘Food & Wine’ magazine, this is basically a balsamic vinaigrette used as a marinade. I like to make extra and keep it in the fridge for salads. 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar Small handful fresh rosemary 2 garlic cloves, chopped 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard Sea salt and pepper About 2/3 cup olive oil 1 1/2 pounds flank steak 1. Mix the first four ingredients in a blender with some salt and pepper; then slowly add the oil while the motor is running. Pour over the steak in a sealed plastic bag and squish it around to make sure the meat is well covered with the marinade. Leave at room temperature for a half-hour and no longer. 2. In a skillet over high heat, pull the meat out of the bag (making sure to let most of the marinade drip off) and lay it in a very hot skillet. It should sear and sizzle when it touches the pan. Leave it for 5 minutes or so, then turn to the other side and let it cook for a couple more minutes. 3. Remove from the skillet to a plate and cover with foil for 5 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain and serve immediately. Cowgirl tip: This steak makes great leftovers — in quesadillas, on salads or tossed into a stir-fry. Nutritional analysis unavailable.
Red, white and blue crispy potato mashdown Makes 4 servings 28 ounces small potatoes, a mix of red, white (Yukon Gold are good), and blue Sea salt and pepper Olive oil Creme fraiche or sour cream, for serving (optional) 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. 2. Put the potatoes, covered by a couple of inches of salty water, in a large pot to boil. When it boils, reduce the heat and cook just until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a knife. You don’t want them to overcook and fall apart. Drain the potatoes and put them on paper towels to dry. 3. Lightly coat each potato with olive oil, and place on the cookie sheet. Using a spatula, gently smash down the potatoes until you’ve flattened them a bit, and sprinkle a little salt and pepper over them. Slide them into the oven for 15 minutes; if they’re brown on the bottom, pull them out and, again, gently flip them to the other side. Let them cook for an additional 10 minutes or so. Serve immediately with a spoonful of creme fraiche or sour cream. Nutritional analysis unavailable.
Strawberry fleur de sel chocolate chip shortcakes Makes 6 servings 2 cups flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/3 cup sugar 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1/3 cup whipping cream 2 ounces Lindt fleur de sel chocolate bar, chopped into smallish pieces 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced 4 tablespoons sugar, divided 8 ounces whipping cream 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 2. Put the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in the food processor and pulse a time or two. 3. Add the pats of butter, and pulse three or four times, or until you see a combination of large and small pebblelike pieces throughout. 4. Whisk the eggs into the cream and add this to the dry mixture, pulsing three or four times to loosely combine. Don’t worry about bringing this together in a mass; you want it to look quite crumbly. 5. Turn the dough out on a floured board, and add the chocolate bits. Gently press down the dough with your hands so it’s a large, flat disc, about 1 inch thick. Cut into 6 pielike wedges (or use a large biscuit cutter if you want them to be round) and place on the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until the shortcakes begin to brown. 6. While the shortcakes are baking, mix together the sliced strawberries and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Then whip the cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. 7. To serve, use a fork to gently break the shortcakes in two. Put a couple of spoonfuls of strawberries on the bottom half, add as much whipped cream as you’d like, and top with the other half of the shortcake. Nutritional analysis unavailable.

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Living in France for six years makes an indelible mark on things that you wouldn’t even think of.

The other day, back here in the ol’ U.S. of A., I wanted to ask someone to borrow a pen and “stylo” nearly came out of my mouth. I still have to stop myself from saying “Merci, au revoir” every time I leave a store, as is customary in France.

And when I think of the color blue, I think of it as bleu, and when I think of bleu , it’s France and Roquefort and bleu cheese all over again … sigh.

But as it happens, there’s plenty of blue cheese around here, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a special day than having it be part of the party.

Red or rouge, blue or bleu, white or blanc…whichever language you’re speaking, I figured a menu using les tricolores — sorry, I meant these three colors — would be far more interesting than simply arranging blueberries and strawberries in an American flag pattern on a sheet cake. Especially when there are so many red, white, and blue foods to eat this time of year.

Take bleuberries, one of our state’s greatest gifts to summer. Sure, they’re great in a pie, but I’ve made a vinaigrette with them and tossed them into a salad, along with Gorgonzola, making it a very blue salad indeed. The sweet, fat berries make a perfect contrast to Gorgonzola’s slightly salty note.

Flank steak, whether cooked on a grill or done in a skillet inside, as I’ve done here, shouldn’t be cooked more than rare — which is definitely red — but if you’re French, you’ll cook it only to bleu, which is this side of rare, because there’s nothing worse in France than a steak that’s been overcooked.

With the steak, instead of frites, I’m suggesting a mashdown of red, white and blue potatoes, which, if you haven’t tried this boil-em, then smash-and-bake-em technique, you absolutely must. It’s like eating a cross between a perfectly crisp fried potato and one that’s been baked — without all of the grease.

Oui , they do take a bit more time to make than a one-step baking or boiling process, but the crunchy outsides and fluffy insides are worth the wait.

For dessert, make a strawberry shortcake — but one that’s loaded with chunks of fleur de sel chocolate and rich whipped cream.

It’s an easy, patriotic dinner no matter which side of the pond you happen to be on.

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