Morning is hard for me especially in the winter time when it is still dark outside…
The woman ahead of me had just picked up a “Panier” (a pre-ordered weekly selection of the farmer’s own crops). Too asleep to start thinking about a menu, I asked Christian if he would mind putting together a “panier” for me.
He asked if I wanted the 12 or 24, I answered 12 but was not sure if it was 12 items, 12 kilos or 12 euro. Nevertheless, I figured the smaller one would be just fine. Christian started piling things into a large bin, adding more and more items and I wondered if he had heard me right on the size… I walked away with three bagfulls for a very small 12 euro!
I naturally ordered the a basket for next week. I love both the challenge of it and not having to choose early in the morning.
Next I headed to Ignace my cheese stand and picked up another container of the wonderful ricotta I used last week, a goat yoghurt and a gorgeous chicken they raise on their dairy farm. It is completely free roaming and fed only organic grains and herbs and best of all, no corn. As the light got stronger, things were getting clearer in my mind.
I went to a local gourmet shop and got some prunes.
Here is what was in my basket:
1 head of Savoy Cabbage
1 Buttercup Squash (not butternut)
1 bag of Brussel Sprouts
2 Golden Rutabagas
1 large Celeriac
1 bag of red skinned potatoes 1 bag of dirty Carrots (I have learned and experienced, that dirty carrots are packed with much more flavor and keep better. Worth the trouble of washing off the dirt) …
But wait I am not done with my Panier… there is more!
1 bag of Belgian endives (here they are called Chicons)
1 bag of Mâche (salade de blé)
1 bunch of Parsley
13 different vegetables (maybe I got a freebie) for 12 euros and a good amount of each one. Definite score!
I am not sure however, that I’ll be able to pack all of them into one meal… I am thinking for lunch tomorrow I will make a nice salad with the celeriac, Mâche and chicons with a goat yoghurt dijon sauce. Add a nice baguette and good olive oil and that will be it. For dinner, I have a friend coming to visit from Saudi so I will prepare a Ricotta and savoy cabbage “sformato” (sort of flan) as an appetizer and a nice moroccan style chicken with caramelized lemons and spices with a side of roasted vegetables with prunes.
Of course life does not always go as planned. As I was preparing my tools to shred my Celeriac for lunch, a friend showed up for a morning coffee and chat and we were having such a good time, we eneded up having lunch together and my work day started a bit later than anticipated. I made the celeriac salad anyways and ended up serving it as a little “Aperitif” bedore dinner.
IN A bowl, mix in 6 tbs of goat yogurt with 2 tsp of strong dijon mustard, 1 tbs of olive oil, pinch of salt and fresh black pepper. Whisk ingredients until nice and smooth.
MIX the celeriac with the goat sauce, add fresh dill or your favorite fresh herb and refrigerate for about 1 hour. Mix angain and serve.
Next I started working on dinner. I had to focus now as Vicky was on the train from London and if I wanted us to have dinner at a decent enough hour, I had to have things well on their way before I picked her up at Gare du Midi.
The menu, mostly unchanged was going to be
Aperitif: Celery with Goat remoulade (done)
Appetizer: Savoy Cabbage “Sformato with fettunta”
Main course: Grilled Farmer chicken with Moroccan marinade and a side of root vegetables with “Ras el Hanut”
First I prepared the marinade:
IN A mortar add 2 pinches of saffron threads with 2 tsp of coarse sea salt and grind. Add 1 clove of garlic, 1 tsp of ground sweet paprika, 1 tsp hot paprika or chili, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1 tbl lemon juice, 1 tbs olive oil and work into a nice paste.
BUTTERFLY your whole chicken (or you can use pre-cut breasts bone in and thighs. Cut deep slashes through the breasts and thighs of the chicken and rub in the marinade all over. Refrigerate about 2 hours and remove from the fridge 1 hour before to bring back to room temperature.
My chicken came with necks and other bones so I was able to prepare a nice chicken stock out of it.
NEXT I prepared the spices for the vegetables, I made a mix called “Ras El Hanut”, note that the quantities are so you have it ready future use. Mix all of the spices together and store in a nice tight closing jar or tin:
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cayennepepper or hot Paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp tumeric
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tsp ground cardamon (I did not have any)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp ground coriander
3 tsp pre-ground nutmeg or
1 tsp freshly ground
NEXT came preparing the vegetables. I spent a good amount of time washing the “dirty” carrots and potatoes…. and I cut in to chunks all the vegetables I was going to use. Carrots, Squash, Potatoes, Rutabagas, Turnips. Peeled and halved the 5 shallots and added 4 garlic cloves with the skin on.
THEN I started working on the appetizer: Heat the oven at 200C or 425F I removed all the dark green leaves of the cabbage and blanched them in salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes. I shredded (with a knife) the rest of the savoy head and sautéed it in 2 tbs of olive oil until nice and soft. About 8-20 minutes on low heat.
I mixed a cup and a half of ricotta with 4 eggs and 1/2 cup small dices or shreddings of a nice semi-soft sheeps milk cheese (you can always use parmesan or any other cheese). Mixed all until completely smooth and added some nutmeg, fresh black pepper and 1 tbs of olive oil. The I added the cooked cabbage. I lined each mold with a large cabbage leaf and filled it with the mixture. I bake them for about 30-45 minutes until firm and nicely browned.
IN A large backing dish I add the carrots, shallots and garlicwith 1/2 cup of olive oil and some salt. I bake it for 15 minutes.
THEN I added the Pumkin, potatoes, rutabaga and turnips. Added 3 tsp of my spice mix and tossed well. Baked it for 30 minutes.
FINALLY I added the prunes, and mixed 2 cups of my chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock or even water) with 1 tbs of honey and poured it over the vegetables and returned it to the oven for the last half an hour.
AT this point I also put my chicken in my grill (double sided grill)
I have so many left overs which is great! I am going to a party tonight. I will cook some cous-cous (5 minutes) and heat the veggies around it, drizzle it with the stock and I’ll have a gorgeous and delicious vegetables cous-cous ready in no time.
I also have plenty of the celeriac salad and today I will mix it with the endives and Mâche as I had originally planned and serve it with some nice “charcuterie”.
Tomorrow I will use my brussel sprouts and at some point I will make a flavorul Grated carrot salad with the ones I did not use.
From Catherine @ Sainte Catherine and my happy well fed friend Vicky,
As I mentioned the next day I was going to a party and I bought some organic Bulghur to make a cous cous, used the chicken broth I had made, heated the vegetables in it and I was ready to go to my pot-lock party!