Over the last few weeks, things slowed down for me and I have had the chance to cook. It somehow felt different from my regular cooking. I am often cooking for a purpose - testing a recipe, for photos for my upcoming new website, etc. But the last two weeks felt like cooking for the pure enjoyment of cooking! It was fabulous.
I found a few different recipes that were heavenly. I made Afghan Roasted Chicken from The Barbeque Bible by Steven Raichlen and also Dukkah-Crusted Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Molasses from Bon Appétit magazine. The Dukkah Crust was fabulous and the next day I roasted sweet potatoes and sprinkled the left over crust over them. I also sprinkled it over roast pork and chicken. The pistachio and earthy spice combination was finger licking good! I would highly recommend trying out this recipe.
I also made an Autumn Jewel salad created by Abra Bennet. I met Abra through Personal Chefs Network. She is an incredibly knowledgeable woman who I admire so much - versed in it feels like every cuisine, spice and technique. She is now living in France, writing a cookbook and living a life I am very envious of. You can follow her journey on her blog French Letters, but I warn you it is amazing and addictive.
One of Abra's original creations, Autumn Jewel Salad, is the perfect combination of ingredients. And luckily the produce is still available. So I am calling the salad Jewel Salad since it is no longer autumn. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Abra's Jewel Salad
Serves 10 - 12
6 tablespoons walnut oil
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons white verjus (see note)
2 cups arugula
1 cup radicchio
2 cups mixed greens
2 Fuyu persimmons -- sliced
2 cups halved red grapes
1 cup pomegranate seeds
2/3 cup toasted whole almonds
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake to emulsify.
Arrange salad ingredients beautifully and drizzle with dressing.
NOTE: Verjus (pronounced vair-ZHOO) is the tart, fresh juice of unripe wine grapes. It is a culinary ingredient indigenous to the world's wine producing regions that is used in sauce making, for poaching fish and meat, and to dress lettuces, vegetables and fruit. Verjus or "verjuice" as it is sometimes called, literally means green juice in the sense that it's made from fruit that has yet to fully ripen — it's green. It is used to add acidity to foods, an important component in food and in cooking.
SUBSTITUTION: To make 1/3 cup verjus, mix 3 Tablespoon white grape juice with 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar.