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Cook in the Moment: Moroccan Carrot & Olive Salad

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Today you can find my recipe for Moroccan Carrot & Olive Salad over at the Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder website. I’m exploring the jet-black oil-cured olives from Morocco in combination with other North African flavors like sesame seeds and cilantro. I’ve got tips for using olives in summer salads, and keeping the saltiness in balance. Click on the Cooking Boulder logo to see my column and recipe. Thanks for reading!

10 Ways Tuesday: Olives

Olives (c)2011

I’ve got creative ways for cooking with olives:

1.  Simply Sautéed

In How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman shares a recipe for Sautéed Olives which embodies everything that is simple and good. He suggests that though olives don’t need cooking, they benefit an infusion of flavors like garlic and herbs. Served warm to begin the meal or as a side dish these olives are a great way to wake up the palate. He uses a mix of black and green olives, cooks them just long enough to heat through, then hits the olives with a splash of red wine vinegar. I think preserved lemon would be a nice touch, especially with black olives.

2.  Tapenade

Tapenade is a kitchen staple originating in southern France with seemingly endless uses. David Tanis includes a recipe for Olive Tapenade in A Platter of Figs. Simply grind pitted Niçoise olives, anchovy, garlic, and olive oil into a paste using a food processor. The paste will keep for weeks and can be spread on bread or crackers, meat or fish, or tossed with pasta.


Ingredient Of The Week: Olives

Ingredient Of The Week-Olives (c)2011

This week at La Domestique we’re wrapping up the summer pantry. The days are getting cooler, but markets are still full of beautiful summer produce like tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and corn. Fresh herbs are plentiful. We’re still enjoying salads and light pastas and cooking on the grill. The ingredient of the week is the olive, whose flavor is a fantastic match for the ingredients and cooking techniques of late summer. Salty olives bring complexity to summer salads. Their meaty texture adds heft to vegetable dishes. Puréed in a tapanade, olives make a delicious topping for grilled meats and fish. Look for more creative ideas for cooking with olives tomorrow on 10 Ways Tuesday. I’ll have recipes featuring olives as the star throughout the week. Here at La Domestique, learn about the many varieties of olives and how they are grown on Storyboard Thursday. Get to know olives by exploring the cuisines of North Africa, France, Italy, Spain, and Greece. If you’ve only had basic black or green olives, it’s time to try something new. I’m looking forward to cooking in the moment with you!


This Past Week at La Domestique: Herbs

This past week at La Domestique was devoted to the herbs of late summer: thyme, oregano, basil, mint, rosemary, and sage.  Cooking with herbs adds freshness and life to food. Their fragrant aroma and texture stimulates the senses. Herbs are freshest when they come from your own garden, and anyone with a sunny windowsill can grow a pot of thyme or mint. More than just a garnish, herbs are the star in sauces like pesto and salads like tabbouleh. Capture what’s left of summer by enjoying herbs before the garden goes quiet and cold.

In case you missed anything, I’ve got a recap for you!

Monday:  Announcing herbs as ingredient of the week.

Tuesday:  10 Ways Tuesday! Creative ideas for cooking with fresh herbs. Also, check out my weekly column at the Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder website. This week I write about using a molcajete to make pesto.


Bruschetta & Herbs 3 Ways

It’s Friday! Let’s celebrate with antipasto, also known as an appetizer. According to the Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion, the word, antipasto, means “before the meal” in Italian. Bruschetta is an Italian appetizer made with grilled bread and pretty much any topping you can think of. It can be simple, like grilled bread rubbed with garlic and tomato, or more involved, topped with a handful of ingredients like a pizza. In the Babbo Cookbook, Mario Batali writes when making bruschetta, “let your imagination run wild.” Today I prepared three different types of bruschetta inspired by three different herbs: rosemary, thyme, and mint.

Choosing the right bread and cooking it on a grill is very important to authentic bruschetta. Look for handmade loaves with a hard crust. Day old bread from a local bakery is perfect. I picked up a small Italian loaf. Slice the bread thin, about 1/2 inch or less, so it’s easy to eat. Brush the bread with olive oil and cook on a hot grill until it’s a bit charred with good grill marks. This method results in a crunchy outside and soft inside. You gotta have good bread to make good bruschetta, people.


Storyboard: Fresh Herbs

Herbs (c)2011


The Pleasure of Growing Herbs

This week at La Domestique has been devoted to the fresh herbs of summer. Cooking with fresh herbs is an easy and affordable way to add life and flavor to food. Herbs stimulate our senses with their pungent aromas and varied textures. Cooking with herbs is using your hands to pluck leaves from the stem. Chopping herbs with a knife releases their potent essential oils. Using herbs in the kitchen makes food more gratifying and interesting.

In The River Cottage Cookbook, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall writes:

“I find herbs incredibly rewarding, and it’s not just the cooking. To be in the garden and to be able to grab, on a whim, a few leaves to tear in the fingers, to release their distinctive, dependable scent, provides the gardener with regular tiny moments of tiny bliss.”


Cook in the Moment: Sea Bass with Salsa Verde & Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes

One of my absolute favorite summer flavor pairings is fresh herbs with a sweet, white fleshed fish like sea bass. Today I’m inspired by Italian salsa verde, or “green sauce.” Salsa verde is simply chopped herbs mixed with something briny (in this case I’m using capers), shallot, red pepper flakes for heat, chopped preserved lemon rind and olive oil to bind it all together. This last minute sauce is perfect for basic pan-seared fish. I picked sea bass because I wanted a special treat (sea bass is pricey, but so worth it), but you could make this dish with any white fish like halibut or cod. Cherry tomatoes are everywhere this time of year, and I enjoy them sautéed in a screaming hot pan. This cooking method concentrates their flavors and when you bite into the little tomatoes they burst in your mouth- so good! Black quinoa provides a stunning visual against the red tomatoes, white fish, and green sauce. It cooks just like regular quinoa, just a different color. Quinoa is gluten free and contains all essential amino acids to form a complete protein source. That means it’s good for you and it won’t spike your blood sugar.


10 Ways Tuesday: Herbs

Thyme (c)2011


I’ve got creative ideas for cooking with fresh summer herbs:

1.  Chimichurri

According to the Zuni Cafe Cookbook, chimichurri, is “an herbed chili-vinegar mixture used everywhere in Argentina.” It’s most commonly used on grilled meats but at the Zuni Cafe chimichurri is also enjoyed like a salsa. Judy Rodgers writes  that while everyone seems put their own touch on chimichurri, oregano and dried red chili are hallmark ingredients. Her recipe involves pouring warm oil over oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, charred jalapeño, paprika, garlic, and red wine vinegar. Saveur also has a recipe for chimichurri with asado, or grilled steak.

2.  Rosemary with Seafood, Italian Style

In the River Cottage Cookbook, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall refers to the Italian fondness for rosemary with fish. Here in the United States, we don’t often think of combining the strong, evergreen flavor of rosemary with delicate seafood- maybe it’s time to try something different? For example, Hugh suggests serving red mullet with a rosemary and anchovy compound butter or threading scallops with a sprig of rosemary and cooking them on the barbecue.


Ingredient of the Week: Herbs

Sage (c)2011

Though fall is just around the corner the days are still hot and the garden continues to produce. My herb garden grows wild and the more I pick the more it produces. This week at, we celebrate the essence of summer- fresh herbs. Heat loving herbs like basil, rosemary, lavender, thyme, oregano, sage and mint are still thriving in late summer. It would be a pity to let the season pass you by without taking a moment to appreciate the role herbs play in everyday cooking. Herbs are potent and aromatic. They come in many different textures, from the soft, delicate leaves of basil to woody stems of prickly rosemary to fuzzy sage. Their scent can be delicate and floral, pungent and musky, medicinal, fresh, or even savory. Some tender herbs are best enjoyed without exposure to heat, while robust varieties soften and mellow with cooking.


This Past Week at La Domestique: Melons

Melon (c)2011

This past week at La Domestique was devoted to the sweet, juicy melons of late summer and early fall. On a recent shopping trip at the grocery store I saw at least 6 varieties of melon. Here in Colorado, farmers are growing heirlooms and hybrids- it’s a great opportunity to try something new! As for using them in the kitchen, melons pair beautifully with late summer produce like chili peppers, limes, herbs, and figs. Eating a perfectly ripe melon is a feast for all your senses- the overwhelming musky aroma, juicy flesh, and gorgeous colors. Don’t let the season pass you by without exploring melons in all their many varieties.

In case you missed anything, I’ve got a recap for you!

Monday:  Announcing melons as the ingredient of the week plus I’ve got a new weekly column every Tuesday on the Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder website. This week I shared a recipe for Grilled Shrimp and Melon Salad.


About Jess

Jess O'Toole is La Domestique

Hi, I’m Jess, aka La Domestique. No matter how busy or cooking-challenged you are I can help you live the good life and enjoy fresh, healthy meals at home every day. Find out more

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