A French touch to Southern Grits!

Now for those of you who know me, and know me well…you know I am not a southern girl. In fact, I have never felt more French since I moved to Atlanta. Grits…being so very southern, a staple for many at most dinner tables..needed my attention. So, here’s my take on grits.

Seafood Southern Grits…à la française.
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 small bunch of baby asparagus spears
8 oz baby bella mushrooms
12 large shrimp, uncooked
8 large sea scallops
6 oz fresh haddock, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely minced
1 tbls finely chopped green onions
2 tbls cognac
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup cream
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1tbls wild porcini sea salt (available at Williams Sonoma)
Few threads of saffron

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Prepared Grits

A note about grits…the best grits I have found are Heirloom Grits (Riverview Blend – Certified Organic) by Virgina Willis “My Southern Pantry”. I follow her directions on the package, using milk instead of water for creamier grits and I add twice the amount of butter, bien sûr, as well as a cup of shredded cheese…Comté!

1. Prepare grits.

2. Sauté Bella mushrooms in a large sauté pan and in butter until nicely browned, remove to plate and set aside. Keep sauté pan on stovetop to use for seafood.

3. Blanche asparagus tips in boiling salted water for 3 minutes, transfer to an ice water bath (this process helps maintain the chlorophyll and beautiful green color…no one likes army green!), remove from ice water bath and set aside on a plate.

4. Sauté and brown scallops in butter over medium-high heat. Add fish and shrimp, do not overcrowd. Cook until fish flakes, shrimp turns pink, and scallops are translucent. Remove seafood from pan, set aside on plate. Careful not to overlook seafood or it will all be tough. Remember, this is going to get reheated in the sauce.

5. In same saucepan, add a tbls of butter and sauté shallots, green onions and garlic. Add cognac (not over an open flame!) and return to heat. Add white wine, reduce by half. Add cream and seasonings, bring to boil.

6. To the sauce, add mushrooms, asparagus, scallops, shrimp and fish…toss.

7. Plate the grits in a shallow bowl or soup plate. I love these oval plates from Williams Sonoma.
Top with 3 shrimp, 2 scallops, fish and scatter the asparagus and mushrooms around top. Garnish with diced tomatoes (peeled and seeded) and sliced green onions. Spoon a little sauce over the top. Maybe even a ribbon of gorgeous olive oil around the grits. Ok, I’m feeling just a little bit southern tonight!

Bon appetit!!

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No Grain Granola…”Quatre Coins”

I’m not much of a “Granola” girl but I do love this recipe, which I call “Quatre Coins Granola” because I use ingredients from my four favorite regions in the World; New England, Provence, Pacific Islands and La Réunion in the Indian Ocean. More about vanilla from the Réunion Island later. Follow my blog!

Ingredients:
2 cups sliced, raw almonds
2 cups unsweetened coconut chips or flakes
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds ( optional )
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup organic, unrefined coconut oil
1/3 cup lavender honey
Vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

In a large bowl, combine all nuts, seeds, dried fruit and spices.

Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds, saving the bean.

In a small saucepan, combine coconut oil and lavender honey with the vanilla bean and seeds. Heat just to boil and remove from heat, infusing the vanilla, for a minute. Remove the vanilla bean and pour this over the dry ingredients, mixing well.

Spread the granola mixture on baking sheets ( probably two sheets ) lined with parchment paper or Reusable cookie sheet liners ( love these!).

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Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Granola should be nice and brown. Allow to cool before breaking it up, leaving some nice big chunks. Let dry before packing in storage jars or air-tight containers.

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Gluten-free, this granola makes a great snack, breakfast, or dessert…topped with your favorite yogurt and fruit. Bon appetit!

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Provençal Tricolor Tomato Tartare

Provençal Tricolor Tomato Tartare served with grilled Sockeye Salmon

Tricolor Tomato Tartare

Ooh-la-la, this is the season of vine-ripened tomatoes of varied, splendid varietie!. Serve this up as a starter or light lunch for a fresh and healthy feeling of summertime! I served mine with grilled Salmon and used Williams Sonoma Salmon Rub for spices; it contrasts perfectly the mild Mediterranean flavors of the Tricolor Tomato Tartare.

Pair it with a Rosé from Provence or a crisp White Sauvignon Blanc.

Bon appétit!

The ingredients; ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella and olives

Serves :  4

Ingredients:

6 large ripe Tomatoes, of different colors.

I prefer Heirloom Tomatoes

4 ounces firm Mozzarella

Handful of pitted Niçoise or Kalamata Olives

Olive oil

Salt, Pepper to taste

Fresh Basil

Quarter and seed the tomatoes, dice small. Dice the mozzarella, and the olives. Try keeping these ingredients diced the same size and as small as possible. Layer the basil leaves and chop. Place all these ingredients together in a bowl and drizzle with a good olive oil. I used a lovely one from Castelas, Les Castelines Basil & Mint Olive Oil.  Toss gently. Add salt and pepper. For an added kick, add a squirt of lemon juice and a pinch Espelette pepper.

To serve, using a ring mold, place the ring on the plate and spoon the Tartare into the mold, pressing down slightly to compact it. Lift the ring and continue to plate the other servings. Garnish with a sprig of basil and toasted, thin slices of country bread or baguette. Perfect for a light luncheon or with grilled fish or chicken for a healthy dinner!

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