September 7, 2010

a most satisfying weekend

We had originally planned to go out of town, but staying at home over the long weekend proved to be a brilliant move, indeed. We did miles of hiking, watched a few Agnés Varda documentaries in the pleasantly brisk evenings (what a welcome change from the soupy nights of just last week!) with a glass of wine in hand, saw some friends play music, dove in to some creative pursuits, & cooked & ate to our hearts' content. By the end of the weekend we felt very rested, & as though we had some accomplishments under our belts.

One of our favorite summers'-end meals is a simple potato & green bean dish from the coast of Bretagne. Both hearty & light tasting, the mellow & buttery potato along with fresh crisp beans allowed us to really appreciate the pungency of our home-grown parsley, which, like the basil, grew madly in the hot & humid weather.

Fritattas are a staple in our house, & traditional Sunday morning fare if we don't go to one of our favorite brunch spots in a nearby town. A tomato, parsley, red onion, garlic & boursin rendition hit the spot, & was made entirely with produce from our garden or local farms.

And seeing as summer is quickly slipping past, cooking out felt like a must, it being a holiday weekend & the weather being so incredibly fair. We made another favorite, grilled vegetable kabobs (fondly referred to as "sticks" in our household, this iteration with soy "beef") with a garlic, ginger & toasted sesame marinade.

Cheers - enjoy the last bits of summer!

Garlic, Ginger & Toasted Sesame Marinade

Each time I make this marinade, it is slightly different as I don't measure anything, so the proportions vary. So far I have not been disappointed with the outcome, so don't be afraid to experiment & find your own perfect balance of flavors.

olive or canola oil
rice wine vinegar
toasted sesame oil
soy sauce
crushed fresh garlic
grated fresh ginger
chili paste, or a finely diced hot pepper of your choice
pinch of sugar
sesame seeds, if you fancy

Green Beans from the Brittany Coast
from From a Breton Garden by Josephine Araldo

1 1/2 pounds string beans, cut in 1/2-inch lengths
1/2 pound very small new potatoes, peeled (I never peel mine, & am pleased with the results)
1 small bunch scallions or 2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt (I use French sea salt for a crunchy counterpoint) & freshly ground pepper

Blanch the vegetables in boiling salted water, first the green beans until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes, then the potatoes until they can be pierced easily with a fork. Drain the vegetables when they are cooked and reserve.

While the vegetables blanch, sauté the shallots & garlic in the butter until limp. Add the blanched vegetables to the shallot/garlic mixture. Stir to coat with butter, adding to taste. Toss in the parsley and season with salt & pepper. Serve very hot.

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