Tomatoes Provençal # French Fridays with Dorie (Catch-up)

Its been almost two weeks since we moved to India.  My toddler hasn't yet come to terms with the move. He constantly insists that we get back "home." I guess it takes time to get used to the heat and dampness .... the very things that breathe home to us....

My toddler celebrating my grandma's birthday in Kolkata
After living with my parents in Kolkata for a week, toddler and I finally moved to Bhubaneshwar over the weekend. The city of Bhubaneshwar, experienced a IT boom a couple of years back. As a result apartments with basic facilities are mushrooming everywhere, but so far, we have not been able to find a place that is close enough to the institute where my husband works. So we are living out of our suitcases in a guest house and looking for a place we can call home.   

Under the present circumstances, cooking is not an option. We've been eating in the student's canteen. The food in the canteen is tasty but spicy. Way too spicy if you ask me... The toddler wisely has turned towards healthier options. He has been surviving on plain white rice, oats, boiled eggs, milk and bananas. The combination has been keeping him happy and energetic, so we are not overly worried about the lack of greens and colors in his diet. Afterall this arrangement is temporary and hopefully things will start falling in place soon....

In an effort to keep pace with the Doristas, I prepared a few dishes from AMFT, before we left US. This baked tomato dish was a particular favorite. Because tomatoes were cheap, and preparing the dish is easy, I kept including Tomatoes Provençal (sometimes an "almost-Indianized" variant of it), as a side for every other meal. In all its avatars this dish was well received... So, in case you are running out of ideas or enthusiasm for an  elaborate side for dinner tonight,  consider this simple baked tomato dish..

To prepare it, preheat your oven to 375°F,  cut few tomatoes in halves, mix crushed garlic, basil plus few other herbs of your choice, salt and pepper and olive oil in a bowl, rub the mixture over the open halves of the tomatoes, place them in a greased baking tray and bake for 50 minutes, basting the tomatoes once in between with the juice released from them... and viola ! Tomatoes Provençal is ready to enjoy. I think, baked with a sprinkle of pesto and mozzarella on top, these baked tomatoes will also make excellent starters at any girly party ....

You can find Dorie's recipe for Tomatoes Provençal in her book Around My French Table . Also it has been published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Kiwi Pear Basil Smoothie

Hi ! Hope you all are keeping well and enjoying summer to the fullest. We've been busy packing our way off USA. With only three weeks left to go to India, the move is finally feeling more real every day. Piece by piece our furnitures are selling off, cardboard boxes are getting filled and stacked around the corners. Our car is sold and right now, we are pretty much dependent on friends and rentals to move around. The move is a little confusing for our toddler. He was born here and to him, India has always meant holiday. He cannot yet understand the need to give away everything before leaving for India... Guess it'll take sometime before the idea of moving countries sink into him..


Toddler friendly Salmon Cakes

I had read about the health benefits of salmon and had ever since been looking for ways to introduce it to my son's diet. While I enjoyed most of the salmon dishes that I tried, my son wasn't very keen on them until I made these salmon cakes the other day.


 Berry Boy Bait ☆☆☆

Now we all know that berries are an excellent bait for boys....

So it is not surprising that in 1954, a 15 year old made a buttery blueberry coffee cake and seeing the effect it had on boys, named it Blueberry Boy Bait. The cake recipe that Renny Powell from Chicago had submitted a  recipe to the Pillsbury $100,000 Recipe and Baking Contest, only won her second place in the youth division that year, but it has stood the test of time and has been in circulation ever since.


(Chunky) Guacamole with tomatoes and bell peppers #French Fridays with Dorie

This is the first non-fishy French Friday of June. Boy ! am I glad ! 

So the Doristas picked Guacamole for this Friday. Though a Mexican dip, Guacamole has apparently become a standard in France.  Dorie says that in chic restaurants there, they serve it in tartines dotted with shrimps, as the base for salmon tartare, in layered crab salads or even as a garnish on gazpacho. I have already tried the 'crab avocado ravioli' and avocado with salmon in a different recipe and can image how good those French dishes with guacamole must be.

Dorie says that for most of their dishes, the French buy the guacamole, but she likes to make her own. She makes it two ways, chunky and smooth. For the chunky version, she mixes lime zest, chopped cilantro leaves, slices of  red onion, jalapeno and salt with a fork. Then adds chunks of avocado, chopped red bell pepper and cherry tomatoes to it. Squeezes some lime juice over it before seasoning the mixture with salt, pepper and some hot sauce and finishing with a garnish of cilantro leaves. For the smooth, she uses the same ingredients but blends them using a mortar and pestle. 

For want of a mortar and pestle I went for the chunky version and served it with chili and slices beer bread. The Guacomole and the combination as a whole was such a hit that the whole bowl was wiped clean over dinner that night. This recipe will certainly be a repeat in our house.

Visit French Fridays with Dorie to know what the other members thought about this spread. You can find the  recipe for this guacamole here . For more such delicious recipes order your copies of Around my French Table and join the Doristas in this tasty adventure.
I shall be sharing this spread at these parties...



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