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Posts from the ‘EAT’ Category

Discovering the soul of summer…in Iowa?

As the landing gear embarked from the bottom on the plane, I found myself excited to be touching down in Des Moines. In less than a few hours we had left the big apple and were now headed deep into the heartland. This is where food GROWS, massive fields of corn and soy beans flanking the roadside, people wave when they drive past, and small railroad towns hang on with yesterday’s charm. We were in Iowa and I was ready for some family time. My husband grew up in Iowa, moving away as an adult some years back. For him Iowa holds the same hum-drum feeling that Hawaii does for me. Once you live there a while the shine wears off and it becomes mundane. That’s why I however, LOVE Iowa, with its clean air, fireflies, undulating fields and its family atmosphere. It is nothing like Manhattan that’s for sure. Regardless, I was happy to be there. This visit to Iowa was two-fold, on the upswing of life we were visiting two new additions to the family and on the down swing for a funeral. It’s amazing experiencing the circle of life so purely… However, this is not a life blog, this is a food & wine blog so let’s switch it back to what you all should know about Iowa’s’ bounty.

The next morning after arriving in town, I awoke with my nieces and my mother & sister-in-law to head north on a mission to harvest our own blueberries at The Berry Patch Farm.

http://www.berrypatchfarm.com/

The Berry Patch Farm is a small family owned farm northeast of Des Moines and oh, how excited I was to visit them because to pick your own is to pick the best! The entire way there I was contemplating recipes while carrying on a conversation with my almost three-year-old niece. It was pure heaven…Once there we were standing in the middle of a huge blueberry farm, settled into a routine, picking handfuls of plump little blueberries and dumping them into plastic buckets. All of us sweating, tasting and grinning while the morning sun beat down on our backs. We finished up before the morning sun made its way toward lunch, bellies rumbling, we had managed to pick enough berries for all of us to bring some home. Believe me folks, when I say those containers of berries for $5 at the grocery store are worth every penny! It is backbreaking labor to harvest these little gems and I couldn’t wait to use them. We packed up the blueberries, savored fresh peaches at the farm stand and headed home. The next couple of days were filled with blueberries, some in smoothies, some alone, but I was saving mine for when I returned to New York…

EAT:

Hazelnut Meal Crusted Blueberry + Maple Tartlets

*adapted from the Clean Start Cookbook by Terry Walters

Serves 8-10 | Prep time: 30 minutes | Rest time: 1 hour

The Crust:

2 Cups Hazelnut Meal (you could also use almond, if using whole nuts, blanc, de-skin and pulse in a food processor)

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp Maple Syrup

1 tsp Almond Extract

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Good Pinch of Sea Salt

Filling:

2 Cups Fresh Organic Blueberries

1 Cup Apple Juice (I actually juiced two pink lady apples for mine)

1/3 Cup Maple Syrup

2 tbsp Arrow-Root Powder

Zest of 1 Organic Lemon

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

1/2 tsp Almond Extract

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Good Pinch of Sea Salt (I used Himalayan Sea Salt)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F and brush a tart pan or shallow ramekins with coconut oil.

To prepare the crust, combine in a large bowl, the almond meal, maple syrup, coconut oil (if solid heat the coconut butter in a pan until melted), salt, almond & vanilla extracts and mix thoroughly with a fork until well combined. Tip the crumbly dough into the tart pan and press to form the crust. Place the pan in the oven and bake for roughly 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool while you make the filling.

For the filling, whisk 1/2 cup of the apple juice and the arrow-root powder together and set aside. In a saucepan over med low heat, combine the remaining apple juice, lemon zest, lemon juice, almond & vanilla extracts, salt and half of the blueberries. Bring to a simmer and once the liquid turns blueish red, and the apple juice and arrow-root mixture. Stirring the entire time this should thicken up pretty quickly. Once thickened to your preference add the remaining blueberries. Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and refrigerate for at least an hour. I actually waited just an hour because I like tarts slightly warm. Then enjoy!!

DRINK:

Now to wash it all down or to sip on a hot day, maybe after a long morning of gardening…or if you want something festive sans alcohol.

Sparkling Thai Basil + Lime Agua Fresca

I large (32 oz.) mason jar (could use individual size pint jars)

A couple of sprigs of Thai Basil or any other basil for that matter

Juice of 1 lime

1 part sparkling San Pellegrino or sparkling water

1 part pure filtered cold tap water

A dash of agave syrup if you like it sweet

Add everything to the mason jar, shake it up, taste for sweetness and pour over fresh ice! Enjoy!

Kelsey Byus + Fred Scott of Locally Grown Clothing

SEE:

Now for some other notable places to check out while in the Des Moines area. The local farmers market on Saturday morning. This farmers’ market showcases incredible farm raised meats and fresh produce abound, not to mention a plethora of street food vendors. Although I would like to see more organic produce available, it is the perfect place to take the kids, they won’t even know you are teaching them about vegetables! And if you are really wanting to support the slow food, green, organic, whatever-is-healthiest-for-us-and-the-environment-movement then head over to see these guys…

http://www.locallygrownclothing.com/

Kelsey Byus and Fred Scott of Locally Grown Clothing Co. are hip, young and very much into the grassroots message driven lifestyle. They rally behind the resurgence of Farmers’ Markets and the renaissance of local agriculture across the country. Supporting local business and empowering folks to think about what they wear, buy, and eat are at the core of their message. Feel free to check them out and support some very cool midwest boys, and of course the environment!

Enjoy the sunshine this summer, eat your blueberries, and sip some of that delicious aqua fresca we talked about, I’m off to the park!

xx

Meg

Chocolate and the Beet…

How do I even begin to explain myself? Putting puréed beets into a beautiful and already delicious chocolate cake!

Well, I have mentioned before, that I am trying out some recipes from my favorite cookbook Tender by Nigel Slater, adapting some of the recipes to suit my gluten-free kick. So far I had worked up the lamb and beet meatballs with fresh tzatziki sauce, which left me with plenty of beets in the fridge. Working with beets is fun and I love the pretty colors and how much they stain your hands. However, up to this point, I had added raw shaved beets to salads, roasted them to perfection, and gently boiled them, but never had I actually baked with them. Now adding beets to sweet treats is not total insanity or an I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-these-leftovers crisis. Most of us have turned over our favorite Wholefoods treat or even cereal to find beet sugar in the ingredients list. Beets are super sweet and of course a natural replacement for refined sugars which I really like as a healthy alternative. The really great part about using them in this recipe is that the cake stays incredibly moist even if not enjoyed in one day! It will surprise you how elusive the beet is once married to the intensity of the chocolate.

So why not give some boiled beets a whirl around the blender and try this recipe out next time you have a hankering for a hunk of cake! (this recipe was approved by my husband, the doorman, and two unsuspecting neighbors)

Raw Cocoa + Beet Cake with Crème Fraîche Icing (serves 8-10)

Adapted from the recipe in Tender

8 oz of fresh beets

7 oz of fine dark chocolate, I used Valrhona 61% chocolate but you could easily use 70% or more

4 tbsp of hot espresso, I used Dean & Deluca’s espresso

200 grams of butter, cubed, I used goats milk butter and a touch of olive oil equal to 200 g

135 g all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour mix (add xanthan gum)

1 heaping tsp baking powder

3 heaping tbsp raw cocoa powder

5 fresh farm eggs

1 scant cup of super fine sugar

Topping

1 small container of quality crème fraîche

Blue poppy seeds to sprinkle over top

Grease an 8 inch spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350F/180C

Boil the beets whole, in unsalted water until you can pierce them with a knife, usually 20-40 minutes depending on size. Drain and let cool under cool water. Then peel them with your fingers (the skins should just slip off) and remove stems. Drop them into a blender or food processor and spin to a coarse purée.

On the stove top, prepare a double broiler (sauce pan with an inch or two of water, with a glass bowl over top careful not to have the bowl touch the water). Since I broke my glass bowl a few weeks back I used my two sauce pans with the larger one on-top of the smaller one. Add the chocolate chunks to the bowl while simmering the water on low-ish heat. Do not stir! When the chocolate looks close to melted, pour the hot espresso over it and stir once, add the olive oil and cubed butter pushing it underneath the chocolate. Let the butter soften in the chocolate bath.

Sift the flour, baking powder and raw cocoa powder in a large bowl. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, I beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and reserved the yolks, slightly mixed, for the chocolate. Once the butter has melted, let it sit to cool. Then add the egg yolks quickly, firmly, mix to combine. Fold in the beet purée, set aside.

Fold in the powdered sugar to the egg whites, then fold the egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture. Careful not to over mix and deflate the egg whites. Lastly, fold in the flour mixture and transfer to a the spring form pan.

Pop the pan in the oven and decrease the temperature to 325F/160C and bake for 45 – 55 minutes. The middle will be a little giggly when the pan is wiggled. Let the cake cool completely! This will be challenging since your kitchen will smell divine but hang in there, it only gets better!

Once cooled, loosen the edges and remove the outer form. Place the cake on plate or cake stand. (I iced my slices individually since my husband didn’t care for the tartness of the crème fraîche. Alternatively you could sweeten the crème fraîche with a little sugar if you prefer.) Slice or leave the cake whole, then dress with the crème fraîche and liberally sprinkle the poppy seeds all over. Enjoy!!!

You could make this recipe in cupcake or silicon forms for individual size portions and for a fun and healthy kids treat.

Feel free to share your pictures of this cake on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/How-to-Eat-n-Drink/203052986380379

Cheers,

M

Gluten-Free Popovers with Strawberry + Citrus Honey Mash

Ah the popover, one of the most amazing culinary marvels to grace tables. It’s fluffy texture is a freak of nature really, its loose runny dough expands to great heights once placed into a piping hot oven only to emerge this golden puff of doughy goodness…

So in the name of research for the cookbook along with holistic inspiration from my dear friend Heather Hudak, I embarked on a mission this week to make three amazing dishes all gluten-free! First up, POPOVERS! I thought about this long and hard, of course I LOVE bread and even more so, my knees go weak for warm bread. Wanting to make something incredibly delicious for the GF fans of How to Eat n’ Drink, I gave popovers a go… Now this popover had to be perfect with a beautiful golden crust on the outside and gorgeously tender on the inside. It also had to smell like a popover and taste like one too… Here it goes.

For the flour, you can mix your own blend of various gluten-free flours like fava or garbanzo bean flour or you can buy a pre-mixed blend like Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour. I used Bob’s mainly because I’m somewhat new to GF baking, and since no one wants to choke down a rubbery popover! All of the other ingredients are from various local dairy farms in my area, which makes for a very fresh tasting popover. Now you can leave the recipe as is or mix in fresh herbs to compliment your main dish, since we were testing this recipe I wanted to make sure it was successful in its purest form. (Of course after eating a few, my husband and I muddled strawberries and honey together for an after dinner treat)

Note: You do NOT need a popover pan! Use a muffin pan or silicon mold or even ramekins set on a baking tray. If you really are in a pinch, a clean aluminum can greased up will do, just make sure to use small cans or your popover will be huge! Feel free to double this recipe if you need more based on the size of mold used.

Gluten-Free Popovers

Gluten-Free Popovers (makes 24 small popovers or 12 standard size)

3 Large Farm Eggs

1 Cup Whole Milk or Whole Goats Milk

3 Tablespoons Butter* or Goats Milk Butter, melted + a little extra for brushing

1 Cup GF All Purpose Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

*olive oil could be used for brushing

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the silicon molds or ramekins on a baking sheet. Brush the inside of the molds with butter or olive oil so the popovers don’t stick. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat until uniform in color and throughly combined. Then add the milk and melted butter mixing again to combine. Gradually stir in the flour and salt just until smooth, careful not to over mix. If your batter was lumpy like mine try passing it through a sieve to smooth it out. Pour the mixture into the molds filling almost to the top. Carefully place the trays into the oven and bake for roughly 40-50 minutes depending on the size of your molds. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR!!! I know, it’s tempting but seriously, leave it! Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven, then tip them out once they are cooled slightly. (They will have doubled in size and should be golden brown) Serve warm in a bread basket or wooden dish.

Strawberry + Citrus Honey Mash

Several very ripe strawberries (I used the almost “dead” ones in my fridge)

1 teaspoon of quality citrus blossom honey

Muddle the strawberries and honey together in a small bowl and allow to macerate for 5 minutes. Spoon over the cracked open popovers and enjoy!

 

Note: Where you can find amazing holistic healthy advice from Heather Hudak is:  http://hudakholistichealth.blogspot.com/

Next up: Beet & Lamb GF Meatballs!!!!!

How to Cook with a Himalayan Salt Block…

The amount of overwhelming joy I experienced while testing out a salt block was substantial! I almost skipped to the little salt shop to pick my block. The shop I am referring to is called The Meadow. They have two locations, one in Manhattan New York and one in Portland Oregon. You may already know a little about the owners as they released a James Beard awarded book entitled Salted. The book is an incredible journey through the production of commercial and artisanal salts with beautiful photos of the people, places and salts spoken of. The recipes are delightful and expressive of the absolute highlight a finishing salt can make to an everyday simple dish. The folks at Meadow are very helpful and skilled at selecting salts and blocks for serving or cooking which made the adventure all the more carefree. So with my fabulous (and heavy) salt block in hand, I embarked on a wildly fascinating salt encrusted adventure!

Pink Himalayan Salt Blocks

Some tips for your new salty beast:

  • slowly heat your block on top of the stove’s burner (gas ranges only) if electric or heat induction use a protective cooking ring or cast iron pan to elevate the block for air circulation and even heating. You want to make sure it’s not in direct contact with the heating element.
  • start at low heat and crank it up every ten minutes to the next heat level ie: medium low, medium, medium high etc.
  • do not salt your food when cooking on a salt block! It will impart a nice saltines to whatever you are cooking so it’s not necessary
  • use a metal utensil to turn over your ingredients (plastic might melt as the blocks get very hot)
  • allow the block to completely cool (several hours) before cleaning in warm water only. (Scraping gently to remove bits)
  • store your dried block wrapped in a towel or paper towels when not in use. (I actually stored mine in a cool oven while not in use)
  • the block can also be used for serving at the table either cold or hot. (use a trivet or wood cutting board under hot blocks) One idea for a hot service option would be to heat the block and allow your guest to cook their own meats &veggies while at the table! Or chill it and serve sushi or sashimi right off of the block!
  • Notes: Your block will never look as amazing as it does when you buy it, the color will change cracks may appear and a smoothness will happen on the side you cook, a result of washing. Salt is expressive so be free with it and if you like the clear look of your block, buy a second one for cooking and keep the other for service.

Armed with this information, a brand new salt block and fresh little shrimps I whipped this up…

Cracked Pepper Salt Block Shrimps with Market Salad and Cool Radish

(serves 4 people)

20 large (20 count) shrimps, peeled & cleaned

As much fresh cracked pepper as you like

No salt!

For the Salad:

several bunches of little gem lettuces or 1 box of organic mixed field greens (washed and dried)

4-8 radishes sliced thinly

1 handful of fresh basil or micro basil

1 handful of micro beet greens (skip if you can’t find them)

Juice of 1 lemon

olive oil (roughly 1/4 -1/2 cup)

Finishing salt or Himalayan Pink salt

Crack of fresh pepper

Shrimps on Salt

Preheat your salt block, this will take some time about 35-45 minutes. You will know it’s hot enough when you can only hold your hand above it for 2-3 seconds. While heating the block, clean & peel your shrimps and place in a bowl. Crack the pepper over the shrimps and toss to coat. Set aside. Wash and dry the greens and add to a big bowl. Wash and slice the radishes and add to the bowl of lettuce. Juice the lemon into a small bowl once juiced whisk in the olive oil until emulsified add the salt and pepper to the lettuce and a pinch of both to the dressing. When the shrimps are ready to be cooked, add the dressing to the greens, toss in the basil & beet greens and combine gently with your hands. Once the block is ready to go place the shrimps on top of the block and be ready to turn them after a minute or so. They will cook up fast, turning white and pink when ready. Place the salad and shrimps on plates and enjoy!

IOWA SUMMER CHERRY STRUDELS…

I have been on a little cherry kick lately, it seems I am not alone with all the markets filled with ripe cherries in the produce aisle. I love cherries for so many reasons, they invoke a childlike giddiness when they make their way into my shopping basket. They epitomise summer for me since they really only come out to play during the hot summer days we wait all winter to return. When I bought these cherries at the market I remembered summers past when visiting family back in Iowa. My mother-in-law has several cherry trees on her property and every year she harvests them sitting outside in the evening shade, pitting away into big white buckets. She makes enough to freeze throughout the year, just in time for her cherry stained hands to return to normal…She pits hundreds of  these cherries and shares them with friends and family but she also makes this amazing but not-so-healthy cherry bars. I loved them so much she mailed us a care package of them one year. We still laugh today about how gruesome the package looked when we opened it (imagine, flaky flesh-colored dough with bloody looking cherries oozing out of the sides).

So I had an idea last night to make these delicious treats at home just a little healthier than the original, this recipe is an homage to her infamous cherry bars.

IOWA CHERRY STRUDEL

SUMMER CHERRY & BASIL STRUDEL WITH SUGAR GLAZE

For the filling:

2 pounds of cherries, pitted and cut in half

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp cracked fresh pepper

5 leaves of fresh mint

5 leaves of fresh basil

1 tbsp vanilla extract

For the crust:

1 package of puff pastry

All purpose flour for dusting

For the egg wash:

1 farm egg

1 tsp water

For the glaze:

3 tbsp powdered sugar

Juice of half a lemon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

In a large sauce pot add the cherries, honey, agave, basil, mint, salt, pepper, cardamom, & vanilla. Cook on medium high heat until the cherries are cooked but still firm. Remove them from the heat. Drain the cherries from the remaining liquid reserving the liquid and separating the cherries. Place the liquid back in the sauce pan and reduce on medium high heat until thick and syrupy.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a small bowl mix the egg and water together for the egg wash, set aside. Next, roll out the thawed puff pastry on a well floured surface. Cut out rectangles in the dough to the desired size. Once the cherries have cooled add them back to the cooled cherry syrup and give it a mix to coat the cherries once again. Place a small amount of filling in the center of each dough piece. Spread out and leave a 3/4 inch border around the edge. Brush egg wash around the edge and place another rectangle of dough with edges brushed on top. Press the edges together with a fork to crimp and seal shut. (I find it easiest to assemble them on already lined cookie sheets to avoid tearing) Then brush the tops with egg wash and bake for 30-45 minutes until the pastry has puffed and the tops are a deep golden brown.

While the strudel is baking mix the powdered sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and almond extract together until smooth and not clumpy.

Once the strudel is finished cooking remove from the oven and allow them to fully cool on the lined cookie sheets. Once cooled plate them on a serving platter or individual plate and drizzle the sugar glaze over top. Enjoy!

Note: you can make these the day or morning before if you want to serve them to guests. Just keep them in a loosely closed container on the counter at room temperature.

DINNER PARTY CANAPE WITH FRENCH ROSE…

I was off to a friends rooftop for a fabulous dinner party last night and was pondering what to make…I knew it had to be something healthy, colorful and easy…

The idea for this dish originated from a more practical weeknight dinner I made earlier in the week with some left over veggies in the fridge.  It consisted of  pea purée with roasted asparagus and garlic with a sunny side up farm egg. So I thought why not spruce it up for a ladies dinner party? Now I love peas with their refreshing little spheres of green tenderness and let’s be frank, it’s amazingly hot outside so I don’t really want hot food so this dish had to be chilled. I roasted the garlic and bread crostini while boiling the eggs and peas. Then I  whirled them up in the blender to make the pea purée. Then I assembled them at my girlfriends place in just a few minutes!  It would be easy to make parts of this when you have time throughout the week but if not it takes about an hour to do it all at once…  Bon Appetite!

CHIC LITTLE QUAIL EGGS ON TOASTS WITH PEA PUREE & PROSCIUTTO

12 quail eggs, cooked, peeled and halved

1 cup vinegar

3 thinnish slices of Pumpernickel or Rye bread cut into squares

6 slices of prosciutto

PEA PUREE

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

1 head purple garlic, roasted

1/4-3/4 cup vegetable stock

5-8 leaves of fresh mint

5-8 leaves of fresh basil

1 tbsp good quality unsalted butter

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

A few cracks of fresh pepper

A pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt or Kosher Salt

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is heating cut the top off of the garlic and place it on a sheet of foil. Drizzle a little olive oil over top and gently gather the foil around it. Place it in the oven directly on the rack. Roast it for 45 minutes to one hour.

While the garlic is roasting get a pot of fresh water boiling. Add the peas to it and check them for doneness periodically. Once done, drain, and cool in an ice bath. If using frozen peas, thaw in a bowl then drain.

Cut the slices of bread and remove crust. cut them into 1″ x 1″ squares and place on baking sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil over top and season with salt and pepper. Bake alongside the garlic until just toasted. Remove and cool.

Now, rinse the eggs in warm water and then place them in a sauce pot. Add equal parts water and vinegar (usually 1 cup each depending on your pan) just so the eggs are fully submerged. Bring it to a boil and turn off the burner, let them sit for 5 minutes. Drain and cool in an ice bath then peel carefully. This part is the most time-consuming, so just be patient…

Now for the purée, in a blender add the peas, garlic (just squeeze the garlic to release the roasted paste) veggie stock, butter, olive oil, mint, basil, and season with salt and pepper then blend until nice and smooth.

Assembling the dish: on a plate or platter, place one crostini, then a piece of prosciutto, a small scoop of the purée (I used a piping bag fitted with a metal tip but you could also use a plastic zip bag with the tip cut off), then a quail egg half on top. A pinch of salt and pepper over top and your done!!!

Provençal Rosé

 

PERFECT SUMMER WINES…

What do the French drink while lunching beachside in the south of France? Rosé! Why you ask?  Because it is refreshing, usually dry (not sweet) and compliments the lighter cuisine of summer. Things like grilled octopus and fish, crisp vegetables with briny olives. Of course white wines are delicious but rosé really hits the mark on a hot summer day.

Here’s what I recommend for this recipe…2010 Domaine de la Fouquette Cuvée Rosée d’Aurore, Provence France for around $15! I bought mine at Le Du’s Wines here in Manhattan.

Although, any french rosé will do in my opinion, if you can’t find the recommended wine, look for something from Provence rather than Loire Valley or even something from the US since the Provençal Rosé has a nice balance of fruit and acid without being sweet or overly acidic. If you really want to fancy it up, try a sparkling rosé, I tend to like Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine since it’s more affordable than french champagne. I promise any of these will be the perfect complement to hot summer days spent with friends!

HOT SUN, SUMMER IN THE CITY…

The long summer days and warm summer nights we have been enjoying here in New York have me thinking about summers past. When I spent a summer up in Napa while working at a winery, we had lots of friends who wanted to visit. We would grill and play bocci ball in the yard, drinking chilled wine and laughing. Occasionally it would be too hot to grill so I want to share one of my favorite recipes for backyard parties ~ sans grill. Whip this up the day before so you can enjoy a cold glass of rosé with your friends!

summer salad

NAPA SUMMER SALAD WITH SALTY CHARCUTERIE & PECORINO

(serves 4 people)

1 bunch asparagus (sliced and blanched)

1 cup peas thawed (blanched if fresh)

1 cup snap peas or fava beans (blanched & shelled if fava)

5-8 leave of fresh basil sliced into thin ribbons

5-8 leaves of fresh mint sliced into thin ribbons

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Zest of one lemon

Juice of half a lemon

Drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil

A few cracks of fresh pepper

Good pinch of salt

0.3 LB Pecorino Foja De Noce (or any pecorino) Sliced thin and served over the salad)

20 slices of  prosciutto

4 slice of rustic bread charred on the grill or in the oven, (you could also serve this without charring)

This salad is something that you can make either the day before or an hour before you expect people to arrive. Just let it come up to room temperature before serving.

Boil water in a large saucepan. When bubbling, blanch the fresh peas, asparagus, fava beans/ snap peas individually until bright green. Careful not to over cook them as you want them to have “snap” when cooled. Remove from boiling water and shock in ice bath until cooled, drain. Then pile them into a big serving bowl. Toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium high heat, careful not to burn them. Remove from heat, cool the nuts and add them to the bowl.  Zest one lemon over the top of the veggies and squeeze the juice of half over as well. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and season with salt & pepper. Thinly slice the mint & basil and add to the salad. Mix to combine.

Grab a large platter or plate for the prosciutto and other charcuterie. Plate them up nicely and drizzle with a touch of olive oil salt and pepper.  Plate the cheese on a cheese board and serve it room temperature. If charring the bread, prepare it while toasting the pine nuts, otherwise serve sliced as is with olive oil to dip in.

I usually serve this with a bottle of rosé from France or a white wine from Italy like a vermentino.

Also, feel free to make lots of this salad if you want to make great left overs. Maybe grilled shrimp or calamari would be ideal for a day after compliment.