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CheeseBall
Post subject: Escape for a picnic in honor of Bastille Day, celebrated Jul  PostPosted: Jul 12, 2006 - 08:44 PM





Sergeant Major
Escape for a picnic in honor of Bastille Day, celebrated July 14



July 14 is Bastille Day in France, a national holiday that commemorates the storming of the Bastille, a prison, on that date in 1789. That event marked the end of the monarchy and the birth of a sovereign nation.

Over time, the holiday became an excuse to celebrate with family and friends - often by sharing a wonderful picnic. That tradition has carried to Sonoma County, Northern California's wine country, which has an active French-loving community.

At the Sonoma picnic, we use our imaginations and riff on what is wonderfully French or, perhaps, what the French love - excellent and interesting combinations.

Cold Green Pea Soup is a simple, beautifully green soup to which you can make all kinds of substitutions, such as using broccoli or asparagus for some or all of the peas, watercress or spinach for some or all of the romaine and basil, and dill or tarragon for some or all of the mint. I first encountered a version of this many years ago in France at a little roadside inn. It was a hot day, and this soup helped cool things down and was a delicious starter for our lunch. For your picnic, make the soup a day ahead so it can chill well and then transport it in a Thermos.

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Life & Style > Cooking > In Season > Story
Escape for a picnic in honor of Bastille Day, celebrated July 14
By John Ash
TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES
07/12/2006

July 14 is Bastille Day in France, a national holiday that commemorates the storming of the Bastille, a prison, on that date in 1789. That event marked the end of the monarchy and the birth of a sovereign nation.

Over time, the holiday became an excuse to celebrate with family and friends - often by sharing a wonderful picnic. That tradition has carried to Sonoma County, Northern California's wine country, which has an active French-loving community.

At the Sonoma picnic, we use our imaginations and riff on what is wonderfully French or, perhaps, what the French love - excellent and interesting combinations.

Cold Green Pea Soup is a simple, beautifully green soup to which you can make all kinds of substitutions, such as using broccoli or asparagus for some or all of the peas, watercress or spinach for some or all of the romaine and basil, and dill or tarragon for some or all of the mint. I first encountered a version of this many years ago in France at a little roadside inn. It was a hot day, and this soup helped cool things down and was a delicious starter for our lunch. For your picnic, make the soup a day ahead so it can chill well and then transport it in a Thermos.
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Celery Root Salad is a recipe based on the classic celeriac remoulade of France. This salad can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. But shop carefully. Celery root can vary widely. Pick those that are heavy for their size, which means there won't be a hole in the center.

If taking it on a picnic, pack the greens and garnishes separately, and combine everything just before serving. With the addition of smoked salmon, cooked shrimp or paper-thin sliced prosciutto, this salad easily can become a main course.

The French tuna sandwiches called pans bagnats are a specialty of the French Riviera city of Nice. Traditionally, small, round, crusty loaves of bread called "boules" are hollowed out and stuffed with tuna, tomatoes, hard-cooked eggs, anchovies and vinaigrette. The sandwiches are assembled a few hours ahead so that the flavors can marry and the crusty bread can absorb the juices without getting soggy. Use boules, if you can find them, or baguettes, which are available in most markets. You could make pans bagnats with good-quality canned oil-packed tuna, but because it's for a special day, I'm using fresh.

In Paris, Middle Eastern restaurants have long been popular. They're a source of hummus, which is perfect for picnics as a dip for raw vegetables. Classic hummus is made with garbanzos and tahini (sesame paste). I've changed the mix a bit, giving it Asian undertones.

Add some nice cheeses, fresh seasonal fruits and, of course, a chilled white or dry rose wine or two (French or Californian), and you'll be set for a celebration of liberation, culinary and otherwise.



Cold Green Pea Soup

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped green onion, including green tops

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

3 cups (about 12 ounces) fresh or frozen sweet peas (see note)

2 cups defatted chicken or vegetable stock

1 1/2 cups packed finely chopped romaine or other green lettuce

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2/3 cup buttermilk

Salt

Lemon juice

Hot red pepper sauce

Chopped mixed fresh herbs or creme fraiche, for optional garnish

Heat oil in a deep saucepan. Add green onion and garlic; saute over medium heat
until softened but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add peas and stock; bring to a
simmer. Cook until peas are just cooked through. Remove from heat; let cool for
a few minutes.

Transfer mixture to a blender; puree. Add romaine and mint; puree again until
smooth. Add buttermilk; mix just until combined. Season to taste with salt, a
few drops of lemon juice and hot sauce. Pour through a medium strainer; chill.

Before serving, taste again for seasoning. Serve in mugs or small bowls, topped
with chopped herbs or a swirl of creme fraiche.

Per serving (based on 4 servings): 198 calories; 7.5g fat (34
percent calories from fat); 1.5g saturated fat; 5mg cholesterol; 9.5g protein;
23g carbohydrate; 7g sugar; 5.5g fiber; 372mg sodium; 95mg calcium; 287mg
potassium.

Note: If using fresh peas, you may want to add a few drops of honey to the
soup to sweeten it a little.



Celery Root Salad

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 large celery root (2 1/2 pounds), peeled and rinsed (see note)

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons grainy mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons sherry or brown rice vinegar

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

4 cups loosely packed tender young greens, such as arugula

Sieved hard-cooked egg, for optional garnish

Chopped chives, for optional garnish

Slice celery root into thin rounds; cut rounds into thin strips. Set aside in a
bowl. In another bowl, mix together mayonnaise, buttermilk, mustards, lemon
juice and sherry or vinegar until smooth. Stir in celery root to evenly coat;
season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, divide greens among individual
plates. Mound celery root salad on top; sprinkle with sieved hard-cooked egg
and chives.

Per serving (based on 6 servings): 291 calories; 23g fat (71 percent
calories from fat); 3g saturated fat; 11mg cholesterol; 3.5g protein; 17.5g
carbohydrate; 4g sugar; 3.5g fiber; 533mg sodium; 113mg calcium; 577mg
potassium.

Note: Taste the celery root after cutting it, and if it seems tough or too
strongly flavored, blanch it for a few seconds in salted boiling water,
followed by a dunk in ice water to stop the cooking so the celery root retains
its crunch.



ans Bagnats

(French tuna sandwiches)

Yield: 6 sandwiches

2 French baguettes

1 pound tuna steaks

Extra-virgin olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or more to taste

3 tablespoons capers, drained

1/3 cup chopped red onion

1 (6 1/2-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, coarsely
chopped

1/2 cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped

1 cup small grape or pear-shaped tomatoes, halved

1 cup lightly packed torn flat-leaf parsley or arugula leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add baguettes; bake until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.

Let baguettes cool, cut into thirds, then cut each piece in half lengthwise.
With your fingers, gently remove some of the bread in the middle, leaving a
margin of about 1/2 inch. (Use excess bread to make fresh bread crumbs.)

Liberally coat tuna with olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Grill, broil or saute tuna steaks over high heat until lightly browned but
still pink in the center, about 3 minutes, depending on thickness. Let cool,
then place tuna in a bowl and separate it into chunks with a fork.

Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, capers, onion, artichokes, olives, tomatoes and
parsley or arugula; toss gently. Season to taste with more salt and pepper,
along with additional lemon juice, if desired, and a tablespoon or two of olive
oil.

Pack tuna mixture into baguette halves; set tops in place. Press the bread and
tuna mixture together.

Wrap well in waxed paper or plastic and keep cool.

At the picnic, peel the paper or plastic back as you eat the baguette. The
wrapping over the end will catch the delicious juices as you eat.

Per sandwich: 282 calories; 13.5g fat (43 percent calories from
fat); 2g saturated fat; 37mg cholesterol; 25g protein; 15g carbohydrate; 1g
sugar; 3g fiber; 450mg sodium; 31mg calcium; 365mg potassium.



Spicy Ginger Hummus

Yield: About 2 1/2 cups

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup cashews or peanut butter

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon Asian chile sauce, such as Sriracha, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/3 cup vegetable stock or water

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice or to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 green onion, chopped

Mild paprika, for optional garnish

In a food processor, combine garlic, ginger, garbanzos, cashews or peanut
butter, soy sauce, chile sauce and cumin; pulse to chop and combine. Add stock
or water and 1/4 cup lemon juice; process until nearly smooth. Add cilantro and
green onion; pulse a couple of times to just combine. Taste and add more lemon
juice if desired. Store, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week. Serve
sprinkled with a little paprika for color, if desired.

Per tablespoon: 21 calories; 0.5g fat (21 percent calories from
fat); no saturated fat; no cholesterol; 1g protein; 3g carbohydrate; no sugar;
0.5g fiber; 71mg sodium; 5mg calcium; 29mg potassium.


Down A Pint Cheese Cool (2)


                    
Cook, or be cooked. Have a nice day. Smile
 
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