Creamy cauliflower, cumin and lardon soup

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Yes, I know. ANOTHER soup! But it’s the season, and soups are one of my favorite (and economically advantageous) ways to warm up and enjoy something home-cooked in the winter months. It was especially cold here in France over the last couple of weeks when the weather brought us our first snow of the year that actually stuck, so soup was definitely on the menu (potato, leek and fried almond, turnip leek and sweet potato, roasted carrot and parsnip with coconut milk, etc., etc.). This is a fabulously basic soup. It’s hearty, filling and satisfying. You can eat it as thick or as thin as you like but I promise it’ll fill you up. I’m not sure what it is about this soup. I never regarded cauliflower as extremely filling but this is one hearty soup. It’s also very simple and something about respecting the cooking times and different steps takes it to another level, and I don’t recommend skimping. Continue reading

Ribbon carrot salad with mint and spicy lime-cumin vinaigrette

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I found the most beautiful carrots at the market the other day. Violet and off-white verging on green, pale yellow and orange. I knew that I had to focus on presentation, without forgetting about flavor. Although it was very time consuming, I decided on a ribbon carrot salad with a simple spicy and fresh cumin/lime/mint vinaigrette. I hope you like it!

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Ribbon carrot salad with mint and spicy lime-cumin vinaigrette

Ingredients:
1 lb carrots, preferably colorful ones!
A few of the carrot fronds, washed and trimmed
1 small green onion, finely chopped
1 large handful of mint, roughly chopped
2 T olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1-2 T chile garlic sauce
2 t brown sugar
1 t cumin
2 T lime juice

Shredding these carrots would make this whole ordeal a lot easier, but less pretty too ;) I used a vegetable peeler to peel my carrots into ribbons. In a large bowl, mix all other remaining ingredients and season to taste. Go easy on the spices, you can always add more later, depending on how you like it! Add the carrots and fronds once the vinaigrette is ready and let marinate for at least 30 minutes before eating, to soften up the carrots and infuse them with flavor! This simple salad will be even better the next day, so why not make a double batch?

Sweet and spicy pork loin with red wine pomegranate reduction

Pomegranates. Who doesn’t feel a little rush of excitement each time they peel open the rough exterior to reveal those blood-red, shiny little orbs of juice, sandwiched between tough white membranes and soggy pulp? I know I do. It had been awhile since I’d experimented with this exotic fruit, and it wasn’t until finding some at my local supermarket recently that I decided to delve into the goldmine of pomegranate-based recipes online. I knew that I wanted to try chocolate chunk cookies with pomegranate arils. That, was a given. But what else would I do with them? How could I incorporate the sweet bursts of refreshing red juice into a savory dish?

The answer, it seems, was right in front of me. By incorporating them into my all-time favorite versatile dish, filet mignon de porc, or pork loin. After a quick search, I didn’t find any one recipe that suited me to the tee, nor one for which I had all of the ingredients. So, I threw in a bit of what I had, forgetting whatever I didn’t have, and made it up as I went along. Unfortunately my pomegranates were a bit odd; under and over-ripe at the same time, leaving me with mostly light pink arils and several white ones, and a few brown ones. The flavor was still there but seemed like a fraction of what it should have been. Which simply means that while this dish was very good, I’ll be excited to try it again with proper ingredients.

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