The French celebrate their independence on Bastille Day, July 14th each year. This is the day the French Revolutionists stormed the Bastille releasing its prisoners. It’s considered the turning point of that conflict which ultimately overturned monarch rule in France.
There is always a parade down the Champs Elysees with the beautiful Arc de Triomphe as the centerpiece and plenty of fireworks once dark falls on the city.
It’s a great excuse to pop open a bottle of rosé and invite a few friends for a simple dinner.
Hot July temperatures call for lighter dishes Like Ham and Avocado Tartine, a pretty salad and a sweet treat like my Chocolate Madeleines. Enjoy!
Ham and Avocado Tartine
4 slices rustic bread toasted
1 clove garlic
4 slices deli ham or prosciutto
1 cucumber sliced
Pinch crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub each slice of bread with garlic clove and discard. Place bread on baking sheet and toast on both sides for about 3 minutes. Mash ¼ of the avocado on each slice of bread, season with salt and pepper. Add cucumber. Place ham on top and sprinkle with crushed red pepper and plenty of salt and pepper and serve.
Purple Flower Salad
2 mini purple lettuce heads
1 cup carrot matchsticks
1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1/4 dried cranberries
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Pinch of both salt and pepper
½ cup olive oil
Hold each lettuce head firmly in your hand and cut the bottom root off. Hold the head firmly as you run cold water through the bundle to clean the lettuce. Place bundle in the center of a serving platter and release it so the leaves form a circle. Repeat with second bundle on top of the first one creating the flower petals. Place the carrots in the center of the lettuce flower and spread them out a bit. Mound the yellow peppers in the center of the carrots. Next, place the walnuts then cranberries on top of the vegetables; you will create rings of color. To prepare the dressing, add vinegar, garlic, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk well to combine. Add olive oil in a steady stream whisking vigorously until it is all mixed and you have a silky dressing. Serve the salad with the dressing on the side.
¾ cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup flour
¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Extra butter and flour for preparing pans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour madeleine pans well, and set aside. Melt ¾ cup butter in a microwave safe bowl. Add cocoa powder to butter and mix well. Stir in sugar and then eggs. Add flour, salt and vanilla and mix until combined. Spoon a walnut sized portion into each madeleine shell. Place madeleine pans on a baking sheet and into the oven for 14-18 minutes until edges are set and tops are puffed.
There is still space in Herbs Fresh from the Garden at the Arboretum, hope to see you there!