Smoked salmon green bean rolls recipe

As a child, I learned about generosity through food. My
mother would cook simple things most days, but when we had company, when
friends came over for dinner, the meal in itself became a special occasion.

Growing up raised by a single working mother, with always a
bit of envy for other children who had large families (while they may have
longed for the solitude I enjoyed… because the grass is always greener on the
other side…), I placed tremendous value on having friends over for dinner. If
I didn’t have a large family of my own, I was determined to build one, a chosen
family. Nurturing, literally feeding those
friendships was of crucial importance to me.

 

And what better way to show gratitude and love, than a good meal?

Not
just a good meal, but the thought and effort that go into it. The true gift, is
the thoughtfulness of it.

I grew up learning that cooking a meal was a way to love,
and something to be loved for.

A way to say thank you. For being in my life.
For loving me.

I never ever take that for granted. It is too precious.

And how beautiful it is, to give a moment of pleasure to
those we love.

A scrumptious bite. A subtle flavor. A burst of sweet.

Preparing a meal for someone, is giving a bit of oneself.

It
is an act of love, of friendship. It’s a hand extended out. Open arms. And a
plate.

To this day, shared meals remain the cradle of our
friendships.  A way to cherish my loved
ones. To put my cooking where my heart is, if you will.

And I am thrilled Pablo is bathed in this. The kitchen, the
dinner table are such rewarding places to learn what generosity means. What
loving and sharing mean. They are what makes us feel full in life (pun intended). It goes so much further than sharing a
toy at the playground, doesn’t it? And what a thrilling, rich feeling it can
give us, this gift of self, this gift of good food.

So… since today is a celebration of love, like every day,
I will cook for my loved ones, so we may share a meal, yet another precious moment of
togetherness.

And for you… I have a simple, yet flavorful bouquet of sorts…

This easy recipe makes for a festive appetizer, and a fun finger foods for kids of all ages (Dipping is so fun it makes the food taste better in and of itself!) It’s a nice mix of textures and colors. You could even make them the night before and have a couple for lunch on the go.

Smoked salmon & green beans rolls, with a grapefruit dipping sauce

Adapted from Petit Larousse des Recettes des Légumes du Potager, by Valérie Lhomme

 

Serves 4

Prep time – 20 mn

Cook time – 5 mn

Age for babies – 10-12 months with very little dressing, baby can pull the roll apart and munch on the ingredients.

1/2 lb fresh green beans (the smaller haricots verts if you can find them)

8 small slices of smoked salmon or lox

A handful of sunflower sprouts (can be radish sprouts, or other sprouts of choice)

4 circles of rice paper / spring roll wrappers*

(*Note: You could use scissors before softening the rice paper to make squares instead of circles, which might make the rolls easier to roll and the end result more even and prettier to look at. Didn’t occur to me to do that until just now, so I winged it with the half circles)

 

Dressing:

Juice of half a grapefruit

Juice of half a lemon

5 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp ground ginger

1 drizzle of honey

Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the ends of the green beans, and plunge them in the boiling water for 5 minutes.

Drain them and pour ice cold water over them right away to stop the cooking. Set aside.

To soften the rice paper: Place one circle of rice paper over a damp towel or cloth, place another damp cloth over it, place the 2nd circle of rice paper on top, and another damp cloth on top, and so on with the 4 circles. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, until soft.

Cut the rice paper circles into half circles.

Place one half circle, round side up. Place one slice of smoked salmon along the edge. Place a few green beans (cut them in half if they are too long), and a few sunflower sprouts on top.

Then from the side, roll the rice paper wrapping the beans, like a spring roll. If you want very even ends, you can cut them off. Or crumple up the rice paper on one end like a little bouquet.

Repeat with all 8 rolls. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the dressing, combine all ingredients in the blender and mix to obtain a very smooth dipping sauce (it will be thin – if you have leftover, this also makes a great salad dressing for greens like mâche, baby spinach or watercress).

Cornflour bread rolls recipe

After baking some pretty good pretzel rolls the other day, I am on a roll and decided to bake some more bread, I am also thinking of completely quitting buying bread and only baking it at home… I think home baked bread turn out much better, than most bread you buy in supermarkets, is cheaper and with a bit of organization and possibly by deciding to buy a stand mixer, can be fitted in our everyday busy schedule.

So here is what I did.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of unbleached flour
  • 1 cup of cornflower
  • 1 tablespoon of dry yeast
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of warm water
  • salt
  • sugar

Directions

  1. In the morning I mixed the yeast with a cup of warm water and a pinch of sugar. Placed the rest of the dry ingredients in a bowl and created a well in the middle. I let the yeast rest for a couple of minutes and then poured everything in the well. With a fork I mixed the water with the flour and then I started kneading the dough by hand adding the rest of the water. When the dough was well mixed, elastic and not sticky, I put a lid on the bowl and went to work. I got back in the evening and my bread was ready to bake. I turned on the oven at 450F and place my pizza stone on the middle rack to warm up. I divided the dough in 8 small rolls, the size of a small orange, shaped them in sort of an oval shape and cut a slit lengthwise and let the rolls rest covered while the oven warmed up. When the oven was at the right temperature, I got the stone out, put my rolls on the stone and put everything back in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes or until ready. Great fragrant rolls to go with your dinner!
  2. What do you think should I buy a stand mixer and vow never to buy bread again?

Raisin and oregano bread rolls

When I was in Italy and we were in Rome my mom used to wake up early in the morning and go down to the market to buy fresh fruit and on the way back she would stop by the baker and pick a couple of bread rolls for breakfast. Raisin rolls are relatively popular in Italy and pretty much every bake will have his own version. This baker made them not too sweet and added oregano to the mix. It is possibly the best raisin rolls I ever had. So now I am trying to replicate them.  Here is a pretty good attempt.

Raisin and oregano bread rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • oregano

Directions

  1. First I soaked the raisins in warm water. While the raisins where soaking, I started on the bread. I dissolved some dry yeast in a mixture of warm water and milk (about half half). In a bowl, I mixed the flour with some sugar, oregano and a pinch of salt. I then poured the milk mixture in the bowl with the dried ingredients and started mixing with a fork, when the liquids were pretty much incorporated I added the raisins and I started kneading the dough. I had to add a bit more flour to keep the dough from sticking to much. When the dough was smooth and elastic I oiled the bowl and put a lid on it to let the dough raise. Once the dough has doubled, I formed into knot shaped rolls and turned on the oven at 450F. When the oven was ready I baked the rolls for about 20 minutes.
  2. Perfect rolls for breakfast! Not quite the ones I had in Rome, but not bad at all!

Roasted pepper rolls

Here the recipe for a simple and colorful dish that would work great for a party. I was inspired by a rather classic flavor combination: butter beans and roasted red peppers. These two components go into some of our summer salads in Italy and they work great together. I tried to play with these flavors and got to a totally different dish!

Ingredients

  • 2 cans butter beans
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 can spam
  • EVOO
  • thyme
  • chive
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

  1. Start by roasting the red peppers. You can do it in a number of ways: on the grill, in the oven, on the flame of the stove. You will have to cook the peppers for about 20 to 30 minutes turning them around as the skin becomes black and blistered. For the oven cooking, keep the broil function on and turn the pepper once. If you choose the flame, put your pepper on a fork and keep turning it every couple of minutes.
  2. As soon as the peppers are cooked put them in a closed container to cool down, anything will work: a ziploc, a paper bag, a bowl covered with plastic. Closing the peppers in some container will help you taking off the skin once the pepper has cooled down.
  3. While the peppers cool down, start on the filling. Blend the beans with the salt, pepper, herbs adding enough oil to get a smooth paste but rather solid paste.
  4. Cut the spam into cubes (ham would work as well) and mix it into the bean mixture.
  5. Skin the peppers and clean them of their seeds. Cut them in long and rather wide stripes (4-8 stripes per pepper). Form the bean mixture into oval nuggets the size of your palm and wrap them in the roasted pepper stripes
  6. Serve as an appetizer or a main course accompanied by some homemade tortilla chips. To make mine I followed Manu’s Menu suggestions, except I cooked them in the oven instead of on the stove. Simply cut tortillas into wedges, arrange on an oven dish, sprinkle with oil and cook until crispy (5 min in a 400F oven).

Happy Easter! And bread rolls.

Happy Easter readers! Today I’m just sharing a picture of my bread bunnies and birds. As You can see they have both overeaten and are a bit too puffy around the edges. But they are delicious nonetheless.

To prepare them use the recipe for the burger buns. For the birds form long thin logs and tie them in a knot, shape the head and pat down the tail. Use cloves to make the eyes Check out here a slimmer version of the same birds in the post that inspired me. For the bunnies shape them in an oval and attach almond slivers for the ears, a small ball of dough for the tail and 2 sunflower seeds for the eyes.

Now, I’ll go back to my pots and pans to finish preparing food for my a Easter get together with friends. How do you celebrate Easter?