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?

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.

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

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

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)



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).

A black bean bisque, and our weekly menu

Do you plan your weekly meals too? Do you think it would make your life easier? Would you try it for even a couple of times a week?

I wanted to share this very easy soup which can be served hot or cold. Perfect for a busy night. We had some leftover, so we enjoyed it hot the first night, and chilled the next day. Delicious either way.

Wishing you a summery, flavorful week. Scroll down past the recipe for our week’s menu!

Cilantro black bean bisque, with goat cheese toast

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 15 min

Age for babies: 8-10 months

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 large shallot

1 clove of garlic

2 tsp dried oregano

1 can of black beans

1/2 tsp cumin

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 tbsp sherry vinegar

5-6 sprigs of fresh cilantro

Optional garnish if served hot:

1 toasted slice of bread

Finely chop the shallot and garlic. Melt the coconut oil in a skillet. Add the shallot, garlic, oregano and cumin and cook over medium heat until the shallot is translucent (don’t let it brown), about 8 minutes.

Rinse the black beans.

Add the beans to the shallot mixture, and stir to coat the beans. Add the broth and cook for about 15 minutes on medium low.

Pour into your blender, add the vinegar and cilantro (leaves only), and whirl for a good long while, until very smooth.

Serve HOT:

Pour into 4 bowls.

Toast 4 slices of bread, spread some creamy goat cheese on top, and gently deposit on top of the soup.


Let cool completely and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight. Give it another whirl in the blender before serving with some crumbled goat cheese on top.
Cheeses of the week: Following French tradition, I always offer a little bit of cheese at the end of every meal, between the main course and dessert. Rotation this week: Comté, Port Salut (cow cheese), and a lot of goat cheese these days, thanks to my collaboration with Vermont Creamery and the Kids & Kids campaign. I’m happy to have a continuing “goat cheese series” of recipes, so look for that in the coming weeks! 
DessertsAt lunch, I offer a fruit yogurt (or plain yogurt with fresh fruit), but at night, I prefer sticking to plain yogurt (regular homemade* whole milk, sheep’s milk, goat’s milk and Greek yogurt for extra protein) to avoid too much sugar before bedtime.

If you would like a particular recipe on the menu, feel free to contact me! (I marked with a * the recipes that will be the topic of upcoming posts).


Lunch – OUT at Le Pain Quotidien.

Goûter (4pm snack) – Donut peach or plum

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Authentic Greek salad
Main course: Chicken basquaise (with all the summer vegetables!)


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Chickpea feta cilantro salad
Main course: Beef patty, butter lettuce with fresh herbs

Goûter – Strawberry rhubarb compote

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Corn soup*
Main course: Cauliflower stuffed peppers from Food Loves Writing


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Grated carrots French-style

Main courseQuails eggs en cocotte with smoked salmon, leek and zucchini from La Tartine Gourmande

Goûter – Apricots

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Lentil shallot salad
Main course: Braised fennel with saffron and tomato from Green Kitchen Stories

THURSDAY – Happy Fourth!

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Cold zucchini with mint vinaigrette
Main course: Avocado sardine tartine

Goûter – A special treat, this lovely peach gratin soufflé

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Watermelon Gazpacho with crumbled Feta
Main course: Oven-roasted ribs and blue potatoes (to cover the red, white and blue! ;-))



Appetizer / Finger Foods: Roasted apricots & burrata salad
Main course: Ham with cucumber fennel slaw

Goûter – Cherries

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Artichoke bottoms with green parsley sauce
Main course: Soft boiled egg with mouillettes of Vanilla Bean Blog’s delightful cardamom flatbread


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Eggplant caviar*
Main course: Leek Feta Quiche

Goûter – Watermelon fig granita from Fig & Fauna

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Endive, blue cheese salad
Main course: Clams in fennel shallot broth from Cannelle & Vanille

Bean Soup Recipe

Yesterday it was cold and snowy and we wanted to eat something comforting and rich like a meat stew, but we didn’t really want to eat more meat. So what could we cook? I looked in the pantry and I found a mix of legumes for 13 bean soup and I though: BEAN SOUP! So here is what I did.


  • 1 cup dried beans
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 oz. pancetta or bacon
  • sage
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 potatoes
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. I put about a cup of dried beans to soak in hot water and started preparing the base for the soup. I diced 2 carrots, a couple of celery stalks and a medium sized onion. I put my pressure cooker on the stove and put in my diced pancetta (you can use bacon if you don’t have pancetta).
  2. When the pancetta started rendering the fat I added the diced vegetables and a bit of sage. I salted everything and let it cook down for 10-15 minutes. Then, I added a diced sweet potato and a 2 diced regular potatoes.
  3. At this point the beans had been soaking for about 30 min, I drained them and added to the pot, gave it a bit of a stir, salt, pepper and then added about 5 cups of water. I closed the pressure cooker and cooked for about 1 hour from when it goes under pressure.
  4. I checked the soup about 45 minutes in to make sure there was enough water and cooking was going as expected. When the soup was done, it was wonderfully creamy and pretty thick. Serve and let dines add fresh ground pepper, olive oil and freshly grated cheese to taste….


A great almost vegetarian (to make it vegetarian /vegan just substitute the pancetta with oil) stew that won’t keep you wanting for meet.

PS if you don’t have a pressure cooker you can still do the soup, it’s just going to take about twice the time to get the beans done….

White bean soup recipe

Today is )F and snowing (Note to self it can snow also below 32). Earlier it was -10F and not snowing but grey and quite obviously freezing. Last week it was sunny, but we were in the crossover zone (that part of the where F become lower than C). When is this cold what can you eat if not soup? So I will give you soup. To warm up and to cheer myself up.

And I need cheering up, because I just had a meeting with a Realtor and he valued my house about 20k less than every other agent did (and he charges 1% more too). So now I am wondering if he is being too cautious, or if the other 3 agents were too optimistic. What do you think guys? And more importantly, how do you choose a realtor? I guess just choosing the one that says the nicest things about your house is not always the best strategy, is it?


  • 1 can white beans (e.g. great northern beans)
  • 1/4 cup Israeli couscous
  • 2-3 jalapenos (more or less depending on how spicy you want the soup)
  • oil
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Rinse the bean under running water.
  2. In a pot, saute the beans, the diced jalapenos and the Israeli couscous in a bit of oil.
  3. Add enough hot water to cover the beans and couscous and let cook until the couscous is cooked and the beans are partially mashed.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot adding a drizzle of oil if you feel so inclined.

Tuscan Bean Soup with Asiago Toasts

Tuscan Bean Soup with Asiago Toasts

An easy recipe to make, very yummy. By Cynthia Nicholson.

Servings: 6


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound smoked turkey or chicken sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 ¼ cups chopped fennel
  • 1 ¼ cups chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • two 14 ½-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • one 14 ½-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sage
  • one 19-ounce can cannellini beans, liquid reserved
  • ½ cup shredded Asiago cheese
  • 12 slices (1/2-inch-thick) baguette, cut diagonally
  1. In a 6-quart saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the sausage over medium heat. Cook sausage until heated through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove sausage and drain drippings, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan.
  2. Add the fennel and onion to pan; sauté until softened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, pepper and sage. Cook 10 minutes.
  4. Add cannellini beans with reserved liquid and cooked sausage. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes more.
  5. Heat broiler. Mound 2 teaspoons Asiago cheese on each bread slice and place on baking sheet. Broil until cheese and bread are lightly toasted, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Divide soup among 6 soup bowls; serve with toasts.

Some suggestions from Janet in Austin, TX – Add an extra clove of garlic with the first garlic and then a cubed yellow squash and two zucchini during the last 5 minutes of simmering. “The flavors were absolutely delicious,
better than any Tuscan-style soup I have ever had.” Enjoy!

Buon appetito!