I had a lovely Mother’s day spent mostly between the kitchen and the table. Even though I was exhausted by the end of the day, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was imagining what a Mother’s Day with brunch at a restaurant would be like, for example. And that would be lovely, of course, but celebrations where I don’t cook feel slightly off to me, as if something is missing. I realized that cooking and sharing a homemade meal with loved ones is truly my way to celebrate. When I first lived in the US, I was always puzzled at the fact that the expression “partying” was synonymous with drinking. Because to my French self, “partying” (faire la fête) had always been synonymous with a good meal. A “feast” of sorts. And a feast we did have.
Our meal was quite delicious (quite a few shots of it on Instagram if you want to check it out), in particular these beet tartlets which I highly recommend, and the chickpea, feta, cilantro salad I’m sharing here. I was looking for a Greek recipe for our menu and found this lovely salad in the beautiful family cookbook I got as a gift for my birthday, Falling Cloudberries, by Tessa Kiros. I love how it connects cooking, family and culture as inextricable.
And this salad… So flavorful and simple. I take a bite, close my eyes, and can see myself sitting at a terrace by the sea with my Greek sister and niece, feeling the warm, dry, salty air of Greece on my every pore.
Here’s the recipe. And scroll down further for our week’s menu… A lovely spring week to all.
Chickpea, feta & cilantro salad
Barely adapted from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros
Serves 6 as appetizer or side dish
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Age for babies: 10-12 months, the chickpeas make a nice finger food.
1 can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
1 cup of olive oil (Greek, if possible)
1 large red onion
5 cloves of garlic
1 2/3 cups of crumbled Feta (about 5-6 oz)
4 scallions (green part)
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1 small bunch of Italian parsley (depending on size, basically twice as much parsley as cilantro)
Juice of one lemon
Open the can of chickpeas, drain and rinse them well. Set aside in a bowl.
Chop the red onion and garlic cloves finely. Chop the scallions.
Wash the cilantro and parsley, pick the leaves off the stems. Process together in a food processor until finely chopped. (Or chop by hand).
Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry the red onion gently, until cooked through and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a few more seconds, until you can smell the garlic. (Do not brown the garlic.) Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
Add the mashed feta, the chopped cilantro/parsley, scallions and lemon juice to the chickpeas, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the onion/garlic mixture (Make sure it is completely cooled, if it’s still warm, the feta will melt). Then the remaining olive oil (a little over 3/4 cup left.).
Mix very well. You can make a few hours ahead of time or even the night before. You can let it marinade at room temperature and serve.
It keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days.
And sharing our week’s menu 🙂
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: Camembert, Gouda, Goat Brie.
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).
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Spring pea salad
Main course: Leftover paella from Mother’s Day lunch
Goûter (4pm snack) – Dark chocolate fondant*
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Artichoke leaves with vinaigrette
Main course: Pan-fried garlic shrimp & this braised fennel, potatoes & radishes in brown butter lemon sauce
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Authentic Greek salad
Main course: Sardines, baby bok choy puree
Goûter – Apple-strawberry compote
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Endive & goat cheese salad with beet greens walnut vinaigrette
Main course: Herbed lamb meatballs in coconut milk over quinoa
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Green beans, cauliflower, Italian parsley salad
Main course: Turkey filets & snap peas in mustard cream sauce*
Goûter – Strawberry rhubarb compote*
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Chards, blood orange, goat cheese salad from Vanilla Bean blog
Main course: Pan-fried Dover sole filets, spinach broccoli puree
Lunch – Picnic at the park
Grated carrots French-style; hard-boiled eggs; mixed quinoa salad with cherry tomatoes, avocado, hearts of palm, beans, bell peppers, cucumber; bread & cheese; grapes.
Goûter – Pear-blueberry compote
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Pea, edamame, mint soup from Gourmande in the Kitchen
Main course: Oven roasted pork ribs, blue potatoes
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Warm leeks with vinaigrette
Main course: Mushroom prosciutto tartine
Goûter – Homemade rhubarb raspberry mint ice cream*
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Shredded Brussels Sprouts with walnuts & dates from Food Loves Writing
Main course: Duck filets with braised radishes
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Orange tomato gazpacho
Main course: Chicken liver salad with raspberry vinaigrette
Goûter – Apple
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Lentil shallot salad
Main course: Trying the braised fennel with saffron & tomato from Green Kitchen Stories
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Zucchini mint terrine
Main course: Smoked salmon, avocado & radish garnish
Goûter – Kiwi
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Asparagus, arugula & avocado soup with crab*
Main course: Eggplant au gratin