Sunday Supper...Garden Greens With Hazelnut Viniaggrette

I've always wanted to go somewhere and take cooking lessons. Lot's of different foods appeal to me, so I'm not particularly set on a region.  I like good old Southern fare so someplace in the South like the Viking Cooking School in Memphis Tennessee would be nice.

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You already know that Don and I love, love pasta, so Italy is definitely a possibility.  Atmosphere is 90% of the meal for me, so if money were no object on a plane I would go to a small group cooking class in Italy.

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But then again the French really know how to wine and dine.  Sister always says I'm the most French Southern girl she knows. 

A good Friend gave me this cookbook for Christmas.  I've really enjoyed studying the recipes and trying a few. 

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So that's it, I've settled on France..  It's time to start saving my pennies.

Have you seen the April issue of Traditional Home Magazine?  According to Stephen Exel, "On a Friday night in Paris, you can attend a cooking class in the Marais neighborhood with cookbook author Susan Herrmann Loomis, founder of On Rue Tatin cooking school in the Norman town of Louviers. "

"It's an engaging evening spent with students and novices eager to learn French techniques, ending with a wonderful meal and an impromptu jazz performance."

"There, in the kitchen of her 12th-century home, Susan instructs three- or five-day courses. The house, a former convent, stands in the shadow of the majestic Gothic church Notre Dame de Louviers. Susan and her husband purchased the tumbledown structure when the opportunity to write a cookbook resulted in a move to France. Through the long haul of renovation, they discovered buried tile work, a forgotten wine cellar, and the equally humble and elegant local cuisine."

"Students gather in the timbered kitchen, anchored on one wall by a stone hearth and on the other by a custom Cometto stove. Gleaming copper pots hang within reach, and a blackboard lists the daily menu. Floor-to-ceiling windows open to a patio and herb garden where, weather permitting (and it often does), informal meals are served. While the kitchen is large and accommodating, classes are kept small to allow hands-on instruction. Students work in pairs to prepare individual courses. "

"Susan reviews upcoming recipes and includes tastings of essential ingredients--sampling sea salts to determine their best use, gathering in the garden and nibbling fresh herbs, or identifying qualities of different olive oils. The roster of recipes changes as new produce becomes available."

Does this sound like heaven or what?   Would we all just love to have been Stephen and experience this ourselves? I'm dying to grab a few good friends and head to the airport.

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 Susan Herrmann Loomis puts a priority on making sure students understand the “why” as well as the “how” when it comes to seasoning.

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Herbs from Susan’s garden are often used for class recipes.

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Students learn about differences in aromas, color, and viscosity. "We smell, we feel, we observe," Susan says. "Rubbing the oil in your palm shows its highlights." Like wine, olive oils vary according to growing conditions and region. Generally, the earliest pressings (look for "cold pressed") give the oil a fruitier taste. The deeper the color--ranging from champagne to gold to bright green--the more intense the olive flavor.

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 Tonight I'm trying Garden Greens with Hazelnut Vinaigrette.  Not a lot of rocket science to this recipe, so you know I like it.  It's about the fresh ingredients and the hazelnut oil is the perfect addition...

Garden Greens with Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Serve this salad after the main course with a selection of favorite cheeses. Susan recommends Jean LeBlanc hazelnut oil, a French oil cold pressed with a stone mill (8 ounces, $26, from amazon.com or a specialty grocer). Look for edible flowers at your local farmers market or with the fresh herbs at your grocery store.

  • 8 cups mixed greens and herbs such as arugula, radicchio, sorrel, and Swiss chard
  • 1 shallot, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon best-quality red wine vinegar
  • Fine sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut oil
  • Edible flower blossoms for garnish

Rinse greens; dry. Place shallot in large bowl. Add vinegar; whisk in salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in oil until mixture is emulsified. Add greens and herbs; toss until combined. Taste for seasoning. Top with blossoms. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

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Roasted chicken and potatoes will finish this off nicely.  Don't forget the crusty bread and a nice bottle of white wine.

Wouldn't it be fun if we were having a French inspired party?  I could do the table similar to Susan's at the School...

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To read the entire article and get all the information and more recipes go here.

Who wants to join me in Paris? 

It's your turn.  Let's talk!