Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Nancy's "La Scala" salad + #book #giveaway of French Bistro Mystery from author @DarylWoodGerber



A Deadly Éclair giveaway below!


From Daryl:

This is an intensive recipe because there are so many ingredients and so many steps, but I promise it is worth it.

So...when I moved to Los Angeles to become an actress, I worked in Beverly Hills at a thriving restaurant as a waitress and then also as a bookkeeper and then also as a short order cook. [Triple threat!] I kid you not. I was asked to cook for the early crowd.  I had to cook liver and onions I can't tell you how many times! Oy! I "chatted" about it on our last Around the Kitchen Table chat. [You know we do those the first Monday of every month, right?]

Anyway, while working at the restaurant, I met an attorney who gave me a job as a legal secretary.  I was a killer typist and I took shorthand during high school. Who knew that would  come in handy? It did. I still use it when I make notes in my manuscripts.

While I worked at the law offices, I loved walking around Beverly Hills during lunch and imagining myself dining in all the fancy restaurants. I couldn't afford them, of course, but I dreamed. When I finally won a few acting jobs that enhanced my income (as did my friend),  we decided we had to go to La Scala and have the chopped salad. It was renowned. For a very good reason.

Well, I just discovered the recipe in Food and Wine Best of the Best, Vol 15. Yes, I'm still planning to go through all my cookbooks and make the recipes that call to me. This one, by "Nancy", is based on the La Scala favorite. I love it, but like I said, it required a lot of steps. I hope you love it, too.

FYI, Nancy recommended making "ceci" from scratch.  Ceci is dressed up chickpeas, and to be honest, I couldn't really tell the difference from the cooked to regular canned (bad me), so if I were you, I'd used canned chickpeas and cut out one HUGE step.   But maybe you'll add more garlic than I did.   :)

Nancy’s Chopped Salad

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main course

Half of a small red onion (halved through the core)
1 small head iceberg lettuce
1 medium head radicchio
1 pint small sweet cherry tomatoes, halved through the stem ends
Kosher salt
1 ½ cups cooked Ceci (recipe follows)
4 ounces provolone, sliced ½ inch thick and cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
4 ounces Genoa salami, sliced 1/8 inch thick and cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
5 peperoncini, stems cut off and discarded, thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)
½ cup Oregano Vinaigrette (recipe follows) plus more to taste
Juice of ½ lemon, plus more to taste
Dried oregano for sprinkling (preferably Sicilian oregano on the branch) * honestly? I did not!


Separate the layers of the onion, stack two or three layers on top and slice lengthwise 1/16 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining onion layers. Place the slices in a small bow of ice water and set them aside while you prepare the rest.  Drain  the onion and pat dry with paper towels before adding to the salad.


Cut the iceberg in half through the core. Remove and discard the outer leaves and remove and discard the core. Separate the lettuce leaves, and slice them lengthwise 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Slice the radicchio the same way.




Combine the lettuce, radicchio, tomatoes, Ceci, provolone, salami, peperoncini, and onions in a large, wide bowl. Season with salt and toss to combine. Drizzle ½ cup of the vinaigrette and squeeze the lemon juice over the salad, then toss gently to coat the salad. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, lemon juice, or vinaigrette if desired.  (I liked more lemon).  Pile the salad on a large platter or divide it among plates. Sprinkle the dried oregano on top, if desired.







TO MAKE CECI:

Per Nancy, this is a way to cook chickpeas and make them very flavorful. She made them from scratch but said I could use canned chickpeas and cut the cooking time. So that's what I did.

Here is her recipe:

1 cup chickpeas (ceci) soaked overnight (put beans in pan and cover with water that rises 2 inches above)
2 tablespoons kosher salt (I omitted since I used canned chickpeas)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil (this seemed like too much so I cut down to ¼ cup)
1 large carrot, peeled and halved
1 celery rib, halved
1 dried arbol chile (I didn’t have and didn’t miss)
16 garlic cloves (Honestly? No. I used freeze-dried garlic, about 1 tablespoon – plenty)
½ yellow onion, halved

If you decide to use real beans, make sure you cook them long enough so they became soft and creamy (like canned beans).

Drain the chickpeas and put them in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover them by 1 ½ inches, salt, and olive oil. Place the carrot, celery, chile, garlic, and onion in a doubled piece of cheesecloth and tie it into a closed bundle. Add the bundle to the pot with the chickpeas and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer the chickpeas until they are very tender and creamy, about 2 hours, adding more water to the pot as needed but never covering them by more than and inch to an inch and a half.    [*I used canned beans and did the bundle of veggies – and cooked for 30 minutes.]

Turn off the heat and allow the chickpeas to cool in the liquid. Remove and discard the cheesecloth bundle. Drain the chickpeas. To use later, transfer the chickpeas and the liquid in an airtight container and refrigerate until you are ready to use. Bring the chickpeas to room temperature and drain them before using.





OREGANO VINAIGRETTE – delicious and can be used on lots of salads!

2 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, more to taste (I liked more)
2 garlic cloves, smashed (I used dehydrated, 2 teaspoons)
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the vinegar, oregano, lemon juice, smashed garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and whisk to combine the ingredients. Set the vinaigrette aside to rest for 5 minutes to marinate the oregano. Add the olive oil in a slow, thin stream, whisking constantly to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice, if desired.  Use the vinaigrette or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to three days. Bring to room temperature and whisk again before using.


GIVEAWAY

I'm gearing up for the release of the trade paperback version of A DEADLY ÉCLAIR.  Raise your hand. Did any of you buy the hardcover version? Lately it's been under $16. I don't care one way or another, but I'd love to know. Hardcover seems to be for libraries and collectors.   Anyway, here's your chance to tell me...or tell me if you at least told a friend about the series.  One commenter will win a choice of hardcover, trade paperback, or e-book of A DEADLY ECLAIR.  Winner announced Saturday.


P.S.  The e-book is on sale right  now until the release of the trade paperback for $1.99 at most US stores.  $1.20 on Amazon.


 
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A SOUFFLÉ OF SUSPICION, the 2nd French Bistro Mystery, coming July 10
Can Mimi prove her chef innocent before the chef gets dusted?
Click here to order.

PRESSING THE ISSUE, the 6th Cookbook Nook Mystery.

The annual Renaissance Fair serves up a helping of crafty courtiers, 
damsels in distress, and medieval murder . . .
Click here to order.


A DEADLY ÉCLAIR, the 1st in the French Bistro Mysteries, coming in trade paperback June 12.
Can Mimi clear her name before the killer turns up the heat?
Click here to order.

FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE, the 7th Cheese Shop Mystery is out!
Finally there's going to be a cheese festival in Providence!
Click to order.

GIRL ON THE RUN, a stand-alone suspense.
When a fairytale fantasy night becomes a nightmare, Chessa Paxton must run for her life...but will the truth set her free?
Click to order

DAY OF SECRETS, a stand-alone suspense
A mother he thought was dead. A father he never knew.
An enemy that wants them dead.
Click here to order

43 comments:

  1. That salad sounds wonderful and not to hard to make! I would probably use the canned chickpeas!
    I have been waiting for the paperback to come out. They fit in my bookshelf better!
    Thank you for the giveaway!
    debprice60@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb, glad you like it. In the future, I'd probably just use canned chickpeas, too, and none of the fuss. ~ Daryl

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    2. Deb, you're the winner of this giveaway by random selection. I'll send you an email to get your details. Congrats and tell a friend. ~ Dar yl

      Delete
  2. Daryl, I've made that salad and am pretty sure "Nancy" is Nancy Silverton, later the author of the Silver Palate and the creator of the La Brea Bakery! It is a bit intensive, but so delish!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I LOVE La Scala and used to eat their chopped salad several times a month when I worked in Burbank! Every time I go to a restaurant and try a chopped salad now, I'm always disappointed because it doesn't live up to La Scala's salad. Thanks for sharing!!! Since I've already read your book (and loved it!) you can remove my name from the contest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks, Kim, for reading the book, and thanks for chiming in! ~ Daryl

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  4. I think you should come over and show me how. I wouldn't want to get it wrong!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Taylor R. WilliamsMay 23, 2018 at 10:57 AM

    Of course I've told my friends - great series - can't really afford to buy books, so I get mine at the library

    ReplyDelete
  6. Could you use canned chick peas in this recipe? Sounds like a good recipe to take for a pot luck, for some thing different. I did not buy the hardcover. dbahn(at)iw(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dianne, thanks for telling me. Yes, you can use canned chick peas. Just make sure they are well drained. ~ Daryl

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  7. Salad looks delicious, I always love salads. I have not read your book yet but would love too. Thanks for the chance to win!
    faithdcreech at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sadly I wasn't able to buy the hardcover version when it was first released. I usually always buy hardcovers (if the book is offered in hardcover) because of how sturdy they are, less chance of bent covers when carrying them with you.
    I always tell my friends of new cozy releases.
    The recipe looks yummy. Wonder if it would work with shallots? It's still in the onion family. My son is allergic to onions
    scarletbegonia5858(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your son can eat shallots but not onions? Interesting. I'm sure shallots would work. Honestly, I prefer them! ~ Daryl

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  9. I would very much love to have this book. She is a awesome author. And I have been waiting for this book .I love the cover. Thank you for this chance.

    ReplyDelete