THOSE LAZY HAZY DAYS OF SUMMER... AND DISASTER
Weekends, as I have explained before, are market day for us: Saturdays we wend our way to La Place de la Petite Hollande, Nantes’ marché populaire, to find inexpensive fruits, vegetables still wearing their dirt, sometimes pre-cooked foods and, of course, a beautiful roasted chicken from the Chicken Lady. This Saturday was no different, especially as we had a date to walk down to the Hangar à Banane on the Loire and watch the launching “à l’ancienne” of the replica of Jules Verne’s (a child of Nantes) boat Le St. Michel. So a skip, hop and a jump found us buying a gorgeous roasted chicken, some cheese and salad and then home.
Sundays we normally head out early for Marché Talensac, Nantes’ indoor market, a bit more chi-chi, where we buy seafood fresh off the boats, chilled bottles of white or rosé wine, huge, dense, fresh salads and vine-ripened tomatoes, bulging heads of purple garlic and bouquets of tender, crispy radishes from our favorite vegetable lady, a loaf of bread and the occasional lasagne for the boys from the Italian “traiteur”.
But this Sunday, disaster struck in the most innocent of places! Instead of going to the market and just lazing away the day, as the weather was so beautiful JP decided to take Marty and Simon to the forest about an hour outside of Nantes for a long, leisurely hike. That’s when it happened: throwing caution to the wind, Marty started doing his truffle pig imitation and snuffling up every mushroom he could detect and then, unlike those pigs, scarfing them down before JP even noticed what was happening. And as Marty has never done his homework, refusing to read the mushroom manual “How to Tell the Difference Between the Yummy Mushrooms and the Deadly Mushrooms”, of course he was poisoned. Horrors! Watching a small dog deathly ill and in pain all day, all evening is a sight that no one wants to behold. And I can assure you that Marty was as sick as a … well, as a dog….
Unbeknownst to me, I carried on merrily, packing up more cartons, emptying kitchen cabinets, folding away the winter sweaters into suitcases and thinking about lunch. What would go beautifully with leftover roasted chicken, to be eaten cold, something quick to make, healthy to boot and delicious. Ahha! I had thin, delicate French green beans and thicker yellow wax beans in the fridge and a wonderful recipe for a cold sour cream-horseradish sauce which would just hit the spot. Now in which box did I pack this cookbook…..?
After rifling through a mere 5 boxes labeled “cookbooks” I found the two volumes of Recipes from a Kitchen Garden by Renee Shepherd, founder of Shepherd’s Seeds and now owner of Renee’s Garden, and Fran Raboff, two slender volumes full of delightful, tasty recipes using vegetables, fruits and flowers from her garden including many heirloom varieties, and I was off to make this easy-as-pie sauce, perfect over steamed green and wax beans or as a dip for vegetables.
CREAMY HORSERADISH DRESSING with green and yellow beans
1/3 cup sour cream
1 Tbs prepared white horseradish
½ tsp Dijon or Dijon-style mustard
2 Tbs vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Using a fork, spoon or whisk, blend all the ingredients together in a small bowl or right in the measuring cup and chill for about an hour before serving.
Steam until tender enough green beans for 4 – 6 people served as a side dish. Refresh the cooked beans under cold running water to stop the cooking and drain well.
I added freshly-sliced juicy, ripe tomatoes for a bit of contrast in both color and flavor, arranged the beans on the plate and drizzled the thick, cold, creamy Horseradish Sauce over it all. And served it with cold chicken. Perfect for summer, and see how quick?
We ate with one communal eye on the Marts and I am happy to say that he was starting to mend by the end of the evening and got a clean bill of health from the vet today. And I do believe that that is his last run in the forest this summer. Back to the safety of the vineyards.
And I want to thank Karen of Domestic Muse for my fabulous apron she sent me for my entry in the Everything Old Is New Again Vintage Recipe Contest. I received it in the mail this week and boy did it cheer me up. Look how perfectly it fits! And I love the cupcakes! Thanks a gazillion Karen and I can't wait until next year's EONA Vintage Recipe Date!