Tuesday, August 2, 2016


{These French recipes are from a French cookbook called La Cuisine:  Guide Practique de la Ménagère by Chef R. Blondeau.  This book was passed down to me from my great-grandmother, who was from Alsace, a North-eastern region on the Rhine river plain in France.  It was published in 1930 as a guide for cooks hired to cook for a family.

 I am translating the recipes from French, testing them out with home-grown or raised food, and re-writing them in a modern format, with notes about what worked for me in the kitchen} 

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The tomatoes are finally succumbing to the drought and heat in the garden, so this is the last of them.  And the last of the onions, too.  For this recipe I had to make a few alterations because we have the tiny cherry tomatoes (no, I am not skinning and de-seeding every single one - they are smaller than grapes!).  Also, it is not parsley season, and the dressing calls for parsley, an herb that grows beautifully in the spring, fall and winter, but bolts in the heat.  I substituted basil, which is still growing in abundance.  I also subbed elephant garlic (actually not a garlic, but a kind of shallot) for the shallots, because I still had some from the garden.

At this point my big kids are "sick" of cherry tomatoes, and won't eat anything that has them in it.  They'll make an exception for tomato sauce, as long as it's been milled and you can't see the cherry tomatoes in it.  Rose helped me assemble this salad, and made the comment, "Wow, this looks good.  Maybe I'll actually try some."

"You're not allowed to," I said, joking.  "You don't eat cherry tomatoes, remember?  You said they make you gag."

"But I want to try this!" she replied. "It's better than what you usually make."

So if that's not a recommendation, I don't know what is.


Remove the first skin on five or six large tomatoes, cut into slices, remove the seeds, and arrange them in layers alternating with sliced onions, with salt, pepper, vinegar.  Allow to marinate two hours, remove and drain your tomatoes, and serve them with a vinaigrette.


 Slice finely together parsley, shallots and onions; add salt, pepper, a spoonful of good vinegar, and two spoonfuls and a half of oil.

Mix well together, serve in the salad bowl or the saucière.

Tomato Salad With Vinaigrette Dressing

5 or 6 large tomatoes (or, in my case, about 2 cups of cherry tomatoes)
1 large onion, peeled and sliced

salt and pepper

vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, but wine vinegar or balsamic would be wonderful, and could change the flavor and character of this salad for variety)

1.  Peel the tomatoes - I skipped this step as mentioned above, but an easy way to peel tomatoes is to plunge them into boiling water for just a minute, and then immediately submerge them into cold water.  This loosens the skin and it can be easily peeled off once the tomato is cool enough to handle.  Also slice them open and remove the seeds.  Then cut the peeled and de-seeded tomatoes into slices.

2.  Lay some of the tomato slices on a plate or in a bowl, add onion slices on top, and then salt and pepper and a sprinkle of vinegar.  Repeat until you run out of tomato slices.

3.  Allow to marinate for two hours.  Then drain off the liquid (actually I saved it and used it as vinegar in the dressing - it tasted too good to discard).  I think you are supposed to also take out the onion slices, but they were really good as part of the salad.  The vinegar had taken the bite away, and they were just sweet and onion-y.  Do as you prefer....

4.  Dress with vinaigrette:

For the dressing:

 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or basil

1 small onion, chopped fine

1 shallot, chopped fine

salt and pepper

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon vinegar

Mix all ingredients well.  Serve either on the side, or tossed into the tomato salad.

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