A New French Kitchen

All seven of the gourmet girls dined together on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 for yet another delicious meal.  We met at Ms. Lara's in her beautifully remodeled kitchen! Jodi favored us with Black Bean and Mango Salsa from Our Best Bites (she said it was super easy).  Andrea brought these yummy Quick Brazilian Cheese Rolls (Pao de Queijo) and I did the Cape Cod Chopped  Salad from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. Lara's main dish was Easy Provencal Lamb from Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?  Our side was Cauliflower with Dijon Sauce by Raquel and our "extra," LS, brought Eggplant Parmesan.  For dessert, Lynley baked some delicious Cowboy Cookies and served them with ice cream. This might be the first time I didn't snap a shot of the table, but I was so distracted by the fabulous kitchen I just forgot!

 The Gourmet Girls in Lara's new kitchen!
Back: Andrea, LS, Raquel, Bridget, Jodi
Front: Lynley and Lara

Black Bean and Mango Salsa
Our Best Bites, page 13
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium mango,peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup diced red onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium avocado, diced

1. In a large bowl, combine the black beans, mango, red onion, and cilantro.
2. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Stir to dissolve the sugar and then pour over black bean mixture. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
3. When ready to serve, gently fold in the diced avocado. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Good news for those with Celiac; these are GLUTEN FREE!

 Cape Cod Chopped Salad
This picture is a little blurry and I think I put on too much dressing, but this was a good salad!
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, page 78

8 ounces thick-cut bacon, such as Niman Ranch
8 ounces baby arugula
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced (I didn't peel mine)
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled

3 tablespoons good apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup good olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place a baking rack (I used a cooling rack) on a sheet pan and lay the bacon slices on the rack.  Roast the bacon for about 20 minutes, until nicely browned.  Allow to cool.
In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, apple walnuts, cranberries and blue cheese.
For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, mustard, maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a bowl.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
Chop the bacon in large pieces and add it to the salad.  Toss the salad with just enough dressing to moisten.  Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt nad toss well.  Serve immediately.

I was going to bake my bacon as per Raquel's suggestion and then when I opened up the recipe, I saw that Ina Garten bakes her bacon as well.  I'll never go back.  It was so nice and crispy and all of the grease and fat just dripped off onto the sheet pan!
Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?, page 134
(I found this recipe online also, so I've included the link).

These cookies were delicious.  
Lynley served them hot with ice-cream but they would be great alone too!

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