Have Kelly, Will Cook
Half the fun of any trip is regaling your friends with your travel tales. If you’re a foodie like I am, sharing your travels with a friend who is also a chef means it’s all about the food. One of my dearest friends, Kelly Sterling of www.snailsview.com, is a remarkably inventive professional chef and food photographer. With Kelly, tales of the global adventure that led to Have Mother, Will Travel got woven into a culinary conversation she and I have been having for the last twenty years.
The result is a series of fabulous recipes created by Kelly that are inspired by the places Mia and I visited, including Asia, the Middle East, France and Amsterdam. Kelly’s graced the kitchens of Nobu Matsuhisa and The Border Girls, among others, and has been featured on Gourmet Magazine online and in the latest edition of Where Women Cook. Her award-winning food blog, www.snailsview.com, showcases her beautiful photographs as well as her sweet, charming personality.
Lavender & Rosemary Roasted Lamb Tartine –
Warm Lentil Vinaigrette, Roquefort and
Late Summer Tomatoes
Going to a dinner party, or any party, at Kelly's home means not eating for the whole day so I have room to feast on all the different dishes she always prepares. But the night she made this, I didn't eat a whole lot else because it was just so unbelievably good. I'm pretty sure I was actually moaning as I ate it. There weren't really seconds as it was on to the next course, but I made her make me another one (I have no shame.) The combination of warm and tangy vinaigrette, roquefort, ripe tomatoes and earthy lentils with lamb, slightly sweetened by the lavender was so heady, so indescribably good. If you don't have lavender buds, you can try a mix of dried tarragon and fennel seeds, perhaps grinding it together a bit in a mortar and pestle, it's sweet and herbal in the same way.
The fragrances of those ingredients in your mouth at the same time is part of what takes it over the top, and takes me right back to Provence. Sigh.
It's a good choice if you don't have much time as the lamb just sits in there roasting, all you have to do is prepare is the lentil dressing, slice tomatoes, and take the roquefort right out of the package. It does make a difference to use good roquefort. I think she used Blue Moon.
Greece, Grub and the Gals
Hats, or toques, off to Kelly for creating such a fast and fabulous summertime dinner. Perfect for all those juicy cherry tomatoes and nectarines still at the market. My being out here in the boondocks, beautiful as it is, means if there's no ground cardamom, there's no running to the store for it. So I may use nutmeg instead.
I had never thought to fry capers till they were crispy, or fry them at all. I had no idea what I was missing! I dropped my fish and my sister's humongous Great Dane (are dogs hungry ALL the time??) slobbered all over it before I could cook it, so I just ate those crispy capers all by themselves and discovered my new favorite snack for when I have a salty-crunchy craving. Which is often. I have been known to some (including Kelly) to buy a bag of Kettle Sea Salt Potato Chips and Helluva Good Bacon Horseradish Dip and eat it all in the car, in the parking lot. These crunchy little bits of heaven are going to be sprinkled on all kinds of things from salads and eggs to this amazing and easy fish recipe Kelly concocted inspired by the wonderfully fresh cuisine of Greece.
Kelly's Malaysian inspired Fried Rice
I've long noticed that every country I visit has it's own "melody", so to speak. The national character, the history, the dreams, hopes and emotional "tone" of a culture, all manage to find their way into the various expressions of the culture: the art, architecture, food, fashion, music, language, literature, theater, etc. For example, the tone of France is a blend of elegant neo-classicism, and witty, light and formal; it shows up in the food, fashion, architecture, language, manners, attitude.
Malaysia is a melting pot, a colorful clash of east, west and happy. Chinese, Indian, Dutch and European. You can see it on their faces, the shrines, the facades of buildings, and especially in the food. After starving for three days in Beijing, we wolfed down our first food scavenge an hour after we got to our hotel in Kuala Lumpur - nasi goreng, the Malaysian version of fried rice, served with an egg. Kelly's version is terrific.
Kelly's amazing Chocolate Clementine Tart
Our first recipe is a scrumptious Chocolate Clementine Tart inspired by la Gourmandise, a confection unique to La Bonbonniere, a candy shop in Apt, a tiny town in Provence. I've braved gale force winds, torrents of rain, and French drivers, to buy them—glowing orange domes of candied clementines, honey, and marzipan, dunked in dark chocolate. They’re rather perishable so I have no choice but to eat every single one within a few days. You can’t imagine the pain…