Our fourth destination on our culinary journey is France – to be exact to the south of
France…movies like “a good year”, the smell of lavender, a nice glass of French rose with olives, take me right into French vacation mood… the incredible blue of a lavender field, the pictures of van Gogh, the earthy colors of beautiful old towns like Vence or Avignon…
I would not dare to compare my culinary suggestions with France’s haute cuisine, but there are some easy to make recipes which thanks to their richness in herbs catapult you right into the middle of the scene…
If you want to dive deeper, I would love to tempt you to get tickets for the stunning immersive van Gogh exhibit in Toronto (of course with physical distancing), brush up your French with one of the easy to use language apps like Babbel, or visit one of the three lavender farms right here in Ontario, in our vicinity…!
Join me in preparing my new summer favorite,
“Herbed oven tomatoes with goat cheese on a bed of arugula”
Put on your most loved French chansons by Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf or Charles Aznavour (to name just a few) and start cooking with me…
As the tomatoes need to be in the oven for at least 2 hours, we have lots of time to indulge into our most precious memories…
If you want to go further, get a pure lemon sorbet, and top it with lavender honey, decorate with a sprig of lavender and some basil leaves to create a refreshing desert.
But back to our recipe:
For about 4 servings of this salad you will need:
· 4 handfuls arugula salad
· 4-6 medium to large tomatoes
· 2 sprigs of each edible lavender, thyme and rosemary
· 1 teaspoon of anis seeds
· 1 teaspoon of pepper,
· 1 teaspoon of himalayan salt
· Pepper and salt
· About 5 tablespoons of Olive oi
· Goat cheese, either 200gr cream cheese or 4 little goat camembert
· Balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat your oven to 200-degree Fahrenheit or 100-degree Celsius.
2. Cut the tomatoes in half and place into an oven safe dish, cut side up (like a Pyrex form)
3. Wash, dry and chop the herbs finely
4. Mix the herbs with the teaspoon of anis seed and distribute evenly on top the tomato halves
5. Mix pepper and salt and distribute evenly on the tomatoes all ingredients together except the hemp hearts
6. Drizzle a few drops of honey on top the tomatoes (just a little, all together not more than a teaspoon. You can substitute the honey with a teaspoon of brown sugar for the whole amount of tomatoes if you prefer)
7. Drizzle some olive oil over the tomatoes about 2-3 tablespoons
8. Place the dish into the oven and bake for a minimum of 2 hours, some people bake the tomatoes up to 4 hours
9. Shortly before the tomatoes are due take, take a large salad plate and fill with the arugula creating a salad bed.
10. Take the tomatoes out of the oven, so they can cool down a bit.
11. If using the goat camembert, place the cheese in another oven safe dish and broil it in your oven for about 3-4 minutes to get them browned lightly.
12. If using the cream cheese just distribute some doll-ups on top of the arugula
13. Place the tomatoes on top of the salad bed.
14. Drizzle the whole salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
15. If you like you can drizzle the goat cheese with a little honey again (1 Teaspoon for all of it!)
Arugula supports liver detoxification, and as well as rosemary, thyme and lavender, contains powerful anti-oxidants.
Unless you are allergic to vegetables of the nightshade family, tomatoes are a powerhouse of antioxidants. They contain Lycopene, a carotenoid which helps to protect from heart disease and cancer.
Goat cheese is much easier to digest than cow products. Many people who are lactose-intolerant are able to enjoy goat cheese without having to bear consequences like bloating or cramps. It contains a good portion of calcium, needed for bone health and protein to build muscles and other tissues.
Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, a mono-unsaturated fat which supports heart health.
Honey - when using raw honey – has antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal effects. If you can find local raw honey it is infused by local plant pollen, which helps to ease the effects of seasonal allergies