I’m an Italian girl from New Orleans, but I have a bit of a Yankee accent…that’s another story.
Growing up in New Orleans my family used food to celebrate anything and everything from Mardi Gras to the Fourth of July. My mom was a fabulous cook. From her, I inherited a love of food and a passion for cooking. I happily passed that enthusiasm on to my daughter, Michelle, at a very young age.
Saturday mornings were one of our favorite times cooking together when she was a little girl. Michelle loved cutting the center out of canned biscuits and frying them to make doughnuts. While she was working on the doughnuts (with me over her shoulder of course), I would work on the icing…always sure to make extra. Once completed, we would sit on the sofa watching cartoons and giggling at Tom and Jerry…dipping the already glazed doughnuts into the extra icing. Oh my gosh, they were so delicious and it was such a special time for us!
If you are from New Orleans, making sauces is a rite of passage. I learned early on how to make remoulade, tarter, hollandaise, tomato and the perfect salad dressing. I wish I could say Michelle, now a beautiful grown woman, was proficient at all these sauces…we’re still working on that. She does, however, have the salad dressing down pat and uses it often to dress our favorite summer vegetable salad. Michelle and I recently made a big batch for a party at our home in Savannah. We each put on one of my old fashioned aprons and went to work. The flowery fabric of the aprons reminded us both of the cafe curtains that once loosely hung in my mother’s New Orleans kitchen.
This time, there were no biscuit donuts frying and no cartoons playing while we cooked, but we giggled just the same.
Summer Vegetable Salad
2 cups fresh green beans
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2” long sticks
½ red onion (thinly sliced)
½ cup black olives, pits removed
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 tablespoon Creole mustard
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Place a steaming basket inside a large saucepan with 1” of water and bring to a low boil. Add green beans and carrot sticks to steaming basket. Cover and cook until beans and carrots are cooked through but still have a slight crunch. Remove from steaming basket and immediately immerse in the ice water bath until cool. Remove from water and pat dry.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients. Add green beans, carrots, onions, black olives, cucumber and cherry tomatoes. Toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.