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Alta Editions is an award-winning publisher of beautiful online cookbooks. 

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Get recipes, tips, stories and more on the Alta Editions blog

Filtering by Tag: French Cuisine

How to Make a Simple French Dijon Vinaigrette

Chris McBride

Whisking vinaigrette, how to make french vinaigrette, dijon vinaigrette recipes, Laurent Gras, what to make for dinner

"You can change the ingredients and their proportions to emphasize different flavor components—more or less acidic, more or less tangy, sweeter, saltier, more pungent—depending on how and with what the vinaigrette will be used.” - Laurent Gras

Learning how to make a vinaigrette adds a simple and highly versatile technique to your cooking repertoire. A basic vinaigrette can add flavor and balance to endless dishes, whether its a classic sandwich, a surprising fish dish, or a fresh asparagus salad. Once you have the basics down you can personalize your vinaigrette with some of your favorite flavors and spices to create a wide range of dressings from sweet and fruity, to savory and tangy. And since it's homemade you'll be leaving out all the preservatives and additives that come with many store bought varieties.

In the video below from our digital cookbook, Laurent Gras: My Provence, chef Gras walks us through his personal recipe for a simple Dijon vinaigrette. Check it out and next time you’re eating a salad instead of reaching for that salad dressing bottle why not make your own?

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Here's what you'll need for Laurent Gras' Basic Dijon Vinaigrette: -Large Mixing Bowl -Whisk -2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar -Sea salt -Freshly ground black pepper -3 tablespoons (50 g) Dijon mustard -½ cup (100 g) extra-virgin olive oil -1 medium (30 g) shallot, peeled and finely chopped

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The Health Risks and Nutritional Benefits of Eating Tomatoes

Chris McBride

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With summer drawing to a close, tomatoes have finally reached their seasonal peak. Thriving in warm climates and native to western South America and the Galapagos Islands, tomatoes have been cultivated by Mesoamerican civilizations from as far back as 500 BCE. The word "tomato" comes from the Nahuatl word tomatl or “the swelling fruit”. The crop was coveted for both its culinary and spiritual potency until the Spanish colonization in the 16th century when the fruit was brought to Europe, cultivated by farmers and ingrained into the local cuisine where it remains today.

So are too many tomatoes bad for you? Biologically a fruit, they belong to the Nightshade or Solanaceae family, which includes a variety of important agricultural crops including: potatoes, peppers, eggplant, tobacco, paprika, goji berries and cayenne. Other more infamous members of this family include the extremely toxic mandrake, deadly nightshade, henbane and poisonous moonflowers. Tomatoes like all members of the Nightshade family contain alkaloids (also found in cocaine, caffeine, nicotine and codine), which in hypersensitive individuals can impact joint, digestive and nerve-muscle function. Luckily the levels of alkaloids found in nightshade foods are well tolerated and today tomatoes are enjoyed worldwide (about 130 million tons per year)! They are considered one of the most nutritionally beneficial foods and have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. They are an excellent source of potassium, lycopene, vitamins A and C and have even been linked to lowering the risk of prostate cancer. It’s best to always keep your tomatoes at room temperature and try to get the naturally ripened vine-variety, which are sweeter in taste and redder in color.

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So why not try some great tomato recipes at home? In our latest digital cookbook, Laurent Gras uses these multifunctional fruits in a variety of dishes ranging from the elegant appetizer-sized stuffed Tomate Antiboise, the light and refreshing Tomato Consommé with Basil and Lemongrass, the traditional Niçoise Ratatouille with Pistou and for seafood lovers, the Striped Bass with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Snapper Carpaccio with Pickled Mushrooms. We hope you enjoy cooking them as much as we did!

All photos © 2012 Shimon and Tammar Photography.

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