Disclaimer: I received free OrganicGirl product to review for this post. All opinions are my own. The prize for this promotion is provided by and shipped by OrganicGirl and/or its representatives.
Phew, now that THAT'S out of the way… let's talk about France. AKA, one of my favorite places on the planet. Now I know what you're wanting to ask me, "Cari, did you go to France and have a 10-day middle-school style love affair with a bleached-blonde-hair boy named Nicolas (pronouced Neec-oh-LAH) and wish you never had to return to the states?" Um, I would say SOME of that is true… But, I did get in trouble for talking too loudly during our tour of Versailles. I also misread a menu and ordered horse, instead of steak… and then two hours later proceeded to go horseback riding. Very traumatizing. But despite my completely unromantic trip to France at a ripe 14 years of age, I did come back completely in love with the culture. What can I say? France and I share a certain… je ne sais quoi … about us. Maybe it's because I used to be la canadienne .. er Canadian (a story for another time…).
So, when OrganicGirl reached out to me, and I perused their website only to find they had a product called Vive la France… well, I just had to try it. Let me tell you first about OrganicGirl (right now they're mostly focused in greens for salads and yummy cookin') – they have such a great story. They are a group of men and women in California who literally police the BEEP out of your produce. This means that when you buy a container of their product, it's been washed three times before being packaged; it's completely organic; and it won't be brown the day after you buy it. Which is awesome because I think I have probably wasted like $300 alone this year buying lettuce in plastic containers that gets slimy on day two, and I'm left to ponder whether I should suck it up and eat it, or throw it away (Mr. G usually makes me throw it away, though he's very grumpy about wasting food).
I went ahead and tried the Vive la France blend, which is a combination of mâche rosettes, baby chard, baby arugula and radicchio. It arrived today, and I was well-prepared. Of course, it took us like 45 minutes to track down our security dude, Chris, to unlock our package from his super stealthy case. But it was worth it – these greens are seriously delicious. Typically when we buy lettuce at the store, it's wilty and not very crunchy. The Vive la France mix was crunchy and slightly spicy (likely from the arugula). And we all know I love me some spice. So, I took Mr. Grumpy on a trip to France (aka, our super European couch), and made Roasted Chicken, Brie and Cinnamon Apple Paninis, plus a Peach-Bacon Salad avec Lemon Vinaigrette. L'awesome (that's not real French, ok?).
Want to know what is EVEN MORE L'AWESOME? One of YOU lucky readers is going to win a package of Vive la France blend from OrganicGirl JUST LIKE ME! I know, you're thinking – this simply cannot be true. How can I be so lucky? Well, you can, my friends. You can indeed. How, you ask? You can enter my giveaway in three ways:
- Follow me (@carijeanne) on Twitter, and tweet at me using #homewithyou with what you'd most like to see if you visited France. Feel free to leave a comment below with the link to your tweet for an extra entry.
- Leave a comment below with your French vacation dream – where would you most like to go? The south of France? Nice? Paris? The Spanish border? French Canada?
- Like OrganicGirl on Facebook or Pinterest, and leave me a comment below saying you did it!
The giveaway will close on June 22 – so get to commenting les petite chous! If you do all three, you earn three entries (meaning your chances will be INCREASED!). Best day ever, right? May the odds be ever in your favor, friends. I will announce the winner the week of June 24 here on my blog (and on social media too, obviously, because I will be so excited that I'll just want to share it with everyone).
Now that I've talked your ear off, let's get cookin'! (Let's start with the panini!)
Roasted Chicken, Brie & Cinnamon-Apple Panini
Every holiday, I make baked brie, which uses candied apples (like you'd put in a pie), crescent dough and brie. It's my sister Erin's favorite. In fact, one holiday I failed to make the brie, and she felt that warrented not speaking to me for most of Christmas. I have to agree – the brie really makes Christmas feel warmer.
So, this little sammy is just like that slice of heaven, except I'm totally going to blow your mind by taking it out of the crescent dough, and putting it onto bread. Whoa. Right? It's seriously delicious.
What You'll Need:
- 1/2 cup Vive la France blend from OrganicGirl
- 1/4 lb of brie
- 1 green apple
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon, divided – plus 1/2 tsp extra
- Juice from 1/2 orange
- 2 cups organic, unsalted chicken stock
- 1 chicken breast
- 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander seed
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 4 slices of fresh ciabatta bread (DS pronounces like CHEE-AH-BAHTTA bread. And I think it's awesome)
- 1 tbsp butter
- Baking non-stick cooking spray
First, you want to cook your chicken. I did mine in the crock pot the day before. First, combine 2 cups of chicken stock, chicken breast, rosemary, 1 tsp cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste. Let that cook on low for 2 to 2.5 hours until fully cooked. Let it cool enough that you can shread it with your fingers. Completely shread the chicken. In a small bowl combine 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground coriander and ground cumin in a bowl. Sprinkle it over the chicken, and toss until the chicken is coated. Add salt & pepper to taste, as needed.
Next, preheat your oven to 375. Spray a small baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Cut your apple into long, thin slices. The thinner, the better. They cook faster that way. Next, take your half of an orange, and squirt the juice over the apples. This is a trick Suzie Q taught me because I used to think that when apples turned brown, it meant they rotted. This was obviously an exaggeration, but she would help me out by putting juice on them to keep them looking normal. Toss the apples until they've been coated evenly with the juice. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and the remaining cinnamon (1 tsp). Sprinkle slowly over the apples, tossing the entire time to ensure they get nicely coated. Place the apples uncovered in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and stir. Return the apples to the oven, and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let them sit for 5 minutes.
Coat one side of each slice of bread with an even layer of butter. Begin warming a pan with grill marks (seriously, what are these things called), over medium heat. Have another pan handy (can you tell I don't have a panini maker?). Next, cut up your brie into long slices, about a centimeter thick. Place evenly over a slice of ciabatta bread. Next, place the cinnamon apples on top of the brie. Add a layer of chicken, and finally cover the top with Vive la France greens. Smoosh the second piece of bread on top. Repeat on the second – so you have two sandwiches. That was kind of obvious…
Now, place both sandwiches on your pan (butter side should be down, obviously). Place another pan on top of your sandwiches and gently press down, for about 3 minutes. Flip your sandwiches, and repeat on the other side for an additional 3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, and let your sandwiches sit until the brie cheese is melty and gooey and ready to be devoured.
Peach-Bacon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
To go with the paninis, we had a lovely Peach-Bacon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette. Ok, I know you're wondering why on earth I would ever put peaches and bacon together. Well, just as Mr. Grumpy and I go together (even though I'm sweet like a peach, and he's salty like a slice of bacon), so do peaches and bacon in real life. I'm serious.
What You'll Need:
- 2 cups Vive la France blend from OrganicGirl
- 3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 peach, cut into slices
- Juice from 1/2 lemon (about 1 tbsp)
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp Lemon & Pepper Seasoning (from McCormick)
Note: I adapted the recipe for the Lemon Vinaigrette from Martha Stewart. She's really great, isn't she?
First, put 1 cup of greens in each salad bowl. Place slices evenly on each salad. Crumble the bacon over the top.
In a small jam jar, combine dijon mustard, olive oil, salt, McCormick seasoning, and lemon juice. Close the lid tight, and shake until combined. This makes about 4 tbsp of dressing. Dress your salad – we put about 1 1/2 tbsp each on the salad. And, voila! As Julia Child would say, "Bon Appetite!"
To learn more about OrganicGirl and their products, you can check them out online too at www.iloveorganicgirl.com.