Still not following directions... (French Fridays with Dorie: Not-Quite Salad Nicoise)

It doesn't seem possible that it was only two weeks ago that I was sitting in Seattle at the International Food Bloggers Conference meeting a contingent of "Doristas" for the first time.

It was a bit of a surreal series of events.

One certainly never expects to come face to face with a prolific cookbook author in their lifetime (well, at least this one doesn't) and one certainly doesn't expect that author's husband to hand them a package of cookies.

When we posted the "Back of the Card" bread a few months ago, I wrote a post relating to some of my interactions in the business world over the years and the impressions that those left on me. The infamous Susan commented on that post that she wondered what I would write on the back of her card when we met.

Since several other members of the crew captured the essence of the conference and meet-ups so well, I will leave that prose to them. Now, I didn't capture anything on the back of anyone's business card, but everyone did get a moniker in my head.

On Friday, I had the chance to meet Kathy, the kind and that level-headed Liz with the legs (because she could pull of those tall boots!). Guyla, the gracious one and Patty, the pragmatic. Karen, the keen and Alice, the one with the amazing energy (and my Urbanspoon dining out companion). Of course, we can't forget Dorie, the divine.

The very next day, the rest of the crew joined in - Michelle, the magnificent and Betsy, the beatific (a more serene person I have not met). Mary, the mayor corralled us all in. Tricia, the terrific and Nana, the knowing. Adriana, the alive! There is Susan, the super-one and Trevor, the tolerant (for putting up with us all). And last but not least, in a Dortista bonus round, I was able to meet up with Teresa, the tranquil and thoughtful one.

I am not normally a social person - I was scared witless going into this (What if no one liked me? What if I wasn't cool enough? I know, totally high school, right?). It was comforting to discover that in the midst of the Dorista-enclave it was hard to stay too reserved. A few of them even took on The Dude and kept him entertained one evening while I was out (I have come to suspect there may have been some ulterior motives going on there - ahem, I am looking at you Mary, Patty, Susan & John. By the way, I am supposed to clarify that he is not just the "meat" eater - he likes fish too...)

My IFBC posts (and some new recipes) along with a bit of vacation "stuff" will come along at some point. I am still collecting my thoughts - and it can take a while to wrangle them all in to a coherent pattern. They are about as cooperative as I am.

On to this week's French Friday recipe.

I had every intentions of following the recipes this week, but the whole not-reading the recipe ahead of time kind of bit me in the butt. Thank goodness for improvisation...

We have been eating versions of this salad all summer long. I rarely keep potatoes in the house, so potatoes are traded out for cooked grains (freekeh, farro, quinoa, barley - anything sitting in the pantry waiting to be used up). The decision on what greens and vegetables to use is based on what is sitting in the refrigerator or whatever catches my eye at the market. The eggs are a given and the "extras" follow the philosophy of the rest of the ingredients - whatever is on hand gets thrown in.

It's a great way to bring together those bits and pieces that might otherwise get left behind.

Since I went a bit further off the beaten path than normal, I have included my version below...


Peace out.

Not-Quite Salad Nicoise
Adapted from Around My French Table

2 cups micro greens (I used radish)
1 cup freekeh, cooked & chilled
1 8-ounce tin of tuna in olive oil
6 radishes, halved or quartered - depending on size
6 small tomatoes, halved
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
1/2 cup nicoise olives
2 Tbs capers
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
1/2 cup chevre (goat cheese), crumbled

3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs (scant) Dijon mustard
1 Tbs shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (~1/2" pieces)
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

To make the salad: Arrange the salad ingredients on a large platter. Personally, I kind of like lining everything up in rows for this salad - but whatever floats your boat works!

To make the dressing: Place all the ingredients in a half pint canning jar or other 8 fluid ounce lidded container. Seal the container and shake vigorously, until the ingredients are well blended (I like to let it sit for about a half hour or so to let the flavors meld). Drizzle over salad ingredients.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie, an on-line cooking group that is cooking their way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.


  1. At least you made a salad! I skipped this week altogether.

  2. The conference looks like it was so much fun! Love all the pics.

  3. Now, without the tuna I LOVE this version. I still think we should have made a cake though. Loving your IFBC snippets :)

  4. I will not let the fact that you posted a picture of you (behind the camera, no less) fly by unnoticed!

    I like your version of the salad. You are forcing me to look up freekeh. Funny name :)

  5. I must confess - that picture is of Karen, not me :-)

    I am too horrified by one of the pictures that is floating around on multiple sites to put up any more of myself.

  6. Your "tweaked" salad is gorgeous, Cher! Thanks for the fun recap and alliterative (probably not a word) descriptions. I'll take leggy any day :) Meeting all of you surpassed my expectations...hope we will meet again!

  7. This salad, in many forms, is a favorite at my house too. I used Dorie's list of ingredients, but usually use many of the same ones you did. Love the artichokes in it. I'm looking up freekah too.

    I enjoyed your mini-recap of our meet up. I'm still smiling when I think about it. I enjoyed your monikers of everyone. I'm curious what it is about me that makes people think I'm serene. People in other contexts have told me the same, though I don't think of myself that way.

    Have a great weekend!

  8. In my defense......all you gals would still be figuring out how to move the tables and where to sit for our Dorie breakfast if it hadn't been for me! (I'd like a little support here from my Dorista coference buddies.) And, Betsy, I work with you. Indeed, you are serene. In my next Life. And, Cher, since Patty is in Germany, I will speak for both of us. You couldn't pay us money enough to dish on everything we learned from Joe while we were hanging out in the bar together having a nightcap. Just saying. You nailed us all - were you just standing back and observing during the entire conference? That's scary. Your salade is so Cher. I would expect nothing less.

  9. I love the way you captured everyone with one word! It might be high schoolish but I think most of us were nervous. I felt the same way and had old friends building up my confidence before I left for Seattle, reassuring me that all would be well. Its nice to have kind friends, isn't it? Like you I still have my IFBC post swirling around in my brain. It was an experience that defies categorizing! Your salad looks delicious and interesting and unique, like everything else you do!

  10. Not quite niçoise but a great salad none the less. Lovely post, great description of everyone. Made me laugh. Have a great weekend.

  11. Oh, Cher I sure everyone was thinking the same high school thoughts before meeting. I wish I had the opportunity to get those butterflies too.. Love your version of the salad... Must try artichoke heart and goat cheese, yum.

  12. Hi Cher! Thanks so much for the pics of the conference -- such fun! Your boiled egg has me envious -- love my backyard chickens, but can't get a boiled egg to peel worth a darn.

  13. LOL Cher - I am glad that you didn't follow the recipe for our anniversary. That would have been too dull! Your version of salad nicoise sounds good. I am loving seeing what everyone looks like - I met Patty in San Fran last year, and I would have loved to meet all the others too.

  14. your not-so version still looks great! :) Radishes are a good idea for next time, I'm not keen on them but my hubby loves 'em! :) Have a good weekend!

  15. I wouldn't expect nothing less than a one word description of the doristas from you! I am still jealous I couldn't make it!!! Really I am, lol! The salad is very much your style, easy to adapt.

  16. I like how you usually adapt my friend, you are so innovative!
    Delicious salad, bookmarked!


  17. Great post, Cher! It was such a pleasure to finally meet you and Joe. So glad you are home safe and cooking again. Love the your one word monikers…I have one for you…Cher the caring or maybe compassionate (i.e. the olive oil tasting) oh wait…definitely clever!
    Your salad looks wonderful!!

  18. Cher, a very lovely version of this classic French salad - beautifully arranged and worth many repeats, I am sure! It is wonderful to read that you enjoyed this fabulous salad with just a few minor adjustments!
    What a fabulous post about the Conference in Seattle - lots of very happy faces all around!

    Hope your Joe is having a wonderful in Berlin and finds a perfect gift or two to bring back to the States!

    Have a wonderful Monday!

  19. I love the conference photos, and your fun descriptions of everyone who went. I'm so glad it was so much fun....I like your version of the salad, especially the artichoke and goat cheese additions. I love salad, as long as it isn't just lettuce.

  20. You are SO sweet! And I'm SO happy I got to meet you! John & I totally behaved ourselves, but I cannot vouch for Mary & Patty who took The Dude to the hotel bar after dinner! LOL! He's a great guy & he loves all 3 of you to pieces! I'm sure John was ready for some male companionship by then, anyway. But, you have to admit, we're a gang of girls who like to talk about food & wine, not hair & nails, so guys can understand us, anyway. And, really, we would never be Doristas without Trevor!

  21. Don't send work emails while grumpy. Some days I need a banner above my computer to remind me of that!

    As for your salad, I love grain salads and probably would have loved your version. Great sub for potatoes.


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