Friday, February 17, 2012

Sunshine in a suitcase

Out of the frying pan and into the fire! That is me as I am taking a plane to the States just as it is starting to finally warm up here in Arles. But what care I? Bring on the snow! Blizzards even! Nothing can dampen my utter joy at the prospect of seeing my Mom and Sister after far too long. For those of us living overseas,   such a distance is a choice that can be the most difficult to deal with, even if we have loving families in France. But how wonderful to close that gap even just for a few days, not to mention soak up a much needed dose of Americana.

I love that at this time of year in France, it is considered absolutely permissible, even advisable to eat well during the winter cold. "Bah, there is no point in starting a diet right now!" advised the ever kind red-head at the dry-cleaners. "We need..." and she made a symbol signifying a big belly. Ah, oui. So to keep your spirits up, here is a bit of sun--and you can even dip carrots in it! Healthy, right? We have all had hummus up to the gills so this is a slightly, um, heartier variation. I'll be taking this recipe with me as a bit of sunshine in my suitcase.

Mediterranean White Bean Spread

Large can of your favorite white beans
3 1/2 spoons of Tahini
2 spoons of sesame oil
7 spoons of olive oil
juice from a large lemon
4 pieces of softened sun-dried tomatoes
copious amounts of herbs de Provence
salt and pepper to taste

It doesn't take a genius. Rince the cooked beans, add the tahini in a food processor. Mix. Do the same with the rest of the ingredients, mixing each time you add sometime you add something new. Spices to taste et voila! This is for a huge jumbo portion, either suitable for taking to an apéro or it will last in the fridge for up to four days.

I am hoping to be posting while I am gone and have some ready to go. Hope that you will travel with me!


  1. Hello Heather

    As an immigrant living overseas, I share your joy in rejoining your family. There is nothing more exciting than boarding a plane and knowing they await you on arrival. I know you will have a wonderful time. Your recipe sounds delicious and I will add it to my list.
    Enjoy yourself and I will look forward to hearing all about your trip

    Helen xx

  2. Heather,

    I was so happy to find your blog... My husband and I have rented homes in both Bargemon (Var)and Lourmarin (Vaucluse) Provence.

    I too have felt that homesick feeling. Though we now live in South Texas...we lived for several years in The Netherlands. Home sickness comes in waves...and the best way to calm that wave, is most certainly a trip home! Enjoy!

  3. Thanks so much you two! I am at the airport and the people watching is fascinating! Yes, very excited but it was hard leaving Rémi and Ben this morning. Looking forward to thé welcome after my flight. :)

  4. You're probably here in the States now Heather and I hope you have a wonderful time with your family. As you can see you've landed in rain so I hope you brought a little of that sunshine with you. Enjoy!

    Happy Friday!

  5. Have a wonderful time at home. I'm jealous of all the English you're going to hear.
    white beans are my favorite bean. and i'm a serious bean lover. going to make that for sure.
    bon voyage,

  6. Have the most wonderful trip home and happy reunion with loved ones. You've earned this break, dear Heather. Enjoy it to the top and Keep us posted. Have a great time.
    Bon voyage!

  7. Hmmm, thought I noticed an atmospheric shift today :-) So glad you are getting to visit family this week. Can't wait to try the recipe!

  8. Thanks ladies! I have arrived and we had a great day today already!

  9. Safe travels dahhling..enjoy your reunion!

  10. Wishing you a wonderful visit with your family!!

  11. Bon voyage, Heather! Wishing you a most wonderful trip!

    ~ Clare x

  12. Oh my goodness! Was this a spontaneous trip? After you have been so dreadfully homesick for so long? I am THRILLED to bits for you. There is nothing, nothing, nothing like going home to family - and while it is a grand adventure to be away in new places, the easy familiarity of home just seems to nourish one's soul, in the same way that your delicious bean dip would! Yum, I shall try this. Trust you to add something wacky like sesame oil into the mix. A multi-cultural flavour burst!

    Hoping that you get everything that you need from your trip. Virginia xx

  13. oops...have just realised that it is indeed very sensible to add sesame oil. Haha! I use it for Asian cooking, so didn't think of it in a tahini context. But of course they are both sesame seeds based. That's hilarious and I think I have been working too hard, need more sleep to get my brain back! (Don't think less of me...pleeease...) xx

    1. I couldn't think less of you if I tried! And you know that! :) I know it is a lot of oil but also know that you will tweak it if you need to Virginia!

  14. No such thing as too much oil, I reckon. Just a case of balancing it out with the acids and the spices. Which you have done here. Shall try this tonight. x


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