In the spirit of my novel, The Count’s Last Mistress, which is set in France, I’m posting a popular French salad as one of my favorite recipes.
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½ cup lemon juice
¾ cup olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
2 teaspons minced fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tuna steaks, marinated in olive oil and grilled
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
10 small new red potatoes, scrubbed, quartered, and boiled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Boston lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
10 cherry tomatoes
1 small red onion, sliced thin
8 ounces green beans, trimmed, halved crosswise, and boiled until tender
1/3 cup niçoise olives
1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)
1. Whisk vinaigrette.
2. Toss potatoes with some of the vinaigrette.
3. Toss lettuce, tomatoes, onions and green beans with some of the vinaigrette until coated. Arrange ingredients in a mound.
4. Place sliced tuna, hard-boiled eggs, olives, anchovies and/or capers on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and serve immediately.
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Paris, 1871. In the aftermath of war and revolution, cavalry officer Olivier Valencourt, the comte de Chaumenay, only wants peace. But his discovery of his deceased brother’s child in a Montmartre hovel leads to a battle of wills with the lovely but evasive American struggling to provide for him. Determined to gain custody of his nephew, Olivier sets out to win the audacious bohemian’s trust with patronage and patience, but her courage, wisdom, and innocent sensuality divert his agenda.
Painter Jeanne Delancy has good reason to despise the portrait-worthy count before she ever meets him. She believes he’s the man who seduced and deserted her friend long ago. Unfortunately, the talented and persuasive Olivier is hard to dislike or resist in person.
Conflicted by loyalty to her missing friend and her duty to the abandoned six-year-old she’s vowed to protect, Jeanne feels obligated to give the war hero the opportunity to prove he’s worthy of knowing his son. But the independent woman who thinks herself immune to temptation underestimates Olivier in many ways and reveals far more than she ever anticipates. While the strong-willed opposites struggle to reconcile their deepest longings, dangerous alliances and scandalous secrets threaten a tragic repetition of history.
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