French

Banana Nutella Sliders

July 13, 2012

Banana Nutella Sliders

Tomorrow is Bastille Day so I made these Banana Nutella Sliders.  A combination of French and American…think banana and peanut butter sandwiches. Elvis would have loved these.  Seriously, these sliders are addictive. 

INGREDIENTS

4 Croissants

13 Ounces Nutella Spread

2 Sliced Bananas

Powdered Sugar

On a serving plate carefully slice the 4 croissants horizontally.  Set the tops aside.  Heat the Nutella spread until it is warm, but not piping hot.  Divide the Nutella between the 4 croissant bottoms.  The best that you can evenly spread the Nutella so that it covers the croissant.  Arrange the banana slices on top of the Nutella.  If you want more bananas then slice an additional banana.  Carefully place the croissant tops on top and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4

 

Classic Crème Brûlée

June 16, 2012

Classic Crème Brûlée

Crème Brûlée is also known as burnt cream, crema catalana or Trinity cream.  Consisting of a rich custard base topped with a layer of hard caramel it is normally served cold.  Crème Brûlée is traditionally flavored with vanilla, but it is sometimes flavored with lemon or orange zest.  The earliest known Crème Brûlée appeared in François Massialot's cookbook written in 1691.  Wherever Crème Brûlée got its start and whatever it is called I know one thing for sure I love this dessert.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 Quart Heavy Cream

1 Split & Scraped Vanilla Bean

1 Cup Vanilla Sugar (Divided)

6 Large Egg Yolks

2 Quarts Hot Water

 

Preheat your oven to 325° F.  In a medium saucepan pour the cream and add the vanilla bean and its scraped contents.  Cook over a medium high heat and bring it to a boil.  Remove from the heat and cover with a lid.  It will need to sit for 15 minutes.  Take out the vanilla bean and either throw it away or save for another use.  In a medium size bowl whisk together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar.  Make sure that the sugar and egg yolks are well blended and just begin to lighten in color.  Add the cream a little bit at a time making sure to stir constantly.  Pour into six 8 ounce ramekins.  Put the ramekins into a large roasting pan.  Pour the hot water into the roasting pan just until it hits halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes just until the Crème Brûlée is set, but still a bit wobbly in the center.  Remove the ramekins from the pan and put into the refrigerator for 3 hours. When you are ready to serve take out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before browning the sugar on the top.  Take the left over 1/2 cup of vanilla sugar and divide equally among the 6 ramekins.  Spread evenly on top.  Using a torch melt the sugar to form a crispy top.  If you do not have a torch then you can use the broiler.  Before serving let the Crème Brûlée sit for 5 minutes.  Serves 6

Pain Perdu

June 13, 2012

Pain Perdu

In honor of St. Anthony we are making Pain Perdu or “Lost Bread.”

What we call French toast, the French call Pain Perdu.

Baked in butter and served covered with powdered sugar, Pain Perdu is considered a dessert in France.

INGREDIENTS

6 Large Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Milk

1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

12 Thick Slices French or Italian Bread

6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Powdered Sugar

Preheat your oven to 400° F.  In a large size bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon until well blended.  Place the bread in a large shallow baking dish

slightly overlapping one another.  It is best to use day old bread.  If you don't have day old bread don't worry about it.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread and let sit for 30 minutes.

Turn the bread with a spatula so that it gets evenly moistened halfway through the sitting time.  Put the two oven racks in the middle of the oven.  Place 3 tablespoons of the butter on

two baking sheets.  Put in the oven and melt the butter for 1 minute.  Remove the baking sheets from the oven and make sure that the butter covers the entire baking sheet evenly. 

Arrange 6 slices of the soaked bread on each of the hot baking sheets.  Make sure to space them evenly.  Bake for 15 minutes and then turn them over to bake an additional 15

minutes.  You will want the bread to be puffed and evenly browned.  If you need to bake them a bit more then go ahead.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter.

Dust with powdered sugar.  Serves 12

 

 

 

Cooking Parchment

May 30, 2012

Cooking Parchment

 

I love cooking in parchment packets or “en papillote.”  It gives big rewards without much effort.  Cooking chicken or fish with vegetables in a sealed parchment paper packet may look fancy, but it’s actually a great no frills technique.   Just place a few ingredients into the packets and let them do their work.  You can prepare most ahead of time.  They lock in flavor and moisture and are impressive looking.  You can fold pretty much any way you want as long as you create a tight seal.  Create your own recipes with protein, vegetables and herbs that you have on hand.  Cook in the oven or on the grill.

Technique: Fold a 14×12” piece of parchment paper in half.  Using kitchen shears cut the parchment into a heart shape.  Arrange vegetables and herbs on one side of the paper.  Top with fish or chicken.  Add olive oil or butter and a splash of wine to keep the meat moist and create a sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.  Brush the edges of the paper with a beaten egg white for a tighter seal.  Working from one end begin by tightly folding the open edge of the paper.  Continue folding the paper’s open edge to form a seal.  Transfer the packet to a rimmed baking sheet and bake or grill.

Poulet Saute΄

May 20, 2012

Poulet Saute΄

Poulet Saute΄ is such an easy French dish to prepare.  There is, however, a standard procedure for preparing this delicious chicken dish.  First the pieces of chicken are dusted with salt and pepper.  Then they are cooked in butter transferred from the skillet where a sauce is made.  The chicken is then returned to the skillet and cooked, covered, until the chicken is nice and tender.  That is pretty much all there is to it. 

 

INGREDIENTS

3 Pound Chicken Cut Into Pieces

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

1 Tablespoon Freshly Ground Pepper

6 Tablespoons Butter

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

5 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Shallots

1/4 Cup Dry White Wine

2 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

1 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock

1 Bay Leaf

3 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice

 

Put the chicken pieces on a baking sheet and sprinkle each side with the salt and pepper.  In an extra large skillet add 4 tablespoons of the butter and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat over a medium heat.  When the oil and butter are hot, but not brown, add the chicken pieces in one layer.  Your skillet should be large enough to hold all of the chicken in one layer.  Cook over the medium heat for 5 minutes until the chicken is quite brown on one side.  Turn the pieces over and cook for another 5 minutes until the brown.  Turn the heat down to low and remove the chicken pieces to a large bowl and set aside.  Pour off most of the fat from the skillet, but try very hard not to pour out the brown cooking particles that have mixed with the fat.  Add the remaining butter to the skillet and when it has melted add the shallots.  Stir them briefly and do not let the shallots burn.  When the shallots have briefly cooked add the white wine and cook until the wine has nearly evaporated.  Still do not brown the shallots.  Sprinkle the flour over the skillet and continue to stir while add the chicken stock.  When thick and smooth add the bay leaf.  Transfer the chicken back to the skillet and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Turn the chicken pieces and simmer, covered, for another 15 minutes.  You will want the chicken to be tender.  Stir in the lemon juices and cook for another 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and transfer chicken & sauce to a serving dish.  Serve with mashed potatoes or pasta.  Serves 4

Mother’s Day Chocolate Mousse

May 8, 2012

Mother’s Day Chocolate Mousse

 

Here is an easy, but elegant Chocolate Mousse that is sure to make your mother smile. 

 

INGREDIENTS

3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter

3/4 Cup Unsweetened Dutch Cocoa

3 Large Separated Eggs

3/4 Cup Sugar

1 1/4 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream

3 Tablespoons Orange Liqueur

3 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

Extra Whipped Cream For Garnish

Raspberries For Garnish

 

In a medium saucepan melt the unsalted butter over a low heat.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa.  Mix until smooth.  Set aside to cool.  In a large size bowl beat the egg yolks, with a hand mixer, until they are nice and thick.  They should have a lemon color.  Slowly beat in 1/4 cup of sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Now beat in the cocoa mixture on low.  Stir in 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and the orange liqueur.  In a medium size bowl beat the egg whites until they are stiff.  Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.  Beat the remaining heavy cream, sugar and vanilla in a medium size bowl until soft peaks form.  Be careful not to over beat.  You don’t want to end up with butter.  Fold into the chocolate mixture.  Spoon into individual dessert dishes.  Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.  Garnish with whipped cream and raspberries.  Serves 8

 

Aioli

December 29, 2011

Aioli

Aioli is a type of mayonnaise mad with garlic, egg, lemon juice and olive oil. Provence, France is the birthplace of Aioli, an assertive & garlicky mayonnaise. Aioli is French for “garlic,” ai, and “oil,” oli. It is easy to make and store s up to one week in the fridge. It lends itself to many variations.

INGREDIENTS

2 Garlic Cloves

2 Large Egg Yolks

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

½ Cup Olive Oil

¼ Teaspoon Salt

¼ Teaspoon White Pepper

Chop the garlic to a paste like consistency. Place the garlic in a medium size mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice and the mustard. In a slow and steady stream, whisk in the olive oil to form an emulsion while whisking constantly. The consistency should be like mayonnaise. If the Aioli becomes too thick, just add a few drops of warm water. Season with the salt & pepper. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use. Makes 1 cup.

Variations:

Basil Pesto Aioli: Add ½ cup basil pesto to the bas aioli recipe.

Red Pepper Aioli: Add ½ cup of prepared pureed roasted red peppers to the basic aioli recipe.

Double Lemon Aioli: Increase the amount of lemon juice to 2 tablespoons and add 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind to the basic aioli recipe.

Cranberry Aioli: Combine ½ cup of frozen cranberries with ½ cup orange juice and ¼ cup of light brown sugar in a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat until the juice is reduced by half. In a food processor or blender, blend the cranberry mixture until smooth, then add to the basic aioli recipe.

Yule Log

December 22, 2011

Yule Log

Honestly this cake is easier to make than it looks. It does take some time, but really not that hard. The thin cake is rolled while it is still warm and holds its shape from then on. You can decorate this cake anyway you want to.

INGREDIENTS

Cake:

5 Large Separated Eggs

1 Cup Sifted Powdered Sugar – Plus More For Sprinkling Towel

2/3 Cup Unbleached Flour

¾ Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

¼ Teaspoon Salt

Ganache:

½ Pound Copped Bittersweet Baking Chocolate

1 Cup Heavy Cream

Assemble:

1 Cup Seedless Raspberry Jam

2 Cups Heavy Cream

1/3 Cup Sifted Powdered Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Sanding Sugar (Color of Your Choice) – Optional

Maraschino Cherries – Optional

Decorations of Your Choice – Optional

To make the cake: In a large bowl beat the egg whites, with an electric mixer, until soft peaks form. Gradually add ½ cup of the powdered sugar and beat until the sugar completely dissolves and the whites stand in stiff peaks. In a separate large bowl beat the egg yolks and the remaining ½ cup of powdered sugar until the mixture is very thick and lemon colored. Decrease the mixer speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and salt. Beat the mixture until well mixed. Using a spatula, gently fold the beat egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Do this one third at a time. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease a 15 ½ x 10 ½ inch jelly roll pan or baking sheet and line the pan with parchment paper.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Level out the top with the spatula. Bake for 12 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Sprinkle the extra powdered sugar lightly on a cloth kitchen towel. When the cake is done, immediately invert it onto the towel. Carefully peel the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Start at one narrow end roll up the cake. Use the towel to hold it, but do not roll the towel into the cake. Place the cake roll, seam side down, on a wire rack. Cool completely for 30 minutes. While the cake is cooling prepare the filling.

To make the filling: In a medium size bowl beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.

To assemble: Unroll the cake onto a flat surface. Spread evenly with the raspberry jam. Spread half of the whipped cream on top of the preserves. Start at the narrow end. Roll up the cake without using the towel. Place the cake on a wire rack that is set over a baking pan and refrigerate until chilled. Cover and refrigerate the remaining whipped cream until you are ready to decorate.

To make the ganache: You will need a double boiler to melt the chocolate. In the top of the double boiler heat the chocolate and cream together over boiling water. Stir frequently until melted and slightly thickened. Keep warm until you are ready to ice the cake.

To frost: Using a metal spatula, pour and spread the ganache over the chilled cake. Spread the glaze evenly and completely covering the top and sides. When the ganache has set, lightly score the top and sides to resemble bark. Refrigerate until chilled. Remove the cake from the rack and place on a serving platter decorated with greenery and seasonal décor. You can pipe scrolls of the remaining whipped cream over the top and around the base of the cake if you like or decorate with cherries or sanding sugar. Makes one 10 inch long Yule Log. Serves 12

Country French Onion Soup

December 19, 2011

Country French Onion Soup

This soup is absolutely delicious! I love to make this soup every chance that I get.

INGREDIENTS

2 Tablespoons Butter

4 Cups Sliced Onions

1 Teaspoon Finely Chopped Fresh Garlic

2 ½ Cups Water

¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley

21 Ounces Beef Broth

2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard

1 Teaspoon Dried Basil

¼ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

¼ Teaspoon Dried Thyme Leaves

Croutons:

¼ Cup Butter

1 Teaspoon Dried Basil Leaves

½ Teaspoon Finely Chopped Fresh Garlic

3 Cups 1 Inch Cubed Bread

Topping:

6 Ounces Sliced Provolone Cheese

Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a 3 quart saucepan until the butter is sizzling. Add the onions and garlic. Cook over a medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook for 8 minutes. The onions should be tender. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Add all of the remaining soup ingredients and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt ¼ cup of the butter in a 13/9 inch baking pan in the oven for 6 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon of basil and ½ teaspoon of garlic. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat. Bake for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally. You want the bread cubes toasted. Pour the soup into oven proof bowls. Place 1 slice of cheese in each bowl. Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned. Serve with the croutons. Serves 4

Homemade Mayonnaise

December 2, 2011

Homemade Mayonnaise

I love to make Homemade Mayonnaise. It’s so simple and always tastes much better! To make aioli just add 1 minced garlic clove to the egg mixture and substitute extra virgin olive oil for the canola oil.

INGREDIENTS

1 Large Egg Yolk

1 ½ Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon White Wine Vinegar

¼ Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

¾ Cup Canola Oil (Divided)

Combine the egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and ½ teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Whisk until blended and bright yellow. You will need to whisk for about 30 seconds. Using a ¼ teaspoon measure and whisking constantly, add ¼ cup of the canola oil to the yolk mixture. Do this a few drops at a time. This should take about 4 minutes. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup of canola oil in a VERY slow thin stream. You will need to whisk constantly until the mayonnaise is thick. This should take about 8 minutes. The mayonnaise will be lighter in color. Cover and chill. You can make this mayonnaise up to 2 days in advance. Remember to keep chilled. Makes ¾ cup.

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