Pommes de Terre Gratin avec Chèvre et Emmental

Ingredients:
6 lg Russet Potatoes, clean, skin-on
4 oz Chèvre Goat Cheese, room temperature
6 oz Mozzarella or other mild semi-soft cheese
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 Tbsp Butter
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 oz Emmental or Swiss Cheese, sliced thin

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Slice the Potatoes in 1/4″ disks slices, discarding the ends.
  • In a sauce pot, bring the Heavy Cream and Milk to a simmer on medium heat–stirring with a wooden spoon. Do not bring it to a boil, and do not let it scald.
  • Break the Goat Cheese up and slowly add it to the Milk/Cream mixture, stirring constantly and allowing it to melt.
  • Do the same with the Sour Cream, Butter, and Mozzarella–not all at once, just in small portions, stirring as it mixes.
  • After all is melted and mixed well, remove from heat.
  • Line the Potato Slices in a 9×13 casserole dish. The slices should overlap like fallen dominoes. You can either put all the potatoes in one layer or divide into two layers–up too you. I prefer one Layer.
  • Sprinkle with the Herbes de Provence, Salt, and Pepper.
  • Cover with the Cheese/Cream/Milk Mixture.
  • Layer the Emmental cheese slices on top, covering the entire surface.
  • Bake covered for 45min to 1 hour, or until the top begins to brown and it is bubbly on the sides.

Makes 6-8 servings

NOTES: So this is really a Cheesy version of Scalloped Potatoes–scalloped referring to the shape of the potatoes and how they are placed in the dish. “Gratin” on it means there is a cheese covering–which is the only way to do potatoes like this, if you ask me. I incorporated two specific mountain cheeses–Emmental from Swizerland and Chèvre from France. In most parts of the US, one will just find them listed as “Swiss Cheese” and “Goat Cheese”. So don’t worry if you don’t find those specific names.

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Pot de Crème

Ingredients:
2 cups Heavy Cream
6 Egg Yolks
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate nibs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
Water for cooking
Whipped Cream for topping

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 325°F
  • In a large bowl beat the Egg Yolks with 1 cup of Heavy Cream, Vanilla, and Sugar.
  • In a double boiler, melt the Chocolate and other 1/2 cup of Cream.
  • Slowly add the Chocolate Mixture to the Egg Yolks and mix well. Do not add all the Chocolate at once, or it may cook the Eggs!
  • Divide the Mixture into 6 Ramekins or similar oven-proof dishes. Traditionally, you could use Espresso Cups.
  • Place the filled Ramekins into a baking dish, and fill the dish with water so that the water comes up about 1 inch around the Ramekins. If you have a baking dish that has a lid, use that. Otherwise, you will need to cover the baking dish with Aluminum Foil.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the custard begins to set, but is still jiggly.
  • Remove and cool, then chill until you serve (at least 1/2 an hour).
  • Garnish with a dollop of Whipped Cream

Makes 6 Ramekin-sized servings, or 8-10 Espresso-sized servings.

NOTES: So I fell in love with this dish when I happened upon it at a French restaurant called Singe Vert in New York. I asked my chef mentor Philippe Fallait about the dish, and he said it was not as hard as people think but also very rich and that I did not want to know how many egg yolks went into it. Well after much trepidation, I finally built up the nerve to look into this dish–and this year I finally made my recipe and executed it. It was a hit with my closest friends (who are very particular and honest)–I was very excited.

So Pot de Creme is not a custard, not a pudding, and not a mousse, but is very similar to all of those. It is creamy and silky smooth, and very rich.

Haricots Verts à l’Orange – Green Beans with Orange

Haricots Verts à l’Orange

Ingredients:
2 cups Green Beans, stems removed
1 red Peperocini Pepper, de-ribbed, de-seeded, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Orange Juice
1 tsp Orange Zest
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat the Olive Oil on Medium in a heavy skillet.
  • Add the Garlic and Peppers, and toss for 1 minute.
  • Add the Green Beans and mix well. Toss for about 4 minutes.
  • Add the Orange Juice, and continue to toss until Greenbeans are a bright Green, depending on skillet and heat, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Toss in Salt and Pepper to taste, and garnish with Orange Zest.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: This adds a citrus flavor to the Green Beans that is a little sweeter and hotter than the normal Lemon juice that one often sees with a stovetop Green Bean saute.

Braised Rabbit with Dijon Sauce

Dedicated to Tim Mathis, who loved the Dijon Sauce

Ingredients:
1 Rabbit, cut in 6 pieces
1 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
2 Tbsp Butter, divided
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Shallots, diced
3 cups Table Mushrooms (small is best)
4 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Dijon Sauce
1/2 cup Stock from Rabbit
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp Honey
1/4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

Directions:

  • Sprinkle the Rabbit pieces with Salt and Pepper on all sides.
  • Melt 1 Tbsp Butter and the Olive Oil in a Dutch Oven on medium heat.
  • Brown all the Rabbit pieces and set to the side. Do not over-crowd the Dutch Oven–you can do it in batches.
  • Carefully add the Wine, Garlic, and Shallots, and scrape the sides of the Dutch Oven with a balloon whisk.
  • Add the Chicken Stock, Herbes de Provence, and remaining Tbsp of Butter.
  • Add the Rabbit pieces and Mushrooms. The liquid should mostly cover the Rabbit, if not add more Chicken Stock, Wine, or Water.
  • Bring to a Boil on Medium-High heat.
  • When Boiling, lower heat and bring to a simmer. Cover for 45-60 minutes.
  • Remove Rabbit pieces, and then strain the liquid. Reserve the Mushrooms, Shallots, and Garlic for the side. Reserve 1/2 cup of the Broth for the Sauce.
  • In the empty Dutch Oven, combine the Reserved Broth, Heavy Cream, Honey, and Dijon Mustard, mixing well with a balloon whisk.
  • On medium heat bring to a boil and let roll for 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Take the Rabbit pieces and coat them in the sauce, and then plate.
  • Remaining Sauce can be put in a Gravy Boat or bowl. Serve the Mushrooms and Shallots as a side

Makes 3-4 servings.

NOTES: Rabbit cooked this way is very mild, almost like chicken. You should get the Rabbit cut up by your butcher, though it is not hard to do yourself, but if your butcher sells it, then they can cut it. If you have a squeamish friend who fears the Bunny…the same Dijon sauce can be used on grilled or rotisserie chicken. Most folks, honestly would not know they’re eating rabbit unless you told them…just sayin’.  The broth can be saved and used with Pasta or Rice for a nice Soup as well.  You can also add lemon and bring to a boil and add whisked eggs–amazing.

Herb-Crusted Tuna Steak with a Balsamic Dijon Sauce

Herb-Crusted Tuna Steak with Balsamic Dijon Sauce
And Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:
2 8-10oz Tuna Steaks
1/4 cup Herbes de Provence
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Honey

Directions:

  • Pat the Tuna Steaks with a paper towel and remove excess moisture on the outside. Salt and Pepper both sides.
  • Sprinkle the Herbes de Provence on both sides of the Tuna, and press lightly.
  • Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a skillet until hot.
  • Carefully place the Tuna steaks in the skillet.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes, depending on how done you want your Tuna. Do not move them while they are cooking.
  • Using tongs or a spatula, carefully flip the Tuna and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove and let rest.
  • Add the Dijon, Butter, and Vinegars to the skillet, and mix well.
  • Lastly add the Honey, and reduce for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Drizzle the sauce over the Tuna, or serve on the side.

Makes 2 Tuna Steaks

NOTES: This is a very quick and flavorful way of making Tuna–and not the overused Miso-Wasabi variations people seem to be leaning on as of late. The herbs crust onto the tuna infusing the flavors into the meat. The sauce has a rich sweet and savory silkiness that complements the herbs and tuna.

Pan-Seared Duck in a Gingered Cherry Glaze with Fried Sage

Pan-Seared Duck in a Gingered Cherry Glaze with Fried Sage

Ingredients:
2 1lb Duck Breasts, with Fat
Salt and Pepper to taste
8-12 fresh Sage Leaves
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Cherry Juice
3 oz Kirschwasser
1 tsp Ginger Powder
1 Tbsp Butter

Directions:

  • Score the fat of each Duck Breast, crisscross.
  • Sprinkle liberally with Salt and Pepper
  • Heat a skillet on medium heat, and place the Breasts fat-side down in the Skillet.
  • Cook for 7-8 minutes, rendering the fat.
  • Flip the Breasts, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-12 minutes or until Medium Rare.
  • Remove from the pan.
  • In the hot duck fat, place the Sage leaves, and fry for 1-2 minutes, until crisp. Remove to papertowel.
  • Remove the excess fat. You can save it for use in other dishes.
  • On medium heat, deglaze the Skillet with the Kirschwasser and Balsamic Vinegar.
  • Add the Honey, Cherry Juice, and Ginger.
  • Cook for 2 minutes until bubbly, then melt the Butter into the Sauce.
  • Take the Duck Breasts and return them to the Skillet, turning them over in the Sauce to coat.
  • Plate the Duck.
  • Slice the Duck then drizzle some Sauce over the Duck.
  • Garnish with the fried Sage.

Makes 2-4 Servings…each breast is 16 oz, and would make each a very hearty portion. Depending on serving sizes, you could feed up to four people.

NOTES: Duck is a lost poultry to most people. This is probably one of the simplest meals for Duck and it packs an amazing flavorful taste. The Gingered Cherry Sauce compliments the bold flavor of the Duck Breast. The Sage gives an aromatic crispy edible garnish. I would recommend this dish during Christmas, especially a romantic Christmas dinner for two.

Roasted Mushrooms and Cipollini Onions

Ingredients:
1 1/2 – 2 lbs Table Mushrooms, cleaned
12-15 Cipollini Onions, peeled, and quartered
2 Tbsp Corn Starch
4-6 cloves Garlic, cut in slivers
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 1/2 cups Mushroom Broth or Beef Broth
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Place the Corn Starch in a quart-size plastic bag with the Mushrooms and shake to coat them.
  • Place all ingredients into a Dutch Oven with a lid.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, stirring mid way

Makes about 4-6 Servings.

NOTES: So I love these…I love mushrooms in general, but roasted is my favorite. And these are very simple and have a nice Autumnal flare to them. They make a great side item maybe with some crusty bread to sop up the broth–Great with roasts or steak too!

Cipollini onions are like mini sweet onions and have a buttery sweet taste to them. If you cannot find them, use a sweet yellow onion diced.

Choux de Bruxelles à la Moutarde – Brussels Sprouts in Mustard

Ingredients:
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, halved vertically
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat.
  • Add the Garlic and let it brown about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the Stock and Mutard, and stir well to combine.
  • Add the Brussels Sprouts, and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender.
  • Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste.

Makes 4-6 servings (depending on how much you love Brussels Sprouts)

NOTES: This is another super easy, super flavorful recipe to share my love of Brussels Sprouts. The creamy Dijon and Butter play off the Sprouts in an amazing comfort-food way. I recommend only Dijon mustard–no American Yellow, and nothing too spicy brown–takes away from the comfort-food nature of the dish.

Céleri Rémoulade – Celeriac Salad

Céleri Rémoulade

Ingredients:
1 Celeriac Bulb, cleaned
1 Carrot, cleaned
1 small Cucumber, seeded and Julianne cut.
3 Shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 – 1 cup Walnuts, crushed
1 cup Greek-Style Yoghurt
1 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Almond Oil
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp fresh Mint, minced
1 Tbsp fresh Dill, minced
2 tsp ground Ginger
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

Directions:

  • Clean the Celeriac root by removing any scraggly roots and outer surface. Cut into pieces small enough to be easy to grate. I prefer to use my Food Processor’s food grater, so I make the pieces big enough to fit through the feeder. If you shred by hand, you may want them a good size for holding. Do the same thing with the Carrot.
  • Shred both the Celeriac and Carrot.
  • In a large bowl, combine the Celeriac, Carrot, Shallots, Cucumber, and Walnuts, and toss with your hands to mix well.
  • In a separate bowl combine all remaining ingredients and whisk together into a dressing.
  • Pour the dressing over the dry ingredients and mix well.

NOTES: Celeriac is one of those under-used vegetables in my opinion. Honestly, I don’t know why–its not too difficult to prepare, and you can eat it raw or cooked in any way imaginable that most root vegetables are cooked. Now regarding the Rémoulade itself. Traditionally, this would be made with Mayonnaise, and would not have Ginger and maybe a different set of spices. I found that a little bland and had to add some kick to it, but not overpower the fresh-taste of the Celeriac itself. The Rémoulade can be served as a side dish, or in a similar fashion to Cole Slaw–though it is not as strong. Many folks serve it as a side to fish. I prefer to eat it by itself as a side salad.

Poulet et Ventrèche Dijon au Gratin

Ingredients
6 boneless Chicken thighs
4 oz Ventrèche or Pancetta, thin sliced
2 Portabello Mushrooms, chopped
8 oz Provolone, sliced
4-6 cloves Garlic, sliced
3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Basil, fresh, chopped
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Spread the Dijon mustard on the Chicken thighs and place them in a dutch oven.
  • Add the Portabellos, Garlic, Herbs, and Pepper.
  • Cover with a layer of the Ventrèche.
  • Cover with a layer of Provolone.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.

Makes 3 servings.

Moules Marinière – Mussels Steamed in White Wine

Moules Marinière

Ingredients
2 lbs live Mussels, chilled
3 Shallots, chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, sliced in slivers
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Bay Leaf
1 cup Pinot Grigio
3-6 sprigs fresh Thyme
dash Saffron
Pepper to taste
Lemon wedges for Garnish

Directions:

  • Clean the Mussels: Scrub the shells, remove any “beard” fibers, discard any broken or real heavy mussels, remove any that do not close when you handle them (probably dead).
  • In a dutch oven, melt the Butter on medium heat.
  • Add the Scallion and Garlic, and sweat it until the Scallion is almost translucent. Do not brown–about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the Wine, Thyme, Saffron, and Bay Leaf. Stir well.
  • Add the Mussels and cover. Cook until they open up, about 5 minutes. You can shake the pot and mix them around, but should keep the lid on to retain heat and steam.
  • Remove from heat, discard any unopened ones (they were probably dead).
  • Serve in bowls with the broth poured over top (discarding the bay leaf). Add Pepper to taste, and garnish with Lemon.

Makes 2 lbs or 2 entree size servings.

NOTES: Moules Marinière is a traditional French dish–though I’ve also heard it argued Belgian. This is my first crack at this dish–as I usually buy it out (at my favorite little haunt, Cafe Triskell). The dish is very simple, and should remain so–think of it as a quick dish for a family by the sea. The dish is often served with crusty bread or pommes frites. Also, for those who like it, a glass of beer pairs great.  Now don’t knock it, but a lot of places (like Belgium) even serve this for breakfast!

Purée de Carottes – Mashed Carrots

Purée de Carottes

Ingredients:
1 lbs. Baby Carrots
1/2 cup Orange Juice
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 slice Ginger
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
1 Bay Leaf
2 sprigs Thyme
1 sprig Rosemary
2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Water for boiling

Directions:

  • Place the Carrots in the a Sauce pan with the Orange Juice and enough additional Water to cover over the Carrots.
  • Tie the Bay Leaf, Rosemary, and Thyme into a bouquet garni, and place in the water with the Carrots.
  • Add the crushed Garlic, and the slice of Ginger.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
  • Drain, and remove the Bouquet Garni, and Ginger (keep the Garlic).
  • Place in a Food Processor and mix with the Cumin, Butter, and Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Place in a serving dish, and garnish with the Parsley.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Carrots are hard to manually mash because of their fibrous nature. Thus, I have employed the use of a Food Processor. You may also choose to cook it with a potato and mash it with it as well.

Variations
Ṽ›Ɣ – Replace the Butter with Margarine.

Escalope de Veau Comtoise – Comte Veal Scaloppini

Escalope de Veau Comtoise

Ingredients:
6 Veal cutlets, pounded thin
6 pieces Ham, thinly sliced
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour (for coating)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 cups Table Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 – 2 cups Comte cheese, shredded
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc
1 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Place the Flour in a container and dredge the Veal cutlets.
  • In a large skillet, brown each piece of chicken on both sides in the Olive Oil. When each piece is browned, remove from the skillet and place in a baking dish.
  • Place a piece of ham on each cutlet, and then cover with shredded cheese.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • While it is baking, deglaze the skillet with the wine.
  • Add the Mushrooms, and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Add the Heavy Cream and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the Veal from the oven; and plate.
  • Cover with the Mushroom Sauce.
  • Garnish with the fresh Parsley.

Makes 6 servings.

NOTES: I love looking at the cuisine of my the regions of the world from which my family comes. This recipe is a typical dish from the Franche-Comte region of France where my paternal grandmother’s paternal grandmother Adele Francais was born. This dish uses Comte cheese, a regional cheese similar to Gruyère. In fact you can substitute Gruyère for Comte if you cannot find Comte.  For those who object to the use of Veal, you can use Chicken cutlets.

Ratatouille Niçoise Rustique

Ratatouille Niçoise Rustique

Ingredients:
3-4 Tomatoes, ripe
1 lg Zucchini, diced
1 Japanese Eggplant, diced
1 – 2 Bell Peppers
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
5 cloves Garlic, sliced
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 sprig fresh Rosemary
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
2 tsp fresh Basil, chopped fine
2 tsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 cup Pinot Grigio or other Dry white wine.
1 Tbsp Salt
Pepper to taste
Water for Parboiling

Directions:

  • Bring a Pot of water to a boil. This will be used to help remove the skins from the Tomatoes.
  • While the water is being brought to a boil, prepare all the vegetables. When dicing, try to keep the sizes of the items the same.
  • When the water boils, use tongs, to place the Tomatoes into the water for 45 seconds. Remove them and peel the skins off. Be careful as they will be hot.
  • Slice the Tomatoes horizontally and scoop out the seeds. Remove the stem from the top half by cutting it out with a paring knife.
  • In a Dutch Oven, add the Onions, Garlic, and Bell Peppers to 1/2 the Olive Oil and 1/2 the Salt.
  • Saute on medium heat, sweating the onions, and cooking down the Peppers for 2-3 minutes.
  • In a separate skillet, add the Zucchini and Eggplant to the remaining Olive Oil and Salt.
  • Saute on medium-low heat, allowing the sides of the Zucchini and Eggplant to brown a little–about 3-6 minutes.
  • Stir both pots often so as to not allow anything to burn.
  • Add the Tomatoes and herbs to the Onion Pepper mixture and cook until the Zucchini and Eggplant in the other pot are lightly browned.
  • Add the Zucchini and Eggplant to the Tomato Mixture.
  • Add the Wine at this point, and mix well.
  • Let stew on the lowest setting, covered for 30-40 minutes, stirring often, to make sure nothing is sticking. Remove the Bay Leaf and Sprigs of Herbs before serving.

Makes 4 side-dish servings.

NOTES: Ratatouille is a Provencal dish–often called a peasant dish because of the simple ingredients. In the 1970s it became popular in America thanks to Julia Childs. There was a resurgence in the first decade of the 21st century with Disney’s Ratatouille, a film about a French rat who dreams of becoming a chef–and succeeds! I will admit, that my desire to make this came solely from the movie–yes I hold my head in shame. One aspect of the movie does ring true, and spoke to me, and that was the common mantra that “Anyone Can Cook”. And I think that is VERY important to remember.

Looking at the Ratatouille recipes that were out there, I noticed that their production suggested the individual cooking of each vegetable–something that just seems counter-intuitive to a “peasant” dish, but rather a chef’s way to keep individual flavors and deal with varying cooking times. My version uses two cooking dishes, dividing up the items based on how I thought it would be best to cook them.

This serves as a side dish but can also be served over Rice or Pasta as an entree.  I prefer it as a side dish with a good roast.

Roasted Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sausage

Roasted Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sausage

Ingredients:
12 fresh Figs
8 Breakfast Sausage Links
12 Walnuts
12 tsp Chèvre Goat Cheese
1 tsp Rosemary, minced
1 tsp Mint, minced
2-4 tsp Honey
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Water (for sausages)

Directions

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Add the Water to a skillet, and cook the Sausage Links on medium heat. The water will evaporate as the Sausages cook, allowing them to not burn, yet cook all the way through.
  • Remove the stem of the Figs, and slice an x 1/3 of the way deep with the crux where the stem would have been. This allows for the Fig to be partially divided so that you may stuff it. Dipping a paper towel in Olive Oil, rub the Fig with it and set to the side.
  • Stuff with one walnut to each fig, and then 1 tsp of Chèvre on top.
  • Place on a non-stick baking sheet and put in the oven for 10-12 minutes. You can do this while the Sausage is cooking.
  • When the Sausage is cooked through, remove from the skillet, and pat with paper towels to remove excess grease.
  • Slice each Sausage into thirds. I recommend doing this at an angle for aesthetic value. Set to the side.
  • Remove the Figs from the oven. The Chèvre will have a slight crust, but should not have browned.
  • Plate the Figs and sprinkle the Herbs on top.
  • Drizzle the honey on the figs, and top with a piece of the Sausage.

NOTES: This makes an excellent nibble food for a Brunch or Tea. I recommend using a Maple-flavored Sausage link if you can find them. Do not use a dark strong honey, but rather an orange blossom or wild flower honey. As far as figs go, you can use any ripe fig variety.

Burgundy Pork Tenderloin

Burgundy Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:
Pork Tenderloin, 1lb
12 Pearl Onions, skinned and marked with a deep “x” along the bottom
4 cloves Garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp fresh Rosemary, coarsely chopped
1-2 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp Capers (optional)
2 cups Table Mushrooms, thick sliced (or of small, whole)
1 cup Burgundy
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
3 Tbsp unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp Steak Spice Rub
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 350F.
  • Sprinkle the Pork Loin with the Spice Rub, and place into a Dutch Oven.
  • Combine Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic, Herbs, Wine, and Stock to the Dutch Oven.
  • Mix 1 Tbsp of Butter with the Flour, and form a Beurre manie.
  • Divide the Beurre manie in dollops on the top of the mixture.
  • Do the same with the remaining Butter.
  • Bake, covered for 35-40 minutes.
  • Remove the cover, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Remove the Roast from the Dutch Oven, and let rest on a plate before slicing against the grain.
  • Cover the sliced Roast with the Mushrooms and Onions, discarding the Bay Leaf.
  • Take the remaining liquid to the stove, and reduce on High Heat, until it can coat a spoon, adjusting Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Pour over the Roast, or serve on the side.

NOTES: This is one of my favorite ways to do Pork Tenderloin. If you cannot find Burgundy, your favorite Red wine will do, so long as it is not too strong and dry.

Scaloppine di Pollo al Vino Bianco con Limone – Chicken Francaise

Chicken Francaise

Ingredients:
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour (for coating)
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs (for coating)
2 Eggs (for coating)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp dried Basil
4 Chicken Breasts, skinless, boneless, butterfly cut and pounded about 1/4″ thick
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Tbsp Butter
3 clove Garlic, thinly sliced vertically
1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other white wine
1/4 cup Chicken Broth
1 tsp Corn Starch
Juice of 2 Lemons
1 Lemon, thinly sliced horizontally
2 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine

Directions:

  • Set up a dredging station using three pie pans. In one pan put the Flour, in the next the Eggs (beaten with a little water), in the next the Bread Crumbs and dried Herbs.
  • Season the Chicken with Salt and Pepper on both sides
  • Dredge the chicken in the Flour, then the Eggs, then the Bread Crumbs and set to the side
  • In a large skillet, brown each piece of chicken on both sides in the Olive Oil. When each piece is browned, remove from the skillet and place on a cookie sheet in the oven on the lowest setting, just to keep it warm.
  • Remove the Oil, and wipe it clean.
  • Heat the Butter on-low medium heat
  • In a small bowl combine Broth and Corn Starch, whipping until there are no lumps.
  • Add the Garlic, Wine, Broth, Lemon Juice, and Lemon Slices to the pan.
  • Simmer until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly so to not burn about 5 mins.
  • Place the Chicken on Serving platter and cover with the Lemon Slices and Wine Sauce and garnish with the Parsley

NOTES: I have tried to find a definitive answer as to whether or not this dish is French or Italian–since one usually sees it in Italian restaurants in America.  No one including the infamous Wikipedia seem to agree.  I would guess is that it is an Italian-American dish that is influenced by the French style of cooking with Wine and Butter.

An easy way to pound the chicken flat is to place it between two sheets of cellophane with a little bit of olive oil. Take the back of a skillet and pound flat (or use a meat mallet if too heavy).

Variations:
Chicken Marsala – similar, flour-dredged Chicken with Marsala wine, Mushrooms, and Prosciutto.
Chicken Piccata – similar, flour-dredged Chicken with Capers.
Chicken Scaloppine – similar, flour-dredged Chicken with Cream-based lemon sauce.

Salade Niçoise à l’Américaine – Niçoise Salad (American Style)

Ingredients:
4 Tuna Fillets (about 6 oz each)
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Sea Salt, or coarse Kosher
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
12 baby Red Pontiac Potatoes
1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper
4-6 oz Green Beans, trimmed
4 Eggs
Water for boiling
1/3-1/2 lb Butterhead Lettuce
1/2 cup Fresh Basil
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
1/4 cup Fresh Mint
4 Plum Tomatoes, Quartered
2 Tbsp Capers
12 Niçoise Olives
4-8 Anchovies (optional)
1 cup Niçoise Vinaigrette

Directions:

  • Prepare the Tuna:
    • Heat a skillet on medium heat with 1/2 Tbsp of the Olive Oil.
    • Cut the Tuna into 2″ x 1″ strips.
    • Rub with the Salt and Pepper.
    • Place the Tuna in the pan, and sear each of the four long sides, watching the small sides to make an even searing to desired done-ness.
    • Set in the Refrigerator.
  • Place the Eggs in a pot and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Turn off the heat and let sit for 12-15 minutes.
  • Remove and run under cold water, and peel the eggs; in the Refrigerator.
  • Return the Water to a boil.
  • Add the Potatoes and the Green Beans
  • Cook for 4 minutes, until the Green Beans turn bright Green.
  • Remove the Beans first, using tongs, and then the Potatoes.
  • Run both under cold water and set in the Refrigerator.
  • Give all the ingredients at least 20 minutes to cool.
  • Prepare wide bowls or salad plates for plating by dividing the Lettuce evenly.
  • Tear the Basil and Mint, and divide with the Thyme among the salad plates.
  • Quarter the Tomatoes, Potatoes, and Eggs.
  • Decoratively divide the Tomatoes, Potatoes, Eggs, and Green Beans among the salad plates. Usually this salad is deconstructed with the different items in piles next to each other on the Lettuce.
  • Slice the Tuna pieces perpendicular to the seared sides, in 1/4″ slices, and add to the Salad.
  • Add the Capers and Anchovies, and drizzle the Vinaigrette over it.

Serves 4

NOTES: Despite being what one would commonly find in most restaurants and diners in America and what Julia Child’s recipe calls Salade Niçoise, it is strikingly different from a true Salade Niçoise from Nice, France or the Côte d’Azur. Most noteworthy is the use of Blanched Potatoes and Green Beans–something not commonly used in the French namesake. Additionally, Mescaline salad would be used, and other items like Artichokes would be present. Still this is the version most Americans will know and recognize, and I find it tasty (without the Anchovies, which I have not yet come to like).  OH I should also mention that many of the French recipes  use Canned Tuna–I can only assume theirs is not “Chicken of the Sea”, though I’ve seen some marinated vacuum-sealed Tuna that may serve the purpose–and Lord know’s most diners use canned.

This salad, is often served as an Entrée, in a similar manner to the Cobb Salad.

I do have to share what Julia Child says about this sald in her book Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom:

Of all main-course salads, the Niçoise is my all-time favorite, with its fresh butter-lettuce foundation; its carefully cooked, beautifully green green beans; its colorful contrast of halved hard-boiled eggs, ripe red tomatoes, and black olives; all fortified by chunks of tunafish and freshly opened anchovies. It’s a perfect luncheon dish, to my mind, winter, summer, spring, and fall — an inspired combination that pleases everyone.

Niçoise Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
1 medium Shallot, minced
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme, chopped fine
2 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped fine
2 tsp Fresh Oregano, chopped fine
1 tsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped fine
1 tsp Capers
1 Anchovy filet
1 Egg
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Champagne Vinegar
3/4 cup Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, coarsely ground

Directions:

  • Using a Mortar and Pestle, crush the Anchovy, Capers, and Shallots with the Herbs.
  • Wisk in the Egg and Dijon Mustard.
  • Add the Vinegar and Lemon Juice, and mix well.
  • Whisk in the Olive Oil.
  • When the Olive Oil is finished, taste, and add Salt and Pepper to taste.

Makes about 1 cup.

Soupe à l’oignon – French Onion Soup

Dedicated to my mother who LOVES French Onion Soup, and who introduced it to me.
Vegetarian Variation is dedicated to Abigail Wickes, my favorite vegetari-friend.

Ingredients:
5-6 Vidalia Onions or Sweet Yellow Onions, cut in 1/8″ wedges
3 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Sherry
6 cups Beef Broth
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Bouquet Garni – 4 sprigs Thyme, 2 springs Parsley, 2 Bay Leaves, wrapped in twine
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Baguette, cut in 1/2 inch pieces (about 6 pieces)
2-2 1/2 cups Gruyère, shredded

Directions:

  • Heat a large pot on the stove on low heat, with the Butter, Onions, and Salt.
  • Cook until the Onions start to break down, and turn a warm color, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the Sherry (careful of flames), and deglaze any pieces of Onion. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the Beef Broth, and deglaze again. Onions should start turning darker. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add the Garlic, the Bouquet Garni, and the remaining Beef Broth. Taste and add Pepper and/or Salt to taste. Scrape any pieces of onion from the bottom of the pan, and raise the heat to high.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After about 15 minutes of simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Arrange the Baguette slices on a baking sheet, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or just until starting to crisp.
  • When the Soup and Croûtons are finished, remove from heat.
  • Ladle the Soup into oven-safe bowls (1 bowl per person, about 6-bowls), leaving space for the Croûtons to rest on top. Discard the Bouquet Garni when you get to it.
  • Place bowls on the baking sheet; add the Croûtons, and cover with the Gruyère.
  • Turn on the Broiler, and carefully place the baking sheet as close to it as possible. If this is an electric broiler, you will need to raise your rack to the top level PRIOR to turning it on, keeping in mind it will be hot from the making of the Croûtons. If this is a bottom broiler, place in the drawer, and push it in.
  • Broil for about 4-6 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly with a few touches of brown. Be careful removing the baking sheet from the oven, as it and the contents on it will be extremely hot. Serve each bowl on a small plate, so as to help absorb the heat

Serves about 6.

NOTES: Onion Soup is one of the oldest soups that is known, with documents showing its production back to at least the Roman times. In the 1960s there was a resurgence of French cooking, and the “French Onion Soup” hit its American hay-day. Now most diners and steakhouses serve some variation of the soup. What is amazing, is how many actually taste GOOD–folks giving in to high-sodium broths, and dried herbs. This is easily one of my favorite soups.

Variations:
M›Ṽ – Use Mushroom or Vegetable Stock instead of Beef Stock, and add 1 drop of Liquid Smoke to give it a deeper flavor.

French Martini

Ingredients
1 1/2 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Raspberry Liquor
2 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
Crushed Ice for shaking
Lemon Twist for garnish

Directions:

  • Combine the liquids into a Shaker and shake.
  • Strain into a chilled Martini glass, and garnish.

NOTES:

So here’s a cocktail created to showcase a liquor – Chombord Raspberry Liquor, specifically. The story goes, to promote Chombord, the company created this cocktail. I cannot find any way to validate or invalidate this claim at this point. I imagine to make this really “French” you could use Grey Goose Vodka too. LOL. Anyway, this is one of my favorite drinks, mostly because it is sweet, purple, and frothy from the shaken pineapple juice.

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 6:23 pm  Comments (2)  
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Tournedos de Poulet dans une Sauce Sherry – Bacon Wrapped Chicken in a Sherry Sauce

Tournedos de Poulet dans une Sauce Sherry and Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:
6 boneless Chicken Thighs or Breasts, butterfly cut
1 cups Mushrooms, diced fine
6 Sage leaves, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 small White Onion, diced
2 oz “Baby” Brie, very cold
24 slices thick-cut Bacon (about 1 lb)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Sherry
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 tsp Corn Starch
2 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Fresh Parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 300°F
  • Using a sharp knife, dice the Brie. It must be very cold so it can do this.
  • Combine in a bowl with the Mushrooms, Sage, Garlic, and Onions, a dash of Salt and a crack of Pepper.
  • Flatten the chicken with a mallet. You can do this by placing it between two pieces of wax paper, and pounding out away from you–think “pound and slide”.
  • Using one had like a cup, place a piece of Chicken in it, and then with the other hand place the Mushroom stuffing in the middle of the Chicken piece. You can press the stuffing together–the Brie will bind it.
  • Bring your cupping hand together so that a seam forms from the opposing ends of the chicken. You can then seal this with a toothpick.
  • Take a piece of bacon and cover the seam, wrapping the ends under.
  • You will then wrap two more strips perpendicular to this strip, covering it, and tucking the ends on the bottom like the first strip.
  • Roll the piece over, and take a fourth strip of bacon and cover over the seams going length wise tucking under. Set aside and complete all pieces.
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a large skillet, and using tongs, place the Tournedos in the pan. You will want the final strip of bacon to be face up, and it’s seams on the bottom.
  • Clasping from the sides with the tongs, flip the Tournedos and brown the other side. You may then brown all the other sides. I suggest, you do each Tournedos one at a time.
  • Prepare a cooling rack over an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Place the Tournedos on the Rack and place the baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • While they are cooking, prepare the Sauce Sherry.
  • Remove the excess Grease from the Skillet.
  • Add the Sherry and Chicken Stock, and whisk in the Corn Starch.
  • Heat until the Sauce thickens
  • Add the Butter, and Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Add the fresh Parsley.
  • Plate the Tournedos and cover in the Sauce Sherry.

Makes 3 servings (2 Tournedos per person)

NOTES: Tournedos refers to meat wrapped in bacon, such as filet mignon. If you want to cut the fat of regular bacon, I recommend Turkey Bacon–it will taste great still. The complications of this dish revolve around the wrapping of the stuffed chicken pieces. The smaller diced the stuffing is, the easier this is to do. Do not make the mistake I first did, and use colored toothpicks–food is much less appetizing when it is blue and green form the dye!

Salade Andalouse aux Crevettes – Andalusian Salad with Shrimp

Ingredients:
1 cup Rice, cooked
8 large Shrimp, veined, steamed, cold, chopped
6-8 Pimento-Stuffed Olives, sliced
2 Plum Tomatoes, chopped
2-4 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 tsp Chives, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Butterhead Lettuce for Plating
Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley for Garnish

Directions:

  • In a bowl, combine the Mayonnaise, Paprika, Garlic, and Chives.
  • In a large bowl, combine the Rice, Shrimp, and Olives.
  • Mix in the Mayonnaise.
  • Line the Salad Plates with Bib Lettuce.
  • Divide the mixture into 4 portions (this dish makes 4 portions, so if you have made more or less, divide the mixture into the appropriate portions.
  • Spoon the Portions on top of the Bib Lettuce. You can use pastry rings or a plastic lined ramekin stuffed with the portion of the salad inverted over the plate to make a fancier salad as well.
  • Top the Salad with pieces of Tomato, a Salt and Pepper to taste, and Fresh Parsley.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Andalusian Salad is a French Salad that captures the romantic flavors of of Al-Andalus (الأندلس‎) region of Spain and Portugal. You can always kick up the spice by adding some Cayenne Pepper. If you prefer to serve this from a large bowl, rather than individual portions, then chop the lettuce and garnish the salad with an outer ring of lettuce, and an inner area of tomatoes, topped with Parsley in the middle.

Chicken in Dijon Cream Sauce

Inspired by and dedicated to Chef Philippe Fallait and his wife Mary
Chicken in Dijon Creme Sauce with Lemon-Steamed Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:
4 thinly sliced Chicken Breast fillets
4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard (removed from container)
1/2 tsp Olive Oil
2 cups Table Mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp White Wine Vinegar
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 Tbsp fresh Chives, diced

Directions:

  • Liberally coat the Chicken Breasts with the Dijon Mustard on both sides.
  • Let sit for 10 minutes, as you heat up a skillet with just enough Olive Oil to coat lightly.
  • When the skillet is hot, brown the Chicken breasts on both sides, on medium heat.
  • Remove and set to the side.
  • Pour in the White Wine Vinegar, and scrap off the pieces of Mustard and Chicken.
  • Add the Mushrooms and let brown.
  • Add the Heavy Cream, Salt, Pepper, and any remaining Dijon Mustard.
  • Heat for about five minutes, stirring well, and mixing well until bubbly.
  • Add the chicken breasts back to the pan and let cook for another 5 minutes coating them with the Mustard Cream Sauce.
  • Plate the chicken, cover with Mushrooms and Sauce, and garnish with the diced Chives.

Makes 2 servings (2 pieces per person)

NOTES: When using the Dijon Mustard, remove it from the container and keep in a bowl or on a plate to prevent cross-contamination. Any Dijon Mustard not used from that plate can be scraped into the Heavy Cream when cooking.

This recipe was shared with me by my good friend Chef Philippe Fallait, who is the owner of Cafe Triskell. He didn’t give me the measurements, but I would not have this recipe without him. He’s an excellent chef, and a good friend.

Variations:
Chicken Dijon Baked with Artichokes

Steak Matelote

Steak Matelote with Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:
2 8-10oz Rib Eye (or favorite cut)
2 sticks Butter
2 Tbsp Steak Spice Rub
4 cloves Garlic
3-4 cups Table Mushrooms, sliced
juice of 1 Lemon
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (or other dry red wine)
1 Tbsp Corn Starch
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1/4 tsp Mint, minced
2 tsp fresh Chives, minced

Directions:

  • Rub the Steak Spice Rub over both sides of the Steaks, using more if needed
  • Preheat oven to 250°F.
  • In a large skillet, melt 1 stick of butter on medium heat.
  • When the butter starts to bubble, add the Steaks. Do not move them once placed.
  • Cook without moving for 4-5 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.
  • Remove to cookiesheet and place in the oven for the duration of the dish preparation.
  • Add the Juice of the Lemon to the skillet, and rub off any pieces of meat or spice from the skillet with a whisk.
  • Add the remaining Butter, and let it melt.
  • Next add the Garlic and Mushrooms, browning the mushrooms on both sides.
  • In a cup whisk together the Corn Starch and the Wine.
  • Add the starched Wine to the skillet, followed by the Heavy Cream and Herbes de Provence and Mint.
  • Cook on medium heat until the sauce thickens and is bubbly (about 5 minutes).
  • Quickly stir in the Chives, and remove from the heat.
  • Plate the Steak, and pour the Mushroom Sauce over the Steaks.

NOTES: This sauce is super easy to make, full flavor, but um… not the healthiest. You can try substituting light butter and skim milk, but it just will not taste the same.