Friday, December 31, 2010

Pear and Frangipane Tart

Will this be my last post of 2010??? Probably! Unless I have more time today...


Happy New Year!!!!
Bonne Annee 2011!!!


The reason I can put up a post today is because we are not hosting a New Year's Eve Party... Festivities are taking place at the Cicalis...!

My contribution? Brie in Puff Pastry, a Chocolate Vanilla Charlotte and Emilie is making New Year's cupcakes!
We will also have oysters with a Sauce Mignonette and Champagne of course!

My blog resolution for the New Year is to keep up with the postings! I did fairly well this year, but my goal is to post at least once a week! Time will tell.


Pear and Frangipane Tart




Serves 10



Frangipane:
7 oz almond cream (198g)
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour

8 ripe pears, peeled and cored, cut in 8

Crust:
2 sticks of butter. at room temperature
1 cup flour
1/4 cup warm water


Preheat the oven to 400F
Beat together the butter and almond paste on medium high until well blended. Add the eggs and mix. Add the flour and mix well until smooth. Set aside.

Make the crust:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the flour and the butter until blended. Add the water until the dough comes together, remains soft but not wet. Add flour if necessary.

Butter and flour an pie dish. I like the metal pan with removable bottom. The crust cooks better than in a ceramic or porcelain pie dish.

Roll out the dough on a well floured surface. Don't hesitate to add flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter. With the help of the rolling pin, transfer th dough to the prepared pie dish.

Spread the Frangipane evenly on the crust. Arrange the slices of pears on the cream and brush them with melted butter.
Bake at 400F for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another 45 minutes, or until the cream has become puffy and golden.

Serve at room temperature!


Notes:

I used Odense pure almond paste. The taste is great and natural.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Buche de Noel

I love the time between Christmas and New Year...Everything seems to slow down a bit...And if you throw a snow storm on top of it... Everything stalls!

It was a wonderful Christmas here in Mashpee. My mother managed to get here with only a minor delay - she could have been stranded like so many other travelers! It was the first time in 13 years that we spent the Holidays together...happy and sad - our first Christmas without my father, but also the first one for Emilie with Grand-Maman.

A huge part of these Holidays is the food...of course. Christmas Eve menu was quite traditional for us...Salmon Gravlax with Blinis, and Bob made his famous clam chowder.
Christmas day...Champagne to start, Breasts of Duck (magrets de canard) and a Mushroom Risotto, and the infamous Buche de Noel (Yule Log).

This year I changed the recipe a little...and the new Log was delicious! The cake is a chocolate base cake, the filling a light vanilla butter cream and the bark...a classic ganache flavored with Glenfiddish whiskey.




Buche de Noel


Serves 10


Cake:
1 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup cake flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder + 2 Tbsp for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
4 large eggs, separated
2 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used safflower oil)
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Vanilla Buttercream:
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
1 1/3 cup sugar, + 2Tbsp
2 cups butter (4 sticks), cut into large pieces, softened (not melted)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate ganache:

8 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
300 g heavy cream (1 1/4 cup)
50 g butter (1/2 stick)
5 cl liqueur (your choice!) - I used Glenfiddish whiskey for this recipe



Prepare the cake:

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Line a 15x10x1-inch sheet pan with parchment paper. Brush with vegetable oil or melted butter. Dust with cocoa powder and set aside.

Sift 1/2 cup sugar, the cake flour, baking powder, the cocoa powder and salt into a small bowl.

Beat the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer until thick. Beat the oil in, the water and the vanilla.
Gradually add the dry ingredients, beating until just blended. The batter will be very thick.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Slowly ad the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks but not dry.

Fold a quarter of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whites in two or three additions, being careful not to deflate the batter.

Spread the batter on the sheet pan, evenly.

Bake for about 12 minutes, until puffed and tester comes out clean.
Cool the cake for 10 minutes and unmold on a slightly damp kitchen towel dusted with cocoa powder.
Using the cloth, roll the long side of the cake (the kitchen towel will end up inside the cake!) and place seam side down on work surface to cool completely.


Prepare the Vanilla Buttercream:

In a bowl, combine the egg whites and the salt.

Place the water and 1 1/3 cup of sugar in a heavy saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat, brushing the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Do not stir.

When the syrup starts to boil, begin beating the whites on medium-high speed. Gradually add 2 Tbsp of sugar and beat until soft peaks form - do not beat again until syrup is ready.

Return to the syrup and boil until a candy thermometer reaches 240F. Remove from the heat at once and, with the mixer on high speed, add to the whites, pouring it slowly down the side of the bowl. Keep beating, scrapping the sides occasionally with a rubber spatula, until the meringue has cooled, about 10 minutes.

Reduce speed to medium and add the softened butter one piece at a time. When all the butter has been added, add the vanilla and beat for a little bit longer until the buttercream is smooth.



Now prepare the ganache:

In a medium heavy saucepan, heat the cream. Add the chocolate, butter and liqueur. Whisk and remove from the stove. Let cool, whisking regularly. The chocolate mixture should thicken, but not become too hard. 



Assemble the Yule Log:

Unroll the cake and dust with cocoa powder. Spread the vanilla buttercream evenly on the cake and, using the towel as an aid, roll the cake lengthwise (this time the towel should not be inside the cake!!).
When rolled, cut about 2 1/2 inches off both sides, diagonally, and place one piece on top of the cake, slanted side down, and the other on the side, slanted side against the main body of the cake. This should look like a wood log!

Spread the ganache on the cake, in an irregular fashion, and decorate with meringue mushrooms and other Christmas decorations.


Note:
For the buttercream, if the meringue has not cooled enough, the cream will become runny. Place the bowl on a bag of ice cubes and whisk; it should regain proper consistency.

Note2:
It is a good idea if you like the biscuit a little more moist to brush it with an aromatic syrup (sugar and water and a liquor) before spreading the filling.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blinis

Last year I gave you the recipe for the Salmon Gravlax, which I serve on Blinis, a Russian pancake. Toast works well, but the Blinis really is the perfect vessel for the salmon!
This is my father's recipe that I use every year.



Blinis


Makes....a lot!


2 1/2 cup buckwheat flour (you can use whole wheat too)
1 cup all purpose flour
a pinch of salt
3/4 stick butter (6 Tbsp), melted and cooled
1 1/2 Cups Greek Yogurt (16oz)
1/4 cup beer
6 eggs (2 whole and 4 yolks) - reserve the whites
1 1/2 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp baking powder



Combine the two flours and the salt in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, the butter and the yogurt.

Heat the milk to lukewarm and add the baking powder. Mix.

Add the egg mixture to the flours and mix. Add the beer, using more if needed. At this point, the batter should be moist all over.

Add the milk and combine to obtain a batter similar to a pancake batter, just a bit thicker.

Let rest for 2 hours.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add to the batter, careful not to deflate it.

Let batter rest another 20 minutes.


Cook the blinis on the stove top as you would pancakes, about 3 minutes per side. You can make them 4 to 5 inches in diameter, or make mini ones for fancy appetizers! 

Serve with the Gravlax or smoked salmon! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Turkey Potpie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust

Winter in New England can be pretty brutal. One way the New Englanders have to cope with the bitter cold is food! Comfort food. Pasta, soups, stews...all these are comfort foods. But nothing is more warming that a pot pie.
That was a totally new concept for me, coming from France, and with an Italian father. Yes we do cook soups and pasta, and we do serve the stews with bread. But we have not yet put the bread on top of the stew! Comfort food at its best!


Turkey Potpie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust


Serves 8


Filling:
2 Large turkey breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into 1/2-in pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
2 parsnips, sliced
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems cut, and cut in half
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp butter
2 cups chicken broth or stock

Biscuit:
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
3/4 cup butter, cold, cut into 1/2-in pieces
1 1/4 cup buttermilk


Prepare the filling:
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter in a large saute pan, or Dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots, celery, parsnips and thyme and saute for about 3 minutes. Cover and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, uncovered, for another 5 minutes.
Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside. Deglaze the juices with 1/2 cup chicken broth.

Heat the remaining oil and butter in the same pan and add the turkey. Let brown on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vegetables to the pan and sprinkle with the flour. Add the stock  and let simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Prepare the biscuit:
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the cheeses and toss. Add the butter and work the mixture with your fingers, until it resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and mix just until a dough forms.

Assemble:
Transfer the turkey filling, still warm, to a baking dish. Cover with dollops of biscuit dough. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the biscuit is puffy and golden, and the filling is bubbling.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Roast Pork with Pears and Cranberries

Another favorite! Perfect for the season...A little sweet with the pears and cranberries, and savory with the thyme and garlic. The preparation is very easy as this roast isn't stuffed. Great for a special occasion or a quick dinner!




Roast Pork with Pears and Cranberries



Serves 8



One 3lb loin of pork
Zest of 2 oranges
5 cloves of garlic, grated
3 twigs of fresh thyme
1 tsp ground pepper
1 Tbsp coarse salt
5 pears quartered
3 carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white wine



In a bowl, combine the orange zest, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Rub the pork with the rub until well coated.

Place the roast in a large baking pan and surround with the pears, onion and carrots and cranberries. Pour the wine at the bottom of the pan.

Bake at 450F for about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350F for another 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand, covered with aluminum foil, for about 10 minutes.

Slice and serve with wild rice or root vegetables.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pear and Cranberry Pie

Thanksgiving is finally over!!!! Not "finally" because I do not enjoy it. "Finally", because we can go back to "normal eating"!!

We went to New Jersey this year and it was a food fest! We spent time with the family, went to a (terrible) Rutgers football game, did some shopping...Everything, company included, was excellent. And we ate...and ate...and ate!!

My small contribution to the menu was a dessert...a pear pie. On the Food TV show, Alton Brown had used a high sided metal pie dish and a pie bird...So i started my search for both items. The dish was relatively easy...Williams Sonoma, $14. The bird however...was another story!I looked online and found a few, but none would have arrived in time! I drove all over the Upper Cape...and made my last stop in this little shop in Centerville, Cape Cod Cookery. And there it was, right at the door!!! $12 something!

The bird allows the steam created by the fruit to escape, preventing a soggy crust. No bird???!! No problem, you can either make cuts in the crust or make a chimney at the center with a wide macaroni! But the bird looks good!




Pear and Cranberry Pie




Serves 8


Crust:
8 oz butter (1/2 stick), cut into 1/2 -in pieces
1 Tbsp sugar
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
a pinch of salt
3 Tbsp cranberry juice
2 Tbsp white vinegar





Filling:
9 - 10 pears, mixed varieties, peeled, cored and cut into 8th
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cranberry jam (or lingonberry...I even used pomegranate jam!)
1 Tbsp cranberry juice
3 Tbsp tapioca flour (in natural food store or the gluten free aisle of your supermarket)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom





Prepare the crust:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the juice and vinegar and pulse until it forms a ball. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.

Prepare the filling:
In a bowl, mix the pears with the sugar, the cranberry juice, cranberry jam, tapioca flour and cardamom.

Assemble the pie:
Preheat the oven at 425F.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll one into a disc, about 1/8-in thick. Line the bottom and sides of the pan. Place the pie bird at the center of the pie and place the pears around it, piling them slightly higher around the bird.
Roll out the second disk of dough. Place it on top of the pears and the bird, pressing the pie bird though the dough. Press the edges together sealing the fruits in tight. Brush the top of the crust with milk and bake on the bottom rack of the even for about one hour.

Let cool for a few hours to let the juices settle.
Serve with vanilla whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sauteed Butternut Squash

I love, as fall arrives, the displays of squash at the stores! They are a real New England fare and the Native American made it an important part of their diet. They even buried winter squash along with their dead to provide nourishment during the final journey.
As for nourishment of the living, squash is very healthy... It is loaded with vitamins and beta-caroten, a powerful antioxidant. And you know what??? Children love it too!!!



Sauteed Butternut Squash


Serves 8

2 butternut squash
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
Salt and pepper

Peel the butternut and seed. Cut into 3/4-inch squares.

Heat the oil and butter in a large saute pan, or Dutch oven. Add the Herbes de Provence.

Transfer squash to the pan and saute for about 5-7 minutes, on medium high heat.
 Cover, leaving a small opening and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for about 20 more minutes, until tender.
Serve as a side dish.

Enjoy!!!

Spinach and Goat Cheese stuffed Leg of Lamb

That's a classic! All the right flavors together... and fairly easy to prepare.
We have been making this lamb at home for a long time and it is always the same pleasure when we get to the table. And the sauteed butternut squash was a perfect side!!!




Spinach and Goat Cheese stuffed Leg of Lamb





Serves 6

1 leg of lamb, butterflied
5 oz fresh spinach, or baby spinach
7 oz fresh goat cheese
4 cloves of garlic
A few branches of rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste



Preheat the oven to 450F.

Open the butterflied leg of lamb and sprinkle with pepper.

Chop the spinach in large pieces. Combine in a bowl with the goat cheese and 2 garlic cloves. pureed.
Roll the lamb and secure it with twine.
Place a few rosemary branches at the bottom of a baking dish. Place the lamb on top.
Chop the remaining garlic and place in the dish, around the meat. Add some rosemary.

Roast in the oven at 450F for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400F for another 30 to 45 minutes (rare to well done).
Remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with Sauteed Butternut Squash.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chicken Breasts stuffed with Brie and Apples

This is a nice recipe, different, quick and tasty!!! A change from the usual chicken!
The breasts are stuffed with Brie and Granny Smith apples, and served with a sage cream sauce. Try it!




Chicken Breasts stuffed with Brie and Apples




Serves 4


4 breasts of chicken, skinless and boneless
1 wedge of Brie ( about 1/3 lb), cold
2 Granny Smith  apples, cored and sliced (1 in long)
1 cup white wine
10 Sage leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream


Cut an opening in the breast, to form a pocket.
Fill the pocket with  3 or 4 slices of cheese and 3 or 4 slices of apple. You may use twine to keep the pocket closed.


In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the chicken in the pan and cook on medium high heat for about 4 minutes per side, until browned. Remove from the pan and place in an baking dish. Season with pepper and place 2 to 3 sage leaves on top. Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, deglaze the chicken pan with the white wine. Add the remaining sage leaves (cut in half). Reduce for 5-7 minutes. Add the cream and reduce again until sauce has thickened. Let sit until ready to serve. Reheat on low heat.

When done, place one breast of chicken on each plate, top with the sauce and serve.

Sauteed mushrooms and sauteed spinach go well with it. You may also choose to serve it with a rice.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Creme Brulee

The children got  me this great torch for Christmas last year. They knew I had in mind to try and make Creme Brulee.
Well that's just when Bob found out his cholesterol levels were through he roof!!! Needless to say...Creme Brulee was on the "Forbiden Foods" list!

Well, tonight we are having dinner at our friends the Watts, and I offered to bring dessert...Yes! You have guessed right!!! Creme Brulee!!!!!
And...No, I am not trying to kill Bob! His levels are much better now, and he can indulge once in a while!!

This recipe was given to me by my friend Franck...The French chef at the West Dennis Yacht Club! Thanks!



Creme Brulee




Makes 10


1 qt heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
10 egg yolks
7 oz sugar
10 tsp sugar in the raw




Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds
out with a knife. Put the bean and the seeds in a saucepan with the cream. Bring to a boil.

Mix the sugar and the egg yolks until it gets slightly lighter in color and a bit fluffy.

Add the hot cream to the sugar mixture and mix well.
Strain the custard through a sieve.

Fill 10 ramequins with the custard. Place them on a sheet pan and place in a 325F oven. Pour water at the bottom of the sheet pan, about halfway up the sides of the ramequins.
Bake until the custard is just set, about 45 minutes.

Let cool and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Before serving, sprinkle with Sugar in the Raw and caramelize with a torch. Serve!


Notes:
You may choose a different flavor! Try Grand-Marnier, coffee, ginger...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coq au Vin ... Blanc

I love having time to play with new recipes!
Yesterday afternoon, after school, I tried to decide what to make for dinner, as every day! I had in mind a chicken dish but waasn't sure what to do.
I remembered seeing a recipe for a Riesling Chicken that sounded good. So off I am to Roche Brothers and hour later...my Coq au vin is simmering! I left the dish on the stove on really low and went to pick up the kids from soccer practice. I had instructed Bob to not touch it and when we arrived back home almost two hours later, it was perfect!!




Coq au Vin


Serves 6



18 chicken thighs, skinless, but with the bone
7-8 shallots
8 oz bacon, cut into small strips
12 oz assorted mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves
2.5 cups white wine
3 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley


In a duch oven, saute the bacon. When crisp, remove from the pan ans set aside. Pour all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in a bowl and reserve.

In the same dutch oven, saute the shallots until golden. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Deglaze the juices with 1/2 cup both wine and broth. Let simmer a few minutes and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

Still in the dutch oven, heat the olive oil, add the garlic and the mushrooms. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
Deglaze the juices again and transfer to the sauce bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons bacon fat to the dutch oven and sautee the chicken, until brown, about 4 minutes per side. You may need to work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
Again, deglaze the juices and set aside.

When all the chicken has been browned, transfer all the pieces back to the dutch oven and add the shallots, the bacon and the mushrooms. Add the reserved sauce and pour in the remaining wine and broth. Saeson with salt and pepper.

Cover, leaving the lid open a little to avoid too much water to form, and let simmer on very low heat for about 2 hours.

When ready to serve, transfer to a platter and sprinkle with the freshly chopped parsley.



As a side dish, Bob prepared the Roasted Butternut Squash:

Halve the squash and remove the seeds. Mix 1 cup apple cider, 1/2 cup white wine, a pinch of curry powder and salt and pepper. Pour at the bottom of a baking dish and place the squash, open face down, in the dish. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes. Serve sliced with the chicken.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Leek and Salmon Quiche

What a mess in the kitchen that was!!!
Night game for Dylan and I knew we would not be home until at least 8pm...So I figured that quiches, Spinach and Goat Cheese and Leek and Salmon, would be the perfect dinner! They can be made ahead and reheated. No biggie!!
Well, that was counting without the added project: Emilie had to make cookies for the soccer team...as ordered by her sister!
So here we are, the both of us, competing for a corner of the (already small) kitchen!
In the end, the quiches were not cooked before we left, but I learned how to use the "Cook Time" feature on the oven!
And the quiches were delicious! Here is the Leek and Salmon recipe, inspired by Chocolate and Zucchini.




Leek and Salmon Quiche



serves 8


1 whole wheat crust

2 lbs leeks, sliced and well washed
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb fresh salmon
1 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning

4 eggs
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 cup milk


In a large saute pan, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the leeks and saute until tender, about 20 minutes.

While the leeks are cooking, poach the salmon. Boil about a quart of water. When boiling, lower the heat and add the Old Bay seasoning and the fish. Simmer until fish is cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove from the water and let cool. When cool, flake the salmon, making sure you have removed all the bones!

When the leeks are cooked, set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs, the creme fraiche and the milk until all ingredients are well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the leeks and the salmon and mix well.

Transfer to a pie dish, buttered, floured and lined with the crust.

Bake for about 1h5min. Then let stand in the turned off oven for and extra 15 minutes.

Serve warm.



Whole wheat crust:

16 Tbsp (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup water, warm


In food processor, pluse the flour and butter until it resembles coarse meal. Add water, a little at a time, until the dough is moist.
Make a ball of the dough and let rest for one hour.

Roll and use as a regular pie crust.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cauliflower puree

All right! This is great way to have cauliflower! The kids loved it!!!
I made this side dish yesterday with a roasted leg of lamb. No leftovers!!!




Cauliflower puree



Serves 5



2 cauliflower heads
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


Wash the cauliflower and cut in smaller florets. Place in a pot and add the chicken broth (it won't cover so you may want to stir half way through cooking) and cook for about 20 minutes, until tender.

When cooked, transfer the cauliflower to a bowl - reserve the liquid - and puree with an immersion blender. You may add some of the liquid if the puree is too thick. Add the butter, nutmeg, pepper and cheese. Mix well. The cheese being salty, hold off on the extra salt until you have tasted it.

Serve as a side with lamb. pork...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chicken "Paillard"

I promised that I would try to update my blog more often...and I am really doing my best to keep this promise! Not as easy as I thought! Soccer still is an everyday happening, and Bob is still traveling a lot! Thank you everyone for your patience! I do not know who you are, but I see that some of you are checking regularly (thanks Mountain View for checking out so regularly!).

So thinking of you...I tried a new dish! We are pretty much done with grilling. Or at least I am! I had no games to go to, no kids to pick up...but I had time to cook!!!

I bought chicken breasts, skinless, assorted mushrooms, spinach and just got in the kitchen! The result must have been pretty decent because Dylan told me it was the best chicken dish ever - either it was true, or he had something to be forgiven for, that I still haven't found out!!!




Chicken Paillard


serves 6



6 chicken breasts, skinless
3/4 cup all purpose flour
Olive oil
1 1/2 cup white wine + 1 cup to finish the sauce
1 lemon, skin peeled

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb assorted mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 bags of fresh spinach, washed and dried
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup heavy cream or creme fraiche
Salt and pepper to taste



Prepare the mushrooms:
Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the garlic, saute for a couple of minutes.
Add the mushrooms and saute until they start taking on a golden color. season with salt and pepper. Add half the parsley and set aside.

Prepare the chicken:
Butterfly the breasts and pound them until they get really thin. Dredge them in flour and set aside.
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil. Working in several batches (2 at a time), cook the chicken on medium-low heat for about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and transfer to a sheet pan. Deglaze the juices with 1/2 cup of white wine. Add the strips of lemon skin. Transfer the sauce to a bowl. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked. Keep warm in a 170F oven, covered with aluminum foil.

Prepare the spinach:
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 7 minutes. Keep warm.

Reheat the sauce and add more wine, or chicken broth if you have some, and reduce for about 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Reheat the mushrooms, adding the butter for silky sauce, and the remaining parsley.
Add the cream to the spinach.

Serve one breast of chicken, topped with the sauce, with the mushrooms and spinach as side dishes.



...and let me know if I should ask Dylan if he is hiding something, or if it really is that good!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Banana Bread

What a great Indian Summer we've had! Winter will have to wait!
Many things happened since my last post, a million years ago!

We have been back in school for a while now, fall sports (aka. Soccer) are in full swing...we are busy!
I am spending most of my afternoon on the soccer fields watching Dylan's or Julie's Varsity teams in Yarmouth, or Emilie's games in Mashpee. I am sure you have noticed my blog has sort of stalled!!! But I will try and update a bit more often!! Promise!!

We went camping too, last weekend with the Cicalis. Friday was rainy so we postponed tent set up to Saturday and had a great relaxing weekend. Lots of food...of course. I had planned on grilled bananas for dessert, with chocolate squares, but since we cut our trip short one night...and on dinner, we returned home we more bananas than we could eat!! Time for Banana Bread!




Banana Bread



7 ripe bananas
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
7 Tbsp melted butter
3 large eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts



Preheat the oven to 350F.
Butter and flour a tube pan.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas.
In a smaller bowl, combine the dry ingredients except the walnuts.

Transfer the dry ingredients to the banana bowl; add the eggs and butter. Mix well. Add the nuts and mix until blended.

Transfer to prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour, or until tip of knife inserted comes out clean.

Bon appetit!!

And this is not a mistake....NO SUGAR needed!!!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote

Labor Day!! The last hurray of the summer. Especially this year with the close call from the Hurricane that wasn't...Earl! We were sooo ready !!! But not even a leaf on the lawn the next day!
And the weather tuned out to be perfect for the rest of the weekend!
We had a "little" get together at the Cicalis's and everyone brought something for dinner. I had made the Frozen Key Lime Pie and also an all American dessert fit for the occasion...A Cheesecake!




Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote



Serves 12


Crust:
10 Graham crackers, original, crumbled
1/3 cup butter, melted

Cheesecake:
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (I like Philadelphia), at room Temperature
2 8-ounce package "1/3 less fat" cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp lemon zest
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 large eggs

Compote:
2 pints fresh blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp water



Cheesecake:

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Mix the graham crackers crumbs with the butter. Transfer to the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. Press the crumbs mixture to the bottom of the pan, tightly.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until fragrant and slightly browned.
Reduce heat to 280F.

When done, let cool. Then line the outside of the pan with aluminum foil to prevent the batter to leak to the bottom of the oven.

Cream the cream cheese with the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, until well blended. Slowly add the heavy cream, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Add the eggs, 2 at a time, mixing well between each addition.
Pour the mixture in the pan, on top of the crust.

Bake for about 1 1/2 hour, until puffed and fragrant.

Set aside to cool and refrigerate.


Compote:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves. The bring to a boil and cook until thicken, about 10 minutes.
Cool completely and refrigerate.

Serve the cheesecake and the compote separately.


Notes:
You can use frozen blueberries... Tastes delicious still!
The leftover compote is great on toast in the morning!
And the cheesecake can be made up to 2 days ahead.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

I have wanted to try and make this dish for a while now. And since it was impossible to grill last night because of the rain...I did it!!
It is quite time consuming as there are many different steps. Here the tomato sauce is made from scratch, with fresh tomatoes. If you want to save a little time, and a good idea in the winter when fresh tomatoes are unaffordable, you can make a sauce with canned diced tomatoes.
I use Panko bread crumbs, but again you can substitute with regular breadcrumbs, or Italian seasoned breadcrumbs.

Eggplant Parmesan


Serves 8


5 medium size eggplants
3 Tbsp salt

20 plum tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn in half
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or Piment d'Espelette
Salt and pepper

1 cup all purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
5 large eggs

1 lb Fresh Mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 cup freshy grated Parmesan



First slice the eggplants crosswise, into 1/3-inch thick slices. Sprinkle with salt and place in a colander. Set aside for about 45 minutes. The salt will drain water out of the eggplants.

While they drain, boil water in a large pan. Cut an X at the bottom of the tomatoes and blanch them for up to a minute. Remove from the water and let cool on a board. Peel the tomatoes, place in food processor and puree.
Tranfer to a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the garlic and saute until golden, not brown! Add the tomato puree, the basil, the red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes until it has slightly reduced. Transfer to a bowl.

Prepare 3 plates with:
1- the flour, salt and pepper
2- the eggs, well beaten
3- the Panko breadcrumbs with about 1/2 cup Parmesan
Dip the eggplant slices in the flour, then the eggs and finally in the breadcrumbs mixture. Place each coated slice on parchment paper.


In a large saute pan (you can reuse the tomato one), heat some olive oil. Fry the eggplant slices in several batches, adding fresh oil before each new batch. Cook each side until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side.

Spread about a cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the eggplant slices on the sauce, then cover them with sauce. Place the mozzarella on top, sprinkle with Parmesan. Repeat until all the eggplant is used, finishing with the mozzarella. Sprinkle again with the remaining Parmesan.

Bake at 375F, uncovered for about 45 minutes. The sauce should be bubbling and the mozzarella melted and golden.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Free Form Peach Pie

Chances are, when you rent a house at the beach, there will not be a pie pan! And no rolling pin either (that is... there was one but we only found it after the pie was eaten!) So I had to improvise. I really wanted to make a plum or peach pie but all I had available was a pizza stone! Not a problem...
I made the crust, rolled it with my hands and transferred it to the pizza stone. I pealed both plums and peaches and quartered them and placed them on top of the crust, leaving about 1 inch border. I then folded the border over the fruits and voila!!! Sprinkle with sugar, brush the crust with an egg and bake!!



Free Form Peach Pie



Serves 10


2 cups flour
1 1/2 stick butter
2 Tbsp cold water
2 Tbsp butter, melted

8 ripe peaches or a mix of peaches and plums, peeled, pitted and sliced
2 Tbsp sugar
1 egg



Make the crust: Work the flour and butter in a bowl, with your fingers, until it looks like coarse meal.
Add the cold water and form into a ball. Let rest.

While the crust is resting, peel, pit and slice the fruits.

Set aside.

Roll out the dough into a disk and transfer to the floured pizza stone. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Place the fruits in a circle on top of the crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the border on the fruits.

Brush the border with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 390F for about one hour.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ginger Lime Marinade

L.B.I.

These three letter are, in our family, synonym of absolute paradise!!! Long Beach Island is a strip of sand off the coast of the New Jersey shore...About a mile wide and 17 miles long. Bob's family was coming here every summer when he was a kid, and now we get the whole Steven clan here every other year, for a week of beach, food and wine, and fun!!!

As you now know, where ever we go...we cook!! And we made fish this week that we marinated in lime juice and fresh ginger.



Ginger Lime Marinade


serves 10



2 2-inch pieces of fresh ginger, grated
3 limes, for their juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small bunch of cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine


Mix all the ingredient together. Pour over the fish - in an aluminum pouch - (cod, fluke,haddock...) and let marinate for about 30 minutes.
Cook on the grill or in the oven and serve with a white rice.


Variation:
This marinade can be used for chicken or pork as well. Mix all the ingredients except the oil and wine and add 1/4 cup soy sauce, 4 Tbsp of honey and 1 Tbsp sesame seeds.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Grilled polenta

I love polenta, whether it is served creamy or grilled. In the summer, the grilled polenta is a nice addition to any grilled meat or fish. Add a ratatouille to the meal, or the Eggplant Provencale and "Bon appetit!!!"




Grilled Polenta



Serves 8

3 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup polenta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper


Combine water, salt and oil in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Gradually add the polenta, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
Lower the heat and continue cooking for about 8 - 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan and Cayenne pepper.

Line a 9-in cake pan with plastic wrap. letting it hang over the edges. Pour the hot polenta in the pan, and spread evenly. smooth the top and cover with the wrap.

Let cool and when cold, refrigerate.

When chilled, unmold on a cutting board and cut into trangles. Cut these triangles in half horizontaly. Brush both sides of the wedges with olive oil and grill. Cook one side first, turning it after 5 - 7 minutes. Cook the other side for another 5 to 7 minutes, until golden.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tequila Lime Chicken

Hot weather, summer...Margaritas!!! Well almost!This chicken is moist and tastes delicious!

Tequila Lime Chicken

Serves 6

Marinade:
1/2 cup Gold tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, 6 to 7 limes
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp fresh jalapeno pepper, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

6 chicken breasts

Combine all the marinade's ingredients together in a bowl. Pour over the chicken and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
When ready to grill, sprinkle the breasts with the salt and pepper.
Grill skin side down first, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken, lower the heat and cook for another 10 to 12 minutes. When done, transfer to serving platter and let rest for another 5 minutes.
Serve with a rice and salad!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hummus

The aperitif is a summer staple in France and for it we serve a nice crisp Rose wine, a bit of "saucisson" (dry sausage), and I love to serve hummus with grilled - or toasted - pita wedges. This one is quite garlicky, so don't feel like you have to use all 6 cloves!
There it is!




Hummus

Serves 12

1 can chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tbsp Tahini paste
4 limes, for juice
6 cloves of garlic, chopped very fine or pressed
1 large bunch of cilantro.

Puree the chickpeas in the food processor. Add the salt, Tahini paste, lime juice, garlic and cilantro. Pulse until blended.
Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cooled.

Serve with corn chips or grilled pita wedges.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Grilled Pork Chops

I have been quiet....and very busy!!! I just came back from a quick but wonderful vacation in France where, for once, the weather was perfect! With the kids we just went to the pool everyday, visited the Chateau de Pierrefonds to the North of Paris.
Evening Rose served on the terrace with friends...Life is good!
I am now back to the US and have just started a new job...!!! Banquet Director at the Red Lion Inn. It is a bit far from home, but the ride is easy...The place is beautiful and has a lot of potential. So far I love it!

I still find a little time to cook and made pork chops on the grill, served with a quinoa salad.



Grilled Pork Chops


Serves 4


4 nice size pork chops
1-2in piece of fresh ginger
2 Tbsp honey
2 limes
2 cloves garlic, pressed or really finely chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped

In a small bowl, prepare the marinade:
Peel the ginger and grate it - with a Microplane. Add the honey, lime juice, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Add the garlic and the cilantro.
Pour over the meat and let stand for at least one hour.

Heat the grill and when ready, cook the pork chops for about 8 minutes on each side.
 Remove from the grill and let stand a few minutes. Serve.


Notes:
You may want to freeze the ginger a little to make it easier to grate.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Croque-Miettes aux Framboises - Raspberries au Gratin

Did you guess??? My favorite summer berry is the Raspberry! This dessert is quite simple to make and i know you'll enjoy it!



Croque-Miettes aux Framboises



125 g of butter, softened (4.4 oz)
125 g brown sugar (4.4 oz)
250 g flour (8.8 oz)
1 pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
5 cl creme fraiche (3 1/2 Tbsp)
500 g raspberries (1 lb)


In a bowl, mix together the butter and sugar.
Place the flour and the salt in another larger bowl. Add the sugar/butter mixture and mix with your fingers until it form crumbs.
Add the egg yolks and keep mixing with your fingers until it resembles coarse sand.
Refrigerate.

Spread the creme fraiche at the bottom of a baking dish. Place the raspberries on top and dust with the "croque-mietttes" (or crumble!).
Bake at 200C (400F)for about 10 minutes.
Serve with vanilla whippped cream.


Notes:
You can use individual creme brulee dishes instead of one large dish.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Frozen Chocolate Pie

Another summer favorite for us chocoholics!!! The wafers I use are the Fabulous Chocolate Wafers from Nabisco. The crust is the same one I use for the Raspberry Tartlets. Have fun!!



Frozen Chocolate Pie

Crust:
25 chocolate wafers, crumbled
1/3 cup butter, melted

Filling:
8 oz bittersweet chocolate
6 oz cream cheese (I used the "1/3 less fat")
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream, whipped


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Prepare the crust by mixing the wafer crumbs and the melted butter. Transfer to a cheesecake pan and press down the bottom. Bake for about 10 minutes, until fragrant.
Remove from the oven and let cool.

Filling:
Melt the chocolate on the top of a double boiler. Let cool to room temperature.
Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and milk in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until thoroughly combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream and the cooled chocolate, being careful not to deflate the mixture.

Pour into the prepared crust, soothing the top with a rubber spatula. Freeze for a minimum of 4 hours.

Note:
You may, as it is done on the Frozen Key Lime Pie, top the chocolate with whipped cream, and freeze.

Frozen Key Lime Pie

This really is a summer favorite. Refreshing! I found the original recipe in one of The Barefoot Contessa's cookbook. A bit too sweet for me so I made a few modifications!
The pie was the first dessert Emilie made all by herself, and that summer, after she realized she could bake, we had Frozen Key Lime Pie every weekend! No one was complaining!!!
Time to share the recipe with you!



Frozen Key Lime Pie


Crust:
1 1/2 cup Original Graham crackers (about 10), crumbled
6 Tbsp butter, melted

Filling:
6 extra large egg yolks, or 7 large
1/4 cup sugar
1 14-ounce can condensed milk
2 Tbsp grated lime zest
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Topping:
1 cup cold heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract



Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a small bowl, combine the cracker  crumbs with the butter. Mix well and transfer to a cheesecake pan (with removable bottom). Press the crumbs down, tight. There should not be any sides.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until fragrant and slightly colored.

Filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and the sugar until it thickens and becomes light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed and add the condensed milk, lime zest and lime juice. Pour into the cooled baked crust and freeze.

Topping:
In the bowl of the stand mixer, fitted with the whisk, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Spread over the frozen pie and return to the freezer, overnight.

Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.


Note:
I used fat free condensed milk.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Madeleines au Chocolat

June is my busiest month of the year.We just finished cleaning up from our Memorial weekend party, finished the last leftovers...There are weddings every weekends, at the West Dennis Yacht Club and elsewhere (P'town in two weeks!) and of course there is Wicked! Julie is working there too now!
And Fran, the teacher I work with, asked me if I could prepare a couple of desserts and a potato salad for his daughter's rehearsal dinner this week. I accepted the challenge and selected the Raspberry Puffs and Chocolate Madeleines. Madeleines are so pretty, and somewhat Cape Coddish with their shell-like shape...and yet so French!



Chocolate Madeleines



3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened coco
1 pinch of salt
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
12 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled, + some for the molds

Butter the Madeleines molds and refrigerate to allow the butter to harden.

Sift together the flour, coco and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.Add the flour, and then the melted butter.

Fill the pans with the batter, about 3/4 full. Refrigerate the pans with the batter for one hour. 

Preheat the oven to 425F (220C).
Bake the Madeleines for 7 minutes, until just firm and puffed. The Madeleines should not quite spring back to touch. Unmold immediately and let cool.
Repeat until the batter is finished.

The batter can be made up to 3 days ahead and kept refrigerated.


UPDATE:
I made the Raspberry Tartlets for Wicked and they liked it. The Tarlets will now be sold there!! I ma so excited!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gourmet Turkey Burgers

Where do I start?? Again, I will use the excuse of days too short! But seriously, they are too short!

The season has started at the West Dennis Yacht Club, and my weekends have been busy. I am also coaching Julie soccer team, two nights a week at least, and game on weekend. And Dylan and Emilie also have games on weekend that I like to watch!!! So very little time to update my blog!

And as if this was not enough... I am now making desserts for a popular local restaurant... Wicked!

Emilie and Bob  have pretty much taken the kitchen over, and tonight I had one of the best burger ever! A turkey burger, Bob Style!




Gourmet Turkey Burger


Makes 10 burgers



3 lb ground turkey

1 red pepper
3 small stalks of celery
1 small vidalia onion
4 sprigs fresh oregano
3 sprigs fresh parsley
2 Tbsp chopped chives
6 or 7 garlic cloves

1/2 cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumb
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Chili powder

Portobello mushrooms
Swiss cheese, sliced


Place the vegetables, herbs and garlic in a food processor and pulse until chopped fine but not pureed.
Mix in a large bowl with the ground turkey. Add the Panko, the Dijon, the olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix well.
Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Remove from the fridge and make the patties. Sprinkle the top of the patties with chili powder.

Heat the grill high. Clean the mushrooms.
When hot, place the patties and the mushrooms on the grill, and sear the meat 3 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 5 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, remove the grilled mushrooms and slice. Set aside. When patties have been turned over, place a slice of Swiss cheese on top, and a couple of pieces of mushroom,

Serve hot on a bun, or on its own with a salad.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Raspberry Tartlets

April was a bit slow for me and I sort of lacked energy...probably a weather thing! Although leaves seem to be on the trees early this year, it still was a bit chilly and rainy and I got nothing done in the yard! I spent time getting to know our new kitten, Jazz, and trying to anticipate what will her next move be...! She's got quite an imagination!!!

But enough about me and more about food. It is a food blog after all!!!

We have had our first big event of the year at the West Dennis Yacht Club and it was a success! I am also hoping to be making desserts for a local restaurant and that got me started on individual desserts!!!

We had dinner last night at John and Peggy's, with the usual crew. I was going to try and make mini raspberry cheesecakes, but as I arrived at Roche Brother's to buy the ingredients, I changed my mind and decided to try something new! Chocolate and raspberry go really well together and I opted for these mini tartes with a chocolate crust, light pastry cream and fresh raspberries. Well, you'll love it!




Raspberry Tartlets


Makes 10



Crust:
25 Nabisco chocolate wafers
1/3 cup butter, melted


Cream:
5 egg yolks
25 cl milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
50 gr sugar (1/4 Cup)
30 gr cornstarch (2 1/2 Tbsp)

3-1/2 pint containers of fresh raspberries
2 Tbsp seedless raspberry jam
1 Tbsp water

Mint leaves
Confectioner sugar
10 tartlet pans, preferably with removable bottom



Crust:
Butter the tartlet pans and preheat the oven to 350F.
Place the waffers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse you get fine crumbs.
Transfer to a bowl and add the melted butter. Mix well and divide evenly between the pans. press firmly to the bottom of the pans, forming a crust.
Bake for 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool

Cream:
Bring the milk to a boil. Add vanilla extract.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until light and fluffy.
Pour the hot milk on the egg mixture and return the whole preparation into the milk saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously. At the first boil, remove from the heat and let cool. The mixture should have thicken.
 
Make a syrup with the jam and water. Boil the jam and water in a small saucepan, until it thickens. Set aside.


Assemble:
Spread about one tablespoon of the cream on top of the crust. Place the raspberries on top of the cream.
With a pastry brush coat the raspberries with the jam mixture to give them a slightly glossy look.


Serve:
Remove the tartlets from the pans. Place a couple of mint leaves on the berries and sprinkle with confectioner sugar.


Note: I did not have any vanilla extract left so I flavored the cream with Chambord liquor (raspberry liquor). It was delicious!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Grilled lamb with spices

I am really getting excited for the warm weather! he yard is beginning to look nice, although there still is a lot of work to be done. The grill is back in business and pretty soon we should be able to enjoy the deck! Of course that also means a lot of soccer for the kids...but there still is time to enjoy dinner!

This recipe is extremely easy and very tasty.
Butterflying a led of lamb can be daunting. Most butchers will gladly do it for you!



Grilled Marinated Leg of Lamb

Marinade
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
4 garlic cloves, pureed with a garlic press
2 Tbsp Curcuma
Salt to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp Herbes de Provence

 1 leg of Lamb, deboned and butterflied


Place all the ingredients of the marinade into a bowl and mix well. Rub it on all sides of the lamb as refrigerate for at least a few hours, or overnight.

Preheat the grill until really hot and place the meat flat on it. Let sear for a couple of minutes and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Turn the meat over and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.
When done, place on a board and cover with aluminum foil; let rest for 10 minutes.
Cut into 1/3-inch slices and serve with couscous, or a quinoa salad.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Quinoa Salad

Eating healthy does not mean that you have to make anything complicated. This simple salad goes well with grilled lamb, meat or fish kebobs, any grilled meat in general. It stands well on its own too for a light lunch.



Quinoa Salad


3 cups quinoa
6 plum tomatoes, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh herbs, chopped (basil, cilantro, chive...it's up to you!)
1 lemon, for juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp hot sauce (my favorite is the Cholula hot sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste


Cook the quinoa according to package instruction. Let cool completely. When cold, add the vegetables, herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, hot sauce and salt and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors blend.

Serve.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

And again I have been away from my blog for a while. April did not start too well, aside from my birthday...of course!!!
On the second, our cat, Boots disappeared. We tried and tried to find him, but the odds really are against us. Our yard abuts conservation land, and there is a lot of wild life out there. After over a week decision was made to get another feline! And Jazz, a beautiful 6-weeks-old calico found her way into our hearts.
All this being said, I have not cooked a lot. Actually, I have left the cooking to Bob and Emilie!! She is showing a real interest in making dinner and is really talented too. I can proudly say that all three children can cook!
She made a wonderful cake for my birthday. Chocolate evidently. From Martha Stewart Living magazine. The cake was really tasty, moist; the frosting just perfect.
I had been looking for such a recipe and finally found it (thank you Martha!). Here it is:



Ultimate Chocolate Birthday Cake

 Serves 10


3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus 2 tsp for pans
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour 
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup warm water
3 Tbsp safflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate frosting (recipe below)


Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder.

Sift the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on low speed until just combined. Raise the speed to medium and add the eggs, buttermilk, water, oil and vanilla. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes. Remove from pans and transfer to wire rack, face up to cool completely.

Spread 2 cups of chocolate frosting on the top of one of the cakes. Place the second cake on top and spread the rest of the cocolate frosting on top and sides of the cakes.



Chocolate frosting 

2 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt 
6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
12 Tbsp butter, softened
9 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
3/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche


Sift together the sugar, cocoa powder and salt.

Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, on medium-high speed, until smooth.
Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the sugar-cocoa mixture. Beat until combined.
Pour in the melted chocolate in a slow and steady stream. Add the creme fraiche and beat until combined.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Stuffed Clams

Bob's parents came to visit last weekend. And they got really lucky with the weather!!! 70 degrees!!! We spent most of the weekend outside either taking a walk, or on the soccer field!

And what do we do when we get together?? Eat or talk about what the next meal will be!!

And that we did! We had seafood on Friday, and grilled veal chops on Saturday. Everyone participated and each dish was wonderful.

I will share all of these recipes with you, but right now...Clams are on the menu! Nicole gave me this recipe and it has become a favorite. Depending on what dish you will serve after the clams, you may decide to make only 6 per person. In this recipe, I fill a whole "escargot plate"...12 clams!



Stuffed clams

Serves 6


72 little neck clams
2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
4 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 cup fresh parsley


Put the butter, the garlic and the parsley in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until it forms a paste, green in color (the more parsley you add, the greener!).

Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Open the clams and remove one of the shell. Detach the clam from the remaining shell and keep it in it.
Place the half shelled clam in one of the whole in the plate, and repeat with all the clams, placing 12 clams per plate.
Put a dollop of seasoned butter on each one of the clam.

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Bake the clams for 10 minutes and then broil for about 5 more minutes, until the juices sizzle.

Serve hot with a nice crusty bread and a dry white wine.


Notes: Very few people own "escargot plates", and you can place the clams on a sheet pan instead. Once cooked, transfer to individual plates

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Scallops in a Ginger Sauce

Now this is a treat! I love the delicate taste of the scallop, either grilled, seared, with a little bit of curry, or with a bit of lemon.

This recipe is a little different and the ginger goes really well with the seafood.

It is important to buy fresh scallops.



Seared Scallops with a Ginger Sauce


 Serves 6




1 3/4 Lb fresh sea scallops
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 green onions, sliced thin
3 Tbsp fresh coriander
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
3 Tbsp cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy saucepan, on medium high.
Add half the scallops and sear one side, until brown, no more than two minutes. Flip the scallops to other side and sear that side, about one minute. Transfer to dish and set aside.
Repeat with second half of the scallops.Transfer to dish and set aside.

Lower heat and add ginger, garlic and saute for about a minute. Add the wine, vinegar and reduce for about 5 minutes. Add the cream and simmer for another 3 minutes, to let the flavors infuse.
Strain the sauce and return to the pan. Add the grated ginger, the cilantro and return the scallops to the pan. Heat for a minute or two.

Serve over Bashmati rice.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pasta Bolognese

And of course it is still snowing in our neck of the woods!!! It is still cold and gray and no one wants just a grilled meat and a salad! We are craving for hearty, warm "comfort" foods!
And pasta and a rich meat sauce fits all the "ugly winter weather food" criteria.
 My Dad taught me how to make the best Bolognese, and here is my version of the dish.


Pasta Bolognese



Serves 8


2 medium onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 packages of fresh mushrooms (shitake, oyster, porcini...)
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 cup red wine
2 large cans of peeled tomatoes
Piment d'Espelette, or red pepper flakes, to taste
2 Tbsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
1 bunch basil, chopped

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven, or other large heavy sauce pan.
Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until tender. Add the garlic; sautee for 3 minutes and remove from the pan and set aside.

Heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same pan, and saute the mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same sauce pan, add the ground pork and saute until cooked through, stirring regularly to separate the meat. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Repeat with the beef. When done set aside.

Pour the wine into the pan, still on medium heat, and scrape all the meat peaces from the sides of the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to about half a cup.

Transfer the onion-garlic mixture back to the dutch oven, add the meats and mix well. Add the tomatoes, the oregano, piment d'Espelette, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for a good hour or more, stirring occasionally.

Before serving, sprinkle with the freshly chopped basil.

Serve the sauce over linguine, spaghetti or fettuccine (al dente of course!) and freshly grated Parmesan.


Notes:
- Should you have leftover meats piling up in the fridge, use them instead of buying fresh meats. Just pulse them in the food processor and follow the recipe. The sauce will taste even better. Any meat will work; I have at times used leftover lamb!
- You can change the meats too! Instead of pork you can try a sweet Italian sausage.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Leg of Lamb

After a dry spell in the kitchen, I am back!
Last week, after my father passed away, I just could not get the energy to cook - or update my blog .
I had gone back to France and stayed with my mother and ate "Chef" Picard the whole time. I am now back home, with my mother, my sister and her children...altogether 10 people in the house! Shopping is done accordingly, and meals yield little or no leftovers!
Menu last night was a roasted leg of lamb, with a simple cauliflower puree. I have used this recipe for years, after Catherine's butcher in Paris told us we could never go wrong with these cooking times. Because let's face it, cooking lamb can be a bit of a challenge! I like it medium on the outside and almost rare on the inside (yes, I love rare meat!).
These recipe will be perfect for the traditional Easter dinner, or any other festive occasion.




Roasted Leg of Lamb

Serves 8

1 leg of lamb, bone in
1 head of garlic
1 medium onion
2 small tomatoes
Fresh rosemary branches
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 480F.

Remove some of the fat from the lamb. Peel the garlic and cut 4 cloves into slivers. Cut some small notches in the meat and place the slivers of garlic inside. In the same slot, insert rosemary pieces.
Place some garlic and some rosemary branches at the bottom of a large oven dish. Place the lamb on top and set aside.
Peel and quarter the onion. Add to the dish around the meat. Quarter the tomatoes and add with the onion. Add the rest of the unpeeled garlic cloves, the rosemary. Pour the red wine on the vegetables. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and pepper only on the meat.

Place the meat in the oven. Reduce the heat to 450F and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat again to 355F and cook for another 20 minutes. Reduce again to 320F and cook for another 25 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meat in to sit for about 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place the leg of lamb on a large cutting board. Cover with foil and prepare the sauce.
Add about 3 tablespoons butter to the baking dish and scrape the juices from the sides. Transfer to a bowl.

Remove the foil from the meat and slice thinly.

Serve with french "Flageolets beans", or small dry beans. If you cannot find these beans, navy beans will work also. I served the lamb with a homemade cauliflower puree yesterday and it went well together too!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pancakes

I know. I know. It has been a while since my last post. But here I am, back with new recipes!
An easy one this morning!
My Mom, sister, Catherine, and her children (Clara, Simon and Constance) are here visiting from France. Simon always has a few requests when he comes and one of them is pancakes! I am not sure if he really likes pancakes, he absolutely loves maple syrup!!!
This morning I made both blueberry and chocolate chips pancakes!



Whole Wheat Pancakes

Serves 8


3 cups whole wheat flour
6 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
6 Tbsp butter, melted

1 1/2 cup milk or 2 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate chips
Fresh or frozen (do not thaw) blueberries.
Maple syrup


In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.
In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, melted butter, milk (or buttermilk) and vanilla extract.
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir only to moisten the batter.

Heat the griddle on the stove. Butter it and pour some batter to form pancakes. Add the chocolate chips or blueberries on top of the pancakes. Cook for a few minutes, until bottom becomes golden and flip over. Cook for another couple of minutes and serve with fresh butter and warm maple syrup.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Carrot Soup

Winter is soup season, especially when it gets as cold as it got over the last weekend. I do not make soup very often because I never think of it, and I see it as really time consuming. But sometimes it is soooooo worth it! Like this soup that Franck, our chef at Ecoroo, made on Friday.
Carrot and Apple Soup.
It was so delicious that I made it on Sunday for the kids.
We ended up having dinner at our friends, the Cicalis, and I brought the soup with me. All the kids loved it!! Now that's a success in itself!

I use organic carrots because I don't usually peel them.



Carrot and Apple Soup

Serves 8



1 1/2 lb carrots, preferably organic, sliced in 1/2 in. pieces
1/2 lb Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
Vegetable broth
1 tsp curry, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and julienned


In a large heavy sauce pan, heat the olive oil. Add the carrots and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add the diced apples and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the curry, salt and pepper to taste.
Add the vegetable broth to about half way up the level of the carrots and apples.
Cook until the carrots are tender, about 15 more minutes.

Puree the vegetables until smooth, adding more broth if necessary. Adjust the seasonings and serve in individual bowls, topped with the julienned apple and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tarte aux Pommes - Apple Pie

I really have to share this recipe with you, as it is really easy, quick and quite delicious! Of course I make the crust from scratch, using whole wheat flour. It gives the crust an earthy flavor, and the trick to a lighter crust is in the vinegar!!!

I like to mix the apple varieties, but one is constant in my recipes: the Granny Smith. It is tart and doesn't decompose when you cook it! I mix it in this pie with a slightly sweeter apple, the MacIntosh or the Macoun.

The following recipe makes two crusts. One serves about 8 people.






Tarte aux Pommes


Serves 8


2 sticks of butter
450 grams whole wheat flour  (3 1/2 cups)
1/4 - 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp all purpose flour for working surface
1 Tbsp melted butter for pie dish
1 egg white, slightly beaten

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
4 MacIntosh apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter


In a food processor, pulse the butter and the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Add the vinegar, little at a time, until the dough comes together. The dough will smell of vinegar but it goes away when cooking. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside for at least 2 hours.

When the 2 hours are up, heat up the oven to 400F.
Roll out the half of dough into a circle and fold the circle; make it a ball, without working the dough, patting it together. Roll it again into a circle to fit the dish.
Line the buttered pie dish with the crust and brush with the egg white. This will make a barrier for the apples juices and will prevent the dough from getting soggy.

In a large bowl, mix the apples with 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Transfer to the dish and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and reduce the heat to 375F. Cook for another 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and "sprinkle" with the 2 tablespoons of butter.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some cinnamon whipped cream.


NOTE: the other half of the dough can be rolled the same way (roll, fold and roll again) and frozen for a later use.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Boeuf Bourguignon

Well...it was cold this weekend on the Cape!!! We got a fire going really early, and I decided that a stew was the best answer to frigid temperatures!

Remember that to make a great stew you have to start marinating the meat at least the night before!!!



Beef Bourguignon

Serves 8


6 lb of beef chuck, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bottle of good quality Burgundy wine, or Californian Pinot Noir
3/4 lb bacon, cut into strips
2 medium onions, chopped
6 carrots, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
5 to 6 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 to 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste


The night before, marinate the beef in the wine and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Take the meat out of the fridge and drain the wine and juice. Reserve the liquids.

In a large Dutch oven, saute the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Remove all but 2 Tbsp of the bacon grease and set aside.

Heat the 2 Tbsp bacon grease and add the vegetables - onions, carrots and garlic. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
When done, remove from the pan and set aside.

Add another 2 Tbsp bacon grease (or olive oil) and brown the meat on all sides in several batches. You do not want to add too much meat all at once as it will render too much juice and won't brown. When the meat is nice and browned, set aside until the last batch. Return all the meat to the Dutch oven and sprinkle with the flour. Stir well to ensure that each piece of meat is coated with the flour. Add the vegetables. Mix well. Add the bacon, the reserved wine and mix again. Add the bay leaves, salt and pepper.

Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for three hours, stirring occasionally, scraping the bottom and making sure it does not boil.

After one hour of cooking, you can add the cocoa powder.

Before serving, sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Serve with steamed potatoes, or egg noodles.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pork Tenderloin

It is not always easy to come up with menu ideas...Sometimes I just go to the store and look for inspiration there!
Monday was such a day. I went to our local supermarket, Roche Brothers, and started looking for something I would want to make! Fish was out as it was the end of a three-day weekend, and there probably had not been any deliveries that day.

In the meat department, I looked at the sale items (yes, I do that sometimes!!) and there it was! Pork tenderloins. Now all I need is the vegetables! Pearl onions, carrots and mushrooms. Let's start cooking.


Pork Tenderloin

Serves 6

2 tenderloins of pork
15 - 20 fresh (or frozen) pearl onions
3 carrots (I like organic), sliced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 packs of assorted fresh mushrooms (shitake, oyster, baby bella)
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
1 bunch fresh thyme, or dried thyme to taste
 Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy skillet. Add the pearl onions, carrots and half the garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes until tender and slightly brown. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in the same Dutch oven. Add the mushrooms and the remaining garlic. Saute until slightly brown. Transfer to the carrots and onions bowl and set aside.

Season the tenderloins with salt and pepper. Heat another 2 Tbsp olive oil in the same Dutch oven and add the meat. Sear on all sides. When the pork is browned on each side, remove from the pan, set aside on a plate. De-glaze the juices with a little chicken stock. Reduce for about 5 minutes and then add the meat and the vegetables. Add the thyme.

Reduce the heat and cover. Cook for about 30 to 45 minutes, turning the meat and stirring the vegetables from time to time.

Serve sliced in 1/2 inch slices, with fresh sauteed spinach, or mashed potatoes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

Cabbage is a favorite winter vegetable, and really nice on a cold winter night. It goes really well with pork, can be stuffed in individual packets (Piggies in a Blanket), or as a whole. But who has time during the week? I certainly do not!

This version tastes just the same as the stuffed one, but is quick to make! And again the cranberries to sweeten the dish.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

1 lb ground beef, lean
1 lb pork
2 medium onions, sliced thin
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 large cans of whole tomatoes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh chopped parsley
Olive oil

2 small green cabbage heads, quartered
1 quart chicken broth


In a large heavy saute pan, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the ground meats and some of the garlic, and saute until cooked, separating the meat with a wooden spoon. When cooked, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Remove the grease from the pan and discard.

In the same skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and the remaining garlic.and saute.When browned, add the meats and mix. Add the red wine vinegar, the dried cranberries and the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, until reduced and thickened.

While the "stuffing" is cooking, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the cabbage and cook for 15 t 20 minutes, or until softened.

Serve the meat on to of the cabbage, and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

This is a dish I had never made! We were watching the Food Network last weekend when Bobby Flay challenged a New York Fireman: Chicken Cacciatore. They both looked really delicious!

Julie, after watching the show avidly, requested the Cacciatore for Sunday night dinner...So here I am, writing down a list for Bob to go shopping (Thanks Bob!) and trying to figure out my own recipe!! It is actually pretty easy to make, but don't forget that it has to simmer for at least 1 1/2 hour. So plan accordingly!!!



Chicken Cacciatore

Serves 8


12 chicken thighs, skin on, extra fat removed
1 cup all purpose flour, on a large plate

2 medium size onions, sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced in 1/2 inch strips
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
Olive oil

9 or 10 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 small can of diced tomatoes
3 cups of dry white wine
1 cup of chicken broth

1 bunch of fresh basil, chopped

In a large Dutch oven, or heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and red bell peppers and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add about half the garlic, 1 tablespoon of dried oregano. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with a little chicken broth, reduce for a minute and pour into another bowl.

You will now sear the chicken pieces, in batches. For this I usually have a sheet pan ready for the seared meat, right next to the pan I am using.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same Dutch oven.
Coat the chicken pieces in flour. Place in the hot pan, without crowding, skin side down. Let cook for about 4 or 5 minutes until skin is golden and crispy. Turn the chicken and cook for another couple of minutes, until seared. Remove the pieces of chicken from the pan and place in the sheet pan. Repeat until all the chicken is seared. You do not need to add anymore oil, as there is chicken fat left in the pan. When done you can empty the fat in a can to discard. Then deglaze the bottom of the pan with chicken broth, scraping all the pieces. Add to the previous bowl with the pan juices. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the pan. Add the plum tomatoes and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the onion mixture and stir. Add the white wine, the diced tomatoes, the rest of the garlic, the rest of the dried oregano, the hot red pepper, the pan juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce for 10 or 15 minutes.

Add the chicken, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hour.

When done, just before serving, spinkle the chopped fresh basil.
Serve over pasta or rice.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Brie in Puff Pastry, with Apples and Cranberries

Happy New Year!!!  Two Thousand Ten? Twenty Ten??? Well it is much less of an issue in French!!  Bonne Annee Deux Mille Dix!!

We celebrated the New Year with the usual gang at Peggy and John's house! There was as usual a lot of food!
My contributions to the dinner were a Brie in Puff Pastry, a Chili and an Eggnog Trifle. Today I will share the Brie recipe. This is something I would never have thought about while still in France, as Brie is a cheese, like every cheese there, that is served after the salad and before dessert, plain. We do not cook it, we do not add fruits or vegetable. We eat it with a nice piece of crusty bread and a real good glass of red wine. But I love this appetizer served hot out of the oven, the cheese running and mixing with the stuffing.


Brie in Puff Pastry with Apples and Cranberries



One wheel of Brie
2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/2 onion sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and then chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 egg


Preheat the oven at 350F.

Heat one tablespoon of butter in a small saute pan; add the sliced onion and cook until tender and golden brown. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, heat the second tablespoon of butter and add the diced apples. Saute for about 5 minutes, tossing regularly, until golden brown and tender. Transfer to the onion bowl and set aside.

In another small pan, toast the walnuts until fragrant, about 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and chop roughly. Add to the onion and apples bowl.

Add the chopped cranberries to the bowl and mix all the ingredients well.

Cut two circles into the puff pastry, slightly larger than the cheese.
Cut the brie in half into two disks. Place the bottom half onto one of the puff pastry circles. Place the apple mixture on the cheese and cover with the top half of the Brie. Place the second puff pastry circle on the brie and "glue" the pastry together with the egg wash (egg mixed with water). Cut a small hole on the puff pastry to allow steam to escape.

Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for about half an hour, until crust is puffy and golden.

Serve hot.


Can be prepared a few hours ahead. Simply reheat in a 350F oven for 15 minutes.