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!

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 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 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!!!!!