Sunday, November 3, 2013

Apple Sausage Stuffing

Thanksgiving.....Probably the biggest celebration in the country. And the holiday involving the most food, that is certain!!!

Here at home, we buy a fresh turkey and Bob brines it overnight. He tried to convince me to fry the bird this year, but thank you!!! I like it roasted, with all the traditional sides!

I have prepared the crust for the pumpkin pie (a different crust this year, but the filling stayed the same as ever), and the stuffing. And tomorrow I will finish the pie, make the turnip casserole, the cranberry sauce and the string beans!

Back to the stuffing. I have over the years tried a few different recipe. One I have made a few times was a sausage and chestnut stuffing. Delicious! This year however, I read a couple of recipe combining apples and sausage. Sounds good right??!!!

And for those who have turkey for Christmas...

Apple Sausage Stuffing

Serves 10

1.5 lb Whole Grain Cranberry Pecan bread (Chabaso Bakery makes the best)
1 onion, sliced
2 leeks, white and pale green only
5 apples (Honeycrisps) peeled, cored and diced
1.5 lb hot Italian sausage
2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1.5 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup apple brandy
1 tbsp fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Dice the bread and place on a sheet pan. Bake until dried and slightly toasted, about 10 minutes.
When cooled, transfer to a large bowl.

Saute the onions and leeks until tender. Add the apples and sage. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, and bring to a boil, reduce for 5 minutes.
Add the apple brandy and the thyme. Set aside.

Pour the sausage mixture over the bread and mix. The croutons should be moist, not mushy nor too crunchy.
Adjust the seasonings.

Transfer to a buttered baking dish, cover with a buttered sheet of foil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until the top is crisp and browned.

Can be made ahead and kept refrigerated, before baking.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Raspberry Tiramisu

We had our friends for dinner last night and Julie decided she would make dessert. Incredibly light and delicious. We served them in individual glasses.

Raspberry Tiramisu

Serves 8

6 eggs
350 g (12 oz) Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
140 g (5 oz) sugar total
about 20 lady fingers
Tequila (Jose Cuervo Gold)
850 g (30 oz) fresh raspberries + a few for decorating
6 crunchy chocolate cookies
6 oz fresh blueberries and blackberries

Place the raspberries in a bowl with 60 g (2 oz) of sugar. Crush with a fork and set aside.

Cut the Lady Fingers in 1-inch pieces and place at the bottom of the glasses. With a spoon, wet the biscuits with the tequila until soft.
Cover with the raspberry puree and refrigerate.

Separate the eggs, placing the yolks and the whites in two separate bowls. Whisk the yolks and another 2 oz of sugar, with the stand mixer on medium high speed, until light and fluffy. Add the Mascarpone cheese and whisk again until all lumps have disappeared.

Now beat the egg whites until foamy. Add another 2 oz of sugar and continue beating until stiff but not dry. Incorporate delicately to the Mascarpone mixture.

Pour the Mascarpone cream over the raspberries in the glasses and return to the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Before serving, top with crumbled chocolate cookies and fresh whole berries. Add a mint leave for color.

This dessert may be prepared a day ahead.

Mint marinade and Mint Pesto

Summer is here, and BBQ season has started! This marinade is perfect for lamb, such as the kebabs we made last night. Serve with a couscous and the Mint Pesto.

Mint Marinade

1 cup olive oil
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup honey
10 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup fresh mint, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 cup fresh oregano, minced

Mix all the ingredients together well and pour over the lamb (or any other meat) and marinate for at least 3 hours.

When making lamb skewers, alternate the pieces of meat with fresh peach, onion and red peppers!

Mint Pesto

1/2 cup fresh mint
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until all pureed. Serve with the grilled marinated lamb.

Pineapple Marinade

This marinade goes well with any white meat. I used it for chicken last night and it was delicious!

Pineapple Marinade

1/2 cup Pineapple juice
1 cup rum (as always, I used Captain Morgan)
1/2 cup fresh chives, minced
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup fresh lime juice
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh ginger, minced

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and pour over the meat. let marinate for at least 3 hours.

If you are making skewers, alternate pieces of chicken with pineapple pieces, onion and red peppers.

Grill and serve with a side of your choice! Grilled pineapple is delicious too!

Homemade Pasta

I had not made fresh pasta since I was a child!! My father and I used to make them, once in a while, sending flour flying through the whole kitchen!!! Beside the fun of it...the taste is incredibly better that the dry pasta you buy in the store.
It really is not hard to make, and so rewarding! For this recipe, I followed Mario Batali's recipe. You should try too!!!

Homemade pasta

Makes 2 pounds of pasta

7 cups all purpose flour
11 large eggs

Place the flour on a flat surface, such as a large cutting board or if you have granite counter tops, directly on it.

Make a well in the middle and add the eggs. with a fork, or a small whisk, beat the eggs together, slowly starting to incorporate the flour. Continue adding the flour to the eggs, while keeping the shape of the well. The dough will eventually come together when about half the flour is incorporated, looking pretty messy!

When all the flour is mixed in with the eggs, you can start kneading with your hands, using your palms. You may have to add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky, or a bit of water if too dry.

Once the dough has come together, continue the kneading process, on a lightly floured surface, for a good 10 minutes. The dough should be elastic and a bit sticky. Do not skip this step...!
When done, wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for about a half hour, at room temperature.

Roll and cut as desired.

Cherry Tomato Tart

There is an air of spring in the air, always a welcome feeling after a long winter in New England. Cape Cod got its fair share of snow this year and the warming sun brings all back to life!
We celebrated Bob's birthday with my mother, my sister and her kids who came to visit from Paris. The usual group of friends was here too and Catherine and I got to cooking.
She does organize quite a few dinner parties at her apartment in the 16eme arrondissement and we served a few of her specialties! One of my favorite was the Cherry Tomato Tart. Easy, fast, and of course delicious!!!

Cherry Tomato Tart

Serves 8

1 sheet puff pastry (thawed if frozen)

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1 pint red cherry tomatoes
1 pint orange or yellow cherry tomatoes

Fresh Basil
Oilive oil

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Roll out the puff pastry and line a buttered and floured baking dish.

Spread the tomato paste on the puff pastry. Place the cherry tomato halves, cut side up, on the tomato paste. Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil and olive oil.

Bake until pastry is golden and the tomatoes are cooked, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve as is on a buffet or with a salad as a first course.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chicken Galliano

Well... I had never heard of Galliano liquor up until last week. It is a Toscan herbal liquor from the late 1800s. Amongst the many herbs and spices you can taste Star Anise, vanilla, ginger, lavender... You may think of Pernod, or Sambucca, but the vanilla really gives Galliano its sweetness.

As i was browsing through a few recipe, decided on trying something entirely new, I came upon this recipe in Saveur Magazine, which I have adapted a bit.

Chicken Galliano

Serves 6

6 large chicken breast. skinless
16 oz plain goat fresh goat cheese (1 1/2 log), at room temperature)
12 slices of prociutto
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 sprigs rosemary


12 oz assorted mushrooms (crimini, shiitake...) sliced
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
3 cups chicken broth

5 Tbsp butter
olive oil

Butcher twine

Butterfly the chicken breasts and pound until 1/8-inch thick.

In a bowl, cream the goat cheese. Add about half the garlic, and half the rosemary, finely chopped.

Spread the goat cheese mixture evenly on the chicken breasts. lay 2 slices of prosciutto on top of the cheese and roll the chicken tightly.
Tie the rolls with the twine.

Heat about 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter in a large saute pan. Add the mushrooms, and cook without stirring, about 5 minutes. When browned, stir and cook until tender, 5 minutes more.
Transfer to a plate.

Dredge the chicken rolls in flour. In the same saute pan, heat another 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter. Add the chicken and sear all sides until golden brown. Cover and cook until cooked through, about 12 more minutes. Transfer to a plate.

In the same saute pan, add the chicken broth, the remaining garlic and rosemary,  and the Galliano. Reduce by about a third, 7 - 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and the chicken. Turn to coat until heated through.

Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Serve with rice.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lamb Kebabs

Lamb is one of our family's favorite meat. We do make a whole leg of lamb on occasion, or grill a butterflied leg of lamb too. This time, as the weather is getting a bit warmer, and we are starting to grill again, we made Lamb Kebabs.

Lamb Kebabs

Makes 16 kebabs

3 lbs boneless butterflied lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp ground ginger
3 Tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 Tbs ground cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbsp Ras El Hanout (northern African mix of spices)

2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

16 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least one hour

In a bowl, mix the oil and the spices and mix well. Pour over the diced lamb and let marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Assemble the kebabs, alternating the meat with the peppers and the red onion.

Grill  and cook to medium rare, and serve with couscous.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Butter Cream Frosting

Easter...First signs of Spring...and a good excuse to indulge your sweet tooth!!! We celebrated at the Cicalis this year, although for me the celebration was short as I had to work and close the restaurant. Nonetheless, out of boredom (no internet or cable!), and maybe too because I wanted to try my new camera lens, I decided to make cupcakes. Easter calls for chocolate of course and I went to my "Cupcakes" by Martha Stewart for inspiration.

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes 
with Butter Cream Frosting

Makes about 50 mini cupcakes

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
3 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt (I used my homemade yogurts)
1/3 cup safflower oil (or regular vegetable oil)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract (again I used my homemade vanilla extract)
1 1/2 cup warm water

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Line 2 mini cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk,  mix together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and baking powder, and salt.
Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, the buttermilk or yogurt, the oil and the vanilla extract. Add the warm water. Mix until well combined and smooth. The batter will be somewhat liquid.
With a ladle, divide the batter evenly into the lined cups, filling them to about 2 thirds.
Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. remove from oven and unmold as soon as possible to prevent further cooking.

To decorate the cupcakes, divide the buttercream and color with food coloring using only a few drops at a time until you achive the desired color.

Pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes and enjoy!!!

Swiss meringue buttercream

This buttercream is a lot easier to make that its name leads us to believe, and well worth the work.

5 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
a pinch of salt (except if you use salted butter)
1 lb butter (I do use salted butter...!) at room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract (I used homemade)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites, sugar and salt. Set over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved.

Fit the stand mixer with the whisk and start to slowly whisk the egg whites mixture. Gradually increase the speed and whisk until stiff peaks form. Continue whisking until it becomes glossy and completely cool, about 10 minutes.

With the mixer at low speed, add the butter, a couple of tablespoons at a time. When all the butter has been incorporated, add the vanilla extract. Switch from the whisk to the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until all there are no more air bubbles.

You can keep for up to 3 days in the fridge, or a month in the freezer, in an airtight container.
Bring to room temperature before using.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Three Layers Lasagna

Hello and yes, I am back! Happy New Year to all of you!!! It seems that my New Year resolution, year after year, is to update my blog more frequently. And I really try! But I have to admit that I have not had that much time to cook lately. The restaurant takes up a lot of my time, and I do not eat at home very often anymore, as I close most nights. But I will try again!
My first recipe of the year is a Lasagna dish. Bob's favorite and a real cold winter not comfort food.
Yes, it is time consuming, but so worth it!

Three Layers Lasagna

Serves 10

2 celery sticks, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 onions, sliced

4 bags fresh baby spinach

3/4 lb assorted wild mushrooms, cut in half

3 lbs lean ground beef
8 hot Italian sausages, casing removed

2 large cans crushed tomatoes

1 cup red wine

1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper (or more to taste!)

1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 head garlic, minced

20 leaves of fresh basil, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

25 lasagna pasta (cook according to box directions.)

Place a cheesecloth in a strainer and add the ricotta cheese. Let drain until ready to use.

In a large sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add the carrots, celery and onion. Cook until tender, remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add more oil and sauté the spinach, on medium heat. Add a teaspoon of garlic. When done, transfer to a colander and allow to drain while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Again, in the same pan, add a little oil and the mushrooms. Add a teaspoon of garlic. When tender, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Without adding any oil, add the meats to the hot pan and sauté until all cooked. Season with salt and pepper. When done, transfer to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. There will be some liquid left in the bottom of the pan. Discard if too fatty, otherwise reserve for the tomato sauce.

Heat the canned tomatoes in the pan. Add the wine, the remaining garlic, the Cayenne pepper, salt, the carrots, celery and onions. Add the basil and set aside.

Assemble the lasagna:

Ladle a thin layer of tomato sauce at the bottom of the baking dish. Pace a first layer of pasta. Cover with half the meat. Sprinkle wit h mozzarella cheese.
Place another layer of pasta. Spread the drained spinach evenly. Spread the ricotta on top of the spinach. Grate some nutmeg on top and sprinkle with mozzarella.
Place a layer of pasta on top. Cover with the remaining meat. Add the mushrooms and ladle  some sauce on top. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
Place the final layer of pasta on top of the meat/mushroom layer and cover with more sauce. The amount of sauce you add varies according to each individual taste.

Bake at 375F for about 45 minutes, until bubbly. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and retur to the oven until melted.

Let stand a few minutes before cutting to let the juices settle.

Bon appetit!!!