Recipes: French Cooking Made Easy!

I am NOT Julia Child, nor can I claim that I  know how to cook French food! However, I can claim that I LOVE EATING FRENCH FOOD!  So, what is my favorite recipe to make?  This month…

Dec 2017 – Cheers for the New Year (Poire au Vin)

What better way to celebrate the holidays and welcome the new year with a perfect winter desert! So, here you go, one of my all time favorite and easiest desert to make, Poached Pear in rich delicious Bordeaux (Medoc) wine!

Serves 4

  • 4 small firm Pears, peeled PearPoached
  • 2 cups of  Bordeaux wine
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1  Vanilla bean (split, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 4  Cinnamon stick
  • 2 Star of Anise

Instructions:

  • mix the wine with sugar, vanilla, cinnamon stick and the star of Anise
  • place in small but deep pot
  • place over the stove on low heat and add the peeled pear standing up
  • make sure the pears submerged in the wine, if not don’t be afraid to add more wine (up to 1 more cup, after that increase the sugar by 1/4 a cup and add 1 more vailla bean, cinnamon stick and star of anise
  • Simmer for about 30 minutes, turning the pear 2 or three times, or until the pear is soft (enough where you can still use a knife to slice the pear)
  • Let it sit for couple of hours, turning the pear every 15 minutes
  • Place in the fridge overnight, turning the pear several times until ready to serve

Pour into a shallow bowl and garnish with a Cinnamon stick and 1/2 star of anise. Serve chilled. Bon appétit.

Nov 2017- Tarte aux Pommes

Making great Apple Tart it all depends on your pastry base, and of course French butter. The Tarte aux pommes a l’Alsacienne  takes it one step further and adds the heavenly Crème Fraise! So, let’s stick with the easiest way to make this delicious French delight and just in time for holidays!

Serves 8:

  • 1/2 package of pastry dough, or 1/2 pkg of frozen pastry sheet
  • 2 lbs. of medium Granny Smith apples (6 or 8)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (3/4 if you want it sweeter), divided in half
  • 1 fresh vanilla bean or 1 Tbs. of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 of cup of President butter, melted
  • 1 tbs. of lemon zest and 3 tbs. of fresh juiceIMG_20171116_063525_147_resized

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper, brush 2 Tbs. of butter for that French butter flavor.
  • Lay puff-pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface and roll it out gently. Poke it a few times with fork. Roll the edges (add some more butter) and place in the over for about 20 minutes or until golden. Let the pastry cool down.
  • Core, peel and slice the apples, add the juice and the lemon zest. If using vanilla bean, slit it open and with the edge of your knife extract all the seeds and paste. Add 1/2 of sugar and mix well.
  • Arrange the apple slice on to the pastry, slightly overlapping. Brush apples with melted butter. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

Bake it for another 25 minutes. Serve it warm. Bon appétit.

Oct 2017- Soupe à l’oignon! Bien Sûr

Although French Onion Soup dates back to the Roman times, the Parisians modernized it in the 18th century by using butter to caramelize onion and deglaze the pan many times. Today, we can make this delicious soup easily with just a few ingredients.

Tip: use the President Butter from Brittany for all your French cooking!

Serving for 4-6

  • 6 tablespoons President’s Butter
  • 6 large sweet white or yellow onions, sliced to 1/2 thickness
  • 4 cloves garlic either pressed or chopped butter
  • 2 tbsp.. salt
  • 2 cups water, plus extra
  • 1/2 cup of Bordeaux wine
  • 3 cups beef broth (you can sauté 2 lbs. of beef chunks and deglaze the pan twice with 1 1/2  cups of water each time)
  • 1 cup of chicken broth (sauté 1 lbs. of chicken and deglaze it once with 1 cup of water)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme bouquet, or 2 Tbsp. of dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • baguette slices cut 1/2″ thick (1 per bowl).
  • 1 1/2 cup of shredded Gruyere cheese

 

Instructions

Use a large pot 6-8 quarts, cast-iron pot would be great. Put the pot on medium heat, add the butter and as soon as it melts add the slices of onions until it is amber and transparent and somewhat caramelized.

Preheat the oven to 250°F. Slice the baguette about 2 inches tick, then place it on cookie sheet in the over to dry it completely. You can keep the bread in the oven for a good 30 minutes without burning it.

Add the beef and chicken broth to the onions. Raise the heat to med high to bring the soup to a simmer.

Reduce the heat and add the wine, have a sip why not! Add the herb, salt and pepper to your liking.

Preheat the broiler/grill. Portion the soup into bowls, float the bread onSoup1 top, cover with the cheese.

Broil/grill until the cheese is melted and nicely browned. Serve immediately with a glass of Bordeaux wine. Bon appétit.

Sept 2017- Salade de Chevere Chaud

As fall begins and cool weather rolls in, cooking in the kitchen becomes a bit easier. Another favorite of mine is Goat Cheese salad! GoatcheeseThe French take their goat chees very seriously and Rocamadour offers such delicious goat cheese, but any aged cheese (2-3 months) would do.

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • Your favorite sourdough bread slices a toasted in the oven to produce a crunchy texture
  • 2 goat cheese medallions
  • Butter lettuce washed and gently separated by hand
  • Aged red wine balsamic vinaigrette
  • Provence Olive oil is ideal
  • Basil- optional

Instructions:

The cheese should be like a brie with skin, put it in between the toast, wrap it in foil, place it in the preheated oven at 375 for about 3-5 minutes (can’t be melted but a bit soft and warm). Make the salad while the chees is in the oven. Place the warm chees and slices of toast on the salad, dribble the dressing  and serve! Delicioux!

July 2017-  Gratin de Courgettes

Summer is celebrated with delicious colors at the local markets all over France. So many dishes to choose from with all the colors of rainbow! My favorite is the simple, fast and delicious Gratin de Courgettes (Zucchini gratin). Serve it with salad, crunchy baguette  and a delicious white wine! Bon appétit.Courgette

Ingredients- Serving for 4

  • 4 large zucchini
  • 3 medium sweet or white onions
  • 1/2 cup of grated Gruyere chees
  • 1/4 cup crème fraiche
  • 2 Tablespoon of Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to your liking

Instructions:

Start by slicing the zucchini, not too thin as it will be mushy. Mix the egg, cream and graded cheese. Add the butter plus a tad of oil at the bottom of a baking pan. Layer the zucchini slices, top with a spread of the cheese/egg and cream mix. Repeat until you finish. Top it with some more cheese. Preheat the oven for 20 minutes at 375. Bake is for 20 minutes or until top is golden. Sprinkle some thyme if desired.

 May 2017- Crème à la fraise

With Spring and Summer around the corner, what could be better than a simple easy to make delicious strawberry mousse with real Crème Fraiche!

Ingredients for 4 serving:

  • 1.1 pound of delicious, sweet, red medium to small size strawberries. Organic is ideal and small is great, as it gives you more of the real strawberry flavor.
  • 1/2 coup of sugar, you can use a bit less if you like.
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup Crème Fraiche
  • a few springs of fresh mint

Instructions:

  • Wash and clean the strawberries, remove the stems. Set aside about 4 or 5 for decoration.May17-Recette
  • Use a mixer to chop or puree (up to you, but don’t make it into chunky pieces) the strawberries.
  • Add the juice of the lemon and the sugar. Mix it again.
  • Fold in the Crème Fraiche slowly.
  • Place the mousse in your favorite serving dish, mine is a glass cup with stem to show off the color!
  • Refrigerate for couple of hours or overnight if you wish (make sure to cover it).
  • Cut up the remaining strawberries to sprinkle on top, add a mint leaf and et Voilà!

Bon appétit! Yummy.CremeF

Tip: If you buy this brand, you are almost and I say almost, eating the real authentic French Crème Fraiche. Yummy.

 

March 2017 – Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef)

The quintessential of classic French cuisine. This was the first dish I made after coming back from my 8 week sabbatical! Yes, yes, very ambitious, but I was so excited about learning it that I just didn’t care! I have modified it a bit to make it easier.

Ingredients:WP_20141119_18_23_49_Pro

  • 1/8 pound thick-sliced bacon (I did 1 slice only for the smoky flavor as I don’t like bacon!)
  • 1 1/2  pounds boneless beef chuck
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 1 (4-inch) piece of celery
  • 4 fresh parsley
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves (French)
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2/3 of a (750-ml) bottle dry red wine (preferably Burgundy or Côtes du Rhône)…the other 3rd for sipping while you are cooking!
  • 1/2 pound small (1 1/2-inch) boiling onions or pearl onions
  • 1/2 pound of small white mushrooms
  • 1/2 of pound of small yellow fingerling potatoes peeled boiled (not completely you want it in tact so you can then toss it in plenty of butter later)

Instruction:

This is how I make my version!

  • Cut your beef into small chunks, pad dry it, then sauté it for 2-3 minute each side, put the beef into a pot and pour almost all your wine (minus 3 tbs) over it. Add the brandy. Pour the remaining wine into your frying pan to deglaze your pan and get every bit of the beef broth out and add it to the pot.
  • Refrigerate it overnight. The next day….
  • Make a bouquet with your herbs and tuck in the garlic cloves, tie it with kitchen string and place it in the pot. Chop the onions and add it.
  • Cook the bacon and add it to the pot along with the tomato paste. Cook on low heat for 2 hours (or until meet is tender and you can smell the heavenly scent).
  • Cut up the carrots, along with the pearl onions and mushrooms.  Add it to the pot about 30 minutes before it is ready so they won’t be mushy.
  • Boil the potatoes and just before it is done, set it aside. Toss it in butter and sprinkle the parsley on top right before youa re ready.

Serve it with red wine, and a warm delicious baguette. Bon appétit.

Tips and tricks :

February 2017- Galette du Breton

I must say Galette du Breton, or as we know it Crepes, is one of my all times favorite recipes because it is easy and very French!

Here is my first recipe I like to share with you:

  • 6 Tbs of buckwheat flour (will probably make 2 large galette)
  • 3/4 cup of milk (you can also use water if you like)
  • 1 Tbs of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbs of melted butter (really good butter like imported President butter from France or Irish butter) on low temperature
  • 1 over easy fried eggs (Optional 1 per galette)
  • ham/Salmon/Veggies etc. your choice (1–2 slices per galette)
    3 tbsp grated Swiss cheese (per galette)
  • 1 Tbs of cream (optional)

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Instructions- SO EASY:

  • Beat the eggs until fluffy, add the buckwheat/salt/ water/milk slowing and mix it. It should be runny and unlike a pancake. Add the heavenly butter and cream.
  • Either cook it right away or leave it out for 3 hours!
  • Use a Crepe pan if you have one, if not a 10 or 12 inch non stick round pan. Butter the pan and keep the heat on low medium. Pour small amount of the into the pan (it should be thin and cover the pan- see picture  below). .
  • Add the cheese, ham and fold the Galett’s corner to make a square/triangle.

NOTE: You can flip it after it is semi cooked, maybe a minute or two, or just add the filling without flipping it

Optional: Fry an egg in another pan add a bit of salt, then slide it over the folded Galette.  Bon appétit.

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