Monday, May 14, 2012

Choucroute Alsacien - Old World Alsatian Sauerkraut

It has been a tradition in my family to prepare sauerkraut on New Year's Eve. We all look forward to this classic mouth watering winter meal that brings the whole family together... that is all of us except my husband who is most overtly not a sauerkraut fan. Then much to my surprise an Alsatian friend invited us over to his place for a meal and served the most spectacular sauerkraut that I've ever eaten. I thought hubby was eating his out of politeness, but then he asked for seconds and thirds!!! Remarkable indeed!

Needless to say I had to get that recipe! Of course it was made from scratch from an old family recipe, scribbled onto a well-loved and well-stained slip of paper. No jars of supermarket sauerkraut to buy for this recipe, just a good old raw cabbage dug out of the backyard veggie garden — make that two cabbages, this recipe feeds a growing family!!!

Old World Alsatian Sauerkraut
for 12 people

2 raw cabbages
4 onion

1 pound (500g) pork
1 pound (500g) ham

1 pound (500g) bacon meat sliced really thick (1/2 inch)
6 garlic cloves
4 bay leaves
16 juniper berries (baies genivère)
3 whole clove spices
1 tsp (càc) cumin
16 peppercorns


1/2 cup veg oil
1/2 cup water
1 bottle of Riesling

6 sausages, kielbasa, etc *

6 pounds (3k) firm potatoes
12 hotdogs (saucisse de Strasbourg, veuillez excuser la traduction Américaine)*

Shred the cabbage into an oven proof family sized stewing pot (un fait-tout). Slice the onion and toss it with the cabbage.
Place your pork, ham and bacon on top of the cabbage. Add the spices. Pour the bouillon, oil, water and the Riesling over the preparation. Place in the oven at 365°F (200°C). Plan on baking for nearly
After one hour add the sausages and potatoes.
After another 20 minutes add the hotdogs.
After another 10 minutes, serve.

Garnish each plate with a dab of real dijon mustard.

* For my health conscious readers and gluten free friends, this recipe works great with pure pork and ham feel free to leave out the sausages that aren't compatible with your diet needs.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lovers Lane - Lobster Thermidor

So did I ever tell you about the time we tried to go to Greece? 

Our fifth wedding anniversary was coming up and we had been saving up frequent flyer miles for our long awaited dream of visiting Greece. My hubby walked into the travel agency, as you did in those days. ;D Where they did a couple quick searches and announced that all the flights to Greece were booked (or at least all the free frequent flyer seats were taken.) 

So after a quick exchange, and a little begging, he realized that Greece was out of the question. But we still had to go somewhere for our anniversary and we still had enough miles to reach the 'méditerranéen'. I think Rob suggested another location and the response was the same, no free tickets available. So while the travel agent was waiting for Rob to suggest yet another destination, Rob turned the question back to them and asked, which mediterranean islands actually have free tickets available to us? 

Malta! Mediterranean island, close enough to Italy to boast great cuisine, gorgeous weather, and history as old as time. Our frequent flyer points booked us a five star hotel on the coast with a pool and jacuzzi on the roof. Free international buffet breakfast meant we could sleep in, fill up, and skip lunches in favor of REALLY nice dinners out.

We visited all of the historic sites, the blown glass artisan shop, all the churches where the Apostle Paul and his ship wrecked crew taught about Jesus, plenty of beaches, and lots of gelato ice cream. But the highlight of the whole trip was this amazing Italian restaurant overlooking the beach! Four stories of private terrasses with breathtaking views of the setting sun over the water.

We ate at this restaurant four times in one week!!! We just couldn't get over how romantic it was. Perfect for our lovers getaway. 

And THIS was my favorite dish: Lobster Thermidor. Serve it with fresh prawns over a naturally aromatic rice*. 

Lobster Thermidor
(serves 4)

4 lobsters, cooked, each 1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds
8 prawns (or crayfish)
1 cup (25 cl) fish stock
1/2 cup (12 cl) dry white wine
1 onion
4 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
salt and black pepper
2 cups (50 cl) milk
1/4 pound (125 g) melted butter
6 tbsp (càs) flour
1 tsp (càc) Dijon mustard
2 egg yolks
hot sauce, to taste
1/2 cup (12 cl) light cream
tsp (càc) lemon juice
3/4 cup (120 g) grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup (25 cl) browned bread crumbs
1/4 cup (75 g) butter, melted

Bring water to a boil in an industrial sized pot. Toss in live lobsters and prawns. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the lobster shells are bright red. Cool so that you can handle them. 

  • Start by splitting the lobster bodies in half lengthwise through the head and back along the center line of the shell.
  • (#1 - plate) Save the lobster tails and set them aside with the whole prawns until serving time. 
  • (#2 - bowl)
  • Reserve the lobster meat from the claws and body and in bite-sized pieces for your sauce. 
  • (#3 - trash) Discard the gray sac in the head and the intestinal tube and remaining material in the body.
  • (#4 - pot) Gather up all of the remaining shells and the head for your fish stock.

Fish Stock - Pour one inch of water over the lobster shells and add the white wine, bring to boil, and boil briskly until liquid has reduced to 1/2 cup.

Milk Infusion - Peel the onion, cut it into quarters, and put it in another saucepan with the peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme, a pinch of salt, and the milk. Bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat, cover with a lid, and allow the milk to infuse for about 30 minutes. 

Roux - Melt butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour, and cook for 2 minutes to make a roux. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the infused milk and the fish stock through a sieve into the roux. 

Bring this sauce to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook about 3 minutes until sauce thickens. Add the reserved lobster meat. Allow to cool for 4 minutes, then stir in mustard, egg yolks mixed with a couple of tablespoons of the hot sauce, and the cream. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. 

Serve a a lobster tail and two prawns on a bed of rice covered in Thermidor Sauce, and let the romance begin!

*Naturally aromatic rice : like jasmin, thai, basmati, arborio, or red rice. Please no Uncle Ben's plain white, or flavor added mixes. Go for a real rice with an exotic origin and it's natural warm flavor.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Spicy Little Devils - Singapore Rice Noodles

Singapore Rice Noodles
            2/3 cup chicken broth
            1 tbsp (càs) oyster sauce
            1 1/2 tbsp (càs) soy sauce
            1 1/2 tsp (càc) white sugar
            3 tbsp (càs) peanut oil
            1 1/2 tsp (càc) curry powder
            1 clove garlic
            1 tsp (càc) minced fresh ginger root
            1 red bell pepper
            1 small red onion
            4 green onions
            1 (12 ounce) package frozen cooked cocktail shrimp
            1 1/2 cups frozen baby peas
            8 ounce (200 g) package rice noodles, broken into 3 inch pieces and soaked

Combine chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl, and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add curry powder, crushed garlic, and crushed ginger; stir-fry for 10 seconds. 

Add chopped peppers, onions, and scallions; stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes. 

Stir in chicken stock mixture, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add shrimp and peas, and cook until hot. Add noodles, and cook until dish is heated thoroughly. Serve immediately.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thai Omelette - khai jiaw, ไข่เจียว

For four people :

Set your rice cooker to cook 2 cups of rice.
Set aside 8 eggs.

You'll need two mixing bowls, in one chop and toss the spices...

2 green onions
1 bouquet of coriander leaves (cilantro)
5 large cloves of garlic (pressed if you like it hotter)

Sri Racha or your favorite chili paste or Thai red pepper
about 5 mini scoops (2.5 tsp / càc) should be moderately hot

shrimp; cooked, cleaned and ready to eat
salt and pepper to taste

In another mixing bowl whisk together one serving of eggs...
2 eggs 
1 tbsp (càs) fish sauce
2 tsp (càc) rice flour

Whisk the eggs until frothy then add one scoop of your spices...

Pour enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of your skillet. Heat the oil on high until it starts crackling.
Pour one serving into the sizzling skillet. For those of you who love a little drama in the kitchen; hold the bowl a foot above the pan to get wild and crispy edges just like the street vendors do !

Serve piping hot, over rice.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Alsacien Saint Nicholas Treat - Mannalas

Saint Nicholas Day, the 6th of December, is remembered by different cultures in different ways.

In our house it was a day to remember the saintly man who found faith in Jesus and decided to use his wealth to help poor children. Nicholas de Myre was born in Turkey in 270 to a wealthy Christian family. His parents died of an epidemic when he was young and he went to live with his uncle who was a bishop.  The emperor Dioclétien reigned over all of asia minor and persecuted the Christians leading to the imprisonment and exile of Nicholas. In 313 the empereur Constantin reestablished religious freedom and Nicholas took the role of bishop. He was present at the first council of Nicaea in 325. His charitable reputation is celebrated on the anniversary of his death the 6th of December.

His life is full of imagery that you'll recognize in your own modern religious traditions. For example there was a poor family in town with three girls and the father didn't have enough money for the girls' dowry. When they were of age, they would have no choice but to turn to a life of prostitution, Nicholas snuck into their house under the cover of night and saw their stockings hanging to dry by the chimney and he slipped a purse of gold coins in each pair of stockings. Thanks to his generosity the honor of the young ladies and the family name would not be soiled and each girl would be assured a proper marriage.

For 6 or 7 mannalas:

2  1/2 cups flour
2  1/2 active dry yeast
1/3 cup + 1.5 tbsp milk
3  1/2 tbsp butter
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 pinch of salt

Pile the flour on a table or on a pastry board or even in a bowl large enough and then make a well in the center of the mountain. In the well, make a paste with baking powder, salt, some sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk: this is your leavening agent.

When the yeast has mounted, add the milk, sugar, egg and butter to form dough.
It is best to let the dough rise once, then punch it down and knead once more before shaping, it gives more lightness to mannalas. Then allow to rise almost 1 hour near a heat source.
The dough should become smooth and not sticky (if necessary add more flour around the dough, and knead again until you can shape the little men).

Break the dough into 80g balls, roll them to get a stick of 12 cm, form the head by squeezing the neck, or by twisting the dough, place the sticks with a head on a plate that goes in the oven, covered with parchment paper to prevent it from sticking.
Finish shaping by cutting under the arm with a knife (dipped in flour if necessary), and by splitting the bottom of the stick in half to form the legs.
Then decorate by dotting the eyes with raisins or almonds or chocolate chips (optional).

Leave the dough to rise near a heat source.

When mannalas are ready to be cooked, brush with a mixture of egg yolk and milk, to give them a nice brown finish. Be careful not to spill the egg mixture onto the plate because it will stick and burns easily.
Place in preheated oven at 180 C for 12 minutes.

Variations: instead of brushing the mannalas with egg before cooking. Bake them first, then you can glaze them when they come out of the oven: with a brush, spread a thin layer  of sugar and water mixture on the mannalas hot out of the oven and allow them to dry as they cool. Light crunchy, sweet and shiny, appetizing finish.

The schnakalas (snails) are formed with the same dough, from a fairly long sausage roll on the table and prepared in the manner of a well-wrapped with two S ends.

 On the evening of St. Nicolas, in Alsace, families dine eating these treats with a bowl of hot chocolate (made by melting a bar of dark chocolate into hot milk). Clementines can complement the decor.

For morning preparation begin your yeast at 7 am to finish baking at 1 pm. Three kilos of flour can make 70 mannalas.

Pour 6 ou 7 mannalas:

250g de farine
15g de levure de boulanger
10cl de lait
50g de beurre
1 œuf
60g de sucre
1 pincée de sel fin

Faire une fontaine dans la farine, c’est à dire un puits dans le tas de farine versé sur la table ou sur une planche à pâtisserie, ou même dans un saladier assez large.
Dans la fontaine, faire une pâte avec la levure, le sel, un peu de sucre, et 2 cuillers à soupe de lait: c'est le levain

Quand le levain a bien monté, on mélange le tout en ajoutant le lait, le sucre, l'œuf et le beurre pour constituer la pâte.
Il est préférable de laisser lever la pâte une première fois, puis de battre à nouveau avant de façonner ; cela donne plus de légèreté aux mannalas. Il faut prévoir un peu plus de temps (presque 1 heure près d’une source de chaleur).
La pâte doit devenir souple et non collante ; au besoin rajouter de la farine autour du pâton, et battre à nouveau.

Fragmenter la pâte en boules de 80g, les rouler pour obtenir un bâton de 12 cm environ, former la tête en serrant pour dessiner le cou, ou en tordant le pâton, installer  les bâtonnets avec une tête sur une plaque qui va au four, couverte d'un papier sulfurisé pour éviter que ça colle,
Terminer le façonnage en coupant sous les bras avec un couteau trempé dans la farine si nécessaire, et en fendant le bas du bâton en deux pour constituer les jambes.
Puis décorer avec des raisins pour les yeux par exemple, des amandes ou des pépites de chocolat (facultatif).

Laisser reposer pour que la pâte gonfle, si possible auprès d’une source de chaleur

Quand les mannalas sont prêts à être cuits, les dorer avec un mélange de jaune d'œuf et de lait, au pinceau. Faire attention de ne pas déborder sur la plaque car cela fait attacher et brûle facilement.
Mettre au four préchauffé à 180° pendant 12 minutes.

Variantes : au lieu de dorer avant cuisson, on peut glacer les mannalas : avec un pinceau, étendre une légère couche de mélange de sucre glace et d’eau sur les mannalas à la sortie du four, puis laisser sécher.
Ou peut aussi les dorer avant cuisson puis les glacer au sortir du four, avec un glaçage étendu d’eau ; cela donne un léger croquant sucré et un aspect brillant très appétissant.
- - -
Les schnakalas (escargots) se forment avec la même pâte, à partir d’un boudin assez long roulé sur la table et disposé à la façon d’un S bien enroulé aux 2 extrémités.

 Le soir de la saint Nicolas, en Alsace, les familles dînent en mangeant  ces friandises avec un bol de chocolat très chaud (préparé avec du chocolat noir en tablette et du lait).
Des clémentines, et des papillotes peuvent compléter la décoration et être appréciées.

En une matinée, de 7h à 13 heures avec préparation du levain à 7h et cuisson jusqu’à 13 heures : production de 70 mannalas (3 X 1 kg de farine)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Yellow Like Sunshine - Kourouma Curry

Named after the king, this house specialty invokes royalty. It is a dish with a savory perfumed scent that invades our favorite Sri Lankan restaurant and holds many fond memories. 

When I asked the restaurant owner why none of the Indian import shops had any curry mixes called Kourouma, he grinned the biggest grin and confirmed, "You can only find it here!" So he helped me understand the recipe with an emphasis on the yellow curry. "It has be yellow curry or it won't taste the same." I finished my plate, fetched a to-go bag to freeze for later, and went out shopping to scout out the ingredients.

Now I can make it on my own at home with several simple Indian ingredients. 

1 whole Chicken
3 tbsp Yellow curry
1 Onion
1 Tomato
1 can Coconut milk
3 tbsp Almond powder
1 star anis 
5 cloves (clou de girofle)
1 tsp cumin
1 cinnamon stick
3 tbsp Fried basil
3 Green onions
1 tbsp Fresh cilantro

Basmati Rice tinted with safran

Cook the curry in the coconut milk to make the sauce. Add the chicken and the other spices. Simmer together for 20 minutes. If you're using chicken pieces without bones you may need to add some bouillon because the bones are flavorful. Serve over safran rice.

Monday, December 12, 2011

As Simple As Shortbread

I once attended a dinner and saw the most amazing family in action. The way they hosted guests with class and with such grace inspired me. This recipe is from their collection, add it to end of any meal with a nice coffee or herbal tea and your evening will end in peace and serenity.

My favorite in-a-pinch recipe came in handy just this week. That morning we received a phone call from a German friend visiting Paris with some friends. When he announced he would stop by with seven unexpected guests in just a half an hour, I knew I could count on my shortbread to welcome them in out of the rain with open arms. And I still had time to spare to clean up, brew tea and set out the teacups.

2 cups (275 g) flour
1 cup (250 g) butter
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1/2 cup (75 g) cornstarch
1 tsp (càc) salt

Melt the butter, and mix in all of the other ingredients. Press into the bottom of a 9/10 inch baking pan. Use a fork to draw stripes on the surface. Bake at 390°F (200°C) until the edges show the slightest golden color and remove from the oven BEFORE it bakes all the way through. It's best when it's soft and crumbly.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nichole's Birthday - Automne Apple Cider Cake

I fell in love with a gorgeous photo a friend posted on her Pinterest site. Immediately I was dreaming of birthday cake, even if my birthday was still two weeks away! I was intrigued by the whole wheat pastry flour, and the rustic finished product I would savor in the end.

I started tweaking the recipe : Carmel OUT, I'm not a big fan, well, maybe I'll keep half the carmel to please my guests. Apples IN, What?! and apple cake with no apples? There must be some mistake. I'll keep the applesauce the original recipe calls for and add... three apples. I mean really, how can you enjoy an apple cake if there aren't at least a few chunks of home grown apples in each slice?

 Automne Apple Cider Cake

1½ cups (250 g) light brown sugar
¾ cup (160 g) canola oil
¾ cup (130 g) unsweetened applesauce
½ cup (80 g) caramel sauce or less ;)
2 tsp (càc) vanilla
3 eggs
1½ cups (350 g) buttermilk*
2 cups (260 g) whole wheat pastry flour
 (175 g) cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (càs) baking powder
1½ tsp (càc) baking soda
1½ tsp (càc) cinnamon
½ tsp (càc) salt
3 apples

7 1/2-8 cups (1 k) confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup (3/4 d'un brique) butter, softened
1/2 cup (23 cl) apple cider (pommes préssées) or apple juice (jus de pomme)
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 F (170 C).

Chop the apples in bite-sized chunks.

In a very large bowl, beat sugar and oil together with an electric mixer until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add applesauce, caramel and vanilla, beat for 30 seconds, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the buttermilk. Then add slowly the dry ingredients : whole wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, and continuing to beat until well combined.

Grease and flour two (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans and set aside. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of each cake comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Set aside to let cool for 10 minutes, then gently loosen cakes and turn out onto a cooking rack; set aside to let cool completely.

Beat sugar, butter, cider, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Arrange one cake on a large plate and spread about 1 cup of the frosting evenly over the top. Arrange second cake on top then frost top and sides of entire cake with remaining frosting. Set aside at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow frosting to set before serving.

Makes a tall 2-layer, 8-9 inch round cake.

*faites votre buttermilk maison en adjutant une cueillir à soup et demi de vinaigre d'alcohol à 350g de lait 5minutes avant d'ajouter à la préparation.

(adapted from A-Hint-Of-Honey, merci Pinterest for this birthday inspiration)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Feta, Pepper & Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche

One flaky ready-made pie crust

4 oz (100 g) Feta cheese
1 red bell pepper
10 sun-dried tomatoes

9 eggs
3/4 cup (20 cl) heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (10 cl) milk
2 shavings of fresh nut of nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 365°F (200°C)

Layer parchment paper in a flat bottomed quiche or tart pan (you can substitue a 9 inch round cake pan, but you won't get the best results with a pie pan). Lay out the ready-made pie crust on top of the parchment paper.

Whisk your eggs, cream, and milk. Rub the nutmeg with the edge of a sharp knife to create nutmeg powder over the mixing bowl. Whisk, Whisk, Whisk.

Toss the veggies; cheese, pepper and tomates, in the unbaked crust. Then whisk your quiche mixture and pour it over the solid ingredients and pop it into the oven on the middle rack. Remove it from the oven when it's golden on top and solid in the middle.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Valérie's French Cheesecake

2 1/4 cups (200 g) shortbread cookies
1 stick (115 g) real salted butter

5 cups (700 g) fromage blanc (use greek yogurt if you can't find real fromage blanc)
2 cups (200 g) of sugar
2 tbsp (càs) of flour
3 eggs
1 stick (115 g) real salted butter
1 tsp (càc) vanilla
1 tbsp (càs) fresh squeezed lemon juice

Melt the butter, crush the shortbread cookies. Remove the butter from the heat and mix the cookie crumbs with the butter in the pan. Pour this mixture into a round cake pan*, flatten with your palms, and chill while you make the filling.

For the filling Valérie melts the butter and mixes all of the remaining ingredients together with a whisk then she pours it into the chilled crust. Cook at 300 ° F (150° C) for 1 hour 15 minutes. Then she turns off the oven and allows the cake to cool slowly in the oven before refrigerating overnight.

* This pan is a nine inch (23 cm) straight sided cake pan. If you’re using a real cheesecake pan with a diameter of ten inches or more (25+ cm) you’ll want to double the recipe.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Northern Thai Green Curry

Northern Thai Green Curry
2 chicken legs and thighs with bones and skins
6 thai mini green eggplants
a large handful of fresh green beans
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 onion
A recipe of green curry sauce
1 can of coconut milk
Thai sticky rice

Brown the chicken. Add the onions until soft. Add all of the other vegetables chopped and the curry sauce and coconut milk.

Cook your sticky rice separately. Both pots should simmer for about 20 minutes.

Green Curry Sauce From Scratch
6 green chilis
1 stalk lemon grass
3 cloves garlic
1 inch chunk of galanga
1 tbsp shrimp paste or 2 tbsp fish sauce
1 kaffir lime
10 asian basil leaves
6 kaffir lime leaves
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt & pepper

Chop the vegetables. Zest the lime. Simmer everything together.

Thai Mini Green Eggplants

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tarte Aux Fruits Rouges - French Berry Tarte

1 unbaked flaky ready-made pastry puff pie dough
5 cups (500g) berries
1 cup (125g) sugar

Line a 10 inch flat bottomed tarte or quiche pan with parchment paper. Lay out the flaky pie crust. Prick it with a fork several times and bake it at 400°F (200°C).

Boil half of the berries with the sugar on medium until the glaze sticks to your spoon and parts like the red sea. Pour the molten berry goodness into the baked crust. Top with the reserved whole berries. Chill.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Secret To A Never Ending Honeymoon - Rosemary Potatoes

"Marriage is a honeymoon that never ends." - Nichole (Especially if your honey makes you Rosemary Potatoes!)

These two lovebirds discovered this recipe in Berlin, Germany while we were on our honeymoon. It's become a family favorite. The scent of rosemary and olive oil never fail to take us right back. It's so simple, you'll have time to write a love letter while it's cooking...

Eggs & sausages cooked separately. Sorry, you're on your own.

Two medium white skinned potatoes, diced into centimeter squares. Leave the skin on.

Heat two tablespoons of fragrant olive oil in a skillet. Toss in the potatoes. Scissor-snip the greens from three rosemary branches over the potatoes while they cook effortlessly (no stirring just yet). Once the bottoms are nice and golden flip the potatoes, and then 'Do Not Disturb' them until they're brown on the other side. Only after they're thoroughly cooked, can you start cooking your eggs in a separate skillet, while now stirring the potatoes from time to time. Sprinkle with giant sea salt. Serve *HOT*.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Infamous Morris Family Fruit Dessert Pizza

This classic Morris family recipe has become so infamous I actually found three copies of it in my own recipe book!

Fruit Dessert Pizza Simplified
One frozen sugar cookie dough rolled out like one big giant cookie.
One philly cream cheese whipped with one cool whip.
Tons of fresh fruit.
Glaze: Heat one cup of orange juice plus 1/2 cup sugar and whisk in 1 tbsp corn starch. This will keep your fruit from turning brown.

Fruit Dessert Pizza From Scratch

2 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla


1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
dash of salt

Mix all of the ingredients and roll out one giant sugar cookie. Bake at 365°F (200°C) until golden brown. Cool completely.

Blend cream cheese with sugar. Whip the cream. Mix cheese, cream and vanilla. Spread on the cooled cookie.

Starting with the outside row. Arrange fruit in a beautiful pattern. Do not be shy, squeeze as much in as possible each layer overlapping the next.

Heat 1 cup of orange juice plus 1/3 cup sugar and whisk in 1 tbsp corn starch. This will keep your fruit from turning brown.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Some recipes are full of surprises - White Pesto Liguria

When I saw this recipe, I was like, WHAT!? I re-read it five times trying to determine where they typo ended and the insanity began. I'm not accustomed to preparing potatoes with pasta. If you're going for authentic, the original recipe should be prepared with Trofie pasta, but it's a bit scarce in Paris, so I'm substituting quinoa penne.

1/2 pound (500g) Trofie pasta (or penne pasta)
4 red potatoes
1/4 pound fresh green beans
1 tbsp (càs) olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup pesto
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Put the pasta on to boil.

Quarter the red potatoes, and trim the green beans. Sauté the veggies in the olive oil. Near the end add the crushed garlic.

Stir the sauce together : yogurt, pesto, parmesan. Toss with pasta and veggies.

Homemade Pesto

2 oz (50 g) fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp (càs) pine nuts
6 tbsp (càs) extra virgin olive oil
1 oz (25 g) Pecorino Romano*

Mix in a blender. Serve immediately, or store in the fridge.

* substitute fresh Parmesan if you like

Monday, October 10, 2011

Waldorf Salad On Croissant

I used non GMO (OMG) chicken breasts. It always feels good to do something healthy for my body once in a while.

Serve on croissants sliced in half to make the perfect brunch sandwich.

5 chicken breasts
1/2 cup (75 g) sliced almonds
1 celery stalk
1 cup (1/2 grappe) white grapes
1 granny smith apple
1/2 cup (25 cl) crème fraiche*
1 tbsp (càs) dijon mustard
cayenne pepper (piment d'espelette)
12 croissants

Dice the chicken breasts and sauté in olive oil. Chill.
Toss with diced apple, sliced celery, and halved grapes.
Mix dijon mustard into sour cream and pour over the salad.
Sprinkle with almonds and cayenne pepper.

*The closest thing to real crème fraiche is light sour cream. Some recipes call for mayonnaise or fromage blanc. I thought mayonnaise sounded too heavy this morning, but you can probably do a mixture of any or all of these creamy sauces depending on the flavor you're looking for.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Best In Show - Arnaud's Tropical Rice Salad

Not your ordinary carry-in dish, this salad has flare! Arnaud found this recipe and brought it to Rob's birthday picnic. It was a smashing success! If there were a trophy for the most impressive carry-in dish, he deserves it!

If you're preparing this as a main dish for dinner at home with the family, like we just did last night, half of the recipe should feed four people nice generous portions.

Arnaud's Tropical Rice Salad
2 cups (350 g) basmati rice
2 cups (200 g) shrimp
3 green onion (oignon nouveau)
2 cups (150 g) bean sprouts (pousse de soja)
1 mango
1/2 cup (50 g) peanuts

1 cup (15 cl) coconut milk (unsweetened)
1 tsp (càc) cayenne pepper (piment d'espelette)
2 limes
3 branches fresh mint
Giant sea salt

Cook the rice. Cook and clean the shrimp. Slice the green onion. Dice the mango. Crush the peanuts.

Zest and juice the limes. Mix together the coconut milk with the lime juice, zest & pepper. Pour the sauce over all of the other ingredients. Toss. Chill.

Sprinkle with giant salt and mint to serve.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Northern Chicken Curry Noodle - Hong's Kao Soi

Hong is one of my sister's best friends. This aspiring cooking show host came to my kitchen to teach us how to make the traditional Thai soupe from her village. It was a blast! In true cooking show fashion she and I cooked up large quantities of soupe all afternoon. Then when the guests arrived she demonstrated how to make the recipe from scratch. Then we pulled out the reserves to serve everyone the delicious soup.

Since then Hong has opened her own restaurant in New York City. Her site is incredible, and her food EVEN BETTER! Check it out. Click. click. click.

Traditional Kao Soi
6 legs and thighs of chicken bones and all *if you want the right flavor, you've got to cook it on the bone!
2 tbsp (càs)oil
3 cups (800ml) coconut milk
4-5 tbsp (càs)Thai red curry paste
1 tsp (càc)curry powder
½ tsp (càc)turmeric powder
1 cardamom, crushed
10 thai basil leaves
1 ½ cups of water
1 onion
a pinch of sugar
2 tbsp (càs) fish sauce *to taste

6-7 cups (250g) of Chinese Bah-mi egg noodle (I just use the local brand)
3-4 cups oil for frying
4 shallots
3 limes
fried dried chillies
a handful of cilantro, chopped

Into a large thick bottom pot fry the chicken thighs in the oil. Once they're seared and golden on the outside add the coconut milk, spices, water and everything in the first list through the fish sauce. Simmer.

Fry one cup of dry noodles until they're golden don't let them get brown.
Remove the noodles from the oil and fry a few dried peppers.

Slice the shallots very fine. Cut the limes into wedges, make sure you have enough for all your guests. Chop the cilantro. Set aside in individual bowls for easy garnishing.

Confirm that your chicken is cooked all the way through.

Bring water to a boil. Drop in the rest of the egg noodles and allow them to boil for 2-3 minutes!

Serve cooked noodles in a bowl, pour chicken soup over the noodles, garnish with veggies, spices and fried noodles with a lime wedge on the side of the bowl. Have each guest squeeze the lime into the soup just before taking the first bite. Yum! Thais traditionally eat this soup with a fork and a very large spoon and not chopsticks as you may think. ;)

Perfect Philly Cream Cheese In Paris

Many of you saw the video that channel six filmed about how I make my own cheese for my cheesecake. I started doing this out of necessity because Philadelphia Cream Cheese couldn't be found. And then, wouldn't you know it, one month after the Cheesecake episode aired on television, our Paris supermarkets start importing Philadelphia Cream Cheese!

Rob says he still prefers the homemade cheese, plus it is significantly cheaper. I said I would like to try my favorite recipe of all time with the real Philadelphia brand cheese - just once a year, to enjoy the original flavor. So, before the blueberries all disappeared from the fall harvest, I whipped up a batch of Blueberry crumble this week. I have these lovely mini Cheesecake pans so with one batch of cheesecake batter I could make three mini-cheesecakes: one for our church gathering, one for a dinner at a friend's house, and one to freeze for a rainy day ;)

So why is Philadelphia brand so much better? I mean, France is the land of cheese, and everyone knows it. Surely there's a cheese out there that we could use? Why do they need American imports?

There is a cheese that you can use called fromage à tartiner (spreadable cheese). While it makes a decent substitute in a pinch, it's not the same flavor or consistency, so it falls short as a main ingredient. Since I can't demonstrate the difference in flavor over the internet, the least I can do is show you the difference in texture. On your left, Philadelphia brand - creamy like ice-cream. On your right, fromage à tartiner - crumbly like a feta.

Most Parisians I know prefer to substitute yogurt. I even have several yogurt based cheesecake posts on my blog. Yogurt makes a lighter recipe for those watching their diet. It's a great creamy substitute and it's easy to find. But for those who attended our Pastry Night with all French recipes, you may remember that while the cheesecakes were delicious, you can't disguise the distinctive yogurt flavor.

Which brings us to fresh homemade soft cheese. My homemade cheese doesn't have any cultures added to it yet, so it's flavor is mild. It is never as creamy as it should be, it's just as crumbly as the fromage à tartiner. If I knew how to fix that I would, but for the time being it will have to do.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blueberry Crumble Cheeesecake

1 and 1/2 cups (200 g) flour
6 tbsp (80 g) sugar
1/2 tsp (1/2 càc) cinnamon
3/4 cup (175 g) butter

6 pkg (40 oz / 900 g) Philadelphia Cream Cheese / Homemade Soft Cheese
1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 tsp (càc) vanilla
6 eggs
1 tub (16 oz / 50 cl) crème fraîche or sour cream

2 cups (250 g) fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 325°F

Mix flour, 6 tbsp sugar and cinnamon. Cut in cold butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Save 1/2 cup for the crumble topping. Press remaining crumbs firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake 25 minutes or until the edge is lightly browned.

Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and sour cream, beating after each addition. Pour over baked crumble crust.

Top with blueberries and sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.

Bake 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn off the oven, prop the oven door open with an oven mitt and let the cheesecake sit in the hot oven another hour. When you take the cheesecake out of the oven, you should allow it to cool completely before refrigerating it. If it chills too quickly it will crack. Let it refrigerate 24 hours before serving it. Cheesecake is always best after it marinates in the fridge for a while. Bon Appetit.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bubba's Traditional Polish Pierogi

Bubba is Polish for Grandma. My Bubba was my Grampap's mother. She made homemade pierogis every week for the entire family, and extended family!

I loved my Bubba. She was a petit firecracker of a woman. She loved to play games, her favorite was Yahtzee - and she cheated at every game!

Bubba's Traditional Polish Pierogi

Makes about 8 dozen. Can be made ahead and frozen.

8 to 10 potatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
6 tbsp margarine or butter
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper

Peel and cut potatoes into cubes. Boil until tender. Reserve cooking water for dough. (aha! That's why we had you make the filling first!)
Meanwhile, saute onion in butter, set aside to cool.
Mash potatoes, add onion with butter, cheeses, season to taste and mix well. Set aside.
This is our family's traditional filling. In the old country you just used whatever cheese was around the house. If you had cows, you made fresh homemade soft cheese. If you happened to have goats in the backyard, you'll use goat cheese. You can also use cottage cheese, or even sauerkraut in your mashed potatoes.

2 1/4 cups reserved potato water, cooled to lukewarm
2 eggs
6 T veg. oil
6 to 7 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 t salt

Combine potato water, eggs and oil; mix well.
In a very large bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the center. Pour water/egg mixture into well and stir until mixture is smooth.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times.
Place dough in well greased bowl, turning once, and cover. Let rest for at least 20 minutes, 2 hours is better.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut dough into circles with a jelly glass.
Place dough circle in the palm of the left hand. Plop a teaspoon of potato filling into the center of the dough circle. Fold one half over the potato mixture and pinch the open edges together. Experienced Bubbas do this with a little twist. Be sure they are tightly sealed or the filling will ooze out during the boiling.

IF YOU ARE FREEZING SOME FOR LATER: Place on baking sheets lined with wax paper. Once frozen, place in a large zipper-style plastic bag to store in freezer.

COOKING: First bring a large cooking pot of water to boil. Cook pierogis in batches of 6 in boiling water. They are done when they rise to the surface.
Then fry them in butter and onions until golden.
Serve with a generous dollop of sour cream.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chocolate Nutella Mousse - Birthday Cupcakes From Scratch

My very own recipe, improvised and invented for my honey's birthday party 2011!

Chocolate Nutella Mousse Cupcakes

Makes twenty-four cupcakes. Fill paper liners no less than 2/3 and no more than 3/4 full.

1 cup (100g) flour
1 cup (150g) sugar
1 tsp (càc) baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
3 eggs
1/3 cup (80 ml) water
1/4 cup (60 ml) oil
1 tsp (càc) vanilla
1/2 tsp (càc) salt
1 chocolate pudding mix*
1 tbsp (càs) cocoa powder
2 tbsp (càs) rum

Beat all ingredients together.
Bake at 400°F (200°C) until peaks are moist, not gooey, but not so long that the peaks dry.

Nutella Mousse

2 sticks (250g) unsalted butter, softened
1 13-ounce jar (400g) Nutella
pinch sea salt
1 tbsp (càs) vanilla
2 pounds (350g) powdered sugar
8 tbsp (càs) heavy cream

Mix slowly the first five ingredients. Add the heavy cream until blended. Whip on medium-high setting until fluffy. Pipe onto cupcakes with a decorator's pouch.

*I use Rawleigh Chocolate Pudding... my Gramie's tried and true favorite. It truly has the best old fashioned flavor. In this recipe I added 3 tbsp of their pudding powder to the rest of the ingredients as listed. Their traditional recipe is naturally low fat and you add the sugar, so it's great for diabetics! You can buy a tub of pudding mix online and

*FROM SCRATCH VERSION - Substitute milk where it calls for water. When it's time to add the pudding add 6 ounces (170 g) of 62% semisweet chocolate melted, 1/4 cup cornstarch (maïzena), plus 1/8 tsp salt.

Fun Manly Birthday Variations :
german chocolate with coconut-pecan topping

rocky-road with marshmallows, chocolate chips and walnuts

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pizza Soup

Pizza Soup

1 onion
1 green bell pepper
1 cup (12 oz) sliced fresh mushrooms
2 (8 in / 20 cm) zucchini / courgette
14.5 oz beef broth
14.5 oz tomatoes
16 oz can pizza sauce
1 lb (4 oz) fully cooked smoked sausage links
1/2 tsp herbs de provence (pizza seasoning)

shredded cheese
sour cream

In a medium saucepan, combine onion, sweet pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, and 1/4 cup of broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer covered for 5 minutes.

Thinly slice the sausage.

Stir in the remaining broth, the undrained tomatoes, pizza sauce, sausage, and seasoning. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more or until the vegetables are tender.

Dollop sour cream on each serving and top with cheese.
Makes 6 servings.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Potato Soup

Potato Soup

2c ham roast
8 raw potatoes
Boiling water, just enough to cover the top of the potatoes
6 bouillion cubes
¼ cup parsley
¼ tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper
16 oz sour cream

Start with a ham roast that is well cooked it should it falls off the bone, cut into spoon sized chunks.

Boil first seven ingredients. (15-20 min) When the potatoes are tender, gently mash them, leaving lots of small lumps. Then stir the sour cream into the soup before serving. At the very end, if the soup is thin, add instant potatoes until thickness and creaminess are as you like it. ;)