Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pâte Sablée, Sandy Crust

#2 in the french crust series: Sandy Crust

150g flour
20g sugar
~100? 80? g butter

1 egg yolk
water until the dough is malleable

roll out on wax paper
(it will stay crumbly)
put in mold
poke with a fork
200C for about 25 minutes if filling with an uncooked filling

good for chocolate tarte, apple tart

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bananas Flambées

Oh yes.

All you need: (read: all you need in life)
**Bananas that have gotten REALLY over ripe and turned completely black
*note: with fruit, the blacker they get, the more sugar they have made! But this also means they will be fragile, so be prepared to eat bite-sized pieces of Bananas Flambée if you are clumsy

Step One: half the bananas length-wise and start a generous heap of butter melting in your pan.
Step Two: add bananas and let pop and sizzle as they caramelize, flipping once when the bottom is well browned in the buttery goodness
~ note: for turning, it is helpful to use two spoons/forks, one in each hand to gently flip
Step Three: Sprinkle with sugar and let second side sizzle and pop in buttery browning goodness
Step Four: Rum it
Step Five: Flambée!!!
~yes, make big flame
Step Six: have an orgasm in your mouth as you eat it still hot. Maybe with vanilla ice cream

la Crème au Chocolat


1 L milk
200g dark chocolate
80g sugar

40g corn starch
2 eggs

1~ Heat the first 3 ingredients over med low heat, melting the chocolate.
2~ Blend well the corn starch and eggs and pour into the milk mixture JUST as it gets hot, but BEFORE it boils. In this way, you DONT COOK THE EGGS
3~ From the moment you add the egg-starch mixture you MUST keep stirring until you turn off the heat at the end. If not, zoo vill COOK THE EGGS
4~ Continue until it is welllll thickened, turn off the heat, and pour into your serving size containers. Let cool until room temperature, then throw in the fridge.

Note: this makes kind of a lot of crème... a half recipe will do for most occasions!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tarte Tatin

#2 of Essential French Deserts

1 Pie Crust
~ don't press it into a mold, this will be something like an upside down cake
Bunches and bunches of apples, depending on size...
butter and sugar
cream for on top (or vanilla ice cream, anyone?)

1* Peel and quarter apples
2* Using a pie pan on your stove (probably should be a gas stove) melt a big clump of butter and place apples with their rounded side down in the pan.
~ Use LOTS and LOTS of apples here, because they will shrink as they cook and you want a completely packed top of apples when you finish. See pictures
3* Sprinkle with sugar, cover, and let caramelize. This could take a while, maybe 20 minutes or so. Watch and see when they soften and there is caramel that collects in the bottom
4* Preheat oven to 225 C
5* When the apples are ready, put the crust on top of all of this, tucking in the edges if needed
6* Bake for 25 minutes
7* Before the caramel hardens to the bottom, flip the pie onto your serving plate, observing how I was right to tell you to use lots of apples.
8* Eat with sugared cream on top!

Beurre Blanc

An intensely buttery sauce. Perfectly Parisian, and perfect for company.
Probably you will never make this, one because it is hard to do and not healthy, but also because it requires a very specific instrument that apparently is no longer in production...

*Cut into slices 250g butter and set aside to soften for a few hours

*Dice 3-4 shallots (we only had 2 last time and added a small onion, I liked it better, I think!) and put them in a sauce pan

*Add just enough liquid to cover them and make them float, using half red wine vinegar and half water.

*Simmer on very low heat just until all the liquid is gone. Place in your fancy french sauce making machine that is no longer in production...

Yes, I know I am giving you an impossible recipe, but oh it is so good! Maybe one day...

NOTE: This sauce should be made at the very last second possible before serving, so if you need to you can stop here and this can sit until you are ready

*Turn on your saucerie and when it is warm (eschalots already added) add the butter one strip at a time, waiting until the last is completely melted before adding another.

Eat over steamed white fish!

Asperges Blanches au Béchamel

Béchamel sauce is a staple of French cooking. Technically, this is not béchamel sauce because we used the water that the asparagus was cooked in the place of the milk, but were going with it.

White asparagus have a very short season, and are fairly expensive as they are hard to grow, so this dish is usually served as an "entrée." Contrary to the American way of naming courses, an entrée in France is a small dish that comes before the main course, after aperitif, during which you drink and eat small amounts of crackers and nuts.

Anyway, on to the dish.

Asparagus: wash, peel, and steam the asparagus, saving the water in which they were steamed
~ not everyone peels them, but you know that stringy stuff you often feel in your mouth while you eat asparagus? Estelle found a way to get rid of that... surprise surprise :)



1* Melt 50g of butter in a saucepan and add flour slowly and stir gently until it is thick enough to form a cohesive ball. Faire une boule.

NOTE: if you try to reheat this sauce the texture will not stay smooth, so if you want to start early, do step one and then leave it until right before you want to serve. au dernière moment!

2* add the water from cooking the asparagus only one ladel at a time and stir with your wooden smooth until there are no little balls and it is completely smooth.

3* add another ladel of liquid (milk if you're making standard béchamel) until it is the consistency you desire. Probably a good four or five or more.

4* Salt, and add a splash of wine vinegar if you're eating it with asparagus!

This can be fun colors depending on what vegetable you're eating it with (ie, which juice you are adding)

**BONUS** Ill make a full post when I try it, but to make asparagus soup you can do this, but just keep adding the water until it is more soup than sauce, add in the cooked asparagus and food-process it all, and pass through a strain!! simple, but delicious, I would bet.

Semoule à l'Estelle

An original recipe from Estelle!

1 liter milk
80 g sugar
~ with as much vanilla sugar included as you have handy! (its expensive, but a packet isn't bad...)
1 stick of vanilla
~ cut open and pour the grains inside into the mix, throw in the husk while cooking, but remove it before pouring the desert into the final containers
100 g fine semoule (it really does have to be fine, thick semoule just wont do!)

1* Put the milk, sugar and vanilla on to boil
2* Meanwhile, put some caramel (made or bought, but not in this post, sorry) into the bottom of the containers you are going to use. Put these in the refrigerator while you cook. This way, when you add the hot mixture the caramel will be cool enough to stay on the bottom and not mix with or just plain rise above the semoule concoction
3* Just as it reaches a boil turn down the heat and slowly and evenly add the semoule "en pluie," like rain, sprinkled on top
~ you really do need to do it this way or you will end up with clumps! slowly and like rain... slowly and like rain... chant that to yourself if you need to
4* Turn off the heat, let cool slightly, pour into containers with caramel in the bottom
5* Let it be for a while, lots of things like this are more tasty the next day. Desert for breakfast!

Quiche Lorraine

THE classic French Quiche.

I haven't made this... only eaten it... but its worth a post, quand meme.

1 crust (without sugar)
4 eggs
lardon (a french thing... pieces of pork, well marbled)
a dash of milk
salt and pepper

Gruyere, shredded
~either inside or on top, or both!

Mix and pour into pie crust

Bake for at 200 C for about 25 minutes

La Vinaigrette chez les Bobineau

Estelle says everyone has their own vinaigrette, but in any case, I love theirs. And it is so easy to make!

1 "coffee spoon" of ketchup (read: a teaspoon)
1 "soup spoon" of mustard (read: a tablespoon)
one part vinaigre du vin

1* MIX WELL (shake)

two parts oil (of your choice)
salt and pepper
herbes de province...
~ a common mix here that you can buy in the store. There are lots of different recipes on the internet if you feel up to trying

~ keeps well in the fridge, but you'll have to shake it every time you eat.

ENJOY on any variety of salad!

Tarte aux Pommes

I am working on the assumption here that presentation is not going to affect the taste. But anyway, I am sure I will get better at cutting the apples in pretty, arrange-able slices... BUT, find a cute 3 year old to hold it for you and I am sure everyone will think its a good tarte, anyway. And just for the record, they are definitely concentric, but those blotches on top are butter. At least it will taste good!

Ingredients:1 pie crust
lots of apples...
~5 if they are little organic ones, maybe only 2 if they are big pretty, chemical ones ;)
butter and sugar to garnish

1* Peel and slice apples into fairly thin pieces (maybe 1/4 an inch thick?) and arrange in concentric circles in the pie crust

2* Place some pieces of butter on top and sprinkle with sugar (preferably vanilla sugar!) if you like a caramelized taste

3* Bake at 225c for 25 minutes

Tarte de Rhubarbe

1 pie crust

2 rhubarbs, washed, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Whisk together for pie filling:
2 eggs
100 g cream (thick!)
50g flour
120 g sugar

Arrange rhubarb pieces in the raw crust, pour filling over top, bake at 225 C for 30 minutes.

Word to the wise: do not leave it in the oven for 2 hours while you go to masse on sunday morning. If you do so, you will not have a picture of the finished product, nor any clue about the taste of the recipe you are posting on your blog.

A Crust - Une Pâte Brisée

To begin this whirlwind of recipes: Crust. Moreover, the crust of Estelle (my french host mom, the amazing cook and bio queen of all time... ) from whom ALL of these recipes in the following avalanche come from!

There are 3 kinds of french crust; brisée, sablée, and feuilletée (in increasing difficulty, I do believe...)

This is the base! To follow in the next posts are tarte tatin, tarte aux pommes, tart de rubarb, Quiche Lorraine, târte au chocolate... and so you see, this recipe is very important!!

AU PIF "by nose" (meaning, learn it, and do it by sight/smell)

200g flour
30g sugar (unless you are making a salty recipe)
~50g butter

1* stir together the flour and sugar (I throw in some salt)
2* cut the cold butter into small cubes, about 1/2 inch and throw into the flour mix
3* use your very clean hands to "rub" in the butter
- this is like "cutting in butter" in american recipes, but get your hands dirty. It tastes better. Just keep rubbing together the butter and the flour until you cant see the butter at all. It will resemble sand!

4* add water, starting with just a few tablespoons and knead with your hands as you go. Add just enough water so that you can mush it all into one big ball

5* place on wax paper and roll out with a roller into the size of your pie pan, plus a little bigger for the sides. Estelle just leaves it on the waxpaper to cook because then you don't have to butter the pan etc.

6.1* bake according to your recipe if you are filling it for a quiche, pie, etc.

6.2** If you are cooking it by itself (so as to fill it with something that doesn't get cooked, like chocolate mousse) use a fork and pierce the bottom a number of times so that when it is in the oven it doesn't bubble up!
6.2.2** Bake at 200 C for 25 minutes

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Farouq’s Irish Kangaroo Stew

Ridiculous name. I know. But basically this is the "irish stew" Farouq made in London as a student, and he happened to have two steaks of kangaroo lying around when I visited him and Jordan in Vire, France a couple weeks ago. Here is Farouq, upside down:

3-4 potatoes
3 carrots
1/4 a cabbage
and/or a leek
1 onion
2 lamb steaks, cut into bite size chunks
(tranches gigot d’agneau)
2 kangaroo steaks, cut into bite size chunks
2 cubes of bouillon
herbs: Parsley, thyme, salt and pepper

secret ingredient: Worshteshire sauce

*Brown meat, put aside.

*Clean, peel, chop veggies into stew-sized pieces of your choice and sauté them in the same pan (= in the same juice!). Add back in meats, add herbs, wine, and bouillon dissolved in some water.

*Let it stew on a medium heat for... a while. maybe an hour?

NOTE: In terms of order or sautéing veggies, the good news is that stews and soups are extremely forgiving. Same goes for meat. Probably, you could just throw it all in some water on low heat and wait a few hours (see: crock pot)

BUT it is always more yummy to follow this basic pattern (im sure better cooks could improve this… suggestions welcome!):

Brown meat to seal in flavor
Sautee onions early and add garlic late – garlic burns much faster!
Starches like potatoes and carrots (okay, I guess they’re not starches, but you get my point) take longer to cook, so make sure to give them enough time.