Friday, June 12, 2009

Back from France, loved French food

Recipe of the day
Ah, Paris Paris toujours Paris!
I'm back from France where I enjoyed the places, the people and the French food for two weeks. Vive la France!
When you think of France you think of Tour Eiffel, but when you think of French food what are the first things that come to your mind? For me foie gras, champagne and the onion soup. The following recipe is one of the best and most famous versions of the onion soup you can ever taste.

A single word, gratinée, is sufficient to order French onion soup at the restaurant. This version is made with water and white wine and is light enough so as not to completely rule out a meaty main course to follow. You may substitute a beef or chicken stock if you want to make the soup a meal.
Preparation time: 10 Minutes + Cooking time: 1 hour
Makes 4 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1 quart water
1 cup dry white wine (such as Macon)
1 bouquet garni (thyme, parsley, bay leaf)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 baguette, sliced into thin rounds and toasted
1/2 pound Gruyere or Swiss cheese shredded

1. Preheat the oven to 325F.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onions, and cook, stirring, until golden color sets in, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the flour and stir with the onions for 3 minutes.

3. Add the water, white wine, and bouquet garni and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bouquet garni, add salt and pepper to taste, and then pour the soup into 4 oven-proof bowls.

4. Dunk the rounds of toast into each bowl of soup and sprinkle liberally with the shredded Gruyere.

5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then set under a hot broiler to brown the top.

Adapted from The Paris Cafe Cookbook : Rendezvous and Recipes from 50 Best Cafes

If you happen to visit Paris, Brasserie Balzac is in rue des Ecoles 49, you can take the Subway heading to Cluny-La Sorbonne. +33.(0) to reserve a table. Worth the visit!

Hungry for more?
Hungry for more? Don't be. There's plenty of French recipes on (link) including excellent recipes by Patricia Wells, Joël Robuchon, Julia Child. To complete your French cooking preparation we've selected some good cookbooks:

Classic French Cooking: Recipes for Mastering the French Kitchen

Written by the prize winning author Elisabeth Luard, Classic French Cooking is a product of a lifetime of learning. In this book she brings together the core recipes that are the building blocks for all French cooking. It guarantees the reader an easy entree into the world of regional French cooking and many hours of enjoyable creativity in the kitchen.

The Country Cooking of France

Renowned for her cooking school in France and her many best-selling cookbooks, Anne Willan combines years of hands-on experience with extensive research to create a brand new classic. More than 250 recipes range from the time-honored La Truffade, with its crispy potatoes and melted cheese, to the Languedoc specialty Cassoulet de Toulouse, a bean casserole of duck confit, sausage, and lamb. And the desserts! Cr pes au Caramel et Beurre Sal (cr pes with a luscious caramel filling) and Galette Landaise (a rustic apple tart) are magnifique. Sprinkled with intriguing historical tidbits and filled with more than 270 enchanting photos of food markets, villages, harbors, fields, and country kitchens, this cookbook is an irresistible celebration of French culinary culture.

My French Kitchen: A Book of 120 Treasured Recipes

In My French Kitchen bestselling author Joanne Harris, along with acclaimed food writer Fran Warde, shares her treasured collection of family recipes that has been passed down from generation to generation. All the classics are here: Quiche Lorraine, Moules Marinière, Coq au Vin, and Crème Brûlée, plus an entire chapter devoted to French chocolate, including cakes, meringues, and spiced hot chocolate.

Eric Kayser's New French Recipes

Inspired by the hearty and nutritious ingredients that he uses in his bakeries, Éric Kayser has created 50 new recipes that celebrate "superfood" ingredients such as whole grains (wheat, rye, oats), seeds (sesame, sunflower, poppy), dried fruit (prunes, raisins, figs), and nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts). Kayser includes both sweet and savory recipes that will dazzle your taste buds: try chestnut, apricot, and pistachio bread; mussels in a lime-and-beer sauce; or eggplant caviar drizzled with sesame oil—the options for delicious and balanced meals are endless! Kayser’s fresh approach to cooking offers nutritious, flavorful dishes that are simple and enjoyable to prepare, for experienced chefs and fledgling cooks alike. His recipes are a fresh and easy take on French cuisine today.

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The Jean Dubost Laguiole Steak Knives.

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Made in Viscomat, France by Jean Dubost, world-renowned cutlers since 1920, these are the Laguiole steak knives favored by prime steakhouses. Made in the 200 year-old tradition of the Laguiole knife, the cutlery has the sturdy stainless steel blade, solid steel bolster, and iconic "bee" engraved into the top bolster. French legend has it that Napoleon Bonaparte awarded his imperial seal--the bee--to the village of Laguiole for the valor of its soldiers. The blade is stamped, ground, and polished by a team of blacksmiths and cutlers during a 25-step process. The solid handle is made from olive wood, a tight-grained durable hardwood that, combined with the hand-sharpened, double-bevel edge blade, provides the necessary heft for quickly cutting through N.Y. strip steaks or double-cut pork chops. The knives have a 4 1/4" blade, measure 9" long overall, and come in a wooden storage box. 9" L x 1/2" W x 3/4" H. (2 3/4 oz.)

get them at Hammacher Schlemmer

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

A beautiful tropical cake to celebrate your mom!

Recipe of the day
Charlie Paladin/Wayne, executive chef at Justin Vineyards & Winery in Paso Robles, California, uses Hawaiian-grown and manufactured chocolate in this torte, and the winery's Obtuse port-style wine for the sauce.

Chocolate Macadamia Torte with Vanilla Port Sauce
MAKES: 10 to 12 servings
PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 hour, plus at least 4 hours to chill

3/4 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3 large egg yolks
Macadamia crust (recipe follows)
Vanilla port sauce (recipe follows)

1. In the top of a double boiler, combine chocolate, cinnamon, and 3/4 cup cream. Stir over simmering water just until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add egg yolks and whisk over simmering water until mixture reaches 140[degrees]. Adjust heat to keep mixture between 140[degrees] and 150[degrees], and continue to whisk for 3 minutes. Nest pan in ice water and stir often until mixture is cool, about 15 minutes.

2. In a deep bowl with a mixer at high speed, whip remaining cream until it holds distinct peaks. Gently fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture, then pour into cool macadamia crust. Cover airtight (don't let cover touch filling) and chill at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

3. Remove cheesecake pan rim, cut torte into wedges, and accompany with vanilla port sauce to taste.

Per serving without sauce: 407 cal., 69% (279 cal.) from fat; 4.3 g protein; 31 at (15 g sat.); 33 g carbo (1.9 g fiber); 59 mg sodium; 97 mg chol.

Macadamia Crust
MAKES: 1 crust; 10 to 12 servings
PREP AND COOK TIME: About 25 minutes, plus 45 minutes to cool

1 cup unsalted roasted macadamias (see notes)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine, cut into chunks

1. In a food processor, whirl macadamias until finely chopped. Pour into a bowl. In food processor, whirl flour, sugar, and butter until fine crumbs form. Add macadamias and whirl just until dough sticks together. (Or mince nuts with a sharp knife and put in a bowl with flour, sugar, and butter; rub with your fingers until mixture sticks together, then pat into a ball.)

2. Press mixture evenly over bottom and about 1 1/4 inches up sides of a 9-inch cheesecake pan with a removable rim.

3. Bake crust in a 350[degrees] oven until golden brown, 12 to 18 minutes. Set on a rack and cool at least 30 minutes.

NOTES: To remove salt from salted macadamias, pour nuts onto a towel; enclose and rub, then lift nuts from towel. If making crust up to 1 day ahead, wrap airtight and store at room temperature.

Per serving: 168 cal., 64% (108 cal.) from fat; 1.8 g protein; 12 g fat (3.7 g sat.); 14 g carbo (0.2 g fiber); 44 mg sodium; 11 mg chol.

Vanilla Port Sauce
MAKES: 1 cup
PREP AND COOK TIME: About 15 minutes, plus 15 minutes to cool

1 1/2 cups port
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean (about 7 in.)


1. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, combine port and sugar. With a small, sharp knife, slit vanilla bean open lengthwise. Scrape seeds from pod; add seeds and pod to the port mixture.

2. Boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Let sauce cool at least 15 minutes; discard vanilla pod. Serve warm, cool, or chilled.

NOTES: If making up to 2 days ahead, cover and chill; sauce thickens when it's cool.

Per tablespoon: 59 cal., 0% (0 cal.) from fat; 0 g protein; 0 g fat; 15 g carbo (0 g fiber); 2.1 1 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
Sunset March, 2000 by Andrew Baker
COPYRIGHT 2000 Sunset Publishing Corp.

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until next time...

  We'll miss you!
  Visit us at for more than 3,000 recipes.
  And share your favorite cake recipe with us:
  write to recipereq[AT]

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Meaty Empanadas

Recipe of the day
Serving appetizers with a Southwest flair is a hit at any gathering.

Makes 12 appetizer servings
PREP: 30 MIN., COOK: 35 MIN., CHILL: 1 HR.

¾ pound ground beef
¼ pound sweet Italian sausage
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 ½ cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 ½ tablespoons Cajun seasoning
½ cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 (7.5-ounce) cans refrigerated biscuits
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil
Toppings: salsa and sour cream

COOK ground beef and sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until mixture crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain and set aside, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet.

SAUTÉ onion in hot drippings 5 minutes or until tender. Add mushrooms; sauté 2 minutes.

RETURN beef mixture to skillet; stir in tomato sauce and Cajun seasoning. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Cool completely. Stir in cheese. Cover and chill thoroughly.

ROLL biscuits into 4-inch circles on a lightly floured surface. Spoon 1 tablespoon beef mixture in center of each circle; brush edges with egg. Fold edges over, pressing with a fork to seal. Place on baking sheets, and cover with a damp cloth. Chill up to 2 hours, if desired.

POUR oil to a depth of ½ inch into a Dutch oven. Fry empanadas in hot oil, in batches, 30 seconds on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels; serve with desired toppings.
source: Southern Living Magazine, May 2005
Copyright Southern Progress Corporation May 2005

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until next time...

  We'll miss you!
  Visit us at for more than 3,000 recipes.
  And share your favorite Cinco de Mayo recipe with us:
  write to recipereq[AT]

Friday, May 1, 2009

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with this flavorful starter

Recipe of the day

Makes: 6 servings

4 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
½ red onion, sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño, seeded
2 garlic cloves
1 dashsh lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
½ spoon salt (optional)
¼ spoon chill powder
¼ spoon pepper
6 cups water
30 unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
1 large avocado, diced
Garnish: lime slices
Lime-flavored tortilla chips

PROCESS first 10 ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Cover and chill sauce up to 1 week.

BRING 6 cups water to a boil; add shrimp, and cook 2 to 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Drain and rinse with cold water. Chill up to 24 hours, if desired.

PEEL shrimp, leaving tails on; devein, if desired.

STIR avocado into sauce; spoon sauce evenly into 6 chilled martini glasses or small bowls. Arrange 5 shrimp around edge of each glass; garnish, if desired. Serve with lime-flavored tortilla chips.
source: Southern Living magazine, May 2005
Copyright Southern Progress Corporation May 2005

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Large shrimp (31-40 shrimp per pound)
Cocktail Sauce

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until next time...

  We'll miss you!
  Visit us at for more than 3,000 recipes.
  And share your favorite Cinco de Mayo recipe with us:
  write to recipereq[AT]