Recipes from 2008
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December 2008 - No recipe - Happy Hollidays!

Dinde aux marrons (November 2008)

This is just the recipe for the stuffing, which you can prepare on Thanksgiving eve. For how to cook the bird, you’re on your own, as it will depend on what kind of turkey you bought and how big.

You can make your life easier by buying canned unsweetened chestnuts. If you like to start from scratch, cut a small slit in the flat side of each chestnut with a sharp knife. Place them in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Take the chestnuts out three at a time (don’t drain off the water) and peel off the shell and inner skin while they’re still warm. If the skin doesn’t come off easily, put them back briefly into boiling water and try again.

  • 2 lbs fresh chestnuts, or 4 c canned (drained)
  • chicken stock
  • ½ c onions, finely chopped
  • 2 T butter
  • ½ c cognac
  • 2 lbs sausage meat
  • the turkey liver (optional)
  • ½ T poultry seasoning
  • 1 t salt
  • ¼ t pepper

- Cover the peeled chestnuts in chicken stock and cook until barely soft (about ½ hr). Drain and chop fine. Place in a big mixing bowl.
- Melt the butter in a pan, add in the chopped onions and cook until they’re tender but not brown (about 10 min). Add them to the chestnuts. Pour the cognac in the pan to deglaze it
and simmer until it reduces by half. Then add to the bowl.
- Crumble the sausage meat and brown it (along with the chopped turkey liver if you’re
using it). When browned, drain off the fat and add the sausage meat to the bowl.
- Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Stuff the bird, but not too tightly as it will expand at bit as the bird roasts. Truss the turkey
and roast.

Chestnuts can also be pureed as a side dish for venison or pork, or  cooked with brussel sprouts, mushrooms or onions.

Cailles rôties aux raisins blancs (October 2008)

  • 4 quail
  • 1 large bunch of green grapes
  • 4 grape leaves
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • salt and pepper
  • butter for the dish

- Preheat the oven to 410°F (210°C).
- Peel the grapes and remove the seeds, if you’re not using seedless grapes.
- Salt and pepper the inside of each quail. Stuff them with grapes cut lengthwise. Wrap each quail in a grape leaf and two slices of bacon. Tie with cooking string.
- Place the quail in a buttered ovenproof dish. Scatter the rest of the grapes around the quail and put in the oven for about 15 min.
- Turn the quail over halfway through. As soon as they’re done, take them out of the oven.
- Arrange the quail on a serving dish, surrounded by the grapes. Pour the cooking juices over the top and serve immediately.

Preparation: 15 min

Cooking: 15 min

Grape leaves not only add more flavor and look spectacular, but they keep the quail moist. You can usually find them at a Greek or Middle Eastern grocer. But if you can’t find grape leaves, just use the bacon.

Pommes en chemise (September 2008)

  • 4 tart apples
  • pie crust
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • butter
  • sugar
  • cinnamon

- Core the apples, but try not to break through the bottom end. Then peel them.
- Place an apple in the center of a thin pie crust. (You can either make the pie crust yourself or buy it at the store, if you’re in a hurry.)
- Slip a dab of butter (about 1 tsp) in the hole of the apple, then fill with sugar.
- Fold the crust up and around the apple. Pinch closed at the top, forming a kind of topknot.
- Brush the crust with the beaten egg yolk, then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
- Place on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish and bake in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve warm (whipped cream optional).

Serves 4
Preparation time: 15-20 min
Cooking time: 20 min

Suggestion: Instead of sugar, put a little of your favorite jam in the hole of the apple. Raspberry goes perfectly with apple. Apricot is good, too.

Piperade (August 2008)

  • 6 poblano or Cubanelle peppers (to replace 12 piments d’Espelette)
  • 8 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 2 onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 branch of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 strong piment d’Espelette or ½ t powdered piment d’Espelette
  • 1-2 T sugar
  • 2 T olive oil

- Peel and mince the onions. Remove the seeds from the peppers. Slice up the onions and peppers.
- Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and sweat the onions until they start to color. Then add all the peppers. Stir well and cover.
- While they cook, peel the tomatoes, remove the seeds and cut the tomatoes into small pieces.
- When the peppers and onions are tender, add the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Season with the sugar, salt and piment d’Espelette. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
- Beat the eggs well and stir them into the piperade. Simmer for another five minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon until they’re the consistency of soft scrambled eggs.
- Serve over slices of Bayonne ham sauteed in just a hint of olive oil.

Serves 8.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

TIP: A real piperade is made with products from the Basque country - piment d’Espelette and jambon de Bayonne - that are hard to find outside of the region. But the piment can be replaced by other types of mildly-hot peppers, such as a poblano or Cubanelle. The ground piment d’Espelette can be replaced by a hot paprika or cayenne pepper. And any kind of air-dried ham can be used, such as prosciuto or even serrano.

Tomates farcies au chèvre (July 2008)

  • 6 tomatoes of the same size
  • 9 oz (250 g) of soft goat’s cheese
  • 4.5 oz (125 g) of tapenade (black olive purée)
  • 1 t of paprika
  • 6 basil leaves
  • butter to grease the dish
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper

- Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
- Cut the top off each tomato and put it aside. Using a spoon, gently remove the tomato seeds.
- Salt the inside of each tomato and turn them over while you make the stuffing.
- Mince the basil. Break up the goat cheese with a fork. Blend in the basil and paprika. Add salt and pepper and mix.
- Put a large tablespoon of tapenade in the bottom of each tomato, then fill the rest up with the cheese-herb mix.
- Butter an ovenproof dish and arrange the stuffed tomatoes in it. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and put the dish in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Put the caps back on the tomatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Serve hot.

You can add some minced shallot or garlic into the cheese, or a bit or fresh thyme or even some sun-dried tomatoes cut into small cubes.

Serve with thick slices of toasted pain de campagne or French bread.

Serves 6

Preparation: 10 min

Cooking: 10 min

TIP: If you can’t find tapenade, or it’s just too expensive, you can easily make your own. If you have a blender or food processor, it literally takes just a minute or two. Simply chop up a clove of garlic (removing any green center) and bung it into a blender or food processor along with 7 oz (200 g) of black olives, 1 T of capers, 5 or 6 anchovies and 3 T or so of olive oil. Blend until smooth. Tapenade on toast with a slice of ripe tomato also makes a great summer appetizer.

Soupe de fraises au vin (June 2008)

  • 1 lb ripe strawberries
  • ½ bottle light red wine
  • ½ c sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • freshly-ground pepper

- Wash the strawberries, then remove the stems. (Never remove them before washing or water will get inside and ruin the taste.)
- Cut them lengthwise into quarters.
- Place the strawberries in a bowl, sprinkle them with the sugar, squeeze the lemon over the top and pour in the wine. Stir gently.
- Put the bowl in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
- Give a twist or two of pepper over the top just before serving.

Don’t make this dessert too far in advance or else the strawberries will get soft in the wine. Other variations to the pepper are to add just a very few drops of balsamic vinegar or a sprinkle of cinnamon before serving.

Serves 4.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Veau aux légumes de printemps (May 2008)

  • 2½ lb veal roast
  • ½ lb new carrots
  • ½ lb fresh (or frozen) peas
  • 8 new turnips (if larger, cut up)
  • 1/4 lb green beans
  • 1/4 lb pearl (or green) onions
  • 2 T corn starch
  • 2 T tomato paste (or 4 small tomatoes)
  • 1 t dried thyme (or one fresh sprig)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • ½ lemon
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper

- Melt the butter and olive oil in a large heavy saucepan, casserole or Dutch oven. 
- Sprinkle both sides of the veal roast with salt and ground pepper.
- When the butter has stopped foaming but before it starts to turn dark, put in the roast and braise it over medium high heat until it’s golden on all sides.
- Sprinkle the corn starch over the roast and mix well.
- Dilute the tomato paste in the white wine a bit, then pour over the roast and mix well.  If you use tomatoes instead (preferably skinned), add them after the wine.
- Add the thyme and bay leaf.
- Cover, lower the heat and let simmer until done (about ½ hr, or 10 min per pound).
- Vegetables:  As each vegetable cooks at a different rate, put the firmer ones in first:  the carrots after 5 minutes, the turnips after 10 minutes, then the onions and green beans after 15 minutes and last the peas after 20 minutes.
- Prick the meat and if the juices run clear, it’s done.  Take the veal out of the pot, sprinkle with freshly-ground pepper and let it rest for about 5 minutes before cutting.
- Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and cover to keep warm.
- While the meat is resting, deglaze the pan with the juices, adding some chicken bouillon if necessary, and reduce for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the juice of half a lemon.
- Remove the bay leaf and thyme and pour the gravy into a gravy boat.
- Either serve the roast whole surrounded by the vegetables or slice the veal and arrange it on the serving plate, with the vegetables and gravy both served separately.

Can be accompanied by steamed or boiled new potatoes, cooked separately.
Serves 6

TIP:  If you can’t get fresh baby vegetables, you can use regular ones cut into pieces and the cooking time should stay the same. You can even use frozen vegetables, but if you do, take the quantity you need out of the freezer early (so they don’t slow down the cooking process by lowering the temperature too much) and cook for the time indicated on each package so they’re not overcooked.

This recipe is guaranteed to be a sensation with guests. It may seem intricate, but it really isn’t.  You can prep all your vegetables beforehand, or while the roast is braising, then just sit nearby with a good book once it’s cooking. But keep an eye on the clock so you remember when to add in each of the vegetables.

Carottes l’orange (April 2008)

  • 1 lb fresh, firm carrots
  • juice of 3 oranges (3/4 c)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt & freshly-ground pepper

- Squeeze the juice from the oranges and set it aside.
- Wash and peel the carrots. Slice them crosswise into round pieces about 1/4 inch thick.
- Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan.  Add in the carrots, immediately followed by the orange juice. Stir, cover and lower the heat.
- Let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the liquid in the carrots starts to run dry, add a few drops of water. If it is too watery, thicken with a bit of cornstarch dissolved in water.
- For extra added flourish, decorate with some cut-up orange sections on the top just before serving.

Perfect with roast veal or pot roast.

Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 20 min

Serves 4

Chou farci (March 2008, March 2016))

  • 1 large head of curly green cabbage
  • 3 slices of dried white bread
  • 1 lb ground lean pork
  • 1/4 lb ground chuck or veal
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3/4 t ground marjoram
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 T chopped parsley
  • 2-3 slices bacon or thinly sliced salt pork, diced
  • 1½ t salt
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 1 c veal or beef stock.
  • 1½ T flour
  • 1½ T butter
  • 2 T tomato paste

- Remove any outer cabbage leaves that are discolored or hard.
- Wash the head of cabbage and cut out enough of its center to make a cavity large enough for the stuffing.
- Put the cabbage in a large pot and cover it with boiling water. Add 1 t of salt for each quart of water. Bring the water back to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for 5 minutes. Remove the cabbage from the water and turn it upside down to drain.
- Crumble the dried bread and mix it in with all the meats plus the onion, egg, pepper and herbs. Add about 1½ t of salt and mix well.
- Check that the cabbage has drained well. Spoon the stuffing mixture into the cavity, and if the outermost leaves are loose enough, slip a bit between them. Tie up the package tightly with cooking string.
- Place the cabbage in a Dutch oven or large heavy pot and pour in 1 c of stock. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 45 minutes. Add stock as needed.
- Blend the flour with the butter to form a roux and add it to the stock. Then add the tomato paste. If the liquid is too thick, add more stock, bit by bit. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the cabbage, take off the string and serve whole or cut up.
- Serve up the sauce separately to be spooned over the cabbage as desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Preparation time: 30 min

Cooking time: 50 min

You can use the cabbage you cut out to make another dish. This was poor man’s cuisine from the Auvergne region, where nothing went to waste. Plus the stock can be used as a base for a vegetable soup.

If you want a red wine from the region to accompany this dish, try a St. Pourçain, a blend of gamay and pinot noir.

Accras de morue (February 2008, April 2016)

  • 200 g (7 oz)
  • salt cod
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 scallions (or the equivalent in chives)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small fresh red chili pepper, seeds and stem removed
  • 2 stalks of parsley, minced
  • 300 g flour
  • 1 small packet of dry yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ t of baking soda
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying (peanut, corn, safflower . . .)

- Soak the cod overnight, changing the water twice.
- Shred the cod into very small pieces, removing any bones and skin.
- Mince the onion, scallions, and garlic, as well as the parsley.
- Remove the stem and seeds from the chili pepper and mince it. (You could use 1-2 tsp of
chili paste instead.).
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the cod, onion, garlic and scallions.
- Add the chili pepper and parsley.
- Mix in the yeast, baking soda and egg. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Gradually add water until the batter has the consistency of a thick pancake batter (about
1½ c) and mix until smooth.
- Cover and let the batter rest for a few hours.
- Carefully slip teaspoons of batter into very hot oil and cook until the accras are golden.
- Drain on paper towels.
- Serve hot. For 6-8 servings.

You can make the accras ahead of time, and then reheat them in the oven (450° for 5 min),
but I think they taste better - and especially crisper - if you eat them right away.

Brioche des Rois (January 2008, 2016)

 from Chef Patrick Mesiano

  • 3 T candied fruit, cut small
  • 1/4 c currants
  • 1/4 c pine nuts, toasted
  • zest of 1 small lemon, finely minced
  • 1 T dark rum
  • 1 T orange blossom water
  • 8.8 oz or 1 3/4 c (250 g) flour
  • 10 g yeast (1½ packet of dry yeast)
  • 3 T granulated sugar
  • 5 T butter, cut up & softened
  • 4 eggs
  • salt

The night before baking, toast the pine nuts for a few minutes in the oven or in a heavy skillet (without any oil).
Wash the lemon and remove the zest with a zester or a peeler, being careful not to cut deeply, as the white skin underneath will give a bitter taste. Mince the zest finely.
In a bowl, mix the pine nuts and zest with the candied fruit and currants.
Add the dark rum and orange blossom water. Stir.
Cover with saran wrap and leave in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 30 min).

For the brioche:

Using an electric mixer with a flat beater (dough hook), mix together the sifted flour, a pinch of salt, the sugar, yeast and 3 eggs. If using cake yeast, crumble it and be careful that the yeast doesn’t remain in contact with the sugar before it’s mixed in or else the dough will be "burned".
Mix at low speed until the dough comes away from the bowl (about 10 min). If you mix at too high a speed, the ingredients will emulsify.
Cut the softened butter into small pieces and add in, kneading for another 10 min at low speed, until the dough again comes away from the bowl.
Then add the candied fruit with its juice and mix for about 30 seconds.
Take the dough out of the mixer and put it in a bowl. Cover and let rise for 30 min. It should double in volume.
Sprinkle some flour on your hands so the dough won’t stick when handling. Gently fold the dough over several times, tucking the sides under to get rid of any air. It should return to about the same size that it was before.
Cover again and leave in the refrigerator for ½ hr until it’s firm enough to shape.
Sprinkle flour over a working surface and roll the dough into a "log" about the diameter of a rolling pin..
Cut the log in half, then each half in three, to make 6 equal pieces.
Roll each piece into a ball.
Flatten each ball slightly, then place one by one in a buttered round mold to form a crown.
Cover and let rise for 1½ hr at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (a convection oven is best).
Beat an egg, add a pinch of salt, beat again, then use a brush to coat the top of the brioche so it will turn golden.
Cook for 30-35 min.
Let stand for 5 min, then unmold.
Slip the fève into the brioche from the bottom so no one will see where it is.

Optional: Ice with apricot preserves and decorate with pieces of candied fruit.

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