An Ice Cream Dessert for Fall

11 11 2011

photo by Nick

Treacle toffee ice cream, spiced hot toddy poached pear, speculoos.

The ice cream comes from Beyond Nose to Tail, and I’ve been wanting to make it since getting the book two and a half years ago.  The pear, poached in what basically amounted to a hot toddy (in part because I ran out of sugar – here’s to happy accidents) with whole cinnamon, allspice, clove, black pepper, and star anise, makes a marvelous accompaniment.  And who doesn’t love a crisp speculoos cookie?

On this day in 2010: Céleri Remoulade (a narrative recipe)





Big Beans and Bitter Greens

4 11 2010

It was a while ago, at some salon or other, that Nick and I first made the acquaintance of the haricot de Soissons.  They immediately earned themselves a nickname: the Big Beans.

haricots de Soissons

I think you can see why.  The beans are grown in the Aisne valley (a name you may recognize from this beer post), located northwest of Reims and Northeast of Paris.  It’s in the Picardie region, which isn’t necessarily known for its food, but these beans are notable for more than just their size – they’re also creamy-textured and incredibly flavorful.

So why am I writing about them now?  Well, a few weeks ago I got some escarole in my CSA bag.  The same week, Andrea from Cooking Books featured a recipe for a delightful fall stew with beans, greens, and sausage.  She didn’t use it, but the original recipe called for escarole, and I had some!  I figured it would be a good time to use the Big Beans, so I soaked them for a day and a half in salted water.  All of you who are gasping in horror at the thought of adding salt to beans before they’re cooked should really go read this post at Nose to Tail at Home.  (Thanks for the tip, Ryan!)  Then I simmered them in more salted water until they were tender, about 45 minutes or so.

And then, I was ready to make stew.  I didn’t have Italian sausage, and wouldn’t even know where to look for it in Paris, but I did have some ground pork.  Which I cooked, seasoning it as though it were going to be sausage with red pepper flakes, fresh thyme and rosemary, and of course, plenty of salt.  (If I’d had fennel seeds I totally would have used them, but it happens to be a gap in my otherwise fairly comprehensive spice collection.)  From there, I just made stew: I added some onions, some broth, tomatoes, and the Big Beans.  I let it all simmer for a bit while I cleaned and tore up some escarole, and then I stirred that in until it wilted.

beans & greens

We ate it for lunch on a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon, and it was just the ticket.  Filling and warming and nap-inspiring.  We had quite a bit left over, which Nick took to work and ate for lunch a few more times during the week.  If that’s not a compliment to the chef, I don’t know what is.

Yesterday, in 2009: How to Make a Cream Soup (It may be cheating a little from the “This day in history” standpoint, but I think it’s an important post, so I’m putting it up anyway.)

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





Luxury Leftovers

11 10 2010

Apéritif

Chicken Liver and Sage Crostini

Savory Pumpkin Tartlets

Royal Marquissac Saumur Brut

Soupe

Velouté de Cèpes

Mustard Twists and Rosemary Crème Fraîche

Domaine Prieur-Brunet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot 2007

Plat

Pork Roast with Prunes and Hidden Bacon

Smoky Herbed Bread Pudding

Tangy Braised Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts

Spiced Persimmon Sauce

Vaucher Père & Fils Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits 2008

Fromage

Bleu des Causses with Fresh Figs

Château Les Rochers Sauternes Voigny 2008

Dessert

Vanilla-Gewurtztraminer Poached Pears

Caramel-Praliné Ice Cream

Warm Chocolate Sauce and Praliné Crumbles

Eau de Vie Poire Williams

 

I adore planning menus.  I had a lot of fun with this one, and was almost relieved when I didn’t advance in Project Food Blog, because it meant that I could really enjoy the meal I had created.  Of course, I had planned to do lots of it ahead of time, but in the end it all got done the day of the party, except for the pears and ice cream, which I had the foresight to make earlier in the week.  Believe it or not, I didn’t even know what the meat was going to be until I went out to the butcher on Saturday and scoped out what he had that would go with the sides I had planned.  (I’m also the sort of person who starts her outfit with the accessories I want to wear.)

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Gâteau Tatin

7 10 2009

Apple season is rapidly approaching full swing, and for the time being, I’m full of apple ideas.  (Give it a few months.)  One of my very favorite things to do with apples is carameleize them à la tarte Tatin.

Apples like to spoon.

Which I did, Saturday morning.  However, I just couldn’t get excited about making the puff pastry for a tarte Tatin.  Also, I only had four small apples, which wasn’t going to be nearly enough.  What I wanted was a poundcake, but lighter, maybe made with some yogurt.  So I tweaked the Ratio, a lot.  As in, changed the leavener, removed some butter, added some brown sugar and bourbon, and of course the yogurt is not a traditional poundcake ingredient.

Awaiting the cake batter

And it worked!  Astoundingly well.  We ate it for an afternoon snack and a few subsequent breakfasts, but it would be an excellent dessert, served warm with some crème fraîche or Greek yogurt alongside.

Like tarte Tatin, but cake!

Apple Cake, Tatin-Style

For those fall days when you’re craving tarte tatin, but puff pastry or even pie dough seems like too much work, a quick brown sugar pound cake makes the perfect base for buttery, caramelized apples.  (Which are also excellent on their own, or over ice cream.) A hit of bourbon feels right.

For the Tatin apples:
4 apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ cup / 50 g sugar
Splash of bourbon (optional)

  1. Melt the butter in a medium nonstick skillet.  Add the sugar and cook until the sugar starts to melt.  Place the apple quarters in the sauce and cook over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until evenly caramelized.  Pour a little bourbon (if using) over the apples and cook a few more minutes to evaporate.  Remove from heat.

For the cake:
4 oz. / 115 g unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. / 115 g sugar
3 oz. / 85 g brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. bourbon
8 oz. / 225 g all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
4½ oz. / 125 g plain yogurt
Tatin apples (see above)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C.  Butter an 8”x8” / 20×20 cm (or approximate equivalent) baking dish.  Combine the flour and baking soda in a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, cream the butter, sugars, and salt until fluffy.  (You can use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment or your arm with a wooden spoon attachment.)  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla and bourbon.  Gently stir in half of the flour – I recommend doing this part by hand – then the yogurt, then the rest of the flour.
  3. Arrange the apples in the bottom of the baking dish, being sure to pour any excess caramel sauce over them.  Pour the cake batter over the apples and even out the top.
  4. Bake until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes, rotating the dish halfway through baking.  Remove from oven and cool 10-15 minutes.  Loosen the sides of the cake with a small knife and turn it out onto a plate.  Serve warm or at room temperature, for dessert, breakfast, or a snack.  Cover leftover cake with foil – it will keep 3-4 days on the counter.

Serves about 8.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





Rentrée Blues

1 09 2009

Once again, it’s official.  La rentrée is upon us once more, and my days as la cheffe are up.  Having lost the responsibility is worse than never having had it, because now I have a better idea of how I would run things, and I find myself getting annoyed when le chef doesn’t do them that way.  But it’s not just in the kitchen.  All over Paris, people seem a bit down – it’s always hard going back to the routine after whiling away the long summer days on vacation.  Trust me, I know.  My rentrée was at the beginning of July.

Foodwise, the end of summer always heralded blueberries for me, growing up in the Pacific Northwest where berry season comes pretty late.  So when I saw piles of blueberries at the market a couple of weeks ago, I had to buy some.  And following a disaster (well, ok, not disaster, but less-than-satisfactory outcome) involving Ruhlman’s muffin ratio, I wanted to give him a chance to redeem himself.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Hopie tagged mewith this surprisingly addictive game: find seven blue objects in your house (although I see no reason not to expand the field of view) and do a little show-and-tell.  Like Hope, I decided to focus on my kitchen, seeing as this is a food blog, but now that my eye is trained to scan for blue things, I can’t stop!  Everywhere I go, I’m looking for seven blue items!  Hopefully posting this will purge that impulse.

The very first thing that comes to mind when I ask myself, “what’s blue in my kitchen?” is my beloved Emile Henry ceramicware.

I am inordinately pleased that my dishes match.

From soufflé-type desserts, to custards, to portioning out peanuts for snacking, the ramekins certainly get a workout.  As does the oval gratin dish, especially in the colder months, with treats like tartiflette, ham-wrapped endives, stuffed cabbage, and even the occasional gratin benefiting from the large exposed surface to get browned and crisp.  Quiches, tarts, and sometimes casseroles keep the fluted round dish busy.

A peek into the fridge revealed this:

Yay for homemade dressing!  And reusing containers!

Homemade bleu cheese dressing, made with the end of a wedge of bleu d’Auvergne, a pot of yogurt, and some chopped green onions.

You can see from that last photo that I reused/repurposed the crème fraîche container.  Yes, I am a card-carrying tree-hugger, as evidenced by the next couple of blue things:

Why is the GREENpeace brochure blue? 

Time to take out the trash... er, recycling.

A brochure from Greenpeace about harmful fishing practices (honestly, though, I think a brochure about which fish I CAN eat is more useful than one outlining the ones I shouldn’t eat); and my (rather full, but since emptied) recycling bins.

Are we having fun yet?  There is still the matter of that muffin recipe…

Read the rest of this entry »





Energy Food Challenge

20 11 2008

Hopie, a fellow American-in-Paris-food-blogger, is hosting an event in an effort to support her mom, who is training for a 109-mile bike ride.  But this isn’t any ordinary bike ride, it’s also a fundraiser for research on blood cancers.  So Hopie has asked the food blogging community to help out by offering up their best energy food recipes.

Energy Food Challenge

I immediately thought of granola, high in energy and fiber, and low in fat (at least the way I make it).  I could have gone the lazy route and reposted this old recipe, but that didn’t really seem to be in the spirit of the event (the laziness, I mean, not the recipe).  Plus, I thought a seasonally appropriate update was in order.  Be warned, however, once you get hooked on homemade granola, you may never go back to the pre-packaged stuff!  Without further ado, here is my dream recipe for Fall granola – most of the ingredients are horrendously expensive here in France, so eat it up, Americans!

Cranberry-Pecan Granola

A great snack or breakfast for fall, you could even use this to top an apple or pear crisp!

500 g/ 1 lb. rolled oats
150 g/ 5 oz. pecan pieces
100 g/ 3½ oz. pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)(optional)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg (about ½ pod – if all you have is dried nutmeg, leave it out)

300 ml/ 10 oz. apple juice concentrate

200 g/ 7 oz. dried cranberries
60 ml/ 4½ Tbsp. maple syrup (the real stuff, no corn syrup allowed!)

1. Preheat oven to 175 C/ 350 F.
2. Combine the oats, pecans, pepitas, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Drizzle the apple juice concentrate over the oat mixture and toss gently to evenly moisten the oats.
3. Spread the granola mixture on a sheet pan and place in the oven. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes or so until the oats are uniformly toasted to a nice terra cotta shade. This should take 45 minutes to an hour, depending on your oven.
4. During the last 5-10 minutes of toasting, heat up the maple syrup in the microwave. 20-30 seconds will suffice; you just want it to be fluid and easily pourable.
5. Carefully transfer the hot granola to a large bowl and toss with the dried cranberries. Drizzle the warm syrup over the granola and toss gently to coat.
6. Spread the granola back out on the sheet pan to cool. Once cooled, it will keep in an airtight container up to 6 weeks.

Makes approximately 1 kg/ 2 lbs.  (Enough to fuel many, many bike rides.)

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





Duck Dinner, Revisited

7 11 2008

Now that the weather has turned decisively cold, I find myself craving duck again.  Since I was so pleased with the results of my Winter Duck Dinner, and because Nick was so excited to see Brussels sprouts reappear at the market, I thought I’d do a rehash for Autumn.

Yet another photo of caramelized onions

On the same market trip, I found a guy selling baskets of red onions for a euro a pop.  For some reason, red onions are normally about three times the price of their less-stunningly colored relatives, so I jumped on the deal.  Once the onions have been caramelized, I’m not sure if there’s that much of a flavor difference between varieties, but Iove the color of deeply caramelized red onions.

Come here, you tasty little cabbages!

As before, the Brussels sprouts were seared over high heat in duck fat and combined with caramelized onions.  I added the last of the fresh sage, mainly just to use it up, but it turned out to complement the sprouts beautifully.  I’ve decided this recipe is too good to keep to myself, so look for it after the photo.

Rounded out with an apricot-based pan sauce and a pile of roasted potatoes and carrots, the Fall take on the Duck Dinner was every bit as fulfilling as the Winter version.

Fall Duck Dinner - photo by Nick

Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions

 

Even if you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts, give this recipe a try.  Allowing them to brown a bit deepens their flavor, which is enhanced by sweet-and-savory caramelized onions.  Sage brings autumnal warmth to the dish and embellishes the earthiness of the sprouts, but the dish is equally good without it.  You could serve this with duck or game, and it may even be a surprise hit on the holiday dinner table.

 

2 Tbsp. butter

3 small red onions, thinly sliced (White or yellow onions will also work.)

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp. sherry vinegar

2 Tbsp. duck fat (Bacon fat would be good, too.  Olive oil is acceptable in a pinch.)

500 g/1 lb. Brussels sprouts

2 Tbsp. fresh sage, thinly sliced (optional)

 

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deeply caramelized, about an hour or so.  Deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar and scrape the onions out into a bowl.  Set aside.  (This can be done ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.)
  2. While the onions are cooking, trim the root ends from the Brussels sprouts and chop them (the sprouts, not the ends) into small pieces.
  3. Wipe out the pan and add the duck fat.  Heat over high heat and throw in the chopped Brussels sprouts.  Let them sit still a few minutes to brown, then season with salt and pepper and stir.  Allow a few more minutes of browning time, add the caramelized onions and sage (if you’re using it) and toss to combine.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until heated through.  Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

 Serves 4.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.








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