Thursday, July 28, 2011

Peach Clafoutis

This is a traditional French (southwestern France) dessert and at the origin, "CLAFOUTIS" was made with cherries, but now it is also appreciated when other fruits are added to the recipe. We like to bake it with seasonal fruits such as peaches for a nice summer recipe but you can also choose other fruits as you like. 
Nowadays, modern "CLAFOUTIS" can contain different exotic spices and can even be served as a savoury dish with vegetables and meat.

- 5 Big yellow peaches
- 4 cups of water
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 TBs  corn starch (corn flour)
- 2 TBs  flour
- 3 TBs sugar
- 30g/1oz flaked almond (optional) 
- Icing sugar, for dusting

  • In a large saucepan, add water and sugar and the peaches, let cook on a simmer for 10 minutes, let the peaches cool down in the water.
  • Pre-Heat your oven at 350 F.
  • Peel the peaches, and cut them in 8 pieces or quarters.
  • In a pie or clafoutis mold, butter and flour the bottom, place the peaches.
  • Mix the eggs with the corn flour, the flour, the sugar, then add slowly the milk, like you do for the pancakes.
  • Pour on top of the peaches and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.
  • When it is cooked you can leave it outside to chill.
  • Serve it warm or cold, your choice...sprinkle with flaked almonds and dust with icing sugar.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Morning Market Class with Chef Constance

1st Class menu created and prepared from scratch by Chef Constance and her students.
All of the fresh ingredients bought at the market in the morning and brought back to the school in our faithful green shopping cart;) Back to the school everyone got to work on this delicious 4 course meal and had great fun while learning the secrets to fine french cooking.

Menu of the Day
Seared Shrimp with Piment d'Espelette and Orange & Fennel Salad
Veal filet mignon, Grandma’s sauce garnished with green beans and
Baby potatoes
Cheese board (5 varieties)
Raspberry Financier with coulis
Coffee, Tea
White Wine: Sancerre, Les Demoiselles
Red Wine: Cote du Rhône, Guigal
Dessert Wine: Banyuls


Here is the main course recipe:

Veal filet mignon, Grandma’s sauce


150g/ 5Oz Veal filet mignon (1 per person)
150g/ 5Oz lardons (pieces of pork)
6 very thin slices of smoked bacon
Baby potatoes 5 each
Chanterelle mushrooms 6 each
2 onions, 1 carrot
Garlic, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper
Bone of veal ( ask your butcher shop)
White wine, flour

1. First roast the bones in a deep frying pan. Make a nice coloration. Then chop the onion and add with the carrots. Add 1 clove of garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Add a tablespoon of flour. Deglaze with the white wine. Cover with water and let it cook slowly. 
2. In a frying pan roast the potatoes to have a nice brown coloration then cook them in a small saucepan cover with butter in very low heat. Add garlic thyme and bay leaves let it cook for 15 min.
3. Wash your mushrooms and sauté them with olive oil in order to take out the water. Keep the water and add it to your sauce.
4. Cut the pork in little pieces and sauté them
5. Cook the thin slices of bacon in the oven to make them crispy (150C°/ 65F°)
6. Prepare the veal with a string to make a nice round shape. Season it and sear them in a frying pan, finish cooking them in the oven.
7. When you are ready strain your sauce and reduce it, sauté the mushrooms a second time with butter and add parsley at the end.
8. Plate your meal; spread the sauce with mushrooms all over the plate, the potatoes and the lardons. Cut the veal mignon in 2 pieces and cover it with the crispy bacon.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Roasted Lamb Provençal

4 Lamb Porterhouse Steaks
2 large Tomatoes
1 onion
3 cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Niçoise Olives pitted
1 spicy Pepper (Bell for mild, Jalapeño for spicy)
1 bunch Basil
Olive oil
Salt, Pepper, Sugar


-       Take the tomatoes and make a small “X” on the bottom just piercing the skin. Then in boil enough water to cover the tomatoes. Drop them in the boiling water just for a few seconds, until the skin starts to blister.
-       Then plunge them in ice-cold water. Peel and dice the tomato with the seeds / juice and all.
-       Peel and small dice the garlic and onions. Dice the pepper. Pit the olives. In a saucepot, heat up 1/4 cup of olive oil and cook the onions gently on medium heat for about 15 mins, or until soft.
-       Then add the chopped tomatoes and bring just to the boil. Add the olives and keep to the side of the heat. In a large ovenproof pan, Roast the lamb steaks on both sides then add the tomato sauce to the pan and place whole pan in the oven. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the lamb is just warm in the center.
-       Serve with the basil at the last minute just ripped over the top.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Rum Baba

A delicious party dessert, the original form of the baba was similar to the babka, a tall cylindrical yeast cake (babka is still cooked in Poland and in Polish communities over the world). The name means 'old woman' or 'grandmother' in the Slavic languages; babka is a diminutive of baba. The modern "Baba au Rhum" (Rum Baba), with dried fruit and soaking in rum, was invented in Paris in 1835 or before.

63g/2.2oz butter, melted, cooled
7g/0.25oz dry yeast
30g/1oz cold water
250g/8.8oz flour (high gluten, at least 10.5% protein content)
4 large eggs
23g/0.8oz sugar
3g/0.1oz salt

1 vanilla bean
895g/32oz water
500g/18oz sugar
zest of 2 lemons+2 oranges

100g/3.5oz dark rhum
whipped cream if desired, or pastry cream

Dissolve yeast in cold water. In a stand-up mixer with paddle attachment place flour, sugar, salt and eggs. Mix 5 seconds to combine then add the water+yeast mixture and mix at medium high speed for 2 minutes.
Add cooled butter, keep mixing another 7 to 10 minutes.
Let rest, covered for 20 minutes, not more.
Pipe mixture in individual molds, ⅓ of the height of the mold.
Let rise, covered, in a warm spot until dough is about ¼ of an inch (6mm) from the top, then uncover and let rise to the top of the mold. The whole proofing can take up to 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven at 190C/375F and bake individual babas for about 15 minutes. A large savarin can take up to 40 minutes to bake. Unmold while still hot, place on a cooling rack for 30 minutes before soaking in syrup.

In a large pan add water, sugar, vanilla seeds and zests, bring to a boil then let cool for 30 minutes.

Place the babas on a cooling rack with a tray underneath and ladle the warm syrup on top or soak the babas for 3 minutes then let drain the excess syrup for 10 minutes. Ladle the dark rum and let drain the excess. Serve with whipped cream or with pastry cream and in the summer with slices of fresh fruit.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Salmon Beurre Blanc / Petit-pois purée / Tomato concassée with Chorizo

Step 1 - Petit-pois purée

500g / 17oz Petit-pois
1 clove of garlic
Salt and pepper

First prepare the petit-pois, bring to boil in a saucepan with a large spoon of salt. The salt will help the peas to stay green, add one clove of garlic. When they are cooked, soft, strain them and let them cool down in cold water. Mix into a purée and add a little stock, water, wine (!) or liquid cream. Then strain the purée in order to have a very soft texture. Keep it in a small saucepan to heat it up before serving.

Step 2 - Tomato concassée with Chorizo

3 large tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
Piece of chorizo
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

First bring to boil some water in a saucepan and plunge the tomatoes in order to take out the skin off. Cut them in 4 and scoop out the seeds, cut them in small cubes.  Cut the chorizo the same size In a sauce pan with olive oil cook the diced tomatoes until they become dry, add the garlic, the basil, salt, pepper, and then add the chorizo, in order just to heat it up but not to cook it. Serve it warm.

Step 3 -  Beurre Blanc

190g / 7 Oz butter 
1 shallot 
5 tablespoons of vinegar (any kind) 
Salt/ ground pepper 
2 spoons of cream
Dice the shallot as small as you can. In a saucepan put the shallot and the vinegar together with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let it cook slowly. Add the cream. When the shallots are cooked, add the butter little by little, while whisking at the same time. (Make sure your butter is kept cold before adding). This classical French sauce is very good with any kind of fish.

Step 4 - Seared Salmon

6 pieces or 150g/ 5oz fish 
Salt and ground pepper 
Olive oil

Take off the fish bones with a tweezers. Pre-heat a saucepan with a spoon of olive oil. Season the fish both sides. You can add lemon peel, ginger, and any flavors you like. Sear the fish skin side first until you can see on the edge a nice brown color. Finish to cook in the oven 350f (190°C) for 5 minutes depending how thin the flesh is.

SERVE all together with some fresh salad and some open clams.