Friday, September 30, 2011

Cod in Papillote

Cooking in parchment paper, en papillote in French or al Cartoccio in Italian is a method in which you seal the food in a pouch and bake. The food essentially steams in the oven in its own juices.

Serves 6


6, 4 ounce (115 grams) pieces of Cod (De-Boned and skinned)
4 Carrots
2 Onions
6 Cloves Garlic
1 Leek
1 Fennel Bulb
4 Branches of Celery
1 bunch each Thyme, Dill, Bay leaf, Tarragon
2 lemons
1.5 sticks butter
Salt / Pepper
8 sheets baking parchment paper 9” by 14” 

-   Peel carrots and slice thin into circles. Peel onions and slice thin. Peel Garlic and slice thin.
-   Cut bottom and top off leek. Slice thin and wash well. Cut bottom and top off the Fennel bulb. Slice thin. Slice Lemons into thin circles, keeping intact.
-   Cook all the Vegetables in a large, covered pot with the butter salt and pepper until tender (15 mins) then refrigerate.
-   Keeping the lemons for later. Place the filets in the center of their parchment paper. Season with the salt and pepper. Place a bit of each herb on each filet to taste.
-   Place 2 slices of lemon on each filet and cover the rest with 1/6th of the (cooled down) cooked vegetables.
-   Repeat until all Filets are covered. Fold the paper in half leaving the fish at the crease and the extra facing you.
-   Fold and roll the paper from left to right until the paper is closed and tight.
-   Should look like a half moon. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 mins or until just cooked (when the flesh flakes and is soft.) 

Serve immediately and open paper in front of guest to perfume the table.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Blanquette de Veau (Creamy veal stew)


700 g (25 oz.) veal flank 
3 large onions or 18 pearl onions 
18 button mushrooms 
1 carrot 
1 stalk celery 
2 sprigs thyme, 
2 bay leaves 
2 T. butter 
2 T. canola oil 
1 Cup heavy cream 
1 C veal stock (chicken if necessary) 
1⁄4 C dry white wine 
1⁄2 C chopped fresh parsley


Large-dice the veal and toss evenly with flour, discarding excess. Heat wide, deep frypan or cast iron stewing pot and add oil, then veal without crowding in pan. Brown lightly all sides about 10 minutes, rotating. If pan bottom holds dark brown bits, but nothing burnt, remove meat from pan to bowl, pour off excess oil if necessary (0r blot out with paper towel) and add wine. Simmer 2 minutes, then replace meat in pan and cover with cream, herbs, and stock. If you have veal bones but no stock and no time, at least brown the bones and simmer with the meat. Salt meat lightly. 

Start simmering veal while beginning vegetable preparation:

Large dice large onions or trim pearl onions, leaving whole. In another wide saucepan, melt the butter and add onions. Start sweating over low heat, covered. Meanwhile, dice celery and add. Trim carrots into large dice or wedges and add. Quarter mushrooms and add. If pan is dry by this point, sprinkle with a little olive oil. Salt lightly and bring all vegetables to simmer. Pour veggies over meat and cover, simmering on low heat with lid about 20 minutes, then lid off to thicken sauce another 20 minutes. If pot is getting dry, add a little cold water. If meat and veggies are tender, but sauce is too abundant and too runny, remove all solids from pot and simmer sauce down till thick enough to coat back of spoon. Add parsley during last couple of minutes of cooking, and season with more salt and pepper before serving. 

Optionally, serve with boiled fingerling potatoes. 

Wine Suggestions:
Light reds: Brouilly, Moulin-a-Vent, Anjou-villages

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chanterelle-stuffed artichokes

3 portions


3 Globe artichokes 
2 cloves garlic 
Juice from one lemon 
1⁄2 onion
2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs thyme 
1 carrot 
1⁄2 stalk celery
15 chanterelles, cleaned and chopped 
3 large mushrooms, diced 
1⁄2 leek, small dice 
2 T. olive oil
2 T. fresh chopped chive 
2 T. cream 
6 T. grated cheese


  • Trim artichokes and simmer in salted water with crushed cloves of garlic, bay leaves, sprigs fresh or dried thyme, juice of one lemon, and onion, carrot and celery till cooked through but firm, 20 -­ 30 minutes. 
  • Remove from water and let cool while sprinkling with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. 
  • Heat a wide saucepan, add 2 T. olive oil, then chopped leeks and mushrooms. Stir, cover and cook over medium heat 5 minutes. Then continue cooking uncovered to evaporate all water, 5 more minutes. 
  • Add heavy cream, and simmer till thickened. Toss in chives and fill mixture into pre-­cooked artichoke hearts. 
  • Top with optional grated cheese and brown under broiler 3-­5 minutes at 400 F/ 180 C.

Wine Suggestions:   

Brouilly, Saumur-Champigny, Sancerre rouge, Coteaux-de-Languedoc rouge, Provence rosé, Corbières rosé, Rully white, Limoux white, Condrieu white

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chocolate lava cake

                                                 6 medium ramekins

7.5 oz.(210 g)   dark chocolate (60 %)
5.5 oz.(150 g)   Butter                        
4                      Large eggs 
4 oz.(120 g)      White sugar        
1.7 oz. (50 g)    Flour  


For a real lava effect, stir in a tiny pinch of clove and cayenne into the center
of each ramekin before baking.
  • Melt chocolate and butter together over steaming water till just melted, and cool enough to touch bowl bottom without burning fingers. 
  • Beat the eggs and sugar about 3 minutes till light and creamy, and sugar is dissolved. Pour warm chocolate mix into egg mix and mix till homogenous. Stir in sifted flour and mix gently till all flour is incorporated.
  • Butter and dust with icing sugar medium size ramekins, fill with batter 4/5, and bake at 225 C, 425 F, about 6-­8 minutes, or until sides have fully risen, but center remains concave. 
  • Cool 2-­4 minutes before removing from ramekins if using porcelain or cakes will break. Free sides with paring knife and invert onto plate. Ideally, use silicone or disposable aluminum ramekins for an easy release. If too cool, and center is raw but not running, try a few seconds in the microwave to reheat them just before serving. 
  • Keep practicing till you've got the timing down with your oven! Dust with icing sugar;; serve with dollop of crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream. 
  • Also served with optional in-­season berries.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tian Proven├žal with Plum and tarragon-stuffed chicken

TIAN PROVENÇAL (6 portions)


2 small eggplant 
2-3 Heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes (low on water) 
2 small zucchini 
1 small white onion 1 clove garlic 
Olive oil 
Fresh thyme or rosemary


  • Oil individual round baking ramekins, or a large earthenware baking dish, and rub with raw garlic. 
  • Slice vegetables to suit the shape and size of your baking dishes, toss all but tomatoes with 4 T. olive oil, salt and 2 T. fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary, or basil. 
  • Arrange in an alternating pattern in baking dish, make top layer only tomato to prevent drying, and bake about 45 min. at 375 F, covered with aluminum foil, then 15 minutes uncovered to evaporate excess water. 
  • Using metal tongs, turn out on plate, place meat or fish against side of tian, spoon some sauce around plate, and serve.

Plum and tarragon-stuffed chicken (6portions)


6 free-range chicken breasts
2 minced shallots 
2 T. olive oil 
1 t. apple cider vinegar 
1 bay leaf 
4 sprigs fresh tarragon 
Salt, pepper 
2 C. pitted, halved plums


  • Start by making a simple chicken stock to deepen the flavor of the sauce: sauté 1 carcass or 5 wings and optional 1/2 onion, carrot and celery in a non-stick pan till browned on all sides. 
  • Drain excess fat and deglaze with 1/4 C dry white wine. Cook 2 minutes, then cover with cold water. Add 2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs of thyme and reduce over high heat till 1-2 cups liquid remain. Strain and reserve stock.
  • For the plum filling, gently cook shallots covered in 2 tablespoons olive oil, about 10 minutes with no browning. 
  • Add all other ingredients except for tarragon and simmer 5 minutes covered, 5-10 minutes uncovered to evaporate some of the liquid. 
  • Add chopped tarragon at the end of cooking. Be sure to test for a good balance of sweet and sour before using.
  • Place 6 skinless chicken breasts skin side down, flatten fatter half if necessary for rolling with meat tenderizer, and tuck cooked plums and shallot into cavity between filet and underside.
  • Reserve more plums for sauce. Season, roll up and place in smallish oiled baking dish that will only snugly hold all the rolled breasts. 
  • Cover with sauce. Meanwhile, make a sauce with 1 C. cream, 1 C. chicken stock and extra chicken stuffing. 
  • Bring to simmer, season, and pour over chicken, and place in oven to bake, about 15-20 minutes at 350 F. Sauce should be simmering in dish, but not boiling or chicken will start to unravel. 
  • Remove chicken from sauce and cool 3 minutes before slicing and placing back in hot sauce (check a piece from the center to ensure doneness).

Wine Suggestions:

Muscat sec, dry Riesling, young Chardonnay.
Loire valley Chenin Blanc or light fruity reds : Moulin à vent, Bourgueil, Anjou-villages, Burgundy Pinot noir.