HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label French Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label French Food. Show all posts

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Vinegar Braised Chicken and Onions or Poulet Saute au Vinaigre


Catherine de Medici
Mother of 3 French
Kings
       As far back as the 16th century, Lyon, not Paris, has been the gastronomical capital of France.  It was then that Catherine de Medici, the Queen Consort of King Henry II, an Italian noblewoman by birth, brought cooks from Florence to the French court.  They prepared dishes from the agricultural products from the various regions of France. This was revolutionary, combining the know-how of the Italian cooks with the unmatched produce of France.  The resulting regional dishes were elevated in status because they were, after all, what royalty and the nobility were eating.  The cuisine created in Lyon represented the crossroads of many regional specialties.  A terrific variety of ingredients were available: summer vegetables from farms in Bresse—to say nothing of its famous chickens—and neighboring Charolais, game from the Dombes, fish from lakes in Savoy, spring’s first fruits and vegetables from Drome and Ardeche and of course, the wines of Beaujolais and the Rhone Valley. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Savory Roasted Tomato Tarte Tatin


         I recently came across a very detailed recipe for a tomato Tarte Tatin in August’s Bon Appetit.  Now I used to make Tarte Tatins at every opportunity.  They were hard to beat: You put butter and sugar into a cast iron pan and it magically turned into caramel.  You added pears or apples skin side down, covered the thing with pastry and into the oven it went.  Once done, you cautiously fiipped the tart over and voila!  Your pretty pears or apples glistened on a bed of pastry.  Add a scoop of ice cream and you had a dessert that even I could make.  This was of course before Andrew took up baking. Now, if I made dessert, people would be convinced that I’d lost my mind.  But I couldn’t get the Tomato Tarte Tatin out of my mind. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The perfect sandwich for summer: Patricia Wells' Pan Bagnat


        
“When my husband and I acquired our farmhouse in Provence…, our visits were generally limited to weekend getaways from Paris. For the train ride back to the city, a snack was essential, and pan bagnat, or "bathed bread," the Provençal sandwich found at every bakery and market in the region, became our standby. It's inexpensive, travels well, and includes many of our favorite Provençal ingredients: tomatoes, local bell peppers, black niçoise olives, anchovies and tuna, salt, and pepper—a salade niçoise, effectively, between slices of crusty bread. I'd prepare the sandwiches on Saturday, scooping out some of the crumb of the bread, then letting the pan bagnat marinate, tightly wrapped and weighted down in the refrigerator, until departure time the next day, which always made for moist and satisfying sandwiches.” You have no idea how I wish I didn’t have to add the quotation marks around these words from Patricia Wells,  in her most recent book —“Salad as a Meal” (William Morrow, 2011).  Because if there was ever anywhere on earth I’d love to live it would be in France.  And memories of a long ago visit to Provence come sweeping back at the mere mention of Pan Bagnat.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Burgundy Beef Stew adapted from Saveur's "New Comfort Food"


Confession Time:  Those vegetables that look like potatoes?
They are potatoes served alongside the dish the night before.
Since I didn't get a photograph then, this picture was taken the next day
with the leftovers potatoes added to the stew.


         When we entertain, I love to do things that will keep me out of the kitchen once the guests have arrived.  And in winter, a great braise is a perfect way to do it.  And if you’re choosing a great beef dish, Boeuf Bourguignon is an obvious choice.  However, who can forget Julie and Julia, the movie where the young blogger cooks her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking?  In case you have forgotten, Julie was doing fine until the day she arrived at Julia’s recipe for Beef Bourguignon.   There she failed miserably. I am not entirely sure of the details but Julie fell asleep and the stew went awry.  As ridiculous as it sounds, that scared me off Julia’s recipe. Instead, I pulled out Saveur’s “The New Comfort Food. Home Cooking from around the World” (Chronicle Books 2011). I have used this cookbook with great success. In fact, I find Saveur and James Oseland, editor of both this book and the magazine, are completely trustworthy where recipes are concerned.  This recipe was listed as “Burgundy-Style Beef Stew”.  There’s not necessarily a lot different about it from the recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon.  At least there wasn’t until I started fiddling with it.

Monday, January 21, 2013

90 Minute Coq au Vin from Cook's Illustrated


  
Julia Child with her "Coq"
         Cold winter nights are made for eating Coq au Vin.  And on a cold winter afternoon, the aroma of this great French classic cooking fills the kitchen with comfort.   A “Coq” is French for rooster and there lies the rub. In France, roosters were kept as long as they were good breeders.  They lived for several years before they were slaughtered.  They needed long and slow braising—often four hours on the stove--before they could be considered edible.   Red wine not only added flavor, it helped tenderize the old meat of the rooster.  Julia Child is credited with introducing Americans to the dish.  It was one of her signatures.  Wisely, Julia eschewed using roosters or capons and instead used a whole, young, cut-up chicken, something the French had also glommed onto by this time.   This greatly affected the cooking hours for the better.  Julia’s original recipe can be on the table in about 2 1/2 hours.  That may not sound like an unreasonable amount of time for something that is this good.  But in 2006, Cook’s Illustrated decided that this “basic chicken stew” shouldn’t even take that long to cook.  So they set about to make it start to finish in 90 minutes.  And I have to say, they did a bang up job.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Vinegar-Braised Chicken on a bed of Leeks and Peas adapted from Grace Parisi of Food and Wine Magazine with Heirloom Tomatoes and Burrata




      Ms. Parisi

                              Last weekend, I wanted to start to move away from summer favorites and start enjoying some of the pleasures of fall. For me this means a great braise with a flavorful sauce. I found one in this amazingly light stew, a medley of leeks and the greenest of peas topped by crispy-skinned chicken cut up so everyone can choose their favorite pieces.   With this, I kept late summer on the table with an Heirloom Tomato and Burrata. They yielded a dinner that is so simple to make and takes so little time, Grace Parisi, Food and Wine’s Senior Recipe developer and one my culinary heroes, uses it for weeknight dinner parties. The chicken is browned, the sauce given the tang of a shot of white Balsamic vinegar and then enriched with crème fraiche. The tender leaks and sweet peas contrast subtly with the sauce. The whole effect is a wonderful cross between sweet and tender, tangy and creamy.   After 25 minutes in a hot oven, it’s ready to be served which I did straight from the pot. It’s a triumph of French bistro cooking and if anyone knows how to cook Chicken, it’s the French. But first, about that chicken and those heirloom tomatoes. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tian of Summer Vegetables served two ways

One night it's a glorious side dish...
The next day it's a delicious lunch!  

            With our local farm stands brimming with the most beautiful vegetables, it’s a fun challenge to find ways to eat them every chance we get.  Last week I turned to a tian to make use of some glorious summer squash, zucchini and field tomatoes.  The word “Tian” is French and originally referred to the clay cooking casserole used to prepare this Provencal-style mix of vegetables roasted to perfection au gratin -- covered with a layer of cheese.  Interestingly, the French use the word ‘tian’ to describe not just the vegetable version of the dish but anything layered—even a dessert. And in a wonderful coincidence, “Tian” is also the Chinese word for “Heaven”.  And I have to concur: this is heaven especially when I discovered the leftover Tian created a second meal the next day.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Steak Hache, an homage to Joe Allen’s Chopped Steak




       Our favorite restaurants often share one thing in common.  We go there without ever having to look at the menu.  We know the moment we walk in the door what we are going to order.  There’s the linguine  with clam sauce at West Bank Cafe (407 W. 42nd St., New York, NY 10036 at Ninth AvenueTel: 212 695 6909).  The steak frites at Bistro Cassis (225 Columbus Ave, New York, NY, 10023 Tel: 212 579 3966).  And at Joe Allen (326 West 46th St. New York, NY Tel: 212 581 6464), we inevitably order the Chopped Steak.  This delicious charred-on-the-outside, rare-on-the-inside piece of great American beef is one of my favorite dishes on earth.  And it isn’t even on the menu.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Turkey Meat Loaves with Red Pepper Sauce




I have very little fondness for ground turkey.  I’ll grant you it’s about as low fat as it can get, but to me it’s also low on taste and low on juice and low on my list of things I love to cook.  But an article in Food and Wine intrigued me.  It was entitled “French food that won’t make you fat”.  Now there’s something I can sink my teeth into.  And it has a very solid pedigree.  Its inventor is the chef Sandro Gamba who cooked under Joel Robichon and Alain Ducasse, was Food and Wine magazine’s Best New Chef of 2001. 

        Apparently tired of rendering French classics at Nomi, in Chicago’s Park Hyatt Hotel, he quit his job and began to look for a place where he could cook “cleaner” and healthier versions of his mentors’ specialties.  He landed at the Four Seasons in Westlake Village, CA which welcomed his healthy approach at all five restaurants on the property.  I couldn’t actually find this dish on any of their menus but since it dates back to 2007, it may have now been replaced.  As may have Sandro, although his bio remains on the Four Seasons corporate site. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Duck Confit, the easy way.



While we were making our Duck Confit, we got a call from Andrew’s sister, Lauren, asking us how we’d describe the difference between duck and chicken.  We didn’t really have an adequate answer until we finished cooking this recipe and tasted this wonderful result.   Duck cooked this way is richer, meatier and has so much more character than a chicken leg ever could.