Tag Archives: French Food

Tomato and Gruyère Tarte

Tomato_and_Cheddar_Pie1Hi everyone, and happy fall (or spring in the Southern hemisphere)! The herbs in the garden are about to become history when the first frost hits (any time now), so I wanted to make the most of them. Also, I wanted to take advantage of the few farm stands that still have fresh, tasty heirloom tomatoes, so I decided to make this dish — fantastic! The simple, fresh ingredients all come together in this European-style, savory pie. I served it with a simple green salad, and it was a perfect, light meal. I hope you’ll try this before the fresh tomatoes and herbs are done for the season!

3 large, ripe and flavorful tomatoes, sliced in 1/4-inch slices
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1 store-bought pie dough/crust (bottom portion only)
1 Tbsp butter
1 medium Vidalia onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups grated gruyère cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, etc.
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place tomato slices on paper towels, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt, cover with more paper towels and let stand for 30 minutes (you want them to be pretty dry).

Place dough into a 9-inch, glass pie pan. Crimp edges. Line with parchment paper and fill with Tomato_and_Cheddar_Piepie weights. Bake crust 20 minutes, rotating 180 degrees after 10 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment paper, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. once foam has subsided, add onion and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook until carmalized, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand.

In a medium bowl, combine cheese, mayo, chopped herbs, hot sauce, ground black pepper and onion mixture.

Assemble tarte by lining bottom of pie shell with tomato slices and top with the cheese mixture. Place in oven and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until golden brown (rotating 180 degrees halfway into baking). Remove and let cool to room temperature before serving.

Serves 6.

 

 

 

 

Veal Roulades with a Flavorful Beef and Wine Demi-Glace (Paupiettes de Veau)

Veal_Wraps (1 of 1)Perfect for a small gathering of dinner guests, this dish is amazing! It may seem strange — meat stuffed with meat, but it’s not an unusual dish in France (or Germany). And hey, how can you go wrong with meat stuffed with meat. Veal, in and of itself, has a fantastic flavor, and this dish is enhanced by the simple, but fantastic filling inside. The crown jewel of the meal, however, is the demi-glace — a delicious touch!. Serve with a green vegetable and a starch. I hope you’ll try the dish out for dinner guests this weekend!

Filling

1 oz butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, very finely grated or minced
8 oz lean ground pork
8 oz ground veal
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp dry white wine
3 Tbsp breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
6 boneless veal cutlets (about 1 3/4 lbs total), pounded into 5 inch by 8 inch rectangles (I like to pound to between 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness).

Demi-Glace

1 oz clarified butter (to make clarified butter, simply heat butter in a small pan over low heat until it foams. Skim off the foam/milk solids. This is important for this dish, as it allows the butter to cook at a higher heat without burning).
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tsp tomato paste
1 1/3 cups beef stock

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add shallots and cook 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool, combine with the rest of the filling ingredients in a medium bowl.

To make the veal roulades, place a good amount of filling on each cutlet, leaving about 1/4 inch of room from each side of the cutlet. Roll roulades up length-wise, and gently secure with butcher’s twine on each end. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the demi-glace by heating half of the clarified butter in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat up to high and brown vegetables (about 2 additional minutes).  Remove from pan.

Heat the remaining clarified butter in the sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the veal wraps and brown on all sides (about 10 minutes). Remove from pan. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Deglaze pan for 30 seconds. Add tomato paste, bay leaf, beef stock and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Add onion mixture and veal roulades. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove veal roulades from the pan and keep warm.

Strain the demi-glace back into pan, pressing down with a spoon to get all of the liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high. Cook liquid until reduced by half, about 20 minutes.

Serve veal roulades, drizzled with demi-glace.

Serves 6.

Pan-Cooked Chicken in a Fragrant Cumin-Carrot Sauce

Chicken_with_Carrots_and_Cumin2 (1 of 1)Last night, we felt like making something that you might see on a menu in a Parisian bistro, so I made this delicious (and apparently classic bistro) chicken dish. To me, it is a cross between Indian and Moroccan flavors, but I’m guessing the influence is mainly Moroccan for historical reasons. Anyway, all of that is good (love the ginger and lemon in it!). Paired this with a nice pinot gris, simple green beans and nice crusty fresh bread — it’s a wonderful little meal, and I hope you’ll try it tonight!

6 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 Tbsp peeled and finely grated ginger
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups chicken stock
2 tsp salt, divided
3/4 tsp ground black pepper, divided
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Fill a medium sauce pan 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 2/3 of the carrots, and bring back to a boil. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp of the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, and reduce heat to low. Sauté gently for 4 minutes. Add ginger and sauté another 1 minute. Add the remaining carrots and stir for 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice, chicken stock, cumin seeds, 1 tsp of the salt and 1/4 of the pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 6 minutes. Pour contents into a food processor and process until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Pour the carrot sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl (discarding any solids) and return to sauté pan. Stir in the reserved boiled carrots and the parsley, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to very low, cover and keep warm while you prepare the chicken.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Rub remaining 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper all over chicken breasts. Add chicken to pan and cook on one side for 8 minutes. Turn breasts over and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle. Transfer chicken to the carrot sauce and turn over a few times to coat. Place each chicken breast in a bowl and ladle the sauce over each. Garnish with additional chopped parsley, if desired. Serve with fresh bread.

Serves 4.

Savory Alsatian Tarte (Tarte Flambée)

Alxastian Tarte1 (1 of 1)While on a business trip this past summer to Frankfurt, I dined on some fantastic Alsatian tartes (Flammkuchen in German, tarte flambée in French). As the name suggests, this tarte has its origins in the Alsace region of France that borders Germany (and was part of Germany in past history), but they are very popular in Frankfurt, as well (and Montréal, where I tasted them for the first time several years ago). I have to say, the Frankfurter version is absolutely delicious, so I did my best to recreate it at home! Rustic and wonderful — here it is…I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think!

1 1/4-oz packet yeast
1 c warm water
4 oz bacon, finely diced
14 oz flour (weight)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 tsp salt, divided
7 oz crème fraîche
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
3 leeks, thinly sliced cross-wise (white part only)
2 oz grated Gruyère cheese
4 green onions, chopped

Preaheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pizza stone on the lowest level.

Stir yeast into warm water and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat bacon in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes (do not overdo it on the stove top, as bacon will cook further in the oven). Remove bacon to paper towels with a slotted spoon.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, water/yeast mixture, olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, tuning once to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, stir together crème fraîche, 1 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper and nutmeg.

Turn dough back onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a thin round piece, about 10 or so inches in diameter. Spread 1/4 of the crème fraîche mixture evenly onto each tarte. Repeat with the leeks and Gruyère.

Using a pizza peel, slide tartes onto hot pizza stone (I only had room to cook one at a time). Bake 10 – 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve.

Serves 4.

Chicken with Pearl Onions and Mushrooms Simmered in a Red Wine Sauce (Coq au Vin)

Coq_Au_Vin1 (1 of 1) Yum, French comfort food! The first time I had this French classic was at a restaurant in Germany — it was delicious! Over the years, I’ve taken bits and pieces from various recipes to create this lower-fat/lots of flavor version. You could also call this a “lazy man’s coq au vin,” because I remove the chicken from the bones after the dish is cooked, and add it back to the sauce. A great meal for a chilly fall evening, I hope you’ll try this recipe!

3 1/2 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (I cut a whole chicken into 8 pieces, and trim off any bit of fat I can find)
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 ground black pepper
2 slices bacon, coarsely diced
1 Tbsp butter
20 pearl onions, peeled
8 oz button mushrooms, stems trimmed
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup brandy
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

In a medium glass bowl, combine wine, bay leaves, thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Add chicken and stir well. Cover and let marinate in refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Heat a small heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp and golden brown. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels. Reserve 1 tsp of the bacon fat.

Heat butter and 1 tsp bacon fat in a large, non-stick skillet over low heat. Add the onions, mushrooms and garlic, and saute for 5 minutes.

Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade. Add the chicken and 1/2 tsp salt to the onion mixture. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook the chicken until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour.

Transfer chicken to a Dutch oven. Pour brandy into the skillet with the onion mixture and boil, deglazing for 30 seconds. Pour over chicken in Dutch oven. Add the marinade, onion/mushroom/garlic mixture, chicken stock and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 45 minutes.

Remove the chicken pieces, and let cool for a few minutes. Discard skin and remove chicken from bones (discard bones, as well). Add chicken back to sauce and sir well for 1 minute over low. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve with steamed or mashed potatoes. Garnish with parsley.

Serves 4.