Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Happy Blog Day - 2005

Cake Fun tagged me for Blog Day 2005, an idea put forward by Nir Ofir.

These are the blogs I have chosen:

Narrator Here are simple notes on real life experience, written by a Turkish engineer working in America

Algerian Cuisine, a food blog by an instructor in the Culinary Institute in America, born of Algerian parents in France, and who received training as a chef in France.

Hamburger and Croissant in Turkish. Food news by a French girl married to an American man, living in Pennsylvania.

Franco-American News & Events, a compilation of news and events current and ongoing in regard to being Franco-American.

Commentary From the Margins - challenging the social constructs underpinning Western theology through the restoration of the primitive faith.

May all of us who peruse the magic of the internet, and its freedoms be inspired to greater heights in whatever fields we roam.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Chutney or Jam

Today is Grilled Cheese All Day. Goat cheese lends itself to either savory or sweet uses. Grilling the cheese helps it meld with the flavors used.

Here are two: a savory morsel with green walnut chutney--dark, gooey and tangy; and a sweet cherry jam--ooh, cheesecake as fingerfood.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Frying. this month's IMBB, allowed me to brush up on my beignets--they are now picture perfect.

Danno from New Orleans Cuisine stopped by the other day to help me with my beignets recipe. I had not been letting my beignets rise after rolling them out and cutting. I had been relying on the hot oil to make them puff up, which they did, but I had very large holes and little dough in my beignets.

By letting them rise double in bulk before frying, I now have puffy and fluffy beignets.

When I feel truly decadent, I grate some chocolate into my café au lait.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Sassafras and Filé Powder

Now is the time to gather your sassafras leaves to dry for filé powder. Danno has a great post on filé powder at NolaCuisine.

Gather your leaves on stems in the early evening in mid-August in mid-America--hang upside down in paper bag to help keep them free of dust and to catch any leaves that may fall. When the leaves are dry, remove from stems and crush. Store in an air-tight container--the leaves contain a volatile oil. Use in stews and gumbos to add a certain thick richness to the broth. Do not add until the stew is almost done, and do not boil after the addition of the filé. Enjoy.

As an aside--sassafras roots are an ingredient in modern rootbeer.

Monday, August 22, 2005


This summer I tried experimenting with clafoutis recipes.

Here is my apricot clafouti made with Hélène's recipe.

And here is my clafouti made from Cooking with Amy's posted recipe for cherry clafouti by Julia Child

Both recipes were followed exactly. However, I found that the apricot recipe needed a touch more sweetness, hence the crushed sugar sprinkles. I much preferred Hélène's recipe for its inclusion of melted butter--it added a richness that even adding crème fraîche could not match in Julia Child's recipe. Prior to trying Hélène's recipe, I had always preferred Julia's recipe, especially in technique.

I highly recommend either recipe--they are great ways to use up small pieces of or irregularly shaped fruit. Think of the batter as a cross between a custard and a crepe--eaten either warm or cold, with or without extra sugar or crème--clafoutis are delicious.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

oignon confit

Le confit d'oignon est employé avec des gras de fois, agneau, canard ou juste seule comme spead sur le pain avec l'apèratif. J'emploie également ceci comme base en quiche d'oignon avec le gruyère.

La fonte 4 cuillers à soupe chaque huile et beurre d'olive dans le skillet et ajoutent 3 grands oignons coupés en tranches. Arrosez légèrement avec du sel et le sucre. Placez ou 1 feuille de laurier ou quelques feuilles emiettées de thym au-dessus des tranches puis ajoutent 3 oignons et sels coupés en tranches plus grands de répétition, sucre et herbes.

L'endroit sur un bas au feu moyen et remuent occassionally, ne veillant jamais à roussir, jusqu'à ce que profondément et caramalized. Finissez avec une éclaboussure du vinaigre ou du vin blanc pour l'oignon blanc, vin rouge pour les oignons rouges. Feuilles enlevées de compartiment si utilisé. Couverture et congé à adoucir avant l'emploi. Gardera plusieurs semaines si resté calme.

* * *

Onion confit is used with fois gras, lamb, duck or just on its own as a spead on bread with apèratif. I also use this as a base in onion quiche with gruyere.

Melt 4 tablespoons each olive oil and butter in skillet and add 3 large sliced onions. Sprinkle lightly with salt and sugar. Place either 1 bay leaf or a few crumbled leaves of thyme over slices then add 3 more large sliced onions and repeat salt, sugar and herbs.

Place on a low to medium fire and stir occassionally, making sure never to scorch, until thick and caramalized. Finish with a splash of vinegar or white wine for white onion, red wine for red onions. Removed bay leaves if used. Cover and leave to mellow before use. Will keep several weeks if kept cool.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

July/August Chow Magazine - verjus

I was interviewed by Ella Lawrence for an article on verjus in this month's Chow in the "Tactics" section, portions of which were previously published in MetroActive Online.

I was out looking at my grapes to see what kind of crop I'll have, and there will be plenty for another jug of verjus for myself--I may try several different recipes this Fall.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Pots de Crème au Chocolat

Using coffee as an ingredient is this month's Sugar High Friday originated by Jennifer and hosted this month by Ronald.

Here is my recipe for a sublime pots de crème. Enjoy.

12 oz semisweet chocolate
1 tablespoon very strong coffee
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest or
1 tablespoon orange liqueur or juice
2 (or 3 if small) egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Melt chocolate in top of bain marie. Stir in coffee and zest or liqueur or juice. Beat yolks with a fork and scrape chocolate mixture into the yolks gradually, stirring constantly. Add cream to top of bain marie and carefully stir in chocolate egg mixture. Stir constantly while cooking until thick over hot water. Pour immediately into small serving dishes.

Garnish with orange slices or strip of orange peel. Makes 4-6 small servings--a little goes a long way.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mes 10 Petits Bonheurs

AnneE asked me to name 10 small happinesses, those little things in life that bring a smile or a sigh of remembered good times.

1. I remember the peace and hope that fills me in church.

2. I treasure the moments when friends drop by for a drink or to taste my latest culinary creation.

3. I try to take a moment each day to reflect.

4. My grandsons are all in Idaho, a beautiful land way beyond the shores of Lake Huron. I miss them a great deal. Maybe I shall be able to see all of them when their little girl cousin makes her debut in October.

5. "Go west, young man," someone once said--he was right, but you can't eat the view.

Larry Carver, Teton, Jackson Hole, WY

6. I am rereading two books, The Running of the Tide, by Farber and Diana, by Delderfield, books I read when I was still in grammar school. Each has flitted through my mind over the years. I have them stashed in different places in the house, so I can draw out the time it takes to read them again. Not only do I want to see if I can see why I liked them so much, but why they have continued to stay with me.

7. A long, soaking bath is rare treat, what with having to haul water and heat it before pouring it into the meager tub, and trying to time when I won't be interrupted--a one room house can have its drawbacks.

8. When my preserving is done for the year, and I've washed all the jars and pots and set them in the cupboard, I like to see their gem-like hues sparkling in rows, knowing that my family will eat well this winter.

9. I love to sleep in on Sabbath morning and then to awaken my household with the smell of freshly baked waffles from the iron.

10. The smell of damp, rich earth after a rain cannot be beat, as cannot the sound of geese wending their way south before freezeup.

I would like to pass this questionnaire on to: Danno, Estelle, and Jennifer.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Lavender, Chili and Peach Iced Milk

This month's Paper Chef combines some unusual ingredients: dried chillies, peaches, edible flowers and a local ingredient. I used this recipe as a starting point to come up with an ice cream garnished with local blackberries picked along Lake Huron's shore.

Steep lavender flowers and one or more dried chili pods to your taste in 2 and 1/3 cups hot milk. Use a seive to remove the flowers and chili, and stir the hot milk into 2 large egg yolks in the top of a bain marie. Add 1/2 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. Simmer gently over boiling water, stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Stir quickly into 1/2 pureed fresh peaches and cool to the touch before processing in your ice cream machine.

Serve your iced milk with a few blackberries. Smooth and peachy creamy, cool with a bite of chili on the tip of the tongue and a whiff of lavender on the back of the throat--different and delicious.
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