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.

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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