Simple Salads and dressings for sophisticated foodies

While I am scratching my head to find what best French recipes I could share in the hot summer that is just starting, I realized I am preparing about every other day a different salad and a different dressing. Most of them are from popular French regional or family recipes. Below, you’ll discover great quick and healthy fix, more or less inspired from authentic traditional French recipes, but surely tasty and welcome on your summer table!

SALADS:

Capture d’écran 2014-07-03 à 14.56.02The salad niçoise: This recipe finds its origin in the region of Nice, a beautiful Mediterranean town on the Azur Coast. There are several variations to it while the base is steamed green beans, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, olives, tuna.

Now, I suggest the following list of ingredients, highlighting in BLUE those who are optional. Based on what’s in your fridge, you will succeed!

Recipe for 2 to 3 persons: Read the rest of this entry »

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Successfully transposing Braised endives with ham, béchamel and cheese using Bok Choy

There is a recipe that I just didn’t like at all when I was kid, and like many things in life, I came to appreciate with age. This dish is the rolled braised endives in ham with grated cheese and béchamel sauce. It is a lovely filling meal, between the gratin and the casserole, and which is best served with a simple green salad – and a glass of unoaked Chardonnay sounds like a great option! The tangy lightly bitter taste of the endives is very well balanced with the salty cheese and ham combination, all wrapped with the béchamel sauce which offer a base that helps in marrying these distinguished flavors. Kids are usually put off by the slight bitter taste of the endive… Read the rest of this entry »


Trying a Kohlrabi curry.

My dear creativity challenger Boston Organics delivered some Kohlrabi in my box this week. Before living in the USA, I had never heard of such root. It is called “chou-rave” in French, and I confess I can’t remember eating much of it. So far, I haven’t been very inspired nor successful in cooking it, but I think this curry is a promising step toward success. And because this week was very cold, I am craving spicy and hot food, with lots of veggies to fill me, warm me from the inside and gather much needed vitamins.

kohlrabi curry

This was a first attempt, and my pieces were a little big. The recipe bellow includes the necessary improvements. On the upper right corner, you see an attempt at cooking some chick-peas Naan style bread, that tasted ok but don’t present very well!

The main pain with Kohlrabi is peeling them. Well, I finally decided to use a very sharp small knife and I peeled it quite thick. It took me much less time and reconciled  with the beast. Also, to ease the pain of preparing it, you can peel and pre-cook the Kohlrabi the morning, and then assemble the pieces at dinner time.

The following recipe should take about 30 minutes, and feed 2 to 4, depending on the side dish you serve it with. Read the rest of this entry »


Detox + Comfort = Curried flavored Parsnips crisps

IMG_0360Oh yeah! While we are secured at home waiting for Hercules the snowstorm to move along, I am torn between comforting myself and detoxing… Thanks to the French website “Le journal des femmes”, I found the inspiration to cook these Parsnips crisps. Did you know that since the potatoes was introduced in France, this veggie was a little forgotten. Even sometimes, it was given to the pigs! No wonder pork is so good in France!

So I decided to add a little knowledge to the recipe:

  • The parsnip: Full of dietary fibers, it contains precious minerals like folate and potassium, as well as lots of Vitamin C.
  • I used organic Canola oil, to benefit from the best nutrients. It contains alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat. Canola is also versatile: it has a neutral taste – perfect to match the strength of parsnips and curry, light texture and a medium-high smoke point, so it works well for sautéing.
  • I choose to flavor with curry powder because it has a nice and complex taste that marry so well with the sweet / bitter of parsnip +  some potential benefits such as lowering the blood sugar, being a natural anti inflammatory (turmeric), and natural detoxing (coriander). It also has a great taste so it might help eat slowly (not so bad after the holidays!)
  • Cayenne pepper: it breaks up congestions, stimulates metabolism in increasing thermogenesis (heat production), perfect for winter.

Recipe step by step:

  1. Slice 4 medium parsnips quite fine (1/10th of an inch). IMG_0352
  2. Pour 2 tablespoon of canola oil, 2 tsp of curry powder and 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp of coarse salt in a big bowl and stir to mix well.IMG_0353   IMG_0354
  3. Heat the oven at 450°F and spread the slices of either pizza pan or cookie pan. No need to add more oil, it should not stick.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes at 450°F, and then continue for 5 more minutes with the oven door open to let it dry. Depending on your oven, you might check and adjust to avoid burning the crisps…IMG_0358
  5.  Enjoy!

A post Christmas recipe: Goose soup recycling the bird’s “carcasse”!

Geese SoupI made a wonderful stuffed geese for Christmas, and had to do something with the leftover. Learn what is a carcasse, and how to enjoy all your cooking efforts a little longer – while eating healthy!

I look forward to hearing from your carcasse experiences!


Celebrate Winter with Chocolate!

Thanks to great inspiration from Fashion Cooking and The Cake Blog.

Chocolate Winter cake

For the cake, due to my husband’s addiction to chocolate, I used a very famous French classic: the Nestlé dessert chocolate cake recipe, revisited by me:

1/2 lb. dark chocolate (72% ideally)
1/2 cup of fresh black coffee
3/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 pinch salt
2 tbsp flour

  1. Pre-heat oven at 400°F
  2. Break chocolate in bowl, add the coffee (little at a time) and warm it up in the microwave in 15 seconds slot, stirring well in between and making sure it doesn’t burn. Stop when smooth enough.
  3. Mix soften butter + sugar. Add eggs, mix. Add flour + salt, mix. Add liquid chocolate, mix very well.
  4. Pour the mix in a round cake dish (buttered & floured if necessary – I use silicon ;))
  5. Bake at 400°F for 20minutes

Et voilà, let it rest and cool down before taking it off its mold.

For the decoration; I used 1/2 cup of dark chocolate with the coffee again to make a paste. I decorated the top of the cake (which was great to hide little cracks…). Then I used the instruction from The Cake Blog, but choose to use my chocolate paste, confectionary sugar and sliced almonds. My cones are edible (trust me they taste great).

Enjoy and happy winter!

Et Voilà! Happy winter


Theme for my soup: Orange (there is no orange in it though).

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I often cook a soup on winter Sunday night, and it is usually based on what’s available… Also, I convince myself it washes down the excesses of the WE. The theme was orange, because we needed something to cheer us up: We just had this terrible snow storm. Here are my ingredients: 3 carrots, 1/2 butternut squash previously cooked, 1 cup of roasted chestnuts (best way to peel chestnuts here) 6 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of corral lentils. Olive oil and 2 star anises.

Step one: In your pot, brown the carrots + garlic in olive oil.

ImageStep 2: add 3 cups of broth, your squash, the peeled chestnuts and the lentils:

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Step 3: let simmering for 20 to 40 minutes with 2 anise stars. It really enhance the flavors.

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Blend, adjust the salt, et voilà! my suggestion, a drizzle of olive oil, and a little cracked pepper to warm you up from the inside. Bon appétit 😉

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