8-minute no-mixer homemade French short pastry dough (pâte brisée)

wpid-wp-1424445282001.jpegOne of the reason I don’t cook more often a savory tart or quiche is because I tend to be lazy and hate washing the bowl and accessories of my electric mixer. I take it for granted that the dough must be done with a mixer, but you know what? there was a time when I didn’t own one, and I clearly remember that it did not stop me to prepare the dough… So today I decided I should properly time how long it takes to prepare a savory dough. In France we call it the Pâte brisée. It means literally the broken dough, and it is our version of the short pastry dough. The advantages of doing it VS buying it ready made is that it is super cheap, super delicious, and super empty of all the usual crap conservatives and non-necessary ingredients with chemical sounding names. Long story short: I timed myself and it took me 8 minutes to prepare the dough, washing my hand included. Here is how:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup no-salt butter (That’s 2/3 of a stick)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cold water

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Meet my Beef Burgundy (Boeuf Bourguignon)

wpid-wp-1417383482982.jpegI believe this is one of the most popular French dish known in the USA. It is traditionally cooked with red wine from Bourgogne (Burgundy region). This region of France is famous for it great wine, and its great beef, therefore you can imagine that the better wine and the better beef: the better the meal!

In my youth, I remember my family eating this sometimes on Sunday lunch, in fall and winter. We would go to mass for the 10 AM service, while the stew would be simmering. Once back home and hungry, we would be greeted by the familiar and promising smell…  My mum would make sure there was enough to have second serve, and usually served it with either boiled potatoes, pasta or plain rice.

Time has past, and I had a chance to taste many Bourguignon, from other friends and family, top restaurant tables, or hidden countryside restaurants… I experimented several variations and I am happy to offer below my recipe. This is the way I like it, with Read the rest of this entry »


Veal Blanket (Blanquette de veau)

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As the fall is providing its beautiful landscapes, offering amazing color palettes wherever you walk, drive, hike… The fall is also a little cold-ish, wet-ish and soon enough we are looking for comfort with warm flavorful dishes to share with familiar faces.

Here is my mum signature dish: the veal blanket. It has such name because this dish, is a white stew. The pieces of top-quality veal are presented in a creamy white sauce that has a little dash of lemon.

Since I developed my practice of this recipe, and following my husband’s refined taste, I have added a few carrots and mushrooms to the sauce. We usually serve this with basmati rice. We love the velvety taste of the sauce mixed with the rice… It works well too with linguini pasta, or boiled potatoes. Best to serve it with either a light pinot noir (chose a wine that claims the grapes were grown on the top of a hill, so it will not be too overwhelming), or a chablis (some chablis from Burgundy are exquisite… but we get into a pricey area).

Another variation, if you don’t have the budget to afford top veal meat is to practice the recipe using chicken. Just use boneless and skinless pieces of chicken, and cut them in stew size (1 square inch). Then follow the steps of the recipe, simply swapping the veal with the chicken. I made it, and it works.

Recipe:

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes, + 2 hours of simmering.
  • Serves 3 – 4

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Provence style tomatoes

Les tomates à la provençales (Provence style tomatoes) is a very versatile dish that can be a great side for most grilled meats, starting from a good steak. It can also be prepared and used in a quiche, adding goat chess, or bacon with it. Finally you can have it with eggs, any style. It is closed to what is known in the USA as broiled tomatoes. But the perfume of garlic and herbs transport you to the summer in Provence…

Ingredients for 2 or 3 people (if served as a side to a steak):

  • wpid-wp-1408999313692.jpeg3 large tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp of time leaves
  • 1 tbsp of rosemary leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil

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Buckwheat Pancake – in the purest Brittany tradition

As fat Tuesday (Mardi gras) is just around the corner, I share today this so authentic buckwheat pancake recipe (see the ingredients list, I mede a suggestion to make it gluten free!). I chose the purest version of the recipe, probably originating from Brittany several centuries ago. This is also called the Galette de blé noir. The galettes are traditionally served with apple cider, as a savory and filling dish. This recipe requires very cheap ingredients and was a party meal in very poor families a century ago. If you have ever been in a crêperie you know this comforting buttery tasting delicious meal…

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But do you know what is fat Tuesday? It seems this tradition is very alive in Louisiana, and other part of the american continent. When I was a child, living in France, I was told that we have a fat and rich meal by tradition to “finish off the last perishable rich food” in the house before entering the carême (Lent) period. By symbolism, the carême is also the period when the nature is just starting to wake up, and there is yet to wait for food to grow. So we eat drink and are merry on mardi gras, and we are being foolish by wearing costumes and dancing all night long for carnaval…

Now, if you have the costume and the friends to party with, let ‘s complement the fun with a crêperie diner !

Ingredients for 12 galettes (2 to 3 per person):

  • 1 and 1/3 cups of buckwheat
  • 1 tablespoon of flour (you can substitute the flour with corn or tapioca starch to go Gluten Free)
  • 3 cups of cold water
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 egg
  • Butter for the pans
  • Large flat nonstick pan

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Sauce béchamel – a must know 10 minute recipe

Welcome to my blog, I am finally sharing this classic typical delicious sauce béchamel recipe. This sauce is a key basic in so many dishes and is a great tool to have if you are a creative cook! I love to put the béchamel in gratin and casserole, I do my signature lasagna with this too, sometimes I also indulge in fresh pasta with the béchamel and a little ham or bacon…  Or like on the picture below, I used it to create a braised bok choy rolled in ham with grated cheddar and béchamel…

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My americanized version of “Braised Endives rolled in ham, with with béchamel and cheese”, using Bok Choy, Virginia ham, and Cheddar…

I have recently discovered this magic trick that changed my life: with a little iced water, I have never since failed my sauce, and also I shrinked my prep time from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. I also tried some variations like using olive oil instead of butter, corn starch instead of flour. I never tried using rice or almond milk instead of real milk, but I guess it could work! Anyway, here is the classic-made easy recipe for you to master this unavoidable French key basic: Read the rest of this entry »


Crêpe anyone? The authentic sweet French thin pancake.

The genuine, tried and tasted crêpes recipe!

This is a recipe for the Chandeleur!  But what it is? it is basically on of our crêpe day in France, like Fat Tuesday in March, but this one is always on February 2nd. It falls 40 days after Christmas, and it celebrates light. Chandeleur comes from the word chandelle: candle. There are several origins dating as far as the middle age : one being that lighting the candles is a mean of purifying life; another celebrates the lengthening of the daylight; another one is also celebrating the coming of the new growing season as some cereals get planted in february, and the leftover grains are milled in flour – the basic ingredient for the crêpe. I personally like the last one as it makes sense.

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Pieter Aertsen, 1560, Les Crêpes.
Musée Boijmans Van Beuningen Rotterdam

Back to 2014 – when I post this recipe: how funny it is that the SuperBowl is on crêpe day… Which make it a great opportunity to do a kitchen workshop for the kids while watching the SuperBowl! Or simply baking a pile in advance and enjoying them during the game. We usually drink cider with it, but beer should work just as well, today!

So I have this very easy and delicious recipe that I want to share with you:

The Crêpes recipe:

  • Easy
  • For 15 crêpes
  • Preparation: 10 minutes
  • Rest : 45 minutes minimum
  • Cooking: 30 to 45 minutes (3 minutes / crêpe)
  • 1 or 2 frying pan
  • 1 bowl
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 ladle
  • 1 spatula

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